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Connecting two of South America's most captivating cities, this trip takes us from the tango-filled streets of Buenos Aires to the samba rhythms in Rio de Janeiro. Along the way, visit the idyllic island of Ilha Grande, and atmospheric Paraty, as well as taking in the spray at the impressive Iguazu Falls.
Explore Tour Leader
11 nights comfortable hotel
2 nights simple hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital, located on the southern shores of the Rio de la Plata. Since its founding by Pedro de Mendoza in 1536 the city has thrived on trade and its vibrant streets are filled with an eclectic mix of European architectural styles, with Spanish, French and Italian classicism rubbing shoulders with remnants of Victorian grandeur.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Buenos Aires at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into either Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) or Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), a 30 minute or 1 hour drive respectively from our hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you could explore this lively city by wandering the city streets, admiring the impressive architecture and relaxing parks, or enjoy the traditional Porteno pastime of people watching from the many sidewalk cafes. The rooms at the hotel are not ready until 3pm, but baggage storage is available for you.
Ker San Telmo (or similar)
Today we plan to explore some of the city on foot with our Local guide, especially the major landmarks around the Plaza de Mayo, site of the famous mass demonstrations by supporters of Juan Domingo Peron in 1945, organised by his wife Eva. This afternoon has been left free for more sightseeing. Sunday is also the day of the famous San Telmo Market where local people dance tango on street corners and the stalls laden with their brightly coloured wares line the plaza.
Today is free to further explore Argentina's vibrant capital. You can also visit the elaborate mausoleums of the famous Recoleta Cemetary, the final resting place of some of Argentina's most revered figures, including Eva Peron herself or also take the opportunity to visit Palermo Park. This evening you can enjoy Buenos Aires' dazzling nightlife and soak up the pulsating rhythms of one of South America's most captivating cities, perhaps taking the opportunity to enjoy a tango show (optional).
This morning has been left free for you to catch up on any sightseeing you couldn't do yesterday. Perhaps take a guided tour to other parts of the city including the colourful vibrancy of La Caminito in the La Boca district of the city. Make sure you're back in time this afternoon though, as we will be leaving the city and flying north-east to Puerto Iguazu, home to the the largest waterfall systems in the world - the Iguazu Falls.
La Cantera hotel (or similar)
Set amidst the lush landscapes of the Parque Nacional do Iguazu Reserve, the falls are one of nature's true masterpieces, a spectacular cascade of some 275 interconnecting falls that hurtle over high cliffs into a marvellous curved amphitheatre - a breathtaking sight that extends 3km across the Rio Iguazu. We explore the Argentinean side of the falls today with our Tour Leader, walking to the churning caldron of the Garganta del Diablo (the Devil's Throat), where a series of 14 separate falls merge into one, producing an immense torrent.
Taroba Express Hotel (or similar)
Today you will have a free day with the opportunity to visit the Brazilian side of the falls (optional) which gives a panoramic view of these mighty cataracts. Four times wider than Niagara, the falls hurtle over high cliffs into a marvellous curved amphitheatre several miles wide - a breathtaking sight. The noise is tremendous and huge clouds of mist are churned up by the cascade. The surrounding spray-soaked forest is alive with brightly plumaged toucans, parrots, hummingbirds and colourful butterflies. This afternoon there are a number of optional trips, for a more spectacular view of the falls you may like to take a 10 minute helicopter flight. Or you could always visit the Tropicana Bird Park lying in the rainforest near the entrance gate - this is a must for ornithologists and anyone interested in local wildlife. Another option this afternoon is an excursion to the 65 stories high Itaipu Dam, the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, with an 8km long dam and a reservoir that covers 1400 square kilometres. The output from the plant, supplies some 80% of Paraguay's electricity and 25% of Brazil's.
Depending on flight availability we will either fly to Sao Paulo or Rio today, and drive to the pretty town of Paraty. With its secluded beaches and backdrop of jungled mountains, Paraty has a superb location, and the cobblestoned colonial centre is a wonderful place to relax and people watch.
