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Honeymoon in Argentina and Brazil: Stylish cities and idyllic beaches

15 days from £3346pp

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Honeymoon in Argentina and Brazil: Stylish cities and idyllic beaches:
Trip Dossier

You are looking for something a bit different for your honeymoon: not keen on the idea of spending your holiday just lying on a beach, you’d like to add exciting, sensual, unique experiences in stunning natural scenery. 

This private tour really offers it all: exotic cities with top cultural highlights and world class restaurants, the amazing Iguazú Falls tumbling over a granite cliff shrouded in steaming rainforest and the quaint colonial port of Paratí with neat cobbled streets and whitewashed cottages. But in Brazil there has to be some beach-time and here we have chosen for you a real unspoilt hideaway, Ilha Grande, just a couple of hours from Rio but a world away with its timeless tranquillity.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ tango, art and antique quarter.

Day 2

Walking tour of Retiro and Recoleta districts.

Day 3

Daytime at leisure. Evening visit to a tango show with tango lesson and dinner.

Day 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazú, transfer to hotel in the national park.

Day 5

At leisure at Iguazú Falls.

Day 6

Visit the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. Fly to Rio de Janeiro.

Day 7

Excursion by cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain.

Day 8

Jeep tour of Corcovado mountain, the Tijuca forest and Santa Teresa.

Day 9

Transfer to Paratí.

Day 10

Schooner cruise in the bay.

Day 11

Transfer to Ilha Grande.

Days 12-13

At leisure on Ilha Grande.

Day 14

Transfer to Rio.

Day 15

Transfer to airport for your international flight home.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ tango, art and antique quarter.
 

Transfer from the airport to your hotel in San Telmo, cradle of the tango and a folksy quarter with many art galleries, lively bars and restaurants and many antiques shops, perfect for a wander around.  It’s within walking distance of the colonial centre, focussed on the Plaza de Mayo.

Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills. The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel.  Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French or Italian influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest. During the winter months, wealthy female residents parade the streets in their fur coats and improbable, towering hairstyles, and take afternoon tea in the city’s ornate salons.

 

La Boca, Buenos Aires

Day 2

Walking tour of Retiro and Recoleta districts.
 

Guided walking tour of Retiro and Recoleta districts. Buenos Aires has always aspired to be one of the world's leading cities, never more so than in the early 20th century when the city's aristocracy enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity. Looking to the Old World for inspiration, leading families sought to replicate the graceful architecture of belle époque France, covering the upmarket residential areas of Retiro and Recoleta with palatial façades lining shady cobbled boulevards.

This walking tour takes you to former palaces and mansions which now have much more practical functions; the Military Society, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the national parks HQ. The Academicist-style Retiro station, built according to British design and with British materials, nevertheless is inspired by the lost illustrious French gares.  Following this, follow the meandering Arroyo street with its art galleries, and finally stroll down Alvear Avenue, a small-scale Champs Elysées.

 

Day 3

Daytime at leisure. Evening visit to a tango show with tango lesson and dinner.
 

At leisure in Buenos Aires. Stroll around Puerto Madero, the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

Alternatively, venture into the watery delta to the small town of Tigre, set on the banks of the Luján river. Have lunch at one of the restaurants on the shores of the Río Paraná, while watching fisherman at work and river-craft gliding by. A third choice would be a trip out to one of Argentina’s famous estancias (ranches) on the grassy plains of the pampas.

In the evening, we'll take you to one of the city's tango halls for a live performance and dinner. Before things get going, you'll have the chance to take a few steps yourselves during a group tango class for beginners. You can of course opt out if your prefer.

Day 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazú, transfer to hotel in the national park.
 

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Iguazú in the subtropical northeast corner of Argentina (2 hrs).  Your hotel is a short stroll from the Iguazú Falls; it’s the only property inside the national park on the Argentine side. This means you have the advantage of being able to get down to the water’s edge before all the day trippers.

The Iguazú Falls are one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world.  A total of 275 falls thunder over a rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest. The U-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú River crashes over a 1.5km wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller cascades. You can usually spot colourful toucans and many other exotic birds perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters.

 

Day 5

At leisure at Iguazú Falls.
 

