Travel to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil on this Latin adventure

2018 TRIP ITINERARY CHANGE – From January next year, the trip code and itinerary of this trip will change. Please see the Buenos Aires to Rio Explorer (GGBDC) on our website

Hug the coastline of eastern South America on this amazing unplugged adventure. Discover an array of colourful Argentinean attractions, travel to Rio de Janeiro to soak up 'la vida' Brazil style and experience life on a working estancia in Uruguay. South America will reveal itself as a fun, feisty and flamboyant continent that will leave you giddy and wanting more, more, more!


Start
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Countries
Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGRS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Soak up the cosmopolitan, European and Latin charms of Buenos Aires and explore the sights of its historic city centre

  • Harness your inner gaucho during a three-day stay at a working estancia in Uruguay. Whether it’s getting involved in daily chores around the farm, working with livestock or simply relaxing on the ranch, experience a unique way of life and Uruguayan hospitality at its best

  • The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, and you’ll be able to see it from both sides

  • Step back in time in the traffic-free streets of colonial Paraty, where Portugal meets Brazil, jungle meets sea and relaxation meets adventure

  • If it weren’t for the ruins of an old prison, you’d never imagine that Ilha Grande has such treacherous history of piracy, disease and criminality. Enjoy two free full days to discover virgin rainforest, crystal lagoons and some of Brazil’s best beaches in this undeveloped island paradise

  • The heaving, hedonistic metropolis of Rio de Janeiro is a great way to end the trip. Party down with the locals and experience a culture at the beating heart of Brazil

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves some long travel days, including an overnight bus. This can be tiresome but offers a real sense of adventure. The buses are well equipped with comfortable reclining seats and on-board toilets. Snacks are provided but we recommend you also bring your own food in case you get hungry.

  • While at the estancia in Uruguay, you can choose to participate in the day-to day-activities of the farm as much or as little as you like. If you do choose to get involved, prepare for some early morning starts and to get your hands dirty when working directly with animals. The accommodation is multi-share and meals are served family style. Please inform your booking agent if you have any dietary requirements.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos. Welcome to Argentina!

Your adventure begins with an orientation walk around Buenos Aires’ Microcentro district at 1pm. Your leader will be waiting in the lobby of your joining point hotel. Pass by historic buildings along the Avenida de Mayo, including the Casa Rosada (Argentina's government house) and the impressive Palacio Barolo.

In the evening, attend a group welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. Head out tonight and be swept away by the dance of love at an optional tango show.

There’s a lot to see if you arrive early into the city. Explore the antique markets of San Telmo or browse the museums in the well-to-do neighbourhood of Recoleta. If you’re a foodie or a wine connoisseur, take part in the Malbec Trail of Palermo or Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure day tour.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the welcome meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Buenos Aires - Tango show - ARS1200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 20 days ago in La Paz on Bolivia to Brazil Explore (GGRLC), or 40 days ago in Lima on South America Encompassed (GGRTC), or 47 days ago in Quito on Ultimate South America (GGRWC).
Today cross the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry (approximately three hours). On arrival, enjoy free time to explore this charming colonial city, which is the oldest in Uruguay. The World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico is a great place to start. Stroll down the cobblestone streets and rub shoulders with locals, as they sip their yerba mate (tea). Listen to the noisy parakeets in the Plaza Mayor, or comb Colonia’s small museums. For great views over the city, climb to the top of a 19th-century lighthouse that’s still in operation.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Colonia - Lighthouse visit - UYU25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your adventure continues with a three-hour local bus ride to Montevideo. The city is Uruguay's capital and its commercial and cultural centre, but it still retains a laidback atmosphere. On arrival take part in an optional city tour (at your own expense). If you’d prefer to explore on your own, stroll around the Ciudad Vieja (Old City) and visit the Plaza Independencia - home to the eerie underground Artigas Mausoleum. Check out the Gaucho Museum, chill out on a city beach or hang out with artists and musicians at the Mercado del Puerto.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today make the five-hour journey to Tacuarembo by bus. The bus has reclining seats and you'll be provided with a typical Uruguayan snack, but as the bus doesn’t stop it's also recommended that you bring your own food. From Tacuarembo it takes a further hour by truck and 4WD to the ranch, where you’ll be spending the next three nights.
Accommodation
  • Estancia (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Spend a few days experiencing the real deal of a working Uruguayan farm. Although you’re welcome to laze around and explore your surroundings, you can also fully involve yourself in day-to-day jobs around the ranch. These jobs change with the day and the season, but may include herding sheep and cows, branding cattle or injecting lambs against worms.

