Family trip northern Argentina & Brazil

22 days - From € 9.364 per person

self-drive - Andes - off the beaten track - jungle

  • Conquer the Paso de Jama, South America’s highest border crossing, with your rental car
  • Drive an adventurous route through rough, untouched and sometimes bizarre landscapes
  • Admire the most beautiful waterfall in the world: Iguaçu
  • Stroll through the cobblestone streets of dreamy Paraty
  • Stand at the foot of the 38 metres high statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

Travel itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam – Buenos Aires

Today you will board your intercontinental flight to the Argentine capital Buenos Aires where you will arrive the next day.

Day 2: Buenos Aires

You arrive in Buenos Aires today. Our local staff will take you to your hotel. Thanks to numerous shops and boutiques, architecture, cultural life, restaurants and its cosmopolitan population of predominantly Italian, Spanish, French, German, English, Eastern European, Arab and Asian origin, Buenos Aires is also known as 'the Paris of South America'. The city is one of the most European of South America and of the entire southern hemisphere.
Overnight stay: Casa Sur Bellini | bed & breakfast

Day 3: Buenos Aires

Today you will be taken along the most important sights of the fascinating Argentine capital in a special way. You will leave with your guide by bike heading to the stylish district of Recoleta, where the famous Cementerio de Recoleta cemetery is located. At this cemetery you will find, among others, the grave of Evita Peron. This city excursion is not complete without an introduction to the old district of San Telmo, the birthplace of the tango. Your bike tour ends at Plaza San Martin, from where you will be brought back to your hotel. In the evening you will be taken through the city, where you will have a drink in two so-called 'hidden bars'. The idea behind these secret bars in Buenos Aires comes from the “Speakeasy” bars found in the USA during prohibition. Entrances were hidden and people needed to know somebody to get in. Those aspects were taken by the bars we will visit: while some of them may require a secret password, others might be hidden behind shops or restaurants, or simply behind a door with no sign at all.
Overnight stay: Casa Sur Bellini | bed & breakfast 

Day 4: Buenos Aires – Salta

In the morning you will fly to Salta. At the airport the rental car is waiting for you with which you will be on the road the coming days. You will stay just outside Salta in a beautiful typical finca. The owners Valentina and Fabrizio came in 2006 from Italy (Milan) to Argentina to make their dream come true. They chose this beautiful location in the northwest of Argentina. Here you can hike, go horseback riding and enjoy a traditional 'parilla' (roasted meat) with a good glass of wine. In the beautiful garden there is an unheated swimming pool. From here you can enjoy the majestic view of the mountains. 
Overnight stay: Finca Valentina | bed & breakfast

Day 5: Salta – Purmamarca

(approx. 320 km | 4 hour drive)
Today the adventure really starts! The two guides who will accompany you during your trip will pick you up at the hotel. The ride today is easy and great to get to know the car. During today's ride you will reach a maximum altitude of 3000 meters above sea level. The Quebrada of Humahuaca is a long valley not far from the Bolivian border, located in the province of Jujuy, running from north to south parallel to the impressive Andes Mountains. The area is known for its colored mountain peaks, geological rock formations and historical villages. During this ride you will experience the atmosphere of this most indigenous part of Argentina. You will visit the market of Huamahuaca to stock up. Here you will make a short walk in a red gorge and get acquainted with the Pukara of Tilcara, a Pre Inca fortress. Today you will also make short stops in the towns of Tilcara and Purmamarca.
Overnight stay: Hotel Marques de Tojo | bed & breakfast

Day 6: Purmamarca – San Pedro de Atacama

(approx. 350 km | 5 hour drive)
Today you drive at a maximum altitude of 4700 meters above sea level. You will still only drive on paved roads, but you will pass one of the highest mountain passes over the Andes: the Paso de Jama. This is situated at an altitude of more than 4400 meters, where you drive straight through the salt flats Salinas Grandes. The route you take today is without a doubt one of the most spectacular routes in South America. You will pass majestic volcanic peaks and small mountain lakes, where large swarms of flamingos and groups of vicuñas gather to feed. After crossing the border between Argentina and Chile you will enter the Atacama desert, the driest place on earth. During the descent you will have a view on the cone-shaped crater of the volcano Licancabur.
Overnight stay: Altiplanico hotel | bed & breakfast

