Planning a trip to Chile and Argentina soon? As we head into our spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, our cousins down below brace for fall and winter. Most tour operators stop offering outdoor adventures to Patagonia and the glaciers in May. Don't despair though -- we've managed to track down a few that do operate, and the fall is actually the best season to visit the Atacama Desert of Chile including the Tatio Geysers, Atacama Salt Flats and the famous Valley of the Moon. It's also a great time to head offshore and see the mysterious Easter Island if your budget stretches to include that extra flight.
Latin America 4 Less (tel. 800/480-0707; www.latinamerica4less.com) is offering its "Discovering Patagonia" that includes international airfare; three-nights in Buenos Aires, two-nights in Ushuaia & two-nights in El Calafate; daily breakfast; all transfers; a half-day guided city tour of Buenos Aires, half-day tour Ushuaia National Park, & a full-day tour of the Perito Moreno Glacier; and domestic flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Calafate and back to Buenos Aires. This package is priced at $1,498 from Miami, $1,533 from New York and $1,623 from Los Angeles with a $230 single supplement. This tour departs on April 6 and 27, May 11 and 25, and June 8, 2006.
Its "Argentina's Vineyards and Lakes" trip includes round-trip international airfare, three-nights' hotel in Mendoza, one night in Posada Salentein in Tupungato, three nights in Bariloche and three in Buenos Aires, all transfers as per itinerary, daily breakfast, four additional meals (Zuccardi's Winery, Don Mario Restaurant, Quincho Don Romulo and Posada Salentein), a medium level course of wine tasting at Old Familia Di Tomasso Winery, wine tastings at Lopez Winery, Familia Zuccardi, Chandon, Catena Zapata, and Salentein, a half-day guided small circuit tour in Bariloche, a full-day guided tour to Isla Victoria and Bosque de Arrayanes, a half-day guided city tour of Buenos Aires, a dinner and Tango show and domestic flights from Mendoza to Bariloche to Buenos Aires. This tour departs daily with prices from $2,139 from Miami, $2,174 from New York and $2,264 from Los Angeles with a $539 single supplement. This must be booked by May 31, 2006.
The "Chile and Argentina Patagonia" package visits Santiago de Chile, Puerto Natales, Payne Towers, El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier and Buenos Aires. It includes round-trip airfare, 11-nights' accommodations (three in Santiago de Chile, three in Puerto Natales, two in El Calafate and three in Buenos Aires), daily breakfast, all transfers as per itinerary, half-day guided city tour of Santiago de Chile, half-day guided tour to Concha y Toro Vineyard, full-day tour Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers, full-day tour Torres del Paine National Park, full-day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier, half-day guided city tour of Buenos Aires, dinner and Tango show in Buenos Aires and domestic flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas and from El Calafate to Buenos Aires. This trip departs daily with prices from $2,592 from Miami, $2,660 from New York and $2,705 from Los Angeles with a $508 single supplement. The booking deadline is May 31, 2006.
Visit Chile (tel. 800/560-2340; www.visitchile.com) features a selection of land-only based tours. Their four-day "San Pedro de Atacama-Mix Route" is priced from $449 per person based on double occupancy and includes transfers, all ground transportation, National Parks fees, services of a Spanish/English speaking guide, breakfast daily, three-nights accommodation at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomás and the following excursions: the Moon Valley, the Salt Mountain, salt statues of "Las Tres Marías," the salt mine and caverns, the town of Toconao, San Lucas Tower, Los Flamencos National Reserve (Chaxas lagoon), the Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons, the town of Socaire, Pukará del Quitor, Catarpe (Inca) ruins, Tulor ruins, the Tatio Geysers (and trekking to the different geysers and thermal swimming pools), the town of Caspana, Lasana Pukará, the Loa River valley petroglyphics, Coya Inca lagoon and the town of Chiu-Chiu. Airfare to Calama is additional.
