Boy, when I told you to brace yourselves, because South American blogs are coming, I truly meant it. For those wanting to go to South America for the first time, I would highly recommend doing a group tour, because believe me when I say this, it takes out a lot of hassle when planning what to do and where to go. This blog will talk about the good, bad and ugly aspects of the Iguassu and Beyond tour organised by G Adventures. No, this is not a sponsored blog post.
This tour is one of their top sellers, and it’s easy to see why. For those, heading to South America for the first time, this is a good ‘taster’ trip of what you can expect. If you are travelling from New Zealand, there is a direct flight to Buenos Aires from Auckland, and you can easily make this your point of entry/exit. In fact, if you plan on flying back once the tour ends in Rio, chances are you will have to fly to Buenos Aires any way for your flight out. Unless, you choose to fly with Latam Airlines, which will have a stopover in Chile.
The tour is 9-days long, which I think is a reasonable amount of time, given the destinations it touches upon. Depending on your leave allowances, and company policies, this is an easy 2-weeks off work. I know there are people who struggle to get a lot of time off, and if you’ve got any public holidays, etc. it’s good to add it to your annual leave.
You have your wow moments in almost all of the stops, provided the weather complies. What was great was that, there were never any strenuous days. The flights were at decent times, so we never had to be up and away at the crack of dawn. We reached each destination at a decent hour, giving us enough time to go exploring followed by a full day in the destination. The traffic for the most part was kind to us.
Whilst, most of the travelling was kind, the bus tour from Sao Paulo to Paraty was nerve wrecking. There is about an hour or more, when you are driving through windy roads, and with the way they drive in Brazil, it’s challenging. You have to be prepared with whatever it is you take to keep your body calm, and not get motion sickness.
The other mode of transportation I really struggled with was the speed boat from Angra Dos Reis to Ilha Grande. On the app, this is conveyed as a ferry trip over to the island, however, on the day you find out that it’s not a ferry but a speed boat. Again, we had bad luck with the weather on our way there, which added to the speed boat experience in a bad way. It’s also, not the most tourist friendly way of travelling especially when you’ve got suitcases that you’re travelling with. The locals are quite accustomed to it. The way they dock at the ports, so that passengers can board, is also quite dangerous. I’m quite surprised that I didn’t trip and fall flat on my face, as that was a very high possibility.
Well to be fair, this is only ugly, because Ilha Grande had bad weather when I was there. Ilha Grande, is an island and is a very outdoorsy place. So not having great weather, meant I was stuck at the hotel. Ilha Grande also doesn’t have any roads, and it’s mainly gravel and mud, so when it’s pouring down with rain, you can imagine what you have to walk through. Plus, a lot of puddles.
On another note, the hotel, we were kept at, wasn’t my favourite at all, but off all the places, this was the best place for wi-fi, simply because my room was quite close to the breakfast area, which is where the signal for the wi-fi is the strongest. The hotel definitely took a little bit of getting used to, but I’m sure, it wouldn’t have felt as bad, had the weather been better. At least, with the bad weather, we got the opportunity to just relax after all of the travels, and prepare for the last destination which was Rio De Janeiro.
Overall, this is a tour I would most definitely recommend, if you are looking at setting foot into South American soil, but aren’t sure what you’re wanting to do or where you’re wanting to go. The itinerary is quite smooth, with not too much strain on your body. Any walks/hikes are easy to do, barring the ones at Ilha Grande, which because of its geography has some challenging walks which go uphill quite steep and downhill the same. But the hikes at Ilha Grande are optional activities, you are in no way required to do them, if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
If you have a longer holiday, have a look at the Andes, Iguassu and Beyond trip, which for the last 9 days of the tour is the same as the one I’ve just described, however, the first half takes you around Chile.
Have you done either of these trips? What’s your review of it?
Until next time,