Delve deep into the natural wonders of Brazil on this Best of Amazon & Pantanal Wildlife holiday.
Iconic Rio de Janeiro is a must visit city on a Brazil holiday. Visit Christ the Redeemer perched on Corcovado Mountain guarding the city and ride the cable car to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain. The dramatic backdrop is awe inspiring. Beaches sprawled around Rio's coastline complete a picture perfect landscape, while the samba vibes and cocktails of Copacabana Beach infiltrate you.
It's beyond Rio, however, that Brazil truly impresses. The country's heartland is one of the world's great wildlife preserves and a rich ecosystem. Vast tropical wetlands of the Pantanal are home to an estimated 1000 bird species and 300 mammals. Eagle eyed visitors will spot the iconic Jaribou and hyacinth macaw above, whilst on land keep a look out for caiman and capybaras. As you travel north the landscape changes to dense lush vegetation. The almost impenetrable canopy of the Amazon rainforest at Cristalino reserve is a birders dream. Experience life within the canopy - the brilliantly multicoloured paradise tanger with it bright blue belly, the aracari's bright plumage and enormous, contrastingly patterned bills and toucans fluttering through the treetops.
At Iguazu Falls, the river tumbles over the rocks to the deafening cacophony of gushing water - a mermorable end to your Brazil holiday at one of the World's Natural Wonders.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your flight to Rio de Janeiro.
Day 2 Rio de Janeiro is set in one of the most beautiful natural bays in the world. Set amidst a backdrop of rocky wooded mountains, the sweeping curve of Copacabana Beach and deep blue sea studded with rocky islands, it offers a taste of Brazil’s natural wonders. Settle into your hotel overlooking Copacabana Beach, as you relax into the Carioca vibe. As the sun sets over the horizon sip a refreshing caipirinha and watch the samba dancers move to the pulsating beats.
Day 3 Ride along Rio’s famous beaches on a full day tour of this wonderful city. The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer perched on Corcovado mountain take in a bird’s eye view over the city below. Often shrouded in mist, or stood on top of the clouds, the Corcovado Mountain is a highlight reached by cog railway. The Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) is a massive volcanic cone at the entrance to Guanabara Bay and reaches 396m in height. Catch a cable car to the summit and get a shot of the cityscape.
Day 4 Delve deeper into Rio city life and history through some of its most gregarious neighbourhoods. Santa Teresa district, the hilly inner suburb is where many of the city’s colonial movers and shakers once lived and its narrow lined streets and 19th century villas capture past Portuguese power. Beyond Copacabana, lies Ipanema and Leblon, less built up and hugely popular with locals. On Sundays visit the popular Ipanema hippy market at Praça General Osório for unique leather goods, paintings, clothing and local street food such as deep fried Acarajé (mashed peas formed into balls).
Day 5 Bid farewell to Rio de Janeiro and head for Cuiaba in northern Mato Grosso state. This is your jumping off point for adventures into the Pantanal Wetlands, one of the world’s great wildlife preserves and empty apart from a handful of cattle ranches. Perfect for land and water based activities depending on the time of year such as horse riding and canoe trips. During the dry season, July – October, birds and animals congregate around the few remaining areas of water making it easy to spot a parade of wildlife
Day 6 Canoe along the waterways as dawn breaks and the vast plains come alive with bird calls and the high pitched squeal of marmoset monkeys . Search for birdlife such as the iconic Jaribou with it swollen red neck and the hyacinth macaw, one of the largest in the world amidst tropical savannah plants. During the dry season, paddle up to the huge “Ninhais” (bird sanctuaries) where thousands of wood-storks, spoonbills, herons, and cormorants gather.
Day 7 But birds are only part of the picture. Beat back the bush to find the largest concentration of wildlife in the Americas. Local inhabitants include Alligators, Capybaras, Brazilian otters, monkeys, blue macaws, macaws, herons, cormorants, ibises, curassows, parakeets, parrots, toucans, and wood ibises. Spend sultry afternoons relaxing in your hammock, icy cold drink in hand until the sun sets to the idyllic sounds of nature.
Day 8 From one wildlife wonder to another – leave the Pantanal for the mighty Amazon rainforest. You’ll stay at the Cristalino private reserve , an exclusive eco-lodge nestled within the dense vegetation. The bungalowsare fitted with screened windows that let you see and hear the jungle surrounds while the on-site restaurant serves the finest of Brazilian organic cuisine and cooling caipirinhas.
Day 9 Awake to the alarm call of the howler monkeys, before joining a local guide for a trek through the jungle and glimpses of the paradise tanager or the curl crested aracari with their colourful plumage. A total of 568 species of avifauna have been recorded in the region with many restricted to this area. Climb one of the lodges 50m high observation tower for breathtaking views over the dense rainforest canopy and the opportunity to observe wildlife in the upper layer of the forest such as spider or howler monkeys.
Day 10 Meander the nearby trails for commonly spotted mammals include the tapir, the largest in South America, capybara, giant river otters and monkeys such as endemic white-whiskered spider monkey. A rich variety of reptiles includes lizards of different shapes and sizes, many types of amphibians, turtles, tortoises and terrapins. Return to the lodge by canoe, observing birds and monkeys along the river banks as you relax to the gentle river flow.
Day 11 Bordering Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, semicircular Iguazu Falls is a staggering 80 metres high and consists of 275 separate waterfalls. This colossal number of cascades produces vast sprays of water and deafening roars as they tumble over the edge of the rocks into the Parana River. Situated within subtropical Atlantic rainforest the area is home to an array of wildlife from tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and caymans.
Day 12 Cross the border into Argentina to see the other side of these majestic falls. A series of walkways at varying levels allows you to take in the water from every angle and find that unforgettable photo opportunity. For the brave you can stand just metres above the frenzied spray on a suspended platform overlooking the largest of the falls, the Devil’s Throat.
Day 13 Depart Iguazu for your return flight to the UK via Sao Paulo.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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