Day 7: San Pedro de Atacama

(approx. 220 km | 7 hour drive)
Today you will see the spectacular surroundings of San Pedro de Atacama. Today you will also experience challenging unpaved roads for the first time. You will leave early in the morning for the el Tatio geyser. Translated El Tatio means godfather. The geyser field  is located in the Andes Mountains in the north of Chile at an altitude of 4,200 meters. With over 80 active geysers, El Tatio is the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere and the third largest in the world. It is, especially at sunrise, a fantastic spectacle. The steam produces contrasting colors in the form of columns in the highest geothermal area in the world. You walk over the traces of the geothermal field. After your visit to the geyser field you will return to San Pedro de Atacama, where you will have some time for yourself. In the afternoon you will go to the Moon Valley, just outside the village, where you will see a fantastic sunset. The setting sun colors the rocky lunar landscape into countless shades of red, changing every moment.
Overnight stay: Altiplanico hotel | bed & breakfast

Day 8: San Pedro de Atacama – Tolar Grande

(approx. 360 km | 7 hour drive)
This day is probably one of the most intense of the whole trip. You will drive about 250 km on unpaved roads. You will drive to Sico Pass, an unpaved mountain pass with a peak at an altitude over 4000 meters, following a route that was formerly used to transport trade goods with llamas. The Miscanti and Miniques lagoons form one of the most beautiful landscapes, with dark blue waters, cobalt blue skies, flamingos and majestic volcanic peaks. Once back on the Argentine Plateau, the landscape will change completely. The Labyrinth Desert, a desert of fossil dunes made by clay and choke coil crystals, is the only maritime sediment deposit of the Puna. You will stay in the small village of Tolar Grande, one of the most remote villages in Argentina.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Andina | bed & breakfast

Day 9: Tolar Grande

(approx. 140 km | 2 hour drive)
Today you will explore the area of Tolar Grande on unpaved roads. The morning will be dedicated to the exploration of the surroundings of Tolar Grande. The Ojos del Mar are blue water plains in the middle of a white salt plain. In February 2009, researchers discovered an enormous colony of living stromatolites (a form of sedimentary rock that is often highly stratified and contains a lot of lime). In the surroundings of Tolar Grande, you can make large and small walks. The best walk is the walk to a hidden sand dune in the middle of the desert. From the top of the dune you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the surroundings. You will see the holy Macon mountain at the Llullaillaco volcano. Here researchers of the National Geographic Society discovered an Inca treasure with the bodies of three Inca children in 1999, at an altitude of 6735 meters, perfectly preserved by ice and drought. In the afternoon you will make a trip to Santa Maria Lake, with a Paja field and a small flamingo colony.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Andina | bed & breakfast 

Day 10: Tolar Grande – El Peñon

(approx. 350 km | 6.5 hour drive)
Today you will drive a beautiful route towards the village of El Peñon. The crossing of the Arizaro salt flats resembles the old route of the Aryans, shepherds who accompanied caravans of animals in Chile. Arizaro means vultures cemetery. This name comes from the period when many animals died during the crossing of the salt plain, which was a good food for the vultures. Mina Casualidad, today a ghost town, was an important mining town until 1979. Its location, at the foot of sulphuric acid mountains and on the edge of Salar de Rio Grande, offers one of the most spectacular views of the Puna. A secondary road, opened by miners in search of copper and gold, will lead you further to Arita Cone, a pyramid-shaped hill in the middle of the salt plain of Arizaro. Antofalla is an important and spectacular example of a Puna oasis. In the middle of a dry desert there is a green valley, thanks to a natural pure water source, full of Alamos, Molles and Suces trees. Antofalla, together with Antofagasta and Santa Rosa, was an important station for caravans of llamas, a connection between this part of the Andes and the oasis of Atacama. The oasis is located just on the edge of the world's most vast salt plain, between red mountains and lava strips.
Overnight stay: Hostel el Peñon | bed & breakfast

Day 11: El Peñon

(approx. 120 km | 4.5 hour drive)
In the morning you will visit the Campo de Piedra Pómez, a strange but beautiful landscape created by carved rocks. The rock that can be seen here was created during a volcanic eruption in which liquid lava with a large amount of gases cooled down so quickly that the gas bubbles did not have time to escape and remained in the rock. The volcanic explosion that took place here was so powerful that if one could have seen it, it would have been similar to the mushroom-shaped cloud that can be created by an atomic bomb. The wind from the Puna, a dry and strong wind in this barren landscape, causes the rock to erode, creating bizarre rock formations. An impressive landscape. You can also visit the Laguna Grande reserve, a place of unique beauty that contains fragile treasures of the environment. It is a salt lake located at an altitude of 4150 meters, along a route that leads to the crater of the Galan volcano. This volcano was first discovered a few years ago and with a crater of no less than 34 kilometers in diameter, the Galan is considered to be the largest volcano in the world. In winter the water freezes completely, but in spring it turns into the largest meeting place of the Puna flamingos, also called little Parina.
Overnight stay: Hostel el Peñon | bed & breakfast

