Family holiday to the highlights of Brazil and Argentina

This family holiday, a Brazil and Argentina tour, starts with a visit to the exciting capital of Argentina , Buenos Aires.

After a thorough exploration of Buenos Aires you travel onwards to the Ibera wetlands. What a fabulous area for the amazing wildlife that is found there including black caiman. This is followed by an exploration of the spectacular Iguazu falls and a cultural side trip to an indigenous Guarani village.

Your family Brazil and Argentina tour then continues in Brazil.

First stop the coastal colonial town of Paraty with outdoor activities and time on the beach. You then explore the wonderful  city of Rio de Janeiro with visits to famous landmarks including the giant statue of Christ on top of  Corcovado hill as well as the Sugar Loaf.

 

This Brazil and Argentina tour combines culture, wildlife and outdoor activities.

Brazil and Argentina tour packages can be tailored and customised to suit your family needs.



Trip Highlights

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  • Exploring the streets of Buenos Aires

  • Wildlife spotting in the Ibera Wetlands

  • The mighty Iguazu Falls

  • Mamangua Sugar Loaf peak trek, Paraty

  • Paddle boarding in Paraty Bay

  • The views of Rio de Janeiro from the statue of Christ.

I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the organising you did for our trip. We had a great time and it’s a trip we will never forget!

H. Coltman, Family Holiday.

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Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport. Transfer to hotel.

Arrive Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport. You will be met at the airport by an English speaking guide who will be holding a sign with your name on it. The drive to the hotel will take a little less than an hour in good traffic.

Buenos Aires in May to September is in autumn/winter/spring so make sure you bring some warm clothing as well as rain gear.

Buenos Aires is a lively city with a population of around 4 million. It has elegant boulevards and many historic sites to explore. See the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace), Cathedral, Colon Theatre and Obelisk whilst strolling around central Buenos Aires. Why not stroll through La Boca district with its colourful houses and the sound of the tango.
There are parks to be visited, even graveyards such as the Recoleta cemetery with its incredible mausoleums including that of Evita. There are also parks and interactive museums to add to the list. Colourful markets or even a football stadium could be on the list.
You meet with your guide to discuss what you would like to do and where you would like to go on tomorrow’s tour.

Day 2: Walking tour Buenos Aires. (B)

At the agreed time set off on your exploration of Buenos Aires using public transport and on foot. You will have discussed where you would like to go and what you would like to do with your guide the previous day. The maximum time allocated for the guide is 6 hours. You can return to your hotel with your guide or else be left in a strategic part of the city to continue exploring on your own.

Day 3: Transfer to Aeroparque airport. Fly to Posadas. Transfer to Hotel Puerto Valle. (B,D)

Private transfer to Aeroparque airport with a Spanish speaking driver.

Fly to Posadas. The flight time is around 90 minutes.

On arrival you will be met by a hotel driver holding a sign with your name on it. The hotel is 55 Km from the airport and the drive is around 45 minutes.

The hotel is on the riverbank of the Parana River at the north eastern corner of the Ibera Natural Reserve. The Reserve is part of the Ibera Wetlands , the second largest in the world. It is an area of swamps, marshes and lakes teeming with wildlife. Species include black caiman, capybaras, otters, swamp deer, rheas, howler monkeys and over 300 bird species.

Settle into the hotel and plan your activities for the next few days with the help of your guides.

Day 4: Activities at Puerto Valle. (B,L,D)

Following a hearty breakfast set off on your planned activities for the day.

Activity options are:

Esteros del Iberá, wetlands tour Laguna Valle
Set off from the hotel for the 10 Km/ 6 mile drive passing by fields, plantations and marshland to arrive to the wharf. Board the boats and set of sailing along the marshland waterways to Valle Lake. Fauna which might be spotted are caiman, capybara, pampa deer, marshland deer and neotropical otters (lobitos de río).

Boat trip on the Paraná River
Set off from the hotel’s pier by motorboat into the waterways off the Parana River and into the Paranaense forest. Here there are more than fifty tree species per hectare making it an ideal ecosystem for watching birds and howler monkeys.

