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Gaucho: Vintage Argentina

What's included


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

Day 1

Guided tour of the city.
 
Santiago

Those passengers arriving on an international flight will be met at the airport by the tour leader or a local representative. There will be time to relax before your guided walking tour of the colonial centre of the city, and later you may be able to visit independently one or two of the many museums, markets and parks of this cosmopolitan capital. Santiago is laid out in a broad valley below the snow-capped Andes.

For a panoramic view over the city, visit Cerro Santa Lucía, a central, romantic park. For even more panoramic vistas, a cable car leads to the summit of San Cristóbal, where you can join Chilean families wandering along the leafy paths. Afterwards, have a beer at one of the pavement cafés in Bellavista. This is an Italian quarter of narrow streets peppered with bars and shops selling local lapis lazuli (only Chile and Afghanistan produce the stones in commercial quantities).

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Santiago

Day 2

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

Today there is a visit to Chile's second city, Valparaíso (2 hours by bus). This lively seaport is built on a series of hills which form a backdrop to the wide bay, with views over the seaside resort of Viña del Mar. You can wander through the steep, winding streets and among the brightly-coloured colonial homes built for 19th century British and German merchants, or take a ride in one of the creaky wooden funiculars which link the cliff-top communities. On the way back we stop to visit one of the vineyards close to Santiago, to sample some highly respected Chilean wine.

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Valparaiso, Chile

Day 3

Fly across the Andes to Mendoza.
 

Departing Chile you fly across the Andes to the laid-back city of Mendoza, one of the first places to be colonised by the Spanish in 1561. Although much of the city has been destroyed over the years through fires and earthquakes, its pleasant tree lined avenues, low rise buildings and university city atmosphere make it a great base to explore the region, and a walking tour of the city will help you orientate through its plazas.

Day 4

Tour of local vineyards.
 
Mendoza vineyard
Todays full day tour will include a visit to 3 different vineyards in the Luján de Cuyo or Maipú areas of Mendoza province. Within the rain shadow of the Andes, these zones have been transformed over generations into world-class wine producing regions using both traditional and modern methods of irrigation. You'll have the opportunity to understand more about the processes involved in the cultivation and production of wine as well as the chance to taste the different varieties. Lunch at one of the wineries is included (with wine, of course).
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Mendoza vineyard

Day 5

Flight to Salta.
 
Salta

We fly to Salta, in the northwest of the country. This friendly town is set in the foothills of the Andes, green and flowery in summer, somewhat more arid in winter. It has an attractive main square with a splendid baroque cathedral and many cafés, bars and restaurants. On the outskirts lies a hill, reached by a long cable car, from where there is a sweeping panorama of the city and the mountains beyond. The best-preserved Inca mummies yet found are displayed in a museum here. They were recently recovered from the peak of a remote mountain over 6,000m high.

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Salta

Day 6

Wine tasting in Cafayate, visit the multi-coloured canyon country.
 
From Salta we take a full-day trip to the sleepy town of Cafayate, centre for the region's well respected wineries. The road follows a dramatic, winding canyon; its rocky walls ranging in colour from yellow ochre, through dusty violet to blood-red. There are several stops en route where you can walk up narrow desert canyons for expansive views.

The town itself is set against an Andean backdrop, and we visit one of the many local vineyards, with a guided tour and opportunity to sample wines such as the Torrontés, which is unique to Argentina.

Day 7

Optional visit to Humahuaca gorge and nearby Andean villages.
 
Humahuaca

Today there is an optional excursion to visit the Humahuaca Gorge, where the spectacularly contrasting coloured rock strata is as extraordinary as photographs suggest. The higher and dryer hillsides are dotted with battalions of giant cacti. En route we may stop at a few of the colonial/Indian villages, constructed from traditional adobe bricks. These are the only places in Argentina where the inhabitants still wear the intricately woven ponchos of the Andes.

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Humahuaca

Day 8

Fly to Puerto Iguazú.
 

Fly to Puerto Iguazú in the subtropical north-east corner of Argentina. The Iguazú Falls constitute one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in the world. A total of 275 falls thunder through dense forest over a distance of 2.5km. At the u-shaped Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) the Iguazú river is sent cascading over a precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller falls. You can often spot toucans perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters.

Day 9

Explore the Argentine side of the waterfalls.
 
Iguassu Falls
Today you visit the Argentine side of the falls, starting at the National Park Visitor Centre, which reveals the biodiversity of the region's tropical rainforest. A small locomotive then transfers you to Cataratas Station where the Upper Walk begins. This sequence of causeways links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of a sheer rock face and the walkways cross the myriad streams of the Iguazú river as they cascade over the lip of the precipice and thunder onto the rocks below.

The train then continues to Devil's Throat Station and from here a 1km long walkway leads across the river to the Devil's Throat. From this vantage point you can feel the mesmerising power of the water as it plummets into the vortex below. Following this, there is an optional boat trip out to the base of the falls; it's an exhilarating ride that takes you within touching distance of the water and your clothes and hair are soaked with the spray.

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Iguassu Falls

Day 10

Guided tour of Buenos Aires.
 
Fly to Buenos Aires an elegant city famed for its grand colonial and belle époque architecture along with the arty port district of La Boca. It was in La Boca, with its gaily painted houses, that the tango was born, and where Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills. The centre of town is home to the historic heartland, government buildings and churches as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic, Parisian feel. The bohemian district of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and extravagant restaurants. Close to the centre is the Gallic influenced Recoleta district where Evita Peron was laid to rest. We explore some of these quarters on our guided city tour.

Day 11

Food tour of San Telmo.
 
San Telmo

Today's included excursion is a culinary-themed lunchtime walking tour around the bohemian district of San Telmo. Here you will find some of the best off-the-beaten-track eateries to taste authentic Argentine dishes, including from the city's traditional hole-in-the-wall parrillas. Learn about culture and cuisine visiting several venues, sampling traditional street foods like choripan, provoleta and empanadas; a variety of classic parrilla cuts of meat; wines; and artisanal 'heladeria' ice creams.

Later the afternoon is free for you to further explore this magnificent city and in the evening you might want to finish off your trip at a tango show.

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San Telmo

Day 12

Depart for international flight or extension.
 

UK clients arrive home the following day.
 

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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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21 Jul 2019

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1 Aug 2019

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13 Oct 2019

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24 Oct 2019

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16 Feb 2020

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27 Feb 2020

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3 May 2020

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14 May 2020

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19 Jul 2020

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30 Jul 2020

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