May 25 – June 3, 2024
Rio ~ Iguassu ~ São PauloMay 25 – June 3, 2024
Brazil exudes an intoxicating rhythm everywhere you go--from the samba halls of Rio to the thundering roar of Iguassu Falls to the dance beats of Gay Pride in São Paulo. You cannot help but be enchanted from the moment you arrive.
Our tour starts in the Queen of all Brazilian cities, Rio de Janeiro. Known by its inhabitants, the Cariocas, as the “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Marvelous City), its wonders have been firmly registered in the public’s consciousness for decades. Images abound of stunning mountains, glittering carnival costumes, the statue of Christ the Redeemer spreading its arms in welcome, skimpy bikinis and the endless rhythm of samba. Behind all the glitz and glamour, this wonderful city, located in the Southeast Region of Brazil, is also rich in history and culture. There are many fine buildings, historical neighborhoods and museums from its time as the capital of Brazil. The Cariocas are very friendly and welcoming people, guaranteeing that this start to your Brazilian vacation will be a most memorable one.
Our next destination is thrilling Iguassu Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. We’ll do walking tours of the falls on both the Brazilian and Argentine sides plus board a powerboat expedition for an exciting ride into the thundering mists.
Our tour concludes in São Paulo, where we throw ourselves into the revelries of one of the largest Gay Pride celebrations in the world. This tour is designed to introduce you to the very best of Brazil!
COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY
All plans for this tour are made considering the COVID procedures in effect at the time of publication. Entry requirements and vaccination requirements are subject to change at any time without notice. Please be sure you comply with the latest Brazilian entry requirements at the time of departure. For the safety of our groups, we encourage our tour participants to be fully vaccinated, and current with their covid vaccines (including any recommended boosters) by one month prior to departure. We ask our travelers to tell us about their vaccination status four weeks prior to departure.
- Corcovado Mountain tour *
- Carnival Backstage experience
- Sailboat trip to see Rio from the water
- Incredible Brazilian feasts
- Sugar Loaf Mountain tour *
- Samba nightlife at Rio Scenarium
- Flight from Rio to Iguassu Falls (included)
- See Iguassu Falls from both Brazil and Argentina *
- Stay at the incredible Belmond Hotel das Cataratas inside Iguassu National Park with exclusive access to the Falls before the Park opens in the morning and after it closes at night
- Take a thrilling Macuco Safari through the jungle and by boat into the spray of the thundering waterfalls
- Flight from Iguassu Falls to São Paulo (included)
- São Paulo city tour
- São Paulo gay pride, one of the most exciting parties in the world
Arrive in Rio de Janeiro / Welcome Dinner
Plan your flights to arrive in Rio by mid-day today at the latest. Use airport code RIO when searching for the best flight options. You’ll be booking a “multi-city” itinerary, arriving in Rio (RIO) and departing from São Paulo (GRU). Most flights from the USA to Rio leave in the afternoon and arrive in the morning, so that means you’ll want to depart your home city on May 24. We meet your arriving flight and transport you to our beautiful hotel located between Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, offering picture-perfect views. Your hotel room is available from 3pm. Leave your bags with reception and explore the cafes and shops near the hotel until check-in time. Your afternoon is free until we meet at the hotel bar for a welcome drink and introductions. Afterwards we proceed to the hotel's beautiful Marine Bistro restaurant on a veranda with ocean views for our Welcome Dinner. (Meals aloft / Welcome Dinner Included)
Touring Rio de Janeiro
Begin this morning by visiting the towering statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the ‘new’ Seven Wonders of the World. From the top of Corcovado Mountain, the views are breathtaking. You will understand why the natural landscape of the city is considered a UNECO World Heritage site.
Enjoy lunch at the historic Cafeteria Colombo in downtown Rio. Confeitaria Colombo is known to be one of the best restaurants in the city, and the well-preserved art deco style architecture and decor is an historic attraction itself.
After lunch, we get a taste of the world-famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. It is one of the biggest events in the city, attracting people from all corners of both Brazil and the world to experience this lively event. Get a behind-the-scenes tour backstage, exploring the artistry and imagination involved in the creation of Carnival.
