This wildlife-themed trip in Brazil brings together the vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro which will be your base for the first few days, with an emphasis on taking a walk on the wild side. You'll visit one of the world's biodiversity hotspots in the Atlantic rainforest where there are twice as many types of birds as in the whole of Europe and monkeys ranging from the smallest in the world to the some of the largest.
Then the core of your trip, you'll head into the Pantanal, the Serengeti of South America. It's truly vast and full of animals ranging from otters as big as a man, caiman to giant anteaters. And of course the jaguar, the third biggest cat. If you've ever seen them on the Discovery Channel, this is where they were. Tropical birds, truly exotic. You will end the trip enjoying the crystal-clear waters of Bonito, some of the finest freshwater snorkelling in the world, tropical fish swimming all around you.
You will meet a variety of local people in Brazil, including indigenous people who will show you their traditional customs..including how to call a jaguar with a drum. Other highlights are how to tie a lasso like a cowboy and how to make manioc (tapioca), you'd be amazed at how many ways there are.
This wildlife holiday in Brazil is suitable for couples (it is a private tour) or families. Either way, it's a trip you'll be talking about for years to come.
This private tour is away from the tourist trail, yet well-paced and accommodation is comfortable.
Sunday Day 1:
Check in at approx 6pm at London Heathrow for an overnight flight with TAM Airlines to Rio de Janeiro international airport. It is also possible to fly on Friday night.
Day 2: Early morning arrival in Rio de Janeiro where you will be met by your driver and driven into the hills, to the Santa Teresa area. Here, you will stay in a private home so you get the inside track into life in Brazil and the sort of personal connection which is part and parcel of a Tell Tale trip. You'll have the morning free to recover from your flight, your driver will be back later for an afternoon to visit the botanical gardens where you can see sloths in tree, brown capuchin monkeys and 6 foot wide water lilies and flora from the Amazon. Alternatively, you can visit Rio's famous beaches. Bit of time to relax back at 'home' then a welcome dinner with your hosts.
A day visiting Rio's famous sights. First you will take a cable car up Sugar Loaf mountain which sits at the front of the perfect wine-glass bay in Botafogo, then visit the Chris the Redeemer statue. You'll have a bit of time to relax before an evening out in central Rio.
What would you like to see today, one of the smallest monkeys in the world? Or one of the largest? Well you have a chance to see both, either a tiny marmoset or a large woolly spider monkey. Both found in the Atlantic coastal rainforest, in a protected conservation area which you're visiting today. There are also more birds here than there in the whole of Europe. Evening at leisure.
Next stop the Pantanal! Your driver will pick you up early this morning and you will fly to Campo Grande. You will be met at Campo Grande and driven to a working ranch (cattle and horses) which will be your base for a few days. Settle in and have a dip in the pool or go for a walk around the ranch. Welcome dinner tonight, if you like cheese, this is certainly the place for it, though you can also enjoy food cooked in a wood-fired stove and the homemade puddings and desserts.
Giddy up! The cowboys on the ranch will show you how to make a lasso, then it's time for a horseback ride (or of course you can go for a walk if you prefer) through the savannahs where you may see Giant Anteaters and rheas (South American ostriches). The area also has a lake which is full of caiman a sort of alligator. Don't worry, they don't hurt, they may reach 10 feet in length, but they mainly eat fish and birds not humans! You'll have a bit of rest before dinner. Then, you'll have a night safari to look for nocturnal animals like kinkajous a sort of South American bush babies, and olingos another type of procyonids.
Brazil is home to a diverse range of people. Did you know that the most Italian people living outside the Italy are in Brazil not the USA? Same for Japanese.
Today, you are meeting Marcelo but despite his Italian name, he is one of the local indigenous Kadiweu people. At his village, you'll learn how they prepare and make manioc (cassava), a very important food in Brazil. You'll also see traditional crafts, dancing and singing. However, the highlight of the day..Marcelo will use a friction drum to call a jaguar. They don't always come but it's quite the experience if they do!