At leisure to explore the falls.  You might start with a visit to the National Park Visitor Centre, where there is a display illustrating the biodiversity of the region’s tropical rainforest, and from here a little train chugs to Cataratas Station where the Upper Walk begins. This sequence of causeways and passarelles links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of the sheer rock face and the walkways cross the myriad of streams of the Iguazú River as they cascade over the lip of the precipice:  the water thunders on to the rocks below.

The train continues to Devil’s Throat Station and from here a kilometre-long walkway leads across the river to the thunderous Garganta del Diablo(Devil’s Throat). From this spectacular vantage point you can feel the incredible power of the water, and the flow is mesmeric as it plummets into the vortex below(Our tip: walk down the path beside the railway track before  the service starts in the morning and you’ll be at the usually crowded Garganta all alone).

 

Iguazu Falls, Argentine side

Day 6

Visit the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. Fly to Rio de Janeiro.
 

Guided transfer across the border into Brazil, with a stop en route to see the falls from the Brazilian perspective. Fly to Rio de Janeiro (2 hrs) and transfer to your hotel in Copacabana.

Rio is the most beguiling, seductive, intriguing and beautiful city on the continent. But it is a multi-layered place: the gulf between the rich and the poor is the greatest of all Latin American countries. Sumptuous apartments overlook the sparkling bays against a backdrop of half-built slum dwellings, favelas, which cling precariously to the hillsides. Once lawless enclaves ruled by drug runners and gaming gangs, these are gradually being brought under police control in time for the World Cup and Olympic Games. Rio enjoys a truly awesome location among towering jungle-clad granite mountains, fringed by white-to-toffee coloured sandy beaches that swoop down into the Atlantic surf.

Day 7

Excursion by cable car to Sugar Loaf mountain.
 

Visit the world-renowned, hump-backed Sugarloaf Mountain, between the city centre and Copacabana beach in the picturesque bay-side arty quarter of Urca. Its peak is reached by a spectacular cable-car journey (made in two sections), and has views over Copacabana beach, the pinnacle of Corcovado mountain with the illuminated Christ figure on top, the waters of Guanabara Bay and the lush forested mountains beyond. These are especially magical against a tangerine sunset when the twinkling lights of the city are coming on.

Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio

Day 8

Jeep tour of Corcovado mountain, the Tijuca forest and Santa Teresa.
 

Take an exhilarating guided tour by an open-topped jeep through tropical fruit-laden vegetation up the sheer-sided Corcovado mountain to drink in the views from beside the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on the peak.

Continue to Santa Teresa, the colonial heart of the city which sits on a hill close to the Cathedral in the busy centre. This is a popular residential area for artists and TV personalities who occupy the stately shaded houses lining its cobbled streets. There are plenty of old-fashioned bars, or bodegas. (The ancient rickety tram which climbed around impossibly steep lanes is currently closed and undergoing renovation). The streets are lined by high walls sheltering museums, parks, art centres, smart restaurants and one or two luxury hotels.

 

Day 9

Transfer to Paratí.
 

Private transfer by car down the coast to Paratí, (4-4.5hrs). The winding road is bordered by steep mountains covered in lush Atlantic forest on one side, and the ocean on the other. This enchanting bay-side town is steeped in history; Paratí means ‘river of fish’ in the indigenous Tupi language.

The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s not hard to see why, as you wander through its local boutique-lined cobbled streets, explore glorious baroque churches and check out the local art work in one of the many contemporary galleries. The divine blue, gold and white painted Portuguese architecture has been carefully preserved, and the centre of the town is vehicle-free. There are also some excellent places to eat freshly caught fish on the sea-front. The bay itself is dotted with tropical islands and, rising some 1000m behind the town are forested mountains intersected by rivers and waterfalls.

 

 

Parati

Day 10

Schooner cruise in the bay.
 

Cruise in a romantic traditional schooner. There are 65 unspoilt, jungle-clad tropical islands in this bay off Brazil's Emerald Coast and 200 white-gold to russet, pristine beaches around their secluded shores.  On deck, there is plenty of room to sunbathe and watch the exotic and beautiful scenery drift by. Fruit and drinks are served on board, and a buffet lunch is provided on the boat or one of the islands.

You will need to take sun-protection cream, towel and sunhat in addition to beach gear. Perhaps the most rewarding is the swimming: here you are far from the Atlantic rollers and currents of Rio; the jade green water is sparkly clear and bubbling with fish: bring goggles or a snorkel mask.

