Discover the colonial charm, neoclassical plazas and stylish neighbourhoods of Santiago. This city is packed full of history and is a great place to explore on foot. Wind through the country lanes of the Mendoza wine region – the world’s largest producer of Malbec. During this trip you’ll have ample opportunity to refine your palate by tasting varietals of one of South America’s favourite wines. Take part in the daily routines and duties of a gaucho on a traditional Argentinian estancia, a unique retreat for any traveller. Indulge in the cuisine, culture and nightlife of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Argentinian produce is some of the best in the world
Discover the spirit of the south on this enriching journey from Santiago to Rio de Janeiro. Kick back in picturesque Mendoza, sample culinary delights in Buenos Aires, experience the might of Iguazu Falls and live it up in beachside Rio. This trip delivers adventure and discovery as well as a healthy dose of indulgence, comfort and relaxation. Be immersed in the culture and traditions of these countries, which are rich in natural beauty and history. Rub shoulders with locals living a passionate life and see how this enthusiasm for living is infectious! If you want to experience the best of Chile, Argentina and Brazil then this trip is for you.
Breakfast Included: 12 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 2
Welcome to Santiago, Chile. Once you’ve arrived, transfer from the airport to the hotel (transfer is included). Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early into Santiago, perhaps head out on a short walk to get your bearings of the city.
Today at 10am you will get to grips with Santiago on a walking tour with a local leader (approximately 4hrs) – the city centre itself is quite small and simple to get around. You’ll discover more about this city, which was founded in 1541 by the Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia, and has experienced a turbulent history that has included native wars, floods and earthquakes. Head to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city and home to the cathedral. The cathedral has recently undergone renovations, so now is the ideal time to visit. Walk through the central market to try some local specialities. Next, you'll take the cable car to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for the best view of the city. Finishing the tour in the bohemian Bellavista neighbourhood.
Perhaps continue yourselves to explore the modern parts of Santiago to see elegant residential neighbourhoods, shopping and financial districts. Later, take the chance to dine out at one of the city's famous restaurants.
In the morning around 9am, travel through the Andes and across the Argentinean border by local bus to Mendoza (approximately 6 hours on the bus). It’s a good idea to bring plenty of water and snacks, as the trip may incur delays. On a clear day it may be possible to see Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,962 meters above sea level. Please note that crossing the border can take up to three hours depending on local traffic. Once in Mendoza, get to know the city with a gentle stroll around its tree-lined streets, or visit the local cafes and restaurants for some Argentinean fare.
This morning around 8:45am head out on a winery tour. Mendoza is Argentina's most prolific and significant grape-growing region, producing nearly three-quarters of the country's wine. The climate produces an excellent variety of grapes, with the region's signature being Malbec. Visit several wineries and cellar doors, tasting Malbec, Torrontes and other local varietals along the way. Lunch around 1pm and return to the city by 3:30pm.
In the evening, perhaps test how refined your palate is by attempting to pair the perfect wine with an authentic Argentine asado (barbecue-style food).
This afternoon fly from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, which only takes around one and a half hours. On arrival, travel in a minivan for just over an hour to a traditional estancia (ranch). This is where the group will be staying for the next couple of days. Upon arrival, freshen up after a long day and get ready for dinner.
During your time on the estancia you can do as much or as little as you desire. Activities may also vary depending on the day. You could go horse riding, take a cooking class or learn more about the sport of polo. Alternatively you could laze by the pool and read or have a barbecue. Estancias are ideal for relaxation and provide a great base for activities. Please remember that activities vary depending on the days that you are there. If in doubt, ask your trip leader for more information.
After breakfast head back to the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires (approximately 2.5 hours). The Portenos (local residents) are justifiably proud of their city, which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own style. After checking in to the hotel enjoy an orientation walk of the city. Visit the antique markets and artist displays of San Telmo, and the presidential palace of the Casa Rosada (Pink House) in the Plaza de Mayo.
