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Splendors Of South America

Splendors Of South America

16 days & 15 nights, Escorted Discovery Group

Santiago, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine, El Calafate, Buenos Aires, Iguazu & Rio De Janeiro

Explore the celebrated highlights of Brazil, Chile and Argentina, combining spectacular natural wonders with some of southern South America's most exciting cities. Start in Santiago at the foothills of the Andes, discover the extraordinary beauty of Patagonia, then visit the city of Buenos Aires and marvel at the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, before finishing in the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro.

  • Day 1
    Arrive Santiago

    You will be met and taken to your hotel.

    Afternoon at leisure or optional excursion to a local winery. Should you wish to book any optional excursions locally, please enquire with our local agent.

    Hotel Plaza San Francisco - 2 Nights
  • Day 2
    Santiago

    Take a city tour, visiting the most important places of interest including La Moneda Presidential Palace; the Civic Center; the Pre-Columbian Museum, housing outstanding displays of artefacts from Mexico to Chile; and the elaborately decorated cathedral in the Plaza de Armas. Visit the colorful Central Market with its picturesque stalls selling fish, seafood and a wide variety of fresh fruits and flowers. There will be a stop for lunch (payable locally), before continuing to the San Cristobal hill, crowned by the white statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada. Enjoy a panoramic city view and then drive through the prestigious neighborhood of Providencia to your hotel. The tour will finish at approximately 3:00 pm.

    Hotel Plaza San Francisco (B)
  • Day 3
    To Punta Arenas - Patagonia

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.

    On arrival at Punta Arenas airport, travel to Puerto Natales visiting the penguin colony at Otway Sound en route, a journey of approximately 3 hours, not including stops.

    Otway Sound is about an hour from Punta Arenas and contains a beautiful landscape of steppes, bays and fjords. Here, see the Magellanic penguins that live in large migratory colonies (November to March). Continue through the Patagonian steppe to the picturesque town of Puerto Natales, situated on the Ultima Esperanza fjord, a journey of approximately 2 hours.

    Hotel CostAustralis (B)
  • Day 4
    To Torres del Paine

    You will be driven from Puerto Natales to the Torres del Paine with a full day's exploration of the national park. Total journey time is approximately 8 hours, including stops.

    The spectacular Torres del Paine National Park is part of the United Nation's World Biosphere Reserve system. Here, pumas, foxes, guanacos and rhea coexist in what is nothing if not Patagonian "Eden", a rich landscape of Lengas and Coigues, fragrant heather, legendary Calafate (it is believed that those who sample this regional berry always return) and other amazing flora.

    The journey to the park begins with a drive out of Puerto Natales along the Seno de Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Continue through the hills and extended pampas of the wild and beautiful Patagonian landscape and arrive at the Torres del Paine National Park.

    There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the area by road and on foot. Visit Amarga Lagoon for a breathtaking view of the park's iconographic Torres del Paine. Watch as the emerald Nordenskjold Lake at the base of the mountains pours through roaring Salto Grande (Grand Waterfall) into Pehoe Lake, a grand lake in its own right and a good location to see the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Paine) once more. Drive along the shores of the lake to Salto Chico (Little Waterfall) and stroll through an old lenga forest. Visit Lake Grey and see giant chunks of ice, pieces of the nearby Grey Glacier, drift along the lake. At the end of the tour you will be dropped off at your hotel in the park.

    Hotel Rio Serrano - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 5
    Torres del Paine

    Take a short transfer to the national park entrance at Lake Sarmiento to begin a 2- to 3-hour hike along the edge of the national park to the park entrance near Amarga lagoon. During your hike you may spot guanacos and flightless rheas (nandus) that live in the park. You will also see ancient rock paintings created by the indigenous people of the region, before returning to your hotel.

    Afternoon at leisure or optional excursions in the park. Should you wish to book any optional excursions locally, please enquire with our local agent.

    Hotel Rio Serrano (B)
  • Day 6
    To El Calafate, Argentina

    Drive to the border of Argentina at Cancha Carrera. Here, you will be met by a representative of our Argentinian agents and will be taken to your hotel in El Calafate. The journey time is approximately 6 hours.

    Kosten Aike - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 7
    El Calafate

    Travel 50 miles north-west through the Patagonian steppes and into the Los Glaciares National Park. Featuring rugged, towering mountains, forests and glacial scenery, the park covers part of the vast Southern Continental Ice Field (the second largest continental ice field after Antarctica) and includes the glacier-fed arms of the huge Lake Argentino. Wildlife is not abundant here, but the most commonly sighted animals and birds in the region are: European hares, buff-necked ibises, southern lapwings, sheldgeese, flamingos, condors, rheas and guanacos.

