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Explore and Relax Argentina to Brazil: Estancias and beaches

13 days from £5,409pp

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Explore and Relax Argentina to Brazil: Estancias and beaches:
Trip Dossier

This is a luxurious holiday where you will discover some of the most attractive places on South America’s Atlantic seaboard while based at three of our favourite, top-of-the-range properties. The Alvear Palace is a traditional hotel with an illustrious history:  presidents and rock stars have wallowed in its ornate, classic ambiance and excellent facilities. The service is very attentive; depending on your chosen room grade you may enjoy the services of a personal butler.   

Move on from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to the simple rural appeal of Argentina’s pampas. Here you will stay at a sumptuously restored colonial estancia, where you can ride with the gauchos and take afternoon tea around the pool.  For a top notch beach stay head into Brazil and the Hotel Ponta dos Ganchos, the epitome of excellence with discreet, understated attention, remotely situated on a lovely stretch of unspoilt coastline.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel, the famous Alvear Palace.

Day 2

Guided city tour including the Teatro Colón.

Day 3

At leisure: evening tango show with dinner.

Day 4

By road to Estancia La Bamba in the pampas.

Days 5-6

Optional activities at the estancia.

Day 7

Transfer to Buenos Aires and connect to Florianopolis, Brazil. Transfer to Ponta dos Ganchos.

Days 8-12

At leisure at your exclusive oceanfront hideaway.

Day 13

Transfer to Florianopolis airport for flight to São Paulo and your international flight home.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel, the famous Alvear Palace.
 
Transfer to your hotel. The Argentine capital is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills. The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest.

You’ll be staying at the Alvear Palace, in Recoleta, a smart residential quarter in Buenos Aires with much belle époque and Italianate architecture including the classic hotel itself. Service is impeccable (there are personal butlers) and the restaurant is superb. It is both formal and friendly. One of the best buffet breakfasts on the continent is served in L’Orangerie.

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Buenos Aires

Day 2

Guided city tour including the Teatro Colón.
 

Your guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk, an emblematic symbol of the city. Along this majestic highway is the 19th century Teatro Colón (guided tour included) which, in terms of its architecture and design, as well as its excellent acoustics, is considered one of world’s best.  On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on 3 sides by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Visit the district of Recoleta.

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Day 3

At leisure: evening tango show with dinner.
 
At leisure in Buenos Aires. Stroll round Puerto Madero, the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

Alternatively, venture into the watery delta to the small town of Tigre, set on the banks of the Luján River. Have lunch at one of the restaurants on the shores of the Río Paraná, while watching fishermen at work and river-craft gliding by.

Evening guided visit to a tango show with dinner. The passage of time has given respectability to a dance once confined to the seedy underworld bars of the red-light La Boca district. Nowadays, a number of 'tango houses' offer a dinner and show as an evening out - prior to the performance you can even try out a few steps yourself as an informal group tango lesson is included. La Gala is an intimate venue with a French colonial style complete with crystal chandeliers and a refined ambience.

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Tango

Day 4

By road to Estancia La Bamba in the pampas.
 
Transfer by road to Estancia La Bamba. This dusky rose-pink, colonial-style former post house, set in its own attractive parkland, is located 10 mins' drive from the small gaucho town of San Antonio de Areco. It projects a real feel for estancia history, harking back to more opulent times when they were the backbone of a thriving economy.

Following its acquisition by French proprietors, it has been renovated to an extremely high standard, and now resembles a grand countryside chateau. Public areas are cosy and crammed full of plush sofas and old artefacts, accentuating the country house ambience. There are open fires, four poster beds and large shuttered windows. Meals are taken around a common table, though you can request privacy if you wish.

There's a lovely outdoor swimming pool (open in summer) with views over parkland and sun loungers, games room and small library.

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Days 5-6

Optional activities at the estancia.
 
At leisure at La Bamba. If you want to be active, excursions on horseback, by carriage, or mountain bike are available. 
Other experiences include Argentine bowls and swimming in the large pool.

La Bamba de Areco also serves as the base for the international polo team that bears its name. The property includes two polo fields and guests can watch games during the season, with practice sessions and matches taking place almost daily. Although it is not intended to be a polo school, arrangements can be made on request for guests who are experienced polo players.

