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Argentina Uncovered

Waterfalls, vines and glaciers | View photos »

From the thundering waters of Iguassú Falls to the dry heights of Salta, from the rich green vineyards of Mendoza to the radiating blueness of Patagonia’s glaciers, enjoy the very best of Argentina in one brilliant journey.

20 day trip described, guide price £4,535pp i

Call 01273 676 712 to talk to someone who knows this trip

Feefo-gold

Map of the area

"Spectacular scenery"

"Spectacular scenery"

The scenery was spectacular (60 m high glaciers and water falls – you cannot do better than that) and we saw some terrific wildlife. Terry D

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Sample itinerary

Travel to South America

Fly overnight to the Iguassú Falls which straddle the Brazil/Argentina border. Flights will usually come in via Sao Paolo or Rio. Please note that international flights are quoted separately for this holiday.

Arrive at the Iguassú Falls

This morning you land on the Brazilian side of the falls but transfer into Argentina where you will be staying. Transfer to your hotel which is in the Iryapú Forest natural reserve, a 600 hectare area on the banks of the Iguassú River and home to several thousand native species of flora as well as hundreds of birds, butterflies and even monkeys.

Explore and enjoy Iguassú

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.

Travel to Salta and visit the city

Transfer to the airport and fly up to Salta this morning. On arrival you are met by your guide, who will take you on a walking tour of the city known as Salta la Linda (Salta the beautiful). Later this afternoon your guide will drive you to your very comfortable and friendly hotel about 25 minutes outside the city centre.

Get to know your surroundings

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 road trip to Los Cardones

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.

Travel beautiful Ruta 40 to Cafayate

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.

Visit a bodega, watch the glowing sunset

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.

Return to Salta and fly to Mendoza's vineyards

Head back north to Salta this morning through more beautiful scenery. There is an early afternoon direct flight to Mendoza. You are met on arrival and transferred to your comfortable hotel, located in the heart of the city, a few steps from the Plaza de Independencia. Mendoza is a pleasant town to wander around; there are several small parks within easy walking distance of your hotel.

Explore Mendoza's wineries

Today is yours to explore the Mendoza area. After the quiet region of Cafayate, the Mendoza production centre is notably on a very different scale. The similarity comes from the scenery perspective – set in the foothills of the mighty Andes, Mendoza’s vineyards are undeniably beautiful, set in the shadow of the highest peaks in the Americas. There are several options to explore the wineries today from car to bike to horse.

Travel to the capital, Buenos Aires

It is a short flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival you are collected by your guide and taken to your charming small hotel in the Palermo area. Despite being close to the centre of the city, this barrio is quiet, leafy and green with lots of pavement cafes. Have a look around this afternoon before strolling to one of the restaurants nearby for supper.

Inside Buenos Aires with your guide

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.

Fly to the Argentine Lake District

The town of Bariloche is tucked up against the Andes next to the beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi. The town itself is, for our tastes, overly touristy. For this reason, rather than in town, you stay further out towards the Llao Llao peninsula. Your inn sits in an elevated position overlooking the lake, and is a charming spot to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Full day of guided walking and kayak

You have a full day, privately guided exploration of the area today, to include both hiking and kayaking. This hike is an opportunity to really appreciate the stunning Andean landscapes. Kayaking is a fun way to view the area from a different perspective, and no previous experience is required. Paddle across the amazingly deep blue waters for a tranquil exploration. If kayaking is not your thing, the day can instead be spent hiking.

A day of independent walking

You have another full day to explore the area, or simply relax with a good book overlooking the lake. For a much more gentle hike, you might like to explore the ancient forests on the Llao Llao Peninsula, down near the water. Alternatively, there are a number of other more testing hikes to summits in the vicinity. Your hosts at the inn can help you find the best option for you.

To southern Patagonia

Today's journey takes you further south, into Patagonia proper. You spend the next three nights in a lovely small hotel in the somewhat touristy town of Calafate. Stroll down the main street and stop for a coffee or hot chocolate – chocolate is a big deal in these parts.

Visit Perito Moreno

Today is dedicated to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Travel around the southern bank of Lago Argentino, into the Los Glaciares National Park. The glacier is one of only three in Patagonia which is not retreating. The face is some 5km wide, the ice being an average height of 74m above the surface. It continues about 100m below the surface of the lake. The glacier moves at quite a pace which means that it makes the most amazing creaking and splitting sounds, regularly calving great lumps of ice into the water.

Los Glaciares National Park

Although Perito Moreno is the big draw in these parts, it’s far from being the only glacier worth a look, and there are several others which, while smaller, are still very impressive. Spend all day today on Lago Argentino, to give you a true sense of the scale of the National Park. Your final glacier of the day is perhaps the most spectacular, Spegazzini. Reaching over 130m in height, the vivid blue hues of the ice are a sight to behold.

Back to Buenos Aires

Fly back up to Buenos Aires today, where you stay for a final night. Celebrate your journey round Argentina with dinner out tonight – there are some particularly good restaurants in Palermo. Puerto Madero is another good option, looking over the water.

