Rio de Janeiro & the Gold Route

The Gold Rush in Brazil transformed the country, altered its course of history, and financed the Industrial Revolution in Europe. This Brazil Route of Gold Tour takes you on a scenic, historic, and unforgettable journey through the Atlantic Rainforest, to almost-forgotten mining towns, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and colonial seaports.

Tour Highlights

- Rio de Janeiro Tour to Sugarloaf & Corcovado
- Paraty Schooner Cruise
- Brazilian National Treasure sites: Paraty, Tiradentes, and Petrópolis
- Mariana Gold Mine
- UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ouro Preto
- Congonhas & the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas


- 7-Nights accommodations
- All breakfasts, 1 lunch & 1 dinner
- All tours, transfers, and entrance fees (except for the churches of Paraty)
- English speaking tour guides

Sample Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Rio de Janeiro

Your Brazilian tour begins in Brazil, a city famous for its Carnival, its beaches, and its friendly people. Meet your guide at the airport and travel to your hotel.
In the afternoon, take a tour to the top of Corcovado Mountain to get a close-up of the most iconic statue of Brazil: Christ the Redeemer. From this location, you will get a panoramic view of the city, the bay, and the mountains. The contrast of its high peaks right next to the sea along with the hustle and bustle of the city earned Rio its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore the city, go shopping, or relax on the beach.

Day 2 Sugarloaf Mountain & BBQ Dinner

Explore Rio de Janeiro on a city tour. Visit its museums, churches, and historic buildings, which will give you an insight into the Carioca lifestyle. Transfer to Sugarloaf Mountain to board a cable car up Urca Hill, take in breathtaking views of the city and the bay along the way.

In the evening, enjoy a taste of Brazilian cuisine at Churrascaria Palace, one of the most famous restaurants in town!

Day 3 Transfer to Paraty & Walking tour

Rise early to take a 4-hour ride from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty, a quaint town of white buildings, charming lamp posts and cobblestone streets. Take a walking tour to visit its churches, museums, and appreciate its colonial architecture, which distinguishes the city as one of Brazil’s Historical National Monuments. Explore the port, which takes a principal role in the Golden Route as the main port for trading gold from Mina Gerais to Europe. Next, transfer to your Pousada. Please note that churches charge an entry fee that is not included in the price of the tour.

Day 4 Paraty Schooner Cruise

Set out to explore Paraty’s islands on a boat ride. Surrounded by exuberant vegetation that makes it a quiet and incredible place to stay. The waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. This traditional tour has different routes for each day of the week, with four stops of about 40 minutes in each place. These conditions are ideal for snorkeling. One of the main tourist spots is Ilha Comprida, a natural aquarium great for taking pictures, diving, or swimming. After the tour, return to the shore and relax on the beach or explore the city on your own.

Day 5 Transfer from Paraty to Tiradentes

This morning, transfer from Paraty to Tiradentes. First, travel through the Serra da Bocaina National Park to Minas Gerais, Brazil’s cultural heartland.

Later, the transfer continues to Tiradentes, a small colonial town. Check into the hotel, have dinner at a local restaurant and then spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 6 Free day in Tiradentes 

Choose to spend the day exploring the cobblestone streets of Tiradentes or opt for a 2-hour train ride to São João del Rei, another colonial town, and visit its railway museum.

If a free day in Tiradentes is all that’s needed, enjoy strolling along the quaint streets, passing by historic churches, antique stores, boutiques, and art galleries. Consider stopping by one of the local cafes for a cup of freshly brewed coffee and some homemade chocolate. Then, return to a local pousada for the night.

Day 7 Transfer to Congonhas & Ouro Preto

Today, travel to Congonhas and visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Congonhas. Here, the Brazilian sculptor Aleijadinho carved his Twelve Prophet statues and theatrical expressions of the Passion of the Christ can also be found in nearby chapels on the hill outside the colonial church. After admiring the work of Aleijadinho, transfer to neighboring Ouro Preto, where the majority of the gold in Minas Gerais was extracted during the Gold Rush.
Check into the hotel in Ouro Preto and spend the evening at leisure.

Day 8 Walking Tour of Ouro Preto & Mariana

After breakfast at the hotel, walk through Ouro Preto with your guide and learn about this UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once “the world’s richest city.”

Then continue to Mariana, a smaller town where you can explore a gold mine. There are also handicrafts and locally-made goods available for purchase in the area.

Day 9 Return to Rio via Petropolis & The Serra Mar

The return journey to Rio de Janeiro follows the Serra do Mar Atlantic Rainforest mountains, a very scenic ride. Stop along the way to tour Petrópolis and visit the Imperial Museum, which was once the summer palace for the Emperor. Your driver will then drop you off at the Rio de Janeiro airport for your flight home or to your next destination in Brazil.