Witness the construction and production process of the costumes and floats. This experience also includes a visit to a Samba school warehouse well as exhibitions about the history of Samba and the Carnival Parade. You even get a chance to dress up in carnival costumes! We return to the hotel for a free evening at leisure. (Breakfast / Lunch Included)
Touring Rio de Janeiro
Start the day on board a private sailing boat for the most beautiful views of Rio with Sugar Loaf Mountain towering in the distance. Pass by the bay's islands and forts as you cruise the idyllic waters.
Appreciate Rio from the sea and get a different perspective of the famous City. Don't forget to bring your swimsuit and towel as there will be a stop for swimming.
Stop for lunch at Assador restaurant, located in one of the most famous places in town. The restaurant has a rustic style, with an elegant ceiling that enhances the natural light and complements the beautiful views of Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf and the Burle Marx gardens surrounding the dining rooms. Assador goes straight to the point by offering valued meat cuts in its all-you-can eat “rodizio” service and a delicious variety of side dishes and a buffet, where you will find a wonderful selection of fresh salads, vegetables, and a table of charcuterie and Brazilian artisanal cheeses. Attention is drawn, however, to the skewers and boards that circulate the dining room, serving classic meat cuts.
After lunch, we begin the journey to the top of the Sugar Loaf peak. Ride a cable car to the top of Urca Hill to the gardens and lookout points over the Guanabara Bay, where you can appreciate Rio’s unique landscape. Afterwards, take a second cable to the Sugar Loaf peak, nearly 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level. The views of the beaches, the Bay, hills and harbor are breathtaking from this vantage point. We return to our hotel for a free evening. (Breakfast / Lunch Included)
Leisure Day / Samba Nightlife
Today is fully at leisure to enjoy the city and the beach as you desire to experience it. And if you prefer not to venture out, our hotel has a magnificent pool and a wonderful spa where you can get some needed pampering.
Tonight, experience a taste of the samba nightlife in Rio de Janeiro. Your local guide accompanies you to the Rio Scenarium live music venue to enjoy a night of Brazilian music and dance. This is a “must” to truly experience the sensual vibe of Rio. The Rio Scenarium is housed in a 19th century building crammed with antique cupboards, dolls, clocks, and colonial furniture. The magic of the place lies in its decoration and the amazing live music. Various types of Brazilian music are played here, including Samba, Bossa Nova, Carnival songs, Forro and many more. Choose to dance the night way or simply marvel at the local Cariocas on the dance floor. Roundtrip transfers and fast-track entrance to the venue are included. (Breakfast Included)
Fly to Iguassu / Walking Tour at the Falls
After breakfast we check out and transfer to the airport, where we say farewell to our Rio guide as we board our flight to Iguassu Falls. Iguassu Falls is located on the border of the State of Parana, is one of the most famous attractions in all of Brazil. The 275 massive waterfalls are divided between Argentina and Brazil and provide vastly different views and experiences depending on what side they are viewed from.
After arriving we collect our luggage and transfer to the magnificent Belmond Hotel das Cataratas. It is the only hotel located inside Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, and it boasts an unrivalled location just a short stroll from the waterfalls. Enjoy exclusive access to this magnificent sight in the evening and at dawn, when the park is closed to other visitors.
We begin our tour from the hotel and take a descending trail down the canyon, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of more than 240 falls. Then, board the glass elevator to a platform where more exquisite views will be revealed. Along with its “sister” park in Argentina, the Iguassu National Park forms the most significant remaining rainforest in the southern cone of South America which, along with the waterfalls, have been declared a National Heritage Site by UNESCO. (Tour duration: approximately two hours)
Our dinner tonight is at Ipê restaurant, located poolside at our hotel. (Breakfast / Dinner Included)
Adventures at Iguassu Falls
Depart from the hotel after breakfast and cross the Tancredo Neves Bridge, enjoying its lovely view of the Iguassu Canyon heading towards the Argentina side of Iguassu National Park. At the entrance, board a small train for a leisurely tour through the park, making two stops; one at the upper circuit and another at the lower circuit. Follow the walkways to the top of the waterfalls, which provides spectacular views of the ‘Cataratas’ (falls) set among the abundant nature filled with orchids, colorful birds and other wildlife. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the suspended platform at the very brink of the ‘Garganta do Diabo’ waterfall (Devil’s Throat), the largest of the waterfalls in the park. (Tour duration: approximately seven hours)
After lunch at Melia Iguassu Restaurant we head back to the Brazilian side to enjoy a thrilling Macuco Safari. We set off in open electric jeep-towed wagons, allowing an unobscured view of the scenery along the trail. During the three-kilometer (two-mile) stretch through the jungle, multi-lingual guides draw your attention to the flora and fauna of the park, sharing their expert knowledge.
