Day #1 Overnight Flight - Discover the generous bounty of Chile and Argentina on a journey through amazing landscapes of the lofty Andes. Your South American adventure begins with an overnight flight to Santiago.
Day #2 Santiago, Chile - Tour Begins - Arrive in Santiago, Chile’s vibrant capital set against the magnificent Andes. LANGUAGE DISCOVERY Your Tour Manager helps you discover the origin and history of the local language along with key words and phrases to help you communicate. This afternoon, a Santiago city tour includes the Hippodrome and O’Higgins Park. Ride the cable car up Cerro San Cristobal for sweeping views of Santiago and the Andes and admire the Statue of the Immaculate Conception. Embark on a walking tour through Barrio Lastarria, a culturally rich and historic neighborhood, and visit a bustling local market where delicacies such as Chilean sea bass are abundant. Join your fellow travelers this evening for a welcome dinner and folkloric performance celebrating Chilean culture.
Day #3 Santiago - A day at leisure provides you with countless opportunities. Shop Santiago’s chic boutiques and dine at one of its cafés, enjoying the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere. Or, perhaps join an optional tour to colorful Valparaiso – a UNESCO World Heritage city – and visit the chic beach resort of Viña del Mar and venture into the lush, green valleys of Curacavi and Casablanca, stopping at a local vineyard for a sampling of Chile’s famous wines.
Day #4 Santiago - Climb aboard Chile’s famous wine train, the Tren del Vino! This 1913 coal-fired steam engine locomotive explores Colchagua Valley, a fertile expanse often compared to Napa Valley. Named Wine Enthusiast’s 2005 Wine Valley of the Year, Colchagua is particularly suited for red wines, especially carmenère, a cabernet family grape that thrives in the climate created by the steep Andean valley. Delight in a wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres and Chilean folk music during your train journey. Visit a vineyard and learn the techniques of wine making and enjoy a tasting, followed by a traditional Chilean lunch. Then, visit one of the continent’s largest private museums in the picturesque town of Santa Cruz. The expansive, fascinating collection of the Colchagua Museum contains everything from exquisite pre-Columbian jewelry, 300-million-year-old fossils and Chilean cowboy artifacts.
Day #5 Santiago - Mendoza, Argentina - Start your panoramic journey into the soaring Andes through the scenic Aconcagua Valley, following the route of the famed Transandine Railway, currently in reconstruction and expected to be one of the most spectacular railway journeys on earth. Catch views of the glaciers on Aconcagua Mountain, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, and enjoy lunch at leisure in the boutique ski resort of Portillo before crossing into Argentina. Marvel at the Puente del Inca natural bridge, formed by the interaction of the extreme elements in the area – avalanches, ice and hot springs. At a market you can do as the locals do and enjoy a sweetened yerba maté tea, traditionally infused in a dried calabasa gourd. Continue your journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Central Andes en route to the land of sol y vino – sun and wine – Argentina’s wine country, where vineyards and olive groves flourish. The French grape, Malbec, has taken to the region and has made Argentine wine cherished around the world.
Day #6 Mendoza - Take in the atmosphere of relaxing Mendoza during a tour of this tranquil city which highlights the vast Parque General San Martín and the lively central Plaza Independencia. It’s easy to see what makes Mendocinos so warm and welcoming. Before your tour ends, indulge in a sample of the local Italian-inspired ice cream with a Mendocino twist, such as vanilla with Malbec or peach with Syrah! Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to stroll, shop or sample specialties from the local cafés.
Day #7 Mendoza - Mendoza produces 70% of Argentina’s grapes and wines, with a viniculture history dating back to the 16th century. A vast network of aqueducts and dykes, dating back to the reign of the Inca Empire, makes the most of its annual six inches of rain to transform the city into a verdant oasis on the high plain. Thanks to the world’s attention to the quality of wines from this region, there are now said to be over 1,000 wineries – or bodegas, as they are called here – in the fertile Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and Uco valleys. Revel in visits to three bodegas on the Los Caminos del Vino wine route and enjoy a gourmet wine pairing lunch and ample opportunities throughout the day to sample the bounty of the Argentine vineyards.
Day #8 Mendoza - Buenos Aires - Leave the Andes and fly to Buenos Aires, home of the legendary Eva Peron and birthplace of the tango. Stretching along the banks of the Rio de la Plata, this “Paris of South America” is a mosaic of European-styled architecture, South American spirit and proud national identity. Tonight, enjoy a home-hosted dinner with a local Argentine family where you have the opportunity to experience local culture in a personalized setting and ask questions about daily life.
Day #9 Buenos Aires - Today you’ll enjoy a Porteños tour of the capital, viewing the lavish Teatro Colon, the famous opera house; the Avenida 9 de Julio – the wide, elegant boulevard that honors Argentinean independence; Recoleta Cemetery, where Evita rests in an oft-visited tomb; the Presidential Palace, the Casa Rosada; and the historic San Telmo barrio, lined with cobblestone streets and tango clubs. Later, take a stroll through San Martin Park or Calle de Florida, a shopper’s paradise. Perhaps you will opt to visit a local market or art museum, or spend the rest of the afternoon at an elegant sidewalk café in one of the city’s many fashionable neighborhoods.
Day #10 Buenos Aires - Today is yours to independently enjoy the charms of Buenos Aires. You may choose an optional excursion across the famous Pampas to experience the culture and lifestyle of Argentina’s gauchos, or relax and continue to soak in the city’s cultural delights at your leisure. Join your fellow travelers this evening to discover the spirit and elegant passion of the tango, the national dance of Argentina. Embrace the art of this once scandalous dance during a lesson. Then, indulge in a delicious Argentine dinner, followed by an unforgettable tango performance!
Day #11 Buenos Aires - Tour Ends - From the high valleys of the magnificent Andes, to the cosmopolitan verve of Santiago and Buenos Aires, you’ve tasted the best of Chile and Argentina. Your tour ends in Buenos Aires. Board your flight home with an abundance of South American memories.