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Join in on a riveting 14-day group tour through South America that will whisk you from Buenos Aires to La Paz along some of the best-loved stretches of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. Follow in the wake of an expert guide through Buenos Aires, 'the Paris of South America' to discover this multicultural, eclectic city. Taste some of the best wines in the world at the foot of the Andes Mountain Range. Be wonderstruck by Bolivian landscapes as we cruise the desert in 4x4 cars. All this and more awaits on the Buenos Aires & La Paz Explorer.
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
Welcome to Buenos Aires. This is the first day of your 14-day group tour through South America! Check in at your hotel around mid-afternoon and settle in. Join your tour leader and the rest of the group for an included welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant this evening. A wonderful adventure awaits, so get a good night's sleep!
Today we explore the eclectic Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. After breakfast, join the Buenos Aires City Tour with a local guide to discover the city’s major sights and neighbourhoods. By the end of the day you’ll be able to tick off these sights from your list: the famous Buenos Aires Obelisk, the widest south american avenue: Avenida 9 de Julio, the administrative center of the city, Plaza de Mayo, the colourful La Boca, the cobblestoned foundational San Telmo and Recoleta cemetery. After the tour you are free to hunt down a local meal of your choice. Be it a saucy steak or delicious pizza, Buenos Aires is known for its culinary delights. Be sure to break for “té” or “merienda”, the Argentinian version of afternoon tea. Portenos, as the locals are known, take it with Mate (the local tea made with yerba mate) or coffee and alfajores (cake filled with dulce de leche). This evening you have the option to join the party for dinner and Tango show.
Today’s schedule is clear like the Argentine skies. Take your pick of a bunch of things to do in this booming Argentinian capital. Roam around the city, go for a tango lesson, or look for street art and graffiti. You can choose a day trip to visit a classic guest ranch (estancia) located in the untamed countryside of Buenos Aires. ‘Gaucho’ is the name for an Argentinian cowboy (also a national icon) and these cattle stations play a big part in Argentine economy and culture. A visit to this local ranch will give you a chance to witness the unique Estancia culture, taste the excellent food they cook here and see local folk dances. As always, you will be welcomed with open arms by the locals. Tonight there’s a group dinner booked at a local Argentinian restaurant. It might get late before we eat, because here we like to do as the locals do...
Take a morning flight westward to the base of the Andes Mountains and the city of Mendoza. You are now in the heart of Argentina’s wine capital with more than 150,000 hectares of vineyards in the region. Arriving in the early afternoon, immediately head out on a tour of the local wineries. The tour will showcase why Mendoza is one of the wine capitals of the world and give you the opportunity to taste the local wine. With the Andes mountain range lined up in the distance the views are just to die for. This evening you have the option to head to the city centre’s beautiful plazas for dinner. You’re sure to feel relaxed as you take in the laid-back pace, fresh air, and mountain vistas with a glass of Malbec in hand.
There’s a long day of travel ahead of us as we make our way to Santiago from Mendoza today. The road takes us over the Andes mountains and past the highest mountain in South America (and the Western hemisphere), Aconcagua. Stop for breaks and breathtaking views in the mountains en route. Cross the border and arrive in Santiago, capital of Chile, in the late afternoon. This evening you are invited to a group dinner.
Hola, Santiago! After breakfast at the hotel this morning, take a locally-guided tour of the city. As the beating heart of Chile, Santiago has a long list of attractions to see. On this tour, we’ll cover Santiago’s downtown area, the famous Alameda main avenue, Plaza de Armas, Santiago Cathedral and the Central Market. We’ll also get to Bellavista district, known for its bohemian history and San Cristobal Hill. The tour will finish around lunchtime and the afternoon is yours to explore at your leisure. This evening you can choose to join a group dinner at a local spot in town.
Today you have a clear schedule to explore Santiago exactly as you wish. Santiago offers various options that vary from cultural activities to nearby wineries and excellent foodie experiences. You have the option of a day trip to visit Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Depart after breakfast and travel to the captivating Pacific coast of Chile. Visit the coastal city of Valparaiso, a friendly and colourful village and UNESCO World Heritage site. Then head north, with lovely scenery at every turn, and find yourself in the resort city of Viña del Mar. This is another sparkling seaside village famous for its gardens, beaches and museums. Tonight you can pick and choose where you’d like to sit down for dinner. Perhaps in the hippy Bellavista district?
