“I have always had that fire burning in me to search out the most authentic of places. One of the areas that frustrated me the most was Argentina. No matter how hard I looked, all I could find were the same areas in every itinerary. Where had our imagination gone? Was this all Argentina had? We kept pushing for more until we finally uncovered a whole new layer. This program is the first part of that culmination that finally connects Argentina to the ancient cultures of South America through Salta.”
Day By Day Itinerary
Day 1: Salta, Argentina
Welcome to Argentina. On arrival, you are met and privately transferred to the hotel. This afternoon, you have time to look around this historic city, founded in the 16th century. It remains one of the best representatives of the Spanish colonial past in Argentina. Travel up Cerro San Bernardo for panoramic views of the city. Explore the city center that features impressive buildings dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The Ninth of July Square is home to the neoclassical Cathedral Shrine, the French-style Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cabildo (once the city's town hall; now a historical museum), and the neoclassical Museum of High Mountain Archeology, which houses artifacts from the Inca civilization, including the preserved mummies of three Inca children. House Of Jasmines
Day 2: Salta / Purmamarca & Salinas Grandes / Tilcara
Begin your journey through the high roads of Salta and Jujuy, towards the town of Purmamarca, well known for its Cerro de los Siete Colores, colorful hills that are the result of geological activity over time. Upon your arrival in Purmamarca, enjoy lunch before you set out on a mountain bike on the Big Salt Plains, a vast desert of salt with beautiful views of Mt. Chañi (6,200 meters/20,341 feet high). The local Andean people work in the salt pools. You enjoy another bike ride to down the Lipan Hill all the way to Purmamarca. Then, continue by vehicle to Tilcara. Las Marias Boutique Hotel (B)
Day 3: Tilcara – Quebrada de Humahuaca & las Señoritas - Tilcara
Today, explore the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This narrow valley offers beautiful landscapes rich in Andean culture and more than 10,000 thousand years of history, reaching back to the earliest first hunter-gatherers.
Continue heading north to visit agricultural villages that cultivate crops such as corn, sugar cane, beans, citrus, bananas, and tomatoes, using the same techniques as a century ago, including the use of irrigation ditches built by their ancestors. The villagers also raise herds of sheep.
Nestled amid characteristic red hills, the town of Uquía is home to the San Francisco de Padua Church. The chapel is known for its collection of ten, 17th century ángeles arcabuceros paintings. These works feature archangels, each dressed in clothing inspired by Spanish aristocrats, with the wings of flamingos and holding an arquebus (early muzzle-loaded firearm) instead of a traditional sword. Many paintings depicting ángeles arcabuceros were shipped to Lima, upper Peru, Chile, and northern Argentina. To satisfy the demand, large artistic workshops of mostly indigenous artisans were established to satisfy the demand for this style of painting. In addition to this church, paintings of ángeles arcabuceros are found in Peru, Bolivia, and museums in Spain.
A short distance from the church, you begin an easy trek of about three hours that takes you to the Quebrada de las Señoritas, a landscape of intense red colors, where paleontological deposits have been found such as milodontes and gigantic perezosos. There are also caves, cliffs and several peaks of black, red and white to admire. This afternoon, return to Tilcara. Las Marias Boutique Hotel (B)
Day 4: Purmamarca / Salta
This morning, enjoy an energetic two-hour walk through Los Colorados, landscapes colored red by the minerals in the rocks. The zigzag trail goes behind the hill known as Cerro de los Siete Colores, (Seven-Color Hill). It is made of rubble and has no slopes. The area is arid and features scarce creeping vegetation with some endangered species of cacti. The formations are the result of millions of years of accumulation of lake and river sediments. After the hike, you depart from Pumarmarca along the mountain route in the middle of Yuga Forest, arriving in Salta in the early afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure. House Of Jasmines (B)
Day 5: Salta / Dique Cabra Corral / Cafayate
Begin your day with a drive of about two hours to Cabra Corral Dam, where you have the opportunity to go rafting on Juramento River. After an introductory rafting and safety course, you gear up with lifejackets, helmets, waterproof jackets and pants. With your professional guide, you set out on your two-hour rafting adventure, which has easy Level III rapids. Take in the beautiful and tranquil landscapes of the Juramento Canyon. The canyon walls are some 65 million years old and have yielded some interesting fossils and dinosaur footprints. Stop along the way for a snack and barbecue lunch. After lunch, travel through the breathtaking area of Quebrada de las Conchas, best known for the range of colors, and its unique geography that ranges from the mountain desert to subtropical forest.
