Brazil is very different in language, customs, culture, and environments from the rest of South America. First, experience the Pantanal, which is considered to be the world's largest ecological reservation. It is by far the best wildlife viewing for the casual wildlife observer and the avid birder alike. Next, in Rio de Janeiro you will plunge into the cultural experience of its beaches, vistas, and surprising natural environments along with the cuisine, music, dance, and culture that reflect its Afro-Portuguese-European melting pot heritage. Finally, continue to Iguazu Falls, a series of awe-inspiring waterfalls in the middle of a lush rain forest, formed 150 million years ago.
- Day 1: Sao Paulo / Campo Grande / PantanalArrive in Brazil and head to the wild Pantanal for a few days
To the south of the Amazon Basin in Brazil lies one of the world’s least-known but most extraordinary natural areas: the Pantanal. From your international arrival in Sao Paulo (Aeropuerto Internacional Guarulhos, GRU), fly to Campo Grande, known as the gateway to the Pantanal. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to Refúgio da Ilha (about four hours overland), a former farmhouse located on an island in the Salobra River delta. Settle in here for a four-night stay, starting with dinner and a presentation on the coming days' activities, after you have settled in.
- Refúgio da Ilha (or similar)
- Days 2-4: PantanalHorseback riding in the Pantanal
The Pantanal is an enormous grassland covering over 89,000 square miles. In some ways it is comparable to the savannas of Africa with its vast prairies divided by lazy meandering rivers forested at the water’s edge. The area is also teeming with life. Along the rivers, there are clouds of birds that chatter and cavort in rookeries of thousands of nests. There are countless caiman (South America's crocodiles) lounging and snoozing on the beaches in full view and rather unconcerned about the presence of people. Herds of 150-pound capybara, which are giant guinea-pig-like rodents, graze near the waters’ edge. Roaming the sea of grass from horizon to horizon is a fantastic collection of mammals, including the giant anteater, the jaguar, marsh deer, and wild peccaries.
While here, your activities will be determined by you and the weather and can include: hikes on trails to observe animals and vegetation; horseback riding through flooded areas where the water is too deep for vehicles and too shallow for boats; motor boat exploration of the waterways and their wildlife; canoeing on silent streams; and evening jeep touring, allowing you to see the nocturnal lives of Pantanal animals.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Refúgio da Ilha (or similar)
- Day 5: Pantanal / Campo Grande / Rio de Janeiro
- Day 6: Rio / Tijuca / Corvovado / Sugar LoafSpend a full day exploring, including Corcovado and Sugar Loaf
After breakfast, depart (8am) for Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest on earth, stopping at the Chinese View belvedere, then heading into the forest on an easy walk while tracking tropical birds, monkeys, sloths, and other creatures. Afterward, head to the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain near the forest, where the views are amazing, then onward to Sugarloaf Mountain, another well-known attraction, where you will ride up by cable car, high above amazing, endless views of the entire city and Guanabara Bay.
- Hotel Porto Bay Copacabana (or similar)
- Day 7: Rio / Iguazu Falls Brazilian SideExperience huge, thrilling Iguazu Falls
After breakfast, you are taken to the airport for your flight to Iguazu Falls, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
In the afternoon, head to the Brazilian side of the falls for a half-day tour, starting with an easy 3/4-mile walk while we look for coati. At the end of the path, enjoy a panoramic view of the falls on a riverside platform, then take an elevator with panoramic views to another part of the river with more great views, a restaurant and snack bar, and craft shops. Then board the Macuco Safari Boat for an exhilerating ride on the river among whirlpools, waves, and eddies, with close-up views of the falls, all in the hands of your experienced, capable boat captain. Return to your hotel at day's end for a well-deserved rest.
- Hotel Loi Suites (or similar)
- Day 8: Iguazu Falls Argentinian SideEnjoy another perspective on Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian side
Depart after breakfast at your hotel for a half-day tour of the Argentinean side of Iguazu Falls, starting at the excellent visitors' center and then boarding thge park train to several points of interest, including Cataratas Station, the upper and lower parts of Iguazu Falls, and Devils Throat Station, one of the most significant observation points for the falls.
Your afternoon is free for relaxing or exploring on your own.
- Hotel Loi Suites (or similar)
- Day 9: Iguazu Falls / OnwardLeave Brazil with vivid and lasting memories
You will be transferred after breakfast at your hotel to the airport for your travels homeward, or perhaps onward. If your schedule permits, consider returning to Rio for a few days or perhaps head to the Amazon basin for further exploration of wild Brazil.
Price and Date Details
Need to Know
Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.
Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.
Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Custom trips and private departures require $800 per person deposit. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure. Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well. Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.
Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.
Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.
Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.
There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.