My Dream Trip: Argentina & Chile: Glaciers and Gauchos10 days & 9 nights,
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Buenos Aires, El Calafate, Torres del Paine, Sierra Baguales & Santiago
Accompanied by Senior Destination Manager Ignacio Vallin, experience the natural and cultural wonders of the far south as you travel through the wild landscapes of Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia. Learn about the history of the region and the lives of the hardy gauchos who have made their homes here for centuries. Stay in historic estancias, dine on Patagonian fare, and witness sheep shearing and other traditional ranch activities as you discover the breathtaking beauty of Patagonia.
Day 1Arrive Buenos Aires
Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your hotel. After a morning at leisure, embark on a guided tour of the vibrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Return to the hotel before venturing out to a tango club for dinner.Legado Mitico - 1 Night (D)
Day 2To El Calafate
Fly south to the Patagonian town of El Calafate. Upon arrival, meet your driver and guide, check in to your hotel and explore Estancia Anita, one of the oldest ranches in Patagonia.Alta Vista Estancia - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
Day 3El Calafate
Follow your heart today with a choice of options. Embark on a full-day horseback-riding excursion to the border between Chile and Argentina. Or take a half-day horseback or hiking trip through the Anita Valley, which offers fantastic views of the Perito Moreno glacier. For the half-day excursions, return to the hotel for lunch and then visit nearby caves that contain ancient paintings of the Aonikenk people.Alta Vista Estancia (B, L, D)
Day 4El Calafate
Depart El Calafate in the morning on your way to the magnificent Perito Moreno glacier. Board a boat to cross Brazo Rico. On the other side, strap on your crampons and take a walk on the ice itself. While admiring the beautiful views, you will enjoy a glass of fine Whiskey accompanied with glacier ice. After a gourmet box lunch, spend the afternoon wandering the boardwalks that offer great views of the glacier.Alta Vista Estancia (B, L, D)
Day 5To Torres Del Paine National Park
Board your Jeep and head south toward Torres del Paine National Park.
This afternoon, relax and explore the grounds of your historic ranch hotel, or visit Laguna Azul, which offers incredible views of the Torres del Paine.Cerro Guido Estancia - 4 Nights (B, L, D)
Day 6Torres Del Paine National Park
Enjoy the day participating in any number of activities. You could walk the trail used by 19th-century traveler Florence Dixie (the first tourist to visit the area). Try your hand at fly-fishing in one of the native Aonikenk people's traditional spots, or track pumas through the wild landscapes.Cerro Guido Estancia (B, L, D)
Day 7Torres Del Paine National Park
After breakfast, explore the national park on guided drives and hikes, including a picnic lunch at the Blue Lagoon. Then travel back to your estancia for dinner.Cerro Guido Estancia (B, L, D)
Day 8Torres Del Paine National Park
Board Jeeps and drive for about a half hour to the town of Cerro Castillo to see the annual sheep shearing activities. Savor a BBQ lunch of roasted lamb and local potatoes at Cerro Guido in the company of local gauchos. This afternoon, take a horseback ride around Sierra Baguales in search of the famous wild horses that roam the area.Cerro Guido Estancia (B, L, D)
Day 9To Punta Arenas / Santiago
Head south to Punta Arenas for lunch and a tour of this historic city. Learn about the role it played in the Antarctic expeditions of explorers such as Shackelton and Scott. Board your flight for Santiago this evening and enjoy dinner on your own in the colorful Lastarria neighborhood of the capital's old town.Lastarria Singular - 1 Night (B, L)
Day 10Depart Santiago
After a morning at leisure, meet your guide for lunch. Then see the sights in Santiago, including the Plaza de Armas, Metropolitan Cathedral, and the exquisite palace of La Moneda. This evening, you are escorted to the airport for your onward flight.(B, L)
Generally, road travel in Latin America is reasonably good, however conditions vary greatly between the modern capital cities and the more remote areas. When traveling off the beaten track, roads are frequently narrow, bumpy, pot-holed and have stretches which are not paved, or which are under reconstruction. In Costa Rica, northern Chile and Bolivia particularly, conditions are very dusty and / or bumpy, and the road journeys tend to be quite strenuous. Road conditions change throughout the year and heavy rain and extreme weather patterns can affect journey times. Types of vehicles vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour: on escorted groups, transport will usually be in the form of a European-style coach or, for smaller groups, may be by mini-bus. On individual journeys, transport will generally be by sedan car. In destinations where conditions require it, off road driving will be in 4 x 4 vehicles.
Internal Flights / Delays / Insurance: Many countries within Latin America have their own air pass and, wherever possible, our tours will be constructed with the appropriate air pass, which will minimize the costs of the internal flight. Please note that the majority of air passes have restrictions; therefore if you require an itinerary with full flexibility, please contact your tour consultant who will advise the additional cost to provide you with a more flexible ticket. Please also note that in certain cases we may not be able to book internal flights under an airpass. In this event a supplement may be payable.
Because of increased air traffic, government restrictions and/or changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with your holiday arrangements, and additional costs may well be involved. This may be in the form of added accommodation costs, transfers and/or onward tickets. If this should occur, everything possible will be done to minimize the inconvenience. Cox & Kings will endeavor to ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible. As services are paid for in advance any services missed due to delays and/or schedule changes are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Flight Amendments: Flights on these tours are in general quoted separately and use special airfare. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict changes of date, route and airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Airport Departure Taxes: Most cities in Latin America levy a departure tax for passengers departing on international flights, which have to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in US dollars. Other cities within a country may also levy a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Occasionally, taxes may be included on your ticket and we will advise you accordingly. Since there is no standard charge between countries, and taxes are subject to change, it is not possible to list the taxes in this brochure. We will advise you of the current charge with your final documents, and our local agents will confirm the amount payable on arrival. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or US dollars to cover these taxes.
