Chile & Argentina: Andean Splendor

Departures: Chile and Argentina

Chile & Argentina Andean Splendor

Spend two weeks in some of the most spectacular and lesser known regions of Chile and Argentina—including the stunning Atacama desert to the fertile wine regions of Chile’s Casablanca Valley and Argentina’s Cafayate. Cross the soaring Andes into rolling foothills of the Jujuy province and the multi-hued mountains around Purmamarca. Discover traditional Chilean and Argentinean cuisine, wines and a range of cultural influences from the indigenous through the colonial period. End in Buenos Aires, a thriving multicultural city of rich street life—from tango in La Boca to the street markets of San Telmo. Inspiring and uplifting, this trip features overlooked treasures that are some of our favorite destinations in these two countries.

Beneficiary

We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit communities in need. For this trip, our donation will go to a non-profit organization we support that is having a very positive impact around the world: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS—a humanitarian-aid organization that provides ongoing emergency medical aid around the world.

Pricing

$4390 per person, double occ., with 4 people traveling*

For more information and to get started, contact us at How to Book.

Itinerary

Year-round

13 Days, 12 Nights

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Day 1

Arrive Santiago

On arrival at the airport in the early morning, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel by private car for check in. Later this afternoon after you have had time to rest and refresh, begin your trip with a walking tour of the city.

Your private tour begins at your hotel in the bustling Lastarria neighborhood in the center of old Santiago. Base your tour on your interests and choose from a diverse range of attractions, including the Parque Forestal, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Plaza de Armas, Castillo Hidalgo, the Metropolitan Park of Santiago and others. You may also wish to hike or take the funicular to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for the best view of the city!

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Day 2

Valparaíso & Casablanca Valley

After breakfast begin your full day tour. Located fifty minutes west from Santiago, explore the Casablanca Valley, home to more than 20 vineyards specializing in Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Visit a boutique winery and enjoy a private tour and tasting.

Spend the day in Valparaiso, one of the main ports of Chile. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, walk through the city’s historic center and ride the funiculars for a fabulous views from hilltop neighborhoods. Valparaiso is known for its colorful houses and lovely bay – an inspiration to many famous painters, architects, musicians and poets like Pablo Neruda. Return to Santiago for overnight.

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Day 3

Santiago – San Pedro de Atacama

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Calama. On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel, 60 miles across the desert in the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. This afternoon, hike through the Valleys of Mars and the Moon to a spectacular location to view the sunset. These salt and clay formations are the product of mineralogical folding which occurred hundreds of millions of years ago. The result is the sculptural forms that at sunset resemble a lunar landscape.

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Day 4

Salar de Atacama & Altiplanic Lagoons

After breakfast, depart for a full day excursion to Salar de Atacama & the Altiplanic Lagoons. Start at the great Atacama Salt flat, a white and rugged surface where the lagoons are home to a great number of flamingos that choose these waters for nesting. Then make your way up to 14,800 feet (4500 m) and experience the spectacular beauty of Miscanti and Meñique Altiplanics Lagoons. The varied shades of the lagoons are exquisite and the local flora and fauna is singular, as they exist only in these protected areas.

Explore the town of Socaire, where the ancestral traditions are still alive today – shepherds and farmers that cultivate the ‘pachamama’ using the old system of Andean terraces. Lunch at a restaurant in Socaire village.

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Day 5

Tatio Geysers

Very early morning pickup for your shared, small group, full day excursion to Tatio Geysers. Explore the highest geothermal field in the Andean Cordillera at 14,100 feet (4,300 m). The drama of the steam fumarole jets, which reach 160 feet in height, are enhanced by the stunning beauty of the Andes in the background. Witness the multiple colors and varied fauna that have adapted to live in these climatic conditions and extreme geographies. On the way back to San Pedro de Atacama, nature provides a moving landscape of high mountains and volcanoes.

