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Classic South America and the Rio Carnival

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20252026
16 days From £8,495 £7,995 per person
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Join us on a spectacular tour which combines the natural wonders of Brazil, Argentina and Patagonia with the fabulous city of Buenos Aires and the dazzling Rio Carnival

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Mobility Rating 4

2025 Tour code: ABJ25

About the tour

Discover the sensational sights of South America on an unforgettable tour from vibrant Rio de Janeiro to sophisticated Buenos Aires. Our adventure starts at the Rio Carnival, the party of a lifetime, as we take grandstand seats in the Sambadrome for the Winner's Parade.

Our tour continues into the dramatic landscapes of Brazil, Argentina and Patagonia, as we discover the beautiful Swiss-style town of Bariloche and the magnificent Iguazú Falls, we journey on the legendary 'Old Patagonian Express' and the 'End of the World Train', and cruise close to the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier.

Unforgettable experiences

Experience the vibrant Rio Carnival from grandstand seats
Experience the vibrant Rio Carnival from grandstand seats
In February, Rio is gripped by carnival fever as one of the world's biggest festivals erupts into the party of a lifetime. We have tickets to the Winner's Parade, with grandstand seats in the Sambadrome.
Soak up the incredible beauty of the Iguazú Falls
Soak up the incredible beauty of the Iguazú Falls
Feel the tremendous force and shimmering sprays of powerful cascades at the spectacular Iguazú Falls, the world’s largest and most stunning waterfall system, with guided tours from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides.
Indulge in the best of Buenos Aires – its food, wine and a tango show
Indulge in the best of Buenos Aires – its food, wine and a tango show
On a magical evening in Buenos Aires, where the emotive dance form of tango was born in the 1880s, we enjoy a tango lesson before a group dinner, followed by a live show, with professional performers.
Encounter some of South America’s most famous sights
Encounter some of South America’s most famous sights
See some of South America’s most iconic sights, including Rio’s Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, the alpine town of Bariloche, the stunning Iguazú Falls, and Patagonia’s breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier.
Explore the fascinating region of Patagonia on heritage trains
Explore the fascinating region of Patagonia on heritage trains
Enjoy a nostalgic journey on La Trochita, also known as the ‘Old Patagonia Express’, travelling in restored wooden carriages into the glorious high plains of Patagonia, and take an unforgettable trip on the ‘End of the World’ train, the southernmost railway on earth.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Overnight flight direct to Rio de Janeiro

We meet our Tour Manager and travelling group at London Heathrow before joining our overnight flight to Rio de Janeiro, arriving at the most popular time of the year.

Day 2 - Arrival in Rio, free day to feel the magic and explore

After touching down in Rio, we are transferred to our 5-star hotel overlooking Copacabana beach, our fabulous base for the next three nights. This coastal city has a buzzing but relaxed pace, and sways with intoxicating samba rhythms, gorgeous beaches, and a carefree culture.

The rest of today is free to familiarise yourselves with this exciting location and to soak up the carnival atmosphere that builds to a frenzy at this time of the year. From our hotel there is a walkway along the Copacabana beach, where there are many restaurants to choose from for lunch and dinner this evening.

Day 3 - Tour of Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, and grandstand seats at the Carnival

Today's explorations start after breakfast with a guided tour of downtown, the developmental and financial hub of the city. Here, we're introduced to historic landmarks and places of cultural interest before one of the many highlights of our holiday - a journey by cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain. This distinctive landmark soars almost 1,300 feet into the air, a natural wonder, named for its resemblance to a loaf of refined sugar. From our spectacular vantage point, we enjoy breathtaking panoramic views across the harbour area and Guanabara Bay. After a break to enjoy lunch independently, our tour continues into the mid-afternoon.

There's time to relax and maybe enjoy the wonderful hotel facilities, which include a rooftop pool and spa, before our special evening ahead. We depart our hotel for dinner at a local restaurant before we're taken right to the beating heart of Rio's carnival celebrations. This evening, we have tickets to the Carnival Winner's Parade, and we take our seats in the grandstand of the Sambadrome - a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

At the end of this unforgettable evening and a kaleidoscope of colourful performances, we are transferred back to our hotel.

Day 4 - Free morning, tour of Corcovado Mountain to Christ the Redeemer

Your morning is free in Rio de Janeiro, and you could continue discovering this enticing city further. You might like to walk south beside Copacabana Beach to the tip of the peninsula where the historical Copacabana Fort stands; beyond which is the famous Ipanema beach. Along the route are restaurants, bars and beach cafés.

This afternoon we board the Corcovado Rack and Pinion Mountain Railway to ascend Corcovado Mountain, travelling upwards for two and a half miles to a viewing platform where the astonishing statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks the city. Looking out over the city, this colossal Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ paints an enduring image of Brazil. On a clear day, the views across the sprawling city and the turquoise waters of the South Atlantic Ocean are breathtaking. The statue itself is equally remarkable, standing at 98 feet tall with an arm span of 92 feet.

