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Gaucho: Vintage Argentina

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Northern Argentina is a vast and varied land with an abundance of attractions, and our Gaucho Journey is a superb introduction to its impressive geography and rich culture. You actually start the tour in neighbouring Chile, before flying over the Andes to the lively city of Mendoza. These first few days will offer the chance to delve into the wine production for which these regions are famous. This theme continues as you head north to the dazzling paint-box colours and arid canyon landscapes of Salta and the surrounding region, also one of Argentina’s premier wine producing areas. Leave the city behind and fly east to Puerto Iguazú where you spend time exploring the mighty Iguazú falls and spotting the local colourful wildlife, before finishing your tour in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, considered to be Latin America's most European city, with its wide boulevards, colonial architecture and café society.

Holiday itinerary

UK clients depart on an overnight flight arriving in Santiago, Chile, the following day.

Day 1

Guided tour of the city.

Day 2

Day trip to the historical city of Valparaiso and wine tasting.

Day 3

Fly across the Andes to Mendoza.

Day 4

Tour of local vineyards.

Day 5

Flight to Salta.

Day 6

Wine tasting in Cafayate, visit the multi-coloured canyon country.

Day 7

Optional visit to Humahuaca gorge and nearby Andean villages.

Day 8

Fly to Puerto Iguazú.

Day 9

Explore the Argentine side of the waterfalls.

Day 10

Guided tour of Buenos Aires.

Day 11

Food tour of San Telmo.

Day 12

Depart for international flight or extension.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

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Places visited on this holiday

Gaucho: Vintage Argentina

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Santiago and the vineyards
Santiago and the vineyards
With a backdrop of snow-draped Andean peaks in a sunny fertile valley, Chile’s huge capital lies at the heart of the country. A multi-layered place of contrasting neighbourhoods it is worth getting to know.

There’s a tiny colonial heart which displays an often poignant history, offset by the glittering malls, skyscrapers and shady boulevards of a modern economy. Interspersed are European-style centres for shopping and eating out such as Italianate Bellavista and newly vibrant, villagey localities among which is trendy Lastarría. The surrounding Mediterranean landscape is the perfect setting for vineyards and wineries producing Chile’s well respected wines.
When's the best time to visit Santiago and the vineyards?
Santiago has a hot dry summer and cool winters with some rain and even snow. Spring and autumn (Sep-Oct and Apr-May) are pleasant times for a city visit. The vineyards are at their prettiest in spring (Sep-Oct) but a visit may be most interesting at harvest time (Mar-Apr).
What is the official language in Santiago and the vineyards?

Spanish.

How can I get local currency in Santiago and the vineyards?
Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor.
What's the time difference between Santiago and the vineyards and UK?

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar. 

What places combine with Santiago and the vineyards?

Valparaiso, colourful Pacific port growing in popularity among visitors, 106km (2hours by road); a beach wind-down in Chile’s principal resort, Viña del Mar (100km, 2 hours); a few days on Polynesian Easter island (5 hours direct by air); winter skiing in the family resort of Valle Nevado (65km, 1 hour 40mins by road).

How do I get to Santiago and the vineyards?

There are no direct flights from the UK, average flight time is 16 hours; a change of plane is required in Europe, Brazil or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural events in Santiago and the vineyards?

Feria Internacional de Artesania: Nov; Parque General Bustamente, Centro, Santiago, the city’s best craft festival.

Feria Internacional del Libro: Nov, Machopo station, Santiago. A Hay Festival is imminent for Santiago – watch this space!

Fiesta de la Vendimia: Santa Cruz, Colchagua Valley, An annual grape harvest festival in early Mar. 

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Mendoza and the vineyards
Mendoza and the Vineyards
The province of Mendoza’s claim to be “the land of sunshine and wine” isn’t far off the mark. Lying in the rain-shadow of the ever visible snow-capped Andes, the landscape is studded with vineyards, and some of the country’s best wines are produced here. The pleasant city of lakeside Mendoza retains some 19th century character and is full of fine open spaces with a shady canopy of sycamores. The city is a good base for adventure activities; wine lovers might choose to stay at one of the wineries which welcome visitors in the sparkling air of the countryside close by.
What's the best time to visit Mendoza and the Argentine vineyards?

Mendoza is a year round destination with plenty of sunshine. Temperatures dip from a high of 30°C to 15°C in winter but most rain falls in summer. The vineyards are stunning when cloaked in the fiery red of their autumn plumage.

What's the official language in Mendoza and the Argentine vineyards?

Spanish.

