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Sao Paulo, the Pantanal, Iguassu and Rio de Janeiro

10 days Independent Touring

Virgin Holidays' view

Boasting the tag line of ‘the finest safari destination outside of Africa, Brazil’s Pantanal region truly is wild. One of the best locations to spot jaguars in the wild, the wetlands are also home to anacondas, tapier, capybara, caimen, the giant anteater and so much more. Combine this with a trip to the magnificent Iguassu Falls and to lively Rio de Janeiro and you have ticked off some of Brazil’s finest destinations.

Itinerary

Day 1: São Paulo

Arrive and private transfer to your hotel in São Paulo for your overnight stay.

Day 2: São Paulo — The Pantanal

Private transfer to São Paulo airport for your flight to Cuiabá. On arrival transfer to Araras Eco Lodge for 4 nights (shared service). This transfer is divided into two different stages. The first is a journey on a paved road along farms and cattle ranches to Poconé – where we then take the gravelled Transpantaneira Park Road to the lodge. This is a park road at its best, allowing us to drive above the water level, watching the flora and fauna of the Pantanal ecosystem - a photo safari along 146 km of dirt road with several stops along the way for photos and information. Welcome drink on arrival and later, the guide will lead you into an introductory walk through the surroundings of the lodge, explaining our concepts and many conservation projects. Continue to the Great Egret Lookout, a 12m high observation tower. After dinner, night walk under the Southern Hemisphere sky. (B/D)

Day 3: The Pantanal

Enjoy your days with morning and evening activities, spotting wildlife and exploring the Pantanal region. The mentioned activities are flexible and may be offered on differing days to this itinerary. After breakfast, take a photo safari through private dirt roads towards the Clarinho River. Reaching its banks, board a canoe and paddle down the river, exploring the forest that grows by the riverbanks and mangroves looking for "ariranhas" - giant river otters. With some luck, you may spot a family playing with their babies and teaching them how to swim and fish. There is a chance to fish for the elusive piranha, not an easy task, but fun. Enjoy a lazy barbecue lunch under the trees where hammocks are available for a "siesta". Return to the lodge in time for afternoon tea. Later on, trek the Howler Monkey Trail to the tower, the lodge’s highest observation point at 25m, for a magnificent view of the sunset. After dinner, join a night-drive in search of nocturnal animals. (B/L/D)

Please note: depending on the weather, the canoeing tour may take place on the Corixo River with lunch back at the lodge. (*) If the Sentinela Camp is not accessible (depending on the weather and terrain conditions), this canoeing tour will take place on the Corixo River. In that case, we will return to the lodge for lunch.

Day 4: The Pantanal 

After breakfast, enjoy a horseback ride, which will allow you to explore the diversity of the Pantanal landscape including some flooded areas of the Pantanal plain. The Pantaneiro horses are docile and have adapted, through the centuries, to eat with its nose underwater. In this region, the horse is the Pantaneiros' best friend, a daily companion during work and leisure. Return to the lodge for lunch and relaxation. In the afternoon, trek the Rondon Trail towards the 13m high Jabiru Stork Tower, where you can watch a Jabiru Stork nest. Between June-November we HIGHLY recommend adding on the Jaguar Express safari (optional with extra cost). This is a full day tour departing early along 120 km of the Transpantaneira Park Road, to the crossing of the Cuiaba River, in the region known as Porto Jofre. Home to one of the highest populations of jaguar on the continent rumoured to be around 60 individuals. Board an outboard motorboat for an exciting river safari in and around the Meeting of the Waters State Park, perching the river shores and beaches searching for wildlife, with the special goal of meeting jaguars. Stop for picnic lunch and return in the late afternoon back to the lodge. (B/L/D)

Day 5: The Pantanal

In the morning after breakfast, get to know a different area of Araras Private Natural Reserve, by trekking the Ronco trail. After lunch, join a 2 to 3-hour photo safari towards the South of the lodge, on a safari open truck, in search of the fauna along the Transpantaneira Park Road. Check a list of the wild animals you have met, with your guide. Return to Araras Eco Lodge for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)

Note: the order of the activities may be modified according to the programme at the lodge and weather or terrain conditions. 

