Experience the best of these fascinating countries from Buenos Aires to Brazil's northern beaches.

Swing into the Latin sway of life in sultry Buenos Aires. Encounter the majestic display of the Iguazu Falls – a UNESCO World Heritage site for very good reasons. Hit Rio de Janeiro for a dose of no-punches-pulled nightlife, then doze the day away on the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Visit Salvador and judge for yourself whether it deserves the title of ‘the happiest place in Brazil’. More waterfalls await at Cachoeira Poco do Diabo, along with some very enticing swimming holes. Finally, finish things up working your way through the best of the local cuisine in Fortaleza and experiencing some seriously remote beach time in rustic Jericoacoara. If it's wildlife and waterfalls, beaches and boogying you're after, this here's the ticket!

Start
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish
Fortaleza, Brazil
Countries
Argentina,
Brazil
Themes
Explorer
Code
GGSZC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
1 819kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Roam the marshes and lagoons of the Ibera wetlands
  • Marvel at the sheer scale of Iguazu Falls
  • Relax on the beaches of Arraial do Cabo
  • Browse the colourful stalls of Mercado de Fortaleza
  • Explore the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro
  • See epic waterfalls in Chapada Diamantina NP

Itinerary

Bienvenido! Welcome to Buenos Aires.

Please arrive in time for a group meeting at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information

Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style all of its own, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (local residents) are justifiably proud of their city which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own style.

If you arrive early, why not visit San Telmo and its weekend antiques market and artists' displays, La Boca home to the world-class football team Boca Juniors, Recoleta with its ornate and grand cemetery or Casa Rosada (Pink House) among other attractions.
This morning take an orientation walk of some of Buenos Aires' major sights.

In the late afternoon we take a comfortable overnight bus to the Ibera Wetland region in the north of Argentina.
Arrive in Mercedes and transfer to the small town of Carlos Pellegrini, our base to explore the beautiful Ibera Wetlands.

The wetlands cover an area the size of Belgium, so there’s plenty to explore. Roam the marshes, lagoons and grasslands, and keep an eye out for a rich array of wildlife; howler monkeys, capibaras, alligators, marsh deer, wolves and hundreds of species of birds all call the wetlands home.
Explore the wetlands by boat and on foot.
Today is a long travel day. We start off with a 4x4 transfer to the city of Posada (approx. 3 hrs), then we take a comfortable local bus to Puerto Iguazu (approx. 5 hrs).
As soon as we arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station, we take a minivan across the border into Brazil and continue to our hotel in Foz do Iguacu. This takes about an hour depending on traffic at the Argentina-Brazil border.
During our time in Iguazu we will visit the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the falls.
At over 2 km long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls in all, and with some reaching up to 80m in height, they are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara. Legend has it that a serpent god intended to marry a beautiful girl called Naipi. She escaped in a canoe with her mortal lover Caroba and in a jealous rage the god chased them, collapsing the river before them so that Naipi plunged over the falls to become a rock, while Caroba became a tree, forever unable to touch his love. A more scientific explanation is that the Rio Iguazu flows over a riverbed of basalt that ends where the lava cooled, leaving the water to fall. The falls were 'discovered' in the modern day by the Spaniard Juan Alvar Nunez who named them Saltos de Santa Maria. The name we know them by today means 'Great Waters' in the Tupi-Guarani tongue.

From the Argentinean side it’s possible to follow a series of boardwalks to get up close to the thundering waters - so close you can almost touch them.
Take a helicopter ride over the falls - a spectacular way to get a feel for the immense size of the waterfalls and a great view of the greenness of the surrounding park.
Enjoy the magnificent panoramas on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls before we take an afternoon flight to Rio de Janeiro. From Rio we are driven in a private van (approx 2.5 hours) to Arraial do Cabo.

Arraial do Cabo is a small fishermen town. It is surrounded by gleaming white sand dunes which offer breathtaking beaches with crystal clear water - making it one of the best spots to snorkel in this this region of Brazil.
Today we will take a half-day boat tour that takes in different beaches and a visit to the 'Blue Cave', a rock formation in the middle of the sea where a combination of the sun and deep clear water creates an intense blue colour.
Enjoy a free day to explore the many beaches in the area.
A local bus takes us to Rio de Janeiro, the festive heart of Brazil.
The locals like to say that 'God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio'. In this heaving metropolis, set against the luminescent green of Guanabara Bay and surrounded by the slopes of Sugarloaf and Corcovado, it's hard not to be caught up in the passion of the city's residents (known as Cariocas).

The French were the first to settle here as they logged wood along the Brazilian coast, but they were soon driven out by the Portuguese, who built a fortified town named Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and quickly amassed wealth during the gold rush of Minas Gerais. In the 19th century, the Portuguese monarchy fled from the threat of Napoleon in Europe and took up residence in Rio, where they built grand buildings that still stand today.

