Once in a Lifetime Tour of Argentina and Chile: Culture, Nature, Food & Wine

A 12 day trip to Argentina & Chile 
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Fall in love with tango and vibrant markets, lush Andean forest and breathtaking glaciers on your custom tailored tour of Argentina and Chile. Indulge in the flavors of award-winning wineries in the Maipo Valley. Cruise over azure waters underneath the conical snow-capped summits of dormant volcanoes. Bask in the tranquil greenery and blossoming flowers of a specially curated botanical garden. The open spaces of a countryside filled with undulating mountains and shimmering lakes merge with the exciting and vibrant cultures of the capital cities. On this luxury Patagonia tour, discover historic neighborhoods and lush farms, colonial architecture and charming village ambiance.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Puerto Varas, Santiago

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Permeable Culture

Buenos Aires is a city of stature and beauty. Historical neighborhoods hold secrets from the lavish past and the underground passageways of colonization. The city has a contagious youthful energy rising from the endless artistry and musical atmosphere. The ambiance on this Argentina vacation is confident and stimulating. Exuberant, tasteful window displays line charming cobbled avenues. The cosmopolitan cuisine is eclectic but also holds a specific pleasurable aroma emitting from small bakeries throughout the city.

Your private transfer greets you at Ministro Pistarini International Airport and escorts you into the city to your charming hotel in the luxurious neighborhood of Recoleta. Consider learning more about your Argentina tour agents who strive to make this trip the most memorable and exceptional one you could go on. The Obelisk of Buenos Aires was erected in the 1930s to commemorate the city’s 400th anniversary. The Cordoba white stone shimmers in the afternoon sun and basks in the evening glow of the city lights. It stands at the center of the crossroads of two of the city’s most important streets, including 9 de Julio, which possesses the title, “Widest Avenue in the World.”

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Buenos Aires and the Hidden City

In the morning, the pedestrian streets of the city fill with life. Locals stroll along Calle Florida, an elegant shopping street, and pass the lavish window displays. Fashion in Buenos Aires is a way of life. People sit in cafes with tables strung alongside the walkways. They sip on fresh coffee or brewing yerba mate, the preferred tea of Argentina. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel eager to show you the continuous wonders of the city. Buenos Aires moves to a consistent beat, bustling with activity at all hours of the day. In the Plaza de Mayo, you can see the pink façade of the president’s mansion, known as Casa Rosada. You reach the historic cobblestone streets of San Telmo and hear healing chants echoing down the pathways.

The neighborhood is one of the city’s oldest. Today the streets and buildings hide an ancient network of tunnels encompassing 32,291 square feet. Your guide leads you through the 19th-century house of El Zanjon, taking you into the wide vaulted brick tunnels. The passageways date back to the 16th century. Every step you take echoes off of the walls. The foundation of the house has been rediscovered, unearthing old walls, floors, and water wells that offer insight into the founding of Buenos Aires. When you exit back onto the streets of San Telmo, the solitude of the subterranean networks blends with the enchanting sounds of the city streets.

What’s Included: breakfast, guided tour, accommodation

Day 3: Desirable Buenos Aires

In the morning, bakeries set cookies and cakes in their windows to entice passersby. The aroma of fresh bread blends with the scent of crispy filo dough wrapped around savory empanadas. The day is yours to indulge in the day, whether enjoying the lush parks around the district of Palermo or taking a riverboat down the Paraná Delta. The city is always moving fast, but the parks inside the neighborhoods of Palermo offer a relaxed pace for locals to retire during the rush of the day.

The Buenos Aires Botanical Gardens, which was declared a national monument in 1996, encompasses more than 17 acres. The gardens provide a slice of country life to those unable to venture out of the city. Sensational sculptures decorate the grounds. The aroma of cypress trees emanates from the Roman garden, which holds plant species gardened by the Roman botanist Pliny the Younger. You can sit beneath a Tipa tree with a cup of hot coffee and warm pollo (chicken) empanada, relaxing near the nouveau art greenhouse, enjoying the quiet pace of the gardens.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, accommodation

Day 4: Enchantment of the South

In the morning, the shops in Palermo Viejo showcase their avant-garde clothing and luxury housewares. San Telmo blooms with antiques. Countless cafes set out their tables and chairs ready to serve the locals of Buenos Aires. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and takes you to the airport for your flight to Bariloche. The city is known as the beginning of Patagonia, situated on the banks of reflective Lago Nahuel Huapi. Numerous peaks soar into the sky and encircle the town, rising to a height of more than 6,550 feet above sea level.

