Day 1 London - In flight
Fly from London Heathrow Airport on a scheduled LATAM Airlines flight to Montevideo via Sao Paulo.
Day 2 Montevideo
On arrival, we meet our local guide and transfer to our accommodation, the Balmoral Plaza Hotel (3T), in the heart of downtown Montevideo. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and explore - many sights are within a short walk, including one of the capital’s most outstanding architectural emblems, Piria Palace, the seat of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Day 3 Montevideo
We start our day on a short tour of Montevideo’s contrasting suburbs, stopping to see the Solis Theatre, where Carlos Gardel used to tango; the unique and magnificent Palacio Salvo, and historic Plaza Independencia which commemorates José Artigas, a soldier and revolutionary leader regarded as a national hero. Passing by the Obelisk and Centenario Soccer Stadium, we head to Estancia Renacimiento, where a traditional Uruguayan family will introduce you to the authentic rural life of a working agricultural ranch. A variety of activities will allow you to sample the gaucho lifestyle, before a traditional criollo barbecue meal with national wines. Explore the ranch further after lunch, before we take a scenic drive back to our hotel.
Day 4 Montevideo - Buenos Aires
This morning we drive to the charming little town of Colonia del Sacramento. Settled by both Portuguese and Spanish, this is Uruguay’s oldest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The legendary Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs), constructed in the simple style of the colonial era some 250 years ago, is often used as a set for historical films or subject of an artist’s canvas. Enjoy a walking tour and lunch in the historic centre of Colonia, before our journey continues with a ferry ride to Buenos Aires, the birthplace of Tango. In the Argentinian capital, we stay at the Kenton Palace Buenos Aires (4T).
Day 5 Buenos Aires
Spend today on a city tour that takes us along 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest avenue of the world, and the famous Avenida de Mayo, a political hub where Argentines have gathered throughout history to protest or celebrate, and the revolution begun here in 1810. While here, we step inside the imposing Neo-classical Metropolitan Cathedral to see the mausoleum of national hero General San Martin; then explore the colourful area of La Boca; San Telmo, the city’s oldest neighbourhood; and Palermo, the green area of the city with its beautiful parks and artificial lakes. Recoleta is one of the city’s most glamorous spots, with elegant boutiques and an impressive cemetery with mausoleums and pantheons dedicated to important Argentinians including Eva Perón (Evita). This evening you have the opportunity to experience a tango show on an optional excursion, a dance originally only performed by men in the poorer quarters.
Day 6 Buenos Aires - Iguazu Falls
We transfer to the airport for a flight to Puerto Iguazu. On arrival we check in at the Raíces Esturión Hotel Iguazu (3T+), to spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 7 Iguazu Falls
The mighty Iguazu Falls, a collection of 275 individual cascades that line a 1.7-mile wide horseshoe-shaped gorge larger than Niagara Falls, sits across the borders of three countries - Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. On entering Iguazu National Park, we board the natural gas-fuelled Jungle Train to the upper falls circuit and the Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo), the most prominent and one of the highest falls. You can walk 2 miles along the Iguazu river canyon to appreciate the flora and fauna; hear the calls of some of the 450 species of birds; and see the waterfalls up close. You also have the opportunity to enhance your adventure with a journey by truck through the humid subtropical forest to the Iguazu River to board a boat that whisks you to the base of the Falls, where the spray will soak you.
Day 8 Iguazu Falls - Rio de Janeiro
Today is free, or you can choose to take an optional visit to view the magnificent Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, following the cascades along paths with impressive views of formations like the Two Sisters, Bozzeti, Superior Circuit and San Martin Island. Later today we return to the airport for a flight to Rio de Janeiro. On arrival in Brazil’s former capital, we check in to the Hotel Mirador (3T+).
Day 9 Rio de Janeiro
We board a cog-train to ride through Tijuca Forest, the world’s largest urban forest, and up the 748m-high Corcovado Mountain, a wonderful opportunity to have a closer look at the forest’s lush tropical vegetation while enjoying the scenic landscapes of Rio de Janeiro. Disembarking at the top of Corcovado, we proceed up the steps to the lookout, where the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer stands. Take time to appreciate this 30m tall, art deco wonder of the modern world, before we descend by train and proceed alongside Rio’s world-famous beaches to board a cable car for a two-staged ascent 390m up Sugarloaf Mountain, the towering natural icon at the mouth of Guanabara Bay. Returning to earth, our tour takes in many more attractions including Candelaria Church, Saint Sebastian Cathedral, Municipal Theatre and the Sambodrome, site of Rio’s famous Carnival parade. Our tour also includes a samba class, to learn the basics of this lively Afro-Brazilian dance.
Day 10 Rio de Janeiro
Enjoy a day at leisure, with Copacabana beach just three blocks away and a rich culture of music and food to discover. We have a farewell barbecue dinner arranged tonight in a local restaurant.
Day 11 In flight
We transfer to the airport for a scheduled LATAM Airlines flight to London via Sao Paulo.
Day 12 London
Arrive at London Heathrow Airport.