Get closer to nature
Ride across the Pantanal, try your hand at piranha fishing, glide through Amazon rivers spotting birdlife, hike to waterfalls in Chapada dos Guimarães and dance the night away in Rio.
Begin your journey in North Pantanal, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve, the Pantanal has one of the most diverse concentrations of fauna and flora on the planet. About 250 species of fish, 80 of mammals, 50 of reptiles and over 650 of birds live together harmoniously. Explore the riparian forest and mangroves spotting Otters, have a go at piranha fishing, learn about the fauna on horseback and try a night safari to spot nocturnal animals.
Next, explore a totally different landscape: the Chapada dos Guimarães where you will discover waterfalls, caves and rocky walls within the breathtaking landscape.
Then it is time to immerse yourself in the Amazon Rainforest staying at the renowned eco Cristalino Lodge. It's located in the middle of the first private reserve of natural heritage in this region, on the banks of the majestic Cristalino River, with clean and calm waters - perfect for gliding down in a boat. This is one of the best places to see birdlife including the grey heron, socó-boi, pará peacock, biguatinga and kingfisher. Spot wildlife high up in the trees from the nature towers and explore the local trails on foot as you engage all your senses.
End your trip in Rio de Janeiro home to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. You might be surprised to discover a forest within this city and some incredible walks, as well as the chance to dance the night away with some samba at local bars.
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Day 1: Overnight flight
Fly from London to Sao Paulo overnight.
Day 2: North Pantanal
This morning you will catch a short flight from Sao Paulo to Cuiabá. Your adventure begins as soon as you are collected from Cuiabá Airport as the journey to Araras Lodge goes through the scenic Transpantaneira Park Road. Araras Eco Lodge where you will spend three nights is set in the heart of the largest floodplain on the planet and built in perfect harmony with the environment.
In the afternoon you can enjoy a hike within the surroundings of the lodge, reaching the Mirante da Garça, a 12m high observation tower that offers an unequalled view of the sunset.
After dinner, you will take a stargazing trek with the darkness magnifying the sounds of the Pantanal.
Day 3: Rio Clarinho river
After breakfast, you will head to Rio Clarinho river for a rowboat ride where you will explore the banks of riparian forest and mangroves. Here you spot many different species of otters and, with luck, they can be seen playing. It is also possible to go piranha fishing, a fun and challenging activity, as they have the ability to steal the bait from the hook, away from the eyes of the fisherman.
A barbecue-style lunch will be prepared at the campsite by the river and you will have a chance to rest in hammocks.
In the late afternoon, you will take a walk to the Torre do Bugio, the tallest observation tower - 25 m high - that offers a spectacular view of the Pantanal plains. After dinner, you will hop into a safari truck, in search of nocturnal animals.
Day 4: Horseback riding
After breakfast, you will ride calm horses along the local trails and learn about this very special ecosystem. You will return for lunch and for a rest break at the pousada.
In the afternoon, you will walk down the Rondon Trail to the Tuiuiú Tower, 13.5 m high, from where you can see the place where a couple of the Pantanal symbol birds made their nest.
Day 5: Dawn walk & Chapada dos Guimarães
Enjoy a dawn walk in the Pantanal to experience the awakening of this incredible ecosystem. After breakfast, you will depart to the Savanna Tablelands, Chapada dos Guimarães for a completely new landscape.
Check-in at the Pousada do Paque on the edge of Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, and if you fancy, take a quick swim before dinner. You'll spend two nights here.
Day 6: Waterfalls at the National Park
Today is devoted to a wonderful hike through the National Park - its an easy trail but takes 5 hours. You'll see intriguing sandstone shapes which have been sculpted by the wind and rain sculpted and crystal-clear waterfalls.
The hike ends at the 86m high waterfall “Véu de Noiva” where you'll savor a traditional meal at the local restaurant, looking down to a huge canyon.
Return to the lodge, and in the afternoon you'll take a light hike (600m) to watch the sunsetting above the 850m high “São Geronimo” Peak in front of the Lodge.
Day 7: Amazon Rainforest
Before breakfast, take a sunrise walk around the lodge to observe the awakening of Cerrado, then it is onto Cuiaba Airport to catch your flight to Alta Floresta. On arrival, you will be transferred to Cristalino Lodge (1h by car, followed by 30 min by boat) where you will spend three nights.
Cristalino Lodge is set on the banks of the Rio Cristalino River, surrounded by the southern Amazon jungle - this stunning 5-star lodge has been listed among the top 25 eco-lodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine.
In afternoon, explore the 11,399 hectare Cristalino Nature Reserve and take a look at the lodge's floating deck.
Day 8 & 9: Amazon Rainforest
Over the next few days, you can choose from a range of activities depending on the time of year (one morning and one afternoon) to explore the Amazon Rainforest.
Activities include canoeing, hiking, visiting the observation tower, observing the flora and fauna, and boat trips.
The calm waters of the Cristalino River are perfect for canoeing and gliding along the river in silence not only allows you to contemplate the landscape, but also increases the chances of observing birds and monkeys, such as the grey heron, socó-boi, pará peacock, biguatinga, kingfisher, and white-faced spider monkey.
As the trees in the region are very tall, with emergences reaching over 45 metres, the observation towers are excellent for observing the species that inhabit the canopy, such as tanagers, anambés, macaws, tiribas, toucans, and araçaris. Cristalino Lodge has two 50 metre high towers located at different points in the reserve.
Day 10: Rio de Janeiro
Today you will say goodbye to Amazon and head to the big city, flying from Alta Floresta to Rio de Janeiro. On your arrival, you will be greeted by your local guide and transferred to Windsor Califórnia Hotel where you will spend three nights.
The afternoon is yours to explore the city.
Day 11: Rio de Janerio
Today you will visit the most famous postcards of Rio de Janeiro! Starting at Corcovado, where you will take an eco-friendly electric tram through the Atlantic Forest, part of Tijuca's National Park, ending at the most iconic attraction of Rio de Janeiro: the Christ the Redeemer statue. Next, head to Sugarloaf Mountain where you will take the cable car to the summit, enjoying the 360 degree views on route.
Day 12: Rio de Janerio Hike
Enjoy a 50-minute uphill hiking trail to the top of Pedra Bonita (696m/2283 ft), one of the most stunning summits of Rio de Janeiro. The trail goes through the Tijuca Rainforest National Park, one of the largest urban forests in the world with more than 40 sq. km and home to toucans, coatis, and monkeys. The tour also includes a visit to the Chinese View summit, an amazing belvedere and one of the very few spots in the city where you can get Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, the beach and the lagoon in the same frame.
Finally, experience the nightlife of Rio as a local, visiting traditional bars and samba parties or clubs with live music such as samba or forró.
Day 13: Return home
Today you will be transferred to the international airport to catch your return flight home.
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Brazil Holidays, South and Central America Holidays
From £6,520pp including internal flights. Activities and meals are included as specified in the itinerary.
- Araras Eco Lodge - 3 nights - full board
- Pousada do Paque.- 2 nights - dinner & breakfast
- Cristalino Jungle Lodge - 3 nights - full board
- Windsor Califórnia Hotel - 3 nights - B&B