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Ultimate South America and the Rio Carnival

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
15 days From £7,495 per person
3.6 stars(5 reviews)

Discover the best of South America on this spectacular tour

Mobility Rating 4

2024 Tour code: ABJ24

About the tour

Discover the allure of South America on a sensational tour from vibrant Rio to Buenos Aires. We experience the incredible Rio Carnival, discover Bariloche in the heart of Patagonia, journey on the 'End of the World' Train, and visit the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier.

Unforgettable experiences

Rio Carnival
Rio Carnival
Experience the vibrant Rio Carnival from grandstand seats at the winner’s parade.
Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls
Soak up the incredible beauty of Iguazu Falls with guided tours of both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides.
Iconic Sights of South America
Iconic Sights of South America
Admire some of the most iconic sights of South America, including Christ the Redeemer, the Perito Moreno Glacier, and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Explore the fascinating country of Patagonia.
'End of the World' train
'End of the World' train
Journey on the ‘End of the World’ train through the beautiful yet wild landscapes of one of the southernmost places on earth.

What’s included


Day 1 - London and Rio de Janeiro

After meeting at London Heathrow, we fly to Rio de Janeiro for three nights. This coastal city bursts with intoxicating samba rhythms, gorgeous beaches, and care-free culture.

Day 2 - Discovering Rio de Janeiro

Our explorations start with an excursion to the top of Rio's most recognisable landmark, Corcovado Mountain, where the astonishing statue of Christ the Redeemer is perched. Looking out over the city, this colossal Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ paints an enduring image of Brazil. We ascend via the Corcovado Rack and Pinion Mountain Railway, which takes us two and a half miles to a viewing platform, situated 7,641 feet above Rio. On a clear day, the views across the city and the Atlantic Ocean are sensational.

Each February, Rio is gripped by carnival fever as one of the world's biggest festivals erupts into the party of a lifetime. And this evening, we have tickets to the winner's parade, enjoying grandstand seats in the Sambadrome - a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Day 3 - Sugarloaf Mountain

We delve into the heart of Rio today on 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 a holiday highlight - a journey by cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain. A distinctive peak which soars almost 1,300 feet into the air, this natural wonder is said to resemble a concentrated refined loaf of sugar and, from our spectacular vantage point, we enjoy breathtaking panoramic views across the harbour area and Guanabara Bay. Later, we head to Fogo de Chao's to enjoy a delicious Churriscera barbecue dinner.

Day 4 - The Iguazu Falls

We take an internal flight to Iguazu Falls this morning, which lies on the border between Brazil and Argentina. We spend two nights here on the Argentine side. Part of the border between Brazil and Argentina, the thundering Iguazu Falls are a sight to behold. One of the most extensive waterfall systems in the world, this magnificent feat of nature is found at the heart of the Atlantic rainforest and we take a guided tour of both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the falls, walking the trails with a nature expert who's ready to point out the fascinating wildlife and flora that call this wild destination home.

Day 5 - Iguazu Falls

We take in a much larger portion of the rapids today, exploring San Martin Island. Here we admire fantastic views of several waterfalls before travelling by ecological jungle train, a gas-propelled railway, to the massive torrent of water known as Devil's Throat. The tallest of the 275 falls here, this is a spectacular U-shaped cascade once poetically described as 'an ocean plunging into an abyss'. We also wander along elevated wooden walkways which snake through this national park and offer sublime views over the different offshoots of the falls and their bubbling pools of water below.

Day 6 - Buenos Aires

Today we fly to Buenos Aires, where we take a guided tour that highlights the best of this stylish city. We see Casa Rosada, the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral with its spectacular dome, and the mausoleum of General San Martin. Travelling to La Recoleta, an affluent area known for its Parisian-style townhouses, we visit the grave of Eva Duarte, known to the world as Eva Perón or Evita. This evening, we enjoy an exclusive Argentinian wine pairing with dinner at La Cava, led by a professional sommelier who tells us the story, flavours, and best pairings for each wine we try.

Day 7 - Bariloche

A morning flight takes us to Bariloche in the Andes for a two-night stay. On arrival, a scenic excursion showcases the region around the Patagonian mountain range. We admire views over the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, one of the jewels of Patagonia with spectacular lakes formed by centuries-old glaciers. A chairlift transports us to the summit of Cerro Campanioro where we have time to grab a bite to eat and marvel at the scenery of Patagonia's lake district.

