Hit the best seaside towns of northeastern Brazil on a journey along the spectacular Atlantic coast

There are few better ways to tackle Brazil’s far-flung northeastern states than in an overland truck, and this 17-day jaunt covers some of the best spots along the Atlantic coast. Starting in vibrant Salvador da Bahia, make tracks north for the coastal gems that many visitors to Brazil don’t see: Aracaju, Olinda, and the chilled-out hippie haven of of Canoa Quebrada. Jump in a 4WD for an off-the-beaten-track adventure to Jericoacoara, a stunning, secluded nature haven whose inaccessibility (let’s be honest) is a blessing. Make tracks for the dunes and lagoons of Lencois Maranhenses National Park; explore the reggae culture, museums and colonial architecture of Sao Luis; and finish in Belem, where the mighty Amazon River meets the ocean.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Salvador, Brazil
Finish
Belem, Brazil
Country
Brazil
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland
Code
GDVB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Escape the tourist trails by visiting Aracaju, a hit among local beachgoers, and Jericoacoara, a captivating oasis accessible only by 4WD tracks

  • From the Afro-influenced Candomble religion of Salvador, to the prominent folkloric and musical activity of Olinda and Sao Luis, there are many chances to break up the beach time with cultural discovery

  • Spend time in Canoa Quebrada and Lencois Maranhenses National Park, both stunning examples of Brazil’s dune-laden coastal scenery

  • Finish in seaside Belem, where the superbly located Mercado Ver-o-Peso brims with fresh seafood, aromatic herbs and bizarre local artifacts

Is this trip right for you?

  • Be prepared for some long drives on this itinerary. Brazil is a big country, and some days there’s quite a bit of ground to cover between destinations.

Itinerary

Welcome to Salvador! Today there is an important group meeting at 18:00hrs, please meet at the Hotel reception. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Salvador. Border information: If you are starting in Salvador, enter Brazil at Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport (IATA code: SSA)
In Salvador we stay in a comfortable hotel Hotel for the night: Pousada de Mangueira 09 Ladeira da Saúde
Bairro da Saúde
Salvador
Bahia
Brazil

Activity Approximate Cost
Watch a candomblé ceremony in Salvador Included in Kitty
Visit the Forte Santo Antonioa da Barra, Brazil's oldest lighthouse, for panoramic views of the city. USD 10
Visit a Capoeira school, to watch the Brazilian martial art, combining elements of dance, acrobatics and music. Free

About Salvador Da Bahia:
Situated on a peninsular jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, Salvador da Bahia was the capital of Brazil when it was first colonised, but now it can only claim to be the capital of the state of Bahia. Bahia is strongly nfluenced by its links with Africa, both in its language, religion, food, dance and music, and this certainly dominates the atmosphere in Salvador. If time allows we will take in a night at the Bale Folclorico da Bahia or the Oludum drummers for a taste of local traditions. Apart from the historic interest of the town, there are some excellent beaches to visit nearby, but you should definitely try to get to a 'Candomble' evening while you are here. Candomble is a popular religious cult in the region, and the ceremonies offer a fascinating insight into the culture of this area. Salvador is also well known for its spectacular Carnival and other festivities, but the nightlife is good here at any time of the year.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we head north up the coast of Bahia, into the state of Sergipe. Along the way we will make a stop at the Projeto Tamar - a research station involved in the protection of Brazil's fives species of turtle, which spans 1000km and 9 of Brazil's states. The best time to visit is September to March when the spawning occurs.
Afterwards we will continue our journey north to Aracaju, where we can chill out in one of the town's seafront eateries, listen to some traditional forro music and enjoy the fresh crabs that the town is known for. Approximate Driving time - 332km / 7hrs We will spend the night in a local Pousada

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the Tamar Turtle Conservation Project Included in Kitty

About Aracaju:
Set in Segipe, the smallest of Brazil's states, Aracaju is a popular weekend getaway for Brazilians, though often overlooked by Tourists. The town boasts beautiful beaches, waterfront restaurants, lively festivals and a picturesque main square, complete with towering cathedral.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We have a full day drive to the stunning colonial gem of Olinda, considered one of Brazil’s most important historic sites. Approximate Driving Time - 540km / 9hrs We will spend the next two nights in a local Pousada

About Olinda:
Olinda was one of the old capital cities of Brazil and has quite a few historic buildings dating mainly from around the mid-1600's, many of which have been restored. It is a culturally important city, and is home to many artists and musicians. A good spot to have a drink and take in Olinda is the Alto de Se, the highest square in the town, it has stunning views of the skyscrapers of Recife shimmering in the distance. 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Explore the beautiful town of Olinda, once known as 'small Lisbon' and the richest town in Brazil. Enjoy wandering the cobblestone streets, check out some of the exquisite churches and definitely make time for
lunch at Alto de Se to enjoy the views!

