How to spend 10 days in Brazil – 3 epic itineraries

Brazil is one of the most diverse and fascinating countries I’ve ever been to. Its cities are full of character, its cuisine is truly unique and its nature is staggeringly beautiful. Throw in some caipirinhas, friendly locals and samba rhythms and you’ll get a destination where you’re guaranteed to have a good time. With just 10 days in Brazil, you’ll only be able to scratch the surface of what the country has to offer but with a proper plan, you can still visit some of the major attractions.

Keep in mind that Brazil is a gigantic country (fifth largest in the world!) and has an area larger than all of Europe. It’s even bigger than Australia. Because of that, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to include and what to leave out of your 10-day Brazil itinerary. 

the view from the top of Pao de Acucar hill near Saco do Mamangua fjord in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro.
Saco do Mamangua fjord in Rio de Janeiro state

To help you make your travel planning easier, I’ve created three itineraries that will take you to some of the best places in Brazil and allow you to experience the local culture as well as the spectacular nature that this country has been blessed with.

Each of these itineraries starts in Rio de Janeiro and ends in a different city so that you wouldn’t have to waste time on backtracking to Rio. You can also easily reverse these itineraries by starting from their ending point and then finishing in Rio.

Ready to start planning your 10 days in Brazil?

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10 days in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, São Paulo

Day 1-4: Rio de Janeiro
Day 5-7: Paraty
Day 8-10: São Paulo

Day 1-4: Rio de Janeiro

Start your 10 days in Brazil by flying to Rio de Janeiro, the second-largest city in the country and by far the most popular tourist destination in Brazil.

With its winding coastline, impressive mountains, endless beaches and rainforest, the natural setting of Rio de Janeiro is intoxicatingly beautiful. On top of that, the city offers its visitors a bustling nightlife scene, great restaurants, lovely parks and the world-famous annual Carnival in February/March.

Sunset view from Arpoador cliff in Rio de Janeiro, a must-see place if you're exploring Brazil in 10 days
Ipanema Beach at sunset

Some of the must-see attractions in Rio de Janeiro are the Christ the Redeemer Statue (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and the most famous landmark of the city), Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches (the two most iconic beaches in Rio), Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf Mountain (two peaks with magnificent views of the city) and the Selaron Stairs (a staircase covered with colorful mosaic tiles).

For more details on these attractions and other great places to visit in the city, read my blog post on the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro.


Ritz Copacabana Hotel – This boutique hotel is located on the famous Copacabana Beach and features modern, tastefully decorated facilities. There’s also a rooftop terrace and pool offering spectacular views of the city and the coast.

Morro da Urca helipad with a backdrop of the winding coastline of Rio de Janeiro, the starting point of our 10 days in Brazil
The view from Morro da Urca

Day 5-7: Paraty

After exploring Rio, head to the small seaside town Paraty. It is located 250 km (155 miles) west of Rio, so you need to either rent a car, take a shuttle or catch a public bus to get there. I promise you it’s worth the drive!

Paraty is known for its UNESCO-listed historic center full of whitewashed colonial buildings and charming cobblestone streets, a legacy of the Portuguese era of Brazil.

There are plenty of amazing restaurants, boutiques and cute souvenir shops to explore here. Since Paraty is also renowned for its high-quality cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane liquor), you can take a distillery tour to sample some of this locally-made spirit.

However, the best part about Paraty is the incredible nature surrounding it. The region is home to beautiful waterfalls, mountains covered with dense Atlantic rainforest and a coastline sprinkled with secluded beaches that you can visit on a boat tour.

Some of the most impressive natural wonders of Paraty are Saco do Mamangua (a fjord surrounded by green peaks, calm beaches and untouched nature), the Toboga Waterfall resembling a huge water slide, and Cachadaço Natural Pool in the neighboring town Trindade.


Pousada Aconchego – This beautiful guesthouse is perfectly located in the historic center of Paraty. It features colonial-style rooms, a tropical garden and a gorgeous outdoor pool.

a woman looking at turquoise waters of Saco do Mamangua surrounded by green peaks covered with Atlantic rainforest near Paraty
The view over Saco do Mamangua

Day 8-10: São Paulo

Drive back to Rio and catch a one-hour flight to São Paulo, the final destination of your 10-day Brazil itinerary.

Being the largest city in Brazil (and in South America), São Paulo is a vibrant metropolis and a melting pot of cultures with strong influences from European, Japanese, Arab and African populations. Although the city is mainly known as a financial hub and the center of Brazil’s economy, it also boasts countless cultural attractions and a top-notch culinary scene.

