Brazil is synonymous with a passion for life and a diversity of both nature and culture. We’ll traverse the bustling, sensual metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, enjoy a panoramic feast of the breath-taking Iguazu Falls, and journey through the last great wilderness on Earth, the Amazon rainforest, teeming with thousands of species of animals and plants. From Brazil we’ll continue to the neighboring Argentina, where we’ll be immersed in the sophistication and the fiery passion of Buenos Aires, finding Argentina's soul in the glamorous tango, excellent wines, nouvelle cuisine, Pampas horseriding and Gauchos.
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The Future of Women Travel: More Adventure, Less Shopping
"When I told people I was going to the Amazon, their jaws dropped," says Joswick. "I think this is because we tend to think of it as a dangerous, difficult and uncomfortable place: heat, bugs, snakes, wild animals, piranhas, you name it. "But going the way we did, on a comfortable boat, with excellent guides, I never felt I was in danger. The heat was bearable, and I never even saw a mosquito!" In the past most Sights and Soul tour destinations have been in Europe, with a focus on cultural landmarks. For the Amazon tour, Barnes had to switch gears: "We replaced cathedrals, art, gourmet restaurants and spas with the stillness of the Rio Negro, the floating meadows of the Amazon, the monkeys, cayman and sloths.
A Women's Trip to Argentina: Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls
South America is becoming one of the most popular destinations for travelers who have already been to Europe and other places and are looking for something more exciting, and different. Sights and Soul Travels offers a twist–their Argentina tour is for women only! We spoke to some of the women who have gone on Sights and Soul’s trips to this destination to get their thoughts on the journey. The trip, offered again this year from November 2-8, 2014, begins in Buenos Aires for four nights at a 4-star boutique hotel in the city’s Recoleta neighborhood, in the heart of this thriving metropolis.
The eco-treasures of the vast Brazilian Amazon jungle should be experienced from the insider perspective. The Amazon Expedition allows for the experience of a true explorer: you'll wake up with the birds to paddle through the watery landscape, watch the sunrise and see the water mirror the fantastical shapes of the forest. You'll walk through the jungle to examine the exotic species up close and learn about their rare natural habitat. Your home will be a small, expedition river boat, reminiscent of the 19th century cruisers which used to ply these majestic waters (but with private bathrooms and air-conditioning). From your bed, you can watch the millions of stars of the southern hemisphere. The freshly prepared meals will be served in the elegant, dark wood salon decorated with botanical prints. The crew and guides will extend personal attention to all guests. The Amazon Expedition is an active, meaningful and authentic exploration of the rainforest. It is 100% low impact and green. You won't be insulated from the forest and your exploration will not injure or destroy plants or animals, but it will benefit the local population.
Save the Amazon Forest
The Amazon rainforest is the biggest forest in the world and is also the last big space covered with tropical plants and animals. The Amazon forest territory is a tropical rainforest that is located in the north side of the South American continent and is shared by 9 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana and Guiana. Travel through the forest can be difficult, and a guide or a river tour are the best options to see the natural wonders of the rain forest. The largest part of is located in Brazil (60%) and covers almost half of that country. The space covered with the forest is 5.5 million square kilometers (3.4 million square miles ).
Amazon Rainforest Flora
The Amazon rainforest has a huge live collection of flora species. Botanical experts say that in 2.5 acres of the forest you can find 700 different species of trees and twice that number of plants. One of the most awesome things you will notice is that the forest has a high density of trees and they are very tall. Many trees reach 130 meters high (some species reach 200 feet), and under they form a shadowed place where at times is hard to see the sun. The high canopy of the Amazon rainforest is a very unknown place even for most botanists and until recently very few researches have even explored this hard to reach area of the forest.
Amazon Rainforest Fauna
According to the National Academy of Sciences, a typical four square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 of reptiles, 60 of amphibians, and 150 different species of butterflies. In one study, one square meter of leaf litter, when analyzed, turned up 50 species of ants alone. Following are some nice examples of the Amazon rainforest fauna: The Tapir is the largest herbivore (350-600 pounds) in the Amazon rainforest and it's a very ancient mammal. The Tapir has a strange look with a "nose" that resembles a small elephant trunk.
The Amazon is among the world's richest sources of native orchids. For many, the orchid symbolizes the beauty and fragility of the rainforest. Surprisingly, these plants are amazingly tough and can survive drying out and heat typical of the upper canopy where most species occur. Orchids (Orchidaceae) comprise the most diverse family of plants, with over 25,000 described species, while many more undoubtedly remain to be discovered. Orchidelirium is the name that the Victorians gave to the flower madness. For botanical collectors in the 19th century Englnd, it was the equivalent of gold fever.
