“Iguazú” comes from the Guarani (an ancient South American tribe’s language) words y, meaning “water”, and uasu, meaning “big”. Sharing a border like Niagara, this falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina. Like the falls, the two countries share a common bond in the form of Football. And any epic South American Journey will not be complete without stopping over at these two and Chile. The three countries showcase the culture of Latin America in a stylish, colorful and real manner. So, what are we waiting for? First stop, Brasil!
Arrive at Rio de Janeiro, and get settled into your hotel. Spend the day at your leisure, getting used to the surroundings and acclimatizing yourself.
Embark on a half day city tour today where you will cover most of the important sights at Rio. Start with Guanabara Bay and Flamengo Park as far as downtown. Pass by the financial and business center, Candelaria Church, Saint Sebastian Cathedral, Lapa Arches, Municipal Theatre, National Library and Fine Arts Museum. Pass by Sambadrome, the site for Rio’s famous Carnaval parade.
Last stop is at the Urca District to board a cable car for a two-staged ascent up Sugar Loaf Mountain. Rising at 1,299 ft above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. The first ascends to the shorter Morro da Urca - 722 ft high. The second car ascends to Pão de Açúcar. The bubble-shaped glass cars offer passengers 360-degree views of the surrounding city.
Today is for souvenir shopping and just general exploration of Rio on your own.
Three days in Rio, you would have glimpsed at the Christ the Redeemer looking down at you from high above in the sky. Well, on your last day in Rio, you get to meet this world-famous icon of Brazil. First head to the Corcovado, the hunch-backed peak surmounted by a 38m high statue of Christ the Redeemer. After a short drive through the old and the modern Rio de Janeiro visit the Corcovado by taking the cog railway which will lead to the top. After leaving the small train station, climb 220 steps to the top in order to enjoy a spectacular view of Rio. Once you are back on earth, it’s time to take off into the clouds again. This time head to the Iguassu Falls.
Arrive at the falls and check in to your hotel.
Legend goes that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
Taller than Niagara Falls, longer than Victoria Falls, the Iguassu Falls is a sight to behold not just for its majesty but also its dramatic jungle setting and the almost constant rainbows.
The falls is in the tropical forest in the triangle of the borders between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. There are 500 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, and an immense variety of reptiles, fish, and insects (especially Butterflies). Some of the wild animals include tigers, jaguars, monkeys, coatis, alligators, and crocodiles.
Start the day with a visit to the Brazilian side of the falls. Leaving from the hotel by car and crossing Iguassu National Park as far as the Brazilian Falls. Walking along the paths following cascades and then walking along the catwalk that leads very close to the bottom of the Devil’s Throat. Be awed by the magnificent views.
Spend as much time as needed and then head back to the hotel. Tomorrow you will complete the Iguassu Falls from the Argentine side.
Just like in Niagara, crossover to the Argentine side with a drive and a quick customs check, crossing the Tancredo Neves bridge over the Iguassu River, which forms the border between Argentina & Brazil. Once in Argentina, take the scenic highway up the Argentinean Iguassu National Park. Stop at the Visitors’ Centre and then proceed from there to the Superior Circuit, the up-river cascades, to the Inferior Circuit, the down-river falls and then take the Ecological Jungle Train that leads visitors to and from the most impressive observation point of the falls – The Devil's Throat. This is the best way to cover the Iguassu Falls, from both the Argentine and the Brazilian side.
Close the day at the airport and head to Buenos Aires. On arrival, get settled at your hotel.
There are quite a few amazing muesuems here, and you will get a folder with the required information for your understanding and setting expectations for the day.
By noon, start the city tour with The Fine Arts in Time, starting in La Recoleta, one of the most elegant and sophisticated districts. Here, visit 'Nuestra Senora del Pilar` Church, Centro Cultural Recoleta (Recoleta Cultural Center) characterized by giving impulse to the fine arts in their most contemporary forms and the cemetery known worldwide due to its rich architecture and the famous personalities of the Argentine history and society that are buried there.
In La Recoleta district, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), inaugurated in 1896, offers an important collection of national and European artists, counting, in a European art gallery, with works of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, among others. Also stop by the Palais de Glace, which used to be an ice skating floor and a tango room with its characteristic circular base, nowadays is the Sala Nacional de Exposiciones (National Room of Expositions), where different temporary samples are presented.
Then continue towards Palermo. An elegant locale with its beautiful mansions surrounded by green areas, passing by the Parque 3 de Febrero (February the 3rd Park), the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) and the Facultad de Derecho (Law School). Stop by the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA Latin-American Art Museum of Buenos Aires), the first one inaugurated this century in the whole country. In this modern building the Constantini Collection, which presents the development of the Latinamerican paintings and sculptures throughout its 222 pieces of art are shown permanently. After the visit, enjoy tea at the museum's cafeteria.
As the night approaches, have a more relaxing evening with a lovely night tango dinner show at El Querandf, one of the most traditional cafeterias of Buenos Aires. Enjoy the sensual magnetism of tango presented by some of the best tango dancers, singers and musicians of Buenos Aires.
Today you will take a tour around Buenos Aires again, this time covering Buenos Aires Artistic Patrimony, starting at the most important square of the country - the Plaza de Mayo (May Square).
