Delve deep into the natural wonders of Brazil on this Best of Brazilian Wildlife holiday.
Brazil is home to spectacular beaches, mountains and tropical forests, and of course stunning cities. Whilst in Rio de Janeiro, visit Christ the Redeemer guarding the city upon Corcovado Mountain and ride the cable car to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Sip a caipirinha on Copacabana Beach while listening to samba and watching the lively cariocas (Rio's residents) try their hand at capoeira or perhaps just a game of beach football.
However, its not just Rio where you will discover how much Brazil really does have to offer. The country's heartland is one of the world's great wildlife preserves and a rich ecosystem. The almost impenetrable canopy of the Amazon rainforest is a birder's dream. Experience life within the canopy - the brilliantly multicoloured paradise tanger with its bright blue belly, the aracari's bright plumage and enormous, contrastingly patterned bills and the colourful flutter of toucans darting through the treetops.
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 caiman and capybaras roam.
At Iguacu Falls, the lush tropical rainforest that surrounds the waterfalls is home to beautiful butterflies, colourful birds, a rich array of vegetation and mammals such as coatis and even the elusive jaguar. The falls themselves tumble over the rocks, creating a deafening cacophony of gushing water - a memorable end to your Brazilian holiday at one of the World's Natural Wonders.
Day 1 Depart the UK today on your direct British Airways flight to Rio de Janeiro. Set on one of the most beautiful natural bays in the world, with its backdrop of rocky wooded mountains, stunning beaches and deep blue sea studded with islands, Rio offers a taste of Brazil’s natural wonders. Settle into your hotel overlooking Ipanema Beach and relax into the Carioca vibe.
Day 2 Ride along Rio’s famous beaches on a private tour of this wonderful city. From 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 and can be reached by cog railway. The Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) is a massive volcanic cone, 396m in height, at the entrance to Guanabara Bay. Catch a cable car to the summit and get a shot of the cityscape. As the sun sets over the horizon, sip a refreshing caipirinha and watch the samba dancers move to the pulsating beats.
Day 3 Today is at leisure for you to delve deeper into Rio. Perhaps head down to Ipanema or Copacabana beach or immerse yourself even more into the city life and history through some of its most gregarious neighbourhoods. Rainbow Tours recommend a visit to the Santa Teresa district, this 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. 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. The tropical rainforest of Tijuca is worth a visit, said to be the world's largest urban forest, it is home to exotic birds, monkeys and sloths.
Day 4 Bid farewell to Rio de Janeiro and head to the mighty Amazon rainforest. Covering almost half of Brazil, the world's largest tropical rainforest is home to 40,000 plant species, 427 mammals and 1,300 bird species, that's not including all the reptiles, fish and amphibians! Spend the next two nights at the Amazon Eco-Park Jungle Lodge and through a variety of excursions discover this incredible eco-system and its inhabitants.
Day 5 Awake to the alarm call of the howler monkeys, before joining a local guide for a trek through the jungle. Catch a glimpse of the paradise tanager or the curl crested aracari with their colourful plumage. Meander trails to spot mammals including the tapir, the largest mammals in South America, capybara, and monkeys such as endemic white-whiskered spider monkey. Look out for the rich variety of reptiles including lizards of different shapes and sizes, many types of amphibians, turtles, tortoises and terrapins. Head out by boat to observe birds and monkeys along the river banks as you relax to the gentle river flow.
Day 6 This afternoon depart the Amazon and start your journey to the Pantanal, flying via Brasilia to Cuiaba. Cuiaba is the gateway to the Northern Pantanal. Spend the night at Deville Prime Hotel before continuing tomorrow morning to your Pantanal lodge.
Day 7 This morning transfer by road (approximately 3 hours) to your Pantanal Lodge, Rio Mutum. Surrounded by hills, lakes and grassy plains, the lodge is the ideal place to base yourself whilst discovering one of the largest wetlands in the world. The annual cycle of floods and droughts define life here. 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. During the wet season, aquatic life flourishes. Discover this region of enormous biological diversity by nature walks, canoe trips, 4X4 safaris and by horseback.
Day 8 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 9 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, giant anteaters, Brazilian otters, monkeys, blue macaws, herons, cormorants, ibises, curassows, parakeets, parrots, toucans, and wood ibises. Head back in the afternoon to relax in your hammock, icy cold drink in hand until the sun sets to the idyllic sounds of nature.
Day 10 Today transfer by road to Cuiaba and fly to Iguacu. Bordering Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, Iguacu 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 11 Today view the incredible Iguacu falls on both the Brazilian and the Argentine side. Both merit a visit to take in these incredible falls from a variety of different viewpoints. Wend your way down a long paved path through lush subtropical rainforest on the Brazilian side to take in the vistas of the Argentine side. Cross the border into Argentina to traverse a series of walkways at varying levels allowing 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 12 Today depart Iguacu for your return flight to the UK via Rio de Janiero or Sao Paolo (subject to flight schedules).
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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