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Brazil: Iguassu Falls + Jaguars of the Pantanal + Rio


JRB11R
11 NIGHTS
FROM £2,995
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Visit the Iguassu Falls & Brazil's Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland in the world - home to jaguars, colourful birds & other wildlife. Then fly to Rio, where you can visit the statue of Christ the Redeeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain & Copacabana Beach. All transfers, park fees & English speaking guides included. Specialist birding guides on request (supplement payable).
Pantanal wildlife holiday - see White-faced saki monkeys
• 
Iguassu Falls
• 
Rainforests
• 
Pantanal Wetlands
• 
Birding
• 
Horse Riding
• 
Jaguars
• 
Rio De Janiero
• 
Christ the Redeemer
• 
Sugarloaf Mountain
• 
Copacabana Beach
• 
Iguassu Falls
• 
Rainforests
• 
Pantanal Wetlands
• 
Birding
• 
Horse Riding
• 
Jaguars
• 
Rio De Janiero
• 
Christ the Redeemer
• 
Sugarloaf Mountain
• 
Copacabana Beach
Day 1
You will be met at Foz do Iguassu Airport and transferred to your hotel near one of the greatest waterfalls in the world and regarded as one of Latin America's most awe-inspiring sights.
 
The mighty Iguassu Falls, whose name means "Great Waters", straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil - although almost 80% of the falls are on the Argentinian side. It is situated in a huge tropical rainforest that has been declared a World Heritage site, with countless flora and fauna species.
Day 2
Today enjoy a half day tour of the Brazilian side of the incredible Iguassu Falls, with panoramic views of the nearly 2-mile (3 km) cliff edge. We take an elevator down to the base of the waterfalls and stop at different viewing points.
 
The volume of water flowing over the falls varies greatly by season, depending on the rainfall. The heaviest rains are from December to February, when the flow of water is at its greatest, but many trails are closed then due to the rains. The shoulder seasons of March/April and August/September are generally regarded as the best time to visit, but the falls are a spectacular sight at any time of year.
 
Your afternoon is at leisure to relax at your hotel or explore further independently.
Day 3
Today enjoy a half day tour of the Argentinian side of the incredible Iguassu Falls.
 
Comprising approximately 275 separate cascades, the falls form a curtain of foaming water that crashes over a vast granite amphitheatre and into the jungle below. Resembling a reversed letter "J", most of the Iguazu River plunges down through an area known as The Devil’s Throat, with the rest spreading out over a wide shelf that splits into hundreds of different waterfalls.
 
There are a series of walkways that lead above, below and behind the falls, with breath-taking views. You can also hope to see monkeys, toucans, parakeets and other wildlife in the rainforest.
Day 4
Transfer to Iguasso Airport for your flight to Sao Paulo and connecting flight to Cuiaba.
 
You will be met at Cuiaba Airport and transferred to your hotel in this city, which is the capital of Mato Grosso state and situated in the exact centre of South America.
Day 5
Today you will be transferred 3.5-hours from Cuiaba to your lodge in the northern Pantanal, game viewing along the way.
 
Offering some of the finest bird and mammal watching in South America, this World Heritage Site is the world's largest tropical wetland. Located in the centre of the continent, the Pantanal Wetland is 10 times the size of the Everglades in Florida, USA. It is a geographic mixing bowl - containing elements of savanna, rainforest, semi-arid woodland, open grassland and savanna, offering much easier game viewing than in the dense jungles of the Amazon. The Pantanal is also the best place in the Americas to spot an elusive jaguar in the wild, given the relatively small amount of thick rainforest cover.
 
The Pantanal is situated mainly in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, but also extends into Bolivia and Paraguay. On arrival refresh yourself at your lodge, before enjoying a late afternoon guided activity in this wildlife paradise. After watching a spectacular sunset, enjoy relaxing under the clear night skies.
Day 6
Today is devoted to exploring the wildlife and birds of the Pantanal Wetlands - one of the last untouched wildlife sanctuaries in the world, stretching over 58,000 square miles (150.000 sq km).
 
These vast tropical floodplains are home to an amazing diversity of wildlife including 80 mammals, 50 different reptiles, over 260 fish species and over 1,000 endemic and migratory birds - including the Jabiru stork, the second largest flying bird in the Americas after the Andean condor.
 