On our way back to the city we visit some of Rio's wonderful beaches, then there are a couple of hours at leisure before dinner with our group this evening.

Day 5 - The magnificent Iguazú Falls from Brazil

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for an internal flight to Iguazú Falls, a stunning sight to see, which lies on the border between Brazil and Argentina. Arriving around midday, we spend the afternoon viewing the Brazilian side of this epic waterfall system, and its main source, the powerful Iguazú River.

The thundering Iguazú Falls form part of the border between Brazil and Argentina, and are a sight to behold. One of the world's most extensive waterfall systems, this spectacular natural wonder is found at the heart of the Atlantic rainforest. On a guided half-day tour, a local guide takes us along paths that follow the cascades and catwalks which lead to panoramic views of the falls. Later, we check into our luxurious 5-Star hotel where we spend two nights and dine together this evening.

Day 6 - The Argentine side of the Iguazú Falls

Today, after breakfast at our hotel, we are transferred by coach to the Argentine side of the falls for another spectacular tour. Setting out along elevated wooden walkways with our local guide, as we snake through the national park we experience sublime views over the different offshoots of the falls and their bubbling pools of water below.

There are two walking routes on the Argentine side of the Falls Including above Devil's Throat. We take the gas-propelled train to the Upper Falls circuit . Here we can walk above the amazing torrent known as the Devil's Throat, a spectacular U-shaped cascade once poetically described as 'an ocean plunging into an abyss'.

We break for lunch before being transferred back to our hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy our surroundings. This evening we sit down to a three-course dinner at our hotel.

Day 7 - To sophisticated Buenos Aires

Today we are transferred to the airport for an internal flight to Buenos Aires, where we arrive in the afternoon and are taken by coach to our central hotel. This afternoon is at leisure to explore this stylish city.

Tomorrow morning we are taken on a guided tour, but you may like to soak up the atmosphere in the historic streets around our hotel, or perhaps wander through the colourful neighbourhood of La Boca, first populated by Spanish and Italian immigrants in the mid-19th century and a favourite of artists for generations. Here, you could explore the Caminito Street Museum, a vibrant pedestrian-friendly area that's functioned as an open-air museum and art market since 1959.

This evening we enjoy an exclusive Argentinian wine pairing with dinner at a renowned wine cellar, La Cava, led by a professional sommelier who tells us the history of the premises, and describes the flavours and best pairings for each wine we try. During the tasting, you will discover various wines of Argentina.

Day 8 - Guided tour of Buenos Aires

This morning, after a buffet breakfast, we take a guided tour that highlights the best of Buenos Aires. We are shown the elegant suburb of La Recoleta, known for its opulent Parisian-style townhouses and historic streets which create an ambience of the 1930s. Our tour continues to the Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. We visit the cosmopolitan district of Puerto Madero, on the Río de la Plata riverbank, and San Telmo - the city's oldest neighbourhood, characterised by cobbled streets and antique shops. We also see the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral with its spectacular dome.

Your afternoon is at leisure and you could decide to explore some of the sights further, or may wish to visit one of the city's museums or galleries. Tonight is one of the highlights of our holiday - the evening starts with a tango lesson, a fabulous partner dance that originates from Buenos Aires. We then enjoy dinner with our group followed by an authentic and impassioned Argentine Tango show with professional performers.

Day 9 - Bariloche, the Andes and Patagonia’s Lake District

After an early breakfast and airport transfer we fly to the alpine paradise of Bariloche, for a two-night stay. On arrival, we check into our hotel, in the foothills of the Andes, set beside a stunning glacial lake and surrounded by Swiss-inspired architecture. This afternoon, we're taken on a 4-hour scenic excursion of the region. We drive along the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi to Playa Bonita, where we have great views of Huemul Island. At Campanario Hill we take a chairlift to the summit, where we can appreciate beautiful views over the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, one of the jewels of Patagonia with spectacular lakes formed by centuries-old glaciers. Among other scenic landmarks, we see Lakes Nahuel Huapi and Perito Moreno, San Pedro Peninsula, Victoria Island, and the Catedral hills.

We continue to downtown Bariloche, which has a European ambience, with small shops selling souvenirs and chocolate. We see the San Eduardo Chapel, and Pañuelo Port, on Lake Nahuel Huapi. We cross the bridge over Lake Moreno then skirt lakes El Trébol and Nahuel Huapi before our tour ends. There's time to relax and enjoy the views before a three-course dinner at our hotel.

Day 10 - The Old Patagonian Express, La Trochita narrow-gauge train

This morning we set out on a scenic drive with our local guide, travelling along Route 40 to El Bolson, at the foot of Piltriquitron Mountain. We continue to El Maitin where we have lunch together at a local restaurant.