Day 12: El Peñon – Cafayate

(approx. 350 km | 6.5 hour drive)
After three days of intense routes over the Argentinean and Chilean highlands with your guide, you will return to the inhabited world. The paved road from El Peñon to Ruta 40 is a 150 kilometer route through a spectacular landscape characterized by a grassy steppe landscape with Paja Brava grass. You will pass white lagoons and a deserted narrow canyon with rich vegetation. At the end of the day you will arrive in Cafayate with its green, extensive vineyards. You will stay in Cafayate wine resort, an attractive accommodation overlooking the vineyards.
Overnight stay: Cafayate wine resort | bed & breakfast

Day 13: Cafayate – Salta

(approx. 190 km | 3 hour drive)
This day you drive back to Salta. The road to Salta is one of the most beautiful roads, with beautiful views, to drive in the northwest of Argentina. You will pass four different ecosystems, from the green Yungas to a dry desert. From Piedra del Molino at 3500 meters to Salta's Valle de Lerma, where you will see condors flying in the dark blue sky, but also guanacos and wild donkeys among thousands of cardones, the local protected species of cactus. After about a 3 hour drive you will arrive at your accommodation.
Overnight stay: Finca Valentina | bed & breakfast

Day 14: Salta – Puerto Iguazu

In the afternoon you will drive to Salta airport (approx. 15 minutes drive), where you drop-off your rental car and board your domestic flight to Puerto Iguazu. Upon arrival at the airport you will be welcomed by our local staff and brought to your hotel. The Iguazu National Park in the northeast of the province of Misiones, is a region of wide rivers, reddish clay, a mild subtropical climate and a large collection of giant, ancient trees. These well-preserved areas, located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, contain pure subtropical forests, and are home to more than 2,000 species of plants and 400 species of birds, mammals and reptiles. In the coming days you will enjoy the famous Iguazu falls, a magnificent natural wonder located on the border between Brazil and Argentina. The size and beauty of these waterfalls often exceed human imagination.  
Overnight stay: Hotel LOI Suites | bed & breakfast

Day 15: Puerto Iguazu – Foz do Iguaçu

After breakfast you will visit the Argentinian side of the waterfalls. When you look straight into the "Garganta del Diablo" (Devil's Throat) from above, you will immediately understand how this part got its name. Here nature shows its true meaning. It really is a unique experience to be so close to this waterfall. You will have to pay for this with a wet suit, but with some sunlight, nature also provides a dry suit! After this you will be brought to your hotel in Foz do Iguaçu, on the Brazilian side of the waterfalls. Foz do Iguaçu is located on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Here the Iguaçu river plunges into no less than 275 waterfalls in the Paraná river. With an average height of 80 meters, the Iguaçu Falls are wider than Victoria Falls, higher than Niagara Falls and without a doubt one of the most beautiful spectacles in the world. The lush green national park in which the waterfalls and Foz do Iguaçu are located adds an extra dimension to this mighty spectacle. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your charming hotel is the only accommodation located in the Brazilian part of the Foz do Iguaçu National Park with a direct view over the waterfalls.
Overnight stay: Belmond das Cataratas | bed & breakfast

Day 16: Foz do Iguaçu

Because your hotel is located in the natural park, you also have the possibility to view the waterfalls after closing time when the other visitors are gone. It is advisable to visit the waterfalls in the morning, when the sunlight on the water is at its best. When the sun rises, rainbows appear on all sides. There is a path all the way down to the bottom of the thundering mass of water with several beautiful viewpoints. Today you can admire the waterfalls on the Brazilian side  by yourself.
Overnight stay: Belmond das Cataratas | bed & breakfast

“ The waterfalls are amazing and the hotel is a big dream. Really indescribably! To never forget.

