Paul Irvine's 13-day Itinerary Around the Brazilian Amazon and Bahia

Praia do Espelho in Trancoso, Brazil
Photo: Marcelo Nacinovic/Getty Images

Paul Irvine is a member of Travel + Leisure’s A-List, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with David, you can contact him directly at

Day 1: Arrive in Manaus, Zenith

At Manaus airport your private guide and driver will meet you in arrivals to bring you to your private yacht, the Zenith, for an unforgettable six-day Amazon River cruise. English-speaking naturalist guides will be on hand to point out the flora and fauna.

You will sail by the old town of Manaus and the famous meeting of the waters, where the red waters of the Amazon and naturally darker waters of the Rio Negro meet and do not mix for several kilometers. Continue on to January Lake ecological reserve where you will board a motorized canoe to explore the canals and streams in the flooded forest.

In the evening you will set out by canoe to explore the nocturnal sounds of the forest and the wildlife of the Amazon at dusk before returning to the Zenith for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Zenith

Your second day will begin with an outdoor breakfast aboard the yacht observing the abounding nature all around. After breakfast, the cruise will head to Vila Paradise to visit the rubber plantation museum, which tells the fascinating story of the economic rubber boom of 19th-century Northern Brazil. There will be time to swim nearby before lunch and cruising upriver to Jacaré Island for overnight.

Day 3: Zenith

Take a speedboat to a floating house where we have arranged an encounter with pink dolphins that inhabit the Amazon river. There are also usually some giant pirarucu fish in the area — the largest freshwater fish in the world.

Continue on to visit an Amazon riverbank community to see the typical way of life of those who live along the river before heading back to the Zenith for free time to jet ski and swim before lunch. In the afternoon you will head upriver to the largest fresh water archipelago in the world at Anavilhanas to enjoy sunset drinks surrounded by the exuberant Amazon nature and sounds of the jungle.

Day 4: Zenith

Today we recommend an early start to do some bird watching before breakfast around the Anavilhanas Archipelago. Following breakfast you will take a speed boat to explore the islands and try piranha fishing using the local style cane rods.

After lunch there will be a couple hours of free time to relax until we cruise to the Cuieiras tributary river, which is a nice calm place to paddle around in the canoes or ride on jet skis.

Day 5: Zenith

Today you will go on a guided trek into the jungle. Your guide will show you the typical flora and fauna of the Amazon, as well as some of the natural medicinal herbs found only in this area of incredible biodiversity. In the afternoon you will take out canoes to go caiman spotting.

Day 6: Zenith

After breakfast you will take a short ride by speedboat to the Tatuios Indian village where you will have the chance to visit with this remote tribe, who will show you their traditional dances, musical instruments, and customs.

Day 7: Manaus and Trancoso

After breakfast you will head back down the Rio Negro — stopping off to view any interesting wildlife — to leave you back in Manaus in time for your flight. After a final lunch on board it's time to disembark.

Our driver will be waiting in arrivals at Terravista airport to transfer you the short distance through the tropical Bahian countryside to your private villa in Trancoso, next to a warm sea and palm-fringed beaches that extend to the horizon.

Day 8: Trancoso

After breakfast we have arranged for one of the mestres from the local capoeira school to give a private lesson in your villa garden. This will be a fun introduction to this part-dance, part-martial art that is very popular in this part of Brazil — both a great work out and a unique cultural experience.

In the afternoon you will go kayaking on the river only a short distance from Trancoso. Lush flora and fauna await as you paddle gently along with the tide.

Day 9: Trancoso and Praia do Espelho

A private speedboat will meet you on the beach in front of your hotel to whisk you down the coast tp Praia do Espelho (Mirror Beach), so called for its clear water that mirrors the horizon, and one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. Enjoy a seafood lunch prepared for you in a private residence overlooking the sea.

Day 10: Trancoso

We have arranged for an exclusive cooking demonstration for you with a Brazilian chef. Trancoso is famous for its contemporary gourmet take on Bahian ingredients and techniques. After a master class with the chef you will be treated to a special lunch prepared for you.

Day 11: Trancoso

Go on a quad bike excursion through the dunes and along the beach around Trancoso.

Day 12: Trancoso

Today your guide will take you on an excursion to the Indian reserve 1.5 hours from Trancoso. After the visit to the reserve you will continue on dirt roads and by river on wooden canoes to the remote village of Caraiva. Electricity only came to the village in the last decade courtesy of underground wires in order to preserve the rustic feel. Furthermore, there are still no public lights, meaning you'll get to see some of the most spectacular night skies in Bahia. Here you will have some of the freshest seafood you will ever try, at a small open-air restaurant under a large almond tree.

Day 13: Depart Trancoso

Your driver will return to take you back to Terravista airport in time for your departing flight.

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