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Deserts & Winelands of Argentina


ARM13B
13 NIGHTS
FROM £2,595
International flights quoted separately
After visiting vibrant Buenos Aires, with its outstanding food & wine culture, explore the wine growing regions of northwest Argentina, including the dramatic landscapes around Salta and Mendoza - famous for its Malbec wine. An overnight visits to Purmamarca Indian Village & the Salinas Grandes salt flats is included. English speaking guides, all transfers & specified sightseeing included.
Photo Mendoza Winelands Argentina Salta Malbec Wine Tours
• 
Buenos Aires
• 
City tour & Tango show
• 
Salta
• 
Humahuaca Gorge
• 
Purmamarca Indian Village
• 
Salinas Grandes Salt Flats
• 
Cafayete Winelands
• 
Mendoza Winelands
• 
Wine Tasting
• 
Malbec Wines
• 
Buenos Aires
• 
City tour & Tango show
• 
Salta
• 
Humahuaca Gorge
• 
Purmamarca Indian Village
• 
Salinas Grandes Salt Flats
• 
Cafayete Winelands
• 
Mendoza Winelands
• 
Wine Tasting
• 
Malbec Wines
Day 1
You will be met at Buenos Aires Airport and transferred to your hotel in this exciting city, situated on the estuary of the Río de la Plata (or "River of Silver").
 
Check in and relax in this capital of Argentina, known for its wonderful architecture, tango dancing and rich culture, including the highest concentration of theaters in the world.
Day 2
This morning enjoy a half day tour of Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan city influenced by the many immigrants who helped form it and offering beautiful architecture, history and culture.
 
Our tour starts at the Plaza de Mayo, the historical, political and cultural centre of the city. Here you can see the Pink House (Presidential Palace), the Pyramid de Mayo and Metropolitan Cathedral. We continue down Avenida de Mayo, with its wide avenues and spacious green areas, past the Obelisk to the neighborhood of San Telmo, one of the oldest in the city with cobbled streets and colonial houses. Every Sunday an antiques fair takes place here around the Plaza Dorrego. The vibrant area is the centre for most of the tango parlors, restaurants and bars of the city.
 
Going further south, we visit the Italian port neighborhood of La Boca, with its colourful houses in Caminito Street and many “cantinas” (small restaurants). Also the trendy modern neighborhood of Puerto Madero, where the old piers have been converted into upmarket offices, apartments and restaurants with views of the Rio de la Plata. We visit the residential neighborhood of Palermo with its elegant mansions surrounded by spacious parks, before arrivinge in glamorous Recoleta, where there is the option to visit the famous cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, with its rich architecture (pay locally). Next to the cemetery is the church of Our Lady of Pilar, the Recolete Cultural Centre (originally a convent) and the Palais de Glace exhibition centre.
 
Afternoon is at leisure to relax, before you are collected in the evening for a Tango Show. Born in the brothels of the city amongst a racial mix of Gauchos, Italian, Spanish and African immigrants, this dance and its music originated as a combination of Cuban and Spanish rhythms, with some polka and African beat. Enjoy the show and dinner, including mouth-watering Argentinian beef and Malbec wine.
Day 3
This morning we suggest an optional full day excursion to Santa Susana Ranch to admire the skills of the Argentinian Gauchos (cowboys) who live in these fertile pampas grasslands about 2-hours from the city.
 
With a distinctive culture that combines their European and Native American heritages, Gauchos play an important role in regional cultural tradition - including folk songs, dancing and equestrian shows of traditional gaucho skills, such as ring races, cuadreras (horse races) and entrevero de tropillas (horse games).
 
Named in honour of the wife of the original owner, this 1,200 hectare ranch focuses mainly on agriculture, with some cattle raising and horse breeding. On arrival you will be offered delicious empanadas (traditional meat pies) and Argentian wine. You will also have the opportunity of riding a farm wagon, or enjoying a walk on horseback, before tucking into a traditional asado (barbeque). This will be followed by a tango demonstration, folk dancing and an exhibition of Gaucho horsemanship, with roping and ring races.
 
Note: the ranch is closed on Mondays.
Day 4
Transfer to Aeroparque Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Salta Airport and transferred to your hotel in this capital of the mountainous northwest.
 
Check in and relax in this city, situated in the beautiful Lerma Valley with a timeless Spanish colonial atmosphere reflected in its many excellent museums and folk music clubs.
Day 5
Today enjoy a half day tour of Salta, one of the most picturesque cities in Argentina with an attractive contrast between its traditional colonial buildings with their railed balconies and modern urban architecture.
 
Plaza 9 de Julio is at the heart of the city and surrounded by some of its most important buildings, numerous bars and restaurants. The 18th century Church and Convent of San Francisco has been declared a minor basilica by the Vatican. The Cabildo and Historical Museum of the North was the former seat of government of the Spanish Viceroy and subsequently the provincial government. The 16th century Convent of San Bernardo, whose portal is carved from an algarrobo (carob) tree, is considered a jewel of colonial art. The Italian designed Basilica Cathedral housese the remains of General Martín Miguel de Guemes, a hero of the battle for independence.
 
Afterwards drive to Cerro San Bernardo, where the monument to General de Guemes is located. From this hill there is a panoramic view over the city below and the Lerma Valley. Your tour ends at the  Mercado Artesanal (Craft Market), where you can admire the mastery of local artisans with pottery, weaving, textiles, ponchos and tapestries, as  well as with musical instruments.
 
