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Treasures Of The Northwest

Argentina, South America

from $7,200* per person 12 Days Year-round
Luxury accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Absolute Travel 12 people max
  • Buenos aires airport, argentina
  • Active & Adventure trips
This tour focuses on the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Argentina's desert northwest. Begin with a three-night stay in Buenos Aires, where private touring includes the various historical neighborhoods of the city, a cruise along the Delta, a tango show, and a visit to a charming town in neighboring Uruguay. Next, fly to Iguazú Falls, a range of 275 waterfalls spanning nearly 3 kilometers along the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. From Iguazú Falls, fly to Salta and tour this historic city, visiting some of the local cathedrals constructed during Argentina's colonial period. The following day, begin your circuit tour of the northeast; taking this trip by road allows you to see the desert beauty. Travel to Cafayate, stopping in the ancient Indian settlement of Payogasta before continuing through the deep canyons and desert scenery. Spend two nights in Cafayate before driving through the extraordinary Shell Canyon and back to Salta. The following morning begin a small group tour following the track of the famous "Train to the Clouds" through Bull Canyon to the town of San Antonio de los Cobres, followed by a visit to the Great Salt Mines and Purmamarca, a village located at the base of "Seven Colors Hill." The tour concludes in Jujuy, where you will spend the next two nights. The next day enjoy an excursion to the Humahuaca Canyon, which contains excellent artifacts from the pre-Hispanic cultures that once thrived here. The following day return to Buenos Aires to connect with your international flight.

Locations visited/nearby

Argentina, South America

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.

Itinerary

DAY 1 : ARRIVE BUENOS AIRES
Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be met and transferred to the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau for three nights. Considered by many to be the most cosmopolitan city in South America, Buenos Aires is a city of immigrants. Waves of European immigration throughout the first half of the twentieth century and before have contributed greatly to the city’s rich history and culture. The city has a distinct European flavor that mingles nicely with its Latin heritage. Though Buenos Aires has endured periods of economic hardship, it is quickly returning to its former glory as the center of Latin American sophistication and luxury. Enjoy this morning at leisure to rest after a long flight. This afternoon, begin your private city touring with the Plaza de Mayo, where the city was first founded. Here you’ll see the imposing Pink House, the Cathedral and the Cabildo ( Colonial Town Hall). Next, stop in San Telmo to visit the Plaza Dorrego. Later, visit La Boca to see the brightly colored houses on Caminito Street and then visit Puerto Madero, the newly renovated docklands area that has become very trendy. Visit the beautiful district of Recoleta, where you will stroll along Alvear Avenue, stopping at the Paseo del Pilar to admire the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar and the well-known La Recoleta Cemetery. Finally, pass through the parks of Palermo before returning to your hotel.

DAY 2: BUENOS AIRES
In the late morning, you will be picked up for a cultural heritage tour of Buenos Aires that features a selection of the city’s best art collections. First, head to the MNBA, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and then visit the new and magnificent Museum of Latin American Modern and Contemporary Art (MALBA, Costantini Collection). After, visit a private gallery on Arroyo Street, where you can see the last aesthetic challenges in contemporary art. This evening, enjoy a tango show at Rojo Tango, located at the Faena Hotel. The tango originated in the 1880s as a vulgar dance performed in the brothels of the lower class neighborhoods. It featured gaucho verse blended with Spanish and Italian melodies brought by newly arrived immigrants in the La Boca district. Today, it is the most famous and representative music of Buenos Aires, danced in the local milongas (tango salons) as well as in some of the city’s most exclusive restaurants and dance halls. Enjoy a dinner of Argentine beef or tasty salmon with domestic wine. (B,D)

