Pantanal, Rio and Rainforest

Pantanal wildlife, Rio highlights, Ilha Grande forests & beaches (and Iguazu Falls add-on)
Overview

overview

It's hard to find enough superlatives to describe Brazil in September, and hard to imagine a more satisfying trip for wildlife or photography enthusiasts, or a more perfect introduction to the country's diversity. Explore the vast, rich Pantanal, beautiful Rio de Janeiro, and the lush Atlantic island of Ihla Grande with our senior guides.

The glorious wetland area known as Pantanal offers the best wildlife experience in the Americas.  Here, you'll be warmly hosted in Refugio da Ilha, a  family homestead on a large Pantanal ranch which has been dedicated to environmental preservation. Footsteps from your door, in the river and grasslands, wildlife is concentrated, abundant and accessible. Find clusters of caimans, pug-faced capybara, wild peccaries, and giant anteaters. Spot as many as two hundred or more bird species, including parrots, hornbills, toucans, spoonbills, ibises, caracaras, owls, nightjars, tanagers, flycatchers, and casiques. Hyacinth macaws, the world's largest, roost here in spectacularly large numbers.

For contrast, travel east to beautiful, iconic, sophisticated, Rio de Janeiro. Take in Tijuca Forest, Corcovado Park, and the famous Sugar Loaf granite rock mountian. Travel by ferry to the gorgeous island of Ihla Grande for 2 days of scenery, walking, wildlife and relaxation along the coastal beaches and in the Atlantic rain forest.

 Iguazu Falls, with its crowns of rainbows, is unparalleled year-round, but September is especially fantastic for butterflies. If you can spare two additional nights to visit these amazing waterfalls, you should definitely do so.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Sao Paulo / Campo Grande
    Make yourself at home for four days with your welcoming hosts in their ranch home, now converted to a comfortable lodge.

    Most travelers fly into Campo Grande via Sao Paolo. You'll be greeted on arrival in Campo Grande and drive three hours to your lovely base in the world's most famous wetland, the Pantanal. On the drive, and during an after-dinner presentation, your guide will orient you to the region, its annual cycles from fIood to drought, the fascinating inter-play between ranching and wilderness, and the reasons for the abundant wildlife.  Your pousada, or inn, is actually the ranch home of a gracious family that lives there, adores the Pantanal, and welcomes the opportunity to host guests. The home cooking is out-of-this-world. Family-style meals delight vegetarians and carnivores alike.

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Pousada Refugio da Ilha (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Pantanal
    Driving in 4-wheel drives on the tracks of the Pantanal, you may encounter a Giant Anteater and her baby.

    During your time in the Pantanal, daily activities will vary but will always be planned to take best advantage of the wildlife. weather, and your preferences and abilities.  While here, you can engage the environment in a number of ways. The lodge's birdfeeding stations attract a glorious array of species. Photographic opportunities around the lodge are fantastic. With your guide, you can: walk on trails through the bush and along the river in search of wildlife and interesting vegetation; ride horseback, as the locals do, to visit areas where water might be too deep for vehicles and too shallow for boats; safari by boat or by 4-wheel-drive jeep. You can also paddle downriver by canoe for a silent exploration of the wilds.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pousada Refugio da Ilha (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Pantanal
    Glimpse striated herons, tiger herons, and dozens of other bird species on each river outing.

    On your second full day in the Pantanal, your guides will offer opportunities for additional wildlife viewing and for continued engagement in the natural areas by modes most suited to you. The rhythms of ranch-stay will now be familiar: early morning coffee, tea, and wildlife; hearty breakfast; morning outing; expansive picnic lunch; afternoon outing; insightful discussion over pre-dinner drinks and a gourmet-quality buffet; then after-dark wildlife spotting.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pousada Refugio da Ilha (or similar)
  • Day 4: Pantanal
    Spot capybara (above), caimans and river otters.

    Your third and final full day in the Pantanal brings another set of opportunities to see some of the many creatures that inhabit this watery wilderness, and to talk with the hosts and ranchhands about life in the Pantanal.  By now, you'll be tallying an impressive list of bird, mammal, reptile and plant species.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pousada Refugio da Ilha (or similar)
  • Day 5: Pantanal / Campo Grande / Rio de Janeiro
    In the Pantanal, your guide will lead you at dusk to watch scores of hyacinth macaws -- the world's largest macaws -- coming in

    After breakfast at your pousada, transfer to Campo Grande to travel by air to Rio de Janeiro. You'll be met by the next member of your guiding team who will accompany you to your hotel, introduce you to the city, and assist with your dinner arrangements. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Praia Ipanema (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Rio / Tijuca / Corcovado / Sugar Loaf
    Take in magnificent city views from Sugar Loaf

    After an early breakfast at the hotel, begin a full, carefully-paced, thoroughly informative tour of Rio. Stop first at Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest on earth, continue to nearby Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain, and then to Sugar Loaf, the impressive granite rock "mountain" (made famous by James Bond.) Ride the cable car to the top, 400 meters above the city, with breathtaking views of Guanabara Bay, the city skyline and the mountains beyond.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Praia Ipanema (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Rio de Janeiro / Ilha Grande
    Bid farewell to cosmopolitan Rio

    After breakfast at your hotel in Rio, depart for the Angra dos Reis pier, and your ferry to Ilha Grande. The island boasts over 100 exquisite beaches, and an entire interior of Atlantic rainforest. there are only three settlements, and you'll stay in one of them, the charming Abraão Village.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Pousada Tagomago (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Ilha Grande beaches and rainforest
    Spend two days enjoying the wild Atlantic rain forest and coastal wonders of Ihla Grande.

    After breakfast, depart for a full-day boat tour through the northern beaches of the island. Visit the Blue Lagoon, Bananal, Green Lagoon, Ponta do Aripeba, and Maguariquessaba, and after a relaxing mid-day lunch stop, visit Saco do Céu and Feiticera beaches. Masks and snorkels are included for the group on this day trip. You'll want to have clothes with you that can protect you from wind and sun.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Pousada Tagomago (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Ilha Grande / Rio de Janeiro
    Extend your trip to visit Iguazu Falls

    After breakfast, meet at the pier to take the 10:00 am ferry back to Angra dos Reis, and then drive about 2.5 hours to Rio de Janeiro Airport for your take flight back home. Or, if your schedule allows, fly from here to Iguazu Falls, for a guided tour of both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. The Falls are enormous and extensive; the walkways allow for marvelous views, and rainbows, butterflies and tropical birds abound.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$4,350
with group size of 6; $4800 with group size of 4
Single Supplement:
$1025
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
9 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
deluxe lodges & hotels
Group Size:
6-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
deluxe lodges & hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Iguazu Falls

Duration: 3 days

Taller than Niagara Falls, twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horsehoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazu River, Iguazu Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption which left yet another large crack in the earth. These matter-of-fact ... read more

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