In the winter, the snowcapped mountains create a perfect winter wonderland for skiers and snowboards. In the summer, the trails are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, or even climbing. Your private transfer greets you at the San Carlos de Bariloche Airport upon your arrival. The city center radiates the invigorating scent of chocolate stemming from the numerous chocolatiers. The city was founded in the early 1900s and maintains a particular European atmosphere due to its alpine architecture of Patagonian hardwoods mixed with stone. Your luxurious hotel has a private spa and sits on the shores of the lake, which provides an immaculate view of the mountains.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: Exploring the Circuit

In the morning, you can hear the water of Nahuel Huapi Lake lapping at the shores underneath your window. The herbaceous aroma of yerba mate tea accompanies breakfast. After your meal, your guide meets you at the hotel, ready to take you along the roadways connecting the seven lakes and traditional towns of Patagonia. The scenic drive El Bolsón is a relaxed village nestled between two mountain ranges. The aroma of artisanal honey fills the local shops. Poplars line the farms and local streets while the scent of hops drifts from the landscape.

The town produces nearly three-quarters of Argentina’s hops. The Feria Artesanal is a market where local craftspeople display and sell their goods. The market sits on the edge of Plaza Pagano and boasts over 300 artists who create handmade wares, from cutting boards to mate gourds and even jewelry. The town also provides a spectacular panorama of the rolling mountains, including Volcan Lanin. The snowcapped cone of the mountain dominates the view of the Chilean border and stands 12,388 feet above sea level.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, guided tour, accommodation

Day 6: Discovering Heritage in Patagonia

In the morning, the aroma of chocolate becomes richer, drifting out of the chocolatiers’ window displays and blanketing the street. The stone and wood buildings have a historic look. Your guide meets you after breakfast. Soon you travel alongside the Limay River and notice the tranquil forest scenery. When you reach Valle Encantado, the landscape has a dramatic shift in the upper reaches of the hills, carved by wind, rivers, and rain to create intricate formations in the ancient volcanic rocks.

Historical cultures have labeled the landscape over time, providing names to the rock faces and boulders, such as “The Sentry of the Valley,” and “The Lions.” Cypress and Cordillera rise from the foothills and linger beneath the rugged hillsides. Your guide leads you to a hidden cave, where aboriginal paintings prove that ancient peoples lived on the land more than 9,700 years ago. A delicious aroma emanates from an antique pot set on the wood-burning fire. A local chef prepares a traditional lunch paired with a fine Argentinian wine, connecting all of your senses for an unforgettable day.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, guided tour, accommodation

Day 7: Crossing Patagonia

In the morning, Bariloche symbolizes the beauty of Patagonia. The encircling mountaintops and quiet lapping waters of the lake provide a unique atmosphere unlike any other location in the world. The splendor of the landscape grows with your venture to Puerto Varas. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Puerto Pañuelo. The dramatic peaks provide an elegant frame to the Swiss-style architecture and budding flower gardens lining the road. Once in Puerto Pañuelo, you board a catamaran to cruise across the cobalt waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake. Verdant forests rise above the shores of the tranquil water.

Snowcapped mountains soar over the forests. The cool breeze turns to a chill as the boat surges on the lake. You continue your journey on a short land ride from Puerto Alegre to Puerto Frías. You can see the peak of Mount Tronador, an extinct volcano that stands 11,453 feet above sea level and subsists in both Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina and Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park in Chile. The splendid scenery continues over the Chilean border, taking you from Petrohue to Puerto Varas, where whimsical volcanic rock shapes and carpeting forests cover the rolling hills. The sky is open and blue when you settle into the comforts of your luxurious hotel situated on the lakefront.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Inland Sea

In the morning, you find the snowcapped volcanoes of Osorno and Calbuco guarding the picturesque lakeside town of Puerto Varas. In the summer, people canoe and kayak on the lake. The mountainous terrain provides perfect hiking trails and climbing destinations. In the winter, people venture up the mountainside making their way to the slopes. The Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón is an imposing and colorful church constructed in the early 1900s. The edifice stands on a promontory and overlooks the downtown. It is similar in style to the Marienkirche in Germany’s Black Forest. Life in Puerto Varas and the surrounding landscape revolves around the magnificent Llanquihue Lake.

