ROW's Brazilian Tapestry is a cornucopia of experiences. Traveling through three distinct ecosystems; the Pantanal, the Brazilian Amazon and the savannah of the Chapada dos Guimaraes, this journey reveals, up close and personal, the variety and splendor of the wildlife and natural wonder of Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world.

This adventure was awarded the 2009 "Tours of a Lifetime" honor by National Geographic Traveler.

About the award:
“Every year, the editorial team combs the world to find the most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best-guided, and most sustainable tours,” notes senior editor Norie Quintos. “This year, we wanted to make sure that the trips we picked were also a great value, given the economic climate. What we found is that there is no better time to go on a guided tour than now as the traditional savings offered by an outfitter being able to negotiate better rates on a trip’s components is magnified by cheaper airfares, a strengthened dollar, and more discounts, freebies, and extras.”

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Itinerary

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Day 1

Depart USA. Many flights travel through the night so you arrive in Brazil the next day.

Day 2

Arrive Sao Paulo and continue to Iguazu.
On arrival at Guarulhos São Paulo international airport, pass through immigration and customs
and then continue on a domestic flight to the city of Foz do Iguaçu. You are met at the airport
and transfer to the hotel Bourbon. Catch up on sleep and enjoy the area on your own. Dinner and
overnight at the Bourbon Hotel. D

Day 3

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Iguazu is rivaled only by Africa's Victoria Falls in terms of
sheer wonder. It’s said that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, upon seeing Iguazu, exclaimed “Poor
Niagara.” In the morning we hike to visit the Brazilian side of the waterfalls – the side with the
most spectacular views. In the afternoon, we cross to the
Argentinian side and walk to explore more of the waterfall,
completing a holistic view of this magical landscape. Overnight at
the Bourbon Hotel. B, L, D.
 

Day 4

Day 4 Iguazu to Cuiaba to the Amazon
An early morning flight with two connections takes us to the town of Alta Floresta arriving in
time for lunch. We then travel by jeep or 4x4 and boat to the Cristalino Jungle Lodge. The
Amazon is a region of superlatives that sparks images of mystery and exploration. It spans the
borders of eight countries and one overseas territory, is the world's largest river basin and the
source of one-fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on Earth. Its rain forests are the planet's largest
and most luxuriant. It is home to one in ten known species on Earth. Our trip takes you to a
small corner of this immense region and immerses you into this verdant jungle world.
Cristalino Jungle Lodge is nestled in a private reserve
surrounded by the Cristalino State Park and has been
instrumental in saving thousands of acres in this part of the
Amazon. After dinner we will meet with the lodge owner to
learn more about the region and their efforts to save the
rainforest. There is also time to browse the library, replete
with a number of books about the local fauna and flora.
Overnight at Cristalino Jungle lodge. B, L, D.

Day 5

 Exploring the Amazon
Days at the lodge start early so that guests have the best opportunity to see birds and wildlife.
The goal is to be out in the forest by first light of dawn. This morning we walk to the 164 feet
canopy tower to observe primates, canopy birds, and flora and see the rising sun through the
enchanting misty dawn. After a few hours we return to the lodge for breakfast. Then we head
out for a motorboat ride up river followed by a hike on the “Brazil Nut Trail.” During certain
seasons you can taste fresh Brazil nuts collected while on the hike. We return to the lodge by
paddling about a mile down the river in inflatable canoes. After lunch at the lodge we take an
afternoon walk to see the seasonally flooded areas near the Cristalino River including some areas
rich in bamboo. With luck we’ll see monkeys along the way, including the capuchin monkey.
We continue our hike and at the end, for anyone interested there is the opportunity to try out a
ropes and rappel challenge course. After dinner an optional night safari is offered to spot caiman
and other nocturnal animals. Overnight at the Cristalino Lodge. B, L, D.

Day 6

More Exploration of the Amazon Forest
The day starts with an easy walk to a 20 feet high tree house that overlooks a natural clay lick.
This is a place that is regularly visited by tapirs, peccaries and deer who come for the minerals in
the soil. After lunch we paddle on one of the rivers near the lodge, then we take a motor boat ride
up river to hike the 'Sierra' trail, ending with panoramic views and a gorgeous sunset. After this
we float quietly back to the lodge observing various nocturnal birds and animals along the way.
Overnight at the Cristalino Lodge. B, L,D.

Day 7

 Depart the Amazon and travel to the Savannah
We transfer to the town of Alta Floresta. After lunch we take a 420 mile flight back to the city of
Cuiabá. From there it’s a one hour drive to the Chapada dos Guimarães. Chapada is a Brazilian
word that indicates a region of steep cliffs. The
spectacular area, with a mix of red rock sandstone and
other sedimentary rock is the source to almost all main
rivers and waters that run into the Pantanal. Geologically
it is older than the Andes Mountains, and has an average
altitude of 2500 feet. During our visit we see a number of
spectacular waterfalls, hike along creeks, and visit rock
formations with scrub vegetation and exotic wildlife.
Much of the area has been protected as a National Park.
We overnight just on the edge of the Park at the Pousada do Parque, a lovely inn that blends in
perfectly with its surroundings and was built in an entirely sustainable manner. Enjoy dinner in
the outdoor dining room complete with a pizza oven made from an abandoned termite mound.
Overnight at the Pousada do Parque Lodge. B, L, D.

