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Honeymoon in Argentina: Tango of the south

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in Palermo.
El Cabildo, Buenos Aires

Transfer to your intimate boutique hotel located in the leafy district of Soho Palermo with its art galleries, plush boutiques and restaurants. The zoo and Japanese Gardens are nearby, and many of the city's attractions are a short drive away.

Buenos Aires 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.  Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French or Italian influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest. During the winter months, wealthy female residents parade the streets in their fur coats and improbable, towering hairstyles, and take afternoon tea in the city’s ornate salons.

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El Cabildo, Buenos Aires

Day 2

Bike tour of San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ tango, art and antique quarter.
Tango show, Buenos Aires

Guided tour by bicycle of the most interesting quarters of the city.  It’s a fun and exhilarating way to get a different perspective on Buenos Aires. It would be a daunting prospect to launch off into the labyrinth of streets and grids on your own, but this tour is fully accompanied with English-speaking guide leading the way safely from one top sight to another.

This tour takes you to Puerto Madero, the capital's refurbished dockland, now a leisure area complete with trendy lofts, waterside promenades lined with smart bars and restaurants and a small yachting marina. Continue via a tranquil ecological reserve to La Boca, the once rather seedy Italian immigrant port district that is the cradle of the tango, now a smart bohemian area popular among artists. You'll also visit San Telmo, a folksy district renowned for its antiques shops and flea markets, and Plaza de Mayo, the city's historic heart with the cathedral and famous Casa Rosada, seat of government. En route you'll pass at a leisurely pace through small parks, over bridges and past pretty churches and mansions, more easily appreciated from a bike saddle than the inside of a car.

In the evening, accompanied by an expert and shunning smart restaurants and tourist spots, you'll dine out local-style, tasting authentic Argentine dishes in a variety of settings. After dinner, visit a local milonga - a traditional tango hall - or a peña, similarly popular among locals but specialising in traditional music from the Andean north-west of Argentina. These can be wonderfully atmospheric venues, especially late at night when they tend to get busy with dancing into the early hours. 

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Tango show, Buenos Aires

Day 3

At leisure in Buenos Aires.
La Boca

At leisure in Buenos Aires. Stroll around 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 fisherman at work and river-craft gliding by. A third choice would be a trip out to one of Argentina’s famous estancias (ranches) on the grassy plains of the pampas.



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La Boca

Day 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazú, transfer to hotel in the national park.
Upper walkway, Iguazu Falles, Argentina

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Iguazú in the subtropical northeast corner of Argentina (2 hrs).  Your hotel is a short stroll from the Iguazú Falls, it’s the only property inside the national park on the Argentine side. This means you have the advantage of being able to get down to the water’s edge before all the day trippers (access is from 7.30).

The Iguazú Falls are unquestionably one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world.  A total of 275falls thunder over a rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest. The U-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú river crashes over a 1.5km wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller cascades. You can usually spot colourful toucans and many other exotic birds perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters.

At leisure to explore the falls. A sequence of causeways and passarelles links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of the sheer rock face and the walkways cross the myriad of streams of the river as they cascade over the lip of the precipice: the water thunders on to the rocks below. A similar network of paths runs below, beside and even behind the falls. 

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Upper walkway, Iguazu Falles, Argentina

Day 5

Visit the Brazilian side of Iguazú falls.
Toco toucan, Iguazu National Park

Today you’ll have a guided tour of the Brazilian side of the falls, crossing the international border for the day.

Cross the bridge which spans the Iguazú river and links the cities of Puerto Iguazú in Argentina and Foz do Iguaçú in Brazil. At the entrance to the National Park, there's a visitor centre with displays of the biodiversity of the rainforest. You'll board a (shared) National Park service here and continue by road for the final stretch to the falls themselves. There's a walkway of about a kilometre, with viewpoints at strategic intervals - you get a panoramic view of the whole sweep of the cataracts - an entirely different experience from the Argentine side. Towards the end of the walk, there's an observation tower adjacent to the falls, and a walkway at the bottom takes you out for a closer and much wetter experience.


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Toco toucan, Iguazu National Park

Day 6

Fly to Mendoza, transfer to your hotel in the wine region.
Vineyard, Mendoza

Transfer to the airport and fly to Mendoza on the slopes of the Andes. Drive to Hotel Lares de Chacras. This friendly and informal family-owned country house is just 25 mins' drive from Mendoza in the area of Chacras de Coria.

The region is known for its wines and delicious food, and these elements are apparent at this small hotel. Its architectural style is rustic and cosy, combining stone with wood. It has just 8 rooms; those on the ground floor have sliding glass doors opening on to the garden and swimming pool, and some first floor rooms have balconies. There is a restaurant, bar, living room with fireplace, games room, cavernous wine cellar and a quincho where a typical barbeque is prepared (advance notice required). You can buy home-produced produce such as olive oil and marmalade. Bikes are complimentary.

