Buenos Aires to Rio Tour – The Trip of a Lifetime

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  24 October 2018

To see the full 'Road to Rio' tour with prices and dates please click here.

South America may be a vast and varied continent yet a certain number of ‘touring routes’ have become immensely popular over the years, none more so than the Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro stretch. Both astonishing cities are excellent entry points into the continent from almost any corner of the globe and both are exceptional destinations on their own right. Yet the fact that they are both on South America’s east coast and, more importantly, the fact that Iguazu Falls – one of the most unmissable highlights of all – lies right between them, are undoubtedly the prime reasons the Rio to Buenos Aires tour has reached cult-like popularity.

Three sensational destinations, each one offering a myriad of activities and attractions, in one smooth and time-saving ride: ideal if you’ve got only a couple of weeks for your journey and absolutely epic if you’re planning your first-ever trip to South America.

You really couldn’t dream of a better introduction to this magical continent.


Waterfall on sunny day, South America

Waterfall on sunny day, South America


The Highlights of a Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro Tour

Book your trip of a lifetime to Buenos Aires. Check our tours to Argentina.

The Argentinian capital is often dubbed the most beautiful on the continent and we’d have a hard time disagreeing. This outstanding city is splendid, its most historic and charming quarters are a delight to explore on foot and there’s more delectable dining, excellent shopping and fabulous theaters and museums to explore than perhaps all the other major cities combined. Plus, there’s tango on the streets, friendly locals, an intense history and a very distinct culture in which to get absolutely lost. We love Buenos Aires. Everyone who has ever visited loves Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is like Paris with corazon. And better food.



Tango on the streets of Argentina

Tango on the streets of Argentina



What to do and see in Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires is the city you want to explore when you only have one to choose and we guess Air NZ’s decision to run non-stop flights from Auckland proves that this is an opinion shared by many. It is a city accessible from all corners of the planet and we have people joining this tour from all over the world. You could spend weeks here and not see or do it all and that’s the genius bonus of having this as South America’s best entry point. You could easily come back year after year and never do the same thing twice. There are loads to do in Buenos Aires and, among all the stellar highlights we chose in our Top 10 Things to Do in Buenos Aires, you’ll see some even include day trips out of town, not only to spend a day in a traditional gaucho ranch but also to take the ferry to beautiful Colonia in Uruguay, just across the bay.

The best of Argentina from Buenos AiresArgentina as a whole has a lot to offer and Buenos Aires is the best springboard to reach all its exceptional corners. Lucky you! From the stunning wine-growing region of Mendoza where more than 1500 wineries are open to the public to the southernmost city of Ushuaia – the prime sailing port for cruises to Antarctica –the best trips from Buenos Aires are the weekend getaways porteños take when they want to get out of the city and explore. The most popular and easiest to reach, however, is mighty Iguazu.


Tourist in Argentina on top of waterfall

Tourist in Argentina on top of waterfall


Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil

The most astonishing waterfall in the world is a natural splendour with few rivals. Over 270 cascades combine to create a visual spectacle that even left a US President’s wife famously speechless. “Poor Niagara!” Mrs Roosevelt exclaimed at the breath-taking sight of the thundering falls – Iguazu certainly tends to make a lasting impression.


Walking trail on waterfalls, Iguazu Falls

Walking trail on waterfalls, Iguazu Falls


The Falls of Iguazu straddle the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil although only the latter two have the infrastructure in place that allows for comprehensive visits. There’s always a lot of confusion about which side is ‘best’ and we guess the confusion will always remain given that there is no ‘best’ side, in actual fact. Both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides are quite distinct thus offer very different experiences: one has a closer trail that leads right up to the top of the falls whilst the other offers the best all-encompassing views of all. You can take a helicopter ride and a crazy speedboat ride right under the falls in Brazil but have the glory of the Devil’s Gorge right under your nose in Argentina. Now is not the time to play favourites! Visit both sides and we bet you’ll love them both equally.

Read more about what to expect when visiting Iguazu Falls and you’ll understand why both sides are worth plenty of your time.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The tropical and most flamboyant answer to Buenos Aires, Rio is the sparkling gem on South America’s crown – superstar everyone wants to see perform. And perform, Rio does. From her long stretches of world-famous beaches to her awe-inspiring landscape of peaks, forests and shanty towns, Rio is one of the most eclectic cities you’ll ever visit. She can be chaotic and vibrant but also quiet and contemplative. She can be rough around the edges yet luxurious and resplendent. Everything you’ve heard about Rio is true: the beach culture is ingrained; the nightlife is epic and all those incredible highlights the city boasts, you’ll have to share with scores of fellow tourists. But no one ever minds, in Rio.

Everyone just joins the party.


Rio de Janeiro from top, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro from top, Brazil


What to see and do in Rio the Janeiro – The only way to do Rio any justice is to dive right in so take that cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain, post your selfie with the Cristo statue and spend a day hiking on Corcovado Mountain. Soak up the splendours of a Copacabana sunset and sip a delicious sundowner in Ipanema before devouring your own bodyweight in prime chargrilled meat at a local churrascaria.

In Rio…that’s just day 1.


Sunset in Rio de Janeiro

Sunset in Rio de Janeiro


When you’re happy to have had all the major highlights out of the way, however, check out Rachel’s blog on how to Spice Up Your Stay in Rio for more insider tips of fabulous things to do in the city that really never sleeps.

The best of Brazil from Rio – A Rio to Buenos Aires tour doesn’t have to be where the buck stops – if you have time, this route is just the beginning. Whilst Buenos Aires has Patagonia that’s easy to reach, Rio has the Amazon Rainforest and if you’re dreaming of a truly comprehensive South America journey, then here’s where you should be taking notes. Tours of Brazil from Rio can take you to the wildlife haven that is the Pantanal Wetlands, as well as offering once-in-a-lifetime river cruises along the Amazon River, incorporating on-land excursions for that ultimate jungle experience.


Wildlife of Amazon rainforest, Brazil

Wildlife of Amazon rainforest, Brazil


The Ins and Outs of a Buenos Aires to Rio Tour

Check out for tours to Brazil.

The trip Rio to Buenos Aires tour can obviously be taken in both directions and your starting point will probably be dictated by whichever of the two cities offers the most direct flights from home. As stated earlier, Air New Zealand offers non-stop flights to Buenos Aires from Auckland departing several times a week. To see the full Road to Rio tour with prices and dates please click here.

Two weeks is a good time-frame to set aside for a Buenos Aires to Rio tour, although given a travel-day back and forth this would only include enough time to visit BA, Iguazu Falls, and Rio.

If you’re planning on stretching your journey and including more destinations in South America, then you can easily plan to head back to Buenos Aires for your return journey home. If you’re travelling during the summer, for example, you can easily add a side trip to Patagonia from BA and explore the magnificent southern end of the continent – the prime hiking and wilderness destination in the continent – before returning home.

Overwhelmed by choices? We understand! That’s precisely what we’re here for.

Visit our Viva Expeditions Tours page for more travel inspiration and when you’re ready to talk itineraries, time frames and options then save yourself the hassle and just give us a call. We know what to consider when devising a wicked itinerary (such as season, availability and the best logistical direction to follow) and can create a bespoke, smooth-as-silk tour that’ll tick all your boxes.

From Buenos Aires to Rio and beyond…we bring you the very best of Latin America.

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