African Heritage in Rio and Salvador

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African Heritage in Rio and Salvador

Purpose: Heritage, Culture, Religion
No. of days: 7 days - 6 nights
First & Last Cities: Rio de Janeiro, Salvador da Bahia
Starting cost: $1,645
Learn about the African Origins of Brazil from Afro- Brazilian descendants
Stroll through Gamboa and Pedra do Sal, and learn about its African traditions
Explore Salvador, considered the most African city in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro was founded by the Portuguese in 1556 as Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro and became the capital of the Colony of Brazil in 1776. In 1807, just days before Napoleonic forces invaded Lisbon, the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil along with a court of almost 15 thousand people, and settled in the city bringing a surge of progress. Rio, as the city is known, became the main cultural, political and economic center of the Portuguese empire. In 1889, when the republic was proclaimed, Rio was confirmed as the country's capital, which it remained until 1960, when Brasilia, the new country’s capital was founded. Situated on a privileged area, bordered on one side by the blue sea, on the other by the lush vegetation, almost 8 million cariocas, how the locals are called, celebrate their way through life. That is just the way Rio is, surrounded by natural beauty on all sides, with the famous Christ the Redeemer blessing the city from atop of Corcovado Mountain, and the imposing Sugar Loaf, guarding the entry of the Guanabara Bay.
Day 1: Rio de Janeiro
Arrival in Rio and transfer to your hotel. Balance the day at leisure to enjoy the city at your pace. Rio by night: Rio like a Carioca! Tonight, visit Lapa, a trendy bohemian area of Rio and dance to the beat of a traditional Samba band at Rio Scenarium night club (food and beverages are not included and tour is not available on Sundays and Mondays).
Day 2: Rio de Janeiro (Corcovado Mountain & Black Heritage tour)
From your hotel head to the Cosme Velho neighborhood from where a cog train starts a trip through the lush Tijuca Forest towards the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Since 1931 the statue has been a landmark of the city. From atop of the mountain, at 2100 feet above the sea level, a panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro will unfold before your eyes. Upon descending continue to downtown Rio to visit the Nossa Senhora do Rosário church and The Black Museum. The church goes back to the Colonial times. It was opened in 1737 and was used as the Rio de Janeiro’s city council from 1812 to 1825. The first political protest in Brazil in 1822, was held there. In addition the church was the center of African and Afro-Brazilian religious, social and political life. You may notice traditional African religious offerings placed on its steps in the Brazilian syncretic fashion.  A few blocks away is the traditional 120-year-old Confeitaria Colombo (restaurant), where you will have lunch. Your tour ends at the Zumbi dos Palmares monument. Zumbi was an Afro-Brazilian warrior who, in the 17th century, led the Palmares Quilombo, a community of runaway slaves in Northeastern Brazil. In 1694 after almost 100 years of resistance the forces loyal to the Portuguese Crown finally defeated Palmares, and on November 20, 1695, at 40 years of age Zumbi was killed. Nowadays on every November 20th Brazilians celebrate the National Day of Black Consciousness. [B/L]
Day 3: Rio de Janeiro (Carnival, Samba & Pedra do Sal: The African heart and soul of the city)
Your first stop at today’s tour will be at the Sambodrome: the arena where the famous Carnival parade takes place. You will learn about the parade and understand the importance of this popular celebration in the lives of the cariocas (those who are born in Rio). The tour continues with a visit to a samba school head quarter inside the Samba City. You will go behind scenes of Rio’s Carnival and realize all it takes to produce this incredible show.  Your guide will explain the history of the samba and the Carnival, and you’ll be able to try the beautiful costumes you usually see on TV. Your next stop will be at an area known as Little Africa and the Salt Stone: the oldest continuously inhabited Black neighborhood in Rio. From the arrival of the first captured Africans, this small region near the port provided a geological protection that one can still see today. For 500 years this community has been greatly contributing to the city’s cultural life which makes Rio de Janeiro a desired touristic destination throughout the world. [B]
Salvador da Bahia was the first capital of colonial Brazil from 1549 until 1763, being one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. Famous for being the most African city in the Americas due the strong African roots and traditions found in its cuisine, religion, music and arts, the city is also known as the “land of happiness” due to the kindness of its people, and the many popular festivals and celebrations that take over its streets throughout the year.
Day 4: Rio de Janeiro, Salvador
After breakfast transfer to the airport to board your flight to Salvador, Bahia. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure to enjoy Salvador at your pace. [B]
Day 5: Salvador (Explore Salvador da Bahia African Roots)
Explore the African roots of Salvador on a tour, which combines the modern section and the older Historical Center of the city. Start at the Pelourinho area, so called after the pillory which stood in the main square, in front of the central slave market. Visit the Afro-Brazilian Museum*, which traces the West African origins of the city, and see the superb wooden sculpted panels of the orixás’ by Salvador's most celebrated artist, Carybé.  Visit to the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the famous Black church, built with meager resources over a period of almost 100 years. Next door is the intimate Bahian Gastronomy Museum which focuses on the African influence on Bahia cuisine. Now it’s time try the delicious Fish Moqueca on a typical restaurant. After lunch proceed to the Itapagipe Peninsula for a different perspective of the sprawling city. Enjoy the view of the quiet beach where life moves at a slower pace than the bustling upper city. Fishermen fish from dugout canoes, locals collect shellfish at low tide, schooners lie at anchor, all protected by the famous Bonfim church, one of the most important churches of pilgrimage in Brazil and deeply syncretized with the Candomblé.  The Visit continues to the Monserrat district with its panoramic view of the city and ends at the Mercado Modelo, a thriving market for local artifacts and souvenirs. It’s time to use your bargaining skills! [B/L]
* The Afro Brazilian Museum is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Day 6 – Salvador (Candomblé: From Africa to Brazil)
Candomblé is a religion that reverences the natural forces that regulate the planet on which we live. Brought to Brazil by the enslaved, it remains mysterious to many and misunderstood by others but is key to understanding the permeating influence that underpins Salvador’s uniquely African identity. Its role in the struggle against the blight of slavery cannot be overstated. After breakfast, visit a traditional candomblé terreiro or house of worship, established at the turn of the 20th century, far from the then city center so as to avoid the overbearing repression of the traditional belief system. The subsequent expansion of the city lead to the temple’s grounds being surrounded by the burgeoning metropolis, the background against which the terreiro maintains the traditional religious and social values of ancestral ways. During this visit you will gain an insight into the religious, historical and social aspects of candomblé.  Lunch in included at Oceanico Restaurant. The afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, enjoy the endless sounds and colors of the Afro-Brazilian tradition, at the Ballet Folclorico da Bahia**: This evening is all about wonderment and sprit renewal. The old district of Pelourinho, once the center of the slave trade, entices you with dinner and a show by the internationally renowned Bahia Folklore Company (Ballet Folclorico da Bahia), featuring a seamless presentation of the multiple African traditions that underpin them. You will enjoy 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 and the Samba de Roda, a spinning, swirling version of this exuberant national dance. After the show, your farewell dinner will be served in one of the many fine restaurants in the area. [B/L/D]
** The Folklore show in Salvador is NOT available on Sundays and Tuesdays. For the candomble visit dark clothing must be avoided. Guests should wear light colored clothing (preferably white) while women are invited to use below-the-knee-line long skirts. Best on Wednesdays.
Day 7 – Salvador, USA
Morning at leisure. At agreed time transfer to the airport to board your flight home or to your next destination. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner






