Private Journeys

Value Iguazu Falls: Buenos Aires to Rio

10 days from £1,290pp

Argentina / Iguazu Falls / Brazil

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to hotel in the arty San Telmo district.

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel in the arty district of San Telmo by one of our local representatives.

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills.

The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants.

Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of French or Italian  influences, where Evita Perón was laid to rest. During the winter months, wealthy female residents parade the streets in their fur coats and improbable, towering hairstyles, and take afternoon tea in the city’s ornate salons.

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Day 2

Walking tour along Avenida de Mayo.

Guided walking tour along Avenida del Mayo, one of Buenos Aires' principal stately arteries, linking the capital's colonial and political heart at Plaza de Mayo with the Plaza de Congreso, crossing the even more grandiose Avenida 9 de Julio. Built in the 1880s and often compared with similar boulevards in European capitals, it has a definite Old World ambiance, with art deco, art nouveau and neo-classical façades, shaded by leafy trees, lining the route.  The guided walk includes a stop at the world famous Café Tortoni, crammed with memorabilia, the barber's shop attached, and one of the first metro stations outside the USA and Europe, preserved in its original state as a museum. Visit the very ornate Barolo Palace, designed in accordance with the cosmology of Dante's Divine Comedy with floors representing heaven, purgatory and hell.

Make your own way (radio taxis may be ordered from most hotels' reception) to the start of the tour at the Pyramid of Mayo on the Plaza de Mayo, on which sits the government palace, the Casa Rosada. Your guide will meet you there at 10:00am. The walk follows the avenue to end at the palace housing the Italianate National Congress, which took 20 years to build.

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Day 3

At leisure.

At leisure in Buenos Aires.  Stroll round Puerto Madero, the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay.  Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

Alternatively, venture into the watery delta to the small town of Tigre, set on the banks of the Luján River. Have lunch at one of the restaurants on the shores of the Río Paraná, while watching  fisherman at work and  river-craft gliding by.

A third choice would be a trip out to one of Argentina’s famous estancias (ranches) on the grassy plains of the pampas.

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Day 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazu.

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Iguazú in the subtropical northeast corner of Argentina (2 hrs). Relax at the hotel or to explore this small, pleasant town in the afternoon. It’s just a short drive to the national park wherein flow the Iguazú Falls.

The Iguazú Falls are unquestionably one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world. A total of 275falls thunder over a rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest.

The u-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú River crashes over a 1.5km wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller cascades. You can usually spot colourful toucans and many other exotic birds perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters.

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Day 5

Visit Argentine side of Iguazu Falls

Full day guided tour of the Argentine side of the falls. Visit the National Park Visitor Centre, where there is a display  illustrating the biodiversity of the region’s tropical rainforest, and from here a little train chugs  to Cataratas Station where the Upper Walk begins. This sequence of causeways and passarelles links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of the sheer rock face and the walkways cross the myriad of streams of the Iguazú River as they cascade over the lip of the precipice:  the water thunders on to the rocks below.

The train continues to Devil’s Throat Station and from here a kilometre-long walkway leads across the river to the thunderous Garganta del Diablo, (Devil’s Throat). From this spectacular vantage point you can feel the incredible power of the water, and the flow is mesmeric as it plummets into the vortex below.

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Day 6

At leisure.

At leisure at Iguazú. You’ll find a wealth of choice of optional excursions and activities: a trip over the border to the Brazilian side of the falls from where there is a panoramic vista over the whole length of the cascades. Or choose between a quirky bird park, jungle safaris, zip lines and boat trips.

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Day 7

Fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Guided transfer across the border into Brazil. Fly to Rio de Janeiro (2 hrs) and transfer to your hotel in Copacabana. Rio is the most beguiling, seductive, intriguing and beautiful city on the continent. Rio enjoys a truly awesome location among towering jungle-clad granite mountains, fringed by white-to-toffee coloured sandy beaches that swoop down into the Atlantic surf.

But it is a multi-layered place: the gulf between the rich and the poor is the greatest of all Latin American countries. Sumptuous apartments overlook the sparkling bays against a backdrop of half-built slum dwellings, favelas, which cling precariously to the hillsides.

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Day 8

Jeep tour of Corcovado Mountain and Santa Teresa.

Take an exhilarating guided tour by an open-topped jeep through tropical fruit-laden vegetation up the sheer-sided Corcovado Mountain to drink in the views from beside the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on the peak. Continue to Santa Teresa, the colonial heart of the city which sits on a hill close to the Cathedral in the busy centre. This is a popular residential area for artists and TV personalities who occupy the stately shaded houses lining its cobbled streets. There are plenty of old-fashioned bars, or bodegas.

(The ancient rickety tram which climbed around impossibly steep lanes is currently closed and undergoing renovation). The streets are lined by high walls sheltering museums, parks, art centres, smart restaurants and one or two luxury hotels.

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Day 9

At leisure.

There are many optional excursions to keep you entertained in this fascinating city. Don’t miss a trip to Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain). Take the cable-car up the domed granite mountain that protrudes from the ocean. This is especially magical at sunset when the twinkling lights of the city are coming on and you can enjoy the magnificent views back over Copacabana beach, Botafogo Bay and into the lush mountains beyond.

Also within a short taxi ride from your hotel are the very pleasant, recently refurbished botanical gardens. Further afield you might take a day trip on a schooner down the coast to the tropical islands off the Emerald Coast, each with its pretty sandy bay. There’s an al fresco lunch and you can swim in the warm, calm waters.

If you still have the energy, you may choose to enjoy a lively samba show, or a dance in one of Rio’s many nightspots.

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Day 10

Transfer to airport

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