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South America: Buenos Aires, Rio, and Brazil's Wild Coast

Primary Itinerary
October 10 - 27, 2014 (18 Days)

Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Salvador, Brazil

Our voyage begins in the vibrant city of Salvador, the capital of the Bahia region and a hub of Afro-Brazilian culture. Settle into our hotel and set out to explore this well-preserved 16th- and 17th-century town. Wander past brightly painted baroque buildings in the historic district of Pelourinho, a World Heritage site, and see embroidered linens and woodcarvings at the local market.
(B,L,D)

Day 4 — Ilhéus

Board the National Geographic Explorer and set sail for Ilhéus, once Brazil’s flourishing cacao capital. See the Cathedral of São Sebastião, visit a cacao plantation, and stop in at the world’s only sloth sanctuary. There’s also time to take in a musical performance, go birding, or relax on a lovely beach.
(B,L,D)

Day 5 — Abrolhos Marine National Park

Navigate the volcanic isles of the stunning Abrolhos Archipelago. Keep an eye out for masked boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and the humpback whales that come here to breed and calve.
(B,L,D)

Days 6 & 7 — Rio de Janeiro

Discover legendary Rio on a variety of excursions. Stroll the beach at Ipanema; visit a golden lion tamarin reserve; or explore Floresta da Tijuca, one of the world’s largest urban forests. Ascend to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer for panoramic views of the city and its island-speckled bay. Choose to experience the unique culture of a local favela, or shantytown or take in a live performance of some of the music for which Brazil is famous.
(B,L,D)

Days 8, 9, & 10 — Parati/Anchieta/ Curitiba & Paranagua

Follow the Costa Verde to Parati, once an important center of the gold trade. Stroll the cobbled lanes past whitewashed cottages and colonial buildings, and visit the waterfront, a World Heritage site. Continue to the tiny island of Anchieta, and swim or relax on its beautiful beaches. Then board the Serra Verde Express train in Curitiba for a remarkable mountain rail trip across 30 trestle bridges and through more than a dozen tunnels to the tropical lowlands.
(B,L,D)

Days 11, 12, & 13 — At Sea/ Rio Grande

After a day at sea, follow one of the longest sandy beaches in the world on our way to Brazil’s southernmost port city of Rio Grande. Here begin the Pampas, vast lowlands that stretch all the way to Patagonia. Discover the history, wildlife, and unique culture of these plains.
(B,L,D)

Days 14 & 15 — At Sea/ Montevideo, Uruguay

In Montevideo, view elegant architecture, ranging from colonial to art deco. Then experience the culture of the gauchos and savor an asado (traditional barbecue) at a private estancia (ranch).
(B,L,D)

Days 16, 17, & 18 — Buenos Aires, Argentina/ U.S.

Cap off our voyage in vibrant Buenos Aires, where we’ll visit Beaux-Arts palaces and the bohemian quarters of La Boca and San Telmo before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight home.
(B,L,D)