During some itineraries, it may be necessary to depart for excursions or transfers to the airport very early in the morning, sometimes before dawn. This is normally either due to the flight schedules within Latin America, or in order for us to maximize the opportunities for sightseeing during your tour. A number of flights to Latin America arrive / depart early in the morning and, while we will endeavor to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Latin America. In the larger cities, the hotels we use are fully modernized and have excellent facilities, unless you choose to opt for the more colonial style property, where facilities may be limited. In some smaller cities and more remote areas, we try to offer the best hotels available. However, these may be quite simple - sometimes small colonial-style properties, in which rooms may vary in size - and often have relatively basic facilities. Please note, all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room (e.g. to a lake or falls view, deluxe or suite etc.), please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-in & Check-out Times: For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in / out time is normally 3:00 pm, but this does vary between hotels.
Jungle Lodges & Remote Areas: Accommodation in some wildlife lodges in the Amazon rainforest, are not comparable to the better properties found in parts of Africa and Asia. Accommodation is often reached via narrow and unpaved roads, or by boat, and can be a long way from other civilization. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation is the best available; however sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases, we feel that the inconvenience of such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of staying in these more remote areas.
Capital: Buenos Aires
Official Language(s): Spanish
Visa or Fees: No Visa required. A $140 reciprocity fee is due upon arrival to the Ezezia International Airport in Buenos Aires. This fee is paid once and is valid for the life of the passport.
Argentina is a land of stunning natural beauty, from the wild windswept fjords of Tierra del Fuego to the high plateau landscapes of the north. As well as lively cities and fantastic food and wine, Argentina offers two of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders in Iguazú Falls and the Perito Moreno Glacier.
What To See
The energetic capital of Buenos Aires is a fantastic place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere, catch an impromptu tango session, enjoy superb steaks in some of its many fine restaurants and sample the lively nightlife.
The plains of Patagonia can be divided into coastal Patagonia and inland Patagonia. In Inland Patagonia, at the foot of the Andes, lies Los Glacieres National Park with the Perito Moreno Glacier, an inspiring sight. Coastal Patagonia’s Peninsula Valdes offers excellent wildlife viewing, including the world’s largest penguin colony at Punta Tombo Reserve, and opportunities to see southern right whales, sea lions, elephant seals, guanacos and maras (Patagonian hares).
Further north around the town of Bariloche, lies the Lake District, a region of beautiful forests, lakes and mountains and a great place for outdoor activities.
The wine-producing town of Mendoza is a stylish city which enjoys a stunning location in the foothills of the Andes. It is possible to visit a number of the city’s world-class vineyards.
When To Go
Argentina’s seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere’s. The best times to visit Buenos Aires are in spring and autumn. Mendoza and the Lake District are spectacular in autumn, when the leaves on the trees turn red and brown. For Patagonia, the best time to go is during the summer months (winter in US), as many services are unavailable in the winter.
Currency: Chilean Peso (CPL)
Official Language(s): Spanish
Visa or Fees: No Visa required. A $140 reciprocity fee is due upon arrival. This fee is paid once and is valid for the life of the passport.
Beginning in the north at the Peruvian border, Chile stretches most of the length of South America all the way to Tierra del Fuego in the south. From the lunar desert landscapes of Atacama to the wilderness of Patagonia, Chile is a country of incredible contrasts. At its widest point Chile is less than 350 km so almost everywhere you are, the majestic Andes, provide a spectacular backdrop.
What To See
The scenery and landscapes of Chile are all so varied that there are so many things to see. The Atacama Desert has some incredible sights: watching the flamingos at the salt flat as the sun sets behind the mountains and star-gazing in some of the world’s clearest skies.
Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, the far south of the country, is a walker’s and photographer’s natural paradise. It is a beautiful area of stunning mountains and crystal clear lakes. A five-hour drive from the nearest airport at Punta Arenas into Torres del Paine National Park, it is definitely remote.
Because of the length of the country, it is impossible to avoid taking domestic flights. This means it is inevitable that nights are needed in Santiago when flights don’t connect. For a capital city in South America, there isn’t a great deal to see or do, so excellent alternatives are the wine lands in the Casablanca Valley and the quirky port city of Valparaíso, both easily accessible from Santiago airport.
Easter Island, owned by Chile but lying almost half way across the Pacific Ocean and more Polynesian than Chilean, is another unique destination, shrouded in mystery and intrigue that few people ever experience. The history of the Moai is not known and no one really understands the origins of neither the stelae nor how they came to be on the islands.
When To Go
Traditionally Chile is considered best to visit from December to March, as this is the South American summer. However, the Atacama area can be visited all year round, as due to the high altitudes, days are warm and nights are always cold. Torres del Paine National Park is very busy from November to February as this is peak months for hikers. In the winter from June to August, there is often snow and the winds from Antarctica are much lower so although cold, it doesn’t feel as biting as perhaps during the other months. During these months, the park is much quieter but some areas are inaccessible due to snowfall. Easter Island can be visited all year but is quieter outside of the summer months.