The Tree Nursery
In the hotel grounds you will find a tree nursery which produces more than 4 million seeds per year ( eucalyputs, grevilla, kiri and yerba mate).

Kayking
Paddle along the Parana River shoreline in comfortable ‘sit-on-top’ kayaks discovering waterways and sections of the forest that remain otherwise hidden. This adventure can be made as demanding as required.

Horseback Riding
Starting from the stalls, our experienced guide leads the way along the exclusive trails of the estate. Horseback riding is part of the history and tradition of the place—visitors will enjoy a historical and unforgettable ride, with the chance to get lost in the colourful sunsets of Corrientes while traversing pine and eucalyptus woods.

Half Day Excursion to Cambyretá Portal
Early morning departure for the hour drive into the National Park. Here you will have the chance to walk the trails spotting birdlife and wildlife in the marshlands. The Scarlet Macaw is being reintroduced to the area of Cambyretá where there are more than 300 bird species as well as capybara, deer and caiman waiting to be seen.

Mountain bikes and pool
The hotel has mountain bikes for use as well as a pool.

Day 5: Activities at Puerto Valle. (B,L,D)

Following a hearty breakfast set off on your planned activities for the day.

Activity options are:

Esteros del Iberá, wetlands tour Laguna Valle
Set off from the hotel for the 10 Km/ 6 mile drive passing by fields, plantations and marshland to arrive to the wharf. Board the boats and set of sailing along the marshland waterways to Valle Lake. Fauna which might be spotted are caiman, capybara, pampa deer, marshland deer and neotropical otters (lobitos de río).

Boat trip on the Paraná River
Set off from the hotel’s pier by motorboat into the waterways off the Parana River and into the Paranaense forest. Here there are more than fifty tree species per hectare making it an ideal ecosystem for watching birds and howler monkeys.

The Tree Nursery
In the hotel grounds you will find a tree nursery which produces more than 4 million seeds per year ( eucalyputs, grevilla, kiri and yerba mate).

Kayking
Paddle along the Parana River shoreline in comfortable ‘sit-on-top’ kayaks discovering waterways and sections of the forest that remain otherwise hidden. This adventure can be made as demanding as required.

Horseback Riding
Starting from the stalls, our experienced guide leads the way along the exclusive trails of the estate. Horseback riding is part of the history and tradition of the place—visitors will enjoy a historical and unforgettable ride, with the chance to get lost in the colourful sunsets of Corrientes while traversing pine and eucalyptus woods.

Half Day Excursion to Cambyretá Portal
Early morning departure for the hour drive into the National Park. Here you will have the chance to walk the trails spotting birdlife and wildlife in the marshlands. The Scarlet Macaw is being reintroduced to the area of Cambyretá where there are more than 300 bird species as well as capybara, deer and caiman waiting to be seen.

Mountain bikes and pool
The hotel has mountain bikes for use as well as a pool.

Day 6: Transfer to Puerto Iguazu. (B)

Depart after breakfast driving North East on a 370 Km drive which will take around four hours to your next destination, the Posada Puerto Bemberg.

A stop en route will be made after around 90 minutes driving at the San Ignacio Mini Jesuit Missions. The original site had a plaza, a basilica, town hall, monastery as well as living quarters.

The front structure has been restored and you will have an opportunity to visit the museum as well as the ruins.

After the visit continue driving for around 2 and a half hours to the hotel.

Driving time is around 4 hours.

 

Day 7: Full day tour to Argentine Iguazu Falls. (B)

Full day private tour to Argentine Iguazu falls with English speaking guide.

Full day private tour to Argentine falls with English speaking guide. Entrance fee included.
We pick you up from your hotel and take you to the entrance to the Falls, and the entrance fee to the national park is included. Our tour includes three different paths, the order of which your guide will choose depending on weather conditions etc.

Upper walk: A walk of 500m, lasts about 45 minutes seeing the Two Sisters, Bosseti, Adam and Eve, Bernabe Mendez, Mbiguá and San Martín falls from the upper part.
Lower path: Walk around 1,300m of footpath which lasts 1.5 hours. You see the falls from the middle – you might get wet.
Devil’s Throat: Hop aboard a little train, and go 4km to Devils Throat Station, at the upper part of the Iguazu River. From here, you walk on a bridge (walkway) that leads to the balcony of Devil’s throat. The most spectacular view.