One of our customers who visited the falls

Day 17: Foz do Iguaçu – São Paulo - Paraty

Today you will fly from Foz do Iguaçu to São Paulo and brought to your hotel in Paraty. You will drive on one of the most beautiful routes in Brazil. From the top of a mountain plateau, of the mountain chain Serra do Mar, you will cross the Atlantic rainforest. You will drive on modern highways and via the city of Mogi das Cruzes to the coastal town of Bertioga. This is certainly one of the most spectacular descents in Brazil. While you are surrounded by tropical rainforest, you have a view of the Atlantic Ocean. It is recommended to stop here and enjoy the unique view. As soon as you get back on the road, you can let the nature of this route affect you; mountains, forests, bays, beaches, islands, rivers and waterfalls! In Paraty you will stay in Pousada Literaria, an elegant pousada, located in the colonial center of Paraty. The pousada has a fine atmosphere that reflects the art and culture of Paraty.
Overnight stay: Pousada Literaria | bed & breakfast

Day 18: Paraty

Today there is a relaxed boat trip on the program. Paraty has 65 islands off the coast and many beaches of outstanding beauty. The green vegetation around the bays gives it a quiet and pleasant atmosphere. The waters are perfect for snorkeling. During this boat trip you will visit three islands where you will each stay about 45 minutes to snorkel, or just swim in the pleasant water. The locations where you will eventually stop depend on the weather conditions.
Overnight stay: Pousada Literaria | bed & breakfast

Day 19: Paraty – Rio de Janeiro

From Paraty you will be taken to Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro. You will stay in Mama Ruisa located in the Santa Teresa district. This small-scale boutique hotel is an oasis of peace and refinement in the bustling metropolis of Rio. From the lush green garden and several rooms of the hotel you have a spectacular view over the city and the famous Guanabara bay. Hotel Mama Ruisa has a typical "Carioca" atmosphere. In the evening you will get acquainted with the nightlife of the Cariocas. Together with a guide you will visit the less touristic places of Rio with live music. You will be pleasantly surprised by the informal culture of Rio nightlife. Which places you will finally visit is a surprise, but you will visit at least two places that can vary from a small pub, outdoor samba party and public stage with live music (such as Samba or Forró). You will enjoy how the Cariocas can dance. 
Overnight stay: Mama Ruisa | bed & breakfast

Day 20: Rio de Janeiro

To get to know Rio de Janeiro better, your guide will take you on a nice city tour. The day starts with a walk through the old quarter of Santa Teresa. The district Santa Teresa is with Lapa the oldest district of the city. For example, take a look at Escadaria Sélaron, the stairs of the Chilean coastal artist Jorge Sélaron, which contains tiles from all over the world. You will then be taken to the Morrinho project in the Pereirao favela. This is where children started building a miniature favela with bricks and garbage and it has become a true art project. You will be taken to the Favela Painting project of the Dutch Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas ( The tour through Rio de Janeiro ends today on the world famous Sugarloaf Mountain, where you have a fantastic view over the city at sunset. This mountain was called 'pau-nd-acuqua' by the indigenous Indians, which means high pointed peak. To the Portuguese this sounded like 'pão de açucar', with its size recalled the earthenware pointed pots used to refine sugar. The Sugar Loaf Mountain is an imposing and natural monument that cannot be ignored in the skyline of Rio.
Overnight stay: Mama Ruisa | bed & breakfast

Day 21: Rio de Janeiro – Amsterdam

Your unique journey through Argentina and Brazil ends today. You will be taken to Rio de Janeiro airport, where you will board your intercontinental flight to Amsterdam.

Day 22: Amsterdam 

You will arrive in Amsterdam today.


From € 9.364 per person

  • Based on 6 persons traveling together
  • Depending on time of booking, availability of local flights, availability of accommodations and the period of travel


  • domestic flights, economy class
  • 19 overnight stays, meals as stated
  • 10 days 3 rental cars (cat: VW Amarok or similar alternative) incl. basic insurance and guidance team with separate 4wd car and satellite communication
  • all transfers and excursions as stated
  • our backup 24/7; locally and in the Netherlands
  • extensive travel documents package with small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if you wish, we reserve these for you
  • early check-in / late check-out, based on availability, this is sometimes provided by the hotel. If you want to be sure that you have this, ask us about the additional cost
  • city taks in Buenos Aires, to be paid on site during check-out, approx. USD $ 1.50 per person per night
  • eco taks in Puerto Iguazu – to be paid on site in Argentine pesos during check-out, approx. ARG $ 50 per person per night. ARG $ 50 = approx. USD $ 1.50
  • (Dutch) public contribution Calamity fund; € 2.50,- per booking
  • SGR contribution of € 5,- per person per booking
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Request travel proposal

Would you like to go on this journey? We can arrange the itinerary for you, but we are also happy to put together a programme based on your wishes and ideas. Do not hesitate to contact us. Send an e-mail to info@sapapanatravel.nlcall us on +31 73 610 62 04 or ask us to plan your trip. We are happy to help.

Request travel proposal

Return to luxury holiday Argentina

Return to luxury holiday Brazil


More inspiration - Read our blogs