This one-off and exclusive trip departs the UK on Thursday 10th December and lands back on Monday 28th December 2020. The trip starts off in Buenos Aires before heading south towards the Argentine lake district in order to give the best possible chance of seeing the Solar Eclipse. The group has three days in the beautiful area around San Martin de los Andes, and on the 14th December, day of the Eclipse, the group is based in the zone of totality, at a private property close to Junín de Los Andes.
Continuing through the Lake District region the tour takes the scenic route across the border into Chile for a night on the shores of Lago Llanquihue, at the lakeside town of Puerto Varas. We then visit the remote and mysterious Island of Chiloe, with three days to explore the natural, cultural and historical highlights of the Island, taking in some of the lesser known Reserves with our local guide. After a comprehensive exploration of Chiloe, we fly south once again, towards our final destination off the Eastern coast of Patagonia, to the Falkland Islands.
We spend a total of one week on the Falklands Archipelago, staying on three different Islands and taking in the most abundant wildlife areas. Possible highlights include the King Penguins at Volunteer Point, Elephant seals basking at the aptly named Elephant Corner, and the chance to see Killer Whales just off shore from the lodge bar on Sea Lion Island. Prior to returning to Santiago for flights back to the Uk, we have Christmas Day in Port Stanley, with a traditional festive lunch in a South Atlantic Ocean setting.
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UK - Buenos Aires - 10th December
Depart the UK this evening on overnight flights to Argentina, arriving into Buenos Aires in the morning.
No meals are included today other than those served on your international flight.
Buenos Aires city - 11th December
Arrive into Buenos Aires this morning where the group is met from the airport and driven to the hotel where rooms are ready for you to check in. You have some time to settle into your room, before this afternoon you are collected by your local guide and taken on a tour through the centre of Buenos Aires, past the city’s main highlights.
Accommodation: Recoleta Grand
Buenos Aires - San Martín de Los Andes - 12th December
This morning you are collected from your hotel and driven to Buenos Aires domestic airport in time for your flights to the Argentine Lake District town of Bariloche. On arrival into Bariloche your local guide travels with you via the beautiful ‘route of the seven lakes’ to San Martín de Los Andes, your base for the next three nights. This afternoon's journey takes in lakes, Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Correntoso, Villarino, Falkner, Machonico, eventually ending on the shores of Lago Lácar at San Martín de los Andes.
Huechulafquen Lake and Lanín National Park - 13th December
This morning leave San Martín to go to Junín de los Andes, visiting the town centre with the church and the Mapuche cultural museum. You then continue out of the town towards the Lanín National Park. Here you stop at the mouth of the Chimehuin River, one of the most famous trout fly-fishing spots in the world and a viewpoint across the largest lake in the park, Huechulafquen. Stop for lunch in a local Mapuche community before then continuing to Puerto Canoa, a beautiful spot on the volcanic sandy shores of the lake. Here there is the opportunity to cross Lake Epulafquen to see the 6km of solidified Escorial lava field or continue overland to the meeting point of the Paimun and Huechulafquen lakes, and a chance to swim in the emerald green waters. Throughout today you have views of the snow-capped peak of the Lanín volcano, and you return to your hotel in the evening.
Solar Eclipse - 14th December
Today is the day of the Solar Eclipse, and the local guide collects the group early this morning as you are transported to a private lodge at Spring Creek. You are based here for the day in your group of fellow tourists, with food and beverages on offer throughout the day. The lodge is located within the Eclipse zone of totality, and on 60 hectares of private land with a maximum of 150 other tourists based in the same viewing point.
San Martín de los Andes - Puerto Varas - 15th December
Today you depart Argentina and travel overland into Chile. The group crosses the border close to Villa La Angostura, and after a drive of around 5 hours you arrive into Puerto Varas, on the shores of the Llanquihue Lake, with views across the water towards the Osorno Volcano. Your dinner is included this evening at the group hotel.
Puerto Varas - Chiloé Island - 16th December
This morning you are collected from your hotel to head towards the mystical island of Chiloé. Having crossed the channel between the mainland and the island you first visit the northern part of Chiloé, and the penguin colonies of Puñihuil, where unusually both Magellanic and Humbolt penguins are found together. This is also a good spot to see a range of marine wildlife from birds to sea lions. Continue by road to Chepu, home of the sunken forest and the result of a 1960 tsunami that flooded a valley of native forest and left a unique landscape. There is a short 3km hike through part of reserve, followed by lunch with a panoramic view of the river and the surrounding sunken forest. From here drive to the group hotel located across the bay from Castro, the largest town on the island.
Chiloé Island - 17th December
Today visit two different conservation initiatives set up with the aim of preserving the delicate local eco-systems and traditions. First visit the ‘Bosque Piedra’, a private nature reserve where you are guided through three different types of native forest, and introduced to the wide variety of flora, fauna and geology of the area. Later you continue to ‘Terra Lluvia’ and follow the ‘murta berry route’ to learn about the berry native to this region. Lunch is served up in the smokehouse of a local family farm before you return to your hotel later this afternoon.
Chiloé - Punta Arenas - 18th December
You have the morning at leisure in your hotel on Chiloé Island before you are taken back to the mainland of Chile in time for your flights from Puerto Montt, down south to Punta Arenas. You arrive into southern Patagonia and are met at the airport to be transported to your hotel for the night.
