Best of Argentina & Chile + Lake District + Iguazu Falls

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19 days, from £3349
Llama Travel
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Description

Holiday Highlights
* Visit Santiago, Chile's modern capital, framed by the snow-capped Andes.
* Hike through the soaring peaks and sweeping valleys of Torres Del Paine.
* Unwind in the Lake District, a pristine land of volcanoes and glacial lakes.
* Dance tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina's elegant capital city.
* Marvel at the Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park.
* Feel the spray from the thundering torrents of the jungle clad Iguazu Falls.

Itinerary


 Day 1 (Wed)

Fly overnight from the UK to Santiago
Fly overnight from the UK to Santiago. A vibrant, bustling city exploding from the foothills of the Andes, Chile's stylish capital city is filled with traditional markets, museums, art galleries, fine restaurants and theatres. With a backdrop of the magnificent snow-capped Andes, Santiago also has one of the most spectacular natural settings of any city.
Meals included: Meal included on the transatlantic flight.


 Day 2 (Thu)

Free day in Santiago
After a morning arrival in Santiago, you are met at the airport and taken to your hotel. The afternoon and evening are free for you to recover from your flight or explore Santiago at your leisure. Perhaps visit the 16th-century San Francisco Church and traditional markets of the old town, or explore the shopping malls and trendy restaurants in the bohemian Bellavista district. The city also has plenty of green parks and beauty spots; the views from atop San Cristobal hill are particularly stunning.
Meals included: Meal included on the transatlantic flight.


 Day 3 (Fri)

Take the optional Vineyard and Valparaiso excursion, or enjoy a free day in Santiago
Spend a second day getting to know Santiago or take the full-day optional Vineyard & Valparaiso excursion, which takes you to the fascinating city of Valparaiso, where a series of funiculars transport you to the upper levels of the city for spectacular views. Also visit an idyllic vineyard in the Casablanca Valley, which produces some of Chile's finest wines, for lunch and a wine tour. Return to Santiago in the late afternoon.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the Vineyard & Valparaiso excursion.


 Day 4 (Sat)

Fly to Puerto Varas and explore an ancient Alerce forest
Fly to Puerto Montt then transfer to Puerto Varas in the heart of the Chilean Lake District. You stop for a brief tour of an ancient Alerce forest where the trees grow to almost 50 metres tall and live for 4,000 years. Puerto Varas is a charming, small town, perfectly in keeping with the tranquillity of the region. It is well known for its Germanic traditions and stunning location on the shoreline of Lake Llanquihue, with lovely views across the bay to the volcanoes of Osorno and Calbuco.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.


 Day 5 (Sun)

Take the optional Osorno Volcano & Hike excursion, or enjoy a free day in Puerto Varas
A free day in Puerto Varas. Explore the surrounding area by yourself or take the optional Osorno Volcano & Hike excursion. This excursion takes you to the snow-capped Osorno Volcano and on a tour of the surrounding area, including a forest hike and a visit to the Petrohue cascades. The hike lasts approximately two hours and is on uneven terrain, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. A packed lunch is included on the Osorno Volcano & Hike excursion.


 Day 6 (Mon)

Fly over the Southern Patagonian Ice Field to Puerto Natales
Transfer to Puerto Montt airport then fly to Punta Arenas, located on the Straits of Magellan. The flight takes you over the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, and it is possible to see the glaciers snaking their way into the sea. Then take a three-hour transfer to Puerto Natales, a small town wonderfully set on the shores of Last Hope Sound, with especially beautiful sunrises.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.


 Day 7 (Tue)

Travel to Torres del Paine and take a tour of the national park
The day begins with an early start from Puerto Natales for the journey to Torres del Paine. The scenic drive north takes about two hours and takes you past Lake Sarmiento, known for the strange formations of calcium deposits along its shoreline, all the way to the entrance of Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the great wildernesses of the world, full of soaring peaks, glacial valleys and wild grasslands. The huge granite peaks of the Paine Massif, referred to as the 'Towers of Paine', rise up dramatically from the windswept terrain, creating one of the most striking natural landscapes on earth. The national park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including guanacos (a type of llama), rheas (South American ostriches), condors, foxes and rare pumas. The tour takes you to several vantage points around the park, where you can marvel at the amazing mountain formations of the Paine Massif and the spectacular Cuernos ('Horns') del Paine. The tour continues across to the central area of the park and to the pristine Nordenskjold and Pehoe lakes, adorned by fresh greenery and grazing wild guanacos, and also to the majestic Salto Grande waterfall. After a respite for a packed lunch, conclude the tour with a visit to Lago Grey, one of Torres del Paine's largest lakes. From here you can take our optional Boat to Grey Glacier excursion, a beautiful boat ride from the shoreline to the face of the magnificent Grey Glacier. At the end of the tour you are taken to your hotel, where you can spend a relaxing evening enjoying wonderful views of the Paine Massif.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. A packed lunch is included on the tour of Torres Del Paine.


