TAM Air of Brazil is the best, new, most efficient, clean and safe airline we have ever traveled on. Even when the trip is only 45 minutes they still give everyone a hot sandwich and a drink and do it in a pleasant fashion. You actually feel like a client not an inconvenience.
One the first day we went from Calgary to Iguaçu (about 20 hours) then met our guide, who was terrific, then a one hour ride, then a three hour hike on the Brazilian side of the falls at +40C then a two hour ride through the Argentina border to arrive at our hotel. A test of will but we enjoyed every minute of it. As a note please let people know it is one to two hours just to get through the Argentine border crossing . I would recommend staying on the Brazil side at the English Hotel (very colonial and nice) for one night then move to the Argentina hotel the next day. But you still have to experience the falls from Argentina to get the real experience. The Hotel in Argentina was terrific with an awesome view. Beautiful place with an fantastic breakfast. The guide was great and we needed him as we could not have seen what we did without a guide. On the second day we were off at 6am to beat the crowds on his advice and he was 100% right. We also went on a fantastic boat ride under the falls. Opportunity of a lifetime. 275 falls over a 6km area is something you have to see someday.
Next off to the Pantanel at 2am the next day. I’m glad we didn’t take the train ride as it is not for tourists but for moving iron ore so it would have been a very long 10 hours on the train. The van ride (3.5 hrs) was great with most of it on a modern highway. The guide, Sergio Marques was the best we have ever seen. He was with us the whole time including meals and stayed at the lodge so it was nice to have an interpreter with us as the owners did not speak English. It was good their kids came later as they spoke English. A great guy with perfect English and one of the most knowable people on plants, birds and animals you could imagine. The Pantanel was fantastic and the accommodation was great. Please let people know they will be saying in an older home way in the jungle but it was beautiful, although a little tired. The food was to die for. Please let people know that the lodge only takes cash and you are charged for water, beer and wine. Over 4 days for 4 people at +42C you would be surprised how much we drank but managed to come up with the money to pay. HAHA No visa service. New Years was terrific as there were only 8 couples staying there and another 16 family members who took us into their home and treated us like family. One of the most memorable New Years we have ever had with a band, dancing, excellent drinks and a midnight dinner to die for. There are almost 700 different birds in this ecosystem so a canoe ride on the river was terrific to see. There are probably very few untouched areas like this left in the world.
Off to the island of Florianopolis. By the time we got there we were exhausted so only stayed at the resort to retool. Wonderful rooms and the food was very good but the next time I would have people stay at the main hotel not the suites as they are a little tired and too big for a couple. This hotel is known as a family hotel for Brazilians so all the rooms are older kitchenettes. There are lots of kids at the hotel so we found it a little hectic. The hotel that is attached is very nice and had a quiet pool so we spent most of our time there. The island is 25km long with lots to enjoy and a lake in the middle but we could not get up the energy to see it.
Off to Bela Horazonte. The hotel was wonderful, right in the downtown area near a mall and 3 blocks form our friends apartment so great place, but Bela Horazonte is not a tourist destination but a working city.
RIO – Fantastic hotel. Very modern and clean with a wonderful full breakfast every morning and a great roof top pool right on the beach of Copacabana. Wonderful restaurants on the street behind the hotel. We went on tours and loved the city. Beautiful place. The pool was a little small but met our needs.
We were met at every airport by a English speaking guide and this really added to the trip and would recommend it to anyone. Even when we were only taken to our hotel it was well worth the lower stress level to have these people meet us at the airports. Worth every penny.
The whole trip was well organized and everything worked out even when the flights were delayed the guides were still there waiting for us. Looking back on the trip it seemed a little expensive when we first booked it but now that we have done the trip the money was worth it as you get what you pay for. Fantastic job and looking forward to booking our next trip with you.