After lunch, we enjoy one of the many highlights of our South American holiday - a journey on La Trochita, the narrow-gauge train made famous by Paul Theroux's 1978 book 'The Old Patagonian Express', which is still known by that nickname today. The steam-hauled locomotive retains much of its original character, and we enjoy a nostalgic journey through the high plains of Patagonia. Our journey from El Maitin takes us through a captivating landscape of pristine lakes, snow-capped Andes and glorious green forests, and ends in Esquel*.

We are then transferred back to our hotel with a free evening ahead to explore and dine independently. With its European heritage and South American culture, Bariloche offers a fantastic choice of places to eat, from traditional Argentine steakhouses and Latin American cafés, to upmarket French restaurants.

*Please note, the rail itinerary is subject to change according to the train operation details that day.

Day 11 - El Calafate, gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier

This morning we say goodbye to the picturesque Patagonian mountains and, after breakfast, we fly to El Calafate, a small town on the shores of Lake Argentino, the largest body of fresh water in Argentina. Known as the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park and the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate is located where Argentina's Santa Cruz plateau meets the Andes. The town is surrounded by dramatic mountains, glistening lakes, ancient glaciers, and unique local flora.

We arrive in the afternoon and are transferred to our hotel, in Alto Calafate, overlooking the lake with panoramic views and excellent facilities where we spend the next two nights. There's free time before dinner at the hotel and you may choose to relax after our journey, or possibly use the shuttle service to explore the centre of El Calafate, ten minutes' drive away.

Day 12 - Encountering the Perito Moreno Glacier

Discovering more of Patagonia's dramatic scenery, this morning we take a guided tour of the breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier, a vast and beautiful block of blue ice, which rises majestically, 80 kilometres away from El Calafate. One of the largest and the only advancing glacier in the world, this is the biggest attraction of Los Glaciares National Park, a protected area.

Travelling by coach with a local guide, we start by entering the Patagonian Andean forest, stopping at the 'Curva de los Suspiros', or Curve of Sighs, where we enjoy a first view of this astonishing natural wonder. We walk down to approach the Glacier, hearing blocks of ice crack and loosen to becoming beautiful ice floes in the deep waters of Lake Argentino. We then take a nautical boat safari from Bajo de las Sombra Bay port, across the icy waters to the southern side of this striking blue glacier, to the tip of Los Témpanos canal where we reach a viewpoint, 300 metres from this outstanding natural wonder. We are transferred back to our hotel and enjoy dinner there with our group this evening.

Day 13 - To Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city

We say goodbye to scenic Alto Calafate this morning, as we transfer to the airport for our internal flight to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. On arrival, we are transferred by coach to our hotel.

This afternoon, we enjoy another wonderful experience. From the port of Ushuaia we sail across the Beagle Channel - a strait within the stunning Tierra del Fuego archipelago - with a local guide who will help us spot some of the unique wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and dolphins. Another wildlife feature we are shown is a small cormorant colony near the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. We cross the channel towards Sea Lion Island where we can observe these fascinating creatures, before being taken back to our resort hotel. Back at the hotel, we enjoy dinner together with our group.

Day 14 - The ‘End of the World Train’ excursion, return to Buenos Aires

Today we experience our final highlight of our tour, a morning excursion to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, including a trip on the heritage 'End of the World' train on Argentina's Southern Fuegian Railway, the most southerly railway in the world.

First we transfer by coach to Tierra del Fuego National Park, 12 kilometres away. Here we can see a variety of local flora, including different trees, bushes, flowers, and fauna, as well as native and introduced animals, such as Andean foxes, beavers, rabbits, and over 90 bird species. During our half-day tour, we visit Ensenada, Acigami Lake, and Lapataia Bay. At Lake Roca, we take a short walk to Lapataia River, to see Condor Hill, beaver dams, and the bay itself, close to the Chilean border. We then board the historic 'End of the World Train' which was once used to transport prisoners. From panoramic carriages we take a 7 kilometre voyage into the beautiful Pipo River Valley of the Tierra del Fuego National Park.

This afternoon we are taken to the Ushuaia airport for an evening flight back to Buenos Aires where we are transferred back to our hotel in the city by coach.

Day 15 - Homeward bound

After a final breakfast, we are transferred to the airport in Buenos Aires for our afternoon flight back to London Heathrow.

Day 16 - Arrive in the UK

We arrive into London this morning. After saying farewell to our Tour Manager and travelling companions, we head home with unforgettable memories of our sensational South American holiday. From the stunning alpine paradise of Bariloche in the heights of the Andes to the breathtaking Perito Mereno glacier, and from the sophisticated streets of Buenos Aires to the glittering beaches of Rio, these experiences are certain to last a lifetime.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Llao Llao

Llao Llao, Bariloche

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Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta, Buenos Aires

Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta, Buenos Aires

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Hotel Alto Calafate

Hotel Alto Calafate, El Calafate

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Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel

Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel, Puerto Iguazu

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Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

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Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort, Ushuaia

Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort, Ushuaia

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Trains

La Trochita
Tren Fin Del Mundo

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