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Luxury Brazil: Rio, Iguazu Falls and Buzios

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This luxurious taste of Brazil starts Rio, a city of fun-loving people, music on every street corner and football on every beach - all with a glorious mountain backdrop. We've selected some of Brazil's finest hotels, with near perfect locations. Belmond Copacabana Palace (formerly known as Orient Express), faces the blue green rollers of the Atlantic Ocean breaking onto the golden sands of Copacabana, the heart of this beach-loving city. 

At Iguazú Falls, you will step out of your room at Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas to the thunderous roar of water crashing over lofty granite cliffs fringed by tropical rainforest. It's the only property right o n the edge of the falls themselves: you can avoid the crowds in the early morning and evening.. Finally at the upmarket, popular beach retreat of Búzios, unwind at a top quality boutique property overlooking the ocean.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Rio de Janeiro. Transfer to hotel, the famous Copacabana Palace.

Day 2

Guided excursion up Sugar Loaf mountain, Corcovado mountain and Tijuca.

Day 3

At leisure.

Day 4

Fly to Iguazú Falls.

Day 5

Explore Argentine side of Iguazú Falls.

Day 6

At leisure.

Day 7

Fly to Rio de Janeiro, transfer by coast road to Buzios.

Days 8-10

At leisure on the beach.

Day 11

Transfer to airport

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Places visited on this holiday

Luxury Brazil: Rio, Iguazu Falls and Buzios

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Rio de Janeiro
Corcovado Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Of the world’s great iconic cities, Rio is the most captivating. Romantic and laid back but oozing energy and optimism, it needs a few days to explore and time to sit back and share the outdoor life of its welcoming inhabitants.

With streets, beaches and parks spruced up for the World Cup and Olympic Games, now is the best time to go. The busy colonial centre is transformed, with literary cafés spilling out on to car-free lanes, the National Theatre all a-glitter, and boutique hotels nestle in arty Santa Teresa.

The lagoon behind Ipanema beach is circled by a pretty path and cycle route and the Botanical Gardens have undergone a luscious makeover. Vibrant street art, beach football, spontaneous musical events and cool bars all add to a joyous experience for visitors.
What's the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro?

Rio is an all-year destination, at its hottest Jan-Mar (humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40°C during the day). It can be cool and drizzly Jul-Aug but the sun is never far away. Late Dec-Feb (and  to a lesser extent Jul) are local holiday times and can be very busy.

How do I get local currency in Rio de Janeiro?

Brazilian Real.

Notes can be withdrawn from the ATMs at the airport and in town. Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm. Currency also obtainable in banks and money exchanges.

What's the time difference between Rio de Janeiro and UK?

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from Oct- end Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

What places combine well with Rio de Janeiro?

Beach time in Búzios (136 km by road) or Ilha Grande on the Costa Verde (136 km); Paratí, quaint and arty colonial port surrounded by rainforested hills (236 km); Petropolis, former summer seat of the Emperor, in the tropical mountains behind Rio, (68 km, 1.5 hours by road);  Ouro Preto, exquisite colonial city in the mountains of Minas Gerais (280 km); Iguazú Falls (2 hours approx by air); Salvador da Bahía in the northeast (2 hours by air).

What's the flight time between Rio de Janeiro and UK?

Average flight time to Rio is 11 hours. Two airlines offer direct flights. There are flights with European connections to many other major cities.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Rio de Janeiro?

Reveillon: New Year’s Eve, 2 million white-clad Cariocas descend on Copacabana beach to celebrate the Festa de Iemanjá, launching candlelit boats on the Ocean. Fireworks and music accompany the fun. 

Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable. Apart from the world famous parades in the purpose-built sambadrome there are street processions, live bands, costume balls, over-indulgence and general frivolity.

Recent events: Football World Cup: 12 Jun-13 Jul 2014. Cities all over Brazil hosted games but the Maracanã in Rio was refurbished for the occasion and leaves the legacy of a spruced up stadium where visitors can enjoy regular games, usually on Sunday afternoons. 

Olympic Games:  5 - 21 Aug 2016. Rio was given a face-lift for the event, now there is greater security, there are repaved promenades, streamlined transport links, new restaurants and open air cafés and even (patchy) Wifi on Copacabana beach.
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Iguazu Falls
Iguazu falls

Straddling the border between southern Brazil and northeast Argentina, The Iguazú Falls (spelt  Iguaçú in Brazil) are usually rated number one of the big three waterfalls, the others being Niagara and Victoria. They are often considered to be Latin America’s most awe-inspiring natural sight and a must-see for anyone visiting the highlights of the continent.

