Bolivia to Brazil - 28 Days
FROM USD $4,899
Travelling across South America in just under a month, this tour covers an incredible number of sights with striking contrasts. You'll see Bolivia's giant salt lake, the teeming wildlife of the Pantanal, Paraguay's curious capital, the spectacular Iguazu Falls and Brazil's liveliest city, thrilling!
Welcome to La Paz and the start of your amazing journey. Upon arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
Built on a series of hills and considered one of the world's most beautiful cities, La Paz was established in the basin of a canyon with the snow -capped Mount Illimani in the background. Our hotel is very centrally located and is just around the corner from the city's colourful indigenous street markets including the fascinating and suitably named "witches market'' where bowler hat wearing women in their flared skirts sell such items as dead cats and llamas foetuses said to ward off evil spirits. The main square, Plaza Murillo, is also within walking distance. The square still retains its colonial buildings including the Presidential Palace. La Paz is possibly the best place to experience a traditional peña show of Andean music and dance where local bands play time -honoured instruments such as zampoñas (pipes) and charangos (ukulele).
There are also many optional excursions available. You might like to visit the Moon Valley with its strange rock formations shaped by the weather. Another fantastic excursion is to the emerald green area of Coroico, the gateway to the Bolivian jungle region and a great place to see sub -tropical vegetation and plants. En route you will cross a 5,000 metre high pass before descending to 1,300 metres on narrow mountain roads bordered by sheer drops. The excursion to Coroico can also be done by mountain bike, as it is downhill nearly all the way and very exhilarating, but not for the fainthearted! Overnight - La Paz (1) Overnight Bus (1)
Leaving La Paz we will take an overnight bus to Uyuni.
The next morning we visit what is claimed to be the largest salt flat in the world, the brilliant white vast Salar de Uyuní, which covers some 10,500 square kilometres and estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt. A 4WD excursion takes us to a hotel made entirely of salt and then surrounds you with a world of white and blue. Fish Island provides stunning views of the lake which prove quite otherworldly as giant cacti and wandering llama punctuate the scene and provide perfect photo opportunities. The fantastic contrast of the brilliant blue sky (weather permitting of course) and the pure white of the salt flats will take your breath away. We then return to Uyuní for one more night.
Please Note: Occasionally in the rainy season the salt flats become overly flooded and we may have to alter the itinerary if the salt flats are not safe to traverse. In addition the local transport timetable on this route changes frequently and this sometimes necessitates a small change to the itinerary. Your tour leader will advise as early as possible if this is likely to happen on your tour. Overnight - Uyuni / Salar De Uyuni Region
Bolivia to Brazil - 28 Days Go Guide
: :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Days 5 - 6: Potosi
Travelling along scenic passes by public bus we come to the mining town of Potosí. The city was established by the Spanish in 1545 soon after the discovery of a rich vein of silver in a nearby hill, the Cerro Rico (or “rich hill”). It soon became the world's largest silver producer and silver from Potosí underwrote the Spanish economy, particularly the monarchy's extravagance, for over two centuries. In Spanish there is still a saying ‘valer un potosí’ (to be worth a fortune).
Millions of the indigenous population, and later, African slaves, worked in the mines in appalling conditions. You have the option to visit the mines, stopping first at the miners market to buy gifts such as coca leaves, dynamite and cigarettes. In the mines we will experience the difficult conditions in which the miners work - including 50°C heat. We'll pass several of the shrines they have made to the “Tios” which they hope will protect them while they are working in what they believe is the devil's territory. If you'd like to learn more of the historic silver industry you can take a tour of the Moneda, a museum exhibiting coins, artwork, mummies and many other interesting artefacts from Potosí's history Overnight - Potosi
Days 7 - 9: Sucre
A short journey along new roads brings us to Sucre, the official capital of Bolivia, where by law all buildings are painted white. Founded in 1538 it still has much of its colonial charm intact. The city is also famous for its warm and sunny climate. Don't miss a visit to the cathedral where you can see the jewel encrusted painting of Sucre's patron - the Virgin of Guadalupe. You have the option to visit the bustling Tarabuco market where ‘people watching’ is as interesting as the market itself. Try some of the cooked meals in the food market if you want to sample some of the locally grown hot chillies! Local indigenous communities are famous for their multi -coloured textiles. Overnight - Sucre (B:2)
Days 10 - 11: Santa Cruz
From Sucre we fly to Santa Cruz and enjoy some time for sightseeing before boarding an overnight train to the Pantanal. Overnight - Santa Cruz (1) Overnight Train (1) (B:2)
Days 12 - 13: The Pantanal
We take an overnight train to the Bolivian border town of Puerto Suárez before travelling by road for a short trip over the border to the Brazilian town of Corumba, a port city on the Rio Paraguay and the southern gateway to the Pantanal. We immediately transfer to the 4WD's that will take us in to the Pantanal Wetlands.
We enter the Pantanal National Park for sightseeing in this fantastic region. The Amazon may have all the fame and glory, but the Pantanal is a far better place to see wildlife. The area is a huge wetland in the centre of South America and is truly a birdwatchers paradise but is also home to a multitude of other animals. The ecosystem is known to be home to at least 3,500 species of plants, 650 species of birds, 400 species of fish, around 100 species of mammals, and 80 species of reptiles, with an estimated 10 million caimans alone. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see giant river otters, anacondas, iguanas, jaguars, ocelots, cougars, crocodiles, marsh deer, armadillos, giant and lesser anteaters, black howler monkeys and zebu bulls, to name but a few! You may have to work a bit to catch your lunch, but mind your fingers or they'll be piranha stew!
