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No tour escort; explore at your own pace
|Highlights||Rio de Janeiro & Corcovado. Optional extension to Manaus and the Amazon|
|What to Expect||Travel Style This leisurely-paced, locally hosted tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness. The Amazon extension is moderately-paced, and includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
|As Seen in|
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Exotic, exciting, sexy. Known by Brazilians as Cidade Maravilhosa, the Marvelous City, Rio is all of these and more. Soak in the sun on its famous beaches, take a jeep tour through the Tijuca Rainforest, or hang-glide over Pepino Beach. Take a cog train to the top of Corcovado, where the city’s most famous landmark, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, overlooks it all. Take an optional trip to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, accessible only via a series of 2 cable cars. Rest up at your hotel on Copacabana Beach for the pulsating nightlife of this Brazilian beauty.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exotic journey to Brazil 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 the world such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy your first day in Rio at leisure, to become acquainted with your new surroundings. Accommodations: Porto Bay Rio Internacional on Aug 14 departure, Pestana Rio Atlantico or similar on all others.
Day 3: Rio de Janeiro. 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-minute 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 4: Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy a day of leisure in this fascinating city. You can take advantage of one of the most popular activities in Rio—the Sunday Hippie Fair and Craft Market near Ipanema. Browse and find some special souvenirs! Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Tijuca Forest Jeep Tour. 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. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Day 5: Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy your final day in Rio at leisure. Soak in some rays on Copacabana beach or spend some time last minute shopping at Rio’s popular shopping streets and malls, or try the famous Churrascaria, the Brazilian BBQ of endless grilled meats and salads. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Sugar Loaf Mountain. Enjoy an optional morning tour to Sugar Loaf Mountain. 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 of 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. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: Plataforma Show. This evening, after dinner on your own, marvel at an optional Plataforma Show. This unforgettable performance combines authentic Brazilian folklore, traditional dances and live music. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Day 6: Rio de Janeiro/USA. Today is yours to explore Marvelous Rio de Janeiro on your own. Early this evening, transfer to the airport and board your overnight flight back to the USA. Alternatively, extend your stay with an exciting optional post-tour to the Amazon. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Arrive USA. Your Rio adventure comes to an end as you arrive in the USA early this morning.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our extension to the Amazon, for a special opportunity to visit the famous rainforest and the amazing "Meeting of the Waters" where the Negro and Solimões Rivers meet and form the Amazon River. Order of activities may vary depending on the local conditions.
Day 6: Rio de Janeiro & Manaus. This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Manaus, gateway of the Amazon. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred by car to the pier, and then by boat to your lodge. This evening, there will be a welcome drink and briefing. Accommodations: Amazon Ecopark Lodge. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7: Manaus & Amazon. After an early breakfast, depart by boat with a naturalist guide to see the "Meeting of the Waters". See the phenomenon where the dark waters of the Rio Negro join the brown waters of the Solimões and flow together for miles before their waters mix. Later, return to your lodge. This evening, after dinner, depart on a canoe safari with a naturalist guide to observe the river by night, and perhaps even spot the nocturnal Amazon alligator. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8: Amazon. Today’s excursions will include exploring the waterways and hiking jungle trails, all the while learning about the magnificent and diverse flora and fauna of the Amazon. Visit a local Amazonian "caboclo" family and learn about their traditions. You can even go piranha fishing! Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 9: Amazon, Manaus/USA. This morning, visit the "Monkey Forest," where rescued primates are cared for in partnership with the Live Forest Foundation and the Amazon Ecopark Lodge.
Later, your adventure comes to an end as you transfer to Manaus by boat and then onto continue to the airport for your onward flight to the USA. Breakfast provided.
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