Overlanding is the best way to see South America by far! Dragoman have been leading the way in South American overland expeditions since 1990, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting in Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina, this trip takes you north along the classic route to the iconic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro! A South American odyssey, this action-packed holiday-length adventure takes you to one of South America's most impressive highlights - the mighty Iguazu Falls - and you'll get to see these colossal waterfalls from both sides of the border. We continue on to the eco-tourism and outdoor activity capital of Brazil - the wonderful town of Bonito. Here we have the chance to take many optional activities such as snorkelling through the crystal-clear waters of the surrounding rivers, before moving on to a amazing package of activities in the wildlife-packed wetlands of the southern Pantanal. We then head towards the coast and to the atmospheric colonial town of Paraty, famed for its magical tropical islands and world-class diving. Finally we arrive in the iconic Brazillian city of Rio de Janeiro, home to the incredible Christ the Redeemer statue. On arrival in Rio de Janeiro, it's time for the greatest party on Earth - the world-famous Rio Carnival! During this week the city bursts to life with music, dancing, street parties, colour, and fun - and Dragoman will get you right into the heart of the action! Join us for this unforgettable South American adventure!
Border information: if you are joining in Buenos Aires, you will most likely enter Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza Airport (IATA code: BUE/EZE).
Welcome to Buenos Aires, the wonderful capital of Argentina! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Buenos Aires before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Buenos Aires.
In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.
Today will be a free day to explore the incredible city of Buenos Aires, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music.
Today we have a full day drive north though the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, aiming to reach the beautiful village of Yapeyú on the banks of the River Uruguay. Yapeyú is very famous amongst Argentines for being the birthplace of their national hero General Jose de San Martin, one of the liberators of South America from Spanish colonial rule.
In Yapeyú we will stay in a municipal campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
Border information: Exit Argentina at Tancredo Neves, enter Brazil at Tancredo Neves.
Today we cross the border into Brazil and drive to the city of Foz do Iguacu.
In Foz do Iguacu we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel out of town, with good facilities and a pool.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Today we will visit the Brazilian side of the phenomenal Iguazu Falls, to get some incredible panoramic vistas of the mighty waterfalls. There is also plenty of time to visit the bird park, take a helicopter ride over the falls, see the incredible Itaipu Dam, or quickly stop into Paraguay to pick up some bargains in the nearcy Ciudad del Este.
Today we will take a day trip back into Argentina to see the incredible Iguazu Falls from the other side. This is well worth doing as the views are even more spectacular, and you'll be able to look right down into the mighty Garganta del Diablo (the largest waterfall here) from a gantry walkway viewing point). We will have a full day at the Argentine side of the falls, allowing us lots of time to freely explore the site, hike some nature trails, or perhaps take an exhilarating (and very wet) boat ride!
We will return to our base in Foz do Iguacu tonight.
Today we have a full drive day north to the Brazilian eco-tourism capital of Bonito.
In Bonito we will camp in the grounds of an excellent hostel with a pool and good facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.
We have two full days in Bonito to take part in the plethora of incredible optional activities here. You could go out on a world-class snorkelling trip, explore the nearby caves, or go abseiling down some of the largest waterfalls in the area, amongst many other possibilities!
Today we have a short drive to Brazil's amazing Southern Pantanal region, where we have a visit a local eco-tourism ranch (or 'fazenda').
Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.
We will spend 2 nights here and have a comprehensive package of included activities such as exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside on horseback, trips down the wildlife-abundant rivers in boats and canoes, and safaris on the ranch's trucks and on foot where we hope to spot capybaras, caimans, and (if we are very lucky) jaguars and ocelots. Our stay here is an incredible highlight!
In the Southern Pantanal we will stay in dorm accommodation in a well equipped lodge with all the meals and activities included.
After our morning activities and one final lunch in our beautiful ranch, it is time to leave the Pantanal. We will start driving east towards Sao Paulo state, and wild camp towards the end of the day.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Today we will drive to the remote town of Brotas in southeastern Brazil.
In Brotas we will stay at a campsite with good facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Today is free to take part in optional adventure activities such as white water rafting or canyoning, or to simply relax by the pool!
Today we have a full day drive to the colonial town of Paraty on the Emerald Coast of the Atlantic!
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
On our first full day in Paraty, we will have an included boat trip around the incredible islands and beaches off the coast.
On our second day, we will have free time to explore the town, take a historical tour, walk along the stunning scenery of the coastline, head out snorkelling or diving, or simply relax on the idyllic beaches.
In Paraty we wil camp at a well equipped campsite.
This morning we will drive to the incredible Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world! This afternoon we will have the opportunity to take an optional visit to a community favela project that Dragoman supports.
In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, close to the beach and the metro station.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
The first day of Rio Carnival is free time as everyone will be arriving at various times throughout the day to start the package. Our hotel check-in is from midday, and Dragoman staff will be on hand to give you assistance.
There will be a joining meeting in the late afternoon - please check the notice board in the lobby/reception area for the exact times for your meeting.
After the meeting we have a table booked at a nearby buffet restaurant if you would like to join your leader and group for a meal.
In Rio de Janeiro we will stay in a great hotel in the Flamengo district, accommodation is in shared rooms in twins, triples and quadruple rooms. Our hotel is close to the beach and the metro station.