During your drive, stop to investigate the rock formations of the Anfiteatro before you encounter the white sands that hail your entrance to Cafayate, the most important town in the Calchaquies Valley. It is known for wine, especially the white grape Torrontés. Los Patios De Cafayate (B/L)
Day 6: Cafayate / Bodega Colome / Cachi
This morning set out along a scenic but mostly dirt road to Cachi. The architecture of the small city is principally of colonial Spanish style with adobe homes painted white and built over bases of rock, sporting antique window grills forged of iron. In the Central Plaza is the Church of Chachi, a recognized National Historical Monument, built in the 16th century, but the exterior dates from the 19th century. Its beams, altars, and confession booths are all carved from the porous cactus. The front of the plaza is the main entrance to the Pío Pablo Díaz Archaeological Museum. This museum contains more than 5,000 pieces covering some 10,000 years, with a majority covering the time period between 800 BCE and 1600 CE. Ancient pictographs figure prominently in the museum, and the staff is extremely knowledgeable. Ten kilometers to the south-southwest of Cachi lies the important ruins of Puerta de La Paya. Cachi also has the world's highest vineyard, Bodegas Colomé. The estate also has the oldest vineyards in the country. The estate’s wine expert accompanies you, explaining the sustainable concepts of the Swiss owner. Finca Santana (B/L)
Day 7: Cachi – La Poma - Cachi
This morning, you head to the town of La Poma and drive about an hour to Volcan Los Gemelos base. You begin your two-hour trek on a smooth walk to the top (expect some few rough paths on the road). Along the way, you will see the varied formations and rocks, some black, others with yellow undertones caused by sulfur, all caused when the volcano erupted. You will enjoy a picnic lunch at the summit along with the beautiful views from the top. Return to the bottom and drive to La Poma town. Take a stroll from La Poma Nueva to La Poma Vieja, where you will see remnants of the old town, which was destroyed by an earth quake in 1930. The town is surrounded by snowy peaks. At the end of the afternoon, drive back to Cachi.
Finca Santana (B/L)
Day 8: Cachi / Los Cardones National Park / Cuesta del Obispo / Salta / Iguassu
Today you travel through Los Cardones National Park, where you see dramatic giant cactus plants before arriving at Cuesta del Obispo, a scenic mountain slope surrounded by lush vegetation. On this roughly three- to four-hour drive, there are have many photographic opportunities as you look for vicuñas, mountain cats, and falcons. You arrive in Salta and board your flight to the famous Iguassu Falls.
You are met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, Posada Puerto Bemberg. Otto and Federico Bemberg settled with their families in Misiones in what was originally known as Puerto Libertad. As the place grew, it became locally known as Puerto Bemberg. In 1940, the family built the original Posada Puerto Bemberg to accommodate the first travelers coming from Posadas to visit the Iguassu Falls. The property has been fully refurbished to create a luxury retreat in the jungle with some 5,000 native plants, natural falls and trails. The hotel features spacious rooms, a living room with large windows and a grand piano, an intimate restaurant, a library of some 2,500 books and masterpieces of contemporary and Latin American arts. Posada Puerto Bemberg (B)
Day 9: Iguassu Falls
You will explore the falls with your private guide from the Argentine side. The visitor center has restaurants, souvenir shops, an amphitheater and a space dedicated to the park´s ecosystem. There is also an exhibition (in Spanish only) detailing the indigenous peoples who lived in the area during the past centuries. The train terminal is at Central Station, some 400 meters/1,312 feet away from the main gate, and this is where the first leg starts. You can either ride the train or take a 20-minute easy walk along Sendero Verde (green trail). Both ways will get you to Cataratas Station, the starting point of the Upper Circuit. The Upper Circuit is a half-hour walk along a 1,200-meter/3,900-foott trail – with low degree of difficulty and no stairs – that goes deep into the jungle. You will get several up close views at different observation points and panoramas toward the end of the trail. The second leg of the train ride leaves Cataratas Station and goes to Garganta del Diablo Station. The trail goes across several branches of the upper Iguazu River, well into the rain forest. You have the chance to see a variety of birds, including toucans. Devil’s Throat is a deep 70-meter/230-foot roiling pot where several branches of the Iguazu River converge, causing a violent water fall. A balcony set up at the border allows you to enjoy this stunning visual experience.