The 275 separate cascades form a curtain of foaming water which crashes through tangled sub-tropical jungle over a vast granite amphitheatre, protected by national park status. Both countries offer scenic walkways with breath-taking scenery around every corner and easily observed wildlife. From the Brazilian side you’ll get a panoramic view of the 3km cliff edge, on the Argentine side there is a series of walkways leading you above, below and even behind the water.

When's the best time to go to Iguazu Falls?

Iguazú Falls is a year-round destination, but water levels and weather conditions vary with the rainy (Dec-Feb) and dry (Jun-Jul) seasons. The water supply to the falls also varies according to the local control of the dams upstream. It can be busy with tourists in local holiday seasons, for example in Feb and at Easter.

What's the official language in Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Portuguese; Argentinean Spanish.

How do i get to Iguazu Falls?

There are direct flights connecting Iguazú Falls to Buenos Aires (2 hours), Rio de Janeiro (2 hours), Lima, São Paulo, and Salta in northern Argentina.

What's the official currency at Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Real.

Brazil: notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Foz do Iguazú Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

Argentina: there are a couple of ATMs in Puerto Iguazú where the banks are only open in the mornings.

What's the time difference between GMT and Iguazu falls?

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from October to the end of February (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

What countries combine well with Iguazu Falls?

Argentina: Buenos Aires - there are direct daily 2 hour flights from Puerto Iguazú; Salta in the northwest Andes: daily flights take 1 hour 50mins.
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro - There are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú; Southern Brazil: there are flights from Foz do Iguaçu to Curitiba with connections; The Pantanal or the Amazon: there are daily flights to Campo Grande or Manaus with connections in São Paulo.
Peru: there are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú to Lima, 4.5 hours.

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Buzios Paraty and Costa Verde
Paraty

Head either east or southwest along the coast from the bright lights of Rio de Janeiro and you enter a different world.  The forest-smothered coastline, scalloped with rocky bays and exquisite beaches, is studded with laid-back beach resorts, secluded upmarket hotels, and colonial-era ports.

Búzios is a chic jet-setter resort set on a peninsula fringed by white-sand crescent coves three hours’ drive east from Rio. Revealed to the world by Brigitte Bardot, it resembles somewhat a privileged spot on the Côte d’Azur, with swish villas, cobbled streets, trendy boutiques, colonial pousadas, elegant restaurants and lively nightlife.  

Head southwest out of Rio along a winding coast road with waves of steep mountains cloaked in dense mata Atlântica rainforest tumbling to tiny sandy bays. Outstanding among fishing ports and leisure resorts is the baroque architectural masterpiece Paraty, a little bit of imperial Portugal in Brazil.

The jade-green ocean is peppered with islands, one of the largest being undeveloped Ilha Grande, ringed by sugary beaches and with a choice of laid-back pousadas and hiking trails.

When's the best time to visit Buzios, Paraty and the Costa Verde??

Búzios is at its hottest Jan-Mar (humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40°C during the day). It can be cool and drizzly Jun-Aug and some facilities will be closed but the sun is never far away. Late Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times and the resort will be very busy.

The verdant mountains west of Rio can attract rain at any time but sunny days are frequent. The best weather is Mar – May, a quiet season except over Easter. The local holiday season Dec - Feb and Jul, weekends and public holidays can be very busy.

What's the official language of Buzios, Paraty and the Costa Verde??

Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue.

How do I get local currency in Buzios, Paraty and the Costa Verde?

Brazilian Real. Notes can be withdrawn from several ATMs in Buzios, such as that of Bradesco, using a UK credit or debit card. Notes can be withdrawn from the ATMs of Bradesco in Ave. Roberto Silveira just outside Paraty's historic centre using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your home bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

What's the time difference between Buzios, Paraty and Costa Verde and UK?

UTC -3 hours. Daylight saving from Oct to the end of Feb (approx) was cancelled from 2019.

How do I get to Buzios, Paraty and Costa verde?

Buzios is a 3 hour drive east of Rio, and you get to cross the superb 12 km Niteroi Bridge.

To Ilha Grande: 3 hours by road and 1.5 hours by ferry from Rio de Janeiro; to Paraty 4-5 hours by road from Rio (6-7 hours with shared transport), a bit longer from São Paulo.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Buzios, Paraty and Costa Verde??

Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar variable.

Easter: Religious parades and folk singing in Paraty.

Paraty International Literary festival: International book festival with world-renowned authors, Jul annually.

Rio das Ostras Jazz and Blues Festival: Top class music on a tropical beach north of Búzios, early Jun annually.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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