Winner’s Parade – The Best Rio Carnival Parade

Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival is a world famous festival held before Lent every year. It is known as the biggest carnival in the world and  over 2 million people flock to the city to celebrate.  We recommend attending the Winner’s Parade on the last Saturday after Carnival.  Find out why this is the Best Rio Carnival Parade to attend!

rio-carnival-paradeOut of all the different Carnival celebrations, you have to go to the Winner’s Parade, also known as the “Champion’s Parade,” held on the Saturday after Carnival. It is a celebration you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. This year the Winner’s Parade will be on Saturday, February 13th, 2016!

The Winner’s Parade is similar to a victory parade. On Ash Wednesday, the winners are announced and on the following Saturday, the Top 6 Samba Schools perform again! They celebrate the winners who have worked hard all year to showcases the best Rio Samba Schools. The competition will start at 9 p.m. with a performance by the school in 6th place leading with the 1st place school at 2:25 a.m. Here are 4 reasons we always recommend attending the Winner’s Parade:Rio Carnival Parade

  • Rio is still celebrating even though Carnival ended. The streets are filled with people until the following Sunday!
  • Winner’s Parade tickets are more affordable than the tickets during Carnival.
  • The environment is exciting yet more relaxed. With roaring cheers and the pride exuding from each of these schools, the Winner’s Parade showcases the heart of Samba schools.
  • Extravagant floats, creative costumes, amazing dancers, and an upbeat crowd- Need I say more?

START PLANNING YOUR Carnival Celebration for next year! TO GET STARTED VISIT US AT WWW.SOUTHAMERICA.TRAVEL OR CONTACT US DIRECTLY AT 1-800-747-4540

The 5 Best South America Adventure Destinations

South America Adventure Destinations

South America is known for being mysterious and beautiful, but some people don’t know the incredible adventure that it has to offer as well. Here are five of the Best South America Adventure Destinations that will blow you away!

1. Torres del Paine – Best South America Adventure Destinations

Best South America Adventure DestinationsTorres del Paine is a true hiker’s paradise with a little of everything – glaciers, lakes, mountains, and so much more. The weather can change from snow to blue skies to cloudy and windy in one day. The breathtaking sites are unforgettable and accessible to all types of adventures. The hikes range from very easy to challenging and everything in between. This is an absolute must for any hiker visiting South America.

2. Uyuni Salt Flats – Best South America Adventure Destinations
Best South America Adventure Destinations

The Uyuni Salt Flats might be the purest adventure destination in South America. Spending a couple of days in a jeep traveling through the salt flats, provides the ultimate sense of exploration and wonder. Fun fact, no matter what the time of year you visit, you will have fantastic photo opportunities! Don’t forget about star gazing in Uyuni, an eye-opening experience for anyone interested in the cosmos.

3. Amazon – Best South America Adventure Destinations

Best South America Adventure Destinations

The Amazon Jungle is a must visit for any adventure seeker. With its dense forestry, diversity of wildlife and incredibly powerful river basin, there is a magical aura that the Amazon contains unlike any other destination in the world. Whether you choose to do a cruise or stay at a lodge, you will get the feeling that you are truly on a voyage through untapped land and come out the other end a more experienced adventurer!

4. Pantanal – Best South America Adventure Destinations
Best South America Adventure Destinations

The Pantanal (along with the Galapagos, see below) is one of the best places to see wildlife in all of South America. Since it is near the Amazon and does not have the same dense forest as the Amazon, the wildlife is accessible and easier to spot. You will see a wide range of animals including giant river otters, anacondas, iguanas, caiman, monkeys, capybaras and if you’re lucky, even a jaguar!

5. Galapagos – Best South America Adventure Destinations

Best South America Adventure DestinationsWhen headed to the Galapagos be sure to bring a GoPro or a high-quality camera! The Galapagos became famous because of Darwin and the diverse wildlife. It lives up to its reputation and more! Turtles, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, iguanas, penguins, and flamingoes are just the fraction of the animals you can get up close and personal. For the more adventurous people, scuba diving is an amazing option and one of the best places to dive in the world!