Today explore Buenos Aires on a full-day tour with a local guide. Starting in Plaza de Mayo, we will visit the Cabildo, the Colonial Ton Hall, The metropolitan cathederal and the Presidential Palace. Wander the cobbled streets of San Telmo, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, then onto La Boca where we will visit the iconic Caminito Street, which gives the neighbourhood its distinctive spirit. We will then then continue on to the Barracas neighbourhood, which is a charming area off the well trodden tourist path.
We will stop for lunch at a local NGO ( non Government Organisiation) that has a market selling produce grown less than 30 minutes away by small producers. You will have the opportunity to learn about the history of this project, and the purpose of this cooperative and enjoy a homemade lunch made with agroecological products here, whilst also being able to participate in the preparation of some food! Lunch consists in empanadas or pizzas + alfajores for desert + nonalcoholic drinks. You will also be invited to try the local mate tea!
After our lunch, we will continue towards Retiro and Recoleta, where we will learn about the local wealthy families of Argentina, who sought to build a small‐scale Paris in the heart of Buenos Aires.
Then we’ll visit the unique Recoleta Cemetery, a true labyrinth of ornate mausoleums. There, we’ll make a stop at the grave of Eva Peron, one of the country’s most recognizable icons. We will also see the Floralis Generica, a huge metal flower located in Palermo. We’ll see French palaces in Palermo Chico and beautiful parks designed by Carlos Thays.
After your day of sightseeing, get ready to be captivated by Argentina’s most famous dance; the Tango. In a private space a professional Tango couple will explain the dance’s origin and history, as well as demonstrating the intimately fluid movements for you. You will then be invited to join an hour long beginner’s class to learn some of the basic techniques and understand the rhythm.
Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side)
Fly to Puerto Iguazu in the northeast corner of Argentina today. The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border of Argentina and Brazil, and the group will be visiting the falls from both sides. The falls are over 2 km in length and consist of 275 falls in total, some of which stretch up to 80 metres high. This makes them higher than Niagara Falls and wider than Victoria Falls. Head across to Brazil to admire panoramic views of the waterfalls. Take an optional helicopter flight over the top of the falls for a more panoramic view. Tonight, spend the night in a hotel in Foz do Iguazu (Brazil)
Iguazu Falls (Argentinean side)
A visit to the Argentinian side of Iguazu today allows you to get up close to the waterfalls via a series of boardwalks. According to Guarani legend, Iguazu Falls was created when the serpent god M’Boy, enraged by the betrayal of a chieftain’s daughter who was promised to him, split the river in half. For a more exhilarating experience, take an optional Zodiac boat ride to the base of the falls. Visit a Guarani community to meet some of the region’s few remaining indigenous people. Return to our hotel on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Rio de Janeiro
Take an early morning flight from Foz do Iguacu to Rio. The locals say that 'if God made the world in six days, he devoted the seventh to Rio'. The day is yours to do what you like. For relaxation and people watching, head to the beaches of Copacabana or Ipanema. If the time of year is right, check out a football game or a Carnival rehearsal. As evening approaches, perhaps take the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sunset before getting sweaty with the locals in the samba clubs of bohemian Lapa.
Rio de Janeiro
It's an early start this morning, as we embark on a full-day guided tour of Rio. Starting at Corcovado Mountain for sweeping views over Rio from the base of the Christ the Reedemer statue before the crowds arrive. Discover the eclectic architecture, restaurants and art galleries of the artistic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Then continue on to by the famous Selaron Steps to see artist Jorge Selaron’s gift to the Brazilian people. We finish the day with a a walking tour of the Port area. This area, a little more off the beaten track, has been recognized for its cultural and historical importance as it was a main Port for the slave trade in Brazil. We will be joined by a local guide from the Pretos Novos institute, which aims to preserve the cultural heritage found in the Port area. On the walk, learn about the story of how the African slaves arrived to Brazil, the horrific conditions they endured on the journey over, how they were sold and, eventually, how they resisted and became free. Their story is intrinsically connected with the history of samba and Brazilian culture.