The waterway is 335 square miles. Gentle rolling pastures encircle the shores outside of town, leading to the foothills of Volcan Osorno. When you reach the town of Frutillar, your guide points out the charming pier, lakeside beach, and quaint German architecture. German immigrants settled the village in the 19th century, and can travel back to the town’s origins in the German Colonial Museum. The pastoral life of the original immigrants settling around the lake is recreated with a water-powered mill and blacksmith’s house. The aroma of sugar beets lingers from the farm fields nearby.   

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, guided tour, accommodation

Day 9: Lakeside to Inside the Capital

Waking up to the serene atmosphere of Puerto Varas is a wonderful beginning to any day. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee accompanies breakfast. The quiet lapping of the lake’s wakes is a perfect soundtrack to the countryside. Your private transfer greets you after your meal and escorts you Aeropuerto El Tepual for your flight to the capital city of Chile, Santiago. The city is known as the cultural capital of the country, home to Chile’s financial and business centers, along with a collection of museums, galleries, dining, and excellent shopping. Santiago has a positive and sophisticated energy set against the backdrop of the Andes. Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins is the main artery of the city, connecting the eastern and western edges of downtown. Wine bars provide a European ambiance along the banks of the Mapocho River. Patronato Clothes’ Market offers a vibrant space, filled with a maze of alleyways decorated with cosmopolitan garments.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: Introduction to the Flavors of Santiago

In the morning, the markets begin to bustle, and the pedestrian malls fill with jovial window displays. The waters of the Mapocho River gently coil through the city. The sunlight shimmers into Pablo Neruda’s home, known as La Chascona, spreading across the nautical-themed rooms. Your guide meets you in front of the historical Franciscan church in the neighborhood of La Recoleta. Devout Christians who wished to remove themselves from the earthly pleasures of the world erected the convent in the 17th century.

The sounds of La Vega, Chile’s largest food market, spill over into the streets. Your guide leads you through the marketplace that has been a part of local life for more than 100 years. Bananas dangle from rafters. Oranges and tomatoes cast a bright hue on each stall. The central market spreads over 645,834 square feet. You follow your guide through the narrow aisles showcasing the variety of produce grown in Chile. Behind the entrance is a small funnel of shopping spaces, where drums of pickles, spices, and grains line the walkways.

The aromas of various cheeses overtake the colorful calls of the butcher behind the glass display case. Your guide leads you to a local kitchen, where the chef greets you with a friendly embrace. The staff of the restaurant has you taste a Pisco Sour, a drink made from pisco, which is similar to gin, and blended with egg whites for a fruity flavor and frothy texture. The beauty of the cuisine has begun before you have even tasted the soon to come three-course meal. You put on the apron, sip your Pisco Sour, and prepare to imitate your chef’s instructions and movements.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, guided tour, culinary course, accommodation

Day 11: Indulging in Chilean Vines

The Andean mountain peaks bordering the city remind you of the marvelous landscape of Patagonia. The exquisite lakes and dramatic foothills are a picture-perfect introduction to the natural beauty of Chile. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you south, to the edges of Chile’s famous wine growing region known as Maipo Valley. The encircling slopes of the valley receive mineral-rich waters from the Maipo River that traverse the Andean plateau. The valley’s upper reaches rise to an atmosphere of 2,600 feet. The valley extends from the foothills to the coast.

The variations of the soil allow for the grapes to extract a unique flavor across the landscape. Your guide leads you to an award winning boutique winery established in the 19th century. You follow your guide through the storage cellars of the family-owned vineyard to find the cool fermenting area, filled with large barrels. The French architectural home was erected with limestone and pebbles. At the end of the tour, you enter the tasting room and find a selection of wines ready for you to sample. The estate is especially known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. The ruby red color has a spiced and fruity aroma with a lingering textured finish.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, guided tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 12: Leaving the Mountains Behind

In the morning, the twin spires of the 18th-century cathedral loom over the Plaza de Armas. Old men play chess at the tables decorating the square. The Mercato Central fills with jovial cries for the fresh seafood. Locals and vendors debate prices and freshness. Businessmen enter cafes in the financial district and order a traditional local beverage known as café con piernas, or “coffee with legs.” The movement of the city surrounds the Mapocho River. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport for your flight home. The cultural wonders of Argentina and Chile’s capital cities have embraced you, and the natural majesty of Patagonia has inspired you.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Patagonia tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $300 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $250 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $220 per person per day

The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers and other transportation within Patagonia, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.