North West Argentina - Trekking To The Clouds

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Run by: Rainbow Tours

Reference number: ITN-ARG012

From: £2545.00

Combine cosmopolitan Buenos Aires with the striking north west region of Salta on this adventure through Argentina. On this Argentina holiday, experience two sides to the country as you trade the bustling capital city for a trek along an old Inca Trail, where the dramatic landscapes change at every turn.

Indulge your senses in Buenos Aires, a beautiful metropolis where gourmet cuisine with Paris style classic architecture. Visit colourful La Boca neighbourhood with caminito houses, upmarket Recoleta and its famous cemetery where Eva Peron is buried and the curious markets in San Telmo. Devour world class steak washed down with robust Argentine malbec and watch the sultry tango at the famous Esquina Carlos Gardel.

North West Argentina has a definite Andean feel with traditional handicrafts, llamas, indigenous communities and Inca ruins stretch towards Chile and Bolivia. Immerse yourself sophisticated Salta, a city of colonial ambiance, outstanding museums and enticing boutique hotels. Trekking to the Clouds takes you along an old Inca trail through a diverse landscape of contrast. Surround yourself with giant cacti and admire the snowy peaks of Cerro San Miguel and Acay. The archaeological site of ‘Sillon del Inca' was once the most southern part of the Inca Empire. Meet the locals who continue traditional methods of faming at altitudes over 3000m. 

Itinerary

Day 1 Depart the UK for your overnight flight to Buenos Aires.

Day 2 Today you'll get an idea of why cosmopolitan Buenos Aires is often referred to as the Paris of the south. This bustling capital city is the perfect setting for the start of your Argentine experience. Spend time admiring the beautifully preserved European architecture, wandering through cobbled streets and exploring the colourful and recently regenerated Puerto Madero docklands area. Traditional tango music fills the air as you round the corners and explore the caminitos (little walkways) of La Boca. Spend three nights in the laid back neighbourhood of Palmero Hollywood with its leafy streets and relaxed vibe. In the evening the area comes alive and you'll have a great selection of bar, cafes and restaurants to choose from.

Day 3 With your local Porteño guide, visit the highlights of the city. In the centre lies the Plaza de Mayo, flanked by the cathedral and the Pink House government building. If you're visiting on a Sunday, chose to meander around the colonial neighbourhood of San Telmo, where can test your bartering skills at the lively market. On your guided tour, admire the colourful houses in La Boca before heading to the upmarket area of Recoleta. Visit the famous Recoleta cemetery next. Pack a camera; the ornate and lavish crypts that line the cemetery's walkways display the wealth of Buenos Aires' richest families and many are works of art. Set off in search of the Eva Peron's burial site - it isn't hard to miss, the locals keep it decorated with fresh flowers.

Day 4 Spend a third day in Buenos Aires. Perhaps opt to sip coffee at the famous Cafe Tortoni, where you'll be charmed by a historic interior and friendly atmosphere. Sample the city's gastronomic delights; tuck into a juicy steak, accompanied by a large glass of malbec from Mendoza at one of the city’s restaurants. We recommend you stop at La Cabrera or Cabana las Lilas in the modern Puerto Madero area. To round off your time in the capital city, spend an evening watching a sultry tango performance at the authentic Esquina Carlos Gardel. No visit to Argentina is complete without a tango show, and this is one of the most famous performances in Buenos Aires, designed to transport you through the history of the dance.

Day 5 Today you'll set off for the north-west corner of Argentina to reach a stunning area of isolation and simplicity. Salta is a city full of elegant architecture depicting its long colonial history. Enjoy a sunset drink in the main square and settle into Finca Valentina for the night. This beautiful boutique hotel boasts a wonderful view; it sits overlooked by the majestic Andes. Relax in the living room or by the swimming pool after a day of activities such as horse riding, walks or cooking classes.

Day 6 Salta is home to a variety of interesting museums, and they're all easily explored on foot with. One of the most unique is the MAAM (Museum of Archaeology of the High Mountains). The most famous attractions here are the almost perfectly preserved mummies of three young children who were sacrificed to their gods five centuries ago, known as the children of Llullaillaco. Their tomb was found at an altitude of 6730m, at the top of Llullaillaco volcano in 1999. There is also an Anthropology Museum displaying a variety of ethnographical objects from the region from a variety of ethnic groups.

Day 7 Depart Salta and set off towards San Antonio de los Cobres where you'll reach the starting point for the trek. Follow a well-marked trail, enjoying striking views towards Quebrada del Toro and the snowy peaks of Mount San Miguel and Acay. After three hours of walking uphill, reach ‘La Virgen del Caminante’ pass from where the trail starts to descend. Overnight camp at the Sillon del Inca ruins, a fascinating archaeological site which was once part of the Inca Empire.

Day 8 Today's path takes you over 3000m, exploring one of the most beautiful agricultural areas in the region. Keep your eyes open and listen when your mountain guide points out wildlife; you might be lucky enough to see condors soaring overhead. From the highest point at 3418m, the view from above the clouds is spectacular. The vistas from here will reach as far as the Lerma Valley and the city of Salta (cloud-depending). Descend to the second camp, located in a local community where you can learn about their traditional lifestyle and share your experiences.

Day 9 Set off downhill for a day's trekking to the typical wetland forest of the Yunga. Today you'll watch the scenery change and vegetation will begin to appear on the mountains, interspersed by rivers and waterfalls. Another ascent takes you to the third camp where you'll rest after the day's 14km route.

Day 10 Awake already immersed in the Salta Yunga and begin the trail to traverse charming Argentine landscapes as you make your way towards the city of Salta. As you skirt around the edge of the mountain, enjoy the region's flourishing native flora and fauna and meet locals who breed cattle in this inhospitable area. The last part of the trek takes you to Salta and the Quebrada de San Lorenzo, where you'll enjoy a few drinks before transferring to your hotel in Salta.

Day 11 Take a short flight back to Buenos Aires, returning to the capital for a final slice of Argentine culture. Enjoy your last day at leisure; perhaps revisit a favourite restaurant or café. We suggest taking time to meander the streets of Palermo, soaking up the atmosphere and eyeing-up a place to dine for the evening. Speak to a Travel Specialist about booking a table at Don Julio, a traditional corner steakhouse with great service and extensive wine selection. Step back in time with the classy, exposed brick interior, original floor tiles and cowhide table clothes.

Day 12 Depart Buenos Aires for your flight to London.

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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