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Explore and Relax Argentina to Brazil: Estancias and beaches

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel, the famous Alvear Palace.
 
Buenos Aires
Transfer to your hotel. The Argentine capital is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills. The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest.

You’ll be staying at the Alvear Palace, in Recoleta, a smart residential quarter in Buenos Aires with much belle époque and Italianate architecture including the classic hotel itself. Service is impeccable (there are personal butlers) and the restaurant is superb. It is both formal and friendly. One of the best buffet breakfasts on the continent is served in L’Orangerie.

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Buenos Aires

Day 2

Guided city tour including the Teatro Colón.
 

Your guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk, an emblematic symbol of the city. Along this majestic highway is the 19th century Teatro Colón (guided tour included) which, in terms of its architecture and design, as well as its excellent acoustics, is considered one of world’s best.  On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on 3 sides by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Visit the district of Recoleta.

Day 3

At leisure: evening tango show with dinner.
 
Tango
At leisure in Buenos Aires. Stroll round Puerto Madero, the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

Alternatively, venture into the watery delta to the small town of Tigre, set on the banks of the Luján River. Have lunch at one of the restaurants on the shores of the Río Paraná, while watching fishermen at work and river-craft gliding by.

Evening guided visit to a tango show with dinner. The passage of time has given respectability to a dance once confined to the seedy underworld bars of the red-light La Boca district. Nowadays, a number of 'tango houses' offer a dinner and show as an evening out - prior to the performance you can even try out a few steps yourself as an informal group tango lesson is included. La Gala is an intimate venue with a French colonial style complete with crystal chandeliers and a refined ambience.

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Tango

Day 4

By road to Estancia La Bamba in the pampas.
 
Transfer by road to Estancia La Bamba. This dusky rose-pink, colonial-style former post house, set in its own attractive parkland, is located 10 mins' drive from the small gaucho town of San Antonio de Areco. It projects a real feel for estancia history, harking back to more opulent times when they were the backbone of a thriving economy.

Following its acquisition by French proprietors, it has been renovated to an extremely high standard, and now resembles a grand countryside chateau. Public areas are cosy and crammed full of plush sofas and old artefacts, accentuating the country house ambience. There are open fires, four poster beds and large shuttered windows. Meals are taken around a common table, though you can request privacy if you wish.

There's a lovely outdoor swimming pool (open in summer) with views over parkland and sun loungers, games room and small library.

Days 5-6

Optional activities at the estancia.
 
gauchos
At leisure at La Bamba. If you want to be active, excursions on horseback, by carriage, or mountain bike are available. 
Other experiences include Argentine bowls and swimming in the large pool.

La Bamba de Areco also serves as the base for the international polo team that bears its name. The property includes two polo fields and guests can watch games during the season, with practice sessions and matches taking place almost daily. Although it is not intended to be a polo school, arrangements can be made on request for guests who are experienced polo players.

If you fancy exploring the pampas, you can visit the town of San Antonio de Areco, one of the oldest towns in Argentina, only 13km away. Wander through the 18th century narrow colonial streets, and visit the church, bars and museums. Here too you can admire the master silversmiths at work in their workshop and watch leather craftsmen at work.

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gauchos

Day 7

Transfer to Buenos Aires and connect to Florianopolis, Brazil. Transfer to Ponta dos Ganchos.
 
Ponta dos Ganchos
Return to Buenos Aires and fly to Florianopolis in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Transfer by road to the much admired luxury resort Ponta dos Ganchos (1hr). The property is located on a verdant stretch of unspoilt coast in an area of historic interest, with many small fishing hamlets dotting the shoreline.

There’s a small, sheltered cove with a dazzling arc of white sand facing the hotel’s private island, which for a supplement may be booked for exclusive, private dining (we advise you reserve well ahead). Accommodation is perched high above the ocean in just 25 discreet wooden cottages finished to a very high standard, and the service is impeccable. During winter (July-September) and into October you may spot southern right whales offshore.

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Ponta dos Ganchos

Days 8-12

At leisure at your exclusive oceanfront hideaway.
 
whale watching
The resort is a wonderful place just to laze around. But there is a whole swathe of experiences and explorations both on the property and in the local area which the hotel can organise for you, for which you pay locally. These include cookery classes and   inspection of a cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane liquor) distillery.

There are lovely nature trails you can follow at the resort itself, along with a comprehensive spa offering a menu of massages and facials among other well-being services.  There are boat trips around the bays and to deserted beaches, or you might participate in water sports: white-water rafting, stand up paddling, scuba diving, sailing and kayaking. Other sporting activities on offer on the property or nearby include golf and horse riding.

Further afield, You might visit lively Florianópolis, or take a guided tour of the cradle of the German colonisation of the state of Santa Catarina, Blumenau, with its steep roofed Bavarian style houses. In contrast, you could stroll around the traditional town of Ribeirão da Ilha, the first community founded by Azorean settlers in the state of Santa Catarina, which has maintained its original economic activities of oyster farming and fishing.

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whale watching

Day 13

Transfer to Florianopolis airport for flight to São Paulo and your international flight home.
 
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Explore and Relax Argentina to Brazil: Estancias and beaches

13 days from £4,384pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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