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Honeymoon in Argentina: Tango of the south

16 days from £6118pp

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Honeymoon in Argentina: Tango of the south:
Trip Dossier

If you are outdoors enthusiasts who don’t fancy lying on a beach all day, you can fill your honeymoon with exciting, sensual, unique experiences in stunning natural scenery.  We’ve thrown in some challenging activities to get the adrenaline pumping.

Travel south from the ancient forests of the sparkling, volcanic lake district to the wilderness landscapes of Patagonia, studded with cobalt lakes stemmed by translucent glaciers. Feel the spray on your face at the tumultuous waterfalls of Iguazú, framed by exuberant tropical forest. Sample the wines of famous vineyards on the fertile, sunny slopes of the wine country with their backdrop of snow-mantled Andean peaks, but you won’t neglect the cultural richness of romantic Buenos Aires.  At each place you visit, there’s time to relax in exquisite surroundings before and after your thrilling, heady experiences, whether they be gastronomic, alcoholic or physical.

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in Palermo.

Day 2

Bike tour of San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ tango, art and antique quarter.

Day 3

At leisure in Buenos Aires.

Day 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazú, transfer to hotel in the national park.

Day 5

Visit the Brazilian side of Iguazú falls.

Day 6

Fly to Mendoza, transfer to your hotel in the wine region.

Day 7

Visit 3 different vineyards in Luján de Cujo or Maipú area.

Day 8

Guided white water rafting excursion.

Day 9

Fly to Bariloche, transfer to Estancia Peuma Hue.

Days 10-11

At leisure on the estancia with optional outdoor activities.

Day 12

Fly to El Calafate and transfer to a luxurious Patagonian lodge.

Day 13

The ‘Big Ice’ trek on Perito Moreno glacier

Day 14

Unwind at the lodge.

Day 15

Fly to Buenos Aires.

Day 16

Transfer to Buenos Aires international airport for your flight home.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in Palermo.
 

Transfer to your intimate boutique hotel located in the leafy district of Soho Palermo with its art galleries, plush boutiques and restaurants. The zoo and Japanese Gardens are nearby, and many of the city's attractions are a short drive away.

Buenos Aires 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.  Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French or Italian influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest. During the winter months, wealthy female residents parade the streets in their fur coats and improbable, towering hairstyles, and take afternoon tea in the city’s ornate salons.

El Cabildo, Buenos Aires

Day 2

Bike tour of San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ tango, art and antique quarter.
 

Guided tour by bicycle of the most interesting quarters of the city.  It’s a fun and exhilarating way to get a different perspective on Buenos Aires. It would be a daunting prospect to launch off into the labyrinth of streets and grids on your own, but this tour is fully accompanied with English-speaking guide leading the way safely from one top sight to another.

This tour takes you to Puerto Madero, the capital's refurbished dockland, now a leisure area complete with trendy lofts, waterside promenades lined with smart bars and restaurants and a small yachting marina. Continue via a tranquil ecological reserve to La Boca, the once rather seedy Italian immigrant port district that is the cradle of the tango, now a smart bohemian area popular among artists. You'll also visit San Telmo, a folksy district renowned for its antiques shops and flea markets, and Plaza de Mayo, the city's historic heart with the cathedral and famous Casa Rosada, seat of government. En route you'll pass at a leisurely pace through small parks, over bridges and past pretty churches and mansions, more easily appreciated from a bike saddle than the inside of a car.

In the evening, accompanied by an expert and shunning smart restaurants and tourist spots, you'll dine out local-style, tasting authentic Argentine dishes in a variety of settings. After dinner, visit a local milonga - a traditional tango hall - or a peña, similarly popular among locals but specialising in traditional music from the Andean north-west of Argentina. These can be wonderfully atmospheric venues, especially late at night when they tend to get busy with dancing into the early hours. 

Tango show, Buenos Aires

Day 3

At leisure in Buenos Aires.
 

At leisure in Buenos Aires. Stroll around 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 fisherman at work and river-craft gliding by. A third choice would be a trip out to one of Argentina’s famous estancias (ranches) on the grassy plains of the pampas.

 

 

La Boca

Day 4

Fly to Puerto Iguazú, transfer to hotel in the national park.
 

Transfer to the airport and fly to Puerto Iguazú in the subtropical northeast corner of Argentina (2 hrs).  Your hotel is a short stroll from the Iguazú Falls, it’s the only property inside the national park on the Argentine side. This means you have the advantage of being able to get down to the water’s edge before all the day trippers (access is from 7.30).

The Iguazú Falls are unquestionably one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena in the world.  A total of 275falls thunder over a rust-coloured cliff surrounded by dense tropical forest. The U-shaped Devil’s Throat is the most dramatic sight, here the frothing water of the Iguazú river crashes over a 1.5km wide precipice and columns of vapour are thrown skyward. Elsewhere the river flows decorously through the rainforest breaking up into dozens of smaller cascades. You can usually spot colourful toucans and many other exotic birds perched in the foliage above the tumultuous waters.

