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Argentinan Landscapes: Iguazu Falls + Salta + Lakes


ARC16B
16 NIGHTS
FROM £2,395
International flights quoted separately
This holiday focuses on the dramatic landscapes of Argentina, starting at Iguazu Falls & staying deep in the rainforest. Then fly to Salta and explore its desert scenery, including Quebrada Humahuacain, Salinas Grande salt flats, Indian Villages such as Purmamarca, Cachi & Cafayate vineyards. All transfers & specified sightseeing with English guide included. Optional Train to the Clouds extension.
Photo Salta Argentina Salinas Grande Cafayate Quebrada Humahuaca Train to the Clouds
• 
Iguazu Falls
• 
Iguazu Rainforest
• 
Salta
• 
High Mountain Museum
• 
Quebrada Humahuaca
• 
Indian Villages
• 
Purmamarca
• 
Salinas Grandes Saltflats
• 
Cachi + Cafayate
• 
Buenos Aires
• 
Iguazu Falls
• 
Iguazu Rainforest
• 
Salta
• 
High Mountain Museum
• 
Quebrada Humahuaca
• 
Indian Villages
• 
Purmamarca
• 
Salinas Grandes Saltflats
• 
Cachi + Cafayate
• 
Buenos Aires
Day 1
You will be met at Puerto Iguazu Airport and transferred to your hotel located near one of the greatest waterfalls in the world, regarded as one of Latin America's most awe-inspiring sights.
 
The mighty Iguazu Falls straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil, although almost 80% of the falls are on the Argentinian side. It is situated in a huge tropical rainforest that has been declared a World Heritage site, with countless flora and fauna species.
 
Check into your hotel and relax in this amazing tropical rainforest.
Day 2
Today enjoy a half day tour of the Argentinian side of the incredible Iguazu Falls, whose name means "Great Waters".
 
Comprising approximately 275 separate cascades, the falls form a curtain of foaming water that crashes over a vast granite amphitheatre and into the jungle below. Resembling a reversed letter "J", most of the Iguazu River plunges down through an area known as The Devil’s Throat, with the rest spreading out over a wide shelf that splits into hundreds of different waterfalls.
 
There are a series of walkways that lead above, below and behind the falls, with breath-taking views. You can also hope to see monkeys, toucans, parakeets and other wildlife in the rainforest.
 
The volume of water flowing over the falls varies greatly by season, depending on the rainfall. The heaviest rains are from December to February, when the flow of water is at its greatest, but many trails are closed then due to the rains. The shoulder seasons of March/April and August/September are generally regarded as the best time to visit, but the falls are a spectacular sight at any time of year.
Day 3
Today enjoy a half day tour of the incredible Iguazu Falls, whose name means "Great Waters". The Brazilian side offers panoramic views of the nearly 2-mile (3 km) cliff edge. We take an elevator down to the base of the waterfalls and stop at different viewing points.
 
Comprising approximately 275 separate cascades, the falls form a curtain of foaming water that crashes over a vast granite amphitheatre and into the jungle below. Resembling a reversed letter "J", most of the Iguazu River plunges down through an area known as The Devil’s Throat in Argentina, with the rest spreading out over a wide shelf that splits into hundreds of different waterfalls.
 
There are a series of walkways leading to the falls, with breath-taking views. You can also hope to see monkeys, toucans, parakeets and other wildlife in the rainforest.
 
The volume of water flowing over the falls varies greatly by season, depending on the rainfall. The heaviest rains are from December to February, when the flow of water is at its greatest, but many trails are closed then due to the rains. The shoulder seasons of March/April and August/September are generally regarded as the best time to visit, but the falls are a spectacular sight at any time of year.
Day 4
Today transfer across the border into Argentina to the lodge meeting point. From there travel 2-hours on a shared transfer to your jungle lodge situated deep in the pristine Iguazu Rainforest.
 
Check into your private wildlife reserve in the green jungles of Misiones province, surrounded by the flora, fauna and bird life of the upper Iguazu River.
Day 5
Today is devoted to exploring the wildlife of the lush Iguazu Rainforest, upstream from the mighty Iguazu Falls.
 
With over 10 miles of jungle trails, you can discover its natural treasures on foot accompanied by a local guide, or travel its waterways by boat and become aquainted with the native Guarani people.
 
The fauna of the park includes yacare caiman, coati and several endangered species such as the jaguar, jaguarundi, South American tapir, anteater and ocelot (a wild cat). You can also see an abundance of vivid bird life including large toucans, tirica, black-fronted piping guan, harpy eagles and great dusky swifts. There is also a great diversity of butterflies.
Day 6
Transfer 2-hours to the lodge meeting point, with another transfer to Iguazu Airport for your onward flight.
 
Note: Your flight must depart after 14.30 as your transfer will arrive at the meeting point around 12.30.

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 7
Today we suggest an optional half day private 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 Lerma Valley and the city below. 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 8
A full day of exploration today as we leave Salta on a small group overnight tour 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 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 9
Today we leave Purmamarca and travel to the town of Humahuaca, situated nearly 10,000 ft (3,000 m) above sea level. This indigenous 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 10
Today we drive 12-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 11
This morning you can visit the Vine and Wine Museum, before we leave Cafayate and drive 3.5-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 12
Transfer to Salta Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at San Carlos de Bariloche Airport and transferred to your hotel in this regional centre situated on beautiful Lago Nahuel Huapi, a large glacial lake.
 
Relax in this region of great natural beauty, surrounded by the snow-capped Andes Mountains.
Day 13
Today we suggest an optional half day 'Small Circuit' tour to Mount Campanario and the beautiful Llao Llao Peninsula, to see one of the most beautiful views in the world.
 
Enjoy magnificent mountain and lake landscapes, with views from López Bay and Punto Panorámico (Panoramic Lookout) and ascend Mount Campanario by chairlift, for wonderful views into Chile. You can visit the San Eduardo Chapel and buy local handcrafts along the way - including pottery, woodwork, candles and knitwear.
Day 14
Today we suggest an optional full day tour to Victoria Island and Los Arrayanes National Park.
 
We transfer from Bariloche to Puerto Panuelo, where we embark on a 1-hour sightseeing boat ride across beautiful Nahuel Huapi Lake. We disembark at Puerto Anchorena on Victoria Island, the largest island on the lake. From here enjoy a guided nature walk through a coniferous forest where, in the summer months, you can take a dip in the lake off of Toro Beach or an optional chair lift up Bella Vista Hill (pay locally).
 
We return to the boat and continue to the beautiful Quetrihué Peninsula, where we disembark to explore Los Arrayanes National Park. Learn about the hundred-year-old arrayán trees with their cinnamon-colored bark, which only grow on this narrow isthmus of land near Villa Angostura. You may also see a few pudú, a species of miniature deer. Afterwards we return to the boat and return to Bariloche.
 
Note: Lunch can be purchased on the boat, or bring your own. If only a small number of passengers on the day, this tour may be shortened to half day without notice (i.e. lunch is not enjoyed on the island). As the same activities are done, no refunds are given.
Day 15
At leisure to explore the small town of Bariloche in the spectacularly beautiful Lake District.
 
Bariloche is known for its characteristic Swiss alpine architecture and its wonderful chocolate, which can be purchased from many shops in the main street. It is also a popular base for hiking and skiing in the nearby mountains.
Day 16
Transfer to Bariloche 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 17
Transfer to Buenos Aires Airport for your flight home.

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