START PLANNING YOUR South America Adventure Tour! TO GET STARTED VISIT US AT WWW.SOUTHAMERICA.TRAVEL OR CONTACT US DIRECTLY AT 1-800-747-4540

5 Reasons Amazon Tours and Cruises are the Best

Our Favorite Amazon Tours and Cruises in South America

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The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world flowing 4,000 miles through the Amazon Rainforest – the largest tropical rainforest in the world.  The Amazon harbors thousands of different types of flora and fauna, spanning through Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia. Here are five reasons we recommend going on an Amazon Tour or Cruise:

1.  The Authentic Travel Experience – The Tucano Amazon Cruise

amazon-tours-and-cruisesThe Tucano Amazon Cruise takes you to the lesser-known tributaries, deep into the heart of the Amazon.  On this cruise, you will explore some of the most untouched areas of the rainforest, offering the most authentic experience to travelers.  Spend a day exploring the Central Amazon Conservation Complex, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site with tens of thousands of uninhabited rainforest.  Here you will discover nature at it’s finest with guided tours throughout the mythical region. Read more about the Tucano Amazon Cruise.

2. The Adventures are Endless – Amazon Tours and Cruises

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Choose between swimming with dolphins or hiking through the jungle on a canopy bridge suspended 115 feet in the air. Or relax while fishing, and wait for a fish to hook your line. Go on a nature walk to spot the most vibrant birds like toucans and macaws, or take a horseback ride through the farmlands. Explore the jungle on a canoe trip down the Amazon River where your guide will point out all the hidden creatures of the Amazon. Check out our featured Amazon Tours and Cruises to see what lodge or cruise ship fits your needs. 

3. Meet the Locals – Amazon Tours and Cruises

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The Amazon is home to over 1 million villagers. There are 400 tribes, and they each have their own cultures, languages, and traditions. These locals have a deep knowledge of the Amazon.  Scientists around the world study the tribes to learn more about the Amazon. On the Manatee Amazon Explorer Cruise, you can visit the Sani Warm Kichwa Interpretation Center, created by a local group of women who share their culture with the world. It is the perfect place to buy handcrafted items and meet the natives!

4. Observe the Wildlife – Amazon Tours and Cruises

amazon-tours-and-cruisesGet a rare view of the largest aquatic plant on Earth called the Vitoria Regia, also known as the giant water lilies. See monkeys, river otters, macaws, piranhas, caiman, and if you are lucky you might spot the elusive jaguar. On the Aria Amazon Cruise, you can create valuable memories that you will never forget.

5. Relax in the Amazon, you deserve it!

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Close your eyes and listen the sound of the water running down the river and the birds chirping. Sip on a glass of wine and watch dolphins swim up next to the ship. You can even rent an M/V cruise for personal usage for a family vacation. The Cattleya Amazon Cruise is the perfect combination of relaxation and exploration!

Start planning your cruise down the Amazon River! To get started visit us at WWW.SOUTHAMERICA.TRAVEL or contact us directly at 1-800-747-4540

 

Spring Special Get 20% Off Tour Packages – South America Travel Deals

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Jump into Spring with a trip to South America!

Get 20% Off Tour Packages, but hurry this South America Travel Deal won’t last long.

With Spring Break right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning your Spring Vacation.  Take advantage of our South America Travel deal and get 20% off tours in Brazil, Argentina & Peru for travel May 1st – July 31, 2016.

Enjoy South America at its finest. Take a look at our most popular tours in South America or customize your own tour!

Essence of Peru – South America Travel Deal

Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon, Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca
south-america-travel-deal15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS
Embark on a two-week journey to the Land of the Incas, where remnants of their magnificent civilization capture the imagination. Start in Lima, the City of Kings, visit the mysterious Nazca Lines, Paracas Bay and mythical Lake Titicaca. Finish your tour with a visit to Machu Picchu, the incredible city in the sky.

Tango, Samba, Waterfalls – South America Travel Deal

Brazil & Argentina  – Iguassu Falls, Rio, Buenos Aires, Rainforest
10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS
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Visit the highlights of Brazil and Argentina. Experience the beauty of tango in Buenos Aires, explore the massive Iguassu Watergalls, go on a train ride through the Serra do Mar, check out museums in São Paulo, and relax on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro! The perfect combination tour for our South America Travel Deal.

