Brazil & Argentina: Rio de Janeiro & Iguacu Falls

May 20-28, 2006

Trip Details


On this adventure we explore Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world, visit attractions outside the city, and travel to southern Brazil and Argentina to see the majesty and awesome power of Iguacu Falls. We see all the major tourist sites in Rio, including the Statue of Christ, Sugarloaf Mountain, visit picturesque bohemian neighborhoods, the historical downtown, and the best museums. We hike in a rainforest, kayak to an island in the bay, and of course, hang out on the beaches, visit exciting gay venues, and see a samba show. We venture out of the city to see a historical plantation and visit the imperial city of Petropolis, high in the mountains. No tour to Brazil would be complete without a visit to Iguacu Falls, truly one of the great natural wonders of the world.


Day 1. Saturday (5/20): Leave USA
Day 2. Sunday (5/21): Arrive Rio
Arrive in the early morning, check through customs, and be transferred to the new deluxe 4 star Ipanema Plaza Hotel. Our gay friendly hotel is located in Ipanema, the heart of Rio de Janeiro, and only 150 feet from the beach. The hotel has a rooftop pool, gym, sauna, bar/lounge, restaurant, garden, and outdoor pool. Ipanema has world-class shops, restaurants, cafés, gay businesses and a gay beach. 

The afternoon is free to lounge at the gay beach or explore Ipanema. In the evening we dine as a group in a local restaurant.

Day 3. Monday (5/22): Statue of Christ, Santa Terese & Central Rio, & Sugarloaf Mountain Hike
First, we visit Christ the Redeemer, one of the world’s best known and most visited monuments on top of the 2,330 foot tall Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Rainforest. Our 20 minute historic train ride is up a steep track through the lush tropical forest to the foot of the statue. The statue, completed in 1931 and made of reinforced concrete with a soapstone mosaic in art nouveau style, is 98 feet tall and 98 feet between the outstretched hands. The views of Rio, the beaches and the bay are stunning from the stature area. 

In the afternoon, we tour one of Rio’s most picturesque bohemian neighborhoods, Santa Terese, reached by a tram ride across the magnificent Arcos da Lopa, an aqueduct. The highlight of this trip is a visit to the Chacra do Sa Museum, a beautifully designed house with a collection of Brazilian and International art. We also visit historic central Rio, the location of the Imperial Palace, St. Benedict’s Church and the monastery. For lunch, we enjoy a traditional Brazilian barbeque.

In the afternoon we depart from Red Beach for a three-fourth
mile long hike along the beach to the cable car station to Sugarloaf Mountain.
This pleasant walk takes us past the armed forces headquarters for Rio,
provides great views of Sugarloaf and allows us to escape the majority
of the tourists. On the hike, we will see hummingbirds, marmosets, numerous
species of birds, and hopefully, the Brazilian tanager, one of the most
beautiful birds in the world.

The conical Sugarloaf Mountain is a 1,293 foot high granite rock. On
top we have spectacular views of the beaches, the city, the mountains
of Tijuca National Park, and the islands of Guanabara Bay. On top, there
are numerous wooded trails where we can look for marmosets in dark groves
of bamboo. We enjoy the sunset, and then return to our hotel.

Day 4. Tuesday (5/23): Museum & Sea Kayak
In the morning we tour the National Historical Museum, located in a splendid colonial fort, detailing the colonial and imperial history of Brazil. We have a light lunch at the Confeitaria Colombo, one of Rio’s splendid 19th century art nouveau cafes. 

In the afternoon, we kayak the bay around Sugarloaf Mountain. We start at Praia Vermelha, near Sugarloaf, the site of the first Portuguese settlement in the area. We paddle for one hour to the lovely Cotunduba Island, a few miles off the shore. We stop for snacks, swimming and snorkeling, and enjoy the beauty of Rio from a totally different view point. We paddle back to the beach near Sugarloaf and then proceed to our hotel.

