A fiery Latin adventure from Uruguayan countryside to Brazilian beaches

Hug the eastern coastline of South America on this 17-day city, countryside and island adventure with Lonely Planet and Intrepid. Discover Buenos Aires’ eclectic markets at San Telmo, travel to Rio de Janeiro to soak up all the Brazilian party vibes and experience life on a working estancia in Uruguay. You’ll have a local leader each step of the way to recommend the best beach or coolest bar, plus a small group of likeminded travellers to share your experiences with. Ready, set – let’s fiesta.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Destinations
Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
GGBDC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Spend three days at a working estancia (farm) in Uruguay, where you can spend your time getting involved in farm work, learning about gauchos, riding horses or simply relaxing in the sun.

  • Stop in colourful Colonia del Sacramento, where vintage cars line the streets and an old drawbridge leads to the World Heritage-listed Old Quarter.

  • The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, and you’ll cross the border to see its incredible cascades from both sides.

  • Let loose and samba the night away in Rio de Janeiro – South America’s party capital. Arriving in this bustling metropolis is the perfect way to continue your South American adventure.

  • You’ll have plenty of time to choose your own adventure at Ilha Grande with two full days on the island. So if hiking, boating, kayaking or lazing on a beach is your thing, we’ve got you covered.

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 Lonely Planet Experience begins with an orientation walk around Buenos Aires’ Microcentro district at 1 pm. 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 perhaps have a coffee in the traditional Cafe Tortoni. Stroll around the picturesque streets of San Telmo and its antique markets. Attend a group welcome meeting at 6 pm to prepare for the rest of your adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Welcome Meeting
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • DISCONTINUED Buenos Aires - Tango, Tango, Tango! Urban Adventures - USD90
  • Buenos Aires - Malbec Trail of Palermo Urban Adventure - USD113
  • Buenos Aires - Gourmet Buenos Aires Food Urban Adventure - USD113
  • Buenos Aires - Polo day - USD185
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Today cross the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) to Colonia del Sacramento by ferry (approximately 1.5 hours). On arrival, enjoy free time to explore this charming colonial city, known as the oldest in Uruguay. The World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico (Old Quarter) 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
Special Information
Today you will have to walk six blocks carrying your luggage from the ferry port to your hotel, and again tomorrow from the hotel to the bus station.
Today is a long travel day. Take a comfortable local bus from Colonia to Montevideo (approximately 2.5 hours). From Montevideo it's a further 5-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 some extra snacks at your own expense. From Tacuarembo, take a 1-hour truck and 4WD journey to the ranch, where you can get to know your hosts.
Accommodation
  • Estancia (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Spend a few days experiencing life on a working Uruguayan farm. Although you’re welcome to relax and explore your surroundings at your leisure, you can also get involved wirh day-to-day jobs around the ranch. As a working farm, the digs aren’t fancy, but the incredible surroundings and hospitality are something special. Enjoy three home-cooked meals a day and the chance to ride horses, in true gaucho (cowboy) style.
Accommodation
  • Estancia (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Estancia - Horse riding - Free
  • Estancia - Horse riding - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Special Information
Accommodation is dormitory-style, hot water and electricity are only available for a couple of hours a day. If you sign up for any chores, they start at 7.30 am.
In the afternoon, bid farewell to your hosts and cross the border to Concordia in Argentina. Board a 12-hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The bus has reclining seats and onboard toilets. Movies will be shown to keep you entertained. A simple dinner is also provided on board.
As soon as you arrive at Puerto Iguazu bus station this morning, take a minivan across the border into Brazil and head straight to the national park to witness the majestic Foz do Iguacu/Iguazu Falls. After some time spent admiring this force of nature, head to your hotel in Foz do Iguacu. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Helicopter ride - USD130
  • Iguazu Falls - Bird Park Entrance fee - BRL60
  • Iguazu Falls - Acquamania Water Park - BRL42
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Return to Argentina today to see Iguazu Falls from a different angle. Following a series of boardwalks, it’s possible to get so close to the thundering waters that you can almost touch them. At over two-kilometres long, Iguazu Falls are made up of over 270 separate cascades, 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! In the afternoon return to your accommodation in Foz do Iguacu in Brazil.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