 Day 8 (Wed)

Take the optional French Valley, Las Torres or Lake Sarmiento trekking excursions, or explore on your own
A free day to explore Torres del Paine National Park at your leisure. Take one of the hiking excursions to make the most of your time in one of the world's most famous trekking destinations. The easiest option is the Hike to Lake Sarmiento, a half day excursion which involves a 3 hour trek along a flatter route than most others in the park, from Amarga Lagoon to Lake Sarmiento, passing the Paine massif en-route.
The optional French Valley Trek excursion takes you on a scenic walk along the shores of Lake Skottberg before ascending the Valle del Frances, with superb views of the Grey Glacier and of the surrounding granite towers and lakes. The excursion lasts approximately ten hours, and is of moderate difficulty, with a packed lunch included.
Alternatively, you can take the slightly tougher optional Las Torres Trek excursion, where you trek through beech forest before arriving at the glacial moraine, with fantastic views of the granite towers. The excursion lasts approximately ten hours and is of moderate-to-high difficulty, with a packed lunch included.
In addition, you can also book activities directly in the hotel, including horse riding and mountain biking, as well as other tours of the park by minivan. Excursions available from the hotel can book up in advance, so if you would like to arrange an excursion from the hotel, we suggest you book this before departure.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the French Valley and Las Torres Trek excursions.


 Day 9 (Thu)

Free morning, return to Puerto Natales in the afternoon or take the Serrano River Zodiac excursion
Enjoy a free morning in Torres del Paine, perhaps taking advantage of this free time to do further trekking before transferring by road to Puerto Natales in the afternoon. Alternatively, for a more scenic and exciting journey back to Puerto Natales, you can take the full-day Serrano River Zodiac excursion, where you bid a dramatic farewell to Torres Del Paine as you sail out of the park down the Rio Serrano, past glaciers and forests, all the way to the Last Hope Sound in Puerto Natales.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the Serrano River Zodiac excursion.


 Day 10 (Fri)

Travel by coach to El Calafate
Take a five-hour coach trip, crossing the Patagonian plains, and the Chile-Argentina border, to El Calafate, beautifully located on the shores of Lake Argentino. This attractive town is now regarded as the gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park and is the best base from which to explore the highlights of Argentinian Patagonia. In the afternoon maybe go bird watching at nearby Nimes Lagoon or take the optional Patagonia Four-Wheel Drive excursion. This exhilarating three-hour excursion takes you across the Patagonian steppe in a purpose built off-road vehicle to some of the area's most spectacular viewpoints, where on clear days you can admire wonderful panoramas of the granite Mount FitzRoy and Lake Argentino.
Please be aware that the coach between Puerto Natales and El Calafate is on a public service without a guide. The bus is comfortable and has a WC, but the service is simple. At the border you must present your luggage, which you need to remove from the bus, both to exit Chile and enter Argentina. If you prefer a private vehicle with a guide for this transfer, ask us for prices. In this case, it may be necessary to change vehicles when you cross the border. For groups of five people or fewer, the transfer between Puerto Arenas airport and Puerto Natales is on a good public bus.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.


 Day 11 (Sat)

Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier
The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the most breathtaking sights in Argentina. At 30km in length, it is one of the few Patagonian glaciers which is still advancing. The trip begins with a 90-minute drive along the shores of Lake Argentino to the glacier, which is one of the most famous landmarks in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Stroll along the walkways, which run so close to the glacier that you can actually hear the ice creaking and if you are lucky, see huge chunks of ice breaking off and crashing into the water. The trip finishes with a boat ride on Lake Argentino. Sailing along the glacier's vast perimeter, you can experience the grandeur and sheer scale of Perito Moreno, gazing up at the 60-metre high wall of ice. After a packed lunch, you have free time to explore the walkways on your own. Return to El Calafate in the late afternoon. Please note, the order of the visits may vary.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. A packed lunch is included on the tour to the glacier.


