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Golden swathes of famous coastline, tropical landscapes and a certain "joie de vivre" will welcome you to one of the world's most vibrant cities, Rio de Janeiro. Energy pulses through every pore of this passionate and fun loving city, flooding from the favelas to the football fields and cumulating in nightly parties where the caipirinhas are free flowing and the samba rhythm is infectious. Rio may be best known for its annual Carnival, but visiting here you'll realise that every day is cause for celebration. Settle in to your hotel before meeting up with your Travel Director this afternoon. Then, if you'd like, hit the sands of Copacabana to watch the sun set whilst you sip your first Cachaça.
The picturesque Cosme Velho district will be your first stop today, where 1920's neocolonial buildings will surround you as you board the Corcovado Rack Railway, an old cogwheel train. Hopping on board you'll wind your way through the Tijuca Forest to the very top of Mount Corcovado, standing in awe as you catch a first glimpse of the 30 metre high Christ the Redeemer. The undisputed icon of Rio, this magnificent art deco statue is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World and offers the best vantage point of the 'Marvellous City' stretching out below. Take your time exploring here before heading on to visit lively Copacabana and beautiful Ipanema, Rio's best known beaches. Laze under an umbrella, take a dip in the surf, then this evening dive in to Rio's famed culinary scene.
Waking up to your final full day in Rio, today is free to explore your way. Perhaps opt for a sun drenched sailing excursion around Guanabara Bay, passing by islands and forts with the towering Sugarloaf Mountain ever present in the distance. For those keen to get a closer look, you could also opt for a half day city tour of Rio which includes ascending the mountain by cable car for absolutely stand out views. Tonight, celebrate the diversity and culture of South America at the Carretão Ipanema Churrascaria. Distinctly a South American style rotisserie, it owes its origins to the fireside roasts of the gaúchos of southern Brazil traditionally from the Pampa region, centuries ago.
Leaving the colourful costumes and infectious rhythms of Rio behind, this morning you'll head to the airport to catch your flight to Iguassu Falls. Words can't really describe the magnificence of the world's largest series of waterfalls (275 to be exact), which straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil and are surrounded by lush expanses of national park. Settle in to your hotel this afternoon and spend the evening relaxing, no doubt bubbling with excitement for the natural spectacle that tomorrow will bring.
Pack your raincoat and your sense of adventure this morning as you're off to visit the Iguassu National Park, entering on the Brazilian side of the falls. You'll be venturing down to the ominously named and utterly exhilarating Devil's Throat, the tallest and most impressive of Iguassu's waterfalls. Remember that raincoat? Now's the time to use it! This afternoon keep the adrenalin levels high on an Optional Experience^ hike down a canyon to the Macuco Falls, where you'll then board a custom designed inflatable motorboat for a high intensity ride to the base of the falls. If keeping things a little more sedate is more your style, opt to visit a bird park where you can spot more than 150 different species of birds.
Country hopping between Brazil and Argentina, today you'll cross the Tancredo Neves Bridge, otherwise known as Fraternity Bridge, to explore the Argentinian side of the falls. Adding a new stamp to your passport as you cross through customs, you'll drive through the lush and wildlife rich Argentinian Iguassu National Park to reach the falls and cascades which are equally as impressive from this side of the border. Boarding the open sided and near silent Ecological Jungle Train which is every bit as scenic and sensual as it sounds, you'll pay a second visit to Devil's Throat before heading to the airport to catch a flight to passionate, sexy, European influenced Buenos Aires.
Waking up in sultry Buenos Aires this morning is a prospect that should fill you with excitement. This meat loving, tango obsessed capital city is a mix of sultry charm and gritty splendour, where European inspired buildings rub shoulders with rough around the edges barrios, and street art pops from every corner. Dive in to all Buenos Aires has to offer on a sightseeing tour that will visit 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest avenue in the world, outstanding Colon Theatre, Plaza de Mayo, Metropolitan Cathedral and San Telmo, the oldest district in the city. Finishing up in colourful and charming La Boca you'll then have time to explore by yourself this afternoon before dressing up in your South American finest for a night of Argentinian steak and classic tango, accompanied by a spectacular live orchestra.
Another free day in the Argentinian capital, you could join an Optional Experience that could see you experiencing a glimpse into the life of a gaucho, the cowboy culture that has existed for over three centuries. Heading out into the glorious pampas (grasslands) surrounding Buenos Aires you'll visit a 3000 acre working ranch to learn more about the gaucho culture, enjoying folk music, traditional dances and carriage rides before rounding off the experience with a juicy BBQ lunch. You've also got the option of visiting the lush countryside region of Tigre Delta, which offers a laid back vibe and a chance to see a different side of Argentine life. Enjoy a picturesque cruise around the delta and spot the delightful summer residences of Buenos Aires elite.
2 countries and 1 New Wonder of the World later, your trip will finally come to an end this morning. Leaving with priceless memories, a wealth of new knowledge and a wonderful group of new friends you'll make your way to the airport, or if you still feel like the sultry charm of Buenos Aires still has more to give, why not extend your trip for a few more days.
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