 

Amazon River Cruise – South America Travel Deal

As Featured in National Geographic Traveller Magazine
south-america-travel-deal8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
The Tucano cruise is ideal for travelers who wish to go deep into the rainforest to explore the heart of wild nature. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle from the upper decks and spot macaws, monkeys and river dolphins. Travel along the Rio Negro to flooded grasslands, archipelagos, and narrow streams teeming with wildlife.

Take advantage of this South America travel deal and get 20% off all tours to Peru, Argentina, and Brazil! Call us today at 1-800-747-4540 and ask one of our travel experts about our South America Travel Deal Spring Special.

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The Ultimate Guide to Iguazu Falls

guide to iguazu falls

Iguazu Falls are a must see for anyone traveling to South America. Their power and size, combined with the ability for visitors to get up-close and personal from all angles, will leave even the most skeptical of travelers in awe. So often, I hear from clients, “I’ve been to Niagra Falls, so I don’t need to see Iguazu.” Having just returned from Iguazu, and having visited Niagra Falls on two occasions in the past, I can easily say that they just do not compare. In terms of sheer size and an immersive experience, Iguazu Falls is far superior. Keep reading for a thorough guide to Iguazu Falls.

Where is Iguazu Falls?
Guide to Iguazu Falls

The Iguazu Falls (known by locals as Cateratas Del Iguazu in Spanish, and Cataratas do Iguaçu in Portuguese) are located along the border between Argentina’s Misiones Provence, and Brazil’s Paraná state on the Iguazu River. They are about 1300 KM (800 miles) north of Buenos Aires, and about 1500km (930 miles) west of Rio de Janeiro. The border between Argentina and Brazil runs directly through the Falls, with about 80% in Argentina and 20% in Brazil. The Falls are also located very close to the border of Paraguay, and the city ‘Ciudad del Este.’

Two Cities: Foz do Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazu

To visit Iguazu Falls, you will stay on either the Brazil side or the Argentine side: Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, or Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. Which city you stay in largely depends on the country you are coming from to keep the process of crossing borders as easy as possible. Both cities have an international airport and offer plenty of options for accommodations and restaurants. Foz do Iguaçu is a larger, more modern city with several tall buildings, while Puerto Iguazu is much smaller, with more of a ‘beach town’ feel. Personally, I prefer the smaller, friendlier Puerto Iguazu in Argentina (but I tend to like towns like this.) There are also many great activities outside of the park in Puerto Iguazu.

To reach both sides of the falls and their respective national parks, you will need to take a bus or transfer from one city to the other.

The Brazilian Side
Guide to Iguazu Falls

guide to iguazu falls

The Brazilian side of the falls will reward you with the best panoramic view of Iguazu in its entirety. The national park has a trail which runs through the jungle and along the cliffside. Once you reach the end, go out on the walkway to the front of the falls for a full front on view. While this does not take you up close, like the Argentine side, the Brazil side impresses with a spectacular panoramic. You will need at least 3 hours to enjoy the Brazilian side of the falls.

The Argentina Side
Guide to Iguazu Falls

guide to iguazu falls

I recommend spending at least one full day exploring the Argentine side of the Falls. This is what makes Iguazu unique and sets Iguazu Falls apart from Niagra Falls. In the Argentine national park, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Falls to experience them through all the senses. Once you arrive, you find yourself on the ‘Sendero Verde’ or Green Path through the jungle. On the way, expect to see plenty of native fauna, including Monkeys, Coatis, and exotic birds such as the Tucan sitting right in front of you. Once you reach the ‘Estacion Central’, you have the option of four different circuits, each giving you a different perspective:

#1 The ‘Circuito Inferior’ or Lower Circuit

This walk gives you the opportunity to get as close as possible to the waterfalls and offers the best front-on view of the Falls. Stop at the lookouts along the way to see the river and San Martin Island. Look out for rainbows too! Once you reach the end, you will find ‘Salto Bosetti’ in front of you, an impressive waterfall which, during the higher water months, crashes down onto the path itself! Get up close to feel the spray of the waterfall and hear its power. A fantastic and exhilarating experience!

#2 The ‘Circuito Superior’ or Upper Circuit
This gives you the best view of the Iguazu Falls from above and offers many different lookouts along the way to see over the top and straight down to the rocks below. Take the trail out over the waterfalls to the end towards the middle for the most impressive top view. There are endless photo opportunities along the way!

