Signature Argentina & Brazil: Amazon, Pantanal & Iguazú Falls – October 2017

This comfortable holiday concentrates on the twin wildernesses of Brazil, the Pantanal wetlands and the Amazon basin, but gives you time at the end in the lively city of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil has an incredible diversity of landscapes and flora and fauna, from tropical rainforests to vast wetlands, and one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. Here, we take you to all of them.

However, the holiday begins in Argentina: Buenos Aires, the soi-disant Paris of Latin America, before continuing north to the Iguazú Falls, the immense, roaring cataracts which straddle the frontier of the two countries.

The vast Pantanal wetlands are a paradise for nature lovers, especially for wildlife observation. Unlike the areas of high jungle, the Pantanal is an open area of swampy grasslands, leaving some of the highest concentration of fauna in the continent exposed to view. Stay at one of our favourite eco lodges: there are plenty of excursions by boat, trail and on horse-back.

For many the seemingly impenetrable wilderness of the Amazon, sprawling across half of South America’s vast territory, conjures an unrivalled sense of adventure which taps into some of their very earliest images of the exotic. Here you can make childhood dreams a reality, with a stay of several days at a jungle lodge not far from the city of Manaus but surrounded by the wilds of the rainforest.

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to hotel in the chic Recoleta district.

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel in the chic residential district of Recoleta by one of our local representatives.

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills.

The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of French belle époque and Italian influence.

DAY 2

City tour in Buenos Aires.

Your guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk – an emblematic symbol of the city. Along this majestic highway is the 19th century Teatro Colón which, in terms of its architecture and design, as well as its excellent acoustics, is considered one of world’s best. On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on three sides by the Metropolitan cathedral, the Town Hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Visit the residential district of Recoleta, in the cemetery of which Evita Perón was laid to rest.

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DAY 3

At leisure in the Argentine capital.

At leisure in Buenos Aires. Stroll round Puerto Madero, the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

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DAY 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazú; transfer to Brazil via the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Iguazú in the subtropical northeast corner of Argentina (2hrs). Transfer over the border to your hotel just outside the national park which embraces the Iguazú Falls. These immense cataracts form unquestionably one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world. A total of 275 falls thunder over a rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest. The U-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú river crashes over a 1.5km-wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward.

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DAY 5

Guided tour of the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls.

Guided tour of the Brazilian side of the falls which offers a totally different viewpoint from that of Argentina, providing an overall panoramic vista of their full majesty. A 1.5km paved walkway leads down the cliff to near the rim of the Floriano Falls where you overlook the Garganta del Diablo. There is an elevator which takes visitors to the top of the falls and leads to Porto Canoas which has a small shop, snack bar and terrace. In the afternoon, you have free time to relax at the hotel or choose from various optional excursions and activities: a trip to a quirky bird park, jungle safaris, zip lines and boat trips.

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DAYS 6-8

Fly to Cuiabá in the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands. Transfer to lodge. Activities from the lodge.

Transfer to the airport and fly to Cuiabá (3hrs) in the heart of Brazil’s interior. Continue by road to your lodge in the depths of the Pantanal wetlands. There is a swimming pool, shady patio and thatched restaurant. Thanks to its position at the point where the Rio Mutum merges with two lakes, there are frequent sightings of giant river otter from the lodge. The surroundings are quite thickly forested and support a rich variety of bird life; red and green macaws are seen in abundance.

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DAY 9

Fly to Manaus in Amazonia. Transfer to jungle lodge.

Transfer to the airport and fly to Manaus in the heart of Amazonia. The vast jungle basin is crossed by a network of huge rivers and spans 8 countries, with vast tracts of tall, closely packed, virtually impenetrable tropical forest sheltering an uncountable myriad of wildlife. Human society is dwarfed here:  simple communities cling to the river banks, eking a living from subsistence farming and fishing; indigenous villages dot the interior. There are, however, a few gigantic cities, of which Manaus is the most impressive.

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DAYS 10-11

Activities from the lodge.

There’s a programme of excursions available all led by excellent and experienced local experts. Join a jungle walk, where your guide will help you discover the medicinal properties of the extraordinary plant-life and spot swooping birds and chattering gangs of monkeys jumping from branch to branch in the canopy above. Paddle quietly along the waterways by canoe, exploring the tangled banks of the river and the flooded forest softened by a misty glow at dawn or dusk.  By night, take to the water again to spot the alligators which lurk below the surface of the inky water, occasionally raising their head to reveal a beady eye picked out as red as a traffic light in your torchlight.

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DAY 12

Fly to Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to hotel in Copacabana.

Fly to Rio de Janeiro and transfer to your hotel in Copacabana. Rio is surely the most beguiling, seductive, intriguing and beautiful city on the continent. But it is a multi-layered place: the gulf between the rich and the poor is the greatest of all Latin American countries. Sumptuous apartments overlook the sparkling bays against a backdrop of half-built slum dwellings, favelas, which cling precariously to the hillsides. Once lawless enclaves ruled by drug runners and gaming gangs, these have been brought under police control in time for the World Cup and Olympic Games. Rio enjoys a truly awesome location among towering jungle-clad granite mountains, fringed by white-to-toffee coloured sandy beaches which swoop down into the Atlantic surf.
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DAY 13

Excursion to Corcovado mountain and Tijuca forest.

Guided drive to the district of Cosme Velho at the foot of Corcovado mountain. The cog-wheel train journey starts here, climbing through rainforest, with abundant tropical flowers and fruit trees, to the steps below the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer. At 701m above sea level, it offers stunning views of the city of Rio, including the instantly recognisable Sugar Loaf mountain, the magnificent ironwork structure of Niteroi bridge, spanning Guanabara Bay, and the famous beaches.

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DAY 14

At leisure in Rio; optional excursions.

At leisure in Rio. There are many optional excursions to keep you entertained in this fascinating city. Don’t miss a trip to Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf mountain). Take the cable-car up the twin-domed granite mountain which protrudes from the ocean. This is especially magical at sunset when the twinkling lights of the city are switched on and you can enjoy magnificent views back over Copacabana beach, yacht-dotted Botafogo Bay and into the lush mountains beyond. There’s a lovely nature walk around the foot of the mountain too, where you are accompanied by butterflies, lizards and even the odd shy monkey.

DAY 15

Transfer to airport for your flights home.

MEALS

Breakfast included daily. Dinner on days 2 and 9. Full board days with breakfast, lunch & dinner on days 7, 8, 10, 11.

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS

• Guided tour of Buenos Aires.
• Guided visit to the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls.
• Guided activities at Pantanal lodge.
• Guided activities at Amazon jungle lodge.
• Guided excursion to Corcovado mountain and Santa Teresa.

SUMMARY OF NIGHTS

14 nights: Buenos Aires 3. Iguazú Falls 2. Pantanal 3. Amazon lodge 3. Rio de Janeiro 3.

Return flights from Dublin included.

Book this amazing adventure in South America today on 059 86 33 836

IAN WALSH
Travel Counsellors
059 8633 836
ian.walsh@travelcounsellors.com
www.travelcounsellors.ie/ian.walsh

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Price: €6499