Day 8 - The Old Patagonian Express

We enjoy a scenic drive with our guide along Route 40 to El Bolson, at the foot of Piltriquitron Mountain. We continue to El Maitin for lunch, followed by a journey on La Trochita, a train whose name translates to 'the little gauge'. This train was made famous by Paul Theroux's 1978 book 'The Old Patagonian Express', and is still known by that nickname today. The steam-hauled locomotive is now something of a living museum, having retained much of its original character, and we enjoy a nostalgic journey winding through the high plains of the Patagonian tundra.

Day 9 - El Calafate

We fly to El Calafate, a chic city situated on the shores of Lake Argentino. Known as the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, the city is surrounded by the stunning scenery of the park with outstanding views of dramatic mountains, glistening lakes, ancient glaciers, and unique local flora impressing at every turn.

Day 10 - Perito Moreno Glacier

Discovering more of the area's dramatic scenery, we enjoy a guided tour of the incredible Perito Moreno Glacier, a vast and beautiful ice formation covering 97 square miles. One of the largest freshwater glaciers in the world, the Perito Moreno forms an ice dam at the southern arm of Lake Argentino causing an unusual separation of water at Brazo Rico. Next, we join a nautical boat safari at Bajo Las Sombras Bay, which takes us across the icy waters close to the strikingly blue glacier for an up close and personal experience with nature.

Day 11 - Ushuaia

After a relaxed morning, we transfer to the airport for our internal flight to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. On arrival, we drive to our hotel, enjoying an orientation tour along the way. This afternoon, we sail across the Beagle Channel - a strait within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago - with a local guide who will help us spot some of the unique wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and dolphins.

Day 12 - The End of the World Train

We enter Tierra del Fuego National Park following the route of the Lapataia River until we reach Condor Hill. Here, we board the historic Tren Fin del Mundo, or 'End of the World Train'. Travelling through a five-mile stretch of this stunning national park, this steam-hauled train offers incredible views of the dense forest landscapes. We pause en route at the Macarena Station Waterfall to admire the views across the breathtaking Pipo River Valley before continuing through the unforgettable 'tree cemetery', where almost half a century of logging is evident from the endless tree stumps. Our day ends with a flight back to Buenos Aires.

Day 13 - Buenos Aires

With a free day today, you could visit some of the other city districts, each with a unique style and distinct atmosphere. The most colourful of these has to be La Boca, which has been 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 see the lively side of the city first-hand as we join a tango class and show. Enjoying a fantastic performance of this passionate dance in its birthplace is the perfect end to our South American adventure.

Day 14 - Flight to the UK

We transfer to the airport to board our overnight flight to London Heathrow.

Day 15 - London

Landing in London, our holiday comes to an end today.

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.


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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Los Cauquenes Resort, Ushuaia

Los Cauquenes Resort, Ushuaia

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La Trochita
Tren Fin Del Mundo

Enhance your holiday


London Hotels
UK rail connections


3.6 stars3.6 / 5 · 5 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star


3 stars

Submitted 25/Mar

Potentially a good trip. However, needed extra days for trip to spread out itinerary and make most of opportunities. Minimal free time.

Collected by Trustpilot

Chafika Gutknecht

3 stars

Submitted 19/Mar

I have no criticism of the trip itself and of the amazing sites we discovered. The only problem was that the whole trip was organised without any thought for human endurance or the desire to spend time exploring at will. Too fast a pace with no time to enjoy each area. The hotels were excellent but we were not able to sample or enjoy the facilities beyond bed, breakfast and evening meals. I would have loved time to use the pools and spas available, and also to explore the area independently; anyone who did that had to forgo a visit or special event. We only had free time in Rio and in Ushuaia which was much appreciated. A slower pace would transform the experience on this trip.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs Gutknecht, Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. Unfortunately, our tours are quite fast paced and do have quite full itineraries as we want you to experience everything we can. However, we do understand that it comes at the expense of free time. I will make sure to pass your feedback across to our Product team so we can look at altering the itinerary for the future. Kind Regards, Sophie.
1 comment

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3 stars

Submitted 18/Mar

Saw come great sights but lots of time waiting around at airports. Very rushed and no free time whatsoever. Not good value for money as expensive hotels were used but didn’t have any time to use the facilities. Buenos Aires hotel changed to cheaper option in poorer location.

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alan coltman

5 stars

Submitted 18/Mar

Excellent Tour. Ticked all the boxes for me. Iguazu Waterfalls were amazing. Patagonia Glacier Patagonia Express, just being able to get to it then travel on this old railway was amazing. Ushuaia, city at the end of the world, old Penal colony railway, brilliant.

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4 stars

Submitted 17/Mar

Busy, Busy, Busy. Saw loads of places, loads of excursions, lovely hotels, restaurants.. Very intense, but worth it.

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