Brazil has long been a popular destination for Europeans, and they still flock there for the gorgeous beaches and amazing sights such as Corcovado. It is a great option for Americans, as there is little if any issue with time zone adjustments, and the exchange rate is in our favor right now. (Also, please note that the Amazon fires are way off in a different part of the country than what you'd be seeing, so there are no issues regarding that.)
This is a unique itinerary you won't find elsewhere. Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us (gluten free herself for decades) has worked with Condor Tours and Travel and local suppliers to ensure a safe gluten free experience. No one else is offering this ability to see the highlights outlined below with the vetting that Ellen and Condor have done. And, as always, this is NOT a group tour, but it can be taken any time and adjusted to your individual timing and travel preferences.
You'll start your journey in Rio de Janeiro, whose inhabitants call it the “Marvelous City.” Located on the Bay of Guanabara, Rio has a mountainous landscape that contrasts with an intensely blue sea. Here the skyscrapers, colonial buildings and narrow streets meld in perfect harmony. Although the city is a reflection of the social inequalities of the country, Rio de Janeiro has great style and is internationally renowned for its Christ Corcovado, Pão de Açúcar, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, Carnivals, and the warm and lively inhabitants of the city, the cariocas.
You'll also visit the famous Iguazu Falls (Foz Do Iguaçu). The Iguaçu River wriggles in a western direction for 600 km, picking up along its way the waters of dozens of tributaries. The river widens and flows majestically through forests before descending into the various levels of the famous Iguaçu waterfalls. They consist of 275 waterfalls that occupy an area more than 3 km wide and 80 m tall. They are wider than Victoria Falls, taller than Niagara Falls and more beautiful than both. There are neither words nor photographs that can properly describe them...you simply have to see and hear them for yourself!
Throughout your trip, you will dine in churrascarias (restaurants serving Brazilian BBQ) and restaurants known for their care in serving gluten free diners and others with dietary restrictions. You'll also visit bakeries specializing in gluten free items and even enjoy a dinner prepared by a local Brazilian family who will take care to ensure everything is naturally gluten free.
Here is a Sample Day-By-Day Itinerary...
Day 1 - Arrive in Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 - Rio de Janeiro
Morning - Half Day Corcovado & Tijuca Forest
You'll visit the Corcovado, a granite peak in a national park in the center of Rio. As you reach the base, you will go up by train through the beautiful and lush Tijuca Forest. The Corcovado is 710 meters high and is one of the most famous hills in Brazil and the world for its Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue, one of the seven wonders of the modern world. After descending, you will take a panoramic tour along Rio’s South beaches.
Afternoon Half Day Tour of Morrinho Favela
Morrinho Favela was a social and cultural project started by youth in 1997. It is a model of the city made from recycled materials.
Day 3 -: Rio de Janeiro
Morning Half day Carnival Experience
Nothing is more representative of Brazil than the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. This big event takes place every year, bringing people from all over the world. The colors, the music, and the costumes spread the joy and warmth of the Brazilian people. You can even wear costumes and take pictures...and also enjoy a welcome caipirinha cocktail, the Brazilian national drink!
Afternoon Half Day Walking tour of Pão de Açúcar – Sugarloaf Mountain
This walking tour/hike around the base of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) takes 45 minutes. You'll enjoy the woods, its sounds, and animals like marmosets and numerous birds. After the brief hike, you'll take the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain.
You also have the option of taking a panoramic City Tour. This will take you through the Maracana, the most popular soccer stadium in the world, and the Sambadrome, an area specially built for the parade of samba schools that parade every year during Carnival. You'll also see the financial center of Rio where modern and colonial styles are mixed and make a short stop to visit the famous Cathedral of San Sebastian.
Day 4 - Rio de Janeiro – open day to experience optional activities
In the evening, you'll take a private transfer to enjoy a 4-course Brazilian dinner, including couvert (gluten free breads, with tomato and eggplant caponata), green salad, choice of entrée (baby beef with regional potatoes or salmon with grilled vegetables), and dessert. After dinner, you'll be treated to a festive show of Brazilian music and dance at Ginga Tropical.
Day 5 – Transfer from Rio de Janeiro to Foz do Iguaçu
Half Day Brazilian Falls Side
The Iguaçu National Park, which was established in 1939, is home to the largest remaining Atlantic forest in southern Brazil. You will visit the traditional walkway, which offers wonderful panoramic views of 275 waterfalls that, together, are known as the Iguaçu Falls. En route back to the hotel, you'll have the opportunity to stop at a local market, which sells a variety of natural products and products which cater to specific diets.
Day 6- - Foz do Iguaçu
Full day Argentinean Falls + SIB Gran Aventura Speedboat Tour
After breakfast we will visit the Iguaçu Falls from the Argentinean side. Recognized among the seven natural wonders of the world, the Iguazu Falls are the most visited natural attraction in the province of Misiones and one of the Argentina's most impressive. Walking paths with different gateways offered by the park provide different views of the falls and their amazing scenery. The lower circuit provides more contact with nature, whereas the upper circuit provides an overview of all the drops and delta islands, as well as an impressive view of the Garganta del Diablo, where you can feel the fury of water falling in many horseshoe shaped falls.
Remaining on the Argentinean side, you will explore the jungle and falls together with the Gran Aventura Group Safari and Boat Tour.
In the evening, you'll have the honor of dining at a local family's house, where you will be greeted with the traditional caipirinha. You'll even learn how to prepare it and also learn about its history. A barbecue with local preparation will be served, accompanying cooked yucca. For dessert, you'll enjoy açaí. In addition to the cooking class and the dinner, you will have a chance to learn about the daily life of a local family.
Day 7 -: Foz do Iguaçu
Morning or Afternoon Half Day Tour
This eco adventure begins with a walk along the "Indian Ecological Route," a path leading to the Canoa Base located on the banks of the Iguazú River. During this walk, the group tour guides will provide information about the Atlantic Forest and biome, and insights into the anthropology and culture of the local traditional people in the region. Once you arrive at the kayak launch base, you will be given safety instructions and put on safety equipment before setting out in kayaks along the Iguazú River towards the Tamanduá River. This is a light and very relaxing activity, meant for you to enjoy the exuberant landscape of the region, the direct contact with nature and the Iguazú River. Upon reaching the Tamanduá River, you will set down the kayaks and walk along the 'Trilha do Pescador' trail to the Toca Waterfall. You will have time to enjoy and swim in the waterfall before returning to the kayaks and paddling back to the base. On the last part of the walk, you will pass by the Juruva Waterfall.
Day 8 - Foz do Iguaçu- Transfer from Brazilian Falls to Foz do Iguaçu airport for your flight home.
Of course, you can choose to extend your stay in Brazil. Just contact Ellen at 312-337-9235 or email her at [email protected] for pricing and for answers to any of your questions.