These days Rio is a fascinating and diverse city best known for its contrasting images of favelas (shanty towns) and the glitz and glamour of Carnaval.
Enjoy a walking tour of the busy neighbourhood of Copacabana with your group leader. In the free time afterwards, perhaps head to the botanical gardens of Jardim Botanico, take the cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain or head up Corcovado Hill to the statue of Christ the Redeemer for incredible views over the city.

As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Take a two-hour flight north to the Afro-Brazilian city of Salvador. Once you’ve checked in to the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to explore the city. If you need some direction, please ask your group leader for recommendations. Perhaps check out the colonial architecture of the Sao Francisco Church and Convent or head to one of the city’s local beaches. Flamengo is pristine and attracts surfers with its huge waves, but be careful with your personal belongings, as pickpockets have been known to operate in this area.
Today, head to the neighbourhoods of Pelourinho and Santo Antonio Alem do Carmo early in the morning. Take a walking tour of Pelourinho, Salvador’s World Heritage-listed historic centre, and observe its 17th and 18th-century architecture. Taste a delicious local speciality of aracaje (black-eyed pea fritters) and enjoy some free time around the markets. If your group is in town on a Tuesday, join in the music and dancing that take place on ‘Blessed Tuesdays’ in the plazas of Pelourinho.
Today you’re free to do what you like. Perhaps see some art at the Museu de Arte da Bahia or relax along one of Brazil’s largest stretch of beaches. The martial art of Capoeira combines elements of dance, music, acrobatics and philosophy, and is prominent in Salvador. You can enjoy a show or even take part in a class yourself. You may even come across performers practising in the streets.
Take an early morning bus to Lencois (approx 6 hours) - our base to explore Chapada Diamantina National Park. We arrive around lunch time and the rest of the day is free for you to relax in this charming colonial town.

Perhaps take a walk along Lencois’ old aqueducts or visit the charming Nossa Senhora do Rosario Church, the only church in the village. Lencois is a lot quieter than Salvador and provides an ideal respite before a full day of walking ahead.
This morning, head out to explore the surroundings of Lencois on foot. Swim in the natural pools of the Caldeiroes, created as water diverts from the mountains. Head onwards to the waterfall of Cachoeira da Primavera, where the group will stop for lunch. In the evening, enjoy some local food in the village and relax.
After breakfast, transfer by car to the grotto of Gruta da Torrinha for a cave walk. At the grotto of Pratinha e Gruta Azul there’s an option to snorkel. After lunch, head to Rio Mucugezinho for a short walk to the natural pools and waterfalls of Poco do Diabo. Watch the sunset from the viewpoint of Morro do Pai Inacio before returning to Lencois to take an overnight bus back to Salvador (approx 6-7 hours).
On arrival into Salvador, fly to Fortaleza on Brazil's far-north Atlantic coast. Settle into your hotel and use the rest of the day to explore the city in your own time. Perhaps head out into the surrounding countryside to visit the Cachaca Museum, which provides an interesting look into Brazil’s sugarcane history.
This morning, take a walking tour of Fortaleza’s central market, which is a great place to pick up souvenirs or locally made handicrafts and clothes. In the afternoon, perhaps get out of town to enjoy the unique sand formations and cliffs of Morro Branco beach. The evening is free to do as you please.
In the morning, travel by bus to the trendy beach town of Jericoacoara. As the town is surrounded by sand dunes and its streets are paved in sand, the only way in or out is by 4WD. Late in the afternoon, climb the ‘sunset dune’ of Por Do Sol with the group to watch the sun go down, and perhaps enjoy a refreshing caipirinha afterwards.
Today, hike to Pedra Furada, an arched rock right on the beach in Jericoacoara National Park. Along the way, witness the coastal scenery merge into farmland, and see donkeys grazing and goats scaling rocky cliff faces. The hike doesn’t cover much distance, but the terrain can be quite challenging, so please wear comfortable footwear.
Take a day trip by 4WD through sand dunes to Lagoa Azul and Lagoa do Paraiso. While away the hours with a book in a hammock suspended over the clear water of the lagoons. You can also choose to snorkel in the shallow waters. There are cafes by the lagoons so remember to bring some money with you.
Travel back to Fortaleza in the morning and enjoy some free time exploring this huge city. Perhaps head to the Metropolitana Cathedral to discover the beautiful stained-glass home of Brazilian Catholicism. The cathedral can hold up to 5,000 people at a time. In the evening, you might like to enjoy one final dinner with your group.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
22 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport
Plane, Overnight bus, Local bus, Private minibus, Boat
Accommodation
Hotel (21 nights), Overnight bus (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Orientation Tour - Buenos Aires
  • Ibera wetlands boat tour and wildlife walk
  • Iguazu Falls - Argentina side tour
  • Guarani community visit
  • Iguazu Falls - Brazil side tour
  • Boat tour to Gruta Azul
  • Pelourinho walking tour and acarajé tasting
  • 2 days of activities in Chapada Diamantina NP
  • Visit to Mercado Central de Fortaleza

Dates

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Important notes

A Single Supplement is available on this trip, except on the nights when we travel by overnight bus.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

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