Day 8

Hiking in the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park.
Early in the morning we hike through the Savannah, with stops at several waterfalls for a
refreshing bath. The hike ends at the highest of the waterfalls – the 210-foot Véu de Noiva
(Bride’s veil). By midday we stop for a well-deserved lunch at a lovely restaurant next to a small
waterfall in a cool grotto. We then head to the nearby “City of Rocks” for some easy walking
and to admire a dramatic sunset over red-rock canyons. We return to the Pousada for dinner and
overnight. B, L, D.
 

Day 9

 Travel south to the Pantanal.
After breakfast we travel by van two hours, descending to the
traditional town of Poconé, on the edge of the Pantanal. One of
the world’s last great wilderness areas, the Pantanal is a premier
destination for observing the wildlife of South America. Named
by UNESCO as both a World Biosphere Reserve and a World
Heritage of Humanity site, it is the world’s largest wetland. This
complex of ecosystems is influenced by the savannahs of
Bolivia and Brazil, the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests and maintains a stunning concentration
and diversity of wildlife including some 650 species of birds, 500 species of moths and
butterflies, 400 fish, 30 frog, 80 reptile, and 75 mammal species. Additionally there are
hundreds of plant species.
Just past Poconé, the Transpantaneira park-road begins. This
dirt road provides good access into this amazing ecosystem.
The Pantanal has a subtle topography and the difference
between the land that floods during the wet season and that
which stays dry is only a few feet! The dry season runs from
July through December while the wet season goes from
January through June with the months at the edges of these
seasons being transitional. During the dry season much of the
land is open for hiking while in the wet season these same lands will be covered with two or
three feet of water and boats become the more common form of transport. During all seasons
there are still many lakes, and rivers. There isn’t a “best” season to visit the Pantanal as each has
its diverse concentration of wildlife and ways to access the area. . Activities vary slightly
between seasons.
As we drive south from Poconé we stop to observe the richness of the fauna and flora. By late
afternoon we arrive at the Araras Eco Lodge, one of the original lodges in the area built in
harmony with the region. Our first excursion is a moderate walk to the lodge’s private
observation tower offering a birds-eye view of the area and wondrous sunset. After dinner we
head out on foot for a night safari with hopes of seeing deer, foxes, ocelots and nocturnal birds.
Sometimes, with luck, we may even see a jaguar! Overnight at Araras lodge. B, L, D.

Day 10

 Exploring the Pantanal
In the morning we travel by horse through the savannah and fields. The horse is the most
versatile way to explore the region, as it can be used in all seasons. During the wet season water
reaches the horses belly as we cross flooded fields and reach
the mound-hills. In the afternoon, we depart for the little river
Claro - a natural short cut of the waters from the large Cuiabá
to the Paraguay Rivers - to do a silent canoe journey, with the
possibility of seeing many animal species such as aquatic birds
and otters. During certain seasons we will offer a two-day
paddle with one night camping. Otherwise, overnight at the
Araras Lodge. B, L, D.

Day 11

Pantanal
One more day of activities allows us to admire the richness of the fauna & flora of the largest
Wetland in the World. The possibilities are hikes, long paddles or a combination of both.
Whatever we do the opportunity to view so many species of birds and animals at a relatively
close distance is truly inspiring. Overnight at the Araras Lodge. B, L, D.
 

Day 12

Depart Pantanal and return to Sao Paulo.
For those who want, we offer an early sunrise walk before breakfast. Then depart for Cuiabá
where we visit the workshop of a local artisan musician who makes the local guitar. Guests have
a chance to see the entire process and try their own hand at some wood carving. After this we
head to the airport for flights to Sao Paulo. Several airlines have flights that depart in the
evening. If you’d like to extend your trip to other parts of Brazil we are happy to arrange this as
well. B.
 

Dates & Rates

Supplementary Information

Prices above reflect the lowest tiered price for the trip described - We recognize that not everyone wants to see everything so this trip can be customized to suit your timeframe and interests.  We can customize for any group size.

2014

8-12 Guests = $4,200

4-7 Guests = $4,500

2015

8-12 Guests = $4,600

4-7 Guests = $4,900

 

Tiered Pricing Explained

Our trips are budgeted for full or near full sign-ups which enables us to offer trips at the lowest possible price. Because of numerousfixed costs, it is more expensive to operate a trip for a small group. Therefore, on some of our trips, in order to avoid having to cancel a trip, we have a “tier-pricing” system to avoid canceling a trip with a low number of sign ups. We have found that most people also prefer this alternative to having a trip cancelled. Thus, you will note on our trip prices there may be different price for 6-8 people versus 9-10, versus 11-12, etc...

We may initially invoice you at the higher tier price, and refund the difference depending on the final group size. Trip costs quoted are based on foreign exchange rates current at the time of this printing. We reserve the right to raise the trip fee if there are exceptional cost increases beyond our control.

