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16 Day Cultures and Contrasts of South America

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16 Day Cultures and Contrasts of South America

An all-encompassing exploration of Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay – this trip showcases the highlights of South America from scenic Bariloche to the iconic city sites of Rio de Janeiro. It’s insider moments like…stepping off the beaten path to meet those who live off the land – and experiencing local life as you lunch with them. Like in Chile, where you head into Maipo Valley to meet one of the vineyard-rich region’s winemakers. Tasting his produce over a gourmet lunch, it’s discovering the story behind the founder’s Italian roots, and fnding out how the family have blended age-old techniques with state-of-the-art innovation, helping turn Chile into a world-famous wine nation.

Our adventure map

Day by day

First Day Arrive in Santiago

Bienvenido a Santiago! On arrival to the airport, you will be met by a local host and taken to your luxurious downtown hotel. Get settled into your room or set out and explore the vibrant city of Santiago.

Hotel: InterContinental Santiago

Second Day enjoy Santiago Sightseeing

This morning, meet your A Local Expert for a city tour and a visit to the Central Market. Then head for the Maipo Valley, Chile’s most traditional wine-producing valley known for its premium wines. Visit an exclusive winery where you enjoy a gourmet Welcome Reception lunch of savoury regional dishes served alfresco on the beautiful grounds. After, meet the winemaker, your A Local Expert, for a personalised winery experience, from the vineyards to the bottling process. Finally, celebrate Chile’s proud wine-making traditions with a wine tasting.

Third Day more Free Time in Santiago 

Enjoy a day in Santiago on your own. Perhaps embark on an optional trip to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Valparaiso, site of a historic naval battle and the seaside resort of Vina del Mar. Your Travel Director will be happy to assist in planning any activities for your day. In the evening, gather for dinner at a favourite local restaurant in the Bellavista neighbourhood of the city.

Fourth Day Fly from Santiago to Puerto Varas

Fly south from the Chilean capital to Puerto Montt. Then it’s on to Puerto Varas for an orientation tour of the “City of Roses” on the way to your lakeside hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy before dinner in the evening

Hotel: Cabana del Lago

Fifth Day Lake Crossing from Puerto Varas to Bariloche 

An exciting day awaits as you cross the Andes via land and water. Your frst stop is the Petrohue River to see the burbling waterfalls cascade over black volcanic rock. Then cross Todos Los Santos Lake with the mighty Osorno Volcano looming in the background. Keep an eye out for the giant Andean condor gliding over the lake. Back on land, it’s time to sit back and relax as you drive by breathtaking landscapes of snowcapped mountains, gloriously green forests and sapphire blue lakes. Stop for a delicious lunch in pretty Peulla before crossing the border into Argentina and enjoying a cruise on majestic Lake Nahuel Huapi.

Hotel: Edelweiss

Sixth Day its Bariloche Sightseeing and Free Time

Discover the natural wonders of one of Argentina’s prettiest areas, known as the “Switzerland of South America.” Meet your A Local Expert and travel along the “Circuito Chico” for spectacular views of forests, mountains and sparking waters in Nahuel Huapi National Park. Visit lovely Playa Bonita, soak up the scenery from the hilltop of St. Edward’s Chapel on the Llao Llao Peninsula, and ride a chairlift to the top of Cerro Campanario for sweeping views of the high peaks of Catredral and Tronador. Then, learn about Bariloche’s chocolate connection with a visit to the Chocolate Museum. After a briefng on almost 2,000 years of chocolate history, view the production area and sample a delicious array of this A Local Speciality. The rest of the day is free in Bariloche.

Seventh Day Travel to Buenos Aires 

Fly from the edge of Patagonia to the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening to explore on your own. See some of the sights of this lively and colourful city or enjoy a savoury meal at a local restaurant. Your Travel Director will be happy to assist you in planning your time.

Hotel: Emperador

Eighth Day enjoy Buenos Aires Sightseeing

Get acquainted with Argentina’s largest city and capital this morning with a guided visit. See the Plaza de Mayo and the iconic pink Casa Rosada. Then view the colourful and fashionable neighbourhoods of Teatro Colon, a landmark in Buenos Aires and a A Unique Insight. Take a backstage tour of the opera house, including the main function rooms and main stage. Drive along the stately Avenida 9 de Julio, said to be the widest street in the world, to the elegant Recoleta. Then see the impressive cemetery where Eva Peron (Evita), Argentina’s former frst lady, is buried. Later, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for an exclusive A Be My Guest experience in Palermo Soho. You will be welcomed by a local family and long-time residents of this nowtrendy neighbourhood in the fashionable Palermo Viejo. Be delighted as they wine and dine you with homemade family recipes. Discover the secrets of kneading country bread and watch as your hosts demonstrate the art of typical Argentinian crafts. Spending time with this lively family will create a long-lasting memory.