Adventure Life (tel. 800/344-6118; www.adventure-life.com) offers a multitude of Chilean or Argentinean adventures from trekking and hiking to waterfalls and archaeological ruins. The nine-day "Northwest Trek" is priced from $1,525 per person when four or more travelers participate (or $1,895 for two to three people). The tour starts and ends in Buenos Aires so round-trip international airfare plus flights to Salta (home to the criollos, native Argentineans of Spanish heritage, is approximately $350) are additional. It includes five-nights' hotel or lodge accommodation and three-nights camping, all meals, two local flights and transportation by private car or van. Highlights include the Las Conchas Gorge (part of the Inca path), the Calchaquies Valley, the ruins of Quilmes (the last stronghold of the Calchaquis people dating from around 1000 AD), Cafayate, one of the most important wine regions in South America, wine cellar tours, the Quebrada de la Flecha, Molinos, Cachi, a three-day hike through the Belgrano River gorge, Patahuasi and the Pukamayu valley and the city of Salta, the colonial town set in the picturesque Lerma Valley.
Marnella Tours (tel. 866/993-0033; www.marnellatours.com) has a "Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls" trip priced from $1,079 from Miami. It includes airport transfers, four-nights at the Regis Hotel in Buenos Aires, a Classic City tour, transportation, two nights at Hotel Esturion in Iguazu, a city tour with Iguazu Falls and Devil's Throat, and national park entrance fees. Add $40 from New York, $140 from Atlanta, or $150 from Chicago.
They also have a six-day "Affordable Chile" trip that includes round-trip airfare to Santiago, airport transfers, five-nights' accommodations at the Diego de Almagro Hotel, a Historical Santiago tour, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso tour, and a Concha y Toro Winery and Maipo Canyon tour. This package is priced from $939 from Miami, $969 from New York, $1149 from Boston and $1,179 from Los Angeles.
Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.gotoday.com) has a "Santiago and Buenos Aires Special" that takes you to the two magnificent capitals of Chile and Argentina for the perfect introduction to these wonderful countries. The package is priced from $1,129 per person based on double occupancy for departures out of Miami or New York. The trip includes round-trip airfare, six nights accommodation (three at the Tarapaca Hotel in Santiago and three at the Waldorf in Buenos Aires), airport transfers, a half-day city tour of Santiago and a half-day classic city tour of Buenos Aires, hotel taxes and service charges, breakfast daily and airline fuel surcharges. Add $15 from Boston or Philadelphia; $40 from Washington, D.C.; $175 from Los Angeles or San Francisco; and $240 from Chicago. Valid for travel from April 17 to June 17 and this trip must be booked by April 13, 2006.
The "Santiago and Easter Island Special" is a special opportunity to experience one of the most remote and intriguing places on the planet. This five-night package includes round-trip airfare from Miami or New York, two nights at the Tarapaca Hotel in Santiago de Chile, round-trip flights from Santiago to Easter Island, three-nights at the Maria Goretti Hotel on Easter Island, tours, transfers, breakfasts daily and one lunch, hotel taxes and service charges and airline fuel surcharges. Highlights include visits to the Moai route (with the famous Moais enormous sculptures), Vaihu, the ruins of Akahanga, the Rano Raraku volcano and Ana Kai Tangata. Prices start at $2,029 for travel from April 1 to June 17, 2006. Booking deadline is April 13, 2006.
Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) is offering an eight-day "Best Buy Buenos Aires and Bariloche" trip priced from $1499 based on double occupancy. The package includes round-trip airfare from New York to Buenos Aires, airline fuel surcharges of up to $180, round-trip flights from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, six-nights accommodation (four at the Waldorf in Buenos Aires and two at the Edelweiss Hotel in Bariloche, breakfast daily, all transfers, sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor-coach, services of English-speaking local guides and entrance fees. Valid for travel on April 29, May 13 and 27 and June 17, 2006, and must be booked by April 21, 2006.
They also have a seven-day "Buenos Aires Vacation" priced from $699 from Miami for travel on May 10 or 17, 2006, (other dates and departure cities are available for additional cost). The deal includes round-trip airfare, airline fuel surcharges, five-nights' accommodation at the Embajador Hotel in Buenos Aires and breakfast daily.