August 2 - 11, 2019
Open - Guaranteed
About This Tour
Located in the geographic center of South America, the Pantanal is the largest wetland plain on the entire planet. Its fields and mountain ranges, bays, rivers and lakes sprawl over an area estimated between 55,000 and 75,000 square miles, fed by tributaries of the Paraguay River. The unique combination of location, gently sloping topography and seasonal rise and fall of the waters, characterized by intense rainfall in summer, gave rise to a lush, mega-diverse biome. The imposing and magnificent scenery is the habitat for the largest concentration of wildlife in the Americas. It shelters over 650 species of birds, 400 species of fish and 80 species of mammals — many threatened with extinction.
Even though the Amazon region is the biggest attraction in Brazil, the Pantanal is a much better place to see wildlife. In the Amazon the animals can hide in the dense foliage, but in the open spaces of the Pantanal, wildlife is visible to the most casual observer. If you like to see animals in their natural environment, the Pantanal, with the greatest concentration of fauna in the Americas, is not to be missed! In 2000, UNESCO designated the Pantanal wetland as a World Natural Heritage and World Biosphere Reserve. The tour begins and ends in Sao Paulo, with optional extensions to Iguasu Falls and Rio de Janeiro.
- Vibrant São Paulo, South America’s largest city
- Ecotourism at beautiful Bonito
- The Pantanal, home to South America’s most impressive wildlife *
- Optional pre-tour extension to Iguassu Falls *
- Optional post-tour extension to Rio * * UNESCO World Heritage Sites
OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR EXTENSION – IGUASSU FALLS
Iguassu Falls is located on the border of the State of Parana, and it is one of the most famous attractions in all of Brazil. The 275 massive waterfalls are divided between Argentina and Brazil, providing vastly different views depending on what side they are viewed from. Our price does not include the airfare which will be invoiced at the time of purchase.
Arrive São Paulo / Connect to Iguassu
Plan your arrival as early as possible today in São Paulo. We have flight options to Iguassu departing Sao Paulo at 10:05am, 10:30am, and 10:40am. If you cannot comfortably make these connections, you will need to arrive in Sao Paulo on July 30 and overnight at an airport hotel. After arriving today at the Foz do Iguaçu Airport (IGU). You will be met and transferred to our hotel at the edge of the falls on the Brazilian side. It is the only hotel within Brazil's Iguassu National Park. From the hotel, take a walking tour on a descending trail of the canyon, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of more than 240 falls. You will board a glass elevator, which takes us to a platform where more exquisite views will be revealed. (No Meals)
After breakfast, depart for an amazing tour to the Argentinian Falls National Park. At the park entrance, a small train takes visitors on a tour through the park, making 2 stops: upper and lower circuit. Follow the walkways to the top of the waterfalls that provide spectacularly unique views of the ‘Cataratas’, amidst 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 Devil’s Throat – largest of the waterfalls. Later we head back to the Brazilian Park. Take a challenging hike to see the Macuco Falls and then hop on a speedboat to look up at the falls from water level. (Breakfast)
Return to Sao Paulo
We will have breakfast at the hotel and then check out. We make a stop at Parque das Aves, an internationally-recognized rescue and conservation center for birds, to get up-close to native Brazilian bird species, some of which are classified as endangered. Afterwards, transfer to Foz do Iguaçu Airport (IGU) for flights to São Paulo. A private transfer will take you from the airport to our hotel, where you will meet the rest of the group gathering this evening to start the Main Tour with a Welcome Dinner. (Breakfast / Lunch)
MAIN TOUR ITINERARY
Arrive in São Paulo
Arrange your international flight to arrive in São Paulo, Brazil early morning today. (Search for flights using the airport code: GRU). On arrival to São Paulo International airport, after claiming your luggage, you will be met by our local guide for transfer to your hotel. The day is free to rest up from your travels or go out and do a little exploring on your own. Our group gathers this evening for the first time for a cocktail in the hotel bar before heading out to a nearby restaurant for our Welcome Dinner. Overnight in São Paulo. (Dinner included)
São Paulo Sightseeing