If you fancy exploring the pampas, you can visit the town of San Antonio de Areco, one of the oldest towns in Argentina, only 13km away. Wander through the 18th century narrow colonial streets, and visit the church, bars and museums. Here too you can admire the master silversmiths at work in their workshop and watch leather craftsmen at work.

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gauchos

Day 7

Transfer to Buenos Aires and connect to Florianopolis, Brazil. Transfer to Ponta dos Ganchos.
 
Return to Buenos Aires and fly to Florianopolis in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Transfer by road to the much admired luxury resort Ponta dos Ganchos (1hr). The property is located on a verdant stretch of unspoilt coast in an area of historic interest, with many small fishing hamlets dotting the shoreline.

There’s a small, sheltered cove with a dazzling arc of white sand facing the hotel’s private island, which for a supplement may be booked for exclusive, private dining (we advise you reserve well ahead). Accommodation is perched high above the ocean in just 25 discreet wooden cottages finished to a very high standard, and the service is impeccable. During winter (July-September) and into October you may spot southern right whales offshore.

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Ponta dos Ganchos

Days 8-12

At leisure at your exclusive oceanfront hideaway.
 
The resort is a wonderful place just to laze around. But there is a whole swathe of experiences and explorations both on the property and in the local area which the hotel can organise for you, for which you pay locally. These include cookery classes and   inspection of a cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane liquor) distillery.

There are lovely nature trails you can follow at the resort itself, along with a comprehensive spa offering a menu of massages and facials among other well-being services.  There are boat trips around the bays and to deserted beaches, or you might participate in water sports: white-water rafting, stand up paddling, scuba diving, sailing and kayaking. Other sporting activities on offer on the property or nearby include golf and horse riding.

Further afield, You might visit lively Florianópolis, or take a guided tour of the cradle of the German colonisation of the state of Santa Catarina, Blumenau, with its steep roofed Bavarian style houses. In contrast, you could stroll around the traditional town of Ribeirão da Ilha, the first community founded by Azorean settlers in the state of Santa Catarina, which has maintained its original economic activities of oyster farming and fishing.

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whale watching

Day 13

Transfer to Florianopolis airport for flight to São Paulo and your international flight home.

Essential information

Transport

2 flights (each 2hrs); 2 road transfers.

Accommodation

For this holiday we have chosen the very best hotels available in each of 3 top locations in Argentina and Brazil. The Alvear Palace is a magnificent traditional property heaving with nostalgia. The refurbished colonial-style estancia, La Bamba, combines a romantic setting with superlative attention to detail. Ponta dos Ganchos is one of the most divine coastal hideaways on the continent. The facilities and service at all properties are, of course, top of the range.

Meals

Breakfast daily, dinner day 3, full board days 5, 6.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Included excursions

• Guided city tour of Buenos Aires with visit to Teatro Colón. 
• Tango show with dinner, Buenos Aires. 
• Activities at the estancia.

Summary of nights

13 days, 12 nights: Buenos Aires 3, estancia 3, southern Brazil beach hotel 6.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• International flights to Latin America.
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions.

Currency

The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentine peso. In Brazil is the ‘real’ (plural reais).

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques (American Express are the most widely accepted), though these are gradually falling out of use. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

There are no long days of travel on this trip. There are two domestic flights by commercial jet.

This holiday is suitable for all but if you have a disability or other special requirements, please call us.

Climate

In Buenos Aires, the Argentine pampas and southern Brazil, December to March are the hottest and most humid months, with temperatures sometimes reaching 40°C, and rain which falls in brief, heavy showers. 

From June to September, temperatures in Buenos Aires and on the pampas are more moderate (10-18°C) and there is plenty of sunshine, but cold fronts can usher in periods of up to several days of cloud and drizzle. It isn’t really beach weather in southern Brazil at this time, temperatures can be cool and it can be rainy though warm and pleasant periods are not uncommon.

Clothing and special equipment

In the southern summer, for day-to-day wear you should take loose-fitting, breathable clothes. Comfortable shoes and sandals are advisable. A sun hat, sun block and sunglasses are necessary, and you should take a light fleece or jacket for cool nights, and a waterproof jacket and/or umbrella. You might like to bring binoculars for wildlife spotting at the estancia.  The hotels are informal but you might choose to bring something smart to wear at dinner.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins.  Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.

This costs $14 per person. This must be done by you personally.

Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

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