Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls
and the beaches of Buzios
Possibly the perfect holiday to Brazil. The beauty of Rio de Janeiro, the awesome splendour of Iguassu Falls, and the cosmopolitan beaches of Buzios.
Rio de Janeiro
Day 1 Most flights from Europe arrive in Rio de Janeiro in the morning. Your English-speaking guide/driver will meet you at the airport and drive your chosen hotel in the south zone of the city where you will stay for the next 3 nights. The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise. Perhaps do as 'cariocas' (natives of Rio) do and grab a fresh fruit juice whilst strolling the beachside promenade from Copacabana to Leblon.
Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf
Day 2 BL Today you will be taken on a full day guided excursion (shared with others) to see two of Rio's iconic landmarks. Take a train up Corcovado hill to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The view from the top of the hill showcases Rio's greatest landmarks: Sugar Loaf, the Guanabara bay, the beaches of the southern zone of the city and the Rodrigo Freitas lagoon. You will then be taken to the neighbourhood of Urca to ride the cable car up to Sugar Loaf mountain for further fantastic picture-postcard views of Rio. Lunch is included.
Day 3 BD This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken on a half-day guided walking tour of historical Rio, visiting places such as the Sao Bento Monastery, Candelaria, Praça XV, the Banco do Brasil cultural centre, the Imperial Palace, Gonçalves Dias street, the Colombo coffee shop and the Metropolitan Cathedral. After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel where you have some free time. In the evening you will be collected from your hotel and be taken to the Plataforma 1 Samba show, with dinner at a churrascaria or 'Brazilian barbecue house' beforehand. After the show you will be taken back to your hotel.
Day 4 B a.m you will be transferred to Rio de Janeiro airport to catch youre.g TAM Airlines flight to Iguassu e.g Fly Rio de Janeiro/Iguassu 10.20/12.35 You will be met on arrival at Iguassu airport and be transferred to a mid-range hotel in Iguassu where you stay for the next 3 nights e.g Hotel San Martin, set within well-maintained grounds a short distance from the entrance of the Iguassu National Park. In the afternoon you will be taken on a shared tour to the Brazilian side of the falls. Starting at the modern visitors centre at the entrance to the National Park which has a small museum with interactive exhibits, information and facts about the falls. You will then be transferred to the start of the 'Waterfall Trail', a 1,200m paved trail dotted with superb panoramic viewpoints, culminating in a catwalk that leads you to the base of the almighty Devil's Throat cascade, a sheer mass of thundering water pouring and undoubtedly the most impressive part of the falls. The tour ends at the upper part of the Iguassu river accessed via a panoramic lift, which gives you a view of the falls from above.
Iguassu Falls - Argentine side
Day 5 B This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken over the border to Argentina for a different perspective of the falls. Once crossing the border and entering the Argentine side, you will board the small 'Tren Ecologico' or Rainforest Ecological Train which winds through the national park dropping visitors off at the various walkways. Visit both the lower circuit catwalk, a 1.5km loop offering views of smaller but still impressive falls such as Ramirez and Bosetti and the upper circuit catwalk, a short trail in the forest above the first few waterfalls. You will then be taken to visit the spectacular Devil's Throat, accessed by taking the train to the Devil's Throat station and walking 1,100m along a flat catwalk suspended over the Upper Iguazu river. The lookout point at the end of the catwalk offers stunning views over this side of the falls.
Macuco safari by boat
Day 6 B Today you will be taken on the Macuco safari boat tour which takes place within the Iguaçu National Park on the Brazilian side of the falls. The tour starts with a 3km ride through the forest in a wagon pulled by an electrical vehicle accompanied by an English-speaking guide who will point out and explain the surrounding flora and fauna. After a 500m walk in the forest to the riverbanks you board an inflatable speedboat specially designed to get as close as possible to Iguassu Falls. Prepare to get soaked! After the tour you will be taken back to your hotel.
Day 7 B a.m you will be transferred to Iguassu airport to catch your e.g TAM Airlines flight back to Rio de Janeiro e.g Fly Iguassu/Rio de Janeiro 09.50/11.45 You will be met on arrival at Rio de Janeiro airport and be transferred to Buzios on Brazil's 'Green Coast', around 180km south of Rio. Once a small fishing village, Buzios has become one of the most cosmopolitan beach destinations along this stretch of coast, full of charming guesthouses, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Rua das Pedras, Buzios's main street, a 400m cobbled promenade is a great place to wander or simply people watch and soak up the atmosphere. There are over 27 different surrounding beaches with white sand and crystal clear, emerald waters. The north shore has calm, warm water beaches such as Azeda, Joao Fernandes and Tartaruga whislt the south shore has rougher, cold water beaches such as Gerib and Ferradura, perfect for the plentiful watersports available locally such as surfing, sailing and windsurfing. Stay for the next 4 nights at a mid-range pousada e.g Pousada Abracadabra, a small hotel set on a hillside a short walk from the town centre with beautiful views overlooking Armaçao beach.
Day 8 B This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken to Armaçao dock where you will board a small catamaran for a half-day tour around the bay, visiting various beaches such as Azeda, Azedinha, Joao Fernandinho, Ilha Rasa and Tartaruga. There will be opportunities to stop to snorkel and swim as you go along.
Day 9 B Free day in Buzios based at e.g Pousada Abracadabra
Day 10 B Free day in Buzios based at e.g Pousada Abracadabra
Rio de Janeiro
Day 11 B Morning free in Buzios You will be collected from your hotel and be privately transferred to Rio de Janeiro's Galeao airport in time for your international flight home.
11 days / 10 nights. Tailor-made.
Guide Prices these varying according to level of accommodation required:
mid-range hotels from: £call
upper-range hotels from: £call
top-range hotels from: £call
based on two people sharing a double/twin room.
All transport within Brazil including domestic flights Rio-Iguazu return in economy; 10 nights accommodation, meals as indicated: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner, all excursions as described in the itinerary (on a private basis where possible)
International and domestic flights with TAM Airlines London-Rio de Janeiro return; travel insurance; Brazilian departure tax, (allow USD$36 pp); items of a personal nature, e.g drinks, tips, laundry, any optional excursions.
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