Best of South America

Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls & Buenos Aires

This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our new Best of South America tour itinerary.


Itinerary at a Glance
Best of South America
Day Destination
1 Depart USA
2 Rio de Janeiro
3 Rio de Janeiro
4 Rio de Janeiro & Corcovado
5 Rio de Janeiro
6 Rio & Iguazu Falls
7 Iguazu Falls
8 Iguazu Falls & Buenos Aires
9 Buenos Aires
10 Buenos Aires
11 Return USA

This 10-day tour takes you to the best South America has to offer, from Brazil's sizzling city of Rio de Janeiro, to the cool waterfalls of Iguazu, and a hop across the border to Buenos Aires, Argentina's "Paris of the South." Discover Rio's wonders, both natural and manmade, in markets and nightspots, rainforests and mountaintops. Nearly 300 waterfalls make up Iguazu Falls, surrounded by a lush rainforest. Highlights of Argentina's capital include the presidential palace and former home of Juan and Eva Peron, the widest avenue in the world, and exquisite French architecture. An optional tour takes you on a catamaran ride to the fashionable island of Tigre.


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Meena and I immensely enjoyed the tour, guide and the company of many friends. The hotel accommodations and the meals were superb. The Lake Crossings to Argentina and the Iguassu Falls were spectacular views. We plan to take China and Egypt tours with Friendly Planet soon. We have been talking to many of our friends to join us in 2008 vacation adventure with Friendly Planet, who makes exciting excellent arrangements, worry-free. Looking forward to the companionship and friendship during our 2008 vacation.

Ram & Meena Ramachandran, Richmond, Virginia

Detailed Itinerary

Best of South America tour itinerary Day 1: Depart USA. Your exotic journey through South America begins today as you board your overnight flight bound for Rio de Janeiro.

Day 2: Rio de Janeiro. Arrive early this morning in Rio de Janeiro, the most visited city in the southern hemisphere. Situated on the mouth of Guanabara Bay, Rio is home to some of the most famous beaches in world like Copacabana and Ipanema. Aside from its beautiful shores, Rio is also a cultural hub containing a variety of museums, theaters, botanical gardens, parks and squares. By night, partake in Rio's famous barbeque and bustling nightlife. Transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy your first day in Rio at leisure, becoming acquainted with your new surroundings. Accommodations: Golden Tulip Regente. Breakfast provided.

Sugar Loaf Mountain Day 3: Rio de Janeiro. This morning, enjoy an excursion to one of the marvelous activities of the city—the Sunday Hippie Fair and Craft Market near Ipanema. Browse and find some special souvenirs!

Optional Excursion: This afternoon take advantage of an optional Jeep Tour of the Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world. As you travel through the forest you will have the opportunity to see a variety of exotic flora and fauna including beautiful tropical flowers and playful monkeys. You will also stop at the famous Chinese Lookout, where you will have a magnificent view of Rio's greatest landmarks including Sugar Loaf Mountain and Guanabara bay. You will also make a stop at Pepino Beach, renowned for its hang gliders soaring along the coast. Breakfast provided.

Christ the Redeemer statue Day 4: Rio & Corcovado. Your tour today begins with a panoramic drive through the Laranjeiras residential district and the quaint Cosme Velho. Board the cogwheel train for a 15-minutes ride through the Tijuca rainforest, the largest urban forest in the world, on your way to Corcovado Mountain. View the most famous landmark of Rio de Janeiro, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Take in the spectacular view of the city below. Return to your hotel for the balance of the day at leisure to enjoy the beach and Rio's festive atmosphere. Breakfast provided.

Day 5: Rio de Janeiro. Today is yours to explore Marvelous Rio de Janeiro on your own.

Optional Excursion: Take advantage of an optional morning tour to Sugar Loaf Island. Passing by the Sambodrome, the Metropolitan Cathedral, Cinelandia Square and Flamingo Park, you will be taken to the neighborhood of Urca where one of the greatest symbols of the city is located: Sugar Loaf Mountain. Your visit is made in two steps by cable car. The first cable car will take you up Urca Hill, where you will have a beautiful view from the Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niteroi Bridge and Corcovado. The second cable car will take you to the top of Sugar Loaf where you will find a splendid view of Copacabana beach and the Santa Cruz fortress.

Optional Excursion: This evening, after dinner on your own, take advantage of an optional Plataforma Show. This unforgettable performance combines authentic Brazilian folklore, traditional dances and live music. Breakfast provided.

Iguazu Falls Day 6: Rio & Iguazu Falls. Your exotic trip to Brazil continues as you board your short flight to Foz do Iguaçu. Upon arrival, transfer and check-in at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day to take in your beautiful surroundings. Accommodations: Bristol Viale Cataratas Hotel. Breakfast provided.

Day 7: Iguazu Falls. Today you will visit one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Iguazu Falls. With 275 waterfalls embedded into the rocks, Iguassu Falls are the largest in the world and are surrounded by a luscious rainforest. Your tour will take you to both the Brazilian and Argentinean sides of these magnificent waterfalls. You will get incredible up-close views of the cascading water and beautiful rainbows that rise into the mist. After a full day of touring, you will return to your hotel for the balance of the evening at leisure. Breakfast provided.

Cemetery of La Recoleta, Buenos Aires Day 8: Iguazu Falls & Buenos Aires. After a morning of leisure, transfer from the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls across the border to the airport on the Argentinean side for your flight to Buenos Aires. Arrive in Buenos Aires, so often referred to as "the Paris of the South." Upon arrival you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel. Accommodations: NH Crillon. Breakfast provided.

Day 9: Buenos Aires. After breakfast this morning, set out on a tour of the city. Begin at the Plaza del Mayo, the historic and political center of the city. You'll see the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace from which Juan and Eva Peron spoke to throngs of adoring Argentineans. Continue to the Obelisk landmark on the Avenue 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world, then to the crowded Florida Street, a true shopper's paradise. Pass through the colorful neighborhood of La Boca and the charming San Telmo area. Buenos Aires is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor, but everywhere the people are warm and welcoming. Admire the French architecture in the exquisite Recoleta neighborhood, including the beautiful Cemetery of La Recoleta, where Evita Peron is buried. It is one of many ironies of this complex city that Evita, heroine of the poor, is buried in the city's most elegant (and expensive) section. Breakfast provided.

Tigre Rowing Club Day 10: Buenos Aires plus optional Tigre excursion. Today is yours at leisure to explore on your own.

Optional Excursion: Enjoy an optional tour of nearby Tigre. This beautiful town, situated an island in the Paraná Delta, was first settled by Europeans and has become a fashionable weekend spot, with its grand architecture, antiques shops, riverside restaurants and pubs, a casino and a small amusement park. Enjoy a catamaran ride through the labyrinth of islands and islets along the delta, which is lined with countless marinas and English-style rowing clubs, humble dwellings and elegant mansions from the "Belle Époque", small hotels and upscale lodges, teahouses and picnic sites.

Dancing the tango Optional Excursion: Tonight, take advantage of an optional dinner, complete with an exciting performance of the tango, Argentina's passionate national dance, which originated in Buenos Aires from Spanish and African influences. Breakfast provided.

Day 11: Return USA. Your unforgettable journey through South America comes to an end as you board your return flight back to the USA this morning.

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