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This incredible wildlife holiday combines stays in Rio de Janeiro with the Pantanal and the Amazon Rainforest. These stunning locations offer an authentic insight into life in Brazil. You will see the views from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, watch Hyacinth Macaws and Jaguars in the Pantanal and giant river otters in a remote tributary of the Amazon.
You will stay in stunning accommodation including the Santa Teresa Mgallery in Rio de Janeiro. Away from the bustle of Copacabana beach, this former coffee farm is a stunning urban retreat. The charming decor is inspired by the golden age of cacao and coffee. The hotel is well situated for some of the cities iconic sights including Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Lapa steps.
Araras Eco Lodge in the Northern Pantanal has done phenomenal work to conserve the Hyacinth Macaw, one of the world’s largest species of parrot. You can also go on excursions to the Cuiabá river where it is possible to see jaguars in the wild, it is worth noting that sightings can’t be guaranteed and you are likely to be sharing the experience with a number of other boats, seeing these majestic big cats will be a true highlight of your trip to Brazil.
You will stay at Cristalino Lodges in the Alta Floresta region of the Amazon, which is home to some of the highest biodiversity in the Amazon, with giant river otters, harpy eagles and more. Its clear waters are completely unique in the world and were even featured in the Amazon episode of the 2019 BBC documentary Earth’s Great Rivers.
Day 1 - Fly to Rio de Janeiro
Day 2-5 - Arrive in Rio de Janeiro and stay at Santa Teresa Hotel by Sofitel
Day 5-8 - Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Alta Floresta
Day 8-11 - Araras Eco Lodge, Northern Pantanal
Day 11-12 Rio de Janeiro and stay at Santa Teresa Hotel by Sofitel
Day 12 Fly home from Rio
Day 13 Arrive home
You will depart the UK from an Airport of your choosing and arrive in Rio the following day.
You will be greeted at the airport by a guide and driver who will transfer you to your stunning accommodation the Santa Teresa Rio Mgalley. This mesmerising retreat is an amazing opportunity to relax in the stunning city. The hotel is away from the bustle of the city and is highly recommended for those who have visited the city before.
Rio de Janeiro was Brazil’s capital for almost two centuries, until 1960. Nowadays, while strolling the streets downtown, it is possible to admire many architectural influences from different periods where historical and modern constructions tell together Rio’s history. This walking tour visits important sites from the history of Rio. It starts at the Cinelândia square which is home to the National Library, Parliament, National Museum of Fine Arts and the Municipal Theatre (the building was inspired by the French L’Ópera), followed by the XV square with the Imperial Palace (formerly house of governors and the Brazilian Imperial family), Tiradentes Palace and churches. Continuing the visit, guests pass by two important cultural centres, the Banco do Brazil Cultural Centre and the France-Brazil House, and then arriving at the neoclassic Candelária church. You will end your visit in the charming and narrow streets of downtown where you will stop at the traditional Colombo Café for refreshments, before returning to the hotel.
Nestled in a private forest reserve and by the banks of the Cristalino River is Cristalino Jungle Lodge. An ecolodge offering comfort and luxury, fully focused on its surrounding environment and protecting nature, providing you with a real Amazon wildlife experience. Up from the river are a selection of solar powered wooden bungalows scattered amongst the landscaped grounds but fringed by dense forest. We recommend upgrading to a superior room which has more windows from which to watch the macaws and monkeys.
Enjoy a dip in the river or just relax on the floating deck for a touch of wildlife spotting. There is also a living room and library to wind away your evenings in comfort. The two 50-meter steel observation towers allow you to take in the different layers of the forest from forest floor and understory to the canopy and emergent layer. For a magical view we recommend making your way to the top for both the sunrise and sunset.
Grab a canoe and make your way down river watching the wildlife along the river bank or put on your boots and head inland on one of the many trails to discover the varying habitats in the region. Photography programmes, from beginner to professional levels, will allow you to truly capture your experience and the wildlife, while birders will relish in the birdwatching programme allowing you to watch and listen to the beautiful Amazon birds.
The Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland which straddles the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. It is regarded as the best place to spot wild animals, in the whole of South America. You can spot Caiman, Howler Monkey, Giant Otter, Anaconda, Capybara, Ocelot, Marmoset, Tapir, Peccary and if you are lucky, the Jaguar. There are several lodges and ranches where you can stay and explore the area. The best way to experience the wetlands is by boat where you can spot wildlife, while moving gently through the lagoons and waterways. One of the most popular times of the year to visit is from June to September because of the incredible array of birdlife. At this time of year, you will see Parrots, Toucans, Macaws and a variety of other birds covering the sky.
Araras Eco Lodge is located right in the heart of the Brazilian Pantanal and offers a homely atmosphere, from which you can explore the wildlife of the Pantanal. The lodge was built in regional rustic style and offers 19 comfortable rooms with air conditioning with screened windows, ceiling fans, private bathrooms (hot and cold shower). There is also a swimming pool with an adjoining covered area for meals where you can share your day's experience with fellow travellers.
Stays at the lodge are on a full board basis and the excellent regional food consists of dishes made from the tasty meat and fish of the Pantanal, as well as organic salads, vegetables and seasonal fruits.
Meet and greet at the airport or hotel. Departure to the Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge. Transfer is divided in two stages: the first, on a paved road for 100 km / 62.13 mi to Poconé, along farms and through the Brazilian savanna. After a short stop in Poconé, we start the second stage of the transfer entering at Km 0 of the Transpantaneira Park Road (dirt road) built on a level higher than the floodplain. The road has more than 127 wooden bridges, fording fields, bays and grazing lands. The Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge is at km 32 / 19.88 mi. and the transfer is meant to be a photo-safari for the many species of animals and birds found along its length. The vehicle will make several stops for photos. Arrival at the Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge. Greeting, welcome drink and accommodation. Late afternoon hike within the surroundings of the Lodge, reaching the Mirante da Garça - a 12m / 39.5 ft. high observation tower - for a unique view of the sunset. After dinner, a star gazing trek, to hear the sounds of the Pantanal.
Full day dedicated to observing the Pantanal’s flora & fauna at the Araras Eco Lodge private reserve. After breakfast, the guide will lead you on a 2 to 3 hour horse ride through the grazing fields, woods and flood lands. Lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon, join a hike to a different area of the reservation, allowing you to watch and learn about this ecosystem.
After breakfast, departure to Clarinho River. Here take a canoe and explore the river banks, mangroves and forest. With some luck, you can spot a family of ariranhas (giant otters) fishing, playing and teaching the babies to swim and fish. Chance to fish the elusive Piranha, known for nibbling the bait off the hook without the fisherman noticing. Lambaris, another species of fresh water fish are an easy catch and are delicious when barbecued. A picnic barbecue lunch will be prepared at the camp site. Return to the lodge at the end of the afternoon.
The day begins with a very early start to see the sunrise from the top of Mirante da Garça (Heron’s Tower). Listen to the sounds of the birds leaving the nests for the day and the rising sun touching the vegetation. Breakfast and departure for a hike. Lunch and transfer to Cuiabá airport enjoying, once again, the beautiful road and the opportunity for last minute photos. You will then fly back to Rio de Janeiro
On arriving in Rio you will return to the Santa Teresa Mgallery for one final night in Brazil
You’ll be transferred from your hotel to Rio airport and catch your flight home.
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