The Lower Circuit requires more physical effort due to its stairs. You should only do this section if you are in good physical condition. On this trail, you will also walk far into the jungle, cross streams and maybe come across local fauna. The Lower Circuit goes all the way down to the river, where a boat (optional) crosses over to San Martin Island. On the way down, there are balconies with marvelous bottom-up views of the falls. Posada Puerto Bemberg (B)
Day 10: Iguassu
Today you can enjoy one of the excursions such as sailing on Parana River, visiting beaches, swimming and enjoying beautiful hidden falls. Visit falls such as Yasy amid the lush environment that includes some 15 small falls ending in Parana River. Located on the banks of the Parana River, a chapel was built by renowned Argentine architect Alejandro Bustillo in colonial style. The chapel is dedicated to Itatí Virgin, and has its original black and white vitraux brought from France. At one time, the parishioners followed Sunday mass from their canoes. This lovely chapel can be booked for weddings or special celebrations. Walking half an hour along the jungle and within hotel facilities, you reach Guatambu waterfall, a water cascade with a large natural water pool.
Other activities include bicycling on forest rails or kayaking on Parana River, which divides Argentina and Paraguay. Hike along Bemberg Port Reserve paths, accompanied by naturalist guides. You may spot trogons, hawks, red-ruffed fruitcrows, dusky-legged guans and various toucans. Learn about sounds and animal print recognition from your guides.
You can also participate in the reforestation program. Guests are invited to join this initiative, donating a tree and planting it. Bemberg Port Garden Center is a native plant producer in Argentina. During your visit you will be introduced to 50 native species that are being currently grown here, combining modern techniques with natural jungle preservation methods. Posada Puerto Bemberg (B)
Day 11: Iguassu / Ibera Marshlands
This morning, you will be transferred to the airstrip to board an aircraft to your next destination, the Marshlands of Ibera. In 1999, Conservation Land Trust Argentina (CLT) launched an important project preserve Ibera’s ecosystem in a 12,000-hectare/30,000-acre former cattle ranch. The first step was to remove all cattle in order to allow the local fauna to return. Some indigenous species such as the anteater had to be re-introduced. CLT removed all exotic vegetation and replaced them with native plants.
The plan is to create an area that will conserve, in perpetuity, the natural ecosystems of Ibera. CLT bought a further 150,000 hectares/ 370,658 acres of former cattle ranches closest to public lands. The ranches include ecosystems not present in the Provincial Park, such as flooded grassland, open forests of thorny, dry shrubs called “espinales” and gallery forests. The plan is to donate these “high lands” to the state and, with the flooded provincial public lands, create an area of more than 700,000 hectares/1.8 million acres, becoming the biggest natural park in Argentina.
The Rincón del Socorro Reserve is a former cattle ranch, now a nature sanctuary. Here, you get a taste of what life was like for early ranchers. The main house on the estancia, “El Casco”, built in 1896 by the original founder of the ranch, has been transformed into what is today a hosteria. Built in the classic Spanish estancia style, the house has been completely renovated, respecting its original architectural lines. Guests can still see some of these interesting original designs. You can walk among old noble trees planted in the early 1900s that shade for this sub-tropical region with its a large collection of local native plants and classic azaleas and roses. The laguna next to the hosteria provides a never-ending wildlife show with carpinchos, alligators and up to 30 bird species in residence. Each room has been designed and decorated in a unique style, according to its own form and placement. No two rooms are the same with decorations that include antique historical maps, a collection of stuffed animals and unique wildlife paintings. Rincón Del Socorro (B/L/D)
Days 12/13: Ibera Marshlands
During your stay at Rincón del Socorro, many activities are available that explore the varied ecosystems. Activities are tailored to your interests but also may be dependent on weather conditions. While horseback riding in the marshlands, you will be able to see a great variety of birds and possibly other animals. Another option is to ride to nearby Uguaí to meet a family from Corrientes and share their traditions. Nature walks and all-terrain bike rides are ideal to explore the savannahs and fields. Birdwatching is rewarding with more than 340 species of birds recorded in Iberá, including endangered species from the surrounding region that have found shelter here. Explore Ibera´s pond by boat, and enjoy a barbeque lunch in the pool house, weather permitting. Night safaris venture out in 4x4 vehicles or on foot to see the nocturnal animals and learn about this very special environment. Rincón Del Socorro (B/L/D)
Day 14: Ibera Marshlands / Buenos Aires
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel for a private transfer to the airstrip for your flight back to Iguassu, then connect with your flight to Buenos Aires. European in appearance, Buenos Aires can keep any culture-oriented visitor busy indefinitely. The city has a year-round calendar of events from premier cultural events, to some of the world’s best polo matches and excellent football, to the local gaucho game of “pato”, a sort of basketball on horseback.
