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Iguazu Falls, the Pantanal, Bonito, and Rio: Stunningly diverse nature and wildlife

Days: 11 | From: $7,500/per person

Walk the trails over and through impressive Iguazu Falls, then head north to discover Bonito, a paradise of crystal blue water. Explore the Pantanal, one of the best places in South America for wildlife viewing, and finish your trip with some time in the captivating beach-side metropolis of Rio.

  • Includes accommodations at first class hotels that reflect the best of local culture
  • Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides
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We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

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At a glance

  • Iguazu Falls
    2 nights: walk among 275 distinct cascades in the middle of subtropical forest
  • Pantanal
    3 nights: explore the world’s largest continuous wetland
  • Bonito
    2 nights: snorkel, dive, and boat in azure waters full of marine life
  • Rio de Janeiro
    3 nights: visit the beaches of this sparkling coastal metropolis

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

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Sample itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Foz do Iguaçu

Iguazu Falls

Fly into Foz do Iguaçu, home to the magnificent Iguazu Falls, where your private guide will welcome you to the country and take you to your hotel. Your hotel is the only one located within the Iguazu National Park on the Brazilian side. Enjoy a private walking tour of the Brazilian side, exploring the trails and catwalks around the falls. Guests at this hotel also have the unique privilege of being able to see the falls at close range after the park closes.

Accommodations: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

The only hotel within Brazil's Iguassu National Park and just a two-minute walk to the Iguassu Falls, this hacienda-style property is a unique and exceptional way to experience this area. Tastefully remodeled by Belmond Hotels (formerly Orient Express), it is the most refined hotel in the vicinity, and in the evening it gives exclusive access to the falls after the park closes and all other visitors have to leave. The hotel has 193 rooms, including 16 suites, and offers two restaurants, a bar, pool, gym, tennis courts, and full-service spa.

Day 2

Iguazu Falls: Another Perspective

Iguazu Falls

Enjoy a trip to the Argentine side of the falls, getting a different perspective on this magnificent site. The majority of the trails and walkways are on the Argentine side of the falls, and most boat tours that take you up close to the falls also start on this side.

Accommodations: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 3

Head to the World’s Largest Continuous Wetland

Amazon Wildlife - Caiman

After one last breakfast overlooking the falls, transfer to the airport for your flight to Campo Grande. Your private guide will meet you and drive you into the Pantanal, to your lodge at the Caiman Ecological Refuge. Here you will have a briefing with your guides to learn about your activity options for the coming days. After dinner you’ll have your first excursion: a nighttime exploration to seek out nocturnal wildlife, including the resident caiman.

Accommodations: Caiman Ecological Refuge

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is located on a 53,000-hectare ranch in Brazil's Pantanal wetland. The refuge offers two lodging options, Cordilheira Lodge and Baiazinha Lodge, located about 14 miles apart. Both lodges offer daily excursions to explore the area, with two daylight tours and an evening activity. Some of the regular activities include photo safaris, walking tours, canoe tours, Jeep safaris, and night safaris to look for nocturnal wildlife.

The Baiazinha Lodge is cozy and homelike, decorated in traditional ranch style. It is located on the shores of a permanent lake and has six standard rooms with balconies overlooking a west-facing inlet of the lake. Common areas include a living room, dining room, and outdoor pool and deck with hammocks.

The Cordilheira Lodge has a more sophisticated air and sits between a seasonal lake and a wooded hillside. It offers five double suites, each with separate bedroom and living room plus a balcony. The lodge features a social area with living room, dining room, media and games room, and an outdoor deck pool with views of the Pantanal landscape.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 4-5

Go in Search of Monkeys, Toucans, Macaws, Giant Anteaters, Tapir, and More

Amazon Wildlife - Blue & Gold Macaw

Your exact activities will vary, but the Caiman Ecological Refuge offers a variety of excursions to explore this natural ecosystem: trail walks, caiman tours, photo safaris, canoeing, and more. The Pantanal is one of the best places in South America for wildlife viewing, and your guides will help you spot the local species and make the most of your time.

Accommodations: Caiman Ecological Refuge

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Journey to Bonito, an Area that Lives up to its Name

Brazil - Bonito

Set out toward Bonito (Portuguese for “beautiful”), a paradise for diving, snorkeling, caving, rappelling, and swimming in crystalline blue waters. The area’s natural limestone filters the water and creates a calcium-rich environment that is home to a variety of aquatic plant and animal life. En route you will stop at Estancia Mimosa, where you will follow a trail through the forest past eight waterfalls, with the chance to swim in natural pools and explore small caves. You will also enjoy a local lunch.

