South American Explorer
Day 1 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
This is it. That incredible South American adventure you’ve been dreaming about. Kick things off in the seductive Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires – hometown of Pope Francis and the world’s steamiest dance moves (contradictory, we know). Spot your Topdeck rep at the airport and weave your way through French-style buildings, buzzing sidewalk cafes and colourful street art murals to our central-city accommodation. Ready to tuck into some drool-worthy local food? We thought so. Sign up for tonight’s optional dinner and cultural experience for allll the Argentinian steak, Patagonian trout tartar, homemade chimichurri and a glass (or two) of Malbec, obvs. Yep, you’re finally here.
Day 2 - Buenos Aires
Today, we’ve sorted a set of wheels and local guide so you can uncover what makes BA so special. Explore the northern district with its European-inspired architecture, discover the famous Palermo Chico barrio and get the low-down on the graffiti murals scattered across the city. Then: wander the labyrinth of decorative vaults and above-ground graves of Argentina’s most influential figures at Recoleta Cemetery. Later, perfect your sexy turns with a locally instructed tango class – before seeing how the pros work it at an optional show and dinner tonight. Or head out and do your own spontaneous this-is-what-I-came-for-thing. It’s 100% up to you.
Day 3 - Traditional Estancia Stay
You wanted to see the REAL Argentina, and it doesn’t get any more real than an overnight stay at a working Estancia (that’s a South American cattle ranch, FYI). We’ll leave bustling BA behind for now and make tracks to San Antonio de Areco – the heart of the Pampas region. Think: Argentina’s version of the Wild West. Channel your inner gaúcho with some horseback riding and cattle driving. Or spend the afternoon swimming in the pool and versing your trip mates at a game of fútbol. Tonight, we’ll tuck into a home-cooked meal surrounded by the vast plains and rugged landscape of the Argentinian countryside. This is livin’.
Day 4 - Buenos Aires
Down your coffee and wave goodbye to your farmyard friends – we’re heading back to Buenos Aires to tick off more bucket-listers. Spend your free time strolling through one of the city’s colourful markets or lush Botanical Gardens. Head to a parrilla (Argentinian grill house) for lunch. Or get cultured in contemporary art at MALBA. There’s even a street art tour of the city’s southern district, if you’re keen. Pass the Catedral Metropolitana and Cabildo of Buenos Aires; explore the ultra-colourful barrio of La Boca; get the low-down on historical San Telmo; and play ‘I-spy’ with some seriously cool graffiti and politically motivated street art. Dinner is up to you tonight – but our expert Trip Leader knows what’s good.
Day 5 - Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls
Don’t hit snooze, we’re getting the early flight to Puerto Iguazú – gateway to the largest waterfall system in the world. Sorry, Niagara. Shouldering the borders of Brazil and Paraguay – we’ve got two full days here to explore the dense greener-than-green rainforests, see some pretty exotic wildlife and check out BOTH sides of the falls. Thank us later. Want to hit the ground running? Sign up for an optional jungle ziplining experience over the lush rainforest canopies. Or learn all about the indigenous Guaraní way of life at the Comunidad Mbya Guaraní Yryapú. Tonight, get the gang together and head to Feirinha for cheap beer, Brazilian market stalls and platters of picadas.
Day 6 - Iguazú Falls
Literally meaning “big water”, the local Guaraní people weren’t kidding when they named this baby. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 250 combined waterfalls. Spanning over two countries. Falling over 24-stories high. One word: I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. Today, we’re sticking to the Argentinean side – kicking things off with a ride on the ecological ‘Green Train’ to the Upper Circuit of the National Park. Oooo and ahhh your way around the panoramic views of the falls to La Garganta del Diablo – aka the ‘Devil’s Throat’ (you’ll see why). Keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles and turtles. Then: jump on an optional speed boat tour to get up close and personal with this monstrous wall of water. Disclaimer: you will get wet. After a full day of chasing waterfalls, fuel up in town with some empanadas washed down with a glass of fernet and Coke.
Day 7 - Iguazú Falls
Ready for round two? Today, we’re crossing over to the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls for full-frontal panoramas. Treat your eyeballs to all the gob-smacking views as you wind your way around the wooden walkway and cliff-side lookouts. It’s even better than you imagine, trust us. Back in Argentina, spend your free afternoon chilling by the hotel pool with your trip mates. Or head to Hito Tres Fronteras viewpoint to catch the water and light show. Fact: you can spot Brazil and Paraquay from here.