 Day 12 (Sun)

Take the optional Estancia Cristina excursion, or enjoy a free day in El Calafate
Enjoy a free day in El Calafate. Perhaps visit the town's Glaciarium to learn about the history and geology of the Patagonian glaciers, or take our popular optional Estancia Cristina excursion, a beautiful full-day trip that takes you across Lake Argentino to Estancia Cristina, a remote old sheep ranch exquisitely set in the heart of the Los Glaciares National Park, surrounded by mountains and lakes. Take a tour around the old ranch, which was built in 1914 by an Englishman, before driving up to a local lookout point for some awe-inspiring views of the Upsala glacier. Arrive back in El Calafate in the evening.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, a packed lunch is included on the Estancia Cristina excursion.


 Day 13 (Mon)

Fly to Buenos Aires
Fly to Buenos Aires, where you are met at the airport and escorted to your hotel. The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is a culturally rich city, with the feel of a European city and a strong Latin American flavour. Best known for its cuisine, interesting cultural heritage and as the home of tango, the capital city of Argentina has countless attractions.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.


 Day 14 (Tue)

Take the optional Historic Buenos Aires and Tango Dinner Show excursions, or enjoy a free day
Spend the day getting to know one of South America's most iconic cities. Explore on your own or take the optional half-day Historic Buenos Aires excursion, which takes you through different areas of the city, including the Pink House made famous by Evita, historic San Telmo, colourful La Boca, and the old port before continuing to La Recoleta, one of the most elegant neighbourhoods of the city. In the evening, get into the Argentinian spirit with a trip to the Esquina Carlos Gardel theatre on our optional Tango Dinner Show excursion. Watch musicians and singers playing classic tango while professional dancers perform. A good dinner, with wine or soft drinks, is included at your table.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Dinner included on the Tango Dinner Show excursion.


 Day 15 (Wed)

Take the optional Colonial Uruguay excursion, or enjoy a free day in Buenos Aires
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by crossing the border on our optional full-day Colonial Uruguay excursion, which takes you across the Rio de la Plata to the charming town of Colonia de Sacramento, known for its picturesque lighthouse, old colonial church and magnificent former bullring. Alternatively, spend the day immersing yourself in Buenos Aires' unique cultural heritage. Visit some of the city's many museums and galleries, go shopping in Calle Florida, or visit the renowned opera house of Teatro Colon, which is located not far from your hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the Colonial Uruguay excursion.


 Day 16 (Thu)

Fly to Puerto Iguazu, explore the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls in the afternoon
Catch a morning flight from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu, a small town on the Argentinian side of the border, surrounded by lush jungle. Spend the afternoon on a guided excursion across the border to the Brazilian side of the Iguacu Falls. The falls straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil and comprise of a series of over 270 waterfalls stretching for over one-and-a-half miles through lush sub-tropical forest. Follow the trail which takes you to vantage points with amazing views of the waterfalls. There is also a platform under the Floriano Falls, where you can follow the walkway to middle of the river, and gaze at the incredible 'Devil's Throat' waterfall, where several waterways combine to hurtle down a sheer drop, with rainbows forming amidst the billowing flumes. The Brazilian side of the falls has fewer walkways than the Argentinian side but offers more impressive panoramic vistas.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.


 Day 17 (Fri)

Take the optional Argentinian Iguazu Falls excursion, or explore the falls on your own
Get up close and personal with the cascades on the second day exploring the iconic falls. At around 18kms from Puerto Iguazu, the Argentinian National Park can be easily reached by a local bus or taxi from your hotel. If you would like a guided tour to learn more about the waterfalls and the flora and fauna, you can take the optional Argentinian Iguazu Falls excursion. The tour lasts approximately four hours and visits the upper and lower circuits, where you can see the falls from the waters' edge and from below and above. You also have the chance to take an adrenalin-filled (and drenching) boat ride to the base of the falls.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.


 Day 18 (Sat)

Fly from Puerto Iguazu to the UK, via Sao Paulo
Catch a flight from Puerto Iguazu back to the UK, via Sao Paulo.
Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, meals on the transatlantic flight.


 Day 19 (Sun)

Arrival in the UK
Your flight lands in the UK.