Pousada do Principe (or similar)
This is a free day to explore Paraty. You can take a boat trip out to some of the outlying islands and tropical beaches in the bay, with the chance to stop off and swim and snorkel in the clear, lukewarm Atlantic waters. Another option is to take a trip back in time and explore the trail through the mountains once used by the miners to bring their gold. Alternatively, hiring a bike and exploring the local area is a popular choice.
After a final chance to stroll through the atmospheric cobbled streets of Paraty, we take a bus down the Atlantic coast to Angra dos Reis. This will be our gateway out to Ilha Grande, a beautiful island preserve of spectacular scenery, unspoilt beaches and atmospheric ruins. The island is car free which adds to its relaxed ambience. We take a public boat from Angra dos Reis later this afternoon, travelling the short distance to the colonial port of Vila Do Abraão (about 1.5 hours), a picturesque coastal town lying beneath the shadow of towering mountains. On arrival, we will walk to our hotel with luggage transported in a baggage cart.
Pedacinho do Ceu (or similar)
The jungle canopies and white-sand beaches of Ilha Grande offer a little slice of island paradise away from Brazil's mainland, and today we will explore this remarkable landscape in more depth. Lopes Mendes beach regularly features on lists of Brazil's Top 10 beaches - remarkable in a country that numbers not hundreds but thousands of beaches dotted along its lengthy coastline. As it is only accessible by boat and on foot, we'll first take a taxi boat trip from Abraao to Manges Beach, where we have a 20 minute walk through atmospheric forest, along well-marked trails that include some steps, as we walk over a hill and down the other side towards Lopes Mendes. With not a building in sight, Lopes Mendes is a long 3 kilometre stretch of the cleanest, whitest sand imaginable, curving into a crystal blue sea. The boat trip and the walk really give us a great overview of one of the highlights of Ilha Grande. Take a book, a swimming costume or a pack of cards, or explore some of the walking trails off the beach. After spending the day here, we'll go back to our hotel the way that we came - walking out to catch our return taxi boat.
The spectacular setting of Rio de Janeiro brings us to the end of our journey today. Leaving Ilha Grande by ferry this morning we then travel by bus from Angra to Rio, one of the world's most beautiful cities. Named from the Portuguese for River and the month of January, it is a hard location to beat. With 193 kilometers of marvellous beaches, and a mountain backdrop to die for, it is a city that lives up to its name - Cidade Marvihosa. We arrive late afternoon and the rest of the day is free to relax, perhaps sip a refreshing caipirinha whilst overlooking Copacabana Beach.
Hotel Copa Sul (or similar)
Rio is truly a city of spectacular highlights, and today we plan to visit two of the major draws. We will visit the towering summit of Corcovado, topped by the immense statue of Christ the Redeemer, giving us incredible panoramic views of the famous bay. Our local guide will then accompany us to the bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, with its winding streets, famous street cars and colourful buildings, whose hilltop setting gives us an excellent view out to the Guanabara Bay coastline. We'll do a walking tour of the neighbourhood, which is home to many of Rio's artists, musicians and poets, and is undoubtedly the most picturesque area in the city. Revealing many of the area's highlights, we'll walk through the colourful, tile-lined stairway that leads to the studio of Jorge Selaron, as well as the cultural centre of Parque das Ruinas, which overlooks the bay.
We'll celebrate our final evening in Rio tonight, perhaps in the old district of Lapa, where the authentic samba can still be enjoyed along with a caipirinha.
Argentina has a climate that ranges from subtropical in the north to cold in the temperate south. The Andes has erratic rainfall and flash floods from December to May. From June to September spring like sunny days temper the cold nights.
3 Pin Flat
Predominantly Roman Catholic.
Spanish is the main language throughout this region, along with a number of indigenous dialects, of
Due to its enormous size, Brazil has many different climatic zones which vary year round. There is no ‘best time’ to visit Brazil, but at different times of year your experience will vary. Temperatures rarely dip below 20° C, with Iguazu, Rio and Salvador dropping down there during the winter months of June to August. Evenings around the coast are cooler during this period but the sea is still warm and fresh, and the air is less humid. In Paraty, Belem, the Pantanal and the Amazon temperatures tend to hover around 30° C year round.