We stay in the Mato Grosso do Sul Province, in the southern part of the Pantanal in an area called “Passo do Lontra”. Built on stilts due to the seasonal floods in the region, the facilities in our lodge are in keeping with the environment, maintaining it as natural as possible and thus preserving the local fauna and flora. Facilities include more than 2,000 meters of elevated walkways, which allow for a closer contact with nature. Because the work to conserve and preserve the environment at the site, a great variety of animals and birds species can be viewed, particularly howler monkeys, marsh deer, herds of capybaras, caimans, herons, and countless birds. The hotel is owned by the Venturini and Buzinhani families, who started it in 1979. One of its features is a homelike atmosphere, where its owners work together with a team of local professionals trained to cater to visitors and conserve the environment and the local culture.
The chalets are situated on the banks of the Miranda River and all of the food is included as part of the tour and is all prepared for you. After arrival and check in we go on a boat tour either up or down the Miranda River, each direction featuring a different delicate ecosystem. The following day, you will visit São João farm travelling 25km through the park to reach it, another opportunity to spot wildlife. Once there, you can enjoy an ecological walk and a horseback ride before lunch. On our final day in the park, we will go piranha fishing for our lunch on the floating platform on the Miranda River.
Please note: This is an example itinerary of your time in the Pantanal. The exact itinerary will be tailored by the english speaking local guides depending on the arrival/departure time, time of year and weather forcast. Overnight - Pantanal (B:1, L:2, D:2)
Days 14 - 16: Bonito & Ponta Pora
Leaving the Pantanal behind us we travel to Bonito in the Sierra do Bodoquena mountains, famous for its caving and river activities. The following day is free to try some of the snorkelling activities in the lakes and rivers (optional). For those who prefer to stay on dry land, spectacular walks though the forest and mountains are on offer.
After a free morning in Bonito we make a lunchtime departure for Ponta Porã, where we spend the night. Overnight - Bonito (2) Ponta Pora (1) (B:3)
Days 17 - 18: Asuncion (Paraguay)
We travel over fertile farmlands destined for the Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu, our base for visiting the famous Iguazú Falls - the most magnificent waterfalls in the world. Unlike most other waterfalls that have just one or two cataracts, at Iguazú Falls there are 275 cataracts in a magnificent 3 kilometre long U shape that we will visit from both the Brazil and Argentinean sides.
Visiting the Argentine side of the falls you can board a speed boat which will take you under the falls soaking you from head to toe, an optional adventure you'll never forget! On the Argentine side you'll also find the famous "Devil's Throat" where fourteen falls drop with such force that there is always a massive cloud of spray overhead.
Visiting the Brazilian side of the falls will give you a completely different perspective from the Argentine side. On the Brazilian side you can see the falls by walking through the rainforest and along catwalks above and below the rushing water or, for a bird's eye view a helicopter flight is on offer (optional). You can also visit the world's largest hydroelectric dam at Itaipu (optional) where you can learn more about the ecological issues faced during the dam's construction. There is also a very interesting bird park nearby, perfect for that must-have photo with a toucan! Overnight - Asuncion (B:2)
We then visit the world's fastest growing city, Sâo Paulo, which has a metropolitan population of 19 million and skyscrapers sprawling upwards and avenues spreading outwards. We can visit a snake farm and the Latin American Exhibition Centre designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed Brasília, the country's capital (optional tours). After a hard day of sightseeing we can relax and perhaps have a meal in the Japanese quarter. Interestingly, São Paulo has the most Japanese residents outside of Japan so this is a great place to enjoy sushi. We stay in a pleasant area full of life and activity with easy access to the city by underground metro trains. Overnight - Foz de Iguacu (2) Overnight Bus (1)
This morning we reach the attractive university city of Curitiba. An exceptionally well planned city, there are many pleasant squares and parks to wander and quite a lively nightlife. We spend the night here and there is a good hop on hop off tourist bus which visits all the main attractions in the city, which you might like to join. Overnight - Curitiba
We then visit the world's fastest growing city, Sâo Paulo, which has a metropolitan population of 19 million and skyscrapers sprawling upwards and avenues spreading outwards. We can visit a snake farm and the Latin American Exhibition Centre designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed Brasília, the country's capital (optional tours). After a hard day of sightseeing we can relax and perhaps have a meal in the Japanese quarter. Interestingly, São Paulo has the most Japanese residents outside of Japan so this is a great place to enjoy sushi. We stay in a pleasant area full of life and activity with easy access to the city by underground metro trains. Overnight - Sao Paulo
Days 25 - 26: Parati
Following the stunning coastline north we come to colonial Parati, an old pirate town with streets made of stone slabs designed to let the tide wash over and clean them. You have an option to go on a full day boat cruise around the bay with plenty of time for swimming in the turquoise waters, sun-baking on the decks and eating a fresh seafood lunch washed down by a few cold beers. Other popular pastimes here are exploring the nearby beaches and shopping in the hippy markets. Overnight - Parati (B:2)
Fantastic Rio de Janeiro has many things to see and do. There are trips up Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car and Corcovado, with its famous Statue of Christ, for great city views. Another interesting journey is on the old tram system across the viaduct into the cobblestone neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. A walking tour of Rio's historic buildings is also a lovely way to pass an afternoon, or you may like to visit the Botanical Gardens or one of the famous beaches, such as Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon. If you are in Rio de Janeiro around February/March get ready for the world's biggest party, the Rio Carnival. Overnight - Rio De Janeiro
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights. (B)