Arrival day, no activities planned. The day is free to spend at your leisure exploring the city.
On day 2 we spend the day enjoying Chile's tastiest export, wine. Tour different wineries in the Maipo Valley, learn the history of the region's wineries and learn a thing or two about the art of wine making. We visit a large commercial winery and a smaller handcrafted winemakers. Santiago is Chile’s largest city and capital, with internationally recognized vineyards and Andean ski resorts very close by. It is one of the few capital cities in the world which has easy access both to ski slopes -just 50 Km away-, and beaches, 100 Km away. It is, in fact, possible to visit the modern ski resorts as well as the famous beach resort of Viña del Mar or picturesque Valparaiso, Chile's main port, in just one day. Explore the many museums and parks, and visit the vibrant neighbourhood of Bellavista to see some handicrafts and trendy cafés. Day trips include a trip to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile’s premier beach resort, and to Isla Negra, Pablo Neruda’s seaside home. Although Santiago covers an immense area, the central core of the city is relatively small. It is a roughly triangular shaped region, bounded in the north by the Río Mapocho, in the west by the Via Norte Sur and in the south by the Avenida del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins (more commonly known as the Alameda). The apex of the triangle is the Plaza Baquedano, where O'Higgins forms a junction with two of Santiago's other main thoroughfares, Avenidas Providencia and Vicuña MacKenna. The centre of this triangle is the Plaza de Armas, the chief plaza of Santiago, bounded on its northern side by the main post office and on the western side by the cathedral. The streets between the Plaza de Armas and O'Higgins are wall-to-wall shops, restaurants, snack and fast food bars, cinemas, expensive hotels and office blocks. The Presidential Palace, La Moneda, is on Avenida Moneda, facing the Plaza de la Constitución. Near the Plaza de Armas is the National Congress building. One of Santiago's main parks, Cerro Santa Lucía, is in the triangle facing O'Higgins. anta Lucia Hill in the city center is an important historic landmark. It was here, at the foot of this hill formerly known as the "Huelen", that the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago on February 1 2th, 1541. He planned the city according to the traditional Spanish checkerboard layout which is still evident in the downtown area today. The Metropolitan Cathedral, on the western side of the plaza, stands on the same spot where the first church in Santiago was once built; to the north are three important buildings: the Post Office, the National Museum of History and the Townhall of Santiago. By the 1930s, modern Santiago, with its green areas and architecture had come into being. The growth and development which have taken place during the past years are evident in the facilities which the city offers the visitor. The other main park is Cerro San Cristobal. It is a large hill that rises dramatically from the plain to the north of Avenida Providencia. Between this avenue and the mountain, on either side of the Avenida Pío Nono, is Santiago's 'Paris quarter', the barrio Bella Vista. Here you find beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, artists' colonies and impressive views over the city, including the snow-capped peaks of the Andes (when the weather and thick smog permit). Included Activity: Wine Tour to Maipo Valley, Santiago's famous wine region.
Fly south to Puerto Varas and Chile's beautiful Lake District. Follow the southern and eastern shore of Lago Llanquihue around to Ensenada, enjoying views of Volcán Osorno across the lake to the north. At Ensenada, we drive up the valley of the Petrohué River to the Saltos de Petrohué (Petrohué Falls) in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Views of Volcán Osorno behind the falls are favorite postcard shots. Encompassing a narrow strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the high peaks of the Andes-approximately 180 km (112 miles) wide, but with a coastline stretching over 4300 km (14104 ft), Chile's 'geografia loca' (as termed by Benjamin Subercasseaux) includes the driest desert, the Atacama in the north, the agriculturally rich Central Valley, snow-covered volcanoes, forests and tranquil lakes of the near south, and the wild and windswept glaciers and fjords of the far south. And the cuisine at times rivals the natural setting! Puerto Varas is a city located in the the Southern Chilean province of Llanquique in the Los Lagos (Lake District) region of Chile. The Lakes District is considered the gateway to Chilean Patagonia and Puerto Varas is the most important tourist centre of the region. Located roughly 996 Km (618 miles) to the south of Santiago, it sits on the southern shore of Lake Llanquique, one of the large natural lakes of South America, and boasts a magnificent backdrop of the snowcapped Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes. There are few areas in the world that can match the Chilean Lake District for scenic grandeur. South of the Rio Tolten and sprawled across the provinces of Valdivia, Osorno and Llanquihue, you'll find everything from snow-capped mountains to deep-blue and emerald lakes, smoking volcanoes, forests and glaciers. Outside noisy cities, such as Puerto Montt, the loudest sound you're likely to hear is the roar of waterfalls streaming down cliff faces into crystal clear pools. This is a favourite vacation ground for domestic tourists, visitors from across the Andes and around the globe. The region's architecture is unique in that older structures are wooden and resemble European homes and churches of the 19th Century. This is due to the significant number of immigrants from central Europe (largely Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy) who settled here over the last half of that century. The regional cuisine also reflects this, with many restaurants specializing in kuchen and other baked delicacies. Seafood dishes also abound in this region. Of particular interest to visitors is the curanto Chilote, a hearty seafood stew that'll leave you ready for a siesta. Day 3 Travel: Santiago to Puerto Varas Approximate distance: 996 Km Approximate flight time: 1.5 hours Included Activity: Guided Tour of Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Falls