One of the best things to do in São Paulo is to stroll along Paulista Avenue, a bustling street lined with high-rise buildings, shops, museums and cultural centers. I also recommend checking out Ibirapuera Park, which is São Paulo’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park. If you’re into art, make sure to visit Beco do Batman, a free open-air gallery of incredible street art, and Pinacoteca, a visual arts museum focusing on the works of Brazilian artists.

For more tips on the best attractions in the city, read my blog post on the top things to do in São Paulo, Brazil.


Meliá Paulista – A 5-star hotel on Paulista Avenue, the most iconic street of São Paulo. With its bright and spacious rooms, a large indoor pool, a wellness and fitness center, this hotel offers great value for money.

a girl standing in front of a colorful mural depicting a peacock in Beco do Batman, a street art gallery in Sao Paulo
Street art at Beco do Batman


10 days in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Bonito, São Paulo

Day 1-3: Rio de Janeiro
Day 4-8: Bonito
Day 9-10: São Paulo

Day 1-3: Rio de Janeiro

Kick off your 10 days in Brazil by spending a couple of days in Rio de Janeiro, exploring its world-famous beaches, snapping a selfie with the Christ the Redeemer statue and watching the sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain.

For more tips on what to do in Rio de Janeiro, read itinerary #1.


Ritz Copacabana Hotel – Situated on the iconic Copacabana Beach, this boutique hotel offers modern facilities with sleek decor. It also has a rooftop terrace and an outdoor pool with amazing views of the city and the beach.

People enjoying a sunny afternoon on Ipanema Beach, a must-see place in every Brazil itinerary
Ipanema beach

Day 4-8: Bonito

After visiting Rio, take a flight to Bonito, one of the top eco-tourism destinations in Brazil. Home to crystalline rivers, countless waterfalls, idyllic farmland and exotic flora and fauna, Bonito is the ideal playground for nature lovers.

In order to preserve its pristine nature and ensure that no attraction gets overcrowded, all nature activities in Bonito must be done with a qualified guide.

piraputanga fish swimming in the crystalline water of Prata river in Bonito, one of the best places to include in your 10 day Brazil itinerary
The Prata River

One of the best things to do in Bonito is to snorkel in its turquoise rivers teeming with fish – it feels like being inside a giant aquarium! The most popular place for doing that is in the Prata River and you have to take a guided tour like this one.

Other attractions you shouldn’t miss are Buraco das Araras (a large sinkhole and a nesting spot for the beautiful scarlet macaws), Boca da Onça (Mouth of the Jaguar) waterfalls tour and Estancia Mimosa waterfalls tour.

Adventure junkies should also consider rappelling down into Anhumas Abyss, a cave the size of a football field hiding impressive rock formations and an underground lake.


Hotel Pousada Águas de Bonito – This boutique hotel features multiple pools, spa facilities and a lush garden full of palm trees. It’s the perfect place to rest and relax after a day full of adventures.

Day 9-10: São Paulo

Finish your 10-day Brazil trip by flying from Bonito to São Paulo, the largest city in South America.

Although you’ll have very little time to discover this massive city, you’ll still be able to get a taste of it. Take a walk along Paulista Avenue, the most famous streets in the city, discover the Ibirapuera Park and enjoy the views of São Paulo’s skyline from Restaurant Vista before flying home on your final day.

Find more São Paulo travel tips in itinerary #1.


Meliá Paulista – A 5-star hotel perfectly located on Paulista Avenue. With its spacious rooms, a wellness and fitness center and large indoor pool, this hotel offers great value for money.

A view from Restaurant Vista over Sao Paulo skyline at sunset
The skyline of São Paulo viewed from Restaurant Vista


10 days in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls, Florianopolis

Day 1-4: Rio de Janeiro
Day 5-6: Iguazu Falls
Day 7-10: Florianopolis

Day 1-4: Rio de Janeiro

Once again, start your 10-day Brazil itinerary by exploring Rio de Janeiro. With three full days, you’ll be able to see all the main attractions of the city, such as Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Christ the Redeemer statue, Selaron Stairs and the Sugarloaf Mountain.

If you have time, I also recommend visiting Parque Lage, a beautiful public park with a colonial mansion, and the Botanical Garden which is abundant in exotic plants.

For more details on things to do in Rio de Janeiro, read itinerary #1.


Ritz Copacabana Hotel – This 4-star boutique hotel features modern rooms with sleek design and is located on the iconic Copacabana Beach. There’s also a rooftop terrace with a pool and incredible views of the beach.

a man standing on a path lined with towering palm trees in Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

Day 5-6: Iguazu Falls

After exploring Rio, take a 2-hour flight to Foz do Iguaçu, the gateway town to the famous Iguazu Falls.

Voted one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Iguazu Falls is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world (and probably THE most spectacular). Extending for 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles), the scale and the beauty of these waterfalls are absolutely breathtaking.