Day 8 - Iguazú Falls to Paraty via São Paulo, Brazil
Don’t cry for me Argentina, we’ve had fun – but now it’s time to follow the rhythm of beating drums to Brazil. No lies, today is a bit of a travel day so catch some zzz’s on the flight to São Paulo before we transfer to Paraty. An 18th-century city with cobbled streets and white-washed buildings that date back to the Portuguese colonial days – this place is a history-buff's wet dream. Spend the afternoon wandering the old gold port and absorbing the charming vibes of the city centre on an orientation tour with your in-the-know Trip Leader. Then, the rest is up to you. Head to a local haunt for some fresh seafood or bowl of feijoada (Brazilian bean stew) for dinner. Tried cachaça yet? Do it.
Day 9 - Paraty
Nature lover? This is YOUR day. Pristine island beaches, lush Atlantic rainforests, glittering turquoise water and 24hrs to embrace. it. all. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with an island schooner cruise. Sweet! Spend the day beach-hopping between the likes of Praia da Lula, Red Beach, Long Island and the Blue Lagoon. Insert: swimming, snorkelling and getting horizontal in the sun. Rather do your own thing? Take a trip up the coast to some of the best surfing beaches in Brazil. Hire a kayak and explore the crystal-clear bays at your own pace. Or channel your inner Tarzan with a hike through the surrounding rainforest. Tonight, swap stories with your trip mates by the pool or hang with the locals at a bar in town. What a day!
Day 10 - Paraty to Ilha Grande
Today, we’re making tracks up the coast and jumping on a boat to Ilha Grande. You’ve got 48hrs here – dump your bags at our beachside accommodation and get exploring! Strap on your Nikes and trek to the top of Pico do Papagaio peak for alllll the panoramic views. Visit the abandoned Candido Mendes prison – once home to some of the most dangerous criminals in Brazil. Go wreck diving at Ilha de Jorge Grego. Or get horizontal on the picturesque Lopes Mendes beach. Then, get the crew together for sunset cocktails at Abraão. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Day 11 - Ilha Grande
Didn’t quite get your fill of island life yesterday? DW, we got you – here’s a full day of free time we prepared earlier. Play ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe' with the choice of white-washed beaches and spend the day lapping up the sun. Or jump on board a beach-hopping boat trip around the island. Visit Lagao Azul (aka the Blue Lagoon). Slap on your snorkel and get up close and personal with the colourful marine life. Swim off the coast of Freguesia de Santana beach. And sip on cold beers at Praia de Japariz. Tonight, ask your Trip Leader where to find the best seafood on the island and go get it.
Day 12 - Ilha Grande to Rio de Janeiro
Wave goodbye to island paradise today – we’re gonna blast samba all the way to Rio. Golden beaches. Towering mountains. And the best dang nightlife you’ve ever experienced. Period. Welcome to Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvelous City). This place has got so much going it’s impossible see it all, but we’re sure as hell going to try! Scale the multicoloured Escadaria Selarón steps. Hit the golden beaches. Hike up Dois Irmãos. Or just settle in with a caipirinha and soak up the atmosphere in Pedra do Sal. Tonight is gonna be one to remember. Tuck into a Brazilian BBQ dinner with the gang before being wowed to the max by a Carnival-inspired dance show. Think: bright colours, bare skin and lots and lots of bejazzaling. You ready?
Day 13 - Rio de Janeiro
Nobody panic, this is your last day on tour. Don’t waste a second. Kick off our city tour with a drive through the tropical Tijuca rainforest to the top of Corcovado Mountain. Snap THAT pic under Christ the Redeemer and soak up alllll the panoramic views over Rio. This is your moment. After, we’ll head to the Urca district to get the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain. Glue your face to the glass as you climb 390m over the buzzing city and beaches below. Then: we’ll wind things up Downtown to check out the likes of the Carioca Aqueduct and Candelária Church. Tonight is your last with the gang – time to give this incredible adventure the send-off it deserves and dance into sunrise at one of Lapa’s samba bars. Arriba!
Day 14 - Rio de Janeiro
You came. You saw. You embraced it all. Now it’s time to shake off last night’s celebrations, get down to breakfast and swap those socials with your awesome AF trip mates (you’re going to need them for next year’s reunion trip). We’ve got your airport transfer sorted if you’re shipping out. But if you’re sticking around, we don’t blame you.
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