This is where the country was founded in 1580, and naturally has the most important governmental buildings, including the Casa Rosada (Pink House), the Cabildo (City Hall) and the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral).
Continue down the Avenida de Mayo (May Avenue) until you reach the Palacio del Congreso (Congress Palace) and later continue to Corrientes Avenue until the intersection with Avenida 9 de Julio (9th of July Avenue).
This is where the Obelisco de Buenos Aires stands as the most important symbol of the city. Also, stop by Teatro Colon (Colon Theatre), considered the best acoustic room for lyrics in the world and have the guided tour to see the most important rooms and the main room with a capacity for 3.000 people. Inaugurated in 1908 with the Aida Opera, this theatre supplies itself with scenography, tailoring and shoe shop, and is the headquarter of the Stable Ballet of the Colon Theatre and of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires.
Continue towards the picturesque district of La Boca, with its famous Caminito street, one of the few outdoor museums in the world. There, numerous artists of fine arts exhibit their works whose theme has to do with the influence of the European citizens, that arrived at their port at the end of the XIX century and left its particular physiognomy. Amongst the Argentine artists, one of the most important one is Benito Quinquela Martin. So famous were his works that the Museum named after him.
Then continue to San Telmo neighborhood, one of the oldest of the city. This neighborhood maintains a great part of its architectonic patrimony intact: its colonial style houses, its cobbled streets. Every Sunday there's an antique fair in Plaza Dorrego (Dorrego Square), but the antique shops can be visited daily. Relax in the evening at your leisure.
Today is the Ranch day. The ranch lifestyle that you would have read about in novels! Today, head out for a full day visit to Estancia EI Ombu de Areco, a traditional ranch in the province of Buenos Aires. Set out to San Antonio de Areco, about 110 km from the city. The town is one of the oldest and most model towns of the Argentine farm style.
Visit the historic house and Osvaldo Gasparini's Atelier. Mr. Gasparini lived in San Antonio de Areco and painted the gauchos life in the Argentine farm. Nowadays, his profession is followed by his son, Miguel Angel, who receives the visitors at this house. Also visit a silversmith's workshop where we will see the craftsman work the pieces related to the farm motifs. In El Ombu de Areco, enjoy an exquisite traditional 'asado criollo' (argentine barbecue) and the rest of the afternoon at leisure, either at the swimming pool, enjoying a drive or a stroll around the place.
Last day in Buenos Aires is with visits to Museums and Fine Arts Galleries. Our recommendations for the day are Museo de Arte Decorativo (Decorative Art Museum) and the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernandez Blanco (Isaac Fernandez Blanco Latinamerican Art Museum). This offers the most important colonial South American silver collection in Iberoamerica. Continue visiting two art galleries in Buenos Aires city.
By noon, set out on the flight to Santiago. Chile awaits! Check in at the hotel.
Today will be a busy day with the comprehensive city tour of Santiago.
Start at the San Francisco Church, which was built between 1572 and 1618. Then continue West visiting the “Club Hípico” horse-racing course, which is considered one of the most beautiful courses in South America. Then pass the Palacio de la Moneda, current seat of government. Then visit the Plaza de Armas, having a host of important National Monuments like the Iglesia Catedral (The Cathedral Church), Correo Central (The Main Post Office) and the Municipalidad de Santiago (The City Hall).
Continue to the Cerro Santa Lucía (the Santa Lucia Hill), where the city was founded in 1541. Cross the Mapocho river and pass through different residential districts to get an overview of the city. Close the night with a quiet dinner.
South American history is so all encompassing that a few days is not enough! But we try. And so, set out on yet another day of full day tour.
Half way to Valparaíso, observe the variety of scenery and vegetation in the Curacaví and Casablanca valleys, as well as the Coastal mountain range. On arrival at Valparaíso, the main commercial port of Chile, check out the cluster of houses built along the hills. On one of the hills is “La Sebastiana”, the former home of the Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda, and which houses a wide collection of his brick a brac.
Pass the National Congress building and then drive along Pedro Montt Avenue, from where we can see the Italian Park, Victoria Square and the Cathedral. On the Brasil Avenue, check out the British Arch, the Regional Government Building and the statue to Lord Cochrane. Later, pass through the Chinese Quarter, the monument to the heroes of Iquique, Prat Quay, the historic elevators of the Port of Valparaíso, the former Customs House and the El Membrillo cove. Then visit the Playa Ancha Hill, the Municipal Stadium and the Navy School.
Later, take the coastal road to Viña del Mar, which is also known as “The Garden City”. On the way, check out the Floral Clock, the Abarca Cove, the Arab Union Club, Wulff Castle, the Marga-Marga estuary, the Municipal Casino, Peru Avenue, Acapulco beach and Vergara Quay.
Continue along the coast passing the beaches of The Marines, as well as Las Salinas, Reñaca and Cochoa beaches and up to the sea-wolf viewing point. Then return to the center of Viña del Mar, right into downtown to find the Francisco Vergara Square, the Municipal Theatre and Sucre Square.
It’s not only a beautiful place but also historic. After spending some time at the place, return back to the hotel.
Bid Adios to Chile, Argentina, Brazil to depart back home.
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