Manaus is a city in the northern part of Brazil and is the capital of Amazonas State. Located on the Rio Negro near its confluence with the Rio Solimoes (also known as the Amazon River), it is the chief port and a hub for the region's extensive river system. It is also a common point of departure for tourists visiting the rest of the Amazon region. An equatorial climate is a type of tropical climate in which there is no dry season - all months have mean precipitation values of at least 60mm. It is usually found at latitudes within five degrees of the equator - which are dominated by the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Tropical rainforest is the natural vegetation in equatorial regions.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro conjures images of spicy samba and the colorful celebration of Carnaval, Brazil’s most famous holiday, which is celebrated annually as a series of massive parades in the days before Lent. In addition to its status as Brazil’s second-largest city, Rio also enjoys the prestige of being one of the most popular and frequently visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting tourists with nearly 50 miles of beaches and world-class resort hotels, a thriving cultural tradition of music and dance, and sites such as the towering Christ the Redeemer statue that has become synonymous with the image of Brazil itself.
Eclectic, cosmopolitan, simultaneously Latin and European, Buenos Aires is not just a city, but a melting pot of the most diverse cultures. Since its foundation, which, as a sign foretelling the city's split personality happened twice, in 1536 and again in 1580, Buenos Aires has been influenced by many traditions and continues to transform itself at a lightning pace, keeping one eye on the newest trends and the other on preserving its essence. Visiting Buenos Aires will allow you to get a deep insight into the city's historical evolution through its most emblematic neighborhoods, see special places which have become true icons of the city and discover the way of life and traditions of its inhabitants.
Nothing expresses the soul of Buenos Aires as much as tango. Originated in the 1890s, in lower-class districts of the city as a fusion of various forms of music, it was soon danced everywhere, as theatres and street organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, packed with thousands of European immigrants: Italians, Spanish and French. In the early years of the 20th century, dancers from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe, starting the first European tango craze: in Paris, London, Berlin. In 1913 it hit New York City. Meanwhile, in Argentina, the onset of the Great Depression marked a decline in the dance popularity.
Gauchos, the wanderers of the Pampas, have been a part of the South American landscape since the 1600s. Gauchos belonged to the countryside. They knew the land, the animals, the life and the customs of the natives, but their life was a constant struggle to survive. The flatland pampas of South America were full of the cimarron cattle, brought here in 1538, and cow leather was one of most traded goods between the Old World and the colonies. By 1715, Europe's heavy demand for leather has taken a toll on cimarron cattle, and the government took action against the gauchos.
While Malbec wine is making the Argentine wine bars famous, and esspresso dominates Buenos Aires cafés, the national drink of Argentina is mate. It's rarely on the menu, but it's the most important social drink in the country which binds the Argentines in a ritual of friendship and hospitality. Drinking mate is considered a defining ritual of daily life, giving friends and family the opportunity to nurture relationships, share stories, and enjoy their time together. Mate is made from dried, shredded leaves of yerba mate, an herb native to the forests of the upper Rio Parana Delta.
When compared to other famous waterfalls, Iguazu stands wider than Victoria and taller than Niagara, prompting First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to exclaim “Poor Niagara!” when faced with the might of the Iguazu Falls. At one point a person may stand and actually be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls, an awesome and unparalleled experience at the junction of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The falls are located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, and there are points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which have access to the Iguazu River...
The Guarani Tribe and the Iguaz˙ River
Long time ago, before the arrival of the Spanish in South America, the Guarani tribe lived in the area around the Iguazú River. The river was inhabited by a giant and evil snake, named M’Boi, a serpent god, son of the supreme god of all nature, Tupa. M’Boi was monstrous and selfish, and every year he demanded an offering, so the Guarani tribe had to sacrifice a beautiful maiden to the Serpent God. These young women were bred to be sacrificed and were proud of their destiny of save their people. But things were about to change. The most beautiful girl in the tribe, Naipi, was to be married to Taruba, a great warrior from a neighboring tribe, a marriage that would bring union and prosperity to both tribes. >>
Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento
Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, Colonia del Sacramento is located at the tip of a short peninsula with a strategic position on the north shore of the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires. In the region, the Historic Quarter of Colonia is the only example of an urban plan that does not conform to the rigid "checkerboard" grid imposed by Spain under the "Laws of the Indies." Instead, this city has a free plan adapted to the topographical features of the site, although strongly influenced by its military function. Throughout the successive destructions and occupations of its territory, the Historic Quarter acquired the urban and architectural heterogeneity that characterizes it...
The Los Glaciares National Park
The Los Glaciares National Park is an area of exceptional natural beauty, with rugged, towering mountains and glacial lakes, including the enormous Lake Argentino. Dominated by rugged granite peaks, the landscape is carved by massive, ongoing glaciations, as much of the park is covered by glaciers of South America's largest ice field, feeding the huge mountain lakes of Viedma and Argentino. Los Glaciares National Park was created in 1937 to protect the continental ice field and the thirteen largest glaciers, as they descend to the Atlantic Ocean over the Viedma and Agentino lakes.
October 6 - 18, 2021
13 Days / 12 Nights
Tour starts in Manaus and ends in Buenos Aires
$5,960 per person / double occupancy $1,880 optional single supplement $220 additional night at Tropical Executive Hotel, including private airport transfer (single or double room) Includes all fees and taxes