16D15N Natural Wonders of Brazil and Ecuador

Brazil enchants with natural beauty, friendly people and an intoxicating, unique mix of European, African and Indian influences and Ecuador´s nature playground with its famous destination: Galapagos Islands.

Exceptional Experiences:

  • Appreciate the natural beauty of Rio and the Cariocasthe Tijuca rainforest and explore the Guanabara Bay and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema which have shaped the development of the city and inspired the Carioca culture.
  • Enjoy exclusive access to this magnificent sight in the evening and at dawn at Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, when the park is closed to other visitors.
  • Visit and stay overnight in Pantanal, the largest wetland plain on the planet. Its fields and mountain ranges, bays, rivers and lakes cover an extremely flat area of 210,000 km2
  • visit the monument of “La Mitad del Mundo” (“Middle of the World”), mark the place where you cross the equatorial line.
  • Experience the Ecuadorian rainforest at Mashpi Lodge, one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World

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Itinerary:

Day 1: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Depart Singapore for Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!

On arrival at Rio de Janeiro International Airport (GIG), please clear customs and immigration and collect your luggage. Meet and greet your local tour director upon arrival. Then, transfer to your hotel and your local guide will provide some introductory information about the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro.

A country of mythical proportions, Brazil enchants with natural beauty, friendly people and an intoxicating, unique mix of European, African and Indian influences. Discover the very best of this captivating destination on your journey, whether you visit its sun-kissed beaches or travel deep into the lush Amazon.

Perhaps no other destination in Brazil is more legendary than Rio de Janeiro, known for its Samba, Carnival and dazzling beaches. This former colonial city also boasts historic architecture, incredible natural scenery and iconic sights, such as the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Rio de Janeiro is the Brazilian tourism capital, with a population of six million. Known by its inhabitants, the Cariocas, as the “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Marvelous City), its reputation precedes it. Images explode forth of stunning mountains, glittering carnival costumes, the statue of Christ’s welcoming outspread arms, skimpy bikinis and the endless rhythm of samba. However, behind all the glitz and glamour, this wonderful city, located in the Southeast Region of Brazil, is also rich in history and culture. There are many fine buildings, historical neighbourhoods and museums from its time as the capital of Brazil.

In Rio, the more you explore the more there is to experience. The Cariocas are very friendly and welcoming people, guaranteeing to make your Brazilian vacation a memorable one

Accommodation: 5* Emiliano Rio

 

Day 2: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

This morning, enjoy a tropical breakfast at your hotel.

Today, you will witness why Rio is considered one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the world. The key natural elements, the Tijuca rainforest, the Guanabara Bay and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, have shaped the development of the city and inspired the Carioca culture. Enjoy this full-day experience with your private local guide to appreciate the natural beauty of Rio and the Cariocas.

Begin this morning by visiting the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the ‘new’ Seven Wonders of the World. From the top of Corcovado Mountain, the views are breathtaking. You will understand why the natural landscape of the city is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Have a traditional lunch at Assador Rio’s.

Accommodation: 5* Emiliano Rio

 

Day 3: Rio De Janeiro - Iguassu Falls, Brazil

Enjoy a tropical breakfast at your hotel. Your private guide and driver will accompany you to the Rio airport to embark on your flight to Foz de Iguaçu, host of the famous Iguassu Falls.

On arrival at the Foz de Iguaçu airport (IGU) you will be met by your local guide and driver who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Iguassu Falls!

Iguaçu Falls is located on the border of the State of Parana, is one of the most famous attractions in all of Brazil. The 275 massive waterfalls are divided between Argentina and Brazil and provide vastly different views and experiences depending on what side they are viewed from.

Arrive at the Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas. The only hotel located within Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, this 5-star property provides an unrivalled location just a short stroll from the sensational waterfalls. Enjoy exclusive access to this magnificent sight in the evening and at dawn, when the park is closed to other visitors.

Meet with your local guide at the lobby of the hotel for a walking tour of the Brazil side of the falls.