Day 8: Half day visit to Guarani village. (B)

You will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the Guarani indigenous village of Jasy Pora.
This village is located in area of 600 hectares in the Yriapú, jungle. The population is 142 people in 35 families. The main income is from handcrafts and sustainable tourism.
The visit will begin in front of the school with a walk to the temple. Entry to the temple is not permitted but you will be told about its importance to the community. Continue along a path where the local traditions past and present are explained. At the end of the circuit you will witness a presentation by a local children’s choir.
Return to the hotel

Day 9: Half day visit to the Brazilian falls followed by transfer to Foz do Iguacu airport. Fly to Sao Paulo. Transfer to Paraty. (B)

Check out of the hotel.
Morning half day private tour to Brazilian falls followed by transfer to Foz do Iguacu airport. English speaking guide. Entrance fee to the falls included.

Get your camera ready for today’s tour because the Brazilian side of the Falls offers spectacular vistas of Iguazu (known as Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil). We set off early with our guide and cross the border from Argentina into Brazil, then enter the Falls (entry fee included). From the Brazilian National Park you have a panoramic view of the Falls – you can see the 3 kilometres of Falls, which features 270+ cascades.
You have 1,000 metres of easy walking – it takes about 1 hour, finishing in the canyon of the Devil’s throat.

After the visit transfer to the airport at Foz do Iguacu for your departure flight. Your flight should be after 1500.

On arrival to Sao Paulo, the driver will be waiting in the arrivals area holding a sign with your name on it.

Private transfer to Paraty. Drive time approximately 4 hours. Arrive late into Paraty.

Paraty is a small coastal town surrounded by mountains on Brazil’s Costa Verde. It is located half way between Sao Paulo and Rio. It is a beautifully preserved colonial town and its centre is a series of cobbled streets and 17th and 18th century buildings reflecting its time as a port during the Brazilian gold rush. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 10: Morning paddle board. (B)

Morning stand up paddle board. This takes place in the sheltered waters off Jabaquara Beach, Paraty Bay.As the waters are protected they are ideal for stand up paddle board. The briefing will be given on the beach and then you’ll head into the water. Paddle around visiting a mangrove area and Itu beach.

Day 11: Mamangua Sugar Loaf Peak trek. (B)

Mamangua Sugar Loaf Peak trek – This full day activity can be quite demanding with a 90 minute climb of around 500 m. The day involves a bus ride to Paraty Mirim, a boat ride, the ascent of the sugarloaf peak and down time at the beach.

Other possible activities: Historical Walking tour (approx 2 hours) or Private Boat trip (approx 5 hours) – Changes would affect trip cost.

Day 12: Morning Kayak followed by transfer to Rio de Janeiro. (B)

In the morning sea kayaking in the local area. If you want to get closer to nature without the noise of a motor boat this is a great option to see wildlife and visit places like the mangroves, islands and beaches nearby. The views of the old town and the coastal mountain range behind Paraty are spectacular. There are various options of routes and no previous experience is required. We give paddling and safety instructions for sea kayaks. Excursion duration around 3 to 4 hours.

Afternoon transfer to Rio. Approximately 4 hours.

Rio de Janeiro, with a population of over 6 million people, is a stunning city sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and coastal mountains. Famous for its beaches, landmarks and mountains, the city is a major tourist destination.
Your hotel is located in Copacabana on the beachfront near to shops and restaurants.

Day 13: Half day tour to Corcovado and Statue of Christ. (B)

Morning Private tour of Corcovado and the statue of Christ with English speaking guide.
Christ the Redeemer: Located at Corcovado Mountain (710 meters), with a height of 38m. The most important symbol of Rio de Janeiro, this monument is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. From there you can have a panoramic view of the city.

Day 14: Half day tour to Sugar Loaf. (B)

Morning private tour to Sugar Loaf.
It has a privileged location in the city. There are two cable car rides to ascend the hill. In the first part of the cable-car ride you can see Guanabara Bay, Corcovado and Rio-Niteroi Bridge. In the second part of the cable-car ride you can see, the beach of Copacabana, Santa Cruz Fortress and some beaches of Niterói. Instead of the first cable car there is the option to hike up Urca Hill (220m). It takes about 40 minutes.
Return to the hotel.