 

Day 11

Transfer to Ilha Grande.
 

Transfer by road and boat to Ilha Grande, on the route back to Rio (3.5hrs). This, the largest of many rugged, forested little islets studding the bays. This exquisite island is much undeveloped, because of its somewhat gruesome history: in the 16th and 17th centuries it was home to a notorious prison, closed in 1994. Now much of the forested inland territory is preserved in an ecological reserve. There are a number of low-key but very agreeable barefoot beach-side pousadas.

There’s nothing much to do apart from enjoy some of the continent’s most beautiful beaches and coves, accessible by track or boat. There are few roads connecting the tiny settlements and no motorised vehicles are allowed. The Atlantic rainforest remains largely untouched, although several walking trails have been established, so you can appreciate prolific wildlife, including hummingbirds. The only town, Vila do Abraão, consists of a few houses and dirt roads. There are few facilities: no ATMs, and internet access is patchy, but this is a real “getaway” place, perfect for honeymooners.

 

Days 12-13

At leisure on Ilha Grande.
 
Ilha Grande

Day 14

Transfer to Rio.
 

Transfer back to Rio for one last night and perhaps you’ll go out for a final sumptuous waterside meal.

Day 15

Transfer to airport for your international flight home.
 

Essential information

Transport

Two flights (longest 2hrs); 2 scenic road journeys (longest 4hrs); 2 boat journeys (longest 1.5hrs).

Accommodation

We have chosen a variety of accommodation styles for your honeymoon, each with its own appeal: elegant, historic properties in Buenos Aires and Paratí, a typically Brazilian pousada on Ilha Grande and modern resort-orientated hotels with spectacular locations and good facilities at Iguazú Falls and Rio.

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch day 10, dinner day 3.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

  • Walking tour of Retiro and Recoleta districts.
  • Tango show (with optional group tango lesson) and dinner included.
  • The Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls.
  • Cable car excursion to Sugar Loaf mountain.
  • Jeep tour of Corcovado mountain, Tijuca Forest and Santa Teresa.
  • Schooner boat cruise.

Summary of nights

15 days, 14 nights: Buenos Aires 3; Iguazú 2; Rio 3; Paratí 2; Ilha Grande 3; Rio 1.

Included in the journey price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office.
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
  • All land and air transport.
  • Accommodation as specified.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• International flights to Latin America.
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions.

Optional excursions

There are a number of half, full-day or longer excursions or activities you may wish to consider in order to customise your holiday to cater for your interests. Please contact us to discuss these further or to add them to your itinerary before you depart. A selection of these include:
  • Bicycle tours in Buenos Aires.
  • Excursion to the delta town of Tigre, from Buenos Aires.
  • Tour of Boca Juniors football stadium or attendance at a match.
  • Helicopter ride over the Iguazú Falls.
  • Samba show, Rio de Janeiro.

Currency

The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentinean Peso; Brazil has the Brazilian Real (plural reais).

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are gradually falling out of use (American Express are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

Given the spectacular size of both Argentina and Brazil, there is a fair bit of travelling on this holiday, but in short bursts, not long days. Be prepared for the heat and some early mornings ahead of the excursions.
 
If you have a disability or other special requirements, please do call us.

Climate

In Buenos Aires, October to November and March to April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine. January to February is hot, with temperatures over 30°C. 

In tropical Rio and Iguazú, December to March are the hottest and most humid months, with temperatures sometimes reaching 40°C, and rain which falls in heavy showers. From June to September, temperatures are more moderate (18-23°C) and there is plenty of sunshine, but cold fronts can usher in periods of up to several days of cloud and drizzle.

In Paratí and Ilha Grande, the verdant mountains can attract rain at any time but sunny days are frequent. The best weather is Mar – May, a quiet season except over Easter.

Clothing and special equipment

In the southern hemisphere summer it will be hot in Buenos Aires so take loose-fitting light clothing for maximum comfort. An umbrella is a good idea in case of a tropical shower.  

At the Iguazú Falls you can get very wet from the spray. Some travellers like to take dry clothes in a dry bag.
If you plan to go to good restaurants or out on evening entertainment trips, you might bring something a bit smarter as well (although formal attire will not be required).

Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for pools. 

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

You can also find helpful information on Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.

This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.

Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

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