Journey through Brazil’s Pantanal & Rio [Pioneers Exclusive] (Extended) - Awesome Experiences

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Journey through Brazil’s Pantanal & Rio [Pioneers Exclusive] (Extended)Brazil

From £0 per person for 8 nights (based on 2 adults sharing)*
Combine one of Brazil’s buzziest cities with the tranquil wildlife-viewing area of the Pantanal. On this trip, you’ll immerse yourself in the party atmosphere of Rio, before heading off in search of giant anteaters, capuchin monkeys, armadillos and elusive jaguars.

Perfect for:

Wonders of WildlifeExtraordinary & Secret Places
Summary

Brazil

Book this trip to the Pantanal wetlands and you’re in for a really wild adventure. Home to the elusive jaguar, the immense Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland – a vast, empty area harbouring one of the globe’s most diverse eco-systems. During wet season, the plains flood, grasses grow high and the rain comes down almost constantly. But, in dry season when our experiences run, the water dries to smaller lagoons in a landscape blanketed in flowers, and you can easily traverse this incredible empty wilderness on the hunt for caiman, capybara, giant river otters and hyacinth macaw. The Pantanal’s incredible empty wilderness makes the perfect juxtaposition to a city break – as you’ll find on an experience combining the Pantanal and Rio. All you need is two extra days and we’ll help you explore this captivating city by the sea, where life is at its liveliest – whether on the perfect sand beaches, in the restaurants and bars or among the brightly coloured costumes and floats of Carnaval.

    TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pedal past Rio’s stunning beaches on a cycling adventure through the city
  • See elusive jaguar basking on the banks of the serene Paraguay river
  • Walk through the world’s largest wetlands, alongside howler monkeys, armadillo and giant anteaters
  • Watch giant otter at play as you canoe through untouched mangrove forest
  • Master classic Brazilian dishes in Rio with charismatic Chef Simone

Pantanal Summary

On this adventure safari, you’ll really embrace the Pantanal’s stunning landscape, travelling through it by boat, on foot, on horseback and by car and staying at lodges renowned for their professional and passionate attitude to wildlife viewing and adventure travel. If you love taking photos, your private guide will help you get the best shots; or tour the river bank by bike for up-close-and-personal interactions with the wild local residents. Traversing the region’s vast, tranquil river by boat is the ultimate safari adventure – passing capybara and snoozing caiman, and possibly even spotting elusive jaguars on the white sand beaches that abut the water. Our Rio extension to the Experience is just as exciting – we’ve come up with some unique ways to explore its best bits: get acquainted with its hip neighbourhoods and knock-out beaches as you pedal around by bike; try on Carnaval costumes at the fascinating Samba City (optional); and take a must-do cookery class with our charismatic cook Chef Simone.

There is also the option to add the Rio part of the experience at the end of your trip. Please contact us if you would prefer to do it this way.


Please click the Full Itinerary tab for the full daily itinerary, details of what's included and information about children and solo travellers.

Please see the bottom of the Full Itinerary tab for the cancellation policy.


BOOK ONLINE below now, or CALL 0208 432 0885 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri for assistance with booking.

Please use your unique Pioneers Club code (sent by email) at checkout to confirm your 20% discount.

Please have your passport and Debit/Credit card to hand. International flights are not included.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £800 per person and take approximately 12 hours outbound, 17 hours inbound depending on exact flight configurations and layover times. Please check the current prices and availability using the ‘Search for Flights’ link below and ensure that your flight arrival and departure times and dates align with the start and end dates and airport locations shown on the Experience itinerary. Please do not book flights until your Experience booking is confirmed.

For this particular Experience, the best option is normally to book a multi-stop flight from London - Rio - Cuiaba - London. 

Experience start point: Rio (GIG). Suggested arrival by 2pm.

End point: Cuiaba (CGE). You’ll arrive at the airport at 1pm on the final day, so we suggest a late afternoon or evening departure.

Search for flights to Rio de Janeiro

Map
Full Itinerary

See below for your hotel options

Your hotel category for the duration of your experience is:

Premium ★★★★

Premium hotels are typically upper mid range (usually four star), with more amenities than our classic choices. They all have comfortable rooms with private facilities and have received good client feedback.


Click on the accommodation names to find out more from the hotel websites:

Premium

Araras Eco Lodge

Baiazinha Lodge

PortoBay Hotel

Itinerary

Day One

Olá Rio!

Welcome to the airport and Brazil’s second most populous city. Now it’s time to get acquainted. With lush mountains on one side and a twinkling ocean on the other, it’s no wonder this place is renowned for its relaxed attitude. After a private transfer to your hotel and check-in (after 2pm), you’ll get the chance to explore the southern part of the city by bike with a private guide, taking in some of its most famous sites and neighbourhoods. Starting by the sandy sweep of Copacabana, you’ll then pedal to Urca for your first knock-out view of Sugarloaf mountain. You’ll stop off at the tiny beach of Praia Vermelha, where there’s the chance to feel the sand between your toes, before cycling to the neighbourhood of Botafogo for a stunning view across the bay. Lastly, you’ll head around Rio’s photogenic lagoon, passing the famous neighbourhoods of Ipanema, Leblon and Jardim Botanico, before returning to the bike shop for your car transfer back to the hotel. In the evening, there’s an optional chance to get a glimpse of Rio’s carnival culture. Although the famed Carnaval only happens once a year, you can see its shimmering costumes, incredible props and intricate floats on a group trip to Cidade do Samba (Samba City), the complex of warehouses where the city’s top carnival schools put together their floats. You’ll learn about the history of the samba and the parade, and even get the chance to try on the costumes, before getting into the party spirit with a Caipirinha. Please see the Extras tab.