Day 15: Transfer to the airport. (B)

Transfer to the airport for the departure flight.


Prices From $6,172 / £4,938 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Transfers, tours, meals (B=breakfast, L=lunch or box lunch, D=dinner) excursions and accommodation as mentioned.

What's Not Included?

Flights, services not mentioned in the itinerary, extras and tips.


Accommodation

Throughout, the itinerary is based on good quality four star hotels in good locations.

The price is based on Casa Sur Plaermo in Buenos Aires, Hotel Puerto Valle in Ibera,  Posada Bemberg in Iguazu, Hotel Porto Imperial in Paraty and Arena Copacabana in Rio.

We can look at other hotel options if so desired.

Tour Staff

In Buenos Aires you will have your own English speaking guide for your walking tour. Your guide will also be able to give you tips on where and what to do in the city.

At Puerto Valle your guides will be very knowledgeable on the local wildlife , and there is much of it.

In Paraty you guides will be knowledgeable on the activities you will be undertaking and will make sure that your are properly briefed and have all the safety elements required.


Meals

All hotel accommodation includes breakfast. At Puerto Valle and also at Puerto Bemberg hotel in  Iguazu lunch and dinner are included. Special meals can be catered for so please let us know at the time of booking.

Activity Level

All activities are of an easy level. The most strenuous is the sugar loaf peak and this can be changed if you prefer something less demanding.

Practical Information

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Introduction to Argentina

Argentina is a land of contrast.

Nothing states this better than the fact it features the highest point in the South America, Aconcagua, and the lowest, Salinas Chicas, 40m below sea level.

Its vastness – it is the eighth largest country in the world – and diversity are just part of the appeal. A fantastic culture of fine wine and dining sits alongside its adventurous and beautiful landscapes.

The local’s cheery disposition and fantastic word plays add to the enjoyment of being in this fascinating country.

The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they first reached the region in the sixteenth century.

There are distinct regions of Argentina, from the Andean culture of the North West to the rancho lifestyle of the plains of Patagonia to the eternally seductive Buenos Aires.

Introduction to Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South America with a huge offer for the adventurous traveller: Rainforest and wildlife, culture and gastronomy, beach and sport, mountains and rivers.

Rio de Janeiro, to many, is the gateway to Brazil. It is a vibrant city, located in a spectacular geographical setting. This is the ultimate place to finish off a holiday, chilling on its world famous beaches, taking in the sights, sounds and sunshine.

Choose to extend your stay in the area combining Rio with Paraty, a quaint, well preserved colonial coastal village; or Buzios a charming, buzzing and fun coastal town; or Ilha Grande, an island with no roads where you can really enjoy the wonders of nature.

Further afield, the state of Bahia in the north east of the country is another strong draw. The colonial  capital, Salvador, with its colourful architecture, history and fiery culture is a great place to explore. Inland, Chapada Diamantina is ideal for trekkers, who head to with its plains, table-topped mountains, rivers, waterfalls and natural pools. Remote, with palm lined beaches lapped by turquoise waters, Praia do Forte is an idyllic place in which to to put up your feet and relax. 

The mighty Iguazu Falls on the shared border with Argentina are another massive draw.

The Pantanal – wetlands in the West of the country are an animal lover’s paradise. The World’s largest wetlands is teeming with wildlife including giant anacondas, capybaras, caimans and jaguars. 

The mighty Amazon River is another attraction and can be explored by boat or from a comfortable eco friendly lodge. 

Not only does Brazil offer stunning sights but it also has a cultural vibrancy unmatched anywhere else. Music and dance are part of the Brazilian DNA. A varied gastronomy and a warm welcome will make any visitor immediately at ease.

Brazil shares a border with every country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile – ten in total and has great transportation links so can easily be combined with one or more other countries.


ATOL protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Kit list, Argentina General

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.

 

Overview

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, and has a myriad of climates from humid tropics to bracingly cold Patagonia.

