Our final day and coming home. We have a good day here in Rio as we are being picked up at 4.30pm for the flight home. As usual the last day like this is a lot of waiting around and really you want to get going. The morning starts of wet and we think that a lot of the waiting will be indoors but as the morning moves on it gets much nicer and we have a pleasant day.

Off to the airport and Rio International isn’t much to write home about, poor shopping and no restaurants. But eventually we board for the 9 hour flight home to Madrid and then on to Dublin.

With an hour to go to landing there’s time to reflect on what was a great trip. The things that made it great? Well the good company of friends, great destinations, tours, accommodations, places to see and eat and drink. Nuevo Mundo arranged some excellent tours for us and some really good accommodation, so thank you!

What were the highlights and the bests?

Best accommodation: The Porto Bay International Rio was a good hotel in Rio, good location on the beach and friendly staff but the best was the Duque Boutique Hotel Buenos Aires. It’s a small hotel with 14 rooms which are very well appointed although not huge. It has a lovely small lounge with a TV and a laptop with free Internet and WIFI throughout the hotel. Nice breakfast room. But the staff are exceptional. They are all young, cheerful, friendly and very helpful. So thank you to Eva, Flor, Facundo and the others.

Best breakfasts: The Porto Bay Rio had great breakfasts, loads of variety, great muesli, fruit, bread, juices etc and it really got you off to a great start to the day.

Best meal: Some great meals in Buenos Aires like the Don Julio in Palermo but just pipping it was probably the Cabana Las Lilas at the port where the steaks were excellent.

Best tour: This is where it gets hard to pick. We had some great guides in Valeria, Lourdes and Luis who made the trips all that more enjoyable. So again well done to Nuevo Mundo. Each trip had something different to offer but I suppose for the scenery, pure power and majesty of it all it has to be Iguazu Falls even with the poor weather.

Best scenes: It’s hard to beat Rio for it’s scenery. It’s a lovely city with many contradictions like the difference between the rich and the poor and how it feels during the day and night. Views at and from the Corcovado and the Sugar Loaf are magnificent and the weather always helps enormously.

Finally having good friends and company really makes the difference in enjoying a trip like this. Thank you to you all. It’s just a great pity that some had to drop out, we missed you Carmel and Ursula. Others didn’t make it this trip either like Margaret, Jim, Anne, Tracey and Garth to name a few hopefully next time.

Bye bye South America until we meet again.