Santiago is Chile’s capital and your first stop on an odyssey that will take you through the gentle cobbled streets of Valparaiso and on to the wilderness of the Atacama Desert with its glittering salt flats, desert moonscapes and live geysers.
Next comes La Quebrada de Humahuaca and further still you’ll discover seven coloured mountains and the out-of-this world landscapes of the region around Salta. You’ll stay in five star luxury in a hotel that was once the mansion of a wine producer, before returning to sizzling Buenos Aires to sample world class steaks, sightseeing and tango demonstrations.
London – Madrid – Santiago
Leave London in the evening bound for Madrid where you’ll meet your onward flight to Santiago, arriving the next morning. Here you’ll be welcomed and shown to your luxury hotel at the heart of one of Santiago’s most prestigious and arty areas, renowned for its easy access to the capital’s historic and modern attractions.
You’ll be able to tour the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, La Moneda and the Government Palace. Slightly further afield lie the Plaza de Armas, Bellavista and the market stalls and craft workshops of the Pueblito Los Dominics. For a breath-taking overview of the city it’s worth climbing Santa Lucia Hill to take in the panoramic vistas.
Stay: One night in a superior room in the Lastarria Boutique Hotel.
A scenic drive of 120 km takes you northwest to the historic coastal city of Valparaiso. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gorgeous mixture of delightful cobbled streets, colonial buildings, luxuriant gardens and busy port. A funicular railway takes you high above the city for dramatic views, whist walks beside the sea will take you to charming restaurants, cafés, shops and interesting maritime sights.
Stay: Two nights in a superior bay view room in the Hotel Zero.
Now it’s time to contrast the urban (and urbane) attractions of Valparaiso with the rugged drama of the Northern Chile’s desiccated desert region. A flight will take you to Atacama where you’ll be staying in a luxurious hotel in the fertile green Katarpe Valley; an area so lush it gives you no indication of the startling landscapes to come.
You’ll cross the Atacama Desert from oases to oases passing bleached white salt flats glistening in the sun. You’ll experienced bleak desert and eroded bare rock mountains, and encounter volcanoes and hissing natural geysers emitting scalding steam. You can also ride a horse or a mountain bike and take a guided tour of the famous Valley of the Moon.
Stay: Three nights in a catarpe room in Alto Atacama Hotel.
La Quebrada de Humahuaca
Your desert expedition continues as you venture still further, via a dizzyingly high mountain pass to cross into Northern Argentina at Paso Jama. Finally you reach the ancient city of La Quebrada de Humahuaca and your delightful hotel set just three blocks from the city’s main square – perfect for sightseeing and relaxing.
Stay: Two nights in a standard room at Las Marias Boutique Hotel.
Today you embark upon a remarkable journey through the town of Purmamarca and the stunning seven coloured mountains; standing like a rainbow petrified in stone. Then comes a landscape of unearthly looking salt flats and the picturesque San Antonio de los Cobres.
Finally you’ll arrive at your destination; a lovely hotel in a genuine colonial estancia dating back to the 18th century. Just 45 km from Salta itself, the estancia is a working cattle ranch, and a tobacco and sugar cane plantation covering 7500 hectares.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at El Bordo de las Lanzas.
Head south east and you’ll come to the photogenic Calchaqui Valley with its fascinating little villages, excellent vineyards and your destination; the pretty town of Cafayate. Now you can indulge in some real five star luxury in a fine hotel that was once the home of one of the region’s foremost wine-making families.
You can chill out in a tempting swimming pool, indulge in a spa and visit neighbouring vineyards. Guided walks will take you to stunning local stone canyons as well as unspoiled hill towns like Molinos, Cachi and, of course, Cafayate itself.
Stay: Two nights in a gallery view room at Patios de Cafayate.
Now you begin to turn for home as you’re driven to Salta for a guided city tour before boarding your flight to Buenos Aires. Back in Argentina’s capital city you’ll be staying in a hotel that is a recognised local landmark; it incorporates the neoclassical Bencich Tower built in 1929 by a Yugoslavian shipping merchant who wanted to observe his ships navigating the Rio de la Plata to dock.
So you’re assured of some pretty wonderful views, and a setting that puts you close to the sophisticated vibe of Recoleta with its famous cemetery, the San Telmo district, the Teatro Colon and the colourful shops, markets and restaurants of La Boca.
Stay: Two nights in a superior room at Sofitel Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires – Madrid – London
Make the most of the city then fly out in the evening to Madrid and your flight onwards to London, where you’ll arrive the following day.