Ninth Day Excursion of Colonia Del Sacramento 

Cross the Rio de la Plata by hydrofoil this morning. On the Uruguayan side, a A Local Expert takes you on a tour through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic district of charming Colonia del Sacramento. After a leisurely Regional Meal at a local restaurant, enjoy time to stroll through the exclusive art galleries and shops on your own. Return by hydrofoil to Argentina later this afternoon.

Tenth Day take some Free Time in Buenos Aires

Relish a day on your own in the “Paris of South America.” If you like, take an optional trip to a traditional Argentinian estancia (ranch) for the day; share a drink with the local gauchos (cowboys), marvel at their horsemanship during a lively equestrian show then feast on a traditional parrillada (barbecue) lunch. Tonight, linger over a Regional Meal and a chance for an authentic taste of world-renowned Argentinian beef! Cap of the evening by watching a sensual performance of the best tango dancers in Buenos Aires.

Eleventh Day Fly from Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls

Take a morning fight to Iguassu Falls, Argentina. Spend some time getting acquainted with the geography of this unique region at the Visitors Centre before entering Iguassu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls and to such endangered species as the giant otter and anteater. Board an open-air ecological jungle train and make stops along the way to take in diferent views and perspectives of the falls. Then take a walk on a protruding catwalk to see the cascades up close and view the thundering Devil’s Throat Falls. End your adventure by crossing the border into Brazil for a relaxing evening and dinner at your resort hotel.

Hotel: Iguassu Resort

Twelfth Day see Iguassu Falls then Rio De Janeiro 

Head back into Iguassu National Park and spend the morning exploring the Brazilian side of the falls with a A Local Expert, including a scenic walk through the rainforest at the base of the falls. This afternoon board the short fight to Rio and transfer to your elegant oceanfront hotel in the heart of Copacabana. The evening is free for you to enjoy.

Hotel: Miramar Hotel by Windsor

Thirteenth Day enjoy Sightseeing and Free Time in Rio De Janeiro 

Ascend Sugarloaf Mountain by cable car. From this vantage point the views are unforgettable of the city and bay. Back at the hotel, your afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps visit the bar that inspired the 1963 hit song Girl from Ipanema, or visit the Hippie Fair Crafts Market, an entertaining place to stroll for arts and crafts and people watch. Your Travel Director will gladly assist you with activities and things to do in the area.

Fourteenth Day more Rio De Janeiro Sightseeing and Free Time

Board a classic cogwheel train for the journey to the summit of majestic Corcovado, site of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Then continue your exploration of the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city) and it’s many contrasts from the 18th century aqueduct and colonial Candelaria Church to the 20th century opera house, Sambodromo and city Cathedral. Tonight, why not join an optional outing and feel the spirit of Rio’s world-famous Carnival as you are treated to a lively extravaganza of Samba dance and music?

Fifteenth Day Rio De Janeiro Sightseeing and Free Time

Much of the day is free for independent activities. Optional experiences include a visit to one of the nearby favellas, a harbour cruise or helicopter fightseeing over the city. Later this afternoon, head over to a nearby Samba school where a representative of the school, a A Local Expert, will give insight into how the school operates and how they prepare for Carnival week. You’ll also be able to view Carnival costumes and for those that desire, participate in a dance lesson accompanied by a musical Samba Trio and a few Mulata dancers. Afterward, visit a renowned churrascaria with amazing views of Rio and the ocean for a festive Farewell Dinner complete with a caipirinha mixing demonstration, a A Local Speciality.

Sixteenth Day Depart Rio De Janeiro

Your day is free until your transfer to the airport for your fight home, or perhaps choose to extend your stay in Rio de Janeiro. For your comfort, your room is reserved until 6 pm.

Whats included

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Andean Lake District Crossing - Explore Nahuel Huapi National Park; cruise the “Switzerland of South America”
  • Bariloche - Enjoy the surroundings of this lovely resort town
  • Buenos Aires - Visit the “Paris of South America,” the Evita Museum and Recoleta Cemetery and enjoy a Tango show
  • Colonia del Sacramento - Stroll in this UNESCO World Heritage city
  • Iguassu Falls - Explore the magnificent falls from Brazil and Argentina
  • Puerto Varas - Discover Chile's loveliest town
  • Rio de Janeiro - Enjoy a cogwheel train ride through Tijuca Forest and up Corcovado Mountain to see the Christ the Redeemer statue
  • Santiago - Delight in this cosmopolitan capital


8 evening meals: Be My Guest dinner, buffet dinner, Farewell Dinner, 3 Regional Meals, 2 three course dinners. 15 full breakfasts, 2 lunches Including Regional Meal and 1 lunch. Welcome Reception with light appetisers

Optional Extras


No visit to Rio de Janeiro is complete without experiencing the glamour and rhythm of a colorful samba show. Begin your evening with a delicious Brazilian BBQ dinner (drinks not included). Feel the spirit of Rio’s world-famous Carnival as you’re treated to a lively extravaganza of Samba song-and-dance. You’ll be caught up in the excitement of this cultural journey as you watch a light show and a stage full of beautiful dancers. This exciting mix of percussion and samba dance builds to a grand finale with a Carnival parade on stage. Total duration of this outing is five hours. Not available on Sundays.