#3 The ‘Garganta del Diablo’ or Devil’s Throat
This is easily the most impressive of the trails. Take the train from ‘Estacion Central’ out to ‘Estacion Garganta del Diablo’. From here, take the raised path out over the mighty Iguazu River until you reach the overlook at the end. As you approach, you will see the edge of the massive canyon with water disappearing over the edge at an incredible rate. You’ll have to see it to believe it. Perched on the brink of the canyon, you have water rushing underneath you.  You’ll have to stop and question ‘how did they make this?’ Look over the edge straight down to see the water crashing onto the rocks below, if you can see through the spray! Selfie inclined? This is the place!

# 4 ‘Isla San Martin’ or San Martin Island
This is the island located in the middle of the Falls. When the water level is low, you can take a boat from the lower circuit across to the island and walk out along the paths for an unobstructed front on view. Water levels were extremely high while I was there, so I didn’t get to do this.

I can also highly recommend the ‘Great Adventure Boatride,’ the speedboat takes you up the river directly towards the waterfalls. This is certainly not for the faint of heart – you go right up nearly underneath the Falls! It will leave you speechless, but be prepared, you’re going to get very wet.

Other Things to do – Guide to Iguazu Falls

Pointe of Three Borders

guide-to-iguazu-fallsVisit the Point of Three Borders or ‘Hito de Tres Fronteras’ – the point where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet at the intersection of the Iguazu River and the Paraná River. Standing at the corner of the Argentine side, you can see into Brazil on your right, and over to Paraguay on the left. There is a new monument to the ‘Tres Fronteras’ on the Argentine side with a modern platform complete with fountains, shops and places to sit.

Watch the Sunset

guide-to-iguazu-fallsIn the late afternoon go to see the sunset over Paraguay, and see the distant twinkling of Ciudad del Este and the bridge from Brazil.

Visit the Tres Fronteras

guide-to-iguazu-fallsAt 8 pm and 9 pm, a hologram and light show is played amongst the fountains, and is quite spectacular – highlighting customs from all three nations through its colors and pictures. The Tres Fronteras is only a short walk from the town of Puerto Iguazu. Ask your hotel concierge for the best way to get there.

Ferinha the Outdoor Market

For a taste of the classic Argentine custom – the ‘Picada’ – a meat, cheese and olive platter, visit the ‘Ferinha’ located in Puerto Iguazu. Sit outdoors in the shade at one of the many market stalls selling delicious cured meats, cheeses, olives, craft beers as well as other Argentine delicacies, and try an authentic ‘Picada’. The fair is full of Brazilians coming over to enjoy some of the best that Argentina has to offer – I recommend this as an alternative for dinner one night! The Ferinha within walking distance from the center of town, but again, ask your hotel concierge for the best way to get there.

Where to Stay
Guide to Iguazu Falls

ESTURION IGUAZU 4* + HOTEL 

guide-to-iguazu-fallsThe 4-star Hotel Esturion Iguazu is located in Puerto Iguazu. This hotel offers a swimming pool, garden, tennis courts, spa, sauna, 2 restaurants, a bar, business center, and 24-hour room service. The guest rooms have cable TV, telephones, safe deposit boxes, air conditioning, minibars, and Wi-Fi Internet access. Guests can relax on the terrace in a comfy hammock.

LOI SUITES IGUAZU 4* + Hotel

guide-to-iguazu-fallsLocated between the town of Puerto Iguazu and the National Park, the Loi Suites is a stunning hotel amongst the jungle. Rooms have a natural, yet comfortable feel, and most have a balcony overlooking the jungle. It also has private access to the Iguazu River and suspended walkways to get there. A truly beautiful and natural hotel.

Sheraton (5 Star)

The only hotel located inside the National Park on the Argentina side – the Sheraton and you cannot beat this location. This is the complete experience. Opt for a room with a view of the Falls to see, smell, and hear the falls from your room. This is certainly an upgrade to heighten the senses.

SOUTHAMERICA.TRAVEL organizes tours with local guides to both the Brazilian and Argentine sides of the falls. With flight connections from Peru, Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu is an amazing destination to add to your custom itinerary!