What's the time difference between Mendoza and the Argentine vineyards and UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Mendoza and the Argentine vineyards?
Cafayate, close to Salta in the northwest, another important wine district (800 km by road); Santiago, Chile, and its nearby wineries; the other side of the Andes on one of the most beautiful crossings, by boat and road.
How do I get to Mendoza and the Argentine vineyards?

A flight from Buenos Aires takes 1hr 50mins.

What are the festivals and cultural and sporting events in Mendoza and the vineyards?
Fiesta de la Vendímia: a huge, extravagant wine festival in Mendoza, first weekend of Mar annually. There’s a carnival atmosphere with folklore concerts, parades and floats.
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Salta and the northwest Andes
Quebrada de las Conchas
Spiritually and culturally closer to the neighbouring Andean countries than the rest of Argentina, the remote northwest provinces have loads of attractions for visitors. These range from snow-dipped peaks, salt flats and arid, rust red canyons to lush forests, pre-Columbian ruins, lonely lime-washed chapels and a necklet of baroque colonial towns. The sunlit slopes are cloaked with vineyards, and everywhere there’s a warm welcome from the local people, many of whom have indian roots. At 1,200m above sea level, Salta is a delightful base for exploration of the region with a sumptuous cathedral, palm-shaded plazas and a cable car lift for views over the fertile countryside.
When's the best time to visit Salta and the Argentine Andes?
Salta has plenty of sun throughout the year but it can be cool in winter, when the trees and vines have lost their leaves, but it is drier with little rain falling Apr-Oct. The popular Train of the Clouds runs weekly Apr-Nov. The many festivals in the region mostly take place Dec-Mar.
What's the official language of Salta and the Argentine Andes?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Salta and the Argentine Andes?

Argentine Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from ATMs (many on calle España) using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. offering favorable rates for cash dollars. There are also banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash;  rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor.

What's the time difference between Salta and the Argentine Andes and UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Salta and the Argentine Andes?

Mendoza in Argentina’s prime wine-producing region (direct flights 3 times a week, 1hr 40mins); Iguazú Falls (daily flights to Puerto Iguazú, 1hr 50mins) Chile’s Atacama desert around San Pedro de Atacama (12hrs scenic drive); southern Bolivia (11hrs drive to the border at La Quiaca).

How do i get to Salta and the Argentine Andes?

A flight from Buenos Aires to Salta takes 2hrs.

What are the festivals and cultural and sporting events in Salta and the Argentine Andes?
Many religious, artisan and agricultural festivals and processions take place throughout the region from January through Carnival to Easter every year.
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Iguazu Falls
Iguazu falls

Straddling the border between southern Brazil and northeast Argentina, The Iguazú Falls (spelt  Iguaçú in Brazil) are usually rated number one of the big three waterfalls, the others being Niagara and Victoria. They are often considered to be Latin America’s most awe-inspiring natural sight and a must-see for anyone visiting the highlights of the continent.

The 275 separate cascades form a curtain of foaming water which crashes through tangled sub-tropical jungle over a vast granite amphitheatre, protected by national park status. Both countries offer scenic walkways with breath-taking scenery around every corner and easily observed wildlife. From the Brazilian side you’ll get a panoramic view of the 3km cliff edge, on the Argentine side there is a series of walkways leading you above, below and even behind the water.

When's the best time to go to Iguazu Falls?

Iguazú Falls is a year-round destination, but water levels and weather conditions vary with the rainy (Dec-Feb) and dry (Jun-Jul) seasons. The water supply to the falls also varies according to the local control of the dams upstream. It can be busy with tourists in local holiday seasons, for example in Feb and at Easter.

What's the official language in Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Portuguese; Argentinean Spanish.

How do i get to Iguazu Falls?

There are direct flights connecting Iguazú Falls to Buenos Aires (2 hours), Rio de Janeiro (2 hours), Lima, São Paulo, and Salta in northern Argentina.

What's the official currency at Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Real.

Brazil: notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Foz do Iguazú Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

Argentina: there are a couple of ATMs in Puerto Iguazú where the banks are only open in the mornings.

What's the time difference between GMT and Iguazu falls?

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from October to the end of February (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

What countries combine well with Iguazu Falls?

Argentina: Buenos Aires - there are direct daily 2 hour flights from Puerto Iguazú; Salta in the northwest Andes: daily flights take 1 hour 50mins.
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro - There are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú; Southern Brazil: there are flights from Foz do Iguaçu to Curitiba with connections; The Pantanal or the Amazon: there are daily flights to Campo Grande or Manaus with connections in São Paulo.
Peru: there are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú to Lima, 4.5 hours.