DAY 3: COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO DAY TRIP
After breakfast, you will be picked up and transferred to the pier, where you will catch the boat to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, a charming town with a relaxed pace that is a marked contrast to busy Buenos Aires. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, Colonia del Sacramento has architecture reminiscent of the old quarter of Oporto or Lisbon. It can easily be covered on foot, and the best place to start with your guide is at the Puerta de la Ciudadela, the gate to the old fort that lies beyond a wooden bridge over a dry moat. The surrounding square is also quite beautiful, especially in springtime, when the floss silk and ceibo trees blossom with bright flowers. The peace and tranquility of the Calle de los Suspiros (“the lane of sighs”) is undisturbed by any traffic other than the occasional mule or bicycle. In the distance, the lighthouse stands watch beside the ruins of the Franciscan convent, while many colonial houses along the pretty cobblestone streets are open to the public, such as Casa Nacarello, which is now a museum, and the Casa del Virrey. Return to Buenos Aires in the afternoon. (B)

DAY 4: BUENOS AIRES - MENDOZA
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Mendoza.* Mendoza is one of the most attractive cities in the country, full of wide, tree-lined avenues, large squares, and relaxing parks. Mendoza is the seat of the wine-producing region of Argentina; over 75% of the country’s wine is produced here and much is exported around the world. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the Park Hyatt Mendoza for one night. Begin your afternoon city tour with a visit to the Main Square and civic area. Next stop by the Parque General San Martin (San Martin Park), and then the Monumento to the Ejercito de los Andes (Monumento to the Andean Army). (B)

*Please note that baggage allowance on Aerolineas Argentinas is restricted to 15 kg (approximately 33 pounds) per person in economy class and 20 kg (approximately 44 pounds) in business class.

DAY 5: MENDOZA
Today enjoy an excursion into the Andes Mountains. This stretch of the Andes contains some of the most beautiful scenery in all of the great mountain range. Here you will see some extraordinary colors in the mountains due to the various sediments and mineral deposits. Stop by the village of Cacheuta, known for its hot springs. After crossing the historic bridge over the Rio Picheuta, arrive at a stunning view of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, visit the statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) located 4,200 meters above sea level at the border with Chile. Upon return, you will be taken to the Cavas Wine Lodge where you will spend the next two nights. The lodge has 14 freestanding rooms, all with private terraces, set in the vineyards. (B,L,D)

DAY 6: MENDOZA
Today enjoy a tour of the local wineries, particularly beautiful with the snow-capped Andes hovering in the distance. Visit the wineries of the Lujan de Cuyo wine region. Your guide will give you a detailed description of the wine making and bottling processes as you visit the distilling apparatus and the cellars. And of course, no winery tour is complete without a wine tasting from one of the choicest selections. Return to the lodge, where you may enjoy some of the activities (rafting, bicycle-riding, or horseback riding) on offer. Also included in your visit to Cavas Wine Lodge is a one-hour massage, so make sure to schedule a time at the front desk! (B,L,D)

DAY 7: MENDOZA - BARILOCHE
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Bariloche. Beautifully set in the western region of the province of Río Negro, Bariloche is in the heart of Nahuel Huapi National Park, an area of pristine forests and strikingly beautiful, snow-capped mountain peaks. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Llao Llao Hotel for three nights. The hotel has a unique location within the Nahuel Huapi National Park, set among crystal blue lakes, snow-capped mountains and well-preserved forests. The hotel was built in 1940 by the renowned architect Ezequiel Bustillo and was renovated in 1993. The hotel is luxurious, welcoming and, most of all, cozy. This afternoon enjoy a half-day excursion alongside Nahuel Huapi Lake visiting Melipal, Playa Bonita, Moreno Lake, Llao Llao district (which affords a great view of the snow-capped Cerro Tronador), Puerto Pañuelo, Lopez Bay, and Panoramic Point. (B)

DAY 8: VICTORIA ISLAND EXCURSION
This morning you will be transferred to Puerto Pañuelo Pier to board a catamaran for a beautiful scenic trip that crosses Nahuel Huapi Lake, arriving at Quetrihue Peninsula. After disembarking, take a short walk to the lovely Arrayanes Woods. A 600-year-old forest filled with tall cinnamon and cream-colored trees that the locals claim provided Walt Disney with the inspiration for the film "Bambi." After returning to the catamaran, continue to Victoria Island (Puerto Anchorena). About half the size of Manhattan, this is the largest island in Nahuel Huapi Lake. Walk along some of the many beautiful paths that cross this island full of virgin forests. Later this afternoon you will return to Puerto Panuelo and be transferred back to your hotel. (B)