Begin your tour from the hotel and take a descending trail down the canyon, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of more than 240 falls. Then, board the glass elevator to a platform where more exquisite views will be revealed. Along with its “sister” park in Argentina, the Iguassu National Park forms the most significant remaining rainforest in the southern cone of South America which, along with the waterfalls, have been declared a National Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The remainder of your day is free to enjoy the falls and your hotel in any number of ways.

Accommodation: 5* Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

 

Day 4:  Iguassu Falls, Brazil

Enjoy breakfast at the Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas.

Depart from the hotel and cross the Tancredo Neves Bridge, enjoying its lovely view of the Iguassu Canyon heading towards the Argentina side of Iguaçu National Park. At the entrance, a small train takes you on a tour through the park, making two stops; one to the upper circuit and another to the lower circuit. Follow the walkways to the top of the waterfalls, which provides spectacular views of the ‘Cataratas’ (falls) set among the abundant nature filled with orchids, colorful birds and other wildlife. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the suspended platform at the very brink of the ‘Garganta do Diabo’ waterfall (Devil’s Throat), the largest of the waterfalls in the park.

After completing the visit of the Argentina side of the falls, cross the boarder again and return to your hotel in Brazil (7 hours, driver and guide).

The evening is at leisure.

Accommodation: 5* Belmond Hotel das Cataratas

 

Day 5: Iguassu Falls - Campo Grande, Brazil

Meet your guide and driver at the hotel for a private transfer to IGU Airport.

Embark on your flight to Pantanal. On arrival at Campo Grande airport (CGR) you will be met by your local guide and driver who will accompany you to your hotel in the city.

The Hotel Deville Prime is in one of the most exclusive districts of Campo Grande, next to the Indigenous Nations Park, the hotel is surrounded by large green area. The hotel has 196 apartments, which offer all the comfort, privacy and modernity required for your stay, whether for business or leisure. With tasteful contemporary décor, each room provides guests with air conditioning, TV, and a telephone.

Accommodation: Deville Premium Campo Grande

 

Day 6: Campo Grande - Pantanal, Brazil

Meet your private guide and vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to the Caiman Ecological Refuge, the Pantanal’s best wildlife lodge. The ground transfer will take roughly 3,5 hours.

Located in the geographic centre of South America, the Pantanal is the largest wetland plain on the planet and also a World Natural Heritage and World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO Its fields and mountain ranges, bays, rivers and lakes cover an extremely flat area of 210,000 km2, fed by tributaries of the Paraguay River, which runs through the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, as well as Bolivia and Paraguay.

The unique combination of location, gently sloping topography and seasonal rise and fall of the waters, characterised by intense rainfall in summer, gave rise to a lush, mega-diverse biome.

The imposing and magnificent scenery is the habitat of the largest concentration of wildlife in the Americas. It shelters over 650 species of birds, 400 species of fish and 80 species of mammals, many threatened with extinction.

The Caiman Ecological Refuge is a pioneering ecotourism enterprise in the Southern Pantanal, situated on a 53,000 ha cattle ranch (Estancia Caiman) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, near the city of Miranda, 236km west from Campo Grande.

In addition to ecotourism, Caiman is involved with cattle production, as well as environmental research and conservation projects, including the Hyacinth Macaw Project, Onçafari (Jaguar) Project and Blue-fronted Parrot Project, all done through partnerships with researchers and universities. It has also created a Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony (RPPN), which spans almost 5,600 ha and includes a representative sample of the Pantanal’s natural characteristics.

Accommodation: 5* Caiman Eco Lodge

 

Day 7: Pantanal, Brazil

Today, enjoy the activities included by the Lodge.

Choose from a variety of activities - Forest bathing at it’s finest, to enter the deep forest requires 3 hours of navigation around the bends in a motorized canoe.  Surrounded by green and orchestra of sights and sounds that will bring your senses to life.

During the day explore the forest in motorized canoe and trek through dense forest to learn about the flora and fauna. Explore the Amazon during the evening and a whole other world comes to life.

