Day 1 – Rio de Janeiro
Morning: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro with accomodation at selected hotel.Afternoon: African Heritage Tour. This orientation tour of Rio offers a fascinating introduction to the roots of African culture in Brazil. We will visit a temple of Candomblé where this uniquely Brazilian religion combining both the Yoruba and Catholic faiths will be explained and used to illustrate how African culture shaped the Brazilian identity of today.Evening at leisure.
Day 2 – Rio de Janeiro (B, L)
Daytime: City Tour. This exciting tour will take you to Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro’s famous mountain set at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, and reached by a series of thrilling cable car rides. After enjoying the view, you will begin an excursion into the Afro-influenced world of samba and Carnival, with your first stop at the Sambadrome, the locale for the city’s famous carnival parades. Here, the cultural and historical aspects of this incredible celebration are explained at the Carnival Museum. Next, you will proceed to the Samba City, where you will meet the local artisans designing and creating the fantastic floats and costumes that will appear in the renowned parade (visit to barracão available from October to February only). Evening: Traditional Afro-Brazilian Dinner and Dance. In this excursion, you will enjoy dinner in a restaurant specializing in feijoada, the native Brazilian dish developed by slaves. Next, you will proceed to downtown Rio and stop by a famous gafieira, or traditional dancehall originally established by emancipated slaves.
Day 3 – Rio de Janeiro (B)
Daytime: Corcovado Excursion. After touring Rio´s beautiful beaches, you will pass through the charming neighborhood of Cosme Velho, home to the base of Corcovado Mountain.From here, take a small gauge railroad through the lush Tijuca Rainforest to the mountain’s top, where the fabled Christ the Redeemer statue stands. Enjoy an unsurpassed view of the Cidade Maravilhosa from this worldrenowned landmark. Evening: At leisure. Optional excursion, “Rio by Night”, will be offered to those interested in a trip to one of the city’s favorite nightspots for a review of Brazilian Carnival, dance and folklore. We also suggest dinner at a churrascaria, a typical all-you-can eat Brazilian barbecue dinner at a fine restaurant.
Day 4 – Rio de Janeiro/ Salvador (B)
Transfer to Rio airport for flight back to Salvador.Arrive Salvador da Bahia, meet and transfer to your selected hotel. Evening at Leisure.
Day 5 – Salvador (B)
After breakfast departure for an African-oriented historical city tour. We trace the African roots of Salvador on a city tour which combines the newer, modern section and the older Historical Center of Salvador, the Pelourinho area, so called after the pillory which stood in the main square, in front of the central slave market. We visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum which traces the West African origins of the city and see the superb wooden, sculpted panels of the orixá’s by Salvador’s most celebrated artist, Carybé. We visit the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the famous Black church, built with meager resources over a period of almost 100 years. The Casa do Benin (Benin House) nearby further investigates this permeating African influence. We look in on artists and sculptors at work and let the senses do the rest as we soak up the feel of this vibrant city. The buildings may be European but the rest is African. Evening excursion to a uniquely Bahian event: a rehearsal (show) of one the many Afro-blocos, or musical groups, enjoying great success in the current renaissance of Afro-based rhythms in Salvador. This frenetic, pulsating music is directly derived from the music of West Africa.
Day 6 – Salvador (B, L)
We leave the city behind and drive through the oldest farmland in Brazil. This is the land of sugar cane and tobacco plantations, peaceful colonial towns and busy country markets. We visit an experimental cacao plantation. Nearby we stop at a small but self-sufficient farmstead with it’s own manioc flour mill and have a great insight into rural life in Brazil. We also visit the Sisterhood of the Boa Morte, a sorority which traces it’s origins back to the time of slavery. A journey back in time to the Brazil of yesteryear!
Day 7 – Salvador ( B, D)
Daytime: Candomblé – Religious and Social Focus. We visit a traditional candomblé house of worship, established at the turn of the century, a long way from the then center of the city. The expansion of the city has meant that the temples grounds have been surrounding by the burgeoning metropolis but the temple maintains the traditional religious and social values of African daily life. Our visit will focus on the religious and social traditions of the temple and its role within the community. We later visit the shrine for Yemanja in the Rio Vermelho district, a simple shrine in an annex of a local fishing colony, next door to a Catholic church. Evening: The Bahia Folklore Company (Balé Folclórico da Bahia) is one of the most respected folklore dance troupes in the world. The company performs in the intimate Miguel Santana Theatre in the Pelourinho in a seamless presentation of the multiple African traditions that underpin Bahian culture. We will see the sacred dances of the Candomblé; puxada de rede, a song by fishermen in honor of Yemanjá, the goddess of the sea; maculelê, an acrobatic stick and sword dance with its origins in the cane fields; capoeira, a martial art/dance of Angolan origin and the samba de roda, a spinning, swirling version of this exuberant national dance. Dinner will be served in one of the many restaurants in the Historic Centre.
Day 8 – Salvador (B)
Check out and transfer to Salvador International airport for flight back home.