Accommodation: Hotel Cabo de Hornos
Punta Arenas - The Falklands - Pebble Island - 19th December
This morning transfer to Punta Arenas airport in time for your flights out to the Falkland Islands, and to Mount Pleasant. On arrival you take a short domestic flight to Pebble Island, one of the larger outlying islands with landscapes varying from large ponds to vast sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. This diversity offers shelter to a wide-ranging population of birds and mammals. Thousands of Gentoo, Rockhopper and Magellanic Penguins breed each summer along with Southern Sea Lions. The ponds on the east of the island, many within walking distance of the group accommodation, are home to a great range of water birds.
Pebble Island - 20th December
Today the group is based on Pebble Island with a guided tour offered according to your interests. There is ample opportunity to see the abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery further afield as well as hunting for the semiprecious stones that give the island its name. Pebble Island also has something for the historian having played an important role in the 1982 conflict.
Pebble Island - 21st December
Today is a second day with a guide on Pebble Island to take in the variety of landscapes, from large ponds to vast sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. This diversity offers shelter to a wide-ranging population of birds and mammals. Thousands of Gentoo, Rockhopper and Magellanic Penguins breed each summer along with Southern Sea Lions. The ponds on the east of the island, many within walking distance of the lodge, are home to Chiloe Wigeon, Grebes, Black-necked Swans and a multitude of other waterfowl.
Pebble Island - Sea Lion Island - 22nd December
This morning return to the Pebble Island airstrip to take another short flight to Sea Lion Island. On arrival you are given an introductory tour of the island to point out areas of interest. You are then free for the remainder of the day to explore independently.
Sea Lion - 23rd December
Sea Lion Island is one of the smallest islands in the Falklands archipelago and the most southerly inhabited. The sheer abundance of wildlife in such a small area makes it a must on any Falklands itinerary. Everything is in easy walking distance of the lodge – a map and guidelines for safe wildlife viewing are given out on arrival, and today is spent exploring the areas close to your accommodation. The internationally endangered Striated Caracara, Antarctic Skuas, Southern Giant Petrels, and a host of passerines can all be seen on this island. Not to be missed are the Southern Sea Lions at East Loafers, and the Elephant Seals which bask on the white sandy beach at the appropriately named Elephant Corner. The Gentoo penguins meanwhile are close enough to be seen and heard from the lodge bar, whilst there is also a chance of seeing Killer Whale off shore.
Sea Lion Island - Port Stanley - 24th December
Today fly from Sea Lion Island to Port Stanley and on arrival head straight out for a full day tour of Volunteer Point. Volunteer Point is home to the largest breeding colony of King penguins along with Magellanic and Gentoo species. The white sandy beach and turquoise waters give the area a tropical feeling, until the cacophony of penguin of noise reminds visitors of their remote location in the south Atlantic Ocean. Aside from the penguins many other wildlife species can be spotted along the beach and on the lagoons, as well as spectacular scenery as you traverse the north of East Falkland. At the end of your visit you are taken to your group accommodation in Stanley.
Christmas Day in Stanley - 25th December
Today celebrate Christmas in the Falkland Islands, with a traditional Christmas dinner based at your hotel. You are at leisure for the rest of the day. Please note that the Christmas dinner is payable locally.
Falklands - Santiago - 26th December
This morning transfer to Mount Pleasant airport, for flights back towards mainland Chile, with a brief stopover in Punta Arenas before the plane continues north to Santiago. On arrival in Chile’s cosmopolitan capital city you are met and transferred to your hotel for the evening.
Accommodation: Plaza San Francisco
Santiago - UK - 27th December
This morning prior to your flights back to the UK or other destinations you are taken with a local guide on a tour through Santiago, Chile’s cultural and financial hub. Start out with a visit to the centrally located urban park at Cerro Santa Lucia, before continuing the La Moneda Palace presidential offices, and the traditional Plaza de Armas square. Amongst other impressive buildings, you pass the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Museum of History and the Central Post Office. Next walk through the Parque Forestal for a refreshing break from the urban jungle of the city centre, before finishing in the Barrio Bellavista, Santiago’s bohemian district, with some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. You are later taken to the international airport for your flights back to the UK arriving into London tomorrow morning. If you wish to extend your trip then please enquire for details.
Pricing Information & Dates
18 day tour, from £10895 per person
International and domestic flights, local guides in each destination, transfers, meals and excursions as per itinerary.
Tips, optional excursions and meals not included in the itinerary.
Prices are per person.
Price is subject to change due to large currency fluctuations and based on best flight availability.
Dates of operation - based on UK departure & arrival:
Thursday 10th December 2020 – Monday 18th December 2020
The standard of accommodation throughout this itinerary is in mid-range and superior properties ranging between equivalent to 3* - 4* hotels. Please note that due to the limitations of the accommodation in the Argentine Lake District for the Solar Eclipse it may not possible to guarantee a single use room and some passengers may be required to share a bathroom. Flight prices are subject to confirmation of availability, though can be reduced from the tour cost should passengers prefer to book their own flights.
Argentina and Chile are incredible countries, and like any Latin American countries, require visitors to come with an open mind and a flexible attitude. Standards of services and accommodation, although generally good, sometimes can be lower than what we are used to in the UK.
Single supplement is an additional £995 per person, though please be aware that for 3 nights the single supplement, in a single use room cannot be guaranteed.
Please get in touch for details if you wish to extend your trip.
This tour is accompanied by Hilary Bradt whilst in Latin America, and supplemented with local guides in each destination.
Please note that places on this trip are extremely limited, and we will operate with a maximum of 12 people, and a minimum of 6 people.
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