From cities to beaches to jungles and then back to cities, this trip is a nonstop cultural immersion that will knock you off your feet, out of your gaucho (cowboy) boots, and onto the forest floor. Start in Rio de Janeiro, named after a river that doesn’t exist, where street art is legal, and beach-going is not just an activity, but a way of life. Then cross the border into Argentina, where natural wonders, football mania, and delicious beef make for a country that is as irresistible as it is vibrant. Whether you’re navigating the lively city streets of Rio and Buenos Aires or learning how to be an Argentinian cowboy, one thing is for sure: this trip is one-of-a-kind. ¡Vamos!
What are the top highlights?
- Feel on top of the world as you and giant Jesus (AKA Christ the Redeemer) look down on the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro from atop Rio’s nearby mountains
- Cross two Wonders of the World (natural and new) off your list
- Cruise around the breathtaking beaches of the Blue Lagoon
- Explore Argentina, and start your strict dulce de leche diet
- See what’s on the other side of a waterfall (spoiler: you’ll have to go through one to find out)
- Lounge on some of the world’s most picturesque beaches
- Take in panoramic views of Rio from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain
- Hop in the saddle during Fiesta Gaucha, an immersive Argentinian ranch experience (empanadas and folk dance included)
Your trip includes
- Round-trip flights & airport transfers
- Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
- Private motorcoach
- Internal flights, trains & ferries
- 11 nights in hand-picked accommodations
- Welcome Dinner in Rio de Janeiro + Reception in Ilha Grande
- Daily breakfast and two lunches
- Farewell Dinner in Buenos Aires
- Entrance to select attractions
You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.
Click **here **for examples of where you'll stay.
Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:
- Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
- Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
- Flights are booked with major airlines
- 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
- One checked bag included on most flights
- Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure
Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Load some Samba music onto your phone, and board your overnight flight to Rio de Janeiro. The infectious Rio rhythms will have you shaking those hips and having your plane mate question your sanity in no time.
This tour requires a visa for U.S. citizens. Check entry requirements or call us with questions at 800-766-2645.
Day 2: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro
Welcome to Rio, where the beaches are beautiful and the people are even beautiful-er. When in Brazil, do as the Brazilians do: drink coffee, be friendly and hospitable to everyone, and get really excited about soccer (but please, for your own good, call it football).
- Meet an EF representative at the airport.
- Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
- Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
- Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.
In the evening, it's time for our Welcome Dinner. Enjoy food and drinks with your new friends and travelers. Afterwards, you’re free to take the party elsewhere!
Day 3: Explore Rio
Get to know Rio with a local guide by way of bus, cable car, and your own two feet. Every year, millions of visitors converge in Rio for its contagious energy and giant statue of Jesus Christ (seemingly waiting for a hug) that stands atop a mountain overlooking the city. And of course, the beaches. There are over 2,000 of them in Brazil, so get ready to see and hear about them. A lot.
- Take a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for panoramic views of the city.
- Wave to the 98-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue from a neighboring mountain, and greet one of the New Seven Wonders of the World with open arms.
- Pass by Copacabana beach, a 2.5-mile stretch of sand where thousands of people congregate for sunbathing, football, and knocking back a few drinks, of course.
Day 4: Relax at the Beach
Unwind and relax at a beautiful beach, complete with beachy activities and somethin’ cold to sip on. We recommend Caipirinha, a drink made from cachaça, sugar, and lime. This local favorite is Brazil’s national cocktail.
- Take a walk to the beautiful beaches of Rio.
- Soak up the sun on a beach chair and listen to the motion of the ocean.
Day 5: Ferry to Ilha Grande
Leave the bright lights of Rio behind for the tranquility of Ilha Grande, which translates to Big Island. This laidback island will feel like paradise (because it basically is). Located off the coast of Rio, only about 5,000 lucky people get to call Ilha Grande home. Think sandy beaches, fruity drinks, and rainforest-y rainforests.
- Take a ferry from Rio to Ilha Grande through the blue ocean waters, and wish this could be your new commute.
- Arrive at a tropical paradise with pristine beaches, lush vegetation, and a strict “no cars allowed” policy.
