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Charito: Pure Patagonia

12 days from £2,518pp

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Charito: Pure Patagonia

12 days from £2,518pp
 

Group Journey

 
Chilean Atacama Desert

Atacama

4 days from £1,110pp

The Atacama’s inhospitable desert landscape is harsh and rugged, but it echoes the legacy of its pre-Columbian inhabitants, while the volcanoes and geysers hiss into life. Oases splash the tawny landscape with vigorous vegetation. A few days here will give you a surprisingly varied experience of desert life.

Day 1: Fly from Santiago to Calama (2hrs) and on to the Andean town of San Pedro de Atacama (2,450m). The town is easy-going, with adobe houses and an accent on outdoor activities. You’ll be staying at Hotel Altiplánico on the edge of town. Here you can take advantage of an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and terrace.

In the late afternoon drive past spectacular rock formations to the Valle De la Luna (Moon Valley) where the lunar landscape is astonishingly photogenic. Huge sand dunes sweep across a panorama of salt-encrusted canyons, gullies and eroded rock sculptures. Walk up to the top of one to watch the valley at sunset - a dazzling palette of gold and reds. 

Day 2: Today’s adventure takes you past Licancabur volcano to the village of Toconao, typical of the small oasis settlements of the area. Continue south, entering the Atacama salt flats, a national reserve. Pink flamingoes haunt the lagoons of the featureless white salt flats, and cacti stride towards the horizon.

Day 3: Depart before dawn for a guided trip to Tatio geysers, at 4,300m the highest geyser field in the world. The geysers are a surreal sight at sunrise – blow-holes send jets of water and steam into a cloudless sky and, as the sun rises, the pools of water turn to shimmering silver. Later, you have time for a soak in hot springs (40°C).

Day 4: Return to Calama airport to fly to Santiago to continue your holiday or connect with your international flight. (An overnight stay in Santiago may be required).
UK clients arrive home the following day.

Breakfast daily


Easter Island

Easter Island in depth

6 days from £2,182pp

Polynesian Easter Island (Rapa Nui) lies 3,790km off the Chilean coast in the remote sub-tropical South Pacific. Windswept and grassy on one side, lushly vegetated on the other, and with a benign climate, it is famous for the clusters of huge enigmatic stone heads standing starkly against an azure skyline. Experience the unique atmosphere and friendly welcome.

These few days on the island, with private excursions guided by enthusiastic experts in the field, will give you an insight-filled experience to satisfy your curiosity about the unique Rapa Nui culture. Triangular in shape, Easter Island measures no more than 8 miles at its widest point - with a huge, extinct volcanic crater at each of its extremes.

Day 1: Fly from Santiago to Easter Island and continue to the secluded Hotel Altiplánico.  At 3km from the main town, Hanga Roa, it’s just a stone's throw from the ocean. Guest rooms resembling traditional boat houses are scattered over its tropical gardens. Facilities include a terrace and small pool.

Day 2:  Full-day tour to introduce Easter Island's most iconic moai statues and intriguing archaeological heritage, encompassing the highlights of the island's north and east coast. There’s time to inspect the statues, explore a volcano and its extinct crater, and swim off a white-sand beach.

Day 3: Explore geological and historic highlights in the south of the island. View 6 toppled statues, with admirable close-fitting Rapa Nui stonework. Continue to the quarry of the topknots, or 'hats', which adorned many of the moai, and on to view a 1km long collapsed lava tube used by early Easter Islanders as a dwelling. Next stop is the inland ahu (ceremonial platform) of Akivi, one of Easter Island's iconic and most photographed sites.

Later visit Rano Kau, an extinct volcanic crater 1.6km across and 200m deep.  It is Easter Island's most spectacular natural attraction. Continue to Orongo, dramatically perched between the cliffs and the crater's edge, the site of the historic Birdman competition.

Day 4: At leisure. You might take an optional 11km cliff-top walk which showcases the gloriously rugged coastline and volcanic landscape, with sweeping vistas across the Pacific Ocean. The hike ends at Anakena, a white coral beach.

Day 5: Witness the citrus-hued sunrise at Ahu Tongariki. This vivid display of an artist's palette of colour can be especially memorable between October and April when the sun rises directly behind the 15-moai platform.Transfer to the airport and fly back to Santiago.

