TYPES OF TOURS:
Service Programs / Volunteer Vacations
Educational / Cultural Tours
   
2006/2007 DESTINATIONS:
Africa
Australia
Asia
Mexico
Central & South America
Caribbean
North America
   
GROUP DEPARTURES:
Galapagos Enchanted Isles: June 24 - July 4**
Best of Costa Rica: July 12 -24**
South Africa Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Vacation: September 25 - October 6 **
   
Other Programs:
Women's Expedition to Aconcaugua
Musician's Cultural Workshop in Ecuador
   
** These programs are available for credit through the Colorado School of Mines Teacher Enhancement Program.
   

BRAZIL: PANTANAL, IGUASSU FALLS, & RIO DE JANEIRO

INTRODUCTION:
The Pantanal is one of the "must-see" destinations for people who love wildlife. Located in southwestern Brazil , the Pantanal vegetation is a mosaic of forests, savannas, marshes, and lagoons which provides an area diverse in both flora and fauna. Spy marsh deer, tapirs, macaws, anteaters, otters and maybe jaguar! There are over 650 species of birds and 50 species of retiles including the anaconda. Before exploring this unique region of Brazil , we will visit an incredible natural wonder. .Iguazu Falls . During our adventure, we will have an opportunity to stop in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo for some sight-seeing.

SAMPLE ITINERARY:
Day 1: Miami/Sao Paulo
(D in-flight)
Depart at approximately 8:00pm (flight schedule TBA) from Miami International Airport on international flight to Brazil (Sao Paulo). Enjoy complimentary dinner, movie and cocktails on overnight flight.

Day 2: Sao Paulo/Iguassu Falls (B in-flight, D)
Arrive in Sao Paulo early in the morning and, after clearing customs and immigrations, connect to your Varig Airlines domestic flight to Iguassu Falls, where the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet! Early afternoon, after some time to freshen up, you are met by your guide for your tour of the Argentine side of Iguassu Falls to the National Park, where you board a narrow gauge train that takes you to a catwalk leading out to Devil’s Throat, a spectacular U-shaped formation of the Falls where thousands of gallons of water per second rush over the cataracts creating a deafening roar and veil of mist. Continue through the park to the various upper and lower levels of the cataracts of the Argentine Falls. In the evening, you are met by your guide for a Welcome Dinner and show at the Rafain Restaurant, a local Brazilian barbecue restaurant. The show features music and dance from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the three countries surrounding Iguassu Falls.

Day 3: Iguassu Falls (B)
This morning, after breakfast, you are met by your guide for your tour of the Brazilian side of Iguassu falls. This tour leaves you speechless (and a bit wet!). After taking photographs of the breathtaking panoramic views from the observation deck, you are led by your guide along a walkway to almost within touching distance of the Falls. There is also an elevator for those wishing to see and photograph the Falls from the top. The Iguassu River that rises in Curitiba, the capital of Parana state, forms the Falls. The river continues some 1000 miles from east to west, winding its way through the state. Ten miles before joining the Parana River, the Iguassu flows over rough, uneven ground, and then, amidst exuberant forest, hurls itself into innumerous and irregular falls. The Falls extends over an area of 2700 square meters, with a water volume of approximately 400m/sec during the dry summer and 10000m/sec during the rainy season. The Falls are located in the Iguassu National Park, which covers an area of 250 thousand hectares of forest reserve. On the way back to the hotel, visit the Bird Park, which is set in 17 hectares of unspoiled subtropical forest. Here visitors follow a path for 800 meters through the forest passing through some of the largest aviaries, where the birds fly free, and can be studied and photographed without the restriction of netting and cages.

Day 4: Iguassu Falls/Rio De Janeiro (B)
This morning, after an early breakfast and check-out, you are met by your guide and transferred to the airport in time for your domestic flight to Rio de Janeiro. Upon arrival, mid-morning, you are met by your guide and transferred to the 3-star MARTINIQUE HOTEL, located just half-block from Copacabana Beach. Your guide assists you with check-in, gives you a briefing on the hotel and neighborhood and advises you of the meeting time for this afternoon’s tour. Early afternoon, after some time to freshen up, you are met by your guide for your tour of the famous Sugar Loaf. This tour takes you to the base of the famous Rio landmark “Pao de Acucar”. Board the first of two cable cars to the smaller of these two mountains off the coast of Rio. Then continue up on yet another cable car to the summit of the second mountain. The view from this peak of the city of Rio, the bay, and the ocean is breathtaking. Take your time admiring the gardens, walkways and magnificent panoramas. After a time, descend to the base at Urca Beach.

