Linda White review 1 Nov 2007
The guides were all very good, very friendly and very knowledgeable.
Rio de Janeiro was very interesting and we enjoyed the cable car. The Botanical Gardens were a little disappointing as I had assumed we would have had a guide from the gardens take us round but it was our local guide and while he was very good wasn’t an expert on botanical names. (As a botanist I would have liked a more in depth walk). However, afterwards he took us to a favela which was very interesting so it more than made up for the gardens. The Tijuca rainforest was good but we would have liked to do some walking in it.
Paraty was very interesting but we were not too impressed with the Pousada as we couldn’t close the window and the mosquitoes dive bombed us all night. We woke up covered in mosquito bites - and this was the only time we really suffered - in spite of there being an insect repellent block in the room. Also the restaurant was closed the night we were there.
Picinguaba was very pretty but it rained for most of the first day. We walked to the Fazenda Beach but as the rain got heavier we retreated back to the Pousada. The next day we tried walking up a track uphill but it was very steep and slippery, so we gave up on that as well. I think it is probably a good place for water babies but we prefer dry land!
To get to Paraty and Picinguaba and then on to the airport, involved a lot of travelling. Our driver from Picinguaba to San Paulo airport obviously was practising for the Brazilian Grand Prix and we went round and up hairpin bends at a rate of knots! I just closed my eyes and hung on to the side of the car!
In hind sight, we decided that we would rather have spent extra days in the Pantanel and at Iguacu as there was so much to see here. There was a lot of travelling involved to get to these places and we found it rather tiring. An extra day at Iguacu to slob out, at the end would have been good.
The Pantanel and Iguacu were wonderful. The Pousada at the Pantanel was great with wildlife wandering all over the place and the food was good too. My husband went on a horse for the first time ever. (He was very dubious about it to begin with but said he enjoyed it, afterwards although 3 hours on the back of a horse, when you are not used to it, was a little uncomfortable by the end!)
Getting to Iguacu was a bit of a nightmare. It had rained in the Pantanel overnight and the 3 hour journey along muddy tracks was rather slippery but our driver was excellent. At the airport our flight was late and when we eventually arrived at Sao Paulo airport it was closed due to heavy rain so we were diverted to another airport (? Campinas). We landed and were then told to stay on the plane as Sao Paulo airport was thinking about re-opening. We refuelled and eventually took off again arriving at Sao Paulo at midnight. Our connection to Iguacu was supposed to have left by then but the airport was in total chaos, so we eventually arrived at the Hotel Cataratas at 4.00a.m. We had a few hours sleep before setting off on excursions again!! We really enjoyed our time at Iguacu, loved the hotel and all the excursions were great (apart from getting soaked under the waterfall) my husband enjoyed it, I wasn’t so sure. The boat was full of 20-30 year olds and us two oldies! Two of them were sea sick and got off the boat early so I suppose we did very well. We also went on a river trip (much more sedate) which took us to see the house of Moises Bertoni and an Indian village which was really fascinating and then we returned for an included lunch. We also went to the ‘Dinner and Show’ event. It was excellent.
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. The only other comment I could make is that when travelling onwards to the next destination, we would have preferred the earliest flights available, rather than sitting around beforehand. We would prefer to get to our next destination earlier.
Jill Joseph review 1 Sep 2006
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The beauty of this trip was that we went to so many places and each one was unique and different from the others. This is what made it so special. The arrangements went like clockwork and all the guides and drivers were very friendly and helpful.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
I would recommend visiting the same places - Iguazu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus (the Amazon), Salvador and Pria do Forte.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Local people benefited as our visit/tourism in general generates work. I am not sure how much it helped the environment, but it did educate our children about the rain forest and associated issues as well as about poverty in this part of the world.
4. Any other comments?
We had the most fantastic holiday - five star!