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Between Buenos Aires and Rio are the silent landscapes of Salta, the noisy rainforests of the Iguassu Falls and the gorgeous beaches of colonial Paraty. Tie them all together in this tailor made journey.
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Fly to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, most likely on an overnight flight. Please note: international flights are quoted separately.
Land in Buenos Aires today. On arrival you are collected by your guide and taken to your charming small hotel in either the Palermo or Las Canitas area. Despite being close to the centre of the city, these barrios are quiet, leafy and green with lots of pavement cafes. Relax after your journey and stretch your legs this afternoon, before strolling to one of the restaurants nearby for supper.
Spend this morning in the company of your own private guide who can take you on and off the beaten track in this lively and beautiful city. You will have a car at your disposal, but we recommend getting out and walking for some of the tour. Rather than follow a specific route, you basically just let them know what sorts of things you like to see and they can take you. This afternoon you might like to explore the enormous and rather lovely Recoleta cemetery.
Transfer to the airport for the flight to the northwest of Argentina and the city of Salta where you will really know that you are in South America: the welcoming locals, the pretty village churches, the grand colonial city architecture and the pre-Inca ruins surround you. However, it is the scenery of this remarkable region that is the real star of the show. Tour the city with your guide before heading south to stay in a beautiful small hotel.
You have the day to relax at the finca, or head out for some further exploration. Nearby there is a nature reserve which has abundant quantities of birdlife. If you like your food, you might spend the morning in the kitchen, helping to make empanadas or other food. Alternatively, head out with your guide to go for a hike in the mountains.
Set off on your journey to drive over the Piedra del Molino Pass and through the Los Cardones National Park to the mountain village of Cachi. The national park is particularly famous for its giant cacti which dot hillsides ranging in colour from dark green to deep red. This is a beautiful journey on unpaved roads so it's a slow drive with lots of stops. You can either have a driver-guide or go self-guided, whichever you prefer.
Leaving Cachi, you follow the legendary Ruta 40 road down the Calchaquies Valley. The villagers in this area make their living from peppers so you will pass enormous stretches of red peppers drying in the sun. After passing through the village of Molinos, you will reach the Valley of the Arrows. As the sun sets, the mountains change colour, making for some of the most beautiful scenery of your holiday.
Cafayate is famously home to the highest vineyards in the world, particularly known for Torrontes white wines. This morning visit a local bodega with a special wine tasting lunch included.This afternoon enjoy a sunset hike through the Valley of the Shells. This valley is strewn with vast, bright red rocks, and at this time of day you have the evening sun making the whole valley glow.
Head back north to Salta this morning through more beautiful scenery. There is an early evening direct flight to Iguassú (flight times may vary). You are met on arrival and taken to your hotel which is in the Iryapú Forest natural reserve, a 600 hectare area on the banks of the Iguassú River. This is home to several thousand native species of flora as well as hundreds of birds, butterflies and even monkeys.
Today is dedicated to exploring the falls with your guide, from both sides of the border. In general terms, from the Brazilian side you get the best views, whereas on the Argentine side, you get closest to the falls. The falls are surrounded by a network of walkways and paths which allow you to walk above, beneath and even behind the massive curtains of water. They are incredible for photography in particular.
Fly to Sao Paolo from where you travel by comfortable bus along the coast to Paraty, a journey of around four hours. Paraty is a beautiful colonial town with a car-free heart, set beneath striking green mountains on the edge of a beautiful bay. In short, it's rather lovely. Settle into your very comfortable small hotel this evening before heading out to explore.
Day to relax and explore colonial Paraty, with its profusion of beautiful churches, boutique shops, bars and restaurants. There are a number of beaches in the area which are ideal for relaxation and swimming. Paraty is a year round destination with water temperatures ranging between 23 to 28 celsius. Remember this is a rainforest region - very green and beautiful - rain is part of the system.
Another day to relax or find yourself a new beach. You can also look for more structure to your day, there are a number of choices, such as visiting nearby sugar cane distilleries to see how cachaca, Brazil’s national drink, is made. For a more relaxed day, there are a profusion of wonderful waterfalls such as Tobogan and beaches such as Trinidade, Camburi, Picinguaba, Fazenda and Felix, which can be visited.