- Put on your walking shoes, because this island’s lack of cars and streets means you’ll be getting everywhere via jungle pathway.
- Feel the Brazilian hospitality at a Welcome Reception in your honor, and say hello to your new home for the next three nights.
Day 6: Cruise Around the Blue Lagoon
Take a boat to Lagoa Azul (translation: Blue Lagoon), and cruise around the various islands and coves before stopping for a beachside lunch. Feel free to yell “I’m on a boat,” but don’t be surprised if you get some weird looks.
- Cruise the Blue Lagoon on a half-day boating excursion through the tropical waters. No need to pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming.
- Make your way to some of Ilha Grande’s best-loved beaches.
- Visit Abrãao Village, the largest urban center on the island.
- Say “Land Ho!” as you pull up to your final stop: Japariz Beach. This former fishing village turned lunch destination is where you’ll enjoy a beachside lunch.
Free time suggestions
Dance party: Mingle with locals at one of the islands bars. Drink a few beers, enjoy some Samba music, and consider joining in on the dancing.
Take a hike: Circuito do Abrãao is a leisurely hiking trail that takes you around the beautiful island of Abrãao. Walk along a few beaches and explore the small ruins of an old prison. Splash around in Chacoeria dos Escravos, a natural swimming hole, to cool off at the end of your hike.
Day 7: Hike to Feiticeira
Today is all about chasing waterfalls. One waterfall, actually: The Feiticeira. Join your local guide on an easy hike to one of Ilha Grande’s must-see spots, and give Mother Nature a shout out for creating such a magical place.
- Hike to Cachoeira da Feiticeira, a natural waterfall in the middle of the Atlantic rainforest.
- Look around at this enchanting place and try to figure out why its name translates to “Witch Waterfall” (spooky).
- Reward yourself after the hike with a relaxing dip in the waterfall’s natural pool.
- Stick your toes in the sand at Praia de Feiticeira, a tiny hidden gem of a beach not far from the waterfall.
Day 8: Welcome to Foz de Iguaçu
Hop on a quick flight to Foz do Iguaçu, a city that embraces its natural beauty. As in national parks and waterfalls galore. Foz do Iguaçu was dubbed one of the 14 most romantic destinations in the world by CNN. Is that love in the air? Or maybe just the spray from Iguaçu Falls?
- Take a guided boat tour in UNESCO World Heritage Site, Iguaçu National park, where you’ll experience one of the New Natural Seven Wonders of the World: The Iguaçu Falls.
- Channel George of the Jungle during a hike through the jungle.
- Cross boating through a waterfall off your bucket list. If it wasn’t already there, add it and cross it off. And yes, we said through a waterfall. So prepare to get wet.
Day 9: Visit Iguazú Falls
Enjoy another day in the lush subtropics of Foz do Iguaçu, and take in incredible views of the national park from the Argentina side . That’s right, you are officially crossing into another country for the day. Casual. Still haven’t gotten your fill of waterfalls? Good. The Iguazú Falls has 3 times the flow capacity of Niagara Falls, and we’re headed back for another look. (Note: In Argentina, “Iguaçu” becomes “Iguazú.”)
- Say “Hello from the other side” because today you’re exploring the park from the Argentinean side.
- Be in three places at once (kind of) in a National Park bordered by Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
- Visit Igauzú Falls, the largest waterfalls system in the world (whoa), and prepare to be impressed by Garganta do Diabo, AKA the Devil’s Throat, the tallest of all the falls.
Free time suggestions
Miss New Buddha: Yes, this is a real Buddhist temple. In the middle of South America. Spend some time in the open green area for meditating, relaxing, or just gazing at the numerous sculptures and statues that surround the temple. It’s location higher up in the city provides a beautiful view of city center.
Bridge the Gap: Check out the Bridges of Borders: two bridges that connect three countries. The Ponte Internacional da Amizade (the International Bridge of Friendship) link Brazil to Paraguay, and the Ponte Internacional de Fraternidade (the International Bridge of Brotherhood) links Brazil to Argentina. Basically just one big happy family.
