Splendors Of South America16 days & 15 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
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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 1Arrive 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
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 3To Punta Arenas - Patagonia
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.Hotel CostAustralis (B)
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.
Day 4To 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.Hotel Rio Serrano - 2 Nights (B)
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.
Day 5Torres 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 6To 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 7El 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.Kosten Aike (B)
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.
Day 8To Buenos Aires
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires.The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires - 3 Nights (B)
Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.
Day 9Buenos 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 10Buenos 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 11To 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.
- 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.
Day at leisure to explore the Argentinian side of the falls.Sheraton Iguazu Resort & Spa (B)
Day 13To 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.Windsor Excelsior Hotel / Miramar Hotel by Windsor - 3 Nights (B)
Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.
Day 14Rio 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.Windsor Excelsior Hotel / Miramar Hotel by Windsor (B)
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.
Day 15Rio 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 16Depart Rio de Janeiro
Day at leisure.(B)
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.
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.