Support local initiatives by spending some time with an indigenous community to understanding the process of agriculture and shamanic traditions.  After a long day of trekking & exploring the forest head to the Laguna Grande to witness a beautiful expression of colour & light emerging as we take in the sunset along the Cuyabeno River.

Accommodation: 5* Caiman Eco Lodge

 

Day 8: Pantanal - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Quito, Ecuador

Check-out in the morning and depart to Campo Grande airport for your flight to São Paulo.

Welcome to Quito!

Upon arrival at Quito airport, after clearing customs and migration, meet your guide at the arrival’s hall. Your guide escorts you to your awaiting private vehicle and transfers you to the Casona where you will be assisted with check-in procedures.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

 

Day 9: Quito, Ecuador

A 2-hour walking tour of Quito is an excellent way to discover the city and some of the reasons why it earned its honour as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk to San Francisco Church and its museum of religious art, La Compañía and the seven tons of gold gilding on its glittering walls, and the bustling Independence Plaza, flanked by the Presidential Palace and Quito Cathedral. Rich in art treasures, fine woodcarvings, and flowering balconies, the historical centre is the lifeblood of Quito.

Chef Alejandro Chamorro worked for Gastón Acurio in both Quito and Perú before he and Piedad Salazar opened their own restaurant. The team divides the work between sweet and savoury. Alejandro specializes in main dishes while Piedad is a pastry chef. Chamorro is also a founding member of Panela, a gastronomic collective composed of chefs who work with local ingredients.

Gastronomic culture in Ecuador is a blend of many regions, ingredients, and histories. Grains, fruits, and vegetables have been exchanged between the Amazon, the Andes, and the coast since Pre-Columbian times. These ancient ingredients and traditions later mixed with Spanish cuisine. The result is a colorful mix of delicious food! From encocado de camarones (a coconut and shrimp stew) to hornado (roast pork served with potato tortillas and avocado) Ecuadorian cuisine has something to fit everyone’s taste.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

 

Day 10: Quito - Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

This morning, your guide will be waiting at the lobby for your assisted transfer to the airport for your flight from Quito to San Cristobal.

Welcome to Galapagos!

Upon arrival at San Cristobal Island Airport, pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands. You will be met and transferred to M/C Elite, where you will check into your cabin then receive an introductory briefing and safety drill.

In the afternoon, make a visit to the David Rodriguez Breeding Center provides information about the origin and evolution of the giant tortoise and explains why the centre is so vital in safeguarding the future of these creatures. Walking through the trails of the reserve, you can see baby tortoises being reared in semi-natural conditions - a brilliant demonstration of the commitment the local people have to preserve the wildlife that makes the Galapagos so special.

Accommodation: 5* M/C Elite

 

Day 11: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

This morning, visit Suarez Point. Suarez Point is packed with wildlife and is best explored on the circular walking trail. This memorable walk will take you past nesting sites of large colonies of Nazca and blue-footed boobies and mockingbirds. Also, unique to Española island are red and green marine iguanas and the beautiful waved albatrosses, that can be seen majestically launching themselves out across the ocean from the cliffs. A geological highlight are several blowholes, capable of shooting water 25m into the air, that make for a spectacular photo.

In the afternoon, explore the pristine white sandy beach of Gardner Bay dotted with sea lions. You may relax, kayak or paddleboard to observe the large number of waved albatrosses who use this beach as a breeding site. A short panga ride will take you to the Gardner and Osborn Islets, that are superb locations for snorkelling with young sea lions and a variety of colourful tropical fish and corals.

Accommodation: 5* M/C Elite

 

Day 12: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

This morning, make a visit to Cormorant Point which features two contrasting beaches: one with green-tinted sand due to the high content of olivine crystals, and another with pure white sand (commonly known as ‘Flour Beach’) derived from pulverized coral. The saltwater lagoon is a must-see as it is frequented by one of the largest population of Galapagos flamingos as well as other shorebirds such as stilts, white-cheeked pintails and large-billed flycatchers. A panga ride to Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, provides a fantastic opportunity for snorkelling in an area that is known for having a high diversity of fish.