At leisure to explore the falls. A sequence of causeways and passarelles links dozens of tiny basalt islands at the top of the sheer rock face and the walkways cross the myriad of streams of the river as they cascade over the lip of the precipice: the water thunders on to the rocks below. A similar network of paths runs below, beside and even behind the falls. 

Upper walkway, Iguazu Falles, Argentina

Day 5

Visit the Brazilian side of Iguazú falls.
 

Today you’ll have a guided tour of the Brazilian side of the falls, crossing the international border for the day.

Cross the bridge which spans the Iguazú river and links the cities of Puerto Iguazú in Argentina and Foz do Iguaçú in Brazil. At the entrance to the National Park, there's a visitor centre with displays of the biodiversity of the rainforest. You'll board a (shared) National Park service here and continue by road for the final stretch to the falls themselves. There's a walkway of about a kilometre, with viewpoints at strategic intervals - you get a panoramic view of the whole sweep of the cataracts - an entirely different experience from the Argentine side. Towards the end of the walk, there's an observation tower adjacent to the falls, and a walkway at the bottom takes you out for a closer and much wetter experience.

 

Toco toucan, Iguazu National Park

Day 6

Fly to Mendoza, transfer to your hotel in the wine region.
 

Transfer to the airport and fly to Mendoza on the slopes of the Andes. Drive to Hotel Lares de Chacras. This friendly and informal family-owned country house is just 25 mins' drive from Mendoza in the area of Chacras de Coria.

The region is known for its wines and delicious food, and these elements are apparent at this small hotel. Its architectural style is rustic and cosy, combining stone with wood. It has just 8 rooms; those on the ground floor have sliding glass doors opening on to the garden and swimming pool, and some first floor rooms have balconies. There is a restaurant, bar, living room with fireplace, games room, cavernous wine cellar and a quincho where a typical barbeque is prepared (advance notice required). You can buy home-produced produce such as olive oil and marmalade. Bikes are complimentary.

Vineyard, Mendoza

Day 7

Visit 3 different vineyards in Luján de Cujo or Maipú area.
 
A full day guided tour including a visit to 3 different vineyards in the Luján de Cuyo or Maipú areas of Mendoza province. Within the rain shadow of the Andes, these zones have been transformed over generations into world-class wine producing regions using both traditional and modern methods of irrigation. You'll have the opportunity to understand more about the processes involved in the cultivation and production of wine as well as the chance to taste the different varieties. Lunch at one of the wineries is included (with wine, of course).
Vineyards of Mendoza

Day 8

Guided white water rafting excursion.
 
Drive 70km from Mendoza, passing captivating upland views, to a river put-in point. From here, you'll begin an exhilarating water-borne excursion, rafting through continual rapids in the snowmelt water of the Andes, through River's Town to Devil's Elbow. It is rated class III/IV which we interpret as moderate to hard. The thrill of taking on the rapids, combined with the breath-taking Argentine scenery makes for a great trip. You'll be in safe hands with a specialist, bilingual instructor and given all the required safety equipment and support - helmet, lifejacket, safety talk and a safety kayak. 

Day 9

Fly to Bariloche, transfer to Estancia Peuma Hue.
 

Transfer to the airport and fly to San Carlos de Bariloche, the main town in Argentina's lake district, on the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The town is a centre for skiing in winter (July and August), and walking in summer - set against a stunning backdrop of glacial green-blue lakes framed by the mountains of the Andes.

Transfer to the estancia Peuma Hue, voted one of the top 30 eco-resorts in the world. It sits within grounds populated by creeks, waterfalls and lake-shores. 

Seven Lakes in Argentina

Days 10-11

At leisure on the estancia with optional outdoor activities.
 
At leisure to enjoy the many outdoor activities on site. Hiking, horse-riding and kayaking activities are included. You might also try climbing, paragliding, white-water rafting, massages, wine-tasting, bird-watching, fly-fishing, tango lessons, and yoga and tai chi workshops – all optional extras. Décor throughout is homely and authentically Patagonian with wooden beams and many traditional artefacts scattered around; home produce is used in meals; and the ambience is warm and friendly with a New Age feel.
Argentina's idyllic lake district

Day 12

Fly to El Calafate and transfer to a luxurious Patagonian lodge.
 

Transfer to the airport and fly to El Calafate in Patagonia. Transfer to luxurious Eolo lodge, on the sweeping grassy plains close to turquoise Lago Argentino.  Tourism in the last twenty years has transformed El Calafate into a bustling entrepôt for access to the nearby scenery of glaciers, lakes and impossibly steep peaks.

Eolo has been built in the style of a typical Patagonian sheep ranch but with a modern, first class interior: the emphasis is on old-fashioned luxury: the views across the steppes from the lodge are staggering. You take your meals here: the food is inspired by French cuisine and there is a comprehensive wine list.