The second stage of the tour is an optional 600 meter (2,000 feet) hike, which leads up to the Macuco Falls waterfall. The Macuco Falls tumble down from a height of approximately 20 meters (65 feet) and are perfect for a refreshing dip on days of intense heat. Access the falls via a stairway carved into an ancient rock. Our final stop is the Macuco Safari dock on the Brazilian side of the Iguassu River where we board a powerboat for a thrilling ride upriver, passing through the canyon and along the rapids at a comfortable speed, allowing you to appreciate the stunning scenery. We return to the hotel and enjoy a second dinner at Ipê restaurant. (All Meals Included)
Fly to São Paulo
After breakfast at our hotel we transfer to the Iguassu Falls airport for our included domestic flight to São Paulo. São Paulo is the most dynamic economic center in Latin America. Famous for its ethnic diversity and busy lifestyle, the city boasts many attractions ranging from cultural tours to shopping. Another important point is the city's culinary side - São Paulo is recognized as one of the largest and best gastronomic centers of the country. The nightlife is lively and there are a plethora of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs for all tastes.
We meet our wonderful gay guide to São Paulo who escorts us to our downtown hotel, just steps away from Avenida Paulista (which in just a few days will be “ground zero” for the amazing Gay Pride Parade). Enjoy free time to get familiar with the neighborhood until we meet to go out to dinner at Figueira Rubayat Restaurant. This evening our guide will escort us to one of the best nightclubs in São Paulo. (Breakfast / Dinner Included)
São Paulo Tour
Depart the hotel after breakfast to visit the beautiful district of Liberdade; the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. It is adorned with traditional decorations and filled with delicious Japanese restaurants. Next we continue on towards the Praça da Sé in the downtown area. Here we visit the majestic Cathedral of Sé with its splendid windows, and then walk to the Patéo do Colégio where the city of São Paulo was founded. Visit as well the 35 story Banespa Tower, where we will have a breathtaking view of the entire city.
Afterwards, continue in the direction of one of the most elegant areas of the city, the Higienópolis district, and visit the museum of precious Brazilian stones. Walk through the new Financial Center of São Paulo on Paulista Avenue, which is the most important avenue in the city. The avenue has many prestigious buildings, such as the MASP (Museum of Art from São Paulo ) which is considered one of the best museums in the world.
Stop for lunch at Fogo de Chão restaurant. Afterwards, walk through the gorgeous, one million square meter Ibirapuera Park. The museums inside the park were designed by the most famous architect of Brazil, Oscar Nieymer. Finish the tour of the city at the Mercado Municipal, a fantastic building built in 1933 that supplies the public market with various fruits, cheeses, fish, and many other delicious treats. (Tour duration: approximately 8 hours)
We are keeping tomorrow totally free for full enjoyment of the Pride festivities, so we are including our Farewell Dinner tonight at the amazing Trebbiano Ristorante at our hotel. (All Meals Included)
São Paulo Pride Festivities
After breakfast today your tour leader, after consulting with our local guide, will take everyone to a good position along the parade route for viewing all the festivities. No other meals or events are planned for today so that you can have maximum flexibility to move about with the revellers as you are so inspired. The partying will continue long into the night, so pace yourselves! You’ll want to get a few hours of sleep before you head to the airport tomorrow. (Breakfast Included)
Enjoy breakfast at your leisure this morning. The official check-out time is noon, but you should be prepared to leave for the airport about 4 hours prior to your flight’s departure time. Please let us know if you would like to extend your stay for another night to give yourself a recovery day from yesterday’s revelries. (Breakfast Included)
EASY TO MODERATE WALKING
This Toto Tours Cultural and Scenic Expedition is accessible and suitable to all those with good health and who are able to walk 2-3 hours without much carrying. This tour is based on moderate city walking for several hours daily. Good walking shoes are essential for our city tours, which may involve uneven cobblestone streets and some increase / decrease in elevation. Hikes planned for Iguassu Falls will require some climbing up and down steps on the catwalk, and into and out of the jeep and the boat for the Macuco Safari.
Entry Requirements -- There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens. You will need:
- A valid U.S. passport.