In the afternoon, drop by the Post Office Bay, a man-made site that offers an insight into a remarkable mailing tradition developed by British whalers in the 18th century, that visitors can still take part in today. The beach here provides for good snorkelling and kayaking and it is also possible to descend into and walk through a lava tube. Next, take a panga ride to the Baroness’ Lookout, a volcanic rock formation named after an Australian baroness, who visited the island in the 1930’s and is believed to have mysteriously disappeared. A short trail leads to a brilliant vantage point with panoramic views of the surrounding mangroves and coastline.

Accommodation: 5* M/C Elite

 

Day 13: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador - Quito, Ecuador

This morning, visit Mosquera Islet, a small, flat, sandy islet located between Baltra and North Seymour islands. With no fixed trail, you are free to explore the beautiful surroundings on foot, where you will encounter a large population of sea lions, shorebirds and the striking Sally Lightfoot crabs that cling to the dark rocks. The numerous coral reefs also make it a fantastic site for snorkelling and catching sight of a range of marine life including sharks, turtles and rays.

Transfer from the M/C Elite to Baltra airport for your flight to mainland Ecuador. Assistance at the airport.

Upon arrival in Quito, your guide will assist with your transfer to your hotel.

Accommodation: 5* Casa Gangotena

 

Day 14: Quito - Cloud Forest, Ecuador

This morning, visit the monument of “La Mitad del Mundo” (“Middle of the World”), mark the place where you cross the equatorial line and the obelisk commemorates the visit of the geodesic mission in the XVIII century as part of their studies measuring one arc of the meridian and their efforts to prove the elliptical shape of the earth. Straddle both hemispheres at the same time.

Then, visit the Ethnographic Museum (featuring a display of outfits sported by Ecuador’s various indigenous groups) or the Inti Ñan Museum. Located at the true equator, this museum displays examples of pre-Columbian life in Ecuador and offers demonstrations on the unique geography, astrology, and natural sciences of the region around the equator.

Then, check into your accommodation and experience the Ecuadorian rainforest at Mashpi Lodge, one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World.

After been comfortably settled in your room you will be greeted by one of our naturalists who will give you an introductory talk about the cloud forest and its conservation, the activities during your stay and some helpful tips about what to wear and what to bring to the excursions. This talk will take place before lunch at our library and lasts around 30 minutes.

Head for an afternoon Excursion and explore Napa Trail.

Every evening, different lectures like the “Secret Wildlife of Mashpi" are prepared for our guests to learn more about the cloud forest ecology.

Accommodation: 5* Mashpi Lodge

 

Day 15: Cloud Forest, Ecuador

Today, enjoy the activities offered by the lodge.

Choose from a range of activities from hiking trails to adventurous explorations.

Accommodation: 5* Mashpi Lodge

 

Day 16: Cloud Forest - Quito, Ecuador

This morning, we will head for an early session of Bird Watching along the road. This activity starts at 6:30 in the hotel lobby and take advantage of the fact that many species of birds come near the hotel to feed on the moths that were attracted to the light last night.

Then, take a break and have cup of coffee. Thereafter, you walk down the road looking for the fascinating mixed-species feeding flocks, this mixed hunting party, is a flock of usually insectivorous birds of different species, that join each other and move together while foraging. In a single flock you may see over 20 different species of birds, making this encounters the jackpot to the bird watchers. This activity take 1 hour an you be back for breakfast.

Afterwhich, hike to the Copal Waterfall. This hike takes 2 hours and the land-scape is beautiful, moss-cover trees, bromelias and orchids everywhere. This trail ends in a spectacular waterfall over 50mt high.

You will be back to the lodge on time for your private transfer to the airport. A box lunch will be provided by the lodge.

Depart for the airport.

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Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on the tour but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored based on the interests of the group.


This itinerary and its package inclusions might be changed later in time, subject to availability.

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