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Luxury Rio, Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires and the pampas

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This luxurious taste of Brazil and Argentina starts in Rio, where you stay at the Belmond (formerly Orient Express) Copacabana Palace, which faces the blue green rollers of the Atlantic Ocean breaking onto Copacabana beach - the heart of Rio's beach life. At Iguazú Falls, you will step out of your room at Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas to the roar of water crashing over granite cliffs fringed by tropical rainforest.  

Move on to Buenos Aires, a city oozing culture and nostalgia. To suit this mood you stay at one of the continent’s finest traditional properties, the classic Alvear Palace, which numbers presidents, royalty and celebrities among its guests.  Having explored a few of the attractions and savoured cutting edge cuisine at top restaurants and perused classy boutiques you head off back into the countryside. Unwind for a few days at a classy French-inspired estancia in the cattle plains of the pampas.

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 in Rio.

Day 4

Transfer to airport and fly to Iguazú falls.

Day 5

At leisure at the falls.

Day 6

Transfer to airport and fly to Buenos Aires.

Day 7

Guided city tour with Teatro Colón.

Day 8

At leisure; evening tango show with dinner.

Day 9

Transfer to estancia in the pampas.

Day 10

At leisure on the estancia.

Day 11

Transfer to airport for your international flight home.

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What our experts say

It’s the unique experiences and properties that make this holiday so luxurious, in my opinion. Staying at the first-class Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas and hearing the crashing waters of the Iguazú Falls from your room or rubbing shoulders with royalty at the Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires are just some of the exclusive moments that might await you on this trip. For something really special, why not finish it all off with a carriage ride through the surrounding pampas at your Argentine estancia?

Margot

Margot Chard

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Luxury Rio, Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires and the pampas

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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.

Football World Cup: 12 Jun-13 Jul 2014. Cities all over Brazil are hosting games but the Maracanã in Rio has been refurbished for the occasion and will leave the legacy of a spruced up stadium where visitors can enjoy regular games, usually on Sunday afternoons. 

Olympic Games:  5 - 21 Aug 2016. Rio is being given a face-lift for the event, if you visit before the games you’ll benefit from greater security, repaved promenades, streamlined transport links (they hope!), brand new restaurants and open air cafés and even 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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Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Along with Rio, this is a city worth crossing the Atlantic for in its own right. Dynamic, stylish and nostalgic, it’s the continent’s most European city, but does not lack South American verve. Its contrasting neighbourhoods reveal colonial plazas, shady avenues, quirky antique fairs, street art, world famous theatres and football stadiums and spruced-up metropolitan port districts. Studded with extensive parks, cutting-edge boutique hotels, designer boutiques and a myriad of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it’s a restless place, challenging to find your way around but well worth the effort. It’s the beating heart of Argentina, the hub for visits throughout the country.
When's the best time to visit Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is at its hottest Jan-Mar (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40C during the day). It can be cold and cloudy Jul-Aug, so weather conditions are best for a visit in spring and autumn. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times: Porteños head for the beach.

What's the official language in Buenos Aires?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Buenos Aires?

Argentine Peso.

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Please note that in 2016 many of the ATMs were not functioning properly; we are recommending that for the moment you take a good supply of US dollars cash. There are many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling frequently poor. 

What's the time difference between Buenos Aires and the UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Buenos Aires?

Beach time in Mar del Plata (392 km by road, 5hrs); Colonia or Montevideo in Uruguay across the River Plate: travel by ferry, bus or plane; a stay on a working estancia in the pampa south and west of the city; Iguazú Falls (2hrs approx by air).

How long is the flight to Buenos Aires from the UK?

Average flight time is 14hrs 20mins on a direct flight from London. There are also flights requiring a change of plane in Europe or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural and sports events in Buenos Aires?

Tango Festival: Aug. The world's – top tango festival, nine days  of concerts, shows, free classes, exhibitions, open-air milongas (Avenida Corrientes is closed for a massive display) and other tango-related festivities.

Opera season: Mar-Dec. Take in a concert or opera at the refurbished Teatro Colón which attracts internationally esteemed artists. 

Argentine Polo Open: Mid Nov-mid Dec. Polo is a passion for many Argentines. This is the year’s main attraction, taking place in Palermo’s 16,000 seater stadium.

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Gauchos on the Argentine pampa
Best known for being the home of the gauchos, Argentina’s famous baggy-trousered cowboys, the pampa stretches south and west from Buenos Aires. It’s a region of endless yawning plains, the fertile soils of which support succulent pasture for the country’s revered beef cattle, along with golden wheat and sunflowers. Pretty featureless apart from some attractive little towns, the flat pampa can be atmospheric in a morning mist or when reflecting an apricot sunset. The landscape is divided into estancias, or ranches, many of which nowadays welcome visitors. Along the Atlantic coast are a string of beach resorts, mostly catering for Latin American tourists.
When's the best time to visit the Argentine Pampas?
The pampa is at its hottest Jan-Mar (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40°C during the day). It can be cold and cloudy Jul-Aug, so weather conditions are best for a visit in spring and autumn. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times: porteños head for the beaches along the pampa’s Atlantic coast.
What's the official language of the Argentine Pampas?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in the Argentine Pampas?

Argentine Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Acquire pesos before you head out into the pampa.

What's the time difference between Argentine Pampas and UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Argentine Pampas?

A visit to the capital Buenos Aires (2-4hrs by road); beach time in Mar del Plata, or in Punta del Este, Uruguay across the River Plate, accessible from Buenos Aires.

How do I get to Argentine Pampas?
Some of the most popular estancias are a 2-4hrs drive from Buenos Aires. San Antonio de Areco is 113 km from the capital, 2hrs by road.
What are the festivals and cultural and sporting events in Argentine Pampas?
Dia de la Tradición: San Antonio de Areco, 10 Nov annually. The principal gaucho festival where events extend over a full week, with exhibitions of cowboy skills, music, dancing and barbecues.

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

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