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Day 6

San Pedro de Atacama – Purmamarca

Your guide will transfer you to the station for your first class bus journey to Purmamarca, Argentina. This scenic day trip crosses the Andes at one of its widest points. Enjoy the spectacular views as you drive across the vast Altiplano or Puna, then down the Cuesta de Lipán to Purmamarca.

Arrive in Purmamarca during the afternoon where you will be met by your Argentinian guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in.

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Day 7

Purmamarca – Salta

Take an early morning light hike with your local guide to a viewpoint to see the sun light up Seven Color Hill. The rest of the morning is free to explore the small town, a great place to buy local woven textiles and crafts. Depart by private car to Salta after an early lunch (2.5 hours). Check in to your hotel near the main square in the city center. Visit the MAAM/High Mountain Archaeological Museum that showcases the bodies of three Inca children who were buried on the Llullaillaco Volcano summit.

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Day 8

Salta – Colome

Begin the exploration of the Argentine Northwest with a scenic drive southwest, over the Calchaqui Sub Andean range of mountains, where you enter Los Cardones National Park at the Piedra del Molino high pass. You’ll pass by the famous cactus woodlands that the park is named after before arriving in the sleepy village of Seclantas, where friendly weavers craft beautiful ponchos out of sheep’s wool.

After an hour of driving through the stunning desert, reach the oldest working commercial vineyard in Argentina, producing wine since 1830. Dinner (not included) will be in the hotel this evening, after a short wander through the extensive biodynamic garden that supplies the kitchen.

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Day 9

Colome – Cafayate

Leave early this morning on a truly spectacular drive south along the much-celebrated Route 40. One of the most remote roads in Argentina—it makes for an unforgettable journey as you pass stunning rock formations, colonial churches and gauchos working the land.

Brief stop for an exploration of the famous Quebrada de las Flechas and its bizarre rock formations. Continuing south, drive through the small town of San Carlos before reaching your hotel in the colonial town of Cafayate, famous for its torrontes – grapes producing aromatic dry white wines. The town of Cafayate, the epicenter of high-altitude viticulture located in the province of Salta, is a favorite destination of tourists for local crafts (pottery, textiles and silver) and unique gastronomy.

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Day 10

Cafayate Hike & Wine Tasting

Enjoy a morning hike in the mountains west of Cafayate.

While the most famous grape from this area is the Torrontés, other varietals are also grown here, such as Malbec, Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Bonarda. Grapes grown here gain unique flavor from the dry, sunny climate. The broad temperature ranges in the area are also key to the production of high-quality wines that convey the Valleys’ unique personality through their color, aromas and flavors.

After your hike, arrive at a small family owned vineyard for a delicious lunch and a wine tasting.

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Day 11

Cafayate – Buenos Aires

Morning drive from Salta to Cafayate through the stunning Quebrada de las Conchas. After visiting the Amphitheatre, drive on to Talapampa for a light lunch before arriving to the Salta Airport for your afternoon flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival at the airport in Buenos Aires, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for overnight.

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Day 12

Buenos Aires

Your morning private tour of Buenos Aires, with a local guide, will be designed to suit your interests: history, art, contemporary life, architecture and tango! Mingle with the local ‘porteños’. Stop for lunch with your guide at a restaurant of your choice or sample some street food (lunch not included).

This afternoon, visit Palermo with your guide. Palermo is Buenos Aires’ largest barrio and also one of its most walkable, with tree-lined streets dotted by ‘casas chorizo’, long, narrow single-story houses built in the late 19th century where you’ll find lots of restaurants, cafes and bars to explore. This evening you may wish to take in an optional tango show.

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Day 13

Buenos Aires – Home

Say farewell! Your private car transfer will take you to the international airport for departure flights home.

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Optional Extensions

Choose to extend your stay and visit mighty Iguazu Falls, Mendoza and/or other South American destinations. Ask for details.

For pricing and hotel information, contact us at How to Book. The specifics of this itinerary are subject to change based on local conditions at the discretion of Ponte Travels.

• Rates shown are per person, double occupancy, based on four people traveling together. Airfare not included.