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FAQ & More

Will I need a power converter?

While traveling in Brazil, you will find that they go back and forth between 110 and 220 volts, though all of the outlets will look the same. Standard flat blade plugs found in the US and Canada will not work in the outlets in Brazil, so you will need an adaptor. You will want to bring a converter along as well in case your hotel has 220 volt outlets. Make sure you inquire at each hotel as to what the voltage is before plugging in your appliance or computer with only an adaptor.

What will the weather be like?

During the summer months, the temperature often reaches highs around 100 degrees Fahrenheit from December through March, with humidity sometimes reaching as much as 98%. Their “winter” months are June through August and the highs are generally around 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do I need a Yellow fever vaccination before I travel?

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required only if you have traveled within the last 90 days, to any of the following countries: Angola, Bolivia, Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guyana, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan or Venezuela.

Will I need a visa to travel to Brazil?

You will need to have a Passport that is valid for up to 6 months past the end of your trip when you travel internationally. US citizens are required to obtain visas to travel to Brazil for any reason. You must apply for your visa in advance, there are no ‘airport visas’ and if you do not have the proper documentation upon arrival, you will not be admitted into Brazil. You will have to apply for a visa at your nearest Brazilian consulate found at http://washington.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/. The fee is $160 and an additional $20 proxy fee. It can take anywhere from 2-15 days to process your visa, and could take longer during the busy season, so make sure you apply for one with plenty of time. The tourist visas for the US, Canada, and Mexico are valid for multiple entries for 5 years, the only restriction is that you can not stay longer than 90 days at a time. There are some organizations that will help you obtain your visa, they charge an additional fee above the cost of your visa, but in some cases it takes a lot of the work out of obtaining one yourself. Citizens of certain countries are not required to obtain a visa prior to traveling to Brazil, it is best to check your country’s resources to find information on whether or not you are required to have a visa.

Will I need to exchange currency before I go?

Brazil’s currency is the Real (pronounced ray-all). The best way to exchange currency is by using an ATM, which are all over Brazil. During holiday seasons, such as Carnival or Easter, it is best to make sure you withdraw enough currency when you are able to make it to an ATM rather than wait because the ATM’s will often run out of cash toward the end of the holiday festivities. Traveler’s checks are not helpful in Brazil, most places won’t accept them, hotels will give you a poor exchange rate if they cash them, and there is only one bank in Brazil that will cash them with minimal hassle, but they will charge you a $20USD fee. Your credit card will give you the best exchange rate in Brazil, and you should make sure to alert your bank prior to traveling so you don’t have trouble with a frozen card when you travel internationally.

What language do they speak in Brazil?

The native language of Brazil is Brazilian Portuguese. Some Brazilians can readily understand Spanish since it shares some similarities, but some Brazilians may get offended if you assume they speak Spanish, and you are better off asking if they are English speaking if you are unfamiliar with Brazilian Portuguese

How long will it take to travel to Brazil?

From major US cities, it can take anywhere from 8-14 hours, and sometimes more depending on your flight schedule and layovers, so it is best to plan your flights with the best arrival time for the start of your tour. Most flights to Brazil travel overnight and you will arrive in the morning, which will give you plenty of time to get to your hotel and catch up on sleep.

Are the activities very strenuous?

Depending on where you are traveling from, the heat and humidity can make any physical activity more strenuous even for the most active people. It is best if you are in relatively good physical condition so you don’t have to miss out on any sight-seeing opportunities.

What will happen at Immigration and Customs in Brazil when I arrive and depart?

You will need to clear both Brazilian immigration and customs at the airport. Your airline should distribute forms for you to fill in before you arrive. There will be two lines at immigration, one for foreigners and one for Brazilian citizens. American citizens are both photographed and fingerprinted as a part of the immigration process. Make sure to get your passport stamped and keep the copy of the entry form that you will be given as you will need to have it when you go through immigration prior to departure. Losing this form could result in a fine. At customs, there is a 30-40% chance you will have your baggage inspected, and it is best to be patient with this process. If you are carrying R$10,000 or more or the equivalent in other currency or a combination, you will need to declare this at customs.

Do I need to have paddling experience before traveling to Brazil

If you are inexperienced with kayaking and canoe paddling, we recommend that you take some time before your trip to practice. Kayaking is generally an easy sport to pick up and most people catch on very quickly. Remember that paddling uses different muscle groups than most people are used to, and it is best to get comfortable with the experience so you are able to focus on enjoying your vacation rather than using the time to learn to paddle.

Is it possible to explore Sao Paulo on my own?

Whenever you are traveling internationally and in a place you are unfamiliar with, it is always best to use caution and common sense. Do not carry large amounts of currency on you, and do not keep your personal items in your pockets if possible. It is recommended that you carry copies of your passport and identification when you are exploring the city on your own. It is best to travel in pairs or groups whenever you are trying to navigate an unfamiliar city to reduce the chances of getting lost. It is important to make sure that you are using a legitimate taxi service in the cities by having the hotel or restaurant doorman hail one for you. The professional taxis in Brazil have a maroon license plate with the name of the city you are in. Private cars have silver/grey license plates.

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