Vast, multicultural and vibrant, São Paulo houses the largest population in Brazil and is considered the most cosmopolitan state in South America. The downtown area houses many locations of historical interest, such as Sé Cathedral, one of the five biggest neo-Gothic temples of the world. We will see the hexagonal-shaped marble monument Ground Zero, birthplace of the city in Patio do Colegio, Anchieta Museum, the Asian district of Liberdade, the shopping mecca of Paulista Avenue, and Ibirapuera Park (home to the Museum of Modern Art). Enjoy lunch at one of the best Brazilian barbecue restaurants in town, the Fogo de Chão. The afternoon and evening are at leisure. São Paulo boasts one of the most vibrant gay scenes in the world, and we will plunge in tonight. Overnight in São Paulo. (Breakfast / Lunch)
Madalena Art District
Once a quiet working-class neighborhood, Vila Madalena has seen many intellectuals and students of the nearby Sao Paulo University move in and transform the area forever. Nowadays it is one of the city’s leading creative neighborhoods, home to design shops, local designers, new artists workshops and countless bars, restaurants and other entertainment options, giving it a lively bohemian atmosphere with a local flavor. Unlike the usual gentrification you see in many cities, the work of artists, painters, and sculptors spills out of the shops into the streets and onto the concrete itself with colorful graffiti. This one-time hippy hub and now arts district is a world unto itself. After our late night, we’ll have a relaxed start this morning, enjoying the art district and a free evening. Overnight in São Paulo. (Breakfast)
Fly to Bonito
We check out of our hotel this morning and transfer to São Paulo Airport for our flight to Campo Grande (airfare not included, invoiced at the time of purchase). Upon arrival, a local guide meets us and takes us on a four-hour overland journey to the small town of Bonito, considered Brazil’s capital of ecotourism. While the town itself has only one main street with quaint shops and restaurants, the main attractions are the crystal-clear rivers, pristine waterfalls, natural springs, breath-taking caves and trails. With the Bodoquena Mountain as backdrop in the distance, our resort serves as our home base for the next three nights. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Prata River Snorkeling / Macaw Sinkhole
In the morning, discover the Recanto Ecologico Rio da Prata, a Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (RPPN) where you can fully appreciate the crystal clear waters of the Prata River. Snorkeling here feels like floating in a natural aquarium, with dozens of species of fish. After the snorkeling, enjoy lunch served at the Rio da Prata Reserve. In the afternoon, visit the Macaw Sinkhole, a geological formation resulting from the collapse of boulders creating a huge cavity 1,600 feet in circumference and 300 feet deep. At the bottom of the hole, a pond of green water, surrounded by lush forest, is home to alligators, macaws and mammals, whose survival remains a mystery. In the afternoon, pairs of macaws fly back to their nests in the rocky walls of the sinkhole. The rest of the day is free. (All Meals)
Blue Lake Cave
This morning we explore the “Gruta do Lago Azul”, or Blue Lake Cave. At a depth of 260 feet and width of 390 feet, the cave is one of the iconic attractions of Bonito, featuring crystal-clear blue water the bottom. The place is impressive not only for its beauty but also for the perfection of nature in the construction of stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations. Next enjoy a delicious local lunch served in country-house style at the Estancia Mimosa. After lunch and some leisure time, hit the trails in search of waterfalls, following a trail amidst the forest stopping at eight cascades where you can swim in natural pools. Along the way there are small caves, a 6 meters high diving board, and viewpoints to the Bodoquena Sierra Mountains. (All Meals)
Bonito / South Pantanal
After breakfast and check out, depart for a full day to Boca da Onça Farm with hiking. The tour comprises a walk on a trail through the pristine forest, passing by more than ten crystal-clear waterfalls, the scenic Salobra River and bathing ponds in natural pools. The highlight is the Boca da Onça waterfall, near where you will also be able to go for a swim. It is 512 feet high, making it the State’s highest. It is a hike for those who love nature and are fond of beautiful landscapes, but you have the option of doing part of the itinerary by 4WD vehicle. Upon return to the main house you will find a typical meal, served as you enjoy the beautiful reception area or swim in a pool with several regional fish such as dourado, pintado (catfish) and piraputanga. (All Meals)
