1. From São Paulo: Aparecida Cathedral Tour
After pickup from your hotel in São Paulo at 7:30 AM, begin your tour of one of the most important religious sites in South America. Approaching the city of Aparecida, you’ll make a stop at the Itaguaçu Port to learn the history of the Virgin Mary statue to which the Aparecida Cathedral is dedicated. Found by fishermen in the 18th century, the miracles surrounding the statue quickly caused the city to become an important site of religious pilgrimage. In 1955, plans for the cathedral were unveiled, and it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1980. After leaving the Itaguaçu port, you’ll head to Aparecida’s historic center for a tour of the cathedral. Walk the immense grounds before heading into the basilica itself, marveling at the nearly 250-foot-tall dome and sprawling main hall, capable of holding 30,000 parishioners. See the original Virgin Mary statue, and watch the spectacle that is the church’s mass. After your tour, enjoy some free time to explore the town, grab a bite to eat, or view the nativity exhibition on Olive Trees Mountain. Afterwards, you’ll be driven back to your accommodation.