Northern Argentina is a region of fascinating diversity, where urban delights contrast with vineyards, valleys and mountain ranges. This 9-day tour of the region moves from the colourful neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires to the cowboy ranches of Cardales, remote villages nestled in the Andean foothills and the world-renowned wine estates of Mendoza.
- Take in the sights of Buenos Aires and picturesque Salta on city tours
- Enjoy Argentina's rich culture of dance at a tango show
- Visit the ranch of Estancia Santa Susana for a full day of Argentinian barbeque, cowboy performances and music
- Uncover the home of Malbec on a wine tasting tour in Cafayate and Mendoza
- Discover the mighty Andean Range on a full-day tour and explore the historic, pre-Inca ruins of Santa Rosa de Tastil
Day 1 - UK to Buenos Aires
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Buenos Aires, via Sao Paulo.
Day 2 - Buenos Aires
On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, set out for a tour of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Start at Plaza de Mayo, a square that serves as the historical, political and cultural centre of the city, then admire the diverse architectural styles of the city as you walk down Avenida de Mayo into the neighbourhood of San Telmo, one of the oldest in the city and renowned for its bohemian style. Going further south, arrive at the colourful port neighbourhood of La Boca, home to the vivid houses and murals of Caminito street. Continue onward through the modern district of Puerto Madero, finally arriving at La Recoleta, an elegant residential area that showcases the classic buildings of the city. Return to your hotel to refresh yourself before dinner and a tango show at El Querandi, a long-standing, traditional restaurant.
Day 3 - Buenos Aires
Journey into the locality of Cardales for a full-day tour of Estancia Santa Susana, a ranch famed for its gauchos, or South American cowboys. Your tour begins in the pub where you can dine on meat empanadas and wine before sampling the authentic barbecue dishes synonymous with Argentinian cuisine. After lunch, enjoy an entertaining performance of dance and musical folklore, a tango demonstration, and an exhibition of roping and ring games as the Gauchos display their horsemanship. Horses and carriages are also available for those interested in freely roaming the countryside. In the late afternoon, a light meal is of Mate tea and sweet casseroles will be served before you return to Buenos Aires, where dinner will be at a local restaurant.
Day 4 - Buenos Aires to Salta
Transfer to the airport in the early morning for your flight to Salta. After checking into your hotel, explore the city on an afternoon tour. Salta is hailed as one of Argentina's most picturesque cities, due largely to the attractive contrast between its colonial buildings and modern architecture. Visit some of the landmarks most representative of the colonial times, including the Church and the Convent of San Francisco and the Basilica Cathedral, then view the well-preserved sarcophagi and everyday objects of an Inca family at MAAM Museum. Travel onward to the hill of Cerro San Bernardo where you can take in panoramic views of the city and surrounding valley before your tour ends at the craft market of Mercado Artesanal, where you'll have the chance to browse through regional pottery, baskets, textiles, tapestries and ponchos.
Day 5 - Salta
Surrounded by rivers and a belt of vineyards, the picturesque town of Cafayate is the site of today's excursion. Take a scenic drive through valleys and past dramatic rock formations as you make your way to Piatelli winery. Discover how the traditional wines of the region are produced and enjoy a wine tasting before lunch at a traditional restaurant downtown. Next, visit the colonial church and the Museum of Vine and Wine in the town centre before your drive back to your hotel. En route to Salta, stop at several places of interest, including the well-placed Tres Cruces viewpoint and Posta de las Cabras, a rustic cafe set in remote, natural surroundings.
Day 6 - Salta
Uncover the mighty Andean range on today's full-day tour of mountainous villages and age-old ruins. Pass through the village of Campo Quijano, 'the gateway of the Andes' as you journey to Santa Rosa de Tastil, one of the most important pre-Inca sites of the region. Wander amongst its historic ruins and museums then enjoy a packed lunch before travelling onward to the town of San Antonio de los Cobres where you'll have the chance to board the 'Train to the Clouds' (seasonal), one of South America's most extraordinary rail journeys. Soak in extraordinary scenery as you pass through desert-like landscapes to the Polvorilla Viaduct which, sitting at 4,200 meters, is the most impressive engineering feat of the last century. Disembark your train here and transfer back to Salta via Cordoba.
Day 7 - Salta to Mendoza
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mendoza, the source of the Malbec wine grape, where you'll have an evening at leisure to relax or explore the town.
Day 8 - Mendoza
Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, Mendoza teems with vineyards and dramatic valleys. A wine tour through the district of Lujan de Cuyo leads from one winery to the next, giving you well-rounded insight into the Malbec wine-making process and ample opportunity for wine tastings. Lunch will be served at one of the wineries visited before you continue your exploration of the numerous wine estates of the area. In the late afternoon, return to your hotel, re-joining your group in the evening for your farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 9 - Mendoza to the UK
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK, via Sao Paulo, or continue on to your chosen extension.
Touring with Mercury Holidays
Mercury Holidays have been operating for over 36 years and have more recently added a fantastic range of escorted tours to their portfolio of holidays. They have grown from small beginnings to become one of the UK's leading independent Tour Operators. They specialise in arranging award-winning package holidays, escorted tours and river cruises to destinations the world over - and all at unbelievable prices!
Their escorted tours offer the ideal choice for those seeking the value of a carefully planned itinerary along with the security and reassurance of a knowledgeable and experienced local guide on hand to ensure your touring holiday is nothing short of perfection. Packed with special touches and little extras, their itineraries will show you the true character of each destination and take you beyond the norm, whether your chosen destination is closer to home or far-flung. They also offer a price match guarantee if you find a like for like tour for less.
There are no hidden extras in their tours, and all flights, accommodation, transfers and entry fees are included. They also offer tailored extensions to create your perfect tour holiday itinerary. If you’re travelling solo, where possible they have secured a limited number of places without a single supplement on each escorted tour. These are strictly subject to availability and once they are all booked a supplement may apply.
Another multi-award winning company, they have scooped no less than 8 British Travel Awards and 90% of their clients are more than satisfied with their service.