Day 5. Wednesday (5/24): Iguacu Falls – Brazil
In the morning we depart for our flight to Iguacu Falls
located in southern Brazil on the border with Argentina. Iguacu Falls,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in a one million acre national
park. It is three miles across and plunges down 270 feet. In the afternoon
we explore the Brazilian side of the falls, and have panoramic views of
the 275 separate falls. We lodge at the Hotel Tropical das Cataratas,
a deluxe colonial style hotel inside the park near the falls. In the evening
we attend a dinner with a folklore show representing Brazil, Argentina
and Paraguay.
Day 6. Thursday (5/25): Iguacu Falls – Argentina
After breakfast, we cross the border to Argentina and
enjoy our ride through a tropical forest. To see the falls, we take a
speed boat close to the falls and are surrounded almost 360° by the
roaring, exhilarating waterfall. The Argentina side of the falls provides
a closer, more intimate experience of the falls and a greater variety
and perspectives. In the early evening we fly back to Rio and are transferred
to our hotel, and have the opportunity to visit gay nightclubs.
Day 7. Friday (5/26): Tijuca Hike. PM Free, Evening Samba Show
n the morning we hike in the Tijuca National Park, the largest urban forest in the world. Tijuca is a rainforest on mountainous terrain with streams, waterfalls, caves, and high peaks. We visit the Chinese pagoda high on the side of a mountain, with an unrivaled panoramic view of Rio. We proceed to the Mesa do Imperador (Emperor’s Table) Mountain to see the magnificent Taunay waterfall. We hike 2 ½ hours through the exotic and majestic tropical forest to the summit of a 3,300 foot tall mountain, and then return to our hotel. 

The afternoon is free to relax, hang out on the beach, or shop before our night on the town. Beginning at 9:00 pm we explore the amazing colonial Lapa bohemian neighborhood with mixed bars and clubs, musicians and artists. The area literally turns into a big street party in the evening. We walk across the famous Aquadoctoe through the elegant street of Rua do Lavradio to Rio Scenarium, for a colorful samba show.

Day 8. Saturday (5/27): Plantation Tour and Gay Beach
We drive to the Burle Marx’s Farm, an amazing plantation including a museum where the gay Brazilian and famous landscape designer Marx worked and lived. We have a delicious lunch in a restaurant with panoramic views of the beautiful beach and lagoon. After lunch we drive to the Abricot Beach, a gay beach. After an afternoon in the sun, we return to Rio and enjoy a drive through Rio’s urban beaches. In the evening we will have the opportunity to visit gay restaurants and bars.
(B, L)
Day 9. Sunday (5/28): Petropolis & Return
to USA
Petropolis, the Imperial City, is located high in the mountains at an elevation of 2,400 feet. It was built by Emperor Dom Pedro III in 1853 as a summer residence. It is a favorite weekend getaway for Rio. It has a decidedly European flavor with tree-lined streets and canals, palaces, mansions and museums, and large squares. We will visit the Imperial Museum, the former home of the Emperor, and the Santos Dumont Museum, a gay Brazilian who supposedly built and flew the first airplane. Late in the afternoon we return to Rio in time for our late night return flights to the USA.
Land Cost: 4 travellers – $1,500 per person/double
Cost Includes: All lodging, airport transfers, meals
as noted, American tour director, Brazilian guide, and
all land transportation, kayak and snorkel equipment use.
Single supplement for the trip is $431.
Land Cost Does Not Include: International airfare, flight from Rio to Iguacu Falls ($457), travel insurance, alcoholic or other beverages, telephone calls, excess baggage fees, and gratuities to local guides.
If you would like additional information, e-mail us at, or call us locally at 303-449-0990 or toll free at 1-877-440-0990. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday. 

You may also download our registration form, and mail it in to us.

This trip is rated moderate in terms of difficulty. We hike to 3,300 feet in the Tijuca rainforest, hike along the beach to Sugarloaf Mountain, and sea kayak for one afternoon.
Click Here to view the
Brazil-Argentina Slide Show