Botanical wonders of Brazil and Argentina

Botanical wonders of Brazil and Argentina

  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Corcovado Cristo
  • Vellozia Squamata
  • Los Pecanes
  • Qualea Multiflora
  • Alcobaca

24 August - 3 September 2021 (10 days)

Professor Stephen Harris
Druce Curator, Oxford University Herbaria
Price details  

Price per person. Single supplement £890.

Tour type  
Flora and Fauna
Activity level  
[New World] Botany and natural wonders with the curator of Oxford's Herbaria

Victorian England went mad for exotic New World plants and this trip will show why. Accompanied by Professor Stephen Harris, latest in a long line of distinguished curators of Britain’s oldest plant collection and frequent visitor to Brazil, experience the plants of two capital cities and the largest waterfall in the world. Make an in-depth and behind-the-scenes tour of Rio de Janeiro, explore the 100-acre Botanic Gardens, founded in 1808, and spend a day visiting the tiny islands that dot Rio’s Guanabara Bay, with spectacular views back to the iconic Sugar Loaf. Visit Petrópolis, perched above Rio in verdant valleys with a backdrop of granite massifs, and some spectacular private gardens. Fly to the mighty Iguassu Falls, for a display of sub-tropical flora and fauna, and finish in Buenos Aires. Visit the city’s Botanic Gardens, which has five magnificent glasshouses. Spend a final day on a local estancia with lovely gardens and enjoy a typical asado (barbeque).


  • Experience a full day in Rio de Janeiro’s Botanic Gardens, founded in 1808
  • Discover landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s heritage, from his own gardens to the street mosaic that lines Copacabana beach
  • Enjoy exclusive access to some of Buenos Aires’ most interesting private gardens
  • Visit the imperial private gardens of Petrópolis, once the emperor’s summer retreat
  • See colourful wildlife on jungle trails at the mighty Iguassu Falls
  • Spend a day on a local estancia and experience a typical asado (barbeque)

Tuesday 24 August 2021 - Arrival day (Rio): For UK participants, the recommended non-stop flight from London Heathrow with British Airways departs around midday and arrives in Rio de Janeiro around 8pm. Other flights can be met on request.


While Brasilia is the official capital, Brazil’s spiritual capital is Rio de Janeiro, with surely one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The Corcovado and Sugar Loaf mountains overshadow the city and the beaches include famous Copacabana and fashionable Ipanema.

Stay 3 nights at the Hotel Windsor California (on Copacabana beach).

25-26 August

Spend a full day exploring Rio’s 100-acre Botanic Gardens, founded in 1808 to breed foreign plants (mainly spices from the West Indies) but today at the forefront of the conservation of Brazilian flora. Apart from the 6,500 plant species, 140 species of birds have also made the gardens their home. The gardens have a fascinating history, as Stephen Harris will explain.

Visit landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s own gardens, and see his 4km street mosaic that lines Copacabana beach. Admire Rio from the summit of the Sugar Loaf mountain.


Petrópolis is close to the Serra dos Órgãos national park, 70km north of Rio. It is also known as the Imperial City as it was the summer retreat for the Brazilian emperors and wealthy residents in the 19th century. The city has some beautiful historic buildings, fascinating museums and pretty public parks.

27-28 August

Drive up to Petrópolis, and stay 2 nights at the colonial Hotel Casablanca Imperial, right next to the Imperial Palace. Visit the museum and gardens designed by Jean Baptiste Binot in 1854, and a spectacular private garden nearby.


The river Iguaçu emerges from forested banks to plunge over a series of cliffs and create a breath-taking spectacle, higher than Niagara and wider than the Victoria Falls.

29-31 August

Fly from Rio to Foz do Iguaçu, and spend 2 nights at the Hotel San Martín.

After admiring these spectacular waterfalls, one of the natural wonders of the world, from the Brazilian side, explore the trails in the sub-tropical forest which surrounds the falls.

On the final day cross the border to Argentina for a close-up and contrasting view from the extensive network of pathways, before taking a flight to Buenos Aires.


Argentina's capital is a cosmopolitan city, often referred to as the Paris of South America, with fine hotels, shops, and colonial buildings. On the banks of the River Plate estuary, the city is laid out on a grid system, with some spectacularly wide avenues. Different parts of the city have quite distinct flavours, from La Boca (where some of the oldest buildings are to be found, many brightly painted), Calle Florida for shopping, to the Plaza de Mayo with its 'Pink Palace', the president's residence, cathedral, and town hall.

1-2 September

Take a city tour including iconic buildings and monuments such as the Casa Rosada (presidential palace),  elegant Recoleta district (famous for its cemetery with ornate mausoleums including that of Eva Perón), and the colourful streets of La Boca. View the city’s most interesting parks and private gardens, and visit a traditional estancia on the pampas and enjoy a typical asado (barbeque).

Friday 3 September

Transfer to the airport for homeward or onward connections. A non-stop British Airways flight to the UK departs around 2pm, arriving at 7am on 4 September.

Tour operator
ABTA, Last Frontiers
Address: The Mill, Quainton Road, Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0LP
Email address:
Telephone: +44 (0)1296 653000