When planning for these changeable climatic conditions you will encounter across Argentina, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.

The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital. Summer in the north of the country means t-shirts and shorts.

It can also get very cold at night time especially in the mountains. Jumpers, fleeces and warms hats – which you can buy there – are also essential.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

Below is a more detailed guide.

 

Detailed kit list

  • Medium weight parka or a down jacket.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. The jacket needs to be water proof and roomy. Side-zip pants are recommended.
  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts – no cotton
  • 2-3 short-sleeve T-shirts – no cotton
  • 2 pair of hiking trousers- cotton or synthetic material (no jeans)
  • 1 fleece or sweat trousers (for cold evenings)
  • 2 pair hiking shorts
  • Long thermals – synthetic or wool – light to medium weight top & bottoms.
  • 2-3 mid-weight (wool or synthetic) socks.
  • 2-3 liner socks if needed
  • Athletic-type socks, several pairs, city use
  • Hiking boots that are waterproof and well broken-in.
  • Running/tennis shoes or sandals are very comfortable when you are in cities
  • 1 lightweight wool sweater or windproof fleece
  • 1 wool or synthetic warm hat.
  • 1 light sun hat with a wide brim.
  • 1 pair of medium-weight wool or synthetic gloves
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent (just in case)
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

 

Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life, especially in big cities.

Geography of Brazil

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. It is framed by two of the world’s largest river systems: the Amazon in the North, and the Paraná river in the South.

The Amazon basin covers some 60% of Brazil’s surface, and holds 20% of the world’s fresh water supply, being the largest hydrographical network in the world with 55.000Km2 of rivers.

It has the world’s largest rain forest but also includes savannah and wetlands.

Like the Amazon, the Paraná flows through several neighbouring countries. It drains the world’s largest swampland, the Pantanal in West-Central Brazil.

The Brazilian Highlands form the rest of the country, except for a coastal strip some 9,000km long.

Brazil contains a number of climatic zones from the Amazon region where the temperature averages 27ºC, to the dry Northeast where temperatures can exceed 40ºC, to the south near Uruguay where average temperatures are 17-19ºC. 

Brazil’s twenty-six states and the Federal District (Distrito Federal) are divided conventionally by eco-systems into five regions.

 

• North: the tropical rainforest with Pico da Neblina 2,994m (9.823ft) the country highest point (major cities: Manaus, Belém, Santarém,)

• Northeast: Atlantic Forest Zone called Mata Atlántica. (Major cities: Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza)

• Southeast: it has less than 10% of the original forest cover remained as a result of clearing for farming, ranching, and charcoal making. It has mountains, valleys and caverns. (Major cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro)

• South: Rainforests along the coast (Mata Atlântica), tropical in the north and west (Araucárias) and prairie-like vegetation in the south (Pampas). Little native vegetation still remains due to deforestation. (Major cities: Curitiba and Porto Alegre)

• Centre-West: Pantanal wetlands in the west with one of the biggest swamplands in the world, and equatorial rainforests in the north. (Major cities: Brasilia, Goiânia, Campo Grande, and Cuiabá)

Geography of Argentina

Argentina’s neighbours are Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north east and Chile to the west. In the east Argentina has a long South Atlantic Ocean coastline.

The central region of Argentina is the rich plain known as La Pampa.

There is jungle in the extreme northeast while the southern half of Argentina is dominated by the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia.

The western border with Chile is along the rugged Andes mountains, including Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. Close to Aconcagua lies Mendoza, an area famed for its fine wine production.

The western Cuyo regions at the base of the Andes are mostly rocky desert.

Most Antarctic cruises embark and disembark in Ushuaia, at the tip of South America, allowing access to the South Pole, South Georgia and also the Falkland Islands.

Introduction to Argentina

Argentina is a land of contrast.

Nothing states this better than the fact it features the highest point in the South America, Aconcagua, and the lowest, Salinas Chicas, 40m below sea level.

Its vastness – it is the eighth largest country in the world – and diversity are just part of the appeal. A fantastic culture of fine wine and dining sits alongside its adventurous and beautiful landscapes.

The local’s cheery disposition and fantastic word plays add to the enjoyment of being in this fascinating country.