Optional Activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Boat ride - USD70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take an included flight to Rio de Janeiro. Settle into your hotel room then head out with your leader for an orientation walk. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore at your own pace. Maybe head to Copacabana or Ipanema Beach 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour Combo 2: Old Town, Sugarloaf & Urca Urban Adventure - USD149
  • Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain cable car - BRL116
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour Combo 1: Santa Teresa, Corcovado, Christ & Copacobana - USD149
  • Rio de Janeiro - Maracana football game (schedule dependent) - BRL150
  • DISCONTINUED Rio de Janeiro - Favela feelings Urban Adventure - USD49
  • Rio de Janeiro - Botanical Gardens - BRL15
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With another free day in Rio, you’re free to explore at your own pace. You’ll be leaving for the coast tomorrow, so make sure you try to hit both Ipanema and Copacabana beaches today. Your group leader will also be taking another orientation walk today around 1 pm for new travellers joining you for the next stage of your adventure. It is recommended you go, if only to meet up with your new crew!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and to meet new travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, take a local bus from Rio to Paraty (approximately 4 hours). The remainder of today and rest of tomorrow are yours 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. Otherwise, a boat trip on the island-studded bay for scenic views along the coast could be on the cards, or join an excursion to the nearby village of Trindade, which boasts some of Brazil’s best beaches. The best thing is you get to decide.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Paraty - Boat trip - BRL65
  • Paraty - Trindade excursion - BRL80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
Today, jump on a shared transfer to Angra followed by a ferry to the island getaway of Ilha Grande, taking approximately 5 hours, in total. This paradise of pristine beaches and rainforest has been largely untouched by development. 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. Once you’ve arrived and got your bearings, head to the beach – it’s calling your name.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
There are no banks on Ilha Grande, so it’s important to bring cash with you to pay for incidentals or any optional activities you might want to take part in while on the island.
Rise and shine in paradise, ready to enjoy two full free days exploring Ilha Grande. Wander along rainforest trails to beautiful and remote beaches – Lopes Mendes and Aventureiro Beach are two of the best. You could book yourself in on 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. Or just plonk yourself on the beach with a good book and laze the day away. In the evening, why not meet up with some of your travel pals and relax with a caipirinha at a restaurant or bar in Vila do Abraao – 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.
Bid farewell to this slice of heaven as you board a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba today, and from here, take a minivan back to Rio de Janeiro. The total journey should take about 3.5 hours, so you should be back in Rio in the early to mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore the city or simply hit up Copacabana and relax. Tonight, get together with your travel crew for a night of food, drinks and some samba – speak to your local leader who’ll have some great recommendations for what to do tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain cable car - BRL116
  • Rio de Janeiro - Botanical Gardens - BRL15
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa tramcar - BRL20
  • Rio de Janeiro - Maracana football game (schedule dependent) - BRL150
  • Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa Discovery Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Rio de Janeiro - Total Rio Tour Combo 1: Santa Teresa, Corcovado, Christ & Copacobana - USD149
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policies. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to continue soaking up the sun in Rio, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Ferry, Overnight bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Van

Accommodation

Estancia (3 nights), Hotel (10 nights), Overnight bus (1 night)

Included activities

  • Welcome Meeting
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation walk
  • 3-night stay on a working estancia including meals and activities
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Brazilian side of the falls
  • Iguazu Falls - Entrance & tour of the Argentinian side of the falls
  • Rio de Janeiro - Orientation Walk

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

START TIME:
This trip starts with a leader-led orientation walk at 1 pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight, it is possible to book additional nights at the joining point accommodation.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
Please note that the Single Supplement does not include nights 3, 4, 5 & 6 

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

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.

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