Lands of Silver & Gold
Buenos Aires to Rio = a pretty freaking great trip. Try the world’s best steak in Buenos Aires, explore the cobbled streets of Colonia, chill at the beach in Montevideo, stay in an Estancia, experience paradise in Parady, snorkel, hike and sip cocktails in Ilha Grande and finish off in party-town Rio. TOLD YOU IT WAS GREAT.
Some say the tango came about when gauchos wore their smelly chaps into nightclubs. If they asked a girl to dance she held her head back to avoid the stench, with her right hand down near his pocket to let him know she expected payment for her... ahem... hospitality.
Day 1 - Buenos Aires
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Buenos Aires.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 1 pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time that morning, but there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by that time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Take a guided orientation walk around the Microcentro district, passing some of the historic buildings along Avenida de Mayo, including the Casa Rosada (Argentina's government house), the impressive Palacia Barolo and possibly San Telmo.
Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style all of its own, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (the local residents) are justifiably proud of BA, which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own style.
If you're in Buenos Aires for a weekend, visit San Telmo for its antiques market and artists displays. La Boca, settled by waves of immigrants who built brightly painted buildings, is home to the world-class Boca Juniors football team. Recoleta is the place to browse museums with Buenos Aires' well-to-do. There are many sights in the heart of the city with churches, cathedrals and historic buildings aplenty.
Vegetarians, look away. Everyone else, your first order of business is to find the nearest parrilla (steak house) and order a big, plump, juicy piece of the world's best steak.
When you've finished exploring, settle down at one of the many streetside cafes and prepare yourself for a night of tango at one of the many milongas.
Day 2 - Colonia
Travel by ferry across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia in Uruguay (up to 3 hrs). What more could you possibly ask for? It's got narrow streets, riverside restaurants and loads of sandstone architecture.
The charming colonial city of Colonia del Sacramento is the oldest town in Uruguay. What more could you possibly ask for? The World Heritage-listed Barrio Historico is situated on a peninsula and is a great place to get your bearings. Stroll down the cute cobblestone streets and rub shoulders with locals as they go about their day continually sipping from their cup of mate (tea). The Plaza Mayor is especially lovely, with loads of parrakeets in its palm trees. The town has many small museums to poke around in.Breakfast
Day 3 - Montevideo
Continue on by local bus to Montevideo (approx 3 hrs).
Montevideo killed the radio star. It's true. Head to the beach and do your best impression of a beach bum, or eat loads of barbequed meat while listening to a live Jazz band at Mercado del Puerto. Yes, it's as good as it sounds. Montevideo is Uruguay's capital and by far its largest city. This is the commercial and cultural hub of the country, but despite all the trimmings of a modern metropolis it retains a laidback atmosphere and has lots of students. Most of the interesting buildings and many good museums are in the Ciudad Vieja, home to the Plaza Independencia with its eerie underground Mausolea Atigas Mausoleum. There are good beaches to chill out on or visit the Mercade del Puerto where artists and musicians hang out on Sundays.
There's plenty to see on a stroll around town as well. There's the clash of attractive architectural styles, cafes playing tango music, buzzing markets, pretty plazas and interesting museums to explore.
Day 4-7 - Estancia Stay - overnight bus
Travel to Tacuarembo by bus (approx 5 hrs). The bus has reclining seats and you'll be provided with a typical Uruguayan snack, although it's recommended you also bring your own food as the bus doesn't stop. From Tacuarembo, it's a further hour by truck and 4WD to the ranch.
Our stay on a local estancia is the real deal as we spend a few days experiencing a working farm. If you are up for it, you can fully involve yourself in the day-to-day jobs (which change according to any given day and the season) and may include herding the sheep and cows, branding cattle, and marking and injecting the lambs against worms.
Don't expect luxury: things are simple down on the ranch - the accommodation is dorm style, there's only hot water and electricity for a couple of hours a day and the working day starts at 7.30 am (although you are free to laze around and just relax). What you'll get is a warm Uruguayan welcome from our hosts, some of the best home-cooked food you have ever tasted and the chance to experience real farm life.
