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Best of Brazil

Brazil spans half a continent with 200 million people, and it is truly a world of its own. With by far the largest rain-forests and freshwater sources in the world, it has been described as the “lungs of the planet”.

It is without a doubt a wildlife and ecotourism paradise! This is a place of incredible scenic and cultural wealth and diversity.

On this exclusive tour, we explore the legendary rain-forests of the Amazon. Whilst cruising the river by boat we will be surrounded by Track Jaguar, Capybara, and other creatures of the swamps in the Pantanal Wetlands, and experience the scenic and cultural splendour of Rio, one of the world’s most popular tourist meccas.

From the heights of Pico Jaragua, we look out at the vast metropolis of 22 million people that is Sao Paulo, one of the 5 largest cities in the world. From one of the world’s most splendid borders, we explore the widest set of waterfalls on the planet, the Iguazu Falls, which makes our last Shabbat of the trip the most memorable experience of your life!

Sunday is our arrival day, where we arrive in Sao Paulo at our leisure, acclimatize, and have the option of enjoying some of the sights and sounds of this great city.

 Monday, the Amazon beckons!

(Those coming from the U.S. have the option of flying direct to or from Manaus, Amazonia, Brazil, via Miami – which significantly shortens your travel time, but flights should not be booked yet until precise dates and final itinerary are available.)

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

ITINERARIES

The Amazon basin is the largest rainforest in the world, taking up almost the size of the continental United States, and discharges 25% of the world’s fresh-water. It is still relatively un-spoilt,  contains one of the largest varieties of flora and fauna on the planet, and is listed as one of the “new 7 natural wonders of the world”.

 

On day 1, we depart Sao Paulo and fly to Manaus, gateway to the Amazon. Here, we check into our jungle lodge that will be our home for the next 3 nights. During our stay, we explore some of the waterways of this incredible system, looking out for birds, toucans, pink dolphins, caimans, sloths,  multiple species of monkeys and reptiles, and perhaps even the elusive jaguar.

 

 

Due to the dense and tall vegetation it is very difficult to spot wildlife in the Amazon, so we keep our eyes and ears open! We reach the famous “meeting of the waters”, where the Rio Negro joins the Amazon, an incredible wonder of nature where the cold brown Solimoes River flows side by side with the black, warm Rio Negro for 9 kilometres without mixing!

 

 

We also walk through the rain-forests, and meet some of the local tribes that still lead the traditional lifestyles of the region.

In the Amazon, We experience the world’s greatest river System, with all the comforts, and gourmet kosher delights that GKS is famous for!

 

 

Urban Sprawl and natural splendor are no contradiction in Rio, the world’s largest combination of metropolis and scenery, and no trip to this semi-continent would be complete without exploring both aspects of one of the most tourist-visited cities in the world.

 

From the mountains of Sugarloaf and Corcovado, to the classical architecture, legendary soccer stadiums, and gorgeous beaches, we use this weekend to enjoy the best Rio has to offer, including a lovely Shabbat with the Jewish community of Copacabana Beach.

 

 

On day 7, we travel through some of the world’s best coastal scenery to Angra Dos Reis, the bay of 365 islands, where we enjoy some utopian hours exploring the deserted beaches and coves of this sub-tropical paradise.

 

 

In stark contrast to the tall, dense, rainforests of the Amazon, the massive Pantanal Basin consists of largely open flat wetlands, and provides the best chances in the world to track the rare and elusive jaguar.

 

The Oncafari Project, unique in South America, and inspired and guided by the famous South African Londolozi Private Game Reserve’s work with its smaller cousin – the leopard, has spent years attempting to habituate the local jaguars to its 4×4 game drive vehicles, and, if we very lucky, we might encounter one!

 

 

During the next 4 days, we enjoy a “one of a kind” safari with the Oncafari team from their base in the Caiman Ecological Reserve, searching for some of the Pantanal most interesting species, such as the endangered Hyacinth Mccaw, tapir, caiman, Capybara, giant anteater, swamp wolf, puma, and of course the jaguar – by jeep, canoe, and foot, while learning about the traditional Brazilian ranch life that the region is famous for.

 

 

On day 11 we fly back to Sao Paulo, where we view this mega-city from the Pica Jaragua Mountain that towers over it, visit one of its largest shuls, and enjoy dinner in a kosher restaurant.