Millions of Capybara, the world's largest rodent, and Yacare caiman (similar to alligators) live here as well as the Brazilian tapir, one of the largest mammals in South America with a strange trunk-like nose. You can also hope to see the Crab-eating raccoon, South American coati (nicknamed the hog-nosed raccoon because of its pig-like snout.), Crab-eating fox, Giant anteater, Lesser anteater, Collared anteater, Black-striped capuchin monkey, Brown capuchin, Howler monkey, Agouti, Tayra, White-lipped peccary, Collared peccary, Chacoan peccary, Red brocket deer, endangered Marsh deer, the ostrich-like Greater Rhea and the diminuative Black-tailed marmoset. If you are fortunate you may see an Ocelot, a spectacular wild cat also known as the Dwarf leopard.
 
Along the waterways you can hope to see vocal families of endangered Giant otters, Anaconda and many other mammals, reptiles and birds. The riverbanks of the Pantanal also offers the best opportunity to see the apex predator of the region - the mighty jaguar. Similar in looks to a leopard, but bulkier and heavier set, the jaguar is the most powerful of the big cats and the third largest in size after the tiger and lion. The best time to visit the Pantanal is during the dry season (June to November) when the wetlands gradually dry out, forcing the animals to congregate around the rivers and ever-diminishing lagoons. However a sighting of this magnificent creature in the wild is never guaranteed.
 
Bird watching is also outstanding with colourful species including the Hyacinth macaw, Roseate spoonbill, Southern screamer, Chestnut-bellied guan, Bare-faced curassow, Red-legged seriema, Chestnut-eared aracari, Blue-crowned parakeet, Orange-backed troupial, Barred antshrike, Blue-crowned trogon, Toco toucan, Yellow-billed cardinal and the diminutive Rufous-tailed jacamar. You can also see several species of ibis, egrets, storks, herons, kingfishers, skimmers, terns, hawks, kites and a host of other raptors and passerines. The flora is also astonishing, with over 3,500 different species including many aquatic plants, as over 80% of the wetlands are submerged during the wet season. In the evening enjoy star gazing in the clear night skies of the southern hemisphere.
 
Activities vary by lodge but usually include guided walking trails, boat rides, climbing an observation tower to see the vastness of the Pantanal, guided birding, game drives, catch-and-release fishing and night walks. Horse riding is available at some lodges (either included or at an extra charge).
Day 7
Today a special treat awaits, as you participate in a full day Jaguar Express excursion in search of one of these elusive big cats.
 
We set off early (around 5 am) and drive 2-hours Porto Jofre on the Cuiba River. From here we board a small boat and spend 6-hours viewing wildlife along the river banks, keeping an eye out for a majestic jaguar. After a full day of game viewing and an included lunch, we return to our lodge in the afternoon.
 
Note: This excursion is only available from mid-June to mid-November. The lodge may vary the day on which this trip is undertaken.
Day 8
Enjoy another day exploring the wildlife and birds of this different region of the Pantanal Wetlands.
Day 9
Transfer 3-hours to Cuiaba Airport for your flight to Brasilia and connecting flight to Rio de Janeiro.
 
You will be met at Rio de Janiero Airport and transferred to your hotel in this exciting city.
Day 10
Today enjoy a half day private tour of the exciting city of Rio de Janiero.
 
We start by driving past Flamengo Park, the largest public park in Rio, to one of the most famous symbols of the city - Sugarloaf Mountain. Here we travel all the way to the top, in two cable cars. The first cable car takes us to Urca Hill, a vantage point with beautiful views of Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niterói Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. The second cable car takes us all the way to the top, with wonderful views over Copacabana beach, Santa Cruz fortress and the beaches of Niterói.
 
We then visit the vast Sambodrome exhibition space, where the famous Rio Carnival is held and continue to the downtown area, where we visit the huge Metropolitan Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Sebastian) built in the form of an ancient Mayan pyramid. Finally we visit the Bohemian area of Lapa to view the colourful Selaron Steps and historical Cinelândia Square.
 
Afterwards you will be dropped off at your hotel, with balance of day at leisure.
Day 11
Today enjoy a half day shared tour to one of the world’s most famous landmarks.
 
We start by boarding the cog train from Cosme Velho Station to Corcovado Mountain. Enjoy the steep 20-minutes train journey through the dense Atlantic rainforest of Tijuca, with wonderful views of the lush tropical vegetation, and scenic landscapes of the city and its beaches below. Disembark and climb the steps or take the escalators to the base of the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer - one of the 7 wonders of the modern world - and enjoy its spectacular 360 degree panoramas.
 
After descending by cog train, you will drive past some of Rio's most famous beaches - Leblon, Ipanema & Copacabana - before you are dropped off at your hotel, with afternoon at leisure.
Day 12
Transfer to Rio de Janiero Airport for your flight home.

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