Don't expect luxury: things are simple down on the ranch. Accommodation is dormitory-style, hot water and electricity are only available for a couple of hours a day and chores start at 7.30 am. What you will get in return is a warm Uruguayan welcome from your hosts, some of the best home-cooked food you’ve ever tasted and the chance to experience true farm life.

On the afternoon of your seventh day, travel to Concordia in Argentina. From here take a 12-hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu. The bus has reclining seats and toilets and movies will be shown to keep you entertained. A simple dinner is also provided on board.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (2)
As soon as you arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station this morning, take a minivan across the border into Brazil and continue onto your hotel in Foz do Iguacu. Depending on traffic, this should take about an hour.
Close to the borders with Argentina and Paraguay, Foz do Iguacu is Brazil's gateway to the famous Iguazu Falls. Uppon arrival If hotel rooms are ready you will be able to check in before heading out to explore the Brazilian side of the falls. Soon after take a short transfer to the falls. From here, panoramic views can be enjoyed. For unforgettable views, take an optional helicopter flight over the falls (at your own expense).
Depending on time, you can also visit the local bird park while you’re here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu Falls Brazil - Helicopter ride - USD130
  • Iguazu Falls - Bird Park - BRL40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel back into Argentina today to visit the falls. Following a series of boardwalks, it’s possible to get so enough to the thundering waters that you can almost touch them. At over 2 km long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls in total, with some reaching up to 80 metres in height. For a more exhilarating experience, take an optional Zodiac boat ride to the base of the falls and feel the water in your skin! In the afternoon return to Foz do Iguacu, where you’ll spend a second night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu - Zodiac boat ride - ARS800
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take an included flight from Foz de Iguazu to Sao Paulo (the flight will usually be early in the morning, however  the it may vary across departure dates) From Sao Paulo take a bus (approximately 6 hours) to Paraty. Head to the hotel in Paraty and check-in to the rooms. Shorlty after your Tour Leader will take you on an orientation walk around Paraty.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy two free days to explore Paraty. Admire the architecture as you wander along the town’s cobbled, pedestrian-only streets, which become partly covered in seawater at high tide. You might prefer to explore the rainforest trails in the surrounding national park, which is rich in wildlife and waterfalls. Perhaps take a boat trip on the island-studded bay for scenic views along the coast or join an excursion to the nearby village of Trindade, which boasts some of Brazil’s best beaches.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Paraty - Boat trip - BRL65
  • Paraty - Trindade excursion - BRL80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, travel by local bus and ferry to the island getaway of Ilha Grande (approximately five hours). This island paradise of pristine beaches and rainforest has been largely untouched by development. There are no private cars or banks on the island, so make sure you bring cash with you. Previously a pirate's lair, a leper colony and a prison for violent criminals, the island has a fascinating history to uncover. The ruins of the prison can still be seen today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy two full free days to explore Ilha Grande. Wander along rainforest trails to beautiful and remote beaches; Lopes Mendes and Aventureiro Beach are among the most scenic. Take an optional boat trip out to the Blue Lagoon, beach hopping through Ilha Grande Bay along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for fresh seafood, and to swim and snorkel in the clear water. In the evening relax with a caipirinha at a restaurant or bar in Vila do Abraao, which is the island’s main town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Ilha Grande - Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon - BRL70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Board a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba today, and from here take a minivan to Rio de Janeiro. The total journey should take about three-and-a-half hours. The day is yours to explore. People-watch on Copacabana or Ipanema beach, take a tour of a favela or, if the time of year is right, check out a soccer game at the famous Maracana Stadium. You might like to take the tramcar up to the hillside neighbourhood of Santa Teresa or head up Corcovado Mountain, where you’ll find sweeping views over Rio from the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Taking part in one of our Urban Adventure day tours, such as the Total Rio Tour, the Santa Teresa Discovery or the Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela tour are also great ways to see this exciting city. As evening approaches, perhaps take the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sunset before partying in the samba clubs of Lapa.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Favela feelings Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Botanical Gardens - BRL6
  • Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL1
  • Rio de Janeiro - Corcovado, Christ Statue and Favela Urban Adventure - USD89
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour - Full Day Urban Adventure - USD149
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today your South American adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Bus, Overnight bus, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Estancia (3 nights), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight bus (1 night)

Included activities

  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance and tour of the Argentinian side of the falls

Dates & availability

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Important notes

START TIME:
This trip starts with an Orientation Walk at 1 pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 4, 5 & 6 (Estancia stay) and 7 & 10 (Overnight bus) where you will be in shared accommodation.

2018 ITINERARY
In 2018 the trip code and itinerary will change. Please see GGBDC on website.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged trips score an average of 4.76 out of 5 based on 94 reviews in the last year.

Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged, June 2017

Samantha Endri

Buenos Aires to Rio Unplugged, May 2017

Henrik Schulze