Overnight in Rio

Meals included: None

Rio Views


Day Two

Mountains and Munchies

After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Cosme Velho station, ready for the cog train trip up Corcovado, the mountain topped by Rio’s famous, outsized Christ the Redeemer. On the 20-minute journey, you’ll pass through the lush, tranquil landscapes of the Tijuca Forest and take in stunning views of the city and its beaches. Then you’ll disembark to climb the steps to the peak’s look out, right by the towering statue. After time to absorb the view, you’ll board the train back down the mountain, and then drive on to Copacabana, passing some of Rio’s famed beaches. Then it’s time to learn some Brazilian classics during a group cookery class with Chef Simone, known for her lively, humour-filled classes. You’ll master moqueca (a delicious coconut milk and fish stew) or Feijoada (a tasty pork and bean stew), along with side dishes, desserts and, of course, Caipirinhas, on this entertaining afternoon. After eating your freshly prepared dishes, you’ll be taken back to your hotel for the night.

Overnight in Rio

Meals included: Breakfast; cookery lesson dinner

Christ the Redeemer


Day Three

Into the Wilderness

After breakfast, you’ll be driven to the airport, for your onward flight to Cuiaba, the gateway to the Pantanal. Alternatively, you can take an optional half-day trip through Rio’s Old Town and up Sugarloaf. First, you’ll wander the paved historical streets of the centre, visiting beautifully preserved, grand old buildings such as the Candelária Church, Municipal Theatre and National Library. You’ll then make for Sugarloaf, taking a cable car up to 1,200 feet for an incredible view of the city. Afterwards, you’ll be driven to the airport. Please see the Extras tab.

After your onward flight, you’ll be met at Cuiaba Airport for a fascinating briefing on the Pantanal ecosystem and region, before leaving with a group transfer to Araras Eco Lodge (depending on your flight time, this will be at 1.20pm or 5pm). The transfer is an adventure in itself: during the first hour and a half, you’ll drive along paved roads, past farms and ranches, to reach the little mining town of Pocone, gateway to the Northern Pantanal. After that, you’ll transfer onto the Transpantaneira Park Road, which cuts through the national park above water level, bordered by pink blossoming ipé trees in August. You might find yourself sharing the road with hawks and caiman, and you’ll make stops en route to search for wildlife and take photos, before arriving at Araras, a quirkily decorated lodge where hammocks swing outside the rooms and brightly coloured birds flit between the trees. After a welcome drink and check-in, you’ll embark on a guided introductory walk through the surrounding area, heading to the Great Egret Lookout from where you can see the vast landscape from 12 metres above, before returning for dinner. Then you’ll take a night walk under a sky illuminated by the twinkling stars of the Southern Hemisphere.

Overnight at Araras Eco Lodge

Meals included: Breakfast; dinner

Pantanal


Day Four

Monkey Business

After breakfast, take a photo safari along the dirt roads leading to the Clarinho River. When you reach its banks, you’ll board a canoe to paddle through mangrove forest, spotting the local colony of ariranhas (giant river otters) – you may even see the babies having a swimming and fishing lesson. Piranha live in these waters and you’ll get the chance to try to catch one – though they are famous for taking the bait from rods without anyone noticing! The lambaris that live here are easier to catch, and its these you’ll be eating for your barbecue lunch on the bank.* Hammocks will be strung beneath the trees so you can siesta afterwards, before returning to the lodge for afternoon tea. Later, you’ll head out again, on a trek to spot howler monkeys, arriving at the lodge’s highest observation point in time for a stunning sunset. After dinner back at the lodge, you’ll take a night drive in search of nocturnal animals, including ocelot, owls, anteaters, wild boar – and perhaps even jaguar.

*Weather conditions can sometimes make it impossible to reach this location. In this event, you will canoe along an alternative stretch, returning to the lodge for lunch. 

Overnight at Araras

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch; dinner

Giant Otter


Day Five

Horsing Around

After breakfast, you’ll explore otherwise inaccessible stretches of the Pantanal on horseback. Gentle and docile, the local horses have adapted over centuries to be able to breathe while grazing with their noses underwater, and trekking with them in almost total isolation is an incredibly tranquil experience. You’ll return to the lodge for lunch, and then trek the Rondon trail towards a viewpoint from which you’ll have a bird’s eye view of a Jabiru Stork Nest. You’ll then return to the lodge for dinner.

