Experiences to last a lifetime on this exciting and varied family holiday in one of Brazil's most beautiful and least-explored areas. Your adventures will be based on and around the coast in north eastern Brazil - highlights include a beach buggy safari along sand dunes broken up by patches of virgin rainforest, a homemade dinner under the stars in the outback, charming colonial cities, beautiful beaches and forest-fringed bays.
There's some animal action too, from wolves in the outback to birds in the rainforest. Marine life experiences too from snorkelling with tropical fish to getting up close and personal to manatee and swimming near dolphins.
Sunday morning check in at London Heathrow (also available from Manchester) to fly to Natal international airport in Brazil's North-East, changing planes in Lisbon. You are flying with TAP Portugal, three-times winner of the World Travel Awards' best airline to South America. If you do not live in the UK, it is also possible to book this trip without international flights
You'll arrive in Natal on the same day, though it will be late. One of our drivers will meet you at the airport and whisk you away on the short journey to the Ponta Negra area. You'll be staying at a charming boutique hotel on a long sweeping beach, backed by a towering sand dune. Straight to bed!
Wake up and smell the (Brazilian) coffee! Breakfast and morning at leisure, have a lie-in or enjoy the pool or the beach. Then it's time for the first of your adventures, you're going on a boat trip. You'll be snorkelling on a large reef, a fantastic place with clear blue warm water and shallow, suitable for all ages. The more adventurous can freedive and swim amongst the corals.
This morning, one of our guides will take you to explore the old centre of Natal, the pretty pastel-coloured buildings date back to when Brazil was a Portuguese colony. You'll also visit the beautiful star-shaped Three Wise Men fort which overlooks the sea, completed by the Portuguese on Christmas Day in 1598, giving Natal its name (it translates as Christmas). The views are spectacular. You'll stop for lunch in a restaurant which is popular with locals for serving traditional north east Brazilian dishes.
Buckle up! A beach buggy safari along the coast. You'll whip and whiz through sand dunes, pocked with lakes and broken by tropical forest. You'll see sleepy fishing villages and even the largest cashew tree in the world, thought to produce over 80,000 cashew nuts a year. The cashew tree is native to Brazil and the locals don't just eat the nuts. The cashew apple from which each nut hangs from is enjoyed as a fruit and juice too.
Tell Tale Tip Cashew juice is a tad tangy, but do have a taste. Whilst the Portuguese introduced the trees to India, from where they were spread to other tropical countries including Sri Lanka and Thailand, this juice is a Brazilian speciality.
Time to move on - away from the coast into the vast interior of Brazil - the Sertão. This is outback country - an endless landscape of dry forest and desert meadows. The Brazilian Outback is one of the oldest and most mysterious landscapes on Earth - dotted with giant wind and sand eroded rocks sculpted into eerie shapes and wandered by unique animals like the maned wolf with its red and shaggy coat, burrowing owls and giant armadillos. You'll be staying on a ranch and a homemade dinner under the stars will be a highlight - the night sky is so clear here that you can see the whole sweep of the Milky Way, together with myriad shooting stars.
Explore the outback and ramble around boulders as big as houses, littered across an enormous stone plateau. One is so large that the wind has gouged out a cave in its base - big enough to be the home of a desert hermit for many decades. You'll see prehistoric sites covered with paintings some of which are probably over 10,000 years old, and walk through vast valleys to see animals such as rhea (they are flightless birds similar to ostriches, native to South America) and desert foxes.
Today, you're going to find out more about the people and culture of the Sertão. You'll visit Caruaru, famed throughout Brazil for a wide variety of arts and crafts. The beautiful and iconic clay figurines created here are arguably the best in South America. First stop, a local village where artists live and work, you'll visit their homes and workshops and your family will even have an informal pottery lesson. You just have to decide what to make. An armadillo? A star inspired by the fort in Natal? Or perhaps you can say you meant it to be a sand dune all along.
In Caruaru itself, the town's open-air markets are a treasure trove for souvenir hunters, selling all manner of traditional musical instruments, sand paintings, weaving and lace. Caruaru is is also famous for its Forró - an infectious uptempo jig, one of Brazil's most popular dance styles. You can see it in action this evening though you're welcome to take part too.
'Oh! How beautiful!' This is what the Portuguese who founded the town of Olinda said when they first saw the location, nestled on a little hill overlooking the Atlantic. The name is a literal translation. Olinda is one of the loveliest towns in the whole of South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its cobbled streets are lined with pretty Portuguese mansion houses and its town squares and little alleyways are watched over by magnificent baroque churches and convents. Dust off from your journey into the outback and settle into your centrally-located but charming hotel and enjoy the large lush grounds and swimming pool.
A day strolling around Olinda. Your guide will be happy to customise the day to suit you whether you want to visit the churches and museums, enjoy the vistas or explore the ateliers of the painters, sculptors and ceramists. Evening at leisure to choose from one of the town's intimate restaurants, have a look at the suggestions in your Tell Tale guest pack.
A late start so you have time to pack up before moving on. Today, you'll visit a conservation centre for manatee on Itamaracá island. This is one of only a handful of places in the world you can see these gentle giants up close and personal, and Brazil is the only country with two species - one living in the fresh water of the Amazon river and its tributaries, the other another along the coast. In the mid afternoon, you'll arrive in Pipa for the final part of your Tell Tale trip. Pipa lies between rainforest wilderness and expansive swathes of white-pepper fine sand backed by crumbling sandstone cliffs and fringed with rainforest. It was a fishing village until the 1970s when its beaches were discovered by Brazilian surfers - they are truly glorious, even by local standards.
Settle in and have a dip in the pool. You can also walk down to the beach from your cliff-top hotel which has spectacular views, though the steps are quite an adventure in themselves!
This morning, it's more of large mammals who live in the sea, you're going to see the dolphins that like frolicking here. You should see them from the beach, but this morning, you'll have a boat trip to a secluded bay which has been set up as a reserve and see their feeding time. You'll also have time to swim and if you're lucky, the dolphins may well come up to you.
Day at leisure.
Day at leisure. Enjoy the pool or beach or do some last minute souvenir shopping.
Late evening transfer to Natal airport and fly with TAP Portugal to Lisbon and connect to your flight back to the UK.
Arrival back at London Heathrow or Manchester on Saturday afternoon.
This family holiday based on a minimum of 4 people sharing a private tour costs from £2,950 per person (£2,500 for any children under 12, based on at least 2 paying adult price). The tour price includes flights from London Heathrow, accommodation, activities/excursions, guides, private transfers and most meals.
This trip can be taken all year around and suitable weather wise during all the main UK School holidays. We are offering this trip at the best price we can and expect most families to pay the listed price. However, do note that prices cost more from Manchester, and will be more from both airports if taking this trip at Christmas and could also be more at other times if not booked in enough time to get the best flight prices. We recommend booking as early as you can, we secure bookings, dates and prices with a deposit only.