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Vineyard, Mendoza

Day 7

Visit 3 different vineyards in Luján de Cujo or Maipú area.
Vineyards of Mendoza
A full day guided tour including 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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Vineyards of Mendoza

Day 8

Guided white water rafting excursion.
Drive 70km from Mendoza, passing captivating upland views, to a river put-in point. From here, you'll begin an exhilarating water-borne excursion, rafting through continual rapids in the snowmelt water of the Andes, through River's Town to Devil's Elbow. It is rated class III/IV which we interpret as moderate to hard. The thrill of taking on the rapids, combined with the breath-taking Argentine scenery makes for a great trip. You'll be in safe hands with a specialist, bilingual instructor and given all the required safety equipment and support - helmet, lifejacket, safety talk and a safety kayak. 

Day 9

Fly to Bariloche, transfer to Estancia Peuma Hue.
Seven Lakes in Argentina

Transfer to the airport and fly to San Carlos de Bariloche, the main town in Argentina's lake district, on the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The town is a centre for skiing in winter (July and August), and walking in summer - set against a stunning backdrop of glacial green-blue lakes framed by the mountains of the Andes.

Transfer to the estancia Peuma Hue, voted one of the top 30 eco-resorts in the world. It sits within grounds populated by creeks, waterfalls and lake-shores. 

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Seven Lakes in Argentina

Days 10-11

At leisure on the estancia with optional outdoor activities.
Argentina's idyllic lake district
At leisure to enjoy the many outdoor activities on site. Hiking, horse-riding and kayaking activities are included. You might also try climbing, paragliding, white-water rafting, massages, wine-tasting, bird-watching, fly-fishing, tango lessons, and yoga and tai chi workshops – all optional extras. Décor throughout is homely and authentically Patagonian with wooden beams and many traditional artefacts scattered around; home produce is used in meals; and the ambience is warm and friendly with a New Age feel.
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Argentina's idyllic lake district

Day 12

Fly to El Calafate and transfer to a luxurious Patagonian lodge.

Transfer to the airport and fly to El Calafate in Patagonia. Transfer to luxurious Eolo lodge, on the sweeping grassy plains close to turquoise Lago Argentino.  Tourism in the last twenty years has transformed El Calafate into a bustling entrepôt for access to the nearby scenery of glaciers, lakes and impossibly steep peaks.

Eolo has been built in the style of a typical Patagonian sheep ranch but with a modern, first class interior: the emphasis is on old-fashioned luxury: the views across the steppes from the lodge are staggering. You take your meals here: the food is inspired by French cuisine and there is a comprehensive wine list.


Day 13

The ‘Big Ice’ trek on Perito Moreno glacier
Perito Moreno glacier

An adventure on the ice at Perito Moreno Glacier: there aren't many sights on Earth that are truly awe-inspiring, but this is one of them. The glacier has a surface area roughly the size of Hampshire's New Forest. It is 5km wide and stands 60m above the surface of Lago Argentino, itself peppered with icebergs the size of battle cruisers. Its icy body is fed by the southern continental ice field from the west, and from other smaller surrounding glaciers, and until recently it was one of the few advancing glaciers in the world: it is still very dynamic, with shards of ice as high as tower blocks breaking off and collapsing into the water below.

Instead of admiring the wall of ice from the safety of the viewing platforms, you are going to walk on the ice’s surface, much less smooth than you might imagine with rocks and crevasses. Observed by your trained guides you’ll pick up your crampons and begin walking, following the lateral moraine towards the centre of the glacier. After an hour's hike, arrive at the beginning of the so-called “Big Ice” trek. During the trek you will see huge moulins, crevasses, caves and the frozen little lakes on the surface. This excursion will suit active honeymooners who enjoy a challenge, with around 7hrs spent on ice. We can also organise an easy ice trek if you’d prefer something less energetic.

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Perito Moreno glacier

Day 14

Unwind at the lodge.
Condor glides over Argentine Patagonia
At leisure at Eolo. While the spectacular glaciers are the main attraction in the area, there is an abundance of Patagonian wildlife too including guanacos, rheas (a type of ostrich), flamingos and condors.  Activities within the extensive grounds of the lodge are included in your stay, such as mountain biking, walking and bird and wildlife watching, all of which are provided with bilingual guides. Horse riding and excursions to the surrounding glaciers are available at extra cost.
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Condor glides over Argentine Patagonia

Day 15

Fly to Buenos Aires.
Transfer to the airport and fly to Buenos Aires. Last overnight stay back in your boutique hotel in Palermo.

Day 16

Transfer to Buenos Aires international airport for your flight home.

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