You'll leave the ranch in the morning, then stay at a hotel in a small town for one night.
An early morning boat trip along the Rio Salobra, famous for its 2 metre long giant otters. You'll also see numerous herons and kingfishers. Keep your eyes peeled, jaguars live on the upper reaches of the river. Then you're heading off to a lodge located on a ranch. Time to settle in and have a quick dip in the pool before a welcome meal with the owner, Alexandre.
Morning at leisure to enjoy the pool which is set in a tropical fruit orchard. After lunch, you'll have a jeep safari to look for armadillos, ocelots and metre-long hyacinth macaws, the world's largest parrot. A break for dinner then it's time for a night safari.
A boat trip on the huge lake, you'll see big groups of capybara a sort of giant guinea pig, hundreds of water birds and eagles and hawks soaring overheard. A bit of fishing too..for..piranha! You'll be cooking this later over a traditional wood-fired barbecue back at the ranch.If this doesn't quite catch your fancy, it's also possible to go hiking, birdwatching or riding instead.
Pack up at leisure then it's time to drive to Bonito, a little town set in low hills on the southern edge of the Pantanal. Bonito is famous for its beautiful clear-water rivers, caves and abundant wildlife. Settle into your small hotel. Spent the late afternoon by the pool or have a a stroll around town. Evening at leisure.
Today, you'll go for a forest walk and birdwatching in the Buraco das Araras - a huge sink hole, home to hundreds of species including Aracaris (tiny toucans) and the big brightly-coloured Red and Green Macaws. In the afternoon, you'll visit the beautiful Rio da Prata - a warm, glassy clear stream filled with thousands of tropical fish. Amongst the best and easiest freshwater snorkelling you can do anywhere in the world.
Most of the day at leisure. Enjoy the pool or have a walk around Bonito to buy some local handicrafts and other souvenirs. In the late afternoon, you'll be driven to Campo Grande airport where you will take a short flight to Sao Paulo before catching a late night direct flight to London Heathrow.
Arrival at London Heathrow at approximately 4pm (this will be a Saturday if you started your tour on a Sunday night).
This wildlife adventure based on a minimum of 2 people sharing a private tour costs £3,500 per person. The tour price includes direct flights from the UK with TAM airlines, all accommodation, activities/excursions with guides, time with local people, private transfers and most meals. We recommend overall spending money for the two weeks of about £300 per couple for a nice holiday (unless you're big drinkers or shoppers!).
This trip can only be taken during April to November. If you are taking this as a family itinerary, if there are a minimum of 4 of you, the price is £3,300pp
(as this is a Tell Tale trip, for 4 or more you would of course have a minimum of 2 rooms). If you have any under 12s, please contact us with the exact breakdown of your family and we will work out the best price we can.
We expect most people to pay exactly the listed price. At least if they book sufficiently in advance (you can do so with a deposit). We are not like those operators who give 'guide prices' for their itineraries and you find some excursions aren't included or your costs are considerably more than you expected! Below are potential extra costs. We've tried to make it as simple as possible, but if you have any questions, please do telephone us.
Taking this trip the same time as the UK school summer holidays (approx mid July to late August) - add £100pp to base tour price, based on TAM flights.
2 night extension in Iguassu Falls (including extra flights) £600pp (or £500pp if minimum 4 people). Fly out on a Friday night with TAM and you will be back in the UK on a Saturday 2 weeks later.
Flying with British Airways economy class (instead of TAM, which is an excellent airline) - add £200pp to base price
The difference in price is not the London/Rio flight but a change in the way we can buy/ticket the internal flights. Please note that British Airways flies from Heathrow at midday rather than overnight like TAM. However, it is possible to start your trip on a Saturday if flying BA (therefore flying back on a Sunday on the itinerary
Flying with British Airways premium economy class - add £520pp (to BA economy flights price)
If you would like to fly BA during the summer school holidays, then it will cost the additional amount/s for BA flights as above plus an additional £300 per person.