This morning we will go for an orientation walk with our local guide to get to know the local area and orientate ourselves. Afterwards you will have free time, perhaps head to one of the local 'bloccos' or street parties. If you do go to a blocco, just remember that they are hot and crowded so be prepared for a squeeze! the locals cariocas will be all dressed up, so don't forget to dress to impress!
In the evening there is an option to join us for a night of dancing and live music at the Rio Scenarium, one of the best nightspots in Rio - it's like an antiques warehouse, music venue, bar and restaurant all housed in one amazing colonial mansion. Often it's best to eat beforehand, as during carnival the food service can be slow! It's 65BRL entrance, plus your food and drinks.
Today is a free day for you to explore Rio until this evening, when we will head to the Sambadrome!
Early this morning, we will be running an optional guided tour to Corcovado - please pre-book with your agent if you'd like to join us. We will head to Corcovado and its world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer for a half-day guided tour. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the most iconic sights of Rio de Janeiro, and if the weather is clear there is also a fantastic view over the rest of the city including Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel in an air conditioned bus. We normally charter a private tram to the top of Corcovado mountain which means that we are the first ones to arrive and have the statue to ourselves for a short time - a fantastic privilege at any time of year but particularly during the busy carnival time. We will aim for the same arrangements this year but please note that there is no guarantee that we will be able to secure a private tram.
In the evening it's time for the main event of the week - the parade in the Sambadrome. The top samba schools parade their fantastic floats and costumes and the party goes on well into the early hours of Monday morning. You'll be situated in sector 13, the most lively of the sectors where local Cariocas are supporting their favourite Samba schools by singing and dancing. The sector is at the very end of the runway and you have the chance of collecting parts of the costumes as some dancers will throw them up in to the stand. You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included), accompanied by English speaking guides who will also be with you inside the Sambadrome. As people wish to leave at different times, there will be pre-determined times when you will be able to go back to the hotel with a guide.
Please note that sector 13 is set back a bit from the actual runway so does not offer the best close up views of the parade - if you should wish, there is the option to upgrade to sector 11 for a much closer view of the parade, which is highly recommended if you're interested in photography and would like the best pictures of the costumes and floats. The same guide and travel arrangements as for sector 13 will apply. Please book with your agent if you'd like to upgrade.
This morning is free for you to recover from last night in the Sambadrome! It's a great chance to hit the beach, explore the city or simply have a lie in.
In the afternoon we have the chance to go on an optional guided visit to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), rising almost 400 metres above the harbour. If you have opted for this tour you will be picked up at the hotel by an English speaking guide and travel in an air conditioned bus. We will take the cable car up to the top, from where there's a chance of seeing the wonderful vistas over the city and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. If the weather is clear you will also be able to see Christ the Redeemer looking down at the city from the top of Corcovado mountain.
In the evening we have the chance to re-visit the Sambadrome to see the last 6 of the elite Samba schools parading. The seats tonight are in Sector 5, situated at the start of the runway and offering close up views of the parade. You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included) with an English speaking guide.
There is also the option to don a costume and take part in the parade itself, dancing your way down the Sambadrome runway - a once in a lifetime experience! You will travel between the hotel and the Sambadrome by Metro (tickets included) with an English speaking guide who will also accompany you during the parade.
Please note you will need to pre-book these activities in advance with your agent or direct with Dragoman
Today is free day for you to explore the city and an opportunity to have a walk along the beaches, maybe a swim or maybe just a long lie in! The famous sweep of Copacabana Beach is probably the most talked about length of sand on the planet. It is a fantastic location with Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) at one end whilst far in the distance you see further peaks covered in Atlantic rainforest. There are plenty of small cafes serving drinks and snacks along the beachside pavement, when you are ready for a break from the sand. In this stunning location even the pavements are beautiful, with white and black tiles forming waves and patterns. Late evening there's the option to attend the famous gay ball!
We have one final optional activity, a visit to a Community project within one of the Favellas, which usually takes places on a Tuesday afternoon, though the day is yet to be confirmed for 2018. Morrinho is the name used by the youth of the Pereira da Silva favela for their scale model of a favela made basically with bricks. The Morrinho began in 1998, when Nelcirlan (14 years old at that time) starting building the Morrinho, together with his brother Maycon. Today, the Morrinho model occupies an area of 300 square metres in the community Pereira da Silva and has a wealth of details such as funk clubs, police, drugs sales points, alleys, staircases, small bars etc. The model is now being used to generate money by the NGO Morrinho, a charity that provides professional qualifications to the residents of the Pereirão Community through workshops including audiovisual production, art-education, Brazilian culture, and youth and citizenship. The charity is also involved in utilising the project as a film set, which has raised awareness of how harsh life is for shanty town dwellers. The trip includes a donation of 50 BRL to the charity.
The Carnival package finishes after breakfast today. Our hotel check-out is at 12 noon, and you can depart at any time or spend the day exploring further or relaxing.
If you are joining one of our Overland Tours, there will be an important Pre-Departure meeting this evening.
Border information: if you are leaving in Rio de Janeiro, you will most likely exit Brazil at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport.
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Trip Name: Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro
Duration: 24 Days
From Price: $2,485
Supplier Tour ID: JBAR1/158250
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