Some think that Rio de Janeiro has the most beautiful situation of any city in the world. That’s difficult to argue with as you contemplate the view from beneath the giant figure of Christ. The huge sugar loaf shaped rocks rise from jungle green, over glistening blue bays rimmed with yellow crescents of sand.
Many opine that Iguaza is the most imposing waterfall on the planet, and it could well be! The vast spread of thundering torrents looks mighty impressive whether contemplated from Brazil or Argentina.
And there are many who believe that Buenas Aires is the most vibrant metropolis in the whole of Latin America. Certainly watching the flashing legs of the dancers and listening to the raunchy music over a vast parillada of roasted meat during the spectacular final tango evening, beats a quiet night in front of the tele hands down!
These I anticipated. But I did arrive in Rio last year rather wondering what Rambers Worldwide Holidays had had delivered me to in between these three unmatchable highlights! I need not have worried. The Costa Verde south of Rio offered mile upon mile of tranquil Caribbean scenery, with green forests running down to golden sands, around empty blue bays with crashing Atlantic surf. The tranquility of traffic free Ilha Grande contrasted with the charm of busy little colonial Parati.
Safely across the border, with my Portuguese dictionary repacked with relief at the bottom of my luggage, I could relax into Spanish. We skirted the mysterious shape of Paraguay across the river to arrive by bumping bus down a long dirt track at the remote serenity of Pellegrini natural park.
We whiled away a series of restful days among the capybaras and crocodiles, paddling canoes and hunting for elusive howler monkeys. The dinner gong was such a shock and it was so difficult to get out of the hammocks. After this experience, the brash energy of Buenas Aires and its tango provided a bracing culture shock. All very classically South American indeed! A laid back and gentle introduction to my favourite continent that – gosh! – really felt like a holiday. Join me please, but DONT TELL ANY OTHER LEADERS!!