 

The “Iguassu Falls”, listed as one of the “new 7 natural wonders of the world”, is the world’s widest waterfall. Spanning 2800m at the meeting point of Argentina, Brazil and nearby Paraguay, the mighty “Iguazu River” plunges down to the thunderous roar of the power of water, and the spectacle is indescribable!

 

We fly from Sao Paulo to Iguassu, where we view the  falls from the Brazilian side of this massive river. Here, the views are incredibly unique, and the whole panorama of the Falls is visible.

 

 

We visit the Exotic bird park, home to one of the greatest collection of parrots and toucans in the world, many indigenous to the region.

 

We then travel to to our hotel and prepare for an unforgettable Shabbat in the jungle.

 

Should logistics allow, we shall stay at the stately De Cataratas Hotel right by the falls, whose perfect location  allows us to walk out of the lobby and into the “Falls” whenever a Shabbat walk tickles our fancy – a unique experience even for those who have already visited the Falls on our Argentina tour!

 

On Sunday, cross into Argentina and enjoying the many trails that offer views of the other spectacular side of these great waterfalls, and also have the chance to view the Falls by boat, before flying back to Sao Paulo or Rio in time for international flights back home, enriched with incredible time spent in the incredible land of the Amazon.

FAQ

These FAQ's are specific to this tour. For general info please visit our FAQ's Page.

Visas


  • Citizens of the U.S., most commonwealth countries, Israel, and South Africa, entering Brazil and most Latin American countries on regular passports (not temporary passports), do not require visas or can get visas on approval
  • Visa regulations change from time to time and differ from country to country , so all clients need to check their own requirements with the consulates of the countries they will be visiting at least 3 months prior to their trip.
  • Visitors must ensure that they have at least 4 blank VISA pages (not endorsement pages) in their passport and that there passport is valid for at least 6 months after the end of their trip.
  • though we try our best to provide up to date information, GKS cannot take responsibility for accuracy of visa information, which MUST be verified by the consulates of the countries concerned!

Flights


  • This tour begins and ends in Sao Paulo.  Arrive the day prior to the trip, or very early morning on the day of the trip, and depart late evening. As you might be able to arrive direct in Manaus and depart direct from foz de Iguazu, please discuss all options with us and your travel agent before booking.

Arrivals/Departures


  • Fly out of Foz de Iguazu.

Security

 

  • Although Brazil is known for a high crime rate, the better parts of Rio and Sao Paulo are quite safe if you know what you doing, and the beach resorts and tourist locations are generally not a problem at all – just take care with your valuables and don’t carry too much cash on your person
  • Brazil is a  very Jewish-friendly country that make Jewish residents and visitors feel very welcome.
  • Like anywhere in the world today, the global terror threat is always there, and we keep all the finer details of our itineraries offline as a precaution, in ALL venues that we operate in around the world- exact venues and final dates of tours are only made known to confirmed participants.

Weather and Climate


 

  • Most of Brazil is in the Southern Hemisphere and experiences the cooler season from April-Sep, though due to the tropical latitude of most of the country, winter is generally very pleasant and warm- summer can be scorching but often pours with rain!
  • The Amazon area is always hot, the Pantanal is also hot year-round though early mornings can be a little chilly in winter, and the cities of Rio and Sao Paulo have mild to warm winters with colder nights.

Medical


Brazil has a relatively modern health-care system and good medical care is available in all main urban centres.

  • The same cannot be said for more remote locations , so travelling with basic medications and first aid is always advisable, as is emergency evacuation and medical/travel insurance.

Yellow fever innoculations are required by certain countries for re-entry , and the subtropical, tropical, and equatorial regions often have yellow fever and/or malaria risk, so check your itinerary carefully for guidelines.

-Women who are pregnant, and families with infants or children under 4-5 should consult their doctor before visiting malaria or yellow-fever areas.

Currency


  • The unit of currency in Brazil is the Real which is currently valued at about 4.12 BRL = 1$, although currency fluctuations can be rather drastic, as can the variance in the actual exchange rate offered.
  • Certain ATMs in the region accept most foreign Visa cards , but are UNRELIABLE, and a good combination of local currency, $US cash, and cards is usually the best way to go.
  • Many vendors in the region will ONLY accept cash, but many are all too eager for $US.
  • The GOOD NEWS is that being on an organized trip, you only really need cash for the small things, so its nothing to worry about!