Breakfast daily.

You will need a positioning night in Santiago at either the beginning or end of your visit to Easter Island, depending on your itinerary. A stay at an airport hotel has been included in the cost.


Estancia La Bamba

Estancia

3 days from £1,049pp

Throughout Argentina prestigious rural estates have been adapted to accommodate visitors. La Bamba is a colonial-style property oozing with atmosphere and history, restored to its former elegance in parkland, with a good-sized pool. A few days here will allow you to relax and savour life on the pampa prairies, while feasting off delicious food and wine.

Day 1:  Transfer by road from Buenos Aires to the gaucho town San Antonio de Areco in the heart of the pampas (90mins). The town has a compact centre of cobbled streets and colonial buildings. The Río Areco cuts through, flanked by parks and linked by a pedestrian bridge leading to Gaucho Museum. Arrive at the Estancia La Bamba just outside town.

Day 2: At leisure on the estancia. This colonial-style former post house harks back to more opulent times when these establishments were the backbone of a thriving economy. Following its acquisition by French proprietors, it has been renovated to an extremely high standard, and resembles a grand countryside chateau.

Public areas are cosy and crammed full of plush sofas and old artefacts. The pulpería has a design based on the 18th-century bar which served as an inn for the gauchos, and bristles with atmosphere - open fires, brick walls, flagstone floors and deep sofas. Meanwhile, the  guest rooms offer large shuttered windows and luxurious beds.

Activities include horse-riding, polo (experienced only), walking and carriage rides in the surrounding pampas.

Day 3: Return to Buenos Aires to continue your holiday or to connect with your international flight.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

Dinner day 1, full board day 2, breakfast day 3.


Iguazu Falls

Iguazu from Buenos Aires

3 days from £904pp

One of the continent’s most awe-inspiring attractions, the Iguazú Falls – which straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil – is a vast basalt amphitheatre veiled by a curtain of foaming water which crashes through tangled sub-tropical jungle. This is one of the great must-see highlights of Latin America, indeed the world.

Day 1: Fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazú and continue to Hotel Sheraton, a luxury resort inside the national park, just a short walk from the falls.

You’ll have a private guided tour of the falls from the Argentine perspective. A little train takes you to the Upper Walk. a sequence of causeways which links dozens of tiny, basalt islands at the top of the rock face. Myriad streams of the Iguazú river cascade over the lip of the precipice, and a succession of lookout points allows your gaze to follow the water as it plunges onto the rocks below.

The train continues to a passarelle leading you across the river to the thunderous Garganta del Diablo with a spectacular vantage point over the thundering vortex below.

Day 2: Guided tour of the Brazilian side of the falls. At the entrance to the national park you'll board a shared service to continue to the water’s edge. There's a 1km walkway with viewpoints - 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 and a walkway at the bottom allows for a closer,(and much wetter) look.

Day 3: Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires to continue your holiday or to connect with your international flight.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

Breakfast daily.


Iguazu Falls

Iguazu and Rio de Janeiro

6 days from £1,743pp

One of the continent’s most awe-inspiring attractions, the Iguazú Falls – which straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil – is composed of a vast basalt amphitheatre veiled by a curtain of foaming water which crashes through tangled sub-tropical jungle. Continue to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, the continent’s most vibrant and colourful city.

Day 1: Fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazú and continue to Hotel Sheraton, a luxury resort inside the national park, just a short walk from the falls.

Day 2: You’ll have a private guided tour of the falls from the Argentine perspective. A little train takes you to the Upper Walk, a sequence of causeways which links dozens of tiny, basalt islands at the top of the rock face. The myriad streams of the Iguazú river  cascade over the lip of the precipice, and a succession of lookout points allows you to watch the water as it plunges onto the rocks below.

The train continues to a passarelle leading you across the river to the thunderous Garganta del Diablo, with a spectacular vantage point over the thundering vortex below.

Day 3: By road across the border to Brazil with a visit to the Brazilian side of the falls.  There's a 1km walkway with viewpoints - 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 and a walkway which leads out for a closer (and much wetter) look. Continue to Foz do Iguaçu airport and fly to Rio de Janeiro; transfer to your contemporary first class hotel, Windsor Atlântica, at the end of Copacabana Beach.