Travel to Concordia, Argentina in the afternoon of Day 7, then take a 12 hour overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu. The bus has reclining seats, toilets, shows movies and a simple dinner is provided on board.Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 8-9 - Iguazu Falls - overnight bus
As soon as we arrive at Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) bus station, we take a minivan to our hotel in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil). This takes about an hour depending on traffic at the Brazil-Argentina border. Close to the borders with Argentina and Paraguay, Foz do Iguazu is Brazil's gateway to the Iguazu Falls.
At over 2 km long, Iguazu Falls are actually a series of cataracts. There are over 275 individual falls in all, and with some reaching up to 80m in height, they are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara. Legend has it that a serpent god intended to marry a beautiful girl called Naipi. She escaped in a canoe with her mortal lover Caroba and in a jealous rage the god chased them, collapsing the river before them so that Naipi plunged over the falls to become a rock, while Caroba became a tree, forever unable to touch his love. A more scientific explanation is that the Rio Iguazu flows over a riverbed of basalt that ends where the lava cooled, leaving the water to fall. The falls were 'discovered' in the modern day by the Spaniard Juan Alvar Nunez who named them Saltos de Santa Maria. The name we know them by today means 'Great Waters' in the Tupi-Guarani tongue.
Bordering Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, these spectacular falls are a great sight to see. From the Brazilian side you can see the falls in their full glory with grand panoramas. From the Argentinean side it’s possible to follow a series of boardwalks to get up close to the thundering waters - so close you can almost touch them.
Take a helicopter ride over the falls - a spectacular way to get a feel for the immense size of the waterfalls and a great view of the greenness of the surrounding park.
Take an overnight bus to Sao Paulo (approx 16 hrs).
Day 11-12 - Paraty
On arrival in Sao Paulo, catch a local bus to Paraty (approx 6 hrs). Sitting between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Paraty is one of the world's best preserved Portuguese colonial towns. This World Heritage-listed town was originally settled in 1531 on the opposite side of the river but in the 17th century the Indians who lived on the current site were driven away and the town moved. Paraty later became a booming port town, famous for its sugar cane liquor but after the abolition of slavery it was slowly forgotten. With the opening of new roads, the town was 'rediscovered' and declared a national monument.
The patron saint of Paraty is Our Lady of the Medicines. Three hundred years ago a wealthy benefactor donated land for a church in her honour. In return, she asked only for an annual mass. Each year a wooden effigy of the virgin, adorned with silver is carried in a procession through the town during the Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios.
At high tide, some of Paraty's cobblestone streets are partly covered in sea water, adding to the rustic, colonial charm. The water of the bay is always right for swimming and the surrounding national parks are filled with trails, wildlife and waterfalls.
You can basically spend the next couple of days relaxing in this Brazilian paradise or exploring some jungle trails and looking for waterfalls and wildlife. Got it? Good.
Day 13-15 - Ilha Grande
Head by local bus and ferry to our island getaway on Ilha Grande (approx 5 hrs).
Ihla Grande is an island untouched by development, a paradise of tropical beaches and virgin rainforest. The island has a fascinating history, as it was variously a pirate's lair, a leper colony and a prison for violent criminals. The oppressive ruins of the prison can still be visited.
Trails through the forest lead to beautiful and remote beaches, like the Praia de Lopes Mendes, reputedly Brazil's most attractive beach. Spend time contemplating the sandy beaches with a caipirinha in hand or snorkelling and swimming in the beautiful warm waters.
Spend a day beach-hopping on a boat tour of Ilha Grande Bay all the way to the Blue Lagoon. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for fresh seafood and to swim and snorkel through the crystal clear waters.
Drink Caipirinha's, hike through forests or snorkel through the underwater world. You should Google a picture of Ilha Grande right now. It'll make you cry.
Day 16-17 - Rio de Janiero
Take a boat to the small port of Mangaratiba (approx 1 hr), then board a minivan to Rio (approx 2.5 hrs). Enjoy a free day to discover Rio.
The locals like to say that 'God made the world in six days, the seventh he devoted to Rio'. In this heaving metropolis, set against the luminescent green of Guanabara Bay and surrounded by the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado, it's hard not to be caught up in the Cariocas' (residents) passion. Nothing conquers the end-of-trip blues quite like finishing up in Rio. If there's one place in the world you can embrace your inner party animal, it's here. Walk it all off with a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain and let the views of the bay soothe your weary soul. You won't ever want to leave.