This afternoon, discover this sophisticated metropolis and Argentina’s capital. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most exciting cities with a vibrant cultural scene and its legendary street art. On an intriguing three-hour graffiti tour, you’ll see a different side to Buenos Aires, meeting the city’s artists and visiting local galleries.
Enjoy a personalized experience on this small-group art tour as you leave the well-trodden tourist routes to see a different side of Buenos Aires with your expert local guide. Gain cultural insights into the political origins and modern-day issues of Buenos Aires. Your tour is run in collaboration with Buenos Aires’ leading artists, taking you to the neighborhoods of Colegiales, Chacarita, Villa Crespo and Palermo to visit art studios, graffiti hotspots, open-air galleries and the city’s only street art bar and gallery. Admire the artists’ handiwork, with the opportunity to shop if you like. Listen as your guide explains the meaning behind urban murals. All proceeds from this non-profit tour go to supporting Buenos Aires’ urban art scene.
Hub Porteño – Suite Room (B)
Day 15- Buenos Aires – Pampas – Buenos Aires
Today, enter the world of polo. This morning, you will be picked up in a private car for a 45-minute drive to the polo site, where you are welcomed. Begin with an informative talk about polo, the players and the horses. While you sample some delicious empanadas and a good Argentine wine, your guide explains what goes into selecting polo horses, the importance of their blood lineages and how they are trained. You learn how these horses are fed, cared for and how they are trained for the polo game. You will attend an exciting live, professional polo game consisting of four chukkers or periods. This sport of royals and the wealthy is a fast-
paced game of pure adrenaline. More than 30 horses may be used in a single game. As you enjoy the game, your bilingual guide will explain the fundamentals of the game, its rules, and techniques. For lunch, you savor a barbeque “asado”. Argentina is renowned for the quality and flavor of their meats. You sample the selection of delicious local meat dishes, accompanied with local wines. A vegetarian option is available.
After spending some time relaxing at the swimming pool or walking in the countryside, you will have your first polo lesson! You will learn to ride a horse, hold the polo taco and kick the ball. And, you finish your day by actually participating in a mini polo match that will make you feel like a professional player! It is not necessary to know how to ride a horse, nor have previous experience in polo. All levels are offered with appropriate equipment and instruction. Late this afternoon, return the city. Hub Porteño – Suite Room (B)
Day 16- Buenos Aires / Depart
Your guide will meet you at the hotel and transfer to Ezeiza International Airport for the flight back home. (B)
Included In The Tour Cost:
- Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, inclusive of taxes and service charges
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
- All airport transfers as indicated in the itinerary
- All ground transportation as indicated in the itinerary
- Expert English-speaking guide services during included transfers and sightseeing
- All sightseeing as indicated, inclusive of entrance fees
- Baggage handling and tip to porter, for 1 piece of luggage per person, at airports
- Comprehensive assortment of pre-tour materials and amenities
- Big Five’s 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance
- Complimentary one year membership to One More Generation, including adoption of an endangered species
Not Included In The Tour Cost:
Any airfare; Any passport or visa fees; Supplemental Travel Insurance (which is strongly recommended); Excess baggage fees; Items of personal nature such as gratuities, telephone / fax / internet charges, laundry, beverages, meals and services not specified in the itinerary.
Prices are for land only, double occupancy
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