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Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Along with Rio, this is a city worth crossing the Atlantic for in its own right. Dynamic, stylish and nostalgic, it’s the continent’s most European city, but does not lack South American verve. Its contrasting neighbourhoods reveal colonial plazas, shady avenues, quirky antique fairs, street art, world famous theatres and football stadiums and spruced-up metropolitan port districts. Studded with extensive parks, cutting-edge boutique hotels, designer boutiques and a myriad of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it’s a restless place, challenging to find your way around but well worth the effort. It’s the beating heart of Argentina, the hub for visits throughout the country.
When's the best time to visit Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is at its hottest Jan-Mar (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40C during the day). It can be cold and cloudy Jul-Aug, so weather conditions are best for a visit in spring and autumn. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times: Porteños head for the beach.

What's the official language in Buenos Aires?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Buenos Aires?

Argentine Peso.

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Please note that in 2016 many of the ATMs were not functioning properly; we are recommending that for the moment you take a good supply of US dollars cash. There are many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling frequently poor. 

What's the time difference between Buenos Aires and the UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Buenos Aires?

Beach time in Mar del Plata (392 km by road, 5hrs); Colonia or Montevideo in Uruguay across the River Plate: travel by ferry, bus or plane; a stay on a working estancia in the pampa south and west of the city; Iguazú Falls (2hrs approx by air).

How long is the flight to Buenos Aires from the UK?

Average flight time is 14hrs 20mins on a direct flight from London. There are also flights requiring a change of plane in Europe or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural and sports events in Buenos Aires?

Tango Festival: Aug. The world's – top tango festival, nine days  of concerts, shows, free classes, exhibitions, open-air milongas (Avenida Corrientes is closed for a massive display) and other tango-related festivities.

Opera season: Mar-Dec. Take in a concert or opera at the refurbished Teatro Colón which attracts internationally esteemed artists. 

Argentine Polo Open: Mid Nov-mid Dec. Polo is a passion for many Argentines. This is the year’s main attraction, taking place in Palermo’s 16,000 seater stadium.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Gaucho: Vintage Argentina

  • Estancia 3 days from £763pp

    Throughout Argentina prestigious rural estates have been adapted to accommodate visitors. La Bamba is a colonial-style property oozing with atmosphere and history, restored to its former elegance in parkland, with a good-sized pool. A few days here will allow you to relax and savour life on the pampa prairies, while feasting off delicious food and wine.

    Day 1:  Transfer by road from Buenos Aires to the gaucho town San Antonio de Areco in the heart of the pampas (90mins). The town has a compact centre of cobbled streets and colonial buildings. The Río Areco cuts through, flanked by parks and linked by a pedestrian bridge leading to Gaucho Museum. Arrive at the Estancia La Bamba just outside town.

    Day 2: At leisure on the estancia. This colonial-style former post house harks back to more opulent times when these establishments were the backbone of a thriving economy. Following its acquisition by French proprietors, it has been renovated to an extremely high standard, and resembles a grand countryside chateau.

    Public areas are cosy and crammed full of plush sofas and old artefacts. The pulpería has a design based on the 18th-century bar which served as an inn for the gauchos, and bristles with atmosphere - open fires, brick walls, flagstone floors and deep sofas. Meanwhile, the  guest rooms offer large shuttered windows and luxurious beds.

    Activities include horse-riding, polo (experienced only), walking and carriage rides in the surrounding pampas.

    Day 3: Return to Buenos Aires to continue your holiday or to connect with your international flight.

    UK clients arrive home the following day.

    Dinner day 1, full board day 2, breakfast day 3.

  • Uruguay beach 5 days from £925pp

    This tiny, friendly country on the eastern shore of the River Plate, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, maintains a character of its own. It has lush soils supporting world-renowned beef cattle but is most celebrated by visitors for its glamorous golden beaches and plush hotels.

    Day 1: Fly from Buenos Aires to the glitzy resort of Punta del Este. Here, flashy high-rise blocks, luxury villas, top-notch restaurants and shopping malls line the seafront but your long-established hotel, L’Auberge, has a more traditional, European-style ambience.

    Days 2, 3: At leisure in Punta del Este. You can relax in the hotel’s grounds, taking advantage of facilities such as the tea-room, with its selection of mouth-watering waffles, the pool and the gym. The hotel sits in generous, well-ordered grounds 200m from the best stretch of sand in the resort.

    Day 4: Fly back to Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel, the Buenos Aires Grand, in the affluent quarter of Recoleta.