Overnight at Araras 

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch; dinner

Jaibiru Nest


Day Six

Onwards into the Pantanal

It’s an early start today as you leave Araras on the five-hour trip towards Baiazinha Lodge, a six-room lakeside hideaway, lost on a 53,000 hectare ranch. You’ll drive along paved road until it segues to almost 50 miles of dirt track – giving you an idea of just how remote this location is. After check-in, you’ll have lunch and then it’s time for the trip’s first river safari. Boarding the lodge’s motorboat, you’ll cruise along the Paraguay river (the Pantanal’s main watery thoroughfare) for the once in a lifetime opportunity to spot jaguar searching for prey on the region’s white sand beaches and river banks. Jaguars are the world’s third largest wild cats and South America’s top predators, but they can be elusive. Visiting Balazinha gives an opportunity to search for them in the practically pristine territory near the Talaman Ecological Reserve, which has a large jaguar population (although seeing one is not guaranteed). As you travel across the water, look out for capybaras and caiman sunbathing on the beach and giant river otters playing in the water. You’ll return to the lodge for dinner.

Overnight at Baiazinha Lodge  

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch; dinner

Baizinha

© Refúgio Ecológico Caiman


Days Seven & Eight

Water World

You’ll spend the next two days on the water – heading out by boat for morning forays into the landscape, in search of jaguar. You’ll see hyacinth macaws flitting through the trees, and perhaps find more armadillo, tapir and giant anteater. Avoiding the midday heat, you’ll set out early in the morning, returning for lunch and to relax in the afternoon. You can also take advantage of the lodge’s daily-changing programme of activities, which include walking tours of the surrounding countryside, night safaris by Jeep to search for glowing-eyed caiman and snuffling tapir, and bike tours beside the river banks and across its waters.

Overnight in Baiazinha

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch; dinner

Baizinha Jaguar


Day Nine

Making Tracks for Home

After an early breakfast, it’s time to transfer back to the airport for your journey home. You’ll arrive at Cuiaba by around 1pm.

Meals included: Breakfast


Overall meals included: 8 Breakfasts; 5 lunches; 7 dinners

 What's included:

  • Private English-speaking guides unless stated otherwise
  • Private transfers and internal flights unless stated otherwise
  • Meals as listed
  • Mandatory taxes and service fees
  • Entrance tickets and permits unless stated otherwise
  • Brazilian cooking class with Chef Simone

What's not included:

  • International flights to/from the start/end point of our experiences
  • Optional extras listed
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Any visa, customs, airport taxes or similar charges before or after the tour
  • We cannot guarantee the included hotel breakfast for early departures
  • Drinks during meals unless stated otherwise
  • Personal expenses, such as laundry

What to pack:

  • Mosquito repellent and sunscreen
  • Binoculars, camera and torch
  • Long, loose layers and long socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes/boots
  • Swimwear

For Home Office travel advice to this country, read more here

If you intend to travel solo, please click here

Children: Please note for this experience, children aged 8 or older are classed as adults.

Please note: There is little to no mobile phone coverage at the lodges, but wifi is available in the communal areas.


Note: If you’d prefer to only visit the Pantanal, please see our Journey through Brazil’s Pantanal experience.

Cancellation Policy for this experience

Up to 60 days prior to departure - 60% of holiday cost

From 59 days prior to departure - 100% of holiday cost

*These are additional constraints to our normal Terms & Conditions.


BOOK ONLINE below now, or CALL 0208 432 0885 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri for assistance with booking

Please use your unique Pioneers Club code (sent by email) at checkout to confirm your 20% discount.

Please have your passport and Debit/Credit card to hand. International flights are not included.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £800 per person and take approximately 12 hours outbound, 17 hours inbound depending on exact flight configurations and layover times. Please check the current prices and availability using the ‘Search for Flights’ link below and ensure that your flight arrival and departure times and dates align with the start and end dates and airport locations shown on the Experience itinerary. Please do not book flights until your Experience booking is confirmed.

For this particular Experience, the best option is normally to book a multi-stop flight from London - Rio - Cuiaba - London. 

Experience start point: Rio (GIG). Suggested arrival by 2pm.

End point: Cuiaba (CGE). You’ll arrive at the airport at 1pm on the final day, so we suggest a late afternoon or evening departure.

Search for flights to Rio de Janeiro

Extras

Awesome Experience bonuses

Many of our experiences have optional features available at an added cost. Please see below for available extras for this experience. Please continue to checkout to select any optional extras and to see pricing information.

Optional Extras

To customise your experience, you can select any of theses extras at an additional cost during the basket stage.

Samba Experience

See Rio Carnaval's shimmering costumes, incredible props and intricate floats on a group trip to Cidade do Samba (Samba City), the complex of warehouses where the city’s top carnival schools put together their floats. You’ll learn about the history of the samba and the parade, and even get the chance to try on the costumes, before getting into the party spirit with a Caipirinha.

Sugarloaf & Rio's Old Town

You’ll wander the paved historical streets of the centre, visiting beautifully preserved, grand old buildings such as the Candelária Church, Municipal Theatre and National Library. You’ll then make for Sugarloaf, taking a cable car up to 1,200 feet for an incredible view of the city.

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