Day 1: Join tour in Buenos Aires
Join tour in Buenos Aires and check-in at the hotel. Argentina's vibrant capital is 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 bustling streets are filled with an eclectic mix of European architectural styles, with Spanish, French and Italian classicism rubbing shoulders with remnants of Victorian grandeur. Gaining independence from its Spanish overlords in 1816 the city grew to rival the great cities of Europe, its wide avenues and elegant squares earning it the title of the Paris of the South.
Day 2: In Buenos Aires; walking tour of the Argentinian capital
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.
Day 3: Free Day; options include the Recoleta Cemetery
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).
Day 4: Morning free to explore Buenos Aires, overnight bus to Iguazu
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 board our bus for the overnight journey to Iguazu, arriving after lunch the following day.The buses are modern and as comfortable as bus can get with reclining seats, some snacks and drinks are available and there is a toilet on board also.
Day 5: Arrive Puerto Iguazu, view Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian side
Waking up this morning, the landscape outside will have changed radically from the flat agricultural plains around Buenos Aires to the lush, tropical forests surrounding Iguazu Falls. We arrive this morning in Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) where we will have an included visit to the Argentinean side of the falls. Later today we will cross over to Brazil where we will spend the first of two nights at Foz de Iguacu.
Day 6: Optional visit to the Brazilian side of the falls
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.
Day 7: Fly to Sao Paulo, transfer to Paraty
Depending on flight availability we will either fly to Sao Paulo or Rio today, and transfer 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.
Day 8: Discover the pretty town of Paraty
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.
Day 9: Drive and ferry to Ilha Grande
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.
Day 10: Free day on Ilha Grande Island; optional walks or relax on the beach
Enjoy a free day on this lush island paradise affords us some opportunities to explore in more depth this remarkable landscape. The island covers nearly 200 square kilometres and a number of trails lead off into the rich interior of the island, offering some quite spectacular walking. The jungle canopies are alive with the sights and sounds of squawking parrots, colourful butterflies and playful monkeys, making for an idyllic setting in which to spend your day. A more adventurous trek will take you to the mountainous summit of Bico do Papagaio (the Parrot's Beak), whilst closer to home are the ruins of the Antigo Presídio, a once infamous prison for political detainees. Alternatively you may prefer simply to relax on the unspoilt beaches, taking a boat trip out to enjoy some snorkelling in the Atlantic waters off the coast. Your Tour Leader will be able to offer advice and help with any optional trips you wish to try.
Day 11: Travel to Rio de Janeiro
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 public 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 capirinha whilst overlooking Copacabana Beach.
Day 12: Free day in Rio. Optional walking tour of the city or Sugar Loaf Mountain visit
The next couple of days have been left free for you to choose from a number of optional trips. Highly recommended is a guided tour of the city, travelling by bus, metro and tram to visit, among other parts, the historical city centre and the picturesque barrio of Santa Teresa taking in real life in Rio. Alternatively take a trip out to Sugar Loaf Mountain, the giant rock at the entrance of Guanabara Bay where you can take a cable car up to the breathtaking views of Rio.
Day 13: Free day in Rio; optional Corcovado trip
Today is a free day to explore more of Rio. Your Tour Leader can also organise a visit to the towering summit of Corcovado (712m) topped by the immense statue
of Christ the Redeemer, or if it is possible you may prefer to watch a local football match in the giant 95,000 seat Maracana Stadium. England may be the home of 'soccer', but Brazil is still very much its temple and to experience a game is a memorable event. A visit to the old bohemian district of Lapa, where every night the authentic samba still can be enjoyed and is an ideal location for our final night on the town before saying our final goodbyes.
Day 14: Tour ends Rio de Janeiro
The tour ends in Rio this morning after breakfast.
Touring with Explore
Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.
Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .
With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.
From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.