    Arrive at the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier. It is estimated to be over 30,000 years old, spans an area of over 2 miles and is at a height of about 196 feet. It is famous for its constant movement and dramatic landslides. A walk along the paths in front of its western wall allows for impressive views from different perspectives. It is also possible to take an optional boat trip in front of the ice wall for a better idea of the height of the glacier.

    Summer temperatures rarely exceed 55 degrees Fahrenheit and winter temperatures often fall well below zero. Cold westerly winds blow almost all day and night, all year.

    Kosten Aike (B)
  • Day 8
    To Buenos Aires

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires.

    Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.

    The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires - 3 Nights (B)
  • Day 9
    Buenos Aires

    Explore the elegant and cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. Firstly you visit the 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest in the world, passing the famous Colon Opera house and the Obelisk commemorating the founding of the city in 1536 and continue to the Plaza de Mayo and the buildings surrounding it which include the Government House, Metropolitan Cathedral and Town Hall. Then you visit La Boca, a typically Italian district, where you visit the 'Caminito' street. The tour continues to Buenos Aires port area towards Palermo Chico residential district and Palermo Park. The tour ends in the elegant district of Recoleta where you visit the Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron was buried.

    The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires (B)
  • Day 10
    Buenos Aires

    Day at leisure or take an optional excursion, such as a visit to an estancia in the Pampas or an evening tango show with dinner at Esquina Carlos Gardel or similar. Should you wish to book any optional excursions locally, please enquire with our local agent on arrival in Buenos Aires.

    The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires (B)
  • Day 11
    To Iguazu / Iguacu

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Iguazu.

    Upon arrival, enjoy the tour of the Brazilian side of the falls. The Parque Nacional Foz do Iguacu in Brazil was founded in 1939 and offers the best views of the full scale of the Iguacu Falls, in addition to protecting a vast array of wildlife. You will be met at the airport and transferred across the border to the Brazilian side. Here, walk along a paved walkway, which leads from beside the Hotel Das Cataratas through sub-tropical forest for 1 mile until it reaches the bottom of the Floriana falls. Along the way there are excellent views over to the Argentinian side of the falls. At Floriana either a lift or a path will lead you to the top of the falls from where there are further stunning views.

    Following your visit, transfer to your hotel on the Argentine side of the falls.

    Notes:

    • Please ensure you have your passport ready for the border crossings between Argentina and Brazil.
    • Please note that the Iguacu/Iguazu National Park fees are not included and are payable locally.
    • Please dress in light clothing and have sun protection to hand. Waterproofs are recommended for some parts of the walkway.
    Sheraton Iguazu Resort & Spa - 2 Nights (B)
  • Day 12
    Iguazu

    Day at leisure to explore the Argentinian side of the falls.

    Sheraton Iguazu Resort & Spa (B)
  • Day 13
    To Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport on the Brazilian side of the Falls. Board your flight to Rio de Janeiro.

    Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.

    Windsor Excelsior Hotel / Miramar Hotel by Windsor - 3 Nights (B)
  • Day 14
    Rio de Janeiro

    You will set off this morning on a panoramic tour of Rio's main beaches including Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. You will then continue to the cable car station on Praia Vermelha. From here a succession of two cable cars will take you to the 1300-foot summit of the world famous Sugar Loaf Mountain. The view from the glass enclosed cars and the two summits is magnificent. You look out on to the city's sweeping coastline with its tall buildings curling around forested mountains and bays, the statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Hill and, on the horizon, the imposing Niteroi bridge.

    After lunch (payable locally) you will take a beautifully scenic drive past Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon to the foot of Corcovado Hill. The summit is reached from Rua Cosme Velho, via a cog railway, which at the time of its inauguration in 1884 was hailed as a great achievement of engineering. The hunch-backed Corcovado Hill is famous for the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer, which stands arms stretched on the mountain's summit. The view from here is as stunning as that from Sugar Loaf, but it takes in different perspectives. You will see the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, the exclusive Jockey Club racecourse, the mountains rising in the background and the spectacular Niteroi Bridge in the distance. The tour will take approximately eight hours.

    Windsor Excelsior Hotel / Miramar Hotel by Windsor (B)
  • Day 15
    Rio de Janeiro

    Day at leisure or optional excursions, including a visit to the Tijuca rainforest, the botanical gardens or Rio's old center. Should you wish to book any optional excursions locally, please enquire with our local agent.

    Windsor Excelsior Hotel / Miramar Hotel by Windsor (B)
  • Day 16
    Depart Rio de Janeiro

    Day at leisure.

    You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.

    (B)
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