Day 4:The beaches of Rio are legendary. But the city also has a huge urban forest, a restored colonial centre and excellent restaurants. Music and sport are everywhere. A guided tour takes you to the foot of Corcovado mountain; the cog-wheel train journey starts here, climbing through the tropical Tijuca rainforest, with its abundant flowers and fruit trees, to the steps below the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer. At 701m above sea level, it offers stunning views of the city.

Day 5:At leisure to enjoy Rio. Highlights abound – the cable car ride up Sugar Loaf mountain, the serene botanical gardens, the artists' colonial quarter of Santa Teresa, downtown museums and art galleries, and the stupendous Niterói Bridge over Guanabara Bay.

Day 6:Continue your holiday or transfer to the airport for your international flight.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

Breakfast daily.


Uruguay beach

Uruguay beach

5 days from £948pp

This tiny, friendly country on the eastern shore of the River Plate, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, maintains a character of its own. It has lush soils supporting world-renowned beef cattle but is most celebrated by visitors for its glamorous golden beaches and plush hotels.

Day 1: Fly from Buenos Aires to the glitzy resort of Punta del Este. Here, flashy high-rise blocks, luxury villas, top-notch restaurants and shopping malls line the seafront but your long-established hotel, L’Auberge, has a more traditional, European-style ambience.

Days 2, 3: At leisure in Punta del Este. You can relax in the hotel’s grounds, taking advantage of facilities such as the tea-room, with its selection of mouth-watering waffles, the pool and the gym. The hotel sits in generous, well-ordered grounds 200m from the best stretch of sand in the resort.

Day 4: Fly back to Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel, the Buenos Aires Grand, in the affluent quarter of Recoleta.

Day 5: Continue your holiday or transfer to the airport for your international flight.

UK clients arrive home the following day.

Breakfast daily.


Crater on Easter Island

Easter Island overview

5 days from £1,368pp

Polynesian Easter Island (Rapa Nui) lies 3,790km off the Chilean coast in the remote sub-tropical South Pacific. Windswept and grassy on one side, lushly vegetated on the other, and with a benign climate, it is famous for the clusters of huge enigmatic stone heads standing starkly against an azure skyline. Experience the unique atmosphere and friendly welcome.

These few days on the island, with group excursions led by local guides, will give you an overview of the wilderness landscapes and the unique Rapa Nui culture. Triangular in shape, Easter Island is about the size of greater London - each point of the triangle marked by a huge extinct volcanic crater.

Day 1: Fly from Santiago to Easter Island and continue to your hotel, the O'Tai, a guesthouse in the centre of Hanga Roa, the main town on the island. It is a pleasant place set in large well-kept gardens, with a view of the sea in the distance.

Day 2: Visit Vaihu, where many of the massive carved maoi heads lie before heading off to Akahanga, where a dozen standing moais - backs turned to the ocean - stand on a massive plinth. Move on to the Rano Raraku volcanic crater and Poike quarry where hundreds of Cyclopean heads litter the hillside, some finished others half-carved. It's an easy uphill walk to get to the crater of the volcano. Continue to the pink-sand beach of Anakena, where you can swim and enjoy your packed lunch, returning to your hotel late afternoon.

Day 3: A bus takes you to the rim of the Rano Kao crater, where you go on foot to the ceremonial village of Orongo. It is here than the annual ceremony of the Bird Man or Tangata Manu would take place here among its stone-built houses and food stores. The object of the ceremony - or quest - was to find and bring back the first egg laid by the seabird manutara, a type of tern. Continue to the caverns of Ana Kai Tangata, where the islanders took refuge during times of war and where there are some pre-historic paintings.

Day 4: Transfer to the airport and fly back to Santiago.

Breakfast daily, picnic lunch day 2.

You will need a positioning night in Santiago at either the beginning or end of your visit to Easter Island, depending on your itinerary. A stay at an airport hotel has been included in the cost.


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Wanderlust

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Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards - Best Tour Operator to Latin America 2016

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Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards - Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator 2016

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British Travel Awards - Best Small Tour Operator to Central and South America 2012

Latin American Travel Association - Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Specialist Tour Operator 2011

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