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Rio & Brazilian Wildlife Highlights (Amazon / Pantanal): Amazing Wildlife in the Pantanal and Amazon

Days: 11 | From: $6,590/per person

Combine the coastal city of Rio with two of South America's top wildlife destinations. Explore the Amazon from a unique jungle lodge, then head into the heart of the Pantanal, the world’s largest alluvial flood plain.

  • 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

  • Rio de Janeiro
    3 nights: visit the beaches of this sparkling coastal metropolis
  • Amazon Jungle
    4 nights: explore the Amazon from your boutique-style jungle lodge
  • Pantanal
    3 nights: explore the world’s largest continuous wetland

  • 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 Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro Mountain View

Arrive to Rio de Janeiro, 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.

Alternative lodging options: Marina All Suites Hotel, in the trendy Leblon area
Day 2

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, Lunch

Day 3

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 4

Fly to the Amazon

Amazon Wildlife - Monkey

Fly into Cuiabá and take a short flight north to the remote town of Alta Floresta, at the southern edge of a massive expanse of pristine Amazon rainforest.

Your hotel is a high-quality bird watching location, and is a comfortable place to spend the first night of your foray into the Amazon.

Accommodations: Floresta Amazonica Lodge

The Floresta Amazônica Hotel has lovely gardens and a pool. The hotel is near an orchid garden and a local handicrafts market.

*Includes: Breakfast

Day 5

Head to Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Cristalino Jungle Lodge_aerial view

Journey into the jungle by vehicle and boat to Cristalino Jungle Lodge, a winner of the Conde Naste Traveler World Saver’s Awards for its pioneering efforts in preserving the southern Amazon rainforest in Brazil, an area under relentless threat of clearcutting by ranchers and loggers. The lodge is one of the best in the Amazon for viewing tropical birds (over 540 species on record) and wildlife, and has very comfortable facilities, top quality guides, and very good food.

Meet with your guides to learn about your excursions for the next few days, then start exploring the area.

Accommodations: Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Cristalino Jungle Lodge is located in a private reserve in the Southern Brazilian Amazon rainforest, bordering Cristalino State Park. The lodge, a favorite among bird and butterfly enthusiasts, boasts a 50-foot observation tower, which rises over the forest canopy. An award-winning environmental project, this is one of the very top Amazon lodges in Brazil.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Days 6-7

Explore the Jungle by Foot, Boat, or Canoe

Cristalino Jungle Lodge_blue and gold macaw

Your exact activities will vary, but Cristalino offers a variety of excursions to discover this natural ecosystem: jungle hikes, seeing wild river dolphins, visiting local villages, boat trips, nighttime canoeing, and more. There is an incredible abundance of plant and animal life in this area, and your guides will help you spot the local species and make the most of your time.

Accommodations: Cristalino Jungle Lodge

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Head to the World’s Largest Continuous Wetland

Pantanal Sunset

Travel to what is arguably the best place in South America for viewing wildlife: the Pantanal.

Journey back through the jungle to Alta Floresta, and from there to the Pantanal gateway city of Cuiabá. The “transpantaneira” highway (a narrow 2 lane dirt road) takes you into the heart of the Pantanal, the world’s largest alluvial flood plain, where the abundance of bird and animal life will amaze any visitor. Because there is far less tree cover than in the Amazon to the north, the animals are easier to see. Monkeys, toucans, macaws, giant anteaters, tapir, and countless other species of birds and animals make their home here.

Accommodations: Pousada Rio Mutum: Pantanal Eco-Lodge

Pousada Rio Mutum, located between the Sia Mariana and Chacorore lakes, has 22 air conditioned rooms, each with a hammock on the veranda. Mango and cashew trees surround the hotel and serve as a haven for the local birds. An excellent base for exploring the surrounding Pantanal and appreciating the diversity of its abundant wildlife.

*Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Days 9-10

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

A Toco Toucan  (Ramphastos toco) perched on a branch tossing food into it's mouth, against a blurred natural background, Pantanal, Brazil

The exact itinerary at the Rio Mutum Lodge can vary, but you will make excursions into the Pantanal by foot, horseback, and boat (depending on the season).

Accommodations: Pousada Rio Mutum: Pantanal Eco-Lodge

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11

Depart for Home or Your Next Destination

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

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

Sunset behind mountains in Rio de Janeiro with water reflectionAerial view of famous Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilRio de Janeiro Cristo Redentor ViewCopacabana Palace PoolCristalino Jungle Lodge - floating deckCristalino Jungle Lodge - Sunset at canopy towerCristalino Jungle Lodge - River and floating deckAmazon Wildlife - Blue & Gold MacawPantanal Wildlife - Coati (Ringtail)

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • 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.

Call us to start planning your journey today:

1-(800)-342-1796

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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.

Uplifting service

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.

Thoughtful, respectful travel

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.