Today we make our way to the desert for a whole new experience! Board a transfer to Santiago Airport after breakfast and grab a flight to the mining city of Calama in northern Chile. After arriving in Calama, travel by coach to San Pedro de Atacama, enjoying the Atacama desert views passing by. The landscapes are dramatic and other-wordly. On arrival we'll take an orientation tour followed by some free time for lunch, before checking into our hotel. Then take a trip just outside the town to Moon Valley. Welcome to the driest desert in the world! Tonight you can roam free at your leisure. You have the option to join your tour leader for dinner and/or a late-night stargazing tour for any keen astronomers.
Take an early morning drive (with breakfast packed for the road) to get to the Bolivian border. Here we get adventurous and jump on 4x4 vehicles - our transport for the next three days. Head further into Bolivia to be enthralled by the immense natural beauty of this part of South America. It’s all different-coloured lagoons, windswept deserts, and even flocks flamingoes out here. And if there’s enough time, there might be an opportunity to jump in the Polques hot springs and bathe in the healing thermal waters (so pack some swimwear in your day bag). At day’s end, we make it to our homestay, where a local family will host us and greet us with traditional food. This is a great opportunity to experience and appreciate how these local communities live in this isolated yet beautiful environment.*
* Due to the remoteness and limited accommodation available in this region, please note that we will be staying in basic, multi-share rooms with limited hot water and simple amenities. Please be mindful of the fact that the level of accommodation is quite different to the normal hotel standards offered throughout the rest of the tour.
After breakfast, we jump back into our 4x4 vehicles and continue our incredible journey through southern Bolivia. Today, we’ll visit Laguna Hedionda, famous for the resident flamingo population as well as Laguna Canapa and Laguna Honda. Later in the day, after a picnic lunch, we’ll catch a glimpse of Ollague Volcano, which provides a fantastic backdrop against the rugged landscapes of the desert. We'll also travel to the Uyuni Train Cemetery - an area with abandoned trains from the early 20th century after the local mining economy collapsed. This evening, our second and final night in the desert has us staying with another local family at their humble homestay accommodation.
*Due to the remoteness and limited accommodation available in this region, please note that we will be staying in basic, multi-share rooms with limited hot water and simple amenities.We ask you be mindful that the level of accommodation is quite different to the normal hotel standards offered throughout the rest of the tour.
After breakfast, join in on a full-day exploration of the Uyuni Salt Flats - one of Bolivia’s most famous attractions. With the aid of a local guide and the assistance of 4x4 vehicles, travel to the very heart of the salt flats and back. Salar de Uyuni is one of the largest salt flats in the world and becomes a natural mirror in the rainy season. We’ll visit the tiny village of Colchani to learn about the importance of salt for the local people here, before heading towards Incahuasi Island, an oasis in the middle of the Salt Flats that is covered in huge cacti. Arriving at our Uyuni hotel at the end of the day, the rest of the evening is yours to spend as you wish.
We leave Uyuni behind and fly north to the world’s highest administrative capital, La Paz. Located in a deep canyon below the Andean peaks, the setting is extraordinary, with scenery straight out of a picture book. La Paz is a bustling city of contrasts where the old is merged with the new. It simply begs to be explored! Check into the hotel upon arrival and spend the day at your leisure. We have an included dinner for everyone tonight.
After breakfast today, fall even deeper in love with La Paz as you set out on a city tour. Wander around beautiful squares like Plaza Murillo, and lay eyes on San Francisco Church - the most famous church in the city. Also visit La Paz’s famous Witchdoctor's market. Round if off with a trip on the “subway in the sky” - La Paz’s cable car. A trip to the Teleferico viewpoint offers the view of a lifetime over the city and surrounding area. After lunch you have the option of exploring the city some more at your own pace. This evening, choose to find dinner in town or join the group at a local restaurant with your tour leader.
After a final night in La Paz, we say adiós after breakfast this morning. You have the option to take a transfer to the nearest airport, or talk to your tour leader about more excursions to take in and around La Paz. Have a safe onward journey!
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