Day 10: Travel to Buenos Aires
It’s time to say Tchau to Brazil and Hola to Argentina. Hop on a plane in Foz do Iguaçu, and try to get some rest. The trip will take most of the day, but it’ll be well worth it when you set your eyes, ears, and mouths on Buenos Aires.
- Fly to Buenos Aires, where your next adventures await – Olé!
- Enjoy dinner on your own at a local restaurant, and get the fiesta started.
Day 11: Explore Buenos Aires + Optional Tango Show and Class
Welcome to Buenos Aires, capital city of Argentina and birthplace of Tango. Sometimes referred to as “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is strongly influenced by many European cultures. But instead of croissants, there’s dulce de leche, and instead of the Eiffel tower, there’s the Teatro Colón.
- Learn about the architecture and history of Buenos Aires on a guided walk through the city.
- Memorize the names of the 48 barrios (neighborhoods) that make up Buenos Aires.
- Gawk at the Teatro Colón, ranked third on National Geographic’s list of top opera houses in the world.
- Admire Casa Rosada, a massive pink mansion in the middle of the city where Argentina’s president works (#jobperks).
Free time suggestions
Telmo More: San Telmo is the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires (only 47 to memorize now), and its cobblestone streets are lined with antique shops, cafes, and art studios. Be sure to tango your way over to Plaza Dorrego, the area’s main square, to watch (and participate in) some traditional Argentinean dancing.
Just Dance: Hit the town like a true porteño (AKA person from Buenos Aires). Start at Palermo Hollywood, the nightlife epicenter of Buenos Aires. And then, it’s time to dance (cue people doing “the sprinkler.”) Check out the Costanera Norte coast for a variety of energetic dance clubs.
Tango Show & Class (pre-book only)(extra cost)
There is no Argentina without Tango, and there is no trip to Buenos Aires without a Tango show. First, sit back with an included drink and watch the professionals shake their…everything, and then partake in a group lesson. Start working on your “abrazo” now (AKA your “embrace,” AKA the essential Tango move), because once you’re there, you’re hitting up the pista (dance floor). Don’t be afraid to go all out; what happens on the Tango dance floor, stays on the Tango dance floor.
Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.
Day 12: Free day in Buenos Aires + Optional Fiesta Gaucha Experience
The day is yours to experience Argentina’s culture as you please. Join the Fiesta Gaucha excursion at Santa Suzana, or explore Buenos Aires on your own
- Use your free time to explore “the city of books,” AKA Buenos Aires, and explore a few local bookstores.
- See if you can navigate some of the city’s diverse barrios. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses (and by roses, we mean architecture, and by smell, we mean admire).
- Taste test your way through the exotic Argentinean food scene. Forgot what you’ve been taught, dessert before dinner is totally acceptable when dulce de leche is involved.
- Play cowboy for the day during an optional excursion to a traditional Argentinian ranch.
Free time suggestions:
Coming up roses: Wander around some of Paseo del Rosedal’s 18,000 rose bushes and admire the art work on display. Then try to answer the age old question: would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? The answer is no. No it would not.
But first, coffee: Hang out at a traditional Argentinian café. Try a medialuna, Argentina’s version of a croissant, and wash it down with a cup of freshly roasted coffee. Check out Café Tortoni, a café that’s been around since 1858 serving up fresh coffee and bohemian vibes.
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.
Fiesta Gaucha (pre-book only)(extra cost)
Giddy up! Today, you’re going to Fiesta Gaucha at Santa Suzana, a traditional Argentinian ranch in the countryside. Experience the history and culture of Gauchos (AKA Argentinean cowboys) as you participate in a number of ranch activities and take a guided tour of Santa Suzana. Then, listen to gaucho folk music played by local groups and enjoy a traditional Argentinean lunch. Get excited, anything with fiesta in the name is bound to be a good time.
Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.
Day 13: Farewell
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport in the evening, enjoy one last day in Buenos Aires.
Day 14: Arrive Home
Arrive home in the late morning or afternoon from your overnight flight.
EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS
1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.
2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.
Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.