    Day 5: Continue your holiday or transfer to the airport for your international flight.

    UK clients arrive home the following day.

    Breakfast daily.

  • Atacama 4 days from £1,215pp

    The Atacama’s inhospitable desert landscape is harsh and rugged, but it echoes the legacy of its pre-Columbian inhabitants, while the volcanoes and geysers hiss into life. Oases splash the tawny landscape with vigorous vegetation. A few days here will give you a surprisingly varied experience of desert life.

    Day 1: Fly from Santiago to Calama (2hrs) and on to the Andean town of San Pedro de Atacama (2,450m). The town is easy-going, with adobe houses and an accent on outdoor activities. You’ll be staying at Hotel Altiplánico on the edge of town. Here you can take advantage of an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and terrace.

    In the late afternoon drive past spectacular rock formations to the Valle De la Luna (Moon Valley) where the lunar landscape is astonishingly photogenic. Huge sand dunes sweep across a panorama of salt-encrusted canyons, gullies and eroded rock sculptures. Walk up to the top of one to watch the valley at sunset - a dazzling palette of gold and reds. 

    Day 2: Today’s adventure takes you past Licancabur volcano to the village of Toconao, typical of the small oasis settlements of the area. Continue south, entering the Atacama salt flats, a national reserve. Pink flamingoes haunt the lagoons of the featureless white salt flats, and cacti stride towards the horizon.

    Day 3: Depart before dawn for a guided trip to Tatio geysers, at 4,300m the highest geyser field in the world. The geysers are a surreal sight at sunrise – blow-holes send jets of water and steam into a cloudless sky and, as the sun rises, the pools of water turn to shimmering silver. Later, you have time for a soak in hot springs (40°C). Please note that these can be closed for essential maintenence work.

    Day 4: Return to Calama airport to fly to Santiago to continue your holiday or connect with your international flight. (An overnight stay in Santiago may be required).
    UK clients arrive home the following day.

    Breakfast daily

  • Easter Island in depth 6 days from £2,274pp

    Polynesian Easter Island (Rapa Nui) lies 3,790km off the Chilean coast in the remote sub-tropical South Pacific. Windswept and grassy on one side, lushly vegetated on the other, and with a benign climate, it is famous for the clusters of huge enigmatic stone heads standing starkly against an azure skyline. Experience the unique atmosphere and friendly welcome.

    These few days on the island, with private excursions guided by enthusiastic experts in the field, will give you an insight-filled experience to satisfy your curiosity about the unique Rapa Nui culture. Triangular in shape, Easter Island measures no more than 8 miles at its widest point - with a huge, extinct volcanic crater at each of its extremes.

    Day 1: Fly from Santiago to Easter Island and continue to the secluded Hotel Altiplánico.  At 3km from the main town, Hanga Roa, it’s just a stone's throw from the ocean. Guest rooms resembling traditional boat houses are scattered over its tropical gardens. Facilities include a terrace and small pool.

    Day 2:  Full-day tour to introduce Easter Island's most iconic moai statues and intriguing archaeological heritage, encompassing the highlights of the island's north and east coast. There’s time to inspect the statues, explore a volcano and its extinct crater, and swim off a white-sand beach.

    Day 3: Explore geological and historic highlights in the south of the island. View 6 toppled statues, with admirable close-fitting Rapa Nui stonework. Continue to the quarry of the topknots, or 'hats', which adorned many of the moai, and on to view a 1km long collapsed lava tube used by early Easter Islanders as a dwelling. Next stop is the inland ahu (ceremonial platform) of Akivi, one of Easter Island's iconic and most photographed sites.

    Later visit Rano Kau, an extinct volcanic crater 1.6km across and 200m deep.  It is Easter Island's most spectacular natural attraction. Continue to Orongo, dramatically perched between the cliffs and the crater's edge, the site of the historic Birdman competition.

    Day 4: At leisure. You might take an optional 11km cliff-top walk which showcases the gloriously rugged coastline and volcanic landscape, with sweeping vistas across the Pacific Ocean. The hike ends at Anakena, a white coral beach.

    Day 5: Witness the citrus-hued sunrise at Ahu Tongariki. This vivid display of an artist's palette of colour can be especially memorable between October and April when the sun rises directly behind the 15-moai platform.Transfer to the airport and fly back to Santiago.

    Breakfast daily.

    You will need a positioning night in Santiago at either the beginning or end of your visit to Easter Island, depending on your itinerary. A stay at an airport hotel has been included in the cost.

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