 

Day 13

The ‘Big Ice’ trek on Perito Moreno glacier
 

An adventure on the ice at Perito Moreno Glacier: there aren't many sights on Earth that are truly awe-inspiring, but this is one of them. The glacier has a surface area roughly the size of Hampshire's New Forest. It is 5km wide and stands 60m above the surface of Lago Argentino, itself peppered with icebergs the size of battle cruisers. Its icy body is fed by the southern continental ice field from the west, and from other smaller surrounding glaciers, and until recently it was one of the few advancing glaciers in the world: it is still very dynamic, with shards of ice as high as tower blocks breaking off and collapsing into the water below.

Instead of admiring the wall of ice from the safety of the viewing platforms, you are going to walk on the ice’s surface, much less smooth than you might imagine with rocks and crevasses. Observed by your trained guides you’ll pick up your crampons and begin walking, following the lateral moraine towards the centre of the glacier. After an hour's hike, arrive at the beginning of the so-called “Big Ice” trek. During the trek you will see huge moulins, crevasses, caves and the frozen little lakes on the surface. This excursion will suit active honeymooners who enjoy a challenge, with around 7hrs spent on ice. We can also organise an easy ice trek if you’d prefer something less energetic.

Perito Moreno glacier

Day 14

Unwind at the lodge.
 
At leisure at Eolo. While the spectacular glaciers are the main attraction in the area, there is an abundance of Patagonian wildlife too including guanacos, rheas (a type of ostrich), flamingos and condors.  Activities within the extensive grounds of the lodge are included in your stay, such as mountain biking, walking and bird and wildlife watching, all of which are provided with bilingual guides. Horse riding and excursions to the surrounding glaciers are available at extra cost.
Condor glides over Argentine Patagonia

Day 15

Fly to Buenos Aires.
 
Transfer to the airport and fly to Buenos Aires. Last overnight stay back in your boutique hotel in Palermo.

Day 16

Transfer to Buenos Aires international airport for your flight home.
 

Essential information

Transport

5 flights (longest 3hrs).

Accommodation

This trip includes luxury and boutique accommodation. We’ve chosen elegant and stylish hotels and lodges to complement your honeymoon. They all have spectacular locations, beautiful views and top-of-the range facilities.

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch day 7, dinner days 2, 9; full board days 10, 11, 13, 14.

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

• Bike tour of San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ tango, art and antique quarter.
• Guided visit to the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls.
• Guided visit to vineyards in Luján de Cujo or Maipú area.
• White water rafting excursion.
• Activities at Estancia Peuma Hue.
• Ice trek on Perito Moreno glacier.

Summary of nights

16 days, 15 nights: Buenos Aires 3; Iguazú 2; Mendoza 3; Bariloche 3; El Calafate 3; Buenos Aires 1.

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.

Optional excursions

There are a number of half, full-day or longer excursions or activities you may wish to consider in order to customise your holiday to cater for your interests. Please contact us to discuss these further or to add them to your itinerary before you depart. A selection of these:
• Excursion to the delta town of Tigre from Buenos Aires.
• Tour of Boca Juniors football stadium or attendance at a match.
• Helicopter ride over the Iguazú Falls.
• Horse riding excursion, El Calafate.
• Cooking or golf classes at Hotel Lares de Chacras, Mendoza.

Currency

The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentine peso.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

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, though these are gradually falling out of use (American Express are the most widely accepted). 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 the Travel Insurance website.

Airport taxes

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

Journey grade

Given the spectacular size of Argentina, there is a fair bit of travelling on this holiday including 5 internal flights, but there are no long travelling days. Be prepared for the heat and some early mornings ahead of the excursions.
 
There is plenty of scope for outdoor activity on this holiday and it is suitable for all able, reasonably fit honeymooners. The white water rafting trip in Mendoza is category 3-4 and suitable for first-time rafters. The Big Ice trek in El Calafate is of moderate difficulty and first time ice-trekkers are welcome. We regret the upper age limit of 50 is strictly applied by the local organisers. An alternative, easy ice trek is available for those who would prefer something less strenuous and this has a higher age limit. In any case, if you have a disability or other special requirements, please do call us. 

Climate

In Buenos Aires, October to November and March to April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine. January to February is hot, with temperatures over 30°C. 

In tropical Iguazú, December to March are the hottest and most humid months, with temperatures sometimes reaching 40°C, and rain which falls in heavy showers. From June to September, temperatures are more moderate (18-23°C) and there is plenty of sunshine, but cold fronts can usher in periods of up to several days of cloud and drizzle.

The weather in the south is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. In Patagonia during the southern hemisphere summer (October to March) you should be prepared for everything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time and it can get extremely cold.

Clothing and special equipment

During the southern hemisphere summer it will be hot in Buenos Aires so take loose-fitting light clothing for maximum comfort. An umbrella is a good idea in case of a tropical shower.  

At the Iguazú Falls you can get very wet from the spray. Some travellers like to take spare clothes in a dry bag.
If you plan to go to good restaurants or out for evening entertainment, you might bring something a bit smarter as well (although formal attire will not be required).

Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for pools. 

South America is in general a relaxed continent and you won’t need clothes for formal dining but you may wish to take some smart casual wear for dining at the estancias or at top of the range restaurants.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. 

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

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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