Day 5: Rio De Janeiro (B,D)
This morning, after breakfast, you are met by your guide for our Full-day Corcovado Mountain, Santa Teresa & downtown “Old Rio” Tour. Travel by vans to the base of the imposing Statue of Christ with arms outstretched over Rio on Corcovado Mountain, perhaps the most recognized icon of South America. The views of the ocean, city, and lagoon are spectacular from this vantage point. Then board rugged four-wheel drive jeeps and head through the soaring peaks of the Tijuca National Forest. Explore this lush and beautiful jungle (the largest urban rainforest in the world) traveling along switchbacks with magnificent views of the city below. End the drive at the charming Santa Teresa district. This area, once favored by Rio’s wealthy and powerful, fell into neglect as the chic beachfront neighborhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana came into favor after World War II. Today Santa Teresa is enjoying a renaissance as artists and bohemians who have moved to the area are renovating this funky and colorful part of Rio. Finally, descend by cable car through this delightful neighborhood, over the famous “Arcos da Lapa” to downtown Rio where we get a feel for the dynamic rhythm of this of this bustling metropolis. Overall, a perfect way to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Rio! This evening you are met by your guide for a classic Farewell to Rio churrasco dinner at fabled Marius’ Restaurant, one of Rio’s best BBQ Restaurants. Feast on an all-you-can-eat array of meats, vegetables, seafood, salads and more. The highlight is the radii style of serving where an astounding variety of meats is carved right onto our plate.

Day 6: Rio De Janeiro/Campo Grande (B)
This morning, after an early breakfast and check-out, you are met by your guide and transferred to the airport in time for your domestic flight to Campo Grande. Upon arrival, mid-morning, you are met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, located in the central area of Campo Grande. Welcome to Campo Grande, the gateway to the Southern Pantanal! Your guide assists you with check-in, gives you a briefing on the hotel and neighborhood and advises you of the meeting time for tomorrow’s transfer to the Pousada Cayman in the Pantanal. Evening at leisure.

Day 7: Campo Grande/Pantanal (B, L, D)
This morning, after breakfast and check-out, you are met by your guide for your approximately 4 hour van drive to your final destination, the Pousada Caiman in the Pantanal. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way and don’t forget your camera!

Upon arrival, check in at the CAIMAN ECOLOGICAL REFUGE. Here your three (3) night stay includes hotel taxes, three meals a day and various activities. Located 140 miles west of Campo Grande, the Caiman Ecological Refuge is in the heart of the southern Pantanal on 131,000 acres adjacent to a 17,300 acre private ecological reserve. Pousada Caiman is an integral part of an expansive cattle breeding ranch and demonstrates the ability of man and nature to co-habitat successfully. Here you find a diverse landscape of savannah lowlands, seasonal wetlands and rich forested areas. The annual rains and flooding cause constant variations in the habitat, travel routes and interplay of the abundant wildlife, such as: Caiman (native alligator species), Anaconda, American Rhea (three-toed American Ostriches), Hyacinth Macaw, Capivara and the Pantanal Deer. The annual convergence of Ibis, ducks, storks, Spoonbills, Egrets, Cormorants, Herons and many other species on their migratory stop-over is especially interesting.

Day 8-9: Pantanal (B, L, D)
Emphasis is placed on wildlife viewing and guides are all trained naturalists. Activities may vary depending on the lodge and weather, and each activity is accompanied by ecological guides, graduated in Animal Husbandry, Agronomy, Veterinary Medicine and Biology. Some of the activities are:

▪ Trekking around the lodge for observation of the local vegetation and fauna. At night one can also observe caimans and other nocturnal animals.
▪ Horse back riding, which is the best way to get into the heart of the Pantanal and places which can not be reached by regular means of transportation.
▪ Rides on specially adapted vehicles to distant places, where a wider variety of animals and sometimes thousands of birds can be observed and allowing the opportunity to observe the variety of habitats along the way.
▪ Row boat rides on the lakes by Caiman and Baiazinha lodges, with the opportunity to not only view wildlife but to experience the sounds of the wildlife during peaceful drifting.
▪ Slides and video shows and lectures on the Pantanal eco-systems.

Day 10: Pantanal/Camp Grande/Sao Paulo/Miami (B, D in-flight)
This morning, after breakfast and check-out, you are transferred to Campo Grande in time for your domestic flight to Sao Paulo International Airport. Upon arrival connect to your international flight Miami. Enjoy complimentary dinner, movie and cocktails on overnight flight.

Day 11: Miami (B in-flight)
Arrive in Miami International Airport early in the morning and, after clearing customs and immigration, connect to your final destination flight. Welcome home!

DETAILS:
Dates:
Dates are set by the group and are available throughout most of the year.

Price: Pricing is from $2995 per person, based on double occupancy. An additional $350 is required for a single supplement. Package includes: international air from Miami, accommodations, meals as indicated on itinerary, all airport transfers and local transportation for tours, tours per itinerary, all hotel taxes and service charges, all airport transfers and local transportation for tours, local bilingual guides services throughout. It does NOT include: international airfare, international airport taxes (approximately $175p/p – subject to change), passport and Visa costs, travel insurance, alcoholic beverages, items of a personal nature, and optional tours.

Call Pam at 720-746-0748 or email her at pam@kindredspiritstourandtravel.com

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