Enjoy a few hours of hands-on fun as you learn to prepare traditional Brazilian recipes. Your instructor will guide you through the cooking process and afterwards dine on your sumptuous creation. Whether you are a novice or cooking enthusiast, the outing promises to be fun and entertaining. Total duration is 4 ½ hours and there is a minimum of four participants to operate. Not available on Sundays.

Spend two hours sailing on Guanabara Bay in a schooner. Take in the beautiful views of Rio de Janeiro with Sugar Loaf Mountain towering in the distance. Pass the bay's islands and forts as you cruise by a picture postcard setting. Total duration of this outing is three hours and transfers are included to/from the wharf.

What could be better than a sightseeing tour of Rio de Janeiro from the air? Soar high over Rio with sweeping and unforgettable views of Sugar Loaf Mountain rising from Guanabara Bay. Take in spectacular views of Copacabana Beach, Copacabana fortress and Ipanema Beach. Total flight time is 6-7 minutes. Minimum of three guests required to operate.

Discover the charm and beauty of Santa Teresa, which originated around a convent during the 16th Century, as you wander by foot through the winding, narrow cobblestone streets. Once home to upper-class residents, Santa Teresa is now home to many artists with studios, galleries, museums and inviting eateries. Admire the bohemian atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Learn about the history of the area as you make your way around the neighbourhood with your guide. Located on a high hill overlooking Rio, you'll have a perfect view of the city and bay below. Total durations is about 3 ½ hours. Minimum of 6 guests required to operate.

Visit one of Rio de Janeiro's hillside favelas on this half-day educational tour. See the day-to-day lifestyles of locals who live in Rocinha, one of Rio’s many dense favelas. Along the way stop at a community school and there is an opportunity to purchase handicrafts made by the children. With a local expert guide, you’ll travel inside the favela, interact with locals and gain a new understanding of Brazilian society.

Buenos Aires

Enjoy a great day as you head out into the pampas to visit an authentic 3,000 acre (1200 hectare) estancia (Argentinean Ranch) that dates back to the late 19th century. A BBQ will be served with a variety of meats and salads. After lunch, watch a folklore show complete with music and dance. Also, sit back, relax and watch typical activities of an estancia including a wonderful horse demonstration. Duration of this outing is approximately 7 hours. (Min. 10 guests)

Immerse yourself into the world of tango with a renowned maestro. Your lesson can be specially designed to suit your level of expertise from no experience to advanced. Your group lesson will be in the San Telmo neighbourhood (Tango's birthplace) in a unique residence that features an eclectic architectural style and filled with art nouveau crafts and paintings. Total duration of the lesson is 90 minutes and dependent on at least five participants in the lesson. Transfers to/from the lessons are additional. (Your Travel Director can arrange a taxi). (Min. 5 guests)

Head to the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires to the lush countryside of the Tigre Delta on this outing. This area is a popular weekend getaway for Buenos Aires residents. The delta features pretty scenery, lovely summer residences, relaxing vibe, yachting and a chance to see another way of Argentine life. Your tour includes a cruise on the delta and if you are visiting on Saturdays, you can stroll through the local outdoor market. Total duration is about 4 hours. (Min. 10 guests)


A full day trip to the historic city of Valparaiso, designated a UNESCO World Heritage city in 2003. You will first travel through Chile’s wine country before arriving in bohemian Valparaiso, with its brightly coloured buildings, hills and beautiful seaside setting. Later head north and visit the seaside resort of Vina del Mar, renowned for its beach setting and beautiful gardens. Total duration is 9-10 hours.?

 Where you stay

All hotels included in your tour package are hand-picked, of an outstanding standard and far better value than if booked individually. Our valued travel partners who organise these tours also own the Red Carnation Hotel Group and where possible Red Carnation Hotels are used and please see our link for further details.

Travel Highlights

  • A Trafalgar bonus: guaranteed late hotel check-out until 6 p.m. in Santiago on Day 16
  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an on-board restroom
  • 14 nights' First Class accommodation
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities
  • A Trafalgar bonus - all Intra-Air Flights: Rio de Janeiro to Iguassu, Iguassu to Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires to Bariloche, Puerto Montt to Santiago, including porter service at all airports
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included
  • Airport transfers are provided on the first and last day of your guided holiday

Guarantees, Bonds and Awards

  • This tour is run by our outstanding travel partners who are multi-award winning Globe Best Tour operator in the world 2013, 2014 and 2015.
  • Tours are fully bonded, protected and guaranteed and you pay the operator directly when booking.
  • ABTA, IATA and ATOL protected
  • Part of the Trade Right Foundation

Best prices, more information and booking

Great Discounts are available – please speak with our expert who can arrange extra unique discounts.

Only £100 per person deposit required (except for last minute bookings).

By booking through us you will receive additional customer service and extra discounts.

Please ask our expert about last minute special offers available throughout the year.

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