Accommodations: Zagaia Eco Resort

An eco-resort located just outside Bonito, the Zagaia Eco Resort encompasses a large property with gardens, ponds, and walking trails. The property also offers two pools (one adults only), a kids’ room, a spa with heated pool and waterfall, Jacuzzis, tennis courts, and a lake for fishing. There are also two restaurants and a café.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Explore Bonito’s Fascinating Underwater World

Brazil - Bonito - Fish

Visit the Recanto Ecologico Rio da Prata, and drift by boat along a quiet stream filled with dozens of species of fish and aquatic plants. Here you will have the opportunity to snorkel and dive. Afterward head to the Buraco das Araras, a geological formation resulting from the collapse of boulders. This enormous cavity is 1,640 feet in circumference and 330 feet deep, and is home to alligators, armadillos, anteaters, agouti, and over 120 species of birds including toucans and macaws.

Accommodations: Zagaia Eco Resort

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Fly to Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro Mountain View

Fly out of the jungle to Rio, a coastal metropolis, where your private guide will take you to your hotel on Copacabana Beach. This is one of the best locations in the city; many of Rio’s best restaurants, boutiques, and cafes are located here and in neighboring Ipanema and Leblon.

Accommodations: Belmond Copacabana Palace

The Copacabana Palace opened its doors in 1923 and continues to be the grande dame of Rio hotels. The hotel's illustrious history is apparent from the minute you walk in the door and see the photos of the countless celebrities and political leaders that have stayed there. The hotel overlooks Copacabana Beach, and its grounds and facilities are exceptionally elegant. Operated by Belmond (formerly Orient Express), the service is impeccable.

*Includes: Breakfast

Alternative lodging options: Marina All Suites Hotel, in the trendy Leblon area
Day 9

Christ Statue and Historic Santa Teresa

Brazil - Rio de Janeiro - Cristo Rendentor

Get to know beautiful Rio with your private local guide. Head to the top of Corcovado Mountain to the iconic Cristo Redentor statue, where you can take in one of the best views in the world. Afterward, visit the Tijuca Forest National Park, the largest urban forest in the world. Drive through the historic Santa Teresa neighborhood, filled with mansions dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and see Rio’s bustling downtown.

Accommodations: Belmond Copacabana Palace

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 10

Time to Relax and Explore Rio; Cable Ride up Sugar Loaf Mountain

Brazil - Rio de Janeiro - Suguarloaf Mountain

After a relaxed morning on your own, head up Sugar Loaf Mountain on a cable car for privileged views of Guanabara Bay, Corcovado, Rio-Niteroi Bridge, Santa Cruz Fortress, and the glittering scenery of Rio.

Accommodations: Belmond Copacabana Palace

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 11

Depart for Home or Your Next Destination

Today you will say goodbye to your local guide and head to the airport for your flight home or to your next destination.

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

Hotel das Cataratas Aerial ViewHotel das Cataratas - view of the fallsIguazu Falls - Grass on river rocksPantanal SunsetRio de Janiero - CoastlineAerial view of famous Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilCopacabana Palace Pool

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • Visit the Itaipu Hydroelectic Dam, one of the world’s largest operating hydroelectric facilities, at Iguazu.

  • Take in a samba show in Rio; we’ll arrange an evening at one of our local favorites, an intimate and authentic venue.

  • Hike with your private guide up Tijuca Peak, the highest peak in Rio, for rewarding views of the city and coastline.

  • Enjoy a private tour of Rio’s street art, learning about the history and politics of this unique art form.

  • Include some downtime for rest and relaxation! Some free time to unwind or have a massage will allow you to feel refreshed and ready for the remainder of your trip. Many of our properties include excellent spas or wellness centers. We can help arrange these services or include properties that offer health & wellness amenities.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1-(800)-342-1796

Inquire About This Trip

Why Travel with Vaya?

We're TRUE specialists

South America is the only place we do trips, and no one knows our destinations better. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former U.S. expatriates with years of experience in the region.

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From the first phone call to after you get back, we’re here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize and advocate for you, and design experiences that go beyond the expected.

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Our discerning sensibility and good taste go beyond just choices in hotels and top guides; we have a walk the walk commitment to the environment and are genuine leaders in conservation efforts.