The Caiman Ecological Refuge is a pioneering ecotourism enterprise in the Southern Pantanal, situated on a 53,000 hectare cattle ranch, Estancia Caiman. In addition to ecotourism, Caiman is involved with cattle production, as well as environmental research and conservation projects, including the Hyacinth Macaw Project, Onçafari (Jaguar) Project, and Blue-Fronted Parrot Project, all done through partnerships with researchers and universities. The activities at Caiman start very early in the morning taking full advantage of the best portion of the day to observe the wildlife. After that, the guests return to the lodge, have lunch and rest. When temperatures cool off in late afternoon, it is time to go out for an afternoon excursion to see more of the Pantanal and enjoy a wonderful sunset. (All Meals)
On our second full day here, we will get an early start again to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures to see the wildlife. Various activities available at the Estancia include walking trails in the woods, photographic safaris, canoeing trips, caiman tour, jeep safaris, birdwatching, bicycle tours, and nocturnal spotlighting. Between activities, you may swim in the ranch’s pool, take a siesta in the beautiful rooms, or relax in a dining cabana alongside the river. (All Meals)
This morning, we leave the Estancia with plenty of time to make the 4-hour land transfer back to Campo Grande Airport (CGR) for a return flight to São Paulo and connections for departure flight. If you wish to extend your stay in São Paulo, or continue the optional extension to Rio, please let us know on your reservation form. (All Meals)
OPTIONAL POST TOUR TO RIO DE JANEIRO
Perhaps no other destination in Brazil is more legendary than Rio de Janeiro — known for its Samba, Carnival and dazzling beaches. This former colonial city also boasts historic architecture, incredible natural scenery and iconic sights. Considered by its six million inhabitants, the Cariocas, as the "Cidade Maravilhosa" (Marvelous City), Rio’s reputation precedes it. Images come to mind of stunning mountains, glittering carnival costumes, skimpy bikinis and speedos, and the endless rhythm of samba. However, 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 your Brazilian vacation will be a memorable one.
Fly to Rio
At the end of your main itinerary continue from South Pantanal (CGR airport) to Rio de Janeiro (SDU or GIG). Flights are not included in the tour price, and will be invoice after they are purchased. Arriving at Rio’s airport, collect your luggage and meet a local tour director at the disembarkation area. During your private transfer to your hotel the local guide will provide some introductory information about the Marvelous City of Rio de Janeiro. Check in at your oceanfront hotel in Copacabana. All rooms will feature an ocean view. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the hotel’s rooftop views, with a sauna, bar service and a stunning infinity pool. (No Meals)
After breakfast, enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour. We begin with an inside look at the creation of Carnival. You will learn about the construction and production process of costumes and floats, visit a samba school warehouse, see exhibits about the history of Samba and the Carnival Parade, and try dressing up in luxury original Carnival costumes to take amazing pictures. Continue for lunch at one of the best barbecue restaurants in town. After lunch continue to Sugar Loaf Mountain, riding 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 1,300 feet above sea level. The views of the beaches, the Bay, hills and harbor are breathtaking from this vantage point. (Breakfast / Lunch)
Corcovado / Redeemer Statue
After breakfast, depart for a half day tour. Visit the Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer Statue. Meet your local guide at the hotel and enjoy a scenic drive past the popular beaches of Rio to the foothills of the Tijuca National Forest. From the Cosme Velho neighborhood, ride the cog-wheel train that makes the steep climb to the summit of Corcovado Mountain, through the Atlantic rainforest. The view from Corcovado Mountain is world famous, providing a panoramic view of Rio`s mountains, rainforest, coastline and the unique natural composition that is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. The peak of the Corcovado Mountain is more than 2,300 feet above sea level and crowned by the 100-foot high statue of Christ the Redeemer. The drive back to the hotel provides a great view of the Maracanã Stadium and the Sambodromo, the venue that hosts the annual Carnival parade competition. The afternoon and evening are free. (Breakfast)
You will have breakfast at the hotel and the morning is at leisure. At the appropriate time, you will transfer for the airport (GIG) to board your international flight back home. (Breakfast)
Entry Requirements - For citizens of the United States and Canada, both a valid passport and a visa for travel to Brazil are required. Visas must be obtained through a Brazilian embassy or consulate here in the U.S. prior to departure. Detailed instructions for your visa application will be provided upon receipt of your deposit. The process can take 3 to 4 weeks, so please don’t wait until the last minute to book!