- U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
Immunizations -— No immunizations are compulsory, but the CDC recommends you consider getting protected against certain diseases. Please consult your personal physician about immunization planning. Click here to see the CDC website detailing health information for travelers to Brazil.
Exit Requirements -— No airport tax is currently charged upon departure from Brazil, nor is one anticipated. However, any such taxes or fees instituted after publication of this itinerary will be the responsibility of the clients to pay directly to the appropriate airport authorities. The CDC no longer requires air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight.
Making Travel Arrangements to Brazil
Two domestic flights within Brazil are included on this tour.
International airfare is NOT included. You need to get your international air ticket into Rio (RIO) and returning from São Paulo (GRU). We encourage you to work with Steven Goldberg at Frosch Travel in Chicago, who can help you find the best flights to meet your needs.
Steven Goldberg / Frosch Travel
Toll-Free in USA: 1-800-323-1276
International guests, please call +1-312-371-9686
When calling, please identify yourself as a Toto Tours participant. If you leave a message on Steven’s voice mail, he will return your call promptly. He will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate.
NOTE: The recent trend is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible, we often must turn away last minute registrants because we relinquish hotel space and air reservations 8 – 12 weeks prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.
WHAT TO BRINGIn Rio, expect temperatures ranging from 70 – 79F. At Iguassu Falls you can expect temperatures to range from 61F in the early morning to 78F in the middle of the day. São Paulo temperatures could range from a low of 60F to a high of 80F. Bring light-colored, lightweight cotton clothes that breathe well, as well as items for layering for added warmth. Dress is casual and can be downright scandalous for gay pride. Pack light and try to carry only one suitcase in addition to your carry-on bag. Pack any medications you require in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do. Leave expensive jewelry at home—it marks you as a wealthy tourist and an easy target.
Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport required.
- Comfy walking shoes for day tours / sandals for Iguassu Falls and pool attire.
- Polo shirts / T-shirts (5 - 6).
- Lightweight, long sleeve shirts (2 - 3) for sun protection.
- Shorts (2 pairs) for warmer areas of the country.
- Lightweight long pants for dinners.
- Socks, underwear for 5 days. (Laundry services are available at all our hotels.)
- Sweater or lightweight jacket for cool evenings.
- Sunscreen / lip balm.
- Sunglasses / sun hat with tie-on.
- Mosquito repellent with Deet.
- Personal toiletries.
- Ziploc Bags (sandwich size for documents, gallon size for wet items or toiletries).
- Electrical Adapters. In Brazil the power plugs and sockets are of type N, but they also work with the two-pronged plug C. The standard voltage is 127 / 220 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. Click here to see photos of the type of adapter required in Brazil.
- A good book or two for your long flights.
MONEY MATTERSThe Brazilian real (BRL) is the official currency of Brazil. It is divided into 100 centavos. Banknotes are R$2, R$5, R$10, R$20, R$50, R$100, R$200. Coins are 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, and R$1. As of July 26, 2023, US$1.00 was worth about R$4.70. Click here to see the most up-to-date exchange rates.
Taxes and Tipping-— We will provide suggested tipping guidelines prior to departure, and will present collective tips to drivers, guides and other staff at appropriate points throughout the tour. Click here to read a helpful article about tipping in Brazil.
THE TOTO SPIRITToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive;
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist;
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather;
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted;
- eager to try new things & test limits;
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please follow the link below or call us for more information.
(tour prices per person)Price: $6,400 in double occupancy hotel accommodations
Private Room: $1,600 additional, for a total tour price of $8,000.
Deposit: $1,000 (Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance Due: March 6, 2024 (80 days prior to departure). Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.
Note: The tour prices do not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments and assume that the remaining balance will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the balance with a credit card, a 4% service charge will be applied. Let us know if you wish to pay by credit card, and we will adjust your invoice accordingly.
Included: Nine nights hotel accommodations; airport / hotel arrival and departure transfers; breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; other meals as listed in the itinerary; 2 Economy Class flights within Brazil; ground transportation in climate-controlled motorcoach; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully guided and escorted tour.
Not Included: International airfare to Rio (RIO), departing from São Paulo (GRU); ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to guides, drivers and other staff are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
Two Domestic Flights Included: Rio to Iguassu / Iguassu to São Paulo