As Iguazu Falls are located on the border between Brazil and Argentina, many people visit both sides since they offer a very different perspective.

Devil's throat waterfall at Iguazu falls is a must-see attraction if you have 10 days in Brazil
Devil’s Throat – the most impressive part of Iguazu Falls

Another fun attraction to visit in Foz do Iguaçu is Parque das Aves. It’s a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation and rescue of Atlantic rainforest birds, and what makes it such a fun place to visit is that you can walk right through the aviaries where the birds live and see them up close.

Make sure to read my full guide to visiting Iguazu Falls for more tips and practical advice on how to plan your trip to this wonderful part of Brazil.


Del Rey Quality Hotel – An affordable hotel with comfortable and clean rooms near the center of Foz do Iguaçu town. There’s an amazing breakfast buffet as well as a heated rooftop pool and bar with panoramic views of the city.

A toucan sitting on a branch in Parque das Aves bird sanctuary near Iguazu Falls, a great place to include in your 10 days in Brazil itinerary
Toucan at Parque das Aves

Day 7-10: Florianopolis

Catch a flight from Foz do Iguaçu to Florianopolis, the last destination of your trip.

Florianopolis, or Floripa as the locals call it, is a bustling city and an island off the southern coast of Brazil. Known for its white-sand beaches, green mountains, lakes and sand dunes, the landscape of Floripa is truly incredible with fantastic views on every corner.

A girl sitting on a rock overlooking the natural pools of Barra da Lagoa in Florianopolis, the last destination of our 10 days in Brazil itinerary
Barra da Lagoa natural pools

It is an excellent place for hiking, with numerous trails leading through the lush Atlantic rainforest to picture-perfect beaches. And if you like surfing, you’re in for a treat because Floripa is considered one of the best surfing destinations in Brazil.

Not only is Floripa an island with beautiful nature, but it’s also a hotspot for nightlife and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Ibiza of Brazil’. You’ll find the biggest beach clubs and the wildest parties on Praia de Jurerê on the northern coast of the island.


Haute Haus Guest House – Situated on the shores of the Lagoa lake, this stylish guest house offers spacious rooms with modern decor and lake views. There’s an outdoor pool as well as a large garden that is often visited by marmoset monkeys.

If you have 10 days in Brazil, make sure to visit Florianopolis and he secluded Praia da Galheta beach
Praia da Galheta

10 days in Brazil: a map for three itineraries

Click on the top left corner of the map for details.

These were my recommended itineraries for exploring Brazil in 10 days. Whichever itinerary you choose, I have no doubt that you’ll fall in love with the country like I did, and that after your first trip you’ll want to go back for more!

The list of exciting things to do in Brazil is endless and if you have more than 10 days to spend, you should also consider visiting the Amazon rainforest, exploring the white desert of Lençois Maranhenses, discovering Alter do Chão, going on a safari in the wetlands of Pantanal, hiking in Chapada Diamantina or exploring the volcanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. (I still need to cross some of these off my Brazil bucket list!)

In case you have any questions about these itineraries, let me know in the comments.

For more photos and videos of my Brazil adventures, check out my Instagram account (look for the ‘highlight’ called Brazil).

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  1. I am planning a trip to Brazil in November and I am going to base It off of your itinerary! You seem well-traveled and you made the trip way easier to plan than I expected. I’m happy I stumbled across your blog! 🙂

    I have 12 days and was thinking of doing your 2nd itinerary. However, I am having difficulty finding flights. It seems that nothing flies out of Bonito? I’ve checked on Expedia and it’s coming up with nothing. Did you use a specific airline/bus/train to travel to all these spots?

    1. Hi Christie. I’m so glad to hear you found my blog helpful for planning your trip! 🙂 . Regarding flights out of Bonito, I did a quick search (using Momondo) and found direct flights to Sao Paulo Congonhas airport and Sao Paulo Viracopos (and from there you could fly on to Rio if that’s your plan). The airlines flying out of Bonito are Azul and GOL. Alternatively, You could also fly out of Campo Grande airport which is larger and has more connections.

      1. Thank you so much! I was going crazy trying to find flights through Expedia but I will use Momondo instead. Hopefully, I will have better luck. 🙂

  2. Hi, thank you for these wonderful tips on the Amazon and Brazil itineraries. What is the best way to do the Amazon and Iguazu Falls and end our trip in Rio? We would like to focus on the natural beauty of Brazil and spend maybe 2 days in Rio. We hope to visit for 10days in the 1st and 2nd week of August. Any suggestions that are welcome. Thank you again.

    1. Hi Sonya. You’re welcome! You could start your trip by flying to Foz do Iguacu for a couple of days to see the falls, then fly to Manaus to visit the Amazon (most likely with a layover in Sao Paulo) and then fly from Manaus to Rio.

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