The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they first reached the region in the sixteenth century.

There are distinct regions of Argentina, from the Andean culture of the North West to the rancho lifestyle of the plains of Patagonia to the eternally seductive Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is Argentina’s elegant capital city.

It is a city of culture, art and music and gateway to the rest of the country, well worth a few days of exploring.

Must sees are the Casa Rosada Government Palace, the Cathedral, La Boca district with its colourful houses and tradition of tango and football.

Also not to be missed are the flea market and streets of the bohemian neighbourhood of San Telmo and the Recoleta cemetery where Evita’s tomb is to be found.

After a guided tour by bike or on foot, take the time to sit at one of the many excellent coffee shops and watch the sophisticated Porteños go about their business.

The city has a plethora of good restaurants and is a haven for meat eaters, with plenty of veggie options too.

The night life is buzzing and the district of Palermo will have a meal and bar to suit all pockets and tastes.

North West Argentina

North west Argentina is one of those places that is still off the beaten track but when you get there you wonder why.

The main gateway is the city of Salta – famous for its pasties, known locally as empanadas.

Places to visit are Cafayate – famous for its wines and the “Quebrada de Las Cochas” with its incredible rock formations.

North of Salta don’t miss Humahuaca with its multicoloured hills,  Tilcara with its Pukara (pre-Columbian fortress) and the Salinas Grandes salt flat.

Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

The Chapada Diamantina is a National Park in the interior of the state of Bahia in North Eastern Brazil.

It covers an area larger than that of the Netherlands and is a series of flat-topped mountains interlinked by forested valleys, rivers, waterfalls and swimming holes.

The park can be explored on day trips from Lençois or on several day trekking itineraries.

The rainy season is December to March and a great time to see the waterfalls.

If you want to beat the crowds then go in April / May or August to October.

Coast of Brazil

Brazil’s North East coast is over a 1,000 miles in length, with the state of Bahia having the longest coastline in the country.

Coastal towns such as Porto Seguro, the Marau Peninsula or the hidden beaches of Caraiva invite the traveller to relax and enjoy the beauty of its golden beaches and tropical seas.

The city of Salvador, with its colonial buildings and rich history as well as colourful folklore is a great introduction to the region.

Much is made of Brazil’s beaches, and this zone showcases some of the best.

Pantanal of Brazil

The Pantanal is a vast tropical wetland in the West of Brazil and the best place for those wanting to see wildlife.

Here there are over 1,000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammal species as well as 480 reptile species – and the jaguar is the king.

The main gateway airports are Campo Grande and Cuiaba.

There are many lodges offering a great wildlife experience in an area that is over 20 times larger than the Florida Everglades.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant, beautiful, lush and fascinating city, with something everyone.

Just enjoy the picture postcard beaches, take the cable car up the iconic Sugar Loaf Hill or the train up Corcovado mountain to the stature of Christ.

The city has rainforest in the Tijuca forest and an incredible botanic garden. There is enough scenery to keep you going for days!

Food is available in every form and guise from street stalls selling coconuts and fresh pineapple juice, to Brazilian meat rodizio restaurants to fine dining.

If not why not have a snack and a beer in one of the many beach side terraces and watch the girl, or boy, from Ipanema or Copacabana go by.

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

The mighty roar and spectacle of the Iguaçu Falls cannot fail to impress the visitor.

This vast network of falls, the largest in the world, straddles the Brazil – Argentina border and is within touching distance of Paraguay.

More than 80% of the Falls are on the Argentina side of the border, but it is from the Brazilian side you get the vast, panoramic view and the wonderful photo opportunities.

There is also a walkway that takes you to the lower base of the Devil’s Throat Falls – not for those that want to stay dry!

Amazon rainforest of Brazil

The best way to get a feel for the famous Amazon rainforest region is aboard a river cruise.

From these comfortable boats, you will be able to explore the mighty Amazon and Negro rivers. There are also jungle lodge options, so you can immerse yourself in nature.

The city of Manaus in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon and is the gateway to the rainforest.

Boasting its famous opera house, built at the end of the 19th Century on the back of the rubber boom, the city itself is well worth a day of exploration, too.

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