We booked through Zicasso and this tour company although a travel specialist provided a lot of the local transfers & guides. Obtaining a visa online only took a few days. The entire itinerary was arranged by the trip planner at this tour company and she did an outstanding job organizing it. We had no prior experience with Brazil so we really hoped for a tour which would show as much of the diversity of the country as possible. She delivered big time! At every stop we were met an guide who escorted us to our hotel. In spite of a couple of delayed flights, they were always there waiting for us. Very important. The tours were all good and just about the right length of time at each location. A couple of extra days in Rio would have been good but it is a big country to we had a lot of ground to cover. The individual tour guides had excellent English and were very experienced and knowledgeable. I have to say that from beginning to end this was a trip of a lifetime made possible only by the professional service provided by the tour company.
We loved touring Rio, Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, Cathedral de Sao Sebastaio, Carnival Experience and some free time at a public market near Ipanema Beach. Thanks to our guide.
Foz de Iguacu was spectacular and we visited both the Brazil and Argentina sides of the falls. (Brazil wins).
The absolute highlight was travelling from Manaus by boat to the lodge off an island. It is quite remote so it was located in unspoiled nature. Our guide took us piranha fishing and we ate our catch for dinner. His knowledge of the natural environment made the jungle trek very interesting. The lodge itself was beautiful & unique. Watch out for the monkeys and caiman that abound.
We were generally very happy with the entire tour. The only issues were a couple of delayed flights one of which allowed us only 2 hours sleep when arriving in Manaus.
A tip when visiting the falls. I wear hearing aids and they wouldn't allow me on the canyon bout tour with them. Our guide offered to take them since he wasn't joining us on the boat but they wouldn't even allow that. There was no reasonable explanation given except it was some kind of insurance issue with people that don't hear well?????? At any rate, just leave hearing aids at your hotel or with the guide before they see them. The tour company substituted the boat tour with a visit to the Itiapa dam so all was good.
We covered a lot of ground during our 12 day visit but there is a lot more to see & do. If you can, allow an extra week to see more of the country..
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