Two weeks in Brazil
Our 19 day Rio to Buenos Aires trip was too long for Dragoman’s Sales and Marketing Manager John Dicks but he managed to steal the first fortnight travelling through Brazil from Rio to the mighty Iguazu Falls. Here is his report of his South American experience or ‘escape from the office’….
What was it like travelling in a group?
We had a small but varied group made up of five females and two males ranging in age from 20 to over 50yrs. We all got on pretty well and I enjoyed the group’s company but also enjoyed the fact the itinerary allowed you time to yourself too.
What did you think of your crew?
Anki and Ross were great. Anki had great experience and knowledge of South America and Ross was very good and affable.
What were the highlights of the itinerary and what did you think of them?
My short trip was surprisingly varied. Rio was a particularly impressive blend of contrasts, city and beach, rich and poor, daytime sightseeing and nightlife – I can understand why the majority of trips end rather than start there though my arrival was great – Rio by sunrise! Most travellers opted for an extra day or two here pre-tour. But I have to say Iguazu Falls was spectacular, I’ve never seen anything on that scale before.
How much participation was expected of clients?
Clients were expected to share responsibilities for certain tasks, which Anki and Ross put together a rota for, such as loading up the truck, cooking for the group, and ensuring all tent parts were returned. Everyone obviously travelled as a group, there were a couple of group meals, and the Pantanal activities tended to be conducted as a group, but beyond this everyone was free to do what they wanted so the group tended to subdivide into smaller groups.
What was your accommodation like?Accommodation was good. The Hotel Argentina in Rio (confusing!) was simple but a fine start to the tour and the hostel at Paraty was great fun. The trip coincided with Brazil’s coldest June for twelve years so we actually only spent one night “wild” camping.
What were your views of the overland truck?
I thought the truck was genius! I had a good idea of what to expect having seen them in the workshop, but seeing them in use was much more impressive. I was amazed at how they carried everything you need from tents to backpacks to crockery and provisions so economically, loved the ability to interact across tables and with the crew, the simplicity of the wind-down windows, and they even made for a pretty comfortable ride!
What was the food like?
The food was good and all the better for the group cooking experience. Hotel Argentina lived up to its famed breakfast reputation, the buffets at the Pantanal lodge were exactly what you needed after a day’s exploring, and the group cooking provided a good array of meals - I think people were even kind about my chilli…
What grade would you give the tour?
Pretty mild. It felt reasonably paced, with some long drives as you’d expect in South America, with enough optional activities if you wanted them.
How did you deal with money matters and was it an expensive destination?
Most destinations had cash machines, which I used a couple of times. The costs of an average meal was cheaper than the UK but not by much – approx. £15. The optional activities that I took were a visit to Christ the Redeemer (USD10), snorkeleling in Bonito (USD80) and a helicopter ride over Iguazu Falls (USD100).
Were there any problems encountered on tour and if so, how were they dealt with?
The weather provided a challenge, but Anki and Ross phoned ahead to ensure the group upgraded to rooms when we couldn’t camp.
Do you feel that you got under the skin of a country and really immersed yourself in the local culture?
Yes. I got to see a part of South America I’d never seen before, and know from speaking to other travellers we got to see a variety of places that would otherwise have been difficult to get to.
Do you feel your holiday benefited local people and/or was it responsible?
Yes. The Pantanal lodge was a worthy cause, and I was impressed how despite travelling on a big truck the crew were well versed in instilling recycling duties in others whilst on the road.
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Iguazu Falls by helicopter!
Sum your trip up in one sentence
The best of city, beach and natural Brazil in under two weeks.
Discover more about our Rio to Buenos Aires trip (ZBR)