January to March is mid-summer across Brazil, but warm days on the coast are matched by the rainy season in the Amazon and the Pantanal. Parts of the Pantanal become flooded and it can be a very lively time to visit. The main characteristics of this season are the beautiful water landscapes and the prevalence of many water birds. Conversely, the dry season (July to October) in the Pantanal is a better time to observe larger wildlife such as the coati or giant anteater.
In the vast central area of the Amazon, the climate is tropical, with warm to hot temperatures year round, and a rainy season as detailed above.
2 Pin Round
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your adventure. Whilst the basic tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities, or take time to relax, the choice is yours. Buenos Aires - Tango show only US$60, Tango show without dinner US$ 130; Delta Tigre US$65; Bike tour US$45; Full day Estancia Santa Susana US$190 Iguazu Falls - Visit the Brazilian falls US$ 50 pp (min 4) plus entrance US$ 26 pp; Bird Park US$ 30; Boat trip on the Argentina side US$80; on Brazilian side US$90; Paraty - Boat tripnorkelling US$ 42 with lunch; Bike hire US$ 8 per hour; Gold route US$ 51; Forest forager wild food walk US$117 (min 4 pers) Rio De Janeiro - Botanical Gardens US$ 13 (entrance fee only); Samba show US$ 94 (min 4); Sugar Loaf Mountain US$27 (50% discount for those over 60 - you must present your passport)
Bear in mind that several different climatic zones will be experienced - from June to September it can be quite cool in Buenos Aires and at night at Iguazu Falls. Generally speaking however, lightweight clothing is necessary for mostly warm and humid daytime conditions, though evenings can be cooler at certain places. Lightweight raingear is essential.
Comfortable walking boots or shoes and trainers or sandals.
The flight to Iguazu has a luggage allowance of 15kg, plus 8kg hand luggage. As you won't be returning to Buenos Aires, this is the total luggage allowance for the tour.
A torch, water bottle, insect repellent, high factor sunscreen, waterproof bag for camera. Binoculars will be useful for bird watching.
Bus, Ferry, Flight
While staying in Ilha Grande, we use a a small, family owned hotel in the centre of the main town of Vila do Abroaao. The rooms are small and simply furnished, with private ensuite bathrooms, but the family who run it are incredibly warm and welcoming and rooms are clean and comfortable. The hotel itself is well located, near the pier and the beach - perfect for walking or relaxing on this laidback island.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Argentina: Visas are not required for UK, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens. However US, Canadian and Australian citizens will need make a payment called the 'reciprocity fee' in advance of travel to enter Argentina. This currently costs 100USD for Australian citizens, 70USD for Canadian citizens and 131USD for US citizens. This payment needs to be made online at http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesibleingles The receipt generated at the time of online payment must be printed and given to local immigration authorities together with your passport. Brazil: Visas are not required for UK citizens. They are, however, required for Canadian, Australian and US citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. Citizens from Canada, Australia and the US can now get their visa for Brazil online. Applications can be done here -http://www.vfsglobal.com/brazil-evisa/ USA: If your flights pass through the USA, even if only in transit, you will require either a visa or an ESTA (an e-visa). Please read on for more information. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA under certain conditions. This applies if you enter the country by sea or by air, and this must be done online via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have a biometric passport to apply for an ESTA. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba since the 12th of January 2021, you will not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. Your ESTA application will ask for Point of Contact information. Please note that if you're only transiting through the USA then this is not required. If you're visiting or staying in the USA on an Explore trip, then our USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. Entry requirements for the USA can change regularly, therefore, please ensure you have the most up to date information before you travel by checking the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Yellow fever is only recommended for those travelling to Iguazu falls. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. There is currently an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Brazil. Yellow fever is recommended for those travelling to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bahia, Iguazu falls and inland cities such as Brasilia.Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.