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THE BEST OF PATAGONIA: CHILE & ARGENTINA
This is the ultimate Patagonia trip: an 11-night journey that begins in buzzing Santiago in the foothills of the Andes, ends in culturally-cool Buenos Aires and takes in the extraordinary landscapes of the Torres del Paine national park (icy glaciers, jagged peaks, turquoise lagoons) and Andes mountains - all while staying in our pick of the smartest boutique hotels and lodges along the way.
There's also wine tasting in the Maipo Valley; a day trip to the old port city of Valparaiso (known for its brightly painted houses and open-air art gallery); the chance to go horse riding in the Pampas and, in Buenos Aires, a city tour of La Boca neighbourhood and an evening at a milonga tango club.
An evening at a tango club
Free wine-tasting in the Maipo valley
Free city tour of Buenos Aires, including La Boca
Boat trip to see the Perito Moreno glacier
Horse riding in the Pampas
A cooking lesson in classic Argentine dishes
International return flights
Accommodation and meals as specified on the itinerary
Sightseeing with English-speaking guides
Porterage at airports in Chile and Argentina
Wine-tasting at the Undurraga Winery in the Maipo valley
A Buenos Aires city tour
An evening at a Milonga
A boat trip to the Perito Moreno glacier
All trips can be tailor-made to add in extra nights or experiences along the way e.g. Add in Colonia, Uruguay
Day1Journey to SantiagoSantiago, Chile
Depart London Heathrow on the direct British Airways overnight flight to Santiago.
Day2Chilean wine tastingSantiago, Chile
Check into Luciano K, an Art Deco hotel in Santiago's Bellavista district for three nights, where the sun-trap rooftop plunge pool, bar and restaurant offers a birds' eye view of the city.
Day3City sightsSantiago, Chile
This morning your private guide will take you on a city tour that includes the historic centre and San Cristobal hill, the city's largest green space (take a cable car or funicular up to the top of one of the view points for spectacular city views) with its must-visit Japanese gardens. The final stop is the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art whose collections include artefacts from across South America.
In the afternoon, visit the Undurraga Winery in the Maipo Valley, the first producers of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Chile: stroll the 19th-century gardens designed by French landscape painter Pierre Dubois and tour the wine processing plant and underground vaults, before wine tasting.
Day4Vibrant ValparaisoValparaiso, Chile
Your private driver and guide will take you on a full day tour of Valparaiso, the old port city surrounded by 45 hillside neighbourhoods. There are funicular elevators to whisk you up to the top: wander among the labyrinthine alleys and brightly painted houses, and visit the former home turned museum of 20th-century poet and politician Pablo Neruda.
Day5Into PatagoniaTierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Chile
Fly south to Punta Arenas and drive through the Patagonian wilderness to spend three nights at Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, a wood-clad hotel on the edge of Lake Sarmiento that blends into the landscape.
The landscape is on a completely different scale: walk for hours and you seemingly get no closer to the mountains ahead. It makes you feel very small but very thrilled.
Melinda Stevens, Conde Nast Traveller Editor in Chief
Days6-7Mountains and lagoonsTorres del Paine, Chile
Explore Torres del Paine national park, hike to the Salto Grande waterfall and along the shores of Lake Nordenskjöld, horse ride through lenga forests and cycle through rugged Las Chinas Valley. You can also drive to spectacular Laguna Azul and sail on Grey Lake to the Grey Glacier.
Day8Arrive in ArgentinaEl Calafate, Argentina
Cross the border to El Calafate in Argentina and stay at Esplendor El Calafate for two nights. This modern hilltop hotel is a short walk from the town centre and has stunning views of Lake Argentina.
Day9Icy adventuresEl Calafate, Argentina
A full day tour to the mighty Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. Spanning 121 square miles (and still growing), this UNESCO World Heritage site is an ice behemouth. Viewing platforms and several walking paths offer different vantage points, but to get really close, take a boat which sails in front of the gigantic glacier wall.
Day10Arrive in Buenos AiresBuenos Aires, Argentina
Fly to Buenos Aires for three nights at Legado Mitico, a charmingly traditional hotel with 11-rooms, each named after prominent Argentine figures from Evita to tango revolutionary Carlos Gardel, in the artsy neighbourhood of Palermo, home to the city's coolest shops and chic boutiques.
Day11Street art and San TelmoBuenos Aires, Argentina
Take a half day guided tour of the city, which includes La Boca district, famed for its colourful houses and football stadium. It also takes in El Zanjon de Granados, a former 19th-century family mansion in San Telmo that is the entry point to a fascinating series of tunnels that date back to the colonial period. Fully restored, they are a glimpse into the history of the city's architecture from the last 500 years. In the evening, hit the dance floor at a traditional milonga tango club.
Day12Horse riding in the PampasBuenos Aires, Argentina
Spend the day discovering Buenos Aires on your own or head out of the city to Estancia El Ombu de Areco, 90-minutes' drive away in the Pampas for an asado lunch and horse riding.
Days13-14Return to the UKBuenos Aires, Argentina
Fly back on a direct overnight British Airways flight to London Heathrow, arriving the next day.
Art Deco design in a city-central neighbourhood
Housed in a building designed by pioneering 20th-century architect Luciano Kulezewski, this hotel in the bohemian Bellavista district still has plenty of original touches from the zig-zag pattern floor tiles in the entrance to the lights in the stairwell. What makes it really special though is the rooftop with a small heated swimming pool, bar and restaurant where a DJ plays mellow beats several nights a week.
A sensational lodge surrounded by epic landscapes
The exterior of this hotel mimics 'an old fossil, a prehistoric animal beached on the lakeshore, like those drawn by Charles Darwin', according to architect Cazu Zegers, referring to Darwin's voyage to Patagonia on HMS Beagle in the 1830s. Inside, there are wood-clad walls, furnishings and textiles made by Chilean artisans, and an open-plan lobby with a log fire, bar, library and knockout views of Lake Sarmiento. The spa and outdoor hot tub is perfect for post-hike recharging.
ESPLENDOR EL CALAFATE
Perfectly-positioned stopover for natural highs
A contemporary hillside hotel with design touches - dark wood furniture, sculptural lighting and cosy sheepskin throws - just outside El Calafate town and ideally located for a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier. The best rooms have views of Lake Argentina, and the small restaurant serves up hearty Patagonian fare. There's also an Argentine wine cellar, an indoor pool and sauna.
A homely classic in buzzy Palermo
Set in the artsy district of Palermo Viejo, this elegant 11-room hotel combines traditional furniture (antiques, Chesterfield sofas, Persian rugs) with contemporary monochrome artwork that references cultural figures from Che Guevara to the 'Mafalda' comic strip. There's an intimate lobby, plus a bar and lounge but no restaurant.