Activity Approximate Cost
Take part in a Capoeira class BRL 30
Visit the imposing 16th Century Igreja da Se, located at Alto da Se (Cathedral Heights) Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have a drive day to the seaside town of Canoa Quebrada. In Canoa Quebrada we will stay in a local Pousada Approximate Driving Time – 629km / 10hrs

About Canoa Quebrada:
Until the mid 1970’s Canoa Quebrada had been but a sleepy fishing village until it began to gain popularity with a group of hippies, who gave to Canoa an air of liberty and tolerance which can be felt until today. The village is now one of the best known and most visited beaches in Ceará with dunes and falesias with heights of up to 30 metres which have served as the stage for several movies of Brazilian cinema and television.
Today, besides the eternally overwhelming landscape, the greatest attractions to enjoy are the buggy tours through the sand dunes along the beach and the red cliffs, and the refreshing dives in the calm bluegreen
ocean. For the more adventurous there is the opportunity for kite surfing, cliff gliding, capoeira, or you can simply venture through the fishing villages on a long walk or discover the ecological trails that cut through Canoa Quebrada. When the sun begins to set, run to the top of the dunes and you will witness one of the most spectacular sites in the northeast.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Huge pinkish sand dunes dominate the area of Canoa Quebrada, it's a fantastic spot to kick back and relax after a week of overlanding, or for the more energetic; try your hand at kite surfing, take an evening horseback ride along the beach, head out on a beach buggy. There's a laid back small town to explore too.
We will stay in a local pousada

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a 4hr Beach buggy trip to Ponta Grossa BRL 100-350
Take an evening horseback ride on the beach BRL 100
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
An all day drive brings us to the laid back beach town of Jericoacoara, or 'Jeri' as it's affectionately known. Access to Jericoacoara is only by 4x4 through unpaved tracks through the dunes, making it a wonderfully hard to reach place. Approximate Drive time - 440km / 8hrs

About Jericoacoara:
Jericoacoara is a stunning beach area, located close to the equator in the northeast of Brazil. It is a good example of an area embracing the concepts of responsible tourism. Development has been severely
restricted and building is only allowed in the nearby fishing village. To get there, you have to drive off-piste across sand dunes for about 15 kms in a 4x4 and this limits the numbers of outsiders who visit the place. It is a remarkably beautiful place with vast fields of sand dunes, turquoise sea and loads to do. For lovers of the natural beauty there are numerous hikes and trails, which can be accessed on foot or by horse. Alternatively, you may prefer to play around on the dunes on sand buggies or sand boards or to go out on boat trips. It is also an excellent place for windsurfing and other watersports. The area has no big hotels, but has plenty of small restaurants and posadas.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Jericoacoara is a magical place to spend some time; wander the sandy lanes, enjoy the sunset with a caipirinha on the dunes whilst the locals practise their Capoeira, head out on a quad bike adventure to remote
lagoons where you can take a dip, laze in a hammock and enjoy a seafood lunch. Jeri is also one of the prime spots for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing! We will stay in a local Pousada

Activity Approximate Cost
Learn to kitesurf in Jericoacoara USD 160
Take out quad bikes to visit the area around Jericoacoara USD 65
Visit the beautiful Lagoa Paraiso USD 30
Enjoy the waves and rent a surf board BRL 25-60
Try a 90minute Capoeira class BRL 35
Treat yourself to a relaxing massage during your time away from the truck BRL 150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we drive to the town of Parnaiba, the gateway to the Parnaiba delta and the Lencois Maranhenses National Park. We will stay the night in a local pousada. Approximate Drive Time - 250km / 3hrs
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today our adventure into the Lencois Maranhenses National Park begins; we head out in 4WD to the port (Porto dos Tatus), where we will take a speed boat to Tatoia, stopping off at some dunes and islands of the famous Parnaiba Delta. Seen from the sky, the meeting point of the Rio Parnaiba and the Atlantic Ocean looks like a giant puzzle, made up of 85 tiny islands. After visiting Tutoia we will spend the night in Atins in a small pousada on a sand bank.