DAY 9: LLAO LLAO RESORT
Today you have the option of spending the day at leisure in Llao Llao Resort or taking the private touring option outlined below. (B)

Mount Tronador Excursion (October - March): Enjoy a full day excursion to Mount Tronador and Los Alerces Cascade. After heading south from Bariloche along the beautiful lakes and rivers of the area you will pass Lake Mascardi and Lake Moscas. At this point, continue by foot until you reach the River Manso. Here you will find the picturesque 2,000-foot waterfall known as Cascada los Alerces. Next, you will return to your vehicle and continue on to view the magnificent Mount Tronador (11,847 feet). Tronador, which means thunderer in English, was named for the thunder-like sound produced by ice falling from the mountain's peak. Finally, visit the ‘Ventisquero Negro’ (The Black Glacier), a fitting way to end such a lovely day of sightseeing. (B)

DAY 10: BARILOCHE - EL CALAFATE
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to El Calafate, the gateway to the glaciers. El Calafate is located in the extreme south of the Santa Cruz province, the most southern province of Argentina, which forms part of the vast, wild untamed land of Patagonia. This majestic region is full of glacier-fed lakes, snowcapped mountains, and ancient forests. El Calafate is named after the small calafate bush, indigenous to Patagonia, whose fruit is a tasty berry used for making jam. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to Los Notros for three nights. Los Notros is located within Los Glaciares National Park. The park covers about 1.5 million acres of pristine land that stretches vertically along the eastern slope of the Andes. Los Glaciares National Park was formed in 1937 and declared a World Heritage region by UNESCO in 1981. At Los Notros you will enjoy an unobstructed view of the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier. Spend the evening at leisure to enjoy the hotel or take a trip in to town. (B,D)

*Please note that El Calafate is best visited between September and the beginning of May.

DAY 11: PERITO MORENO - GLACIER EXCURSION
Enjoy a full day visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Unlike the other surviving glaciers that are fed from the Southern Ice Field, Perito Moreno is the only one that is not receding. What impresses visitors most is the sheer size of Perito Moreno Glacier, a wall of jagged blue ice measuring 14,760 feet across and soaring 197 feet above the channel. One of the most attractive qualities of this glacier is its accessibility -- just a short drive from Los Notros is the face of the glacier. Here a series of walkways allow you to observe the glacier’s intricate detail from very close while a constant grumbling resonates through the channel as the glacier continuously throws chunks of ice into the water down below. Spend the day touring this unique natural wonder. You may choose to take a guided hike on the glacier, a boat journey along the channel below, or just relax with your camera in one of the viewing areas directly in front of the glacier. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: UPSALA & ONELLI GLACIER EXCURSION
Today you will enjoy a full day boat excursion to the Upsala and Onelli glaciers. In the morning, travel by car to Punta Bandera on the southern edge of Lake Argentino. This very large lake has a turquoise hue because its water originates from the glaciers. Board a catamaran for the trip to Upsala glacier, the largest of all 365 glaciers in the park. As your catamaran crosses the lake you will begin to see tempanos (icebergs) of all shapes, increasing in size and number as you approach Upsala. Upsala is an impressive sight, with a surface of 595 square kilometers and a height that reaches 60 meters above the lake's surface. Next, pass in front of Onelli glacier before arriving at Onelli Bay, where you will disembark. After lunch, take a short walk through the forest to Lake Onelli. From its edge you will have a magnificent view of four glaciers: Onelli, Bolados, Agassiz and Heim. Return to the boat for the trip back to Punta Bandera and your hotel. (B)

DAY 13: EL CALAFATE - DEPART BUENOS AIRES
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, where you will connect with your onward departing international flight. (B)

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