Explore Adventure Travel Consultant Anthony Jay recently returned from Brazil and Argentina after trying out our Rio to Buenos Aires tour.
“I chose this trip because it seemed the best way to see some of the highlights of South America in a short period of time. My Journey started in Rio, the big metropolis of Brazil. This is a city which is built into the hills and stretches as far as the eye can see. Our hotel was based in Copacabana, very close to the beach. The location was great for exploring the city and for relaxation. There are a huge number of restaurants, fantastic night life and excellent local transport all close by.
Our time spent in Rio was very action-packed. Our experienced local tour guide took us to many of the major highlights of the city and had a mine of interesting information about them. This included Sugarloaf Mountain and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. During the afternoon there was free time to explore Rio at our leisure. Most of us decided to relax on the beach, enjoy the sunshine and sample Caipirinhas - traditional cacacha-based cocktails.
From Rio, we travelled south on a chartered bus to board the ferry and cross over to Ilha Grande. This island is set in a tropical paradise, with abundant birdlife, beautiful sandy beaches and a very relaxed pace of life. No motor vehicles are allowed on the island, so it has a delightful peace and feeling of remoteness. There are numerous walks around the island through lush tropical rainforest and some of the most stunning beaches that I have ever seen (and I’ve been to quite a few!).
Back on the mainland we continued on to Paraty. This is an old Colonial town dating back to the 18th Century. It has charming old Portuguese buildings and cobbled streets peppered with street cafes. From here, you can either enjoy the charm and tranquillity of the town or take part in one of the many activities that they have to offer such as boating or snorkelling. I chose one of the jeep trips into the forest to explore some of the local scenery and waterfalls as well as visiting a local farm museum to learn about the history of the colonial times and in particular about the slave trade.
Taking a local, comfortable air-conditioned bus we continued to Curitiba. This is one of the most European of all Brazil’s cities, with influences from Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia. While staying in the city we took the day trip by train through the tropical rainforest to Serra do Mar and visited the old Colonial town of Morretes.
The next leg of the journey took us to by public bus to Iguacu. These were the most spectacular waterfalls that I have seen by far. On the first day we explored the Brazilian side of the falls and took a helicopter ride to give us a panoramic view. It was my first trip in a helicopter and this experience made a lasting impression on me. Crossing the border to the Argentinean side gave us a different impression of the falls with fantastic views and great photo opportunities.
Leaving the falls behind we travelled on a very comfortable public bus to the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. With its grand European buildings, wide streets and beautiful green parks, it has a very different in character and appearance to Rio. The best way to see the city is through the eyes of a local so our group did a guided walking tour. Our guide showed us the Plaza de Mayo, where Eva Peron gave her famous speeches, Recoleta Cemetery and also the district of La Boca, with its colourful and interesting architecture. The subway was very interesting and a great way to cover a lot of ground quickly. Many of the carriages are original and date back to 1915.
Inevitably there are some long bus journeys but these allowed us to see many aspects of local life as we went along. If like me you haven’t got the luxury of several weeks or months to explore the many highlights of Latin America, this trip provides the perfect solution. We saw and did so much in two weeks but without ever feeling overly rushed and enjoyed many fantastic experiences.”
Anthony travelled on Rio to Buenos Aires.