At the end of your tour visit the MAAM High Mountain Archaelogical Museum (Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña) with its collection of Incan artifacts, including mummies of girls found in the Llullaillaco Volcano.
Day 6
A full day of exploration today as we leave Salta on a small group overnight tour and travel 5.5-hours to see the majestic Salinas Grandes Salt Flats, the largest in Argentina and the colourful landscapes of Quebrada Humahuaca, staying overnight at an indigenous Indian village.
 
We follow the scenic route of the 'Train to the Clouds', which allows you to admire this marvellous feat of engineering with its many curves and zig-zags cutting deep into the Quebrada del Toro gorge. Enjoy the bright blue skies and multi-coloured hills covered with cacti and shrubs, in this pristine Andean environment.
 
On arrival in the small town of San Antonio de los Cobres we visit the La Polvorilla Viaduct, which rises 63 m above the ground at an altitude of 4,197 m. Built between 1930 and 1932, this was a great work of engineering in its time.
 
We then continue northwards along the old Route 40 to the remote Salinas Grandes Salt Flats situated at the foot of the Sierras de Córdoba Mountains. This spectacular 200 square mile (525 sq. km) salt plain is located some 11,000 ft (3,350 m) above sea level, with a salty crust of up to 20 inches (0.5 m) thick in places. On a bright day you will need sunglasses to take in the blinding contrast between the brilliant white expanse of cracked and crusty salt and the bright blue sky.
 
In the afternoon we descend through the Cuesta del Lipán (a series of steep zigzags in the road), where condors are often sighted and travel to the Indian village of Purmamarca for overnight.
 
Note: The salt flats are at a very high altitude, so take precautions for altitude sickness.
Day 7
Today we leave Purmamarca and travel 4-hours to Salta.
 
Along the way we stop at the indigenous town of Humahuaca, situated nearly 10,000 ft (3,000 m) above sea level. This village was founded in 1594 and today has many beautiful adobe colonial houses, narrow cobblestone streets and colonial lanterns. Most historic buildings are set around the main square including the church, museum and monument to the wars for Argentinian independence, known as the Monument to the Indian.  
 
From here we view the dramatic and unusual landscapes of Humahuaca Gorge (meaning 'broken'), a narrow mountain valley that is a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site.  View Pollera de la Coya - the Hill of Seven Colours - and the Church of Uquia.
 
After crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, we travel through the town of Tilcara where we visit the Pucara, a partially reconstructed pre-Columbian fort and Archaeological Museum, with its fascinating collection of pre-Colombian items. We return to Salta, travelling southwards along an ancient Inca route and passing through the Posta de Hornillos staging post and several small indigenous villages.
Day 8
Today we drive 4-hours from Salta to the wine-producing region of Cafayate, travelling via the the charming pre-Colombian town of Cachi.
 
We pass through the towns of Cerrillos, El Carril and Chicoana before ascending the Escoipe Cliff. We continue along the dramatic mountain road known as the Cuesta del Obispo, with its hairpin bends offering marvellous views of the rippling Sierra del Obispo mountains covered in olive-green vegetation, until we reach the Piedro del Molino (Stone Mill ) at 3,384 m. From here we take the Recta de Tin-Tin, a straight path originally laid out by the local Aboriginal people that produces the strange sense of rising, whereas in reality the road is declining. We continue heading westward across an arid plateau to Los Cardones National Park, set up to preserve the endangered giant candelabra cactus.
 
After crossing Payogasta, an ancient indigenous settlement, we arrive in the town of Cachi situated at the foot of the Nevado de Cachi. This pre-Columbian region of old houses and good wine has a pristine atmosphere. Here you can visit the small 18th century church that is decorated with wooden objects and also serves as the Archaeological Museum.
 
We continue to Cafayate, the region that produces the world's best high altitude white wines using the torrontes grape. The town is scenically situated in the heart of th Calchaquíes Valleys and is surrounded by vineyards and rivers. This series of high altitude valleys receives over 300 days of sunshine a year and is renowned for its contrast of colours and unique geography, ranging from mountain deserts to subtropical forests and vineyards. The town has many beautiful homes that combine colonial and baroque architecture, such as the parish church and the municipal building.
Day 9
This morning you can visit the Vine and Wine Museum, before we leave Cafayate and drive 4-hours to Salta, travelling through the spectacular Cafayate Gorge.
 
This barren and wild landscape of richly coloured sandstone has been carved out by the Rio de las Conchos river. Its reddish limestone walls have been eroded by wind and water, forming many capricious forms that have been names by local residents - such as the amphitheatre, devils’s throat, obelisk and the castles. The canyon’s twisted sedimentary strata display a stunning array of colours, ranging from rich red ocher to ethereal green.
 
Note: Vine and Wine Museum is closed on Mondays.
Day 10
Transfer to Salta Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Mendoza Airport in the heart of Argentina's wine country and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this region that is famed for its Malbec and other bold red wines.
Days 11 To 12
At leisure to independently explore the wine and olive oil region of Mendoza, with its wide leafy streets lined with modern and art-deco buildings.
 
At the Plaza Independencia you will find the underground Museum of Modern Art, with its four surrounding plazas offering charming coffee shops and many bodegas (wineries) that are popular for wine tastings.
 
If your hotel is situated in the surrounding winelands, enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of this world famous wine growing region.
Day 13
Transfer to Mendoza Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires and transferred to your hotel in this capital city.
Day 14
Transfer to Buenos Aires Airport for your flight home.

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