Activity Approximate Cost
Take an overnight 4WD tour of the stunning Lençóis Maranhenses National Park Included in Kitty

About Lencois Maranhenses National Park:
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, in Maranhão State, is one of Brazil's top natural attractions. It is an ecosystem formed of white sand dunes which cover 383,000 acres and look like bedsheets (lençóis in Portuguese) spread out on the Northeastern coast of Brazil. Fresh water lagoons that fill up with rainwater, mostly during the first six months of the year, make Lençóis Maranhenses unique. Mangroves, deserted beaches, buritis- a graceful kind of palm tree - and the Preguiças River help compose the park's diversity.
Lençóis Maranhenses has been formed over thousands of years, as the sand from riverbeds is deposited at the mouth of the rivers and brought back to the continent by winds and sea currents. The sand dunes advance as far as 50 kilometres inland and stretch along 43 kilometres of coastline. They are mostly deserted beaches on which sand mixes with mangroves, creating picture perfect vistas.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will head out in motor boats through the Preguica River, to the protected area of Pequeneos Lencois, along the way, we will visit a small fishing village, take a short walk to the lighthouse to enjoy views
of the dunes and the Preguicas River. We will spend the night in a Pousada in Barreirinhas.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the stunning Lençóis Maranheses National Park Included in Kitty
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we will head out in 4WD into the lagoons, enjoy a swim and explore the dunes before heading back to the Truck and continuing our journey to the beautiful UNESCO town of Sao Luis. We stay in a local guesthouse. Approximate Driving Time - 250km / 4 hrs

About Sao Luis:
São Luís is the capital of Maranhão, situated in the Bay of San Marcos on the northeastern coast of Brazil south of the Amazon Delta. The French founded the city in 1612 but the Potuguese captured it almost immediately in 1615 and then the Dutch took over for 4 years in 1641. The old city is steeped in an almost tangible history and has strong traditional folklore. There are excellent museums; the Catedral da Sé', built in 1726 by the Jesuits and a large French-built fortress now called the Palácio dos Leões. Today the city is almost more famous for its music and is the centre of reggae culture in Northeast Brazil. It has excellent nightlife, restaurants and numerous festivals throughout the year.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we can enjoy the UNESCO world heritage site of Sao Luis, the only city of Brazil to be founded by the French. The city is full is interesting museums and the historic centre houses beautiful, pastel coloured colonial mansions. You can take a boat trip to the more laid back town of Alcantara, you may spot the Scarlet Guara birds on your way We will stay in a local Guesthouse.

Activity Approximate Cost
Set within an impressive mansion, are exhibits of Sao Luis festivals - Carnaval, Bumba, Meu Boi and Divino Espirito Santo Free
Learn about Maranhoas indigenous cultures at the Centro Perquisa de Historia Natural Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Our final drive day brings us to Belem where the mighty Amazon River meets the Atlantic. We stay in a local hotel. Approximate Driving time: 574km / 11hrs (including a ferry journey)

About Belem:
Belem holds a strategic place on the mouth of the Amazon River, which is why it grew to be such as large and important port. It has a vibrant market called Mercado Ver-O-Peso, which you can't miss. It sells all manner of local vegetables, fruit, fish and medicinal plants as well as strange artifacts for the local religious cults. Be sure to try out one of the city's excellent fish restaurants before you leave.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is yours to enjoy the port town of Belem, one of the first Portuguese settlements. Explore the historic centre which houses various museums and cathedrals and be sure to visit the Ver-o-Paso Market, considered the largest in South America, with its stalls scattered with Amazonian fish, baskets of Acai, herbs and crafts.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the iconic, waterfront colonial Ver-oPeso market. Free
The Cidade Velha is home to most of Belem's museums, with four plazas and and riverside location. Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Belem. Please note that there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact your Sales agent if you would like to book additional nights in the hotel. If you are continuing your trip to Boa Vista, we will depart early this morning on a passenger boat to Macapa.

Border information: If you are leaving in Belem, you will most likely exit Brazil at Val de Cans–Júlio Cezar Ribeiro International Airport (IATA: BEL)

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the iconic, waterfront colonial Ver-oPeso market. Free
The Cidade Velha is home to most of Belem's museums, with four plazas and and riverside location. Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Public bus, Boat, Canoe

Accommodation

Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Hotel (2 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.

Essential trip information

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