A final day to relax or explore Paraty. If you haven’t yet done so, you might like to head out into the bay itself on a schooner for a half day tour of some of the best beaches and islands in the area. The schooner stops at several beaches for you to swim and snorkel, before you enjoy lunch on board as you head back.
Travel by road to Rio, either by comfortable bus or private transfer - whichever suits you best. It is a four hour journey so there should be time this afternoon for you to wander along Ipanema beach. There are lifeguard stations along the beach, postos, around which different groups congregate: younger, older, gay, straight, football, volleyball, etc. Ipanema is also the nicest area of the city for shopping and restaurants. Each day there is an art and handicraft market in the central square.
What makes Rio special is the setting – it is a city spread across bays and valleys, and wedged between forested hills and sandy beaches. Today’s tour will be almost entirely outside. Start high above the city centre with the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain before taking the train up the Corcovado Mountain for a walk in the Tijuca forest, on the slopes beneath the statue of Christ which sits on top of Corcovado mountain.
Most flights leave in the afternoon/evening so you can enjoy more time around Rio before your trip to the airport and your overnight flight home. Again, please note that international flights are quoted separately for this trip.
Between Buenos Aires and Rio are the silent landscapes of Salta, the noisy rainforests of the Iguassu Falls and the gorgeous beaches of colonial Paraty, tie them all together in this tailor made journey.
This trip is intended to get you out and about in the great outdoors of some incredible places. How active you want to be is up to you since this is a tailor made trip. To get the most from the stunning landscapes of Salta, it is great to get out into the hills on foot. Walking routes are not long or particularly challenging though the altitudes can be high, making progress somewhat slower than you might be used to. Since you have a private guide during this part of your trip your options are very open.
In Paraty there are almost endless opportunities to swim, snorkel, sea kayak or even sail. However, if you prefer then it can be a place of gentle cultural exploration.
You can visit Salta year round. Winter runs from May through September. This is the driest time of year with basically zero precipitation. It is also the coolest time of year with average daytime highs of around 20c. Days are somewhat shorter with sunrise at around 6am, sunset at 5pm.
In summer, average daytime highs move to 25c and higher. Rainfall peaks at around 160mm in January/February. Days are longer with sunrise at around 4am, sunset at around 6pm.
The Iguassu Falls are spectacular at any time of the year. It is cooler and drier from May to September. August being the clearest and driest month but if you want the most water then rainfall is at its highest in April and December so May and January will see the biggest flows of water.
In Paraty, May to September (winter) is a very nice time to visit as rainfall is not common, temperatures manageable but still very warm (20c plus). From October to April (summer) is the rainy season with tropical conditions – hot and humid.
What marks this holiday out is the sheer variety of landscapes and culture. Buenos Aires is known as the Paris of South America, which is a fair reflection of the grandeur and sophistication of the city though culturally Argentina really leans more towards Italy than France. There is also a somewhat surprisingly Anglophile culture here of polo, cricket and rugby – particularly noticeable in the areas near Buenos Aires.
However, that is to imply that Argentina isn’t its own culture and that’s plain wrong. There’s nowhere in the world which is quite like this. Your guide will help you uncover the best of the capital – we always like to try and get you here for a Sunday as that’s a day when markets spill into the streets and impromptu tango into the parks.
Heading to the north-west and Salta, any hint of Europe fades as the indigenous Andean cultures step to the fore. Traditional architecture, culture, music and food are very much the norm up here. Your guide leads you on a loop to the south of Salta, including traditional crafts, modern winemaking and the ever delicious food.
Travelling over into Brazil, Paraty is a beautiful, colonial town on the waterfront of the southeastern coast of Brazil, south of Rio. The centre of the town is a national monument and a great place to explore on foot. Because it’s such a small place, Paraty is somewhere you can wander out and let yourself discover – be that a restaurant an art gallery or a musical event. In Brazil it always seems to be easy to communicate with people, even without speaking Portuguese.
We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, in the form set out above. If you would like a copy, please get in touch and we can email it over to you.
Ultimately though, this is a tailor made trip so we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you.
In the form set out above, the holiday price includes internal flights, first class small hotel accommodation, private guiding and transport in and around Salta, transfers and transport, excursions and meals as per our detailed itinerary. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routings are to fly into Buenos Aires (airport code: EZE) and out of either Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo (airport codes, respectively: GIG and GRU).