Immunizations & Health-- No immunizations are required, but it is wise to have your inoculations up to date. Is your tetanus booster current? A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers who have been in Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Venezuela or any of about a dozen African countries within three months prior to arriving in Brazil. We encourage you to consult with your doctor and to check the website of the Centers for Disease Control for its latest immunization recommendations for travel to Brazil.
Exit Requirements - There is currently no separate departure tax required of visitors leaving Brazil other than that included with the cost of your airline ticket.
Making Travel Arrangements to BrazilOn this tour, international airfare is NOT included. You will need to get your international air to and São Paulo (airport code GRU), back to the U.S.A. If you are taking our Rio extension, you will return from there (airport code GIG). We encourage you to work with Steven Goldberg at Frosch Travel in Chicago, who knows the best flights to get you to São Paulo. Toto Tours will book all your internal flights from arrival to departure, and these will be invoiced at the time of purchase. You will need to arrive in São Paulo, Brazil by morning on August 2, 2019. Late day departure is from São Paulo on August 11, 2019 (or Rio on August 14).
Steven Goldberg / Frosch TravelToll-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 in travel 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 August, average daily temperatures in São Paulo range from 55 to 75 degrees, with the Pantanal being up to 10 degrees warmer. This is adventure travel, so think about neutral-colored safari attire. Try to pack light and bring only one piece of luggage plus your carry-on. Create mix and match outfits, and think about layering! Pack any medications you require in a carry-on bag and leave expensive jewelry at home.
- Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport required.
- Nice casual wear for dinners.
- Long pants (2 – 3 pairs), belt.
- Long-sleeve shirts (3 – 4).
- Shorts (3 – 4).
- Sweater for cooler nights.
- Socks, underwear for 9 days.
- Good walking/hiking shoes.
- Personal toiletries.
- Sunscreen / lip balm / bug spray.
- Sunglasses / sun hat with tie-on.
- Camera, lots of digital memory, extra batteries.
- Binoculars for wildlife viewing (optional).
- Ziploc Bags (sandwich size for documents, gallon size for wet items or toiletries).
- Electrical Adapter. The electricity supply in Brazil is 220 Volts/60 Hertz. Sockets are type C, E, or F requiring two round plugs. Click here to see examples and obtain more information.
- A good book for the long flights.
MONEY MATTERSThe currency unit in Brazil is the Real (pronounced as “hey-ow”). The plural of Real is Reais (“hey-ice”). You may exchange currency upon arrival at the airport or in an official money exchange office. Bring your bank card with its PIN stored in your memory only. ATMs are almost everywhere in the cities, so obtaining local currency with your bank card will not be difficult. You can use a credit card for expenses in the Pantanal. click here to see the current exchange rate.
Tipping: Workers in most services get tipped 10%, and as they make the minimum wage (not enough to live on) you can be sure they need the money. In restaurants a 10% tip is customary, but it might be included in the bill. Look for a service charge. Most people round taxi fares up to the nearest real, but tipping is not expected. We will present a group tip to drivers and guides before departing each destination, and guidelines for this amount will be provided prior to departure. Budget between $20-$40 U.S. each day for miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses.
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 personPrice: $5,300 in double occupancy hotel accommodations.
Estimated internal flights: $300 additional (invoiced separately when flights are purchased)
Private Room: $600 additional, for a total tour price of $5,900. (Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
Deposit: $600 (Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance (main tour): $4,700 double / $5,300 single
Remaining Balance Due: May 2, 2019 (90 days prior to departure) (Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Note: The tour price does not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments, and assumes that the balance of the tour price will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the final 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: 9 nights hotel/lodge accommodations; airport transfers; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; ground transportation in climate controlled motorcoach; meals, sightseeing activities, and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully escorted tour, with guides added during tours.
Not Included: International airfare to and from Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU); internal flights; 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 drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.
ADDITIONAL PRICES FOR PRE- AND POST-TOURSIguassu Falls
$1,000 – in double occupancy, with minimum of 3 passengers
$ 400 – single supplement, for a total of $1,400
$ 300 – estimated internal flight costs
$1,200 – in double occupancy, with minimum of 3 passengers
$ 400 – single supplement, for a total of $1,600
$ 200 – estimated internal flight costs