Day 6: The Pantanal — Iguassu Falls

Enjoy a sunrise walk to witness the awakening of the Pantanal. After breakfast transfer by shared departure to Cuiabá airport for flight to Foz do Iguassu, private transfer to your hotel for 2 nights. (B)

Day 7: Iguassu Falls

The Iguaçu River is born in the Serra do Mar and travels 1320 km to Foz do Iguaçu. The set of waterfalls, shortly before their encounter with the Paraná River, formed 275 jumps with an average height of 60m. The falls produce a mist that crowned by beautiful and immense rainbows, give the visitor a true spectacle of sound and colours. Enjoy a private half day visit to the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls. The tour starts with a visit to the Main Centre of the park, where you will have the opportunity to get some hints about the local ecosystem. From there hike along the most important trail of the park where you can enjoy an astonishing view of the waterfalls returning to main point via the panoramic elevator. Extend along the Macuco Trail in the Iguazú National Park. Electric transportation is the best way to see the forest, due to the unpaved land, but it's accessible all year round. On this trip you will be surprised by the biodiversity, rich in subtropical plants and trees, including orchids and fan palms, that grow in abundance. After you will walk 600 meters on foot to the waterfalls of Macuco, hidden in the wooded canyon. The trail will lead you to the Iguassu river shore, where you will board an inflatable boat with two motors to navigate upstream, offering a unique view of this place. (B)

Day 8: Iguassu Falls — Rio de Janeiro

Private transfer to Foz do Iguassu airport for the flight to Rio de Janeiro. Arrive and private transfer to your hotel for 4 nights.

Day 9: Rio de Janeiro

After breakfast, depart for a full day tour of Rio de Janeiro (shared basis). Board the cog train from Cosme Velho Station for a ride to the top of Corcovado Mountain to visit one of the world's most famous landmarks, the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer. The 20 minutes' steep train journey takes you through the dense rainforest of Tijuca, offering a wonderful opportunity for a look at the forest's lush tropical vegetation and to enjoy scenic landscapes of the beaches and city. At the top proceed up the steps that lead to the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer and spend some time enjoying the panoramic view of this beautiful city from the incredible mountain-top vantage point. Passing by Rio's world-famous beaches, you stop for lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, you will be taken to the neighbourhood of Urca where one of the largest symbols of the city is located: Sugar Loaf. You will travel all the way to the top in two stages by cable car. The first cable car takes us to Urca Hill, a vantage point 215 meters high with beautiful views of Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niterói Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. From this stage, a second cable car takes us up to the top. At 395 meters we will enjoy splendid views of Copacabana beach, the Santa Cruz fortress and several beaches of Niterói. After riding the Cable car back down, return to the hotel. (B/L)

Days 10-11: Rio de Janeiro

Enjoy days at leisure to explore Rio de Janeiro. (B)

Day 12: Rio de Janeiro — Sao Paulo

Private transfer by road to Rio de Janeiro airport for your flight to São Paulo to connect to the Virgin Atlantic flight. (B)

Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Please note: this is a confirmed itinerary where hotels, transfers and guided excursions are pre-booked in a package. Airport transfers and some excursions are private, we list where excursions are shared. Activities and transfers at the Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge are on a shared basis.

Dates & prices

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Extensions

We feature 3 night extensions to the Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge and a beach break in Buzios which can be added onto most of our set itineraries and tours. If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can also tailor make this for you. Our expert touring team can arrange this with you, please contact them on 0344 739 4548 or email Enquiries.Journeys@virginholidays.com

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Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.
 

Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

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For extra piece of mind, new bookings made before 30 September 2020 for travel up 30 April 2021 also have the flexibility to amend free of charge. If you need to change don’t worry, you can move your holiday as far out as 31 December 2021 subject to availability.

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With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates


Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

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If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

Payment flexibility


Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans


We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned


If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

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To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

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