Buffet breakfast daily (B), 2 lunches (L), 2 three-course dinners (D); Local Host service in each city; sightseeing with a Local Guide and transportation as outlined in the day-by-day itinerary (except intra-vacation flights, which are additional; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE).
Day #1 Arrive in Manaus, Brazil. Arrive in Manaus this afternoon, then meet for guided city SIGHTSEEING of Manaus to view the vestiges of its glory days during the rubber boom. Your first stop will be the famous OPERA HOUSE, built in 1896 with materials imported from Europe. Next, visit the Museum of Natural Sciences before a stroll through a bustling local market.
Day #2 Manaus–Amazon Jungle. At the Ecopark Jungle Lodge: Today your “Meeting of the Waters” CRUISE passes by the impressive British-built Custom House and the floating port. Cruise along the chocolate-colored Rio Negro to its confluence with the yellow-gray Rio Solimões, where the two rivers form the mighty Amazon. For four miles the differently colored bodies of water flow side by side and never mix! After lunch on the river, explore a JUNGLE ISLAND (if water levels permit) with fascinating native flora and fauna. Later this afternoon, arrive at the Ecopark Jungle Lodge on the banks of the Rio Negro inside the Amazonian rainforest. (B,L,D) At Ariaú Amazon Towers: Depart Manaus and CRUISE the Amazon River to Ariaú Amazon Towers and come face to face with one of the greatest influences on the world’s ecosystem. On your jungle EXPEDITIONS, encounter 15,000 different species of animals and thousands of tree, fish, and bird species. Enjoy canoe rides in creeks, jungle treks, piranha fishing, alligator spotting, folkloric night shows, bird watching, and visit aboriginal dwellings. By the light of the moon, watch your guide snatch an alligator out of the dark Rio Negro. Learn medicinal secrets of the rainforest’s endangered indigenous tribes, drink water from trees, watch monkeys swing through branches, marvel at massive lily-pads, canoe through the Amazon waters, fish for piranhas, capture dazzling sunsets, and sleep in your treetop canopy lodge. (B,L,D)
Day #3 Amazon Jungle. At the Ecopark Jungle Lodge: Accompanied by a Naturalist, enjoy a guided JUNGLE WALK that introduces you to the flora and fauna that thrives in the Amazon. After lunch, sail up the river to visit a Caboclo’s native Amazon VILLAGE to learn about their traditions and culture. Also try your hand at piranha fishing! Later, visit the MONKEY JUNGLE RESERVE, where researchers work to rehabilitate captive primates and reintroduce them to the jungle. Here, you have the opportunity to see a feeding of spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, woolly monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. This evening you may wish to venture back out on canoe with your Naturalist into the flooded forest to appreciate the jungle at night, with the possibility to spot small alligators and other night creatures. (B,L,D)At Ariaú Amazon Towers: Continue your jungle exploration today with the many included activities at the Ariaú Amazon Towers. (B,L,D)
Day #4 Amazon Jungle–Rio de Janeiro. This morning, depart your Amazon lodge for a mid-day flight to fabulous Rio. Welcome to South America’s capital of glamour—Rio de Janeiro! Your Local Host will be available with suggested activities during your free time. Tonight, you may opt to join an outing to a fun churrascaria for a feast of barbecued meats marinated and roasted over charcoal in true Brazilian style, followed by a Samba show, where the sheer vitality of this country explodes in a colorful extravaganza. (B)
Day #5 Rio de Janeiro. An included city TOUR takes you to bustling downtown Rio, where modern office towers stand next to relics of the Portuguese colonial past. View the Sambodromo and the Cathedral before visiting 300-foot-high SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN. Ascend by cable car to its summit, where you can savor spectacular vistas of the city and beaches. The afternoon and evening are at leisure. (B)
Day #6 Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy a full day at leisure. Your Local Host will suggest an optional Jeep tour to the rainforest in the middle of the city, Tijuca National Park and its bird sanctuary. This afternoon you may elect to discover historic Petropolis, a mountain resort and site of the former summer palace of Emperor Dom Pedro II. (B)
Day #7 Rio–Iguassu Falls. Fly to IGUASSU FALLS at the crossroads of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This masterpiece of nature encompasses 275 separate falls and spans almost two miles. The afternoon is dedicated to enjoying the spectacle of this 2-mile-wide torrential downpour. With some cataracts as high as 250 feet, it’s nothing short of hypnotic. The clouds of spray, the incessant roar, and the surrounding luxuriant tropical growth make this an unforgettable natural wonder. (B)
Day #8 Iguassu Falls. This morning, take the Ecological Jungle TRAIN and tour the Argentine side of IGUASSU FALLS with numerous walkways that wind under the crashing water. (B)
Day #9 Iguassu Falls–Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fly to Buenos Aires, proud capital of the vast country that occupies most of the southern part of the continent. After arriving at your central hotel you will have time to become acquainted with the “Paris of South America” and its wide boulevards and outdoor cafés. Enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)
Day #10 Buenos Aires. An included sightseeing TOUR this morning starts in the colorful La Boca district, site of the city’s first port. Take a short walking tour of this unique neighborhood, then on to San Telmo, famous for its late-colonial buildings and a popular gathering spot for artists. At the Plaza de Mayo, see La Casa Rosada (the President’s Pink House) and the Metropolitan Cathedral, which houses San Martin’s Mausoleum. Drive past the ornate Colon Opera House before reaching the CEMETERY of the Recoleta, burial site of Eva Peron. Spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening, perhaps savor the city’s atmosphere on an optional dinner at a local restaurant followed by a performance of Latin America’s most sensuous dance—the Tango! (B)
Day #11 Buenos Aires. Today is at leisure. Your Local Host will suggest an optional excursion to the Pampas. Experience Argentine country life as you visit an estancia (ranch). Get acquainted with the lifestyle of the gauchos and enjoy a barbecue lunch and the warm hospitality of your hosts before returning to the city. (B)
Day #12 Buenos Aires–Mendoza. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mendoza, where you will be met by your Local Host. The Mendoza region is the fifth-greatest wine producer in the world, has one of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, and boasts a temperate climate and radiant sun. (B)
Day #13 Mendoza. Today your private city TOUR focuses on the culture and history originating from the Spanish colonizers four centuries ago. It includes a visit to the oldest part of the city with its archeological remains of ancient buildings and ruins of San Francisco Church. Also visit the new city, Plaza Independencia, the Civic Center, and General San Martin Park with its lake and rose garden. (B)
Day #14 Mendoza. Mendoza has gained worldwide recognition for its production of award-winning wines and is the most prolific wine-making region in South America. Learn more about the industry and Mendoza’s famous Malbec on today’s private BODEGA TOUR. Travel into Mendoza’s agricultural oasis, where you have the opportunity to visit two different vineyards, learn about the wine-making process, and participate in wine tastings. (B)
Day #15 Mendoza. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)