Travel by bus and ferry to Bariloche, Argentina. Enjoy the sights as the ‘Cruce de los Lagos’ is considered one of the most scenic cruises in the world. Option to take a boat excursion to visit Puerto Blest. Option to cruise the Blest arm of Lake Nahuel Huapi, passing by Centinela Island and landing at Cantaros Port from where we will be able to walk through the forest and enjoy views of Lake Los Cantaros and the adjacent waterfalls. Founded in 1902, Bariloche is on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and is surrounded by mountains and forests. Its name is a play on the words "Carlos Wiederhold", who settled down the first general store in the area (that is what "San Carlos" stands for), and a deformation of the word "vuriloche" ("different people, people from the back or from the other side"), used by the Mapuche people to refer to other native dwellers from the eastern zone of the Andes Mountain Range before their own arrival in this region. Bariloche is the gateway Nahuel Huapi National Park, second largest National Park and the first established in Argentina (1903). The region boasts a broken mirror puzzle of lakes, forest, mountains and rivers running along sharp fluvial valleys and dominated by Cerro Tronador (“Thunder Hill”), an inactive volcano that rises 3554 metres above sea level, with 3 glacier covered summits and 8 glaciers falling on eithe sides of the mountain which make it a reference mountain in Patagonia. Other mountains such as López, Catedral, Capilla and Negro, all rise above 2000 metres in altitude and are visible from town and from the different viewpoints along local roads. It lies 1,640 kilometers from Buenos Aires and it offers first-class accommodation and gastronomical services. In the summer, trout and salmonidae fly-fishing and sports recreation (especially hiking, river rafting and walks around ancient forests, as well as climbing most of the peaks surrounding the city) are some of the activities enjoyed by visitors to this great city. During the winter, the first snowfalls announce the beginning of the ski season and the practice of winter sports at mythical Mount Catedral, considered one of the most important ski resorts in the country. Tours on mountain bike, rowing and horseback rides with the possibility of camping in the thick forests with natural rivers and lakes turn the city outskirts into an ideal setting to have fun with the family. For all these reasons, Bariloche, where youths have spent their graduation trip for decades, has everything all generations look for. The urban centre of the Argentine Lake District, Bariloche in many ways resembles alpine resorts of Europe. During winter ski season the town fills to capacity with jovial Argentine and Brazilian vacationers whose favourite pastime seems to be eating and drinking. Their gusto is understandable; Bariloche has some of the best food in the country. Sample a beefy parrillada, or a variety of fresh salmon or lake trout, then work it off during a day hike around Cerro Catedral or while practicing your salsa at one of the town's salsotecas. Careful—Bariloche is also famous for its quality and quantity of chocolate! Day 5 Travel: Puerto Varas to Bariloche Approximate journey time: 10-11 hours Note: This journey is by comfortable bus and scenic ferry and crosses the Chilean/Argentine Border. Travel time is approx. and based on time of year and weather conditions.
Fly north to the buzzing metropolis that is Buenos Aires. Known as the ‘Paris of the Americas’, Buenos Aires is a vibrant city full of life. Visit the districts of La Boca, Recoleta, and San Telmo or catch a tango show at one of the many famous tanguerías. Wander the pedestrian walkways and see some dancing in the streets. Whatever you do, Buenos Aires is sure to leave lasting memories. The capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires is the ultimate cosmopolitan city. Nearly 40 per cent of Argentina's 33 million citizens live in Greater Buenos Aires, and the Porteños are justifiably proud of their home. The city is comprised of a number of distinct neighbourhoods, some of which have become top tourist draws. For many, the highlight of their time in the capital is a visit to San Telmo for the weekend antiques market and street artistís displays. La Boca was originally settled by the successive waves of immigrants that contribute to the capital's unique character. Its brightly coloured walls and buildings draw Porteños and tourists alike, and it is here that the world-class football team, Boca Juniors, plies its trade. A Sunday afternoon match at the fabled Bombonera is not to be missed. Posh Recoleta, with its cafes, museums and cemetery, is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. During colonial days Buenos Aires was the seat of the Viceroy of La Plata. Almost completely rebuilt since the turn of the century, the heart of the city is the Plaza de Mayo, with the historic Cabildo (Town Hall), where the Independence movement was first planned, the Casa Rosada (Government Palace) and the Cathedral where San Martín, the father of Argentine independence, is buried. When you are done exploring, settle your weary feet and enjoy a drink in one of the many sidewalk cafes and restaurants and you will begin to understand the contemplative Argentine way of life. And since Buenos Aires will be your last chance to try the succulent bife and parrilladas, dig in and enjoy! Day 7 Travel: Bariloche to Buenos Aires Approximate distance: 1640 Km Approximate flight time: 1.5 hours