The French were the first to settle here as they logged wood along the Brazilian coast, but they were soon driven out by the Portuguese, who built a fortified town, naming it Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and quickly amassed wealth in the gold rush of Minas Gerais. In the 19th century, the Portuguese monarchy fled from the threat of Napoleon in Europe to Rio where they built grand buildings, still in existence today. These days Rio is known best for its contrasting images of favelas (shanty towns) and the glitz and glamour of Carnaval.
Rio is deservedly famous for its live music scene, which encompasses myriad styles such as samba, jazz, bossa nova, hip hop, reggae, rock and many other fusions of regional styles. The neighbourhood of Lapa offers great dance halls where you can join locals in doing some serious dancing - or just soak up the vibe.
For some seriously eye-popping people watching, head down to the white sand beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema - skimpy bathing suits optional.
The northern slopes are where most of the favelas reside, while the southern zone is for the middle classes and the rich. To get oriented, or to just look on in awe, head to the top of Sugar Loaf by cable car for some incredible views.
Another view not to be missed is from the feet of Christ the Redeemer, standing atop Corcovado with arms open wide.
The trip ends on Day 17 and there are no activities planned for this day.
What to Know
An experienced local leader in Argentina and Brazil, and there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, entrance to Sugarloaf, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 12 Oct 2014 - 28 Oct 2014 Available US $1,775 Book Now 14 Dec 2014 - 30 Dec 2014 Available US $2,145 Book Now 09 Feb 2015 - 25 Feb 2015 2 places left US $2,085 Book Now 23 Mar 2015 - 08 Apr 2015 2 places left US $2,085 Book Now 20 Apr 2015 - 06 May 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 04 May 2015 - 20 May 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 18 May 2015 - 03 Jun 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 01 Jun 2015 - 17 Jun 2015 3 places left US $2,085 Book Now 08 Jun 2015 - 24 Jun 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 15 Jun 2015 - 01 Jul 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 29 Jun 2015 - 15 Jul 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 06 Jul 2015 - 22 Jul 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 13 Jul 2015 - 29 Jul 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 27 Jul 2015 - 12 Aug 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 02 Aug 2015 - 18 Aug 2015 2 places left US $2,085 Book Now 10 Aug 2015 - 26 Aug 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 21 Aug 2015 - 06 Sep 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 24 Aug 2015 - 09 Sep 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 07 Sep 2015 - 23 Sep 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 21 Sep 2015 - 07 Oct 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 05 Oct 2015 - 21 Oct 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 19 Oct 2015 - 04 Nov 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 02 Nov 2015 - 18 Nov 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 16 Nov 2015 - 02 Dec 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 30 Nov 2015 - 16 Dec 2015 3 places left US $2,085 Book Now 14 Dec 2015 - 30 Dec 2015 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 21 Dec 2015 - 06 Jan 2016 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now 28 Dec 2015 - 13 Jan 2016 4 places left US $2,085 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Lands of Silver & Gold
Candice - Australia, 19 Jan, 2014
This trip was great if you want a taste of Argentina and Brazil. The Argentine guide was very helpful at directing us to fun night spots and great places to eat. Iguazu Falls was well planned and definitely a highlight. We arrived in Brazil on Christmas Eve and had a new tour guide. He was very nice and was great at helping us order food and organising laundry etc but he didn't have a lot of knowledge about local bars/ clubs or good restaurants. We ended up doing more in Rio de Janeiro after the tour had actually finished. Christ the Redeemer is worth the trip and we also did a tour of the favela. All great! The accommodation was great. All hotels were really close to the beach or tourist attractions. The accommodation in the rainforest and on Ilha do Mel was gorgeous and so cute. All family run so you really feel like you're experiencing the culture.
Lands of Silver & Gold
Adriarne - Australia, 11 Mar, 2012
My guides were absolutely amazing. They were so knowledgable about their country and also so passionate. They took us to many great locations and also gave us great advice on other things to do while in each place.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip from Buenos Aires to Rio.
I have traveled with other companies including Intrepid and Kamuka, but i really enjoy the use of local guides - as they are a lot more passionate and knowledgeable about their country.