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Luxury Argentina: Vineyards, glaciers and gauchos

15 days from £7,992pp

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Luxury Argentina: Vineyards, glaciers and gauchos

15 days from £7,992pp
 

Private Journey

 

Day 1

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

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your top-quality boutique hotel in the Palermo district by one of our local representatives. Palermo is a stylish neighbourhood of wide avenues lined with colonial mansions. The city zoo, the botanical gardens and racetrack are all here.

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. 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.

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La Boca

Day 2

City tour with a visit to 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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Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires

Day 3

At leisure. Dine at a live tango show.
 

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 fisherman 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. Rojo Tango is located within the Faena, a chic and arty hotel in the regenerated docklands area of Puerto Madero. This intimate venue is very much in the style of an old cabaret nightclub with moody red decór. 

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Day 4

Transfer to colonial estancia on 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. Activities include horse-riding, polo (experienced only), walking and carriage rides in the surrounding pampas. The estancia offers a peaceful wind-down to its guests, but does accept day visits by groups with entertainment laid on for them. 

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Estancia la Bamba

Days 5-6

At leisure on the ranch.
 
At leisure at La Bamba. 
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Estancia

Day 7

Transfer to Buenos Aires; fly to Mendoza in the wine-producing region.
 

Transfer to Buenos Aires airport and fly to Mendoza in Argentina’s wine country in the shadow of the eastern flank of the Andes, and continue to Cavas Wine Lodge. The celebrated vineyards in this region provide the perfect place to enjoy fine vintages and a superb gastronomic experience.

Cavas Wine Lodge and small vineyard is situated 30km from the city. The main house remains faithful to Spanish colonial traditions. 

The cellar is stacked with dozens of Argentina's most notable labels and the kitchen uses locally produced olive oils, herbs and spices. Along with the outdoor sports facilities there's a small spa offering wine therapy treatments.

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Cavas Wine Lodge

Days 8-9

Visit wineries from your countryside lodge.
 
At leisure at Cavas Wine Lodge. The property is ideally situated as a base to visit some of the regions finest private wineries including Catena Zapata, Chandon, Achaval Ferrer, and Fabre Montmayou. Your stay includes a visit to a different winery on each day and you can also take advantage of one of the outdoor sports on offer which include biking, trekking, horse riding and golf followed by a massage courtesy of the lodge, the ideal pre dinner aperitif. 
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Wine glasses

Day 10

Transfer to airport, fly to El Calafate and drive to luxury estancia.
 

Transfer to airport and fly (via Buenos Aires) to El Calafate in Southern Patagonia (5hrs), a small tourist resort with a frontier feel situated on the banks of milky turquoise Lago Argentino.  Argentina’s Patagonia is a remote land of endless grassy plains, granite mountain peaks tipped with eternal snows, turquoise lakes dotted with icebergs and immense blue-tinged glaciers. 

Continue by road to Eolo. This luxury estancia-style lodge (one of the Relais & Chateau portfolio) is unique in that it occupies land leased from a working farm, Estancia Alice. Designed to look like a large ranch house from the outside, it successfully combines the trappings of an estancia with the creature comforts, modern interior design and innovation of a first class hotel.

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EOLO

Days 11-12

Activities at your Patagonian retreat.
 

Guided excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. It’s an early morning departure from El Calafate to Los Glaciares National Park, a 90min drive to the walkways and viewing platform overlooking the glacier.

The thundering shards of falling ice are a breath-taking spectacle as you pass at a safe distance along the walkway in front of the Canal de los Tempanos, which separates Brazo Rico from the main part of the lake. The glacier is a staggering 5km wide and stands 60m above the surface of the lake. Its ice mass is fed by the southern continental ice field from the west, and from other smaller glaciers in the vicinity.

In the afternoon, board the Safari Nautico or Moreno Fiesta for an hour-long cruise on the lake beneath the glacier, with a commentary. Alternatively, you can just walk and contemplate, away from the other visitors. 

There's also a guided excursion to Estancia Cristina. This full-day trip explores the iceberg-strewn fingers of Lago Argentino. There are about 15 bumpy minutes as the comfortable motor cruiser crosses the southern arm of the lake. Soon, the first icebergs come into view as the boat continues towards the Upsala Channel and the vast Upsala Glacier. It isn't possible to get close to the glacier because of the floating ice in its vanguard but the surrounding scenery is wonderful. 

Continue into the Cristina Channel, and dock at Estancia Cristina. Explore one of Patagonia's most remote historic estancias, established in 1914 by English pioneer Joseph Masters and named after his daughter. Some of the infrastructure was damaged by fire in 2009, but a guided tour will take you to its surviving buildings and museum. Have lunch before going on a 10km drive by all-terrain vehicle into the mountains to a refuge. Here, walk for half an hour to a viewpoint, offering - weather permitting - a fabulous panorama of the eastern side of the Upsala glacier, the Southern Patagonian ice cap, Lago Guillermo and - of course - the Andes. Drive back to the estancia and in the late afternoon, sail back towards Punta Bandera and your hotel.

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Perito Moreno

Day 13

At leisure.
 

At leisure to enjoy Eolo’s facilities or take one of a number of complimentary optional activities offered, such as hiking around the vast estancia grounds, mountain biking on the property’s dirt tracks, walking on nature trails and bird watching. Horseriding may also be arranged locally, at additional cost. Or you can just sit, relax and contemplate the wonderful views and ever changing, often dramatic, Patagonian weather as from the comfort of the lounge with its comfy sofas and panoramic windows.

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Riding at Eolo

Day 14

Transfer to airport, fly to Buenos Aires

Day 15

Transfer to airport for your flight home.

15 days from £7,992pp

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