Travel home

You may have time for some final exploration or shopping this morning before you transfer to the airport for your flight home. Again, please note that international flights are quoted separately.

About this trip

Summary

From the thundering waters of Iguassu Falls to the dry heights of Salta, from the rich green vineyards of Mendoza to the radiating blueness of Patagonia’s glaciers, enjoy the very best of Argentina in one brilliant journey.

How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

This holiday is a thoughtfully constructed and paced journey around Argentina. Though very much a trip dedicated to the great outdoors, the actual level of activity is largely up to you since you have private guides leading you for days in each of the main destinations.

To get the most from the stunning landscapes of the Salta region 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. It can be very much vehicle based or you can spend large parts of your time out and about on foot, exploring the dramatic landscapes. Equally you may choose to focus on the wines and vineyards which is less active.

Mendoza is all about the wine, though getting around between vineyards by bike is one of the more fun ways to explore. Buenos Aires is a place we like to have you explore on foot as much as is practical.

In Bariloche your private guide leads you on a walk and kayak through the dramatic landscape of forested mountains cutting into deep blue lakes on one day, the next you have a car to explore at your own pace.

The trip through into El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier is basically about seeing the very dramatic glaciers of the far south though it is possible to hike on the surface of the glacier if you are feeling adventurous. Please contact us for details of this.

The southern hemisphere summer is the only time of year we can offer this trip in full. That means from September through April, during which time the days are long and the weather is at its best.
At this time of year, the Iguassu Falls are likely to be hot and humid – being in the jungle this is true for most of the year. In Salta temperatures are mitigated by the altitude so days are likely to be pleasantly warm with cool evenings. Bear in mind that February is usually the wettest month. This can mean that some roads are trickier to pass but the landscapes can be at their most beautiful.

Mendoza is likely to be very warm in the day, into the high 20s, with pleasant evenings too. Buenos Aires will be hotter still, dipping into the low 30s in the peak of summer.

Patagonia’s weather, by contrast, is notoriously fickle so there is never any guarantee of warm, dry conditions. In fact, it’s far safer to assume that you will encounter wind, rain, sun and snow at some stage in your journey. If you are in luck though, daytime temperatures in high summer (January) can reach the mid-20s in Patagonia.

Level of comfort

The hotels and lodges on this journey are first class throughout and have been chosen for their character, service and location. Full details of the accommodation we use are included in our detailed itinerary - call us for a copy.

Level of culture

What marks this holiday out is the sheer variety of landscapes and cultures – from the rainforests of Iguassu to the glaciers of Patagonia, the people change too. From the grandeur of Buenos Aires with its Franco-Italian influences, to the indigenous peoples of high Andean villages and the gauchos of Patagonia’s vast plains.

They say you can’t understand a country without knowing its capital city. Your private guide will help you uncover the best of Buenos Aires, and we 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. We also provide detailed local advice and information to enable you to explore well when you have time on your own.

Around 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.

Viticulture is still culture so we’ll count the wines of Mendoza as part of the cultural aspect of this trip. Certainly it’s a very enjoyable few days in a beautiful area.

As you head south into Patagonia proper you reach some of the very last parts of the world to be inhabited. In truth, apart from some early cave paintings, the signs of human habitation come from the 19th century onwards with the enormous cattle ranches – cause of much of the deforestation in the area.

To this day it remains a place of gauchos who tend to live solitary lives riding across vast estancias. And yet, hospitality runs deep and sipping mate whilst sitting round a fire with lamb roasting over the coals is one of the great delights of life in southern Argentina.

Practicalities

We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, as 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. It might be that the holiday is perfect as it is (we certainly love it) but equally, you might need a shorter trip or want to see Antarctica or the Iguassu Falls. We are here to help you make the perfect trip – it’s not our job, it’s our vocation.

In the form set out above, the holiday price includes accommodation, breakfasts, internal flights and transport, guided activities, excursions and entrances as set out in the 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 Rio de Janeiro (airport code: GIG) or Sao Paolo (airport code: GRU) and out of Buenos Aires (airport code: EZE).

Departs

Departs on a date to suit you, from September through April.

Next steps...

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Book Send me exclusive content » Perito Moreno glacier calving off spectacularly in Patagonia The surrounds of the Iguassu Falls in Brazil/Argentina Views of the Argentine side of the Iguassu Falls Mists rising off the Argentine side of the Iguassu Falls The beautiful central square of Salta Living room at the Finca Valentina near Salta, Argentina Los Cardones national park near Cachi in Argentina Drying peppers in Argentina's north west region Valley of the Shells near Cafayate Driving towards the Valley of the Arrows in Argentina's north west Vines in Mendoza Reading the papers in Buenos Aires Mate cups for sale at a street market in Buenos Aires Nahuel Huapi lake Bariloche, Argentina The distinctive peak of Tronador mountain, Bariloche Views over the lakes of Bariloche, Argentina The town of El Calafate in Argentine Patagonia Perito Moreno glacier calving off spectacularly in Patagonia In front of the Upsala Glacier, Patagonia Tango performers on the streets of San Telmo, Buenos Aires Aerial view of Buenos Aires