Travelers to the very large Argentina and the very skinny Chile (comparatively speaking) can live like kings and queens, relatively speaking; the exchange rate favors the dollar and with cobblestone streets, amazing vistas, the tango, and wine countries to tour, as a pair, they make a great trip. And as a pair, you can't get any further south in South America than these two neighboring countries. Buenos Aires is often called the "Paris of the South" and Santiago, surrounded by the majesty of the Andean mountains.
For a trip that's uncomplicated and short, Go Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.gotoday.com) is offering a six-night Buenos Aires trip starting from $649 for travel between June 11 and August 21 based on double occupancy from Miami; other cities are available for additional cost and the booking must be completed by June 2. The deal includes six nights of hotel accommodations in Buenos Aires, a sightseeing tour and round-trip transfers but does not include taxes or other fees. You can amp up the level of luxury though and choose a different hotel; the Four Seasons is available for roughly double the price, at $1,599. Or pair Santiago and Buenos Aires for six nights from $899 for flights out of Miami for travel between June 1-17; booking deadline is June 9. For wine-lovers, they're offering a six-night, popular "The Wines of Chile and Argentina" deal starting at $1,699 from Miami (other departures available for additional price), for travel during June 1-17 (purchase deadline June 9); the price goes down slightly, and then up again, for the rest of the summer. The trip starts in Santiago, for four nights and tours Concha y Toro and Colchagua Wine Valley, and then ends with two nights in Argentina's Mendoza wine country and a visit to Bodega Lopez Winery.
Escapes Unlimited (tel. 800/243-7227; www.escapesltd.com) is offering an even shorter trip, for anyone willing to hop on a plane in literally a moment's notice. Its Buenos Aires package, starting from $599 for five nights with round-trip airfare from Miami, includes accommodations and a half-day city tour. Add $130 for New York departures and $230 for Los Angeles. The rates are based on double occupancy and the price is valid for travel until June 16; rates go up to $699 per person from mid-June through the end of August. For this deal, there's an option to add a stopover in Panama City for an extra $122 and a visit to the Panama Canal.
For a cultural immersion in tango -- both watching it and learning it -- try Marnella Tours (tel. 866/993-0033; www.marnellatours.com) and click on "specials." Their "Argentina Tango Vacation" starts at $679 based on double occupancy for six days from Miami; other departures are available, including New York City from $839 per person and $919 from San Francisco, not including airline taxes and fees. The all-inclusive rate covers international round-trip airfare to Sao Paulo, and flight to and from Buenos Aires, five nights at a three-star Regis Hotel on Lavalle, a charming pedestrian street. As for immersion, a tour of the city is included and a dinner and classic Argentinian tango show at La Ventana Night Club. The Marnella Tours offer many opportunities to add on other activities, including a tango lesson, and stops at theaters. Booking deadline is June 15 to ensure these low rates, but the good news is, there is no specific travel period required. The company also is running a special called "Affordable Chile" for five nights, starting at $909. Right now Chilean red wines (and South American wine in general) is gaining international reputation, and the package has several interesting add-ons, including a tour of Concha y Toro Winery in Santiago and a trip to Isla Negra, with the home of poet Pablo Neruda, now a museum.
If it's a longer, more comprehensive (and expensive, relatively speaking) excursion you're after, try Djoser USA (tel. 877/356-7376; www.djoserusa.com). They're currently offering a 22-day tour of both countries, starting at $3,450 from Miami and $3,595 from Los Angeles. It includes four domestic flights within the two countries, and international airfare, city-to-city transportation, all hotel and inn stays, and a Dutch tour guide. For land-only, the price starts from $2,895. The thorough, culturally packed trip includes stops in Buenos Aires (home of the tango), Pt. Maydrn, the Valdes Peninsula, Tierra del Fuego National Park, a visit to Perito Moreno glacier, among other points of interest and ends with a couple days to explore Buenos Aires. The next departure, though, isn't until September 23.
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