Tour includes
  • Private transfers between airports and hotels
  • Accommodation for 6 nights in standard rooms at hotels of your choice:
    • Rio de Janeiro - 3 nights
    • Salvador - 3 nights
  • Meals:
    • Daily breakfast
    • 3 lunches
    • 1 dinner
  • Visits to:
    • Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain
    • Rio’s Little Africa and Pedra de Sal
    • Salvador’s African roots
    • Salvador’s Folkloric Ballet
  • Private transportation
  • English Speaking guides
  • Tickets to attractions mentioned
  • All hotel taxes
Not included in tour
  • International or domestic air tickets
  • Early check-in, late check-out at hotels
  • Services and food not listed in the itinerary
  • Beverages during the meals
  • Hotel extras, and personal expenses
  • Daily tax charged by the Local Convention Bureau at hotels
  • Tips for guides, drivers, and in restaurants

Hotels in your Tour

Category Hotel Name Tripadvisor
First Class
Rio de Janeiro Arena Leme 4
Salvador Wish Hotel da Bahia 4
Rio de Janeiro Miramar By Windsor 4.5
Salvador Villa Bahia 4.5

All hotels are subject to confirmation at the time of booking

Tour Pricing

Category Double
2020 Departures
First Class $1,645
Deluxe $2,175
Rates are minimum per person sharing a room and may change without notice.
Rates may change depending on the date of travel
Prices for tourist and deluxe hotels, single rooms, or for 3 passengers sharing a room are available on request
Valid through December 20th 2020. Not valid for Holidays and big Conventions
Tour Code: BR03RIO20DB