Day 1: Buenos Aires & El Calafate
Meet & greet at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Balance of the day at leisure. Dinner at Restaurant “Un Aplauso pa’l Asador”, which is not only a dinner but a truly Argentinean experience. For Argentines, an Asado Criollo is a ritual, a tradition, a good excuse to meet with friends and relatives. That’s why we invite you to discover the secrets of cooking a delicious Asado: lighting the fire, preparing the beef and the right dressing: the “Chimichurri” sauce. We will also get tips on the proper temperature and cooking time. Then you will enjoy the Asado you cooked! In Argentina, we have another Tradition… if the Asado is really good and tasty, one of the guests at the table stands up and says “Un aplauso pa’l asador!” (Clap your hands and congratulate the cook!). Wine is also an important part of this experience. A basic principle of food and wine pairing is to match wines with regional dishes, since local flavors tend to have a natural affinity. This becomes evident when enjoying Argentine Malbec with the Asado. Dinner includes folk dance and music show.
Day 2: Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires sightseeing, a cosmopolitan city that shows the influence of the numerous waves of immigrants that formed it. The tour starts at the historic Plaza de Mayo Square, scenery of resonant politic manifestations. Plenty of wide avenues with some green patches which attempt to slow down the rhythm of this vertiginous city. A clear example is the 9 de Julio Avenue, with its eight lanes divided by small green squares with old leafy trees, enriched by sculptures and fountains. In the middle of this avenue, in the Plaza de la República, the Obelisk arises as a symbol of the city. Towards the South, the picturesque and colorful port neighborhood of La Boca can be found. Its famous street, “Caminito”, reflects through its architecture and customs the influence of the European citizens who arrived to these shores in the late 19th century, specially Genoese sailors.
The visit continues towards San Telmo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, which was also a Centre of immigrant settlement and which maintained most of its architectonic patrimony untouched: its colonial houses, its cobbled streets. Then continues towards the modern and well-off district of Puerto Madero; Palermo neighborhood, with its elegant residences framed by wide green areas; and finally the district of Recoleta, the most sophisticated neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Cooking lesson and dinner at a five star hotel; It’s Executive Chef opens the doors of his kitchen to show you the secrets of high gastronomy and Argentine Cuisine. You will be your own cook tonight and have the chance to delight yourself with your own production.
Day 3: Buenos Aires
Tour of Remarkable Bars and Cafés: an interesting way to approach Buenos Aires’s spirit is through its bars and coffee shops, just following an urban route or discovering the magnificent patrimony they own. All the places that we will visit along this tour have been selected due to their antiquity, architectonic values, or their particular atmosphere. But mainly, they have been chosen because they are referents of Buenos Aires and its people. Guided wine tasting and dinner at “Bar El Querandi”. At the beginning of the century, in 1920, an ancient colonial house became this traditional bar, with its Art Deco frontage, its dark boiserie and its Salomon-style columns. For six decades it was a meeting point for writers, artists and students. By the ´80s it was on the rim of demolition, but it has had a promissory future.
Nowadays this traditional corner of Buenos Aires has become one of those magic places of the city in which the spirit of the past comes back and invites its visitors and inhabitants. We invite you to share a Virtual Wine Route of Argentina featuring introduction to the grapevines in America and Argentina, description of the vine- growing regions and wine tasting and dinner in this magical environment. Northwest (Cafayate Area): Torrontés served with “empanaditas salteñas” (typical turnovers prepared the way they are done in Salta) Patagonia (Río Negro Valley): Pinot Noir (with mushroom crisps) Cuyo (Mendoza): Malbec (with veal appetizers).
Day 4: Salta
Transfer to the domestic airport for flight to the city of Salta , one of the most attractive cities in the country probably due to the eye-catching contrast of the old colonial buildings and the modern urban architecture. Salta is, beyond any doubt, the Argentine city which has best preserved its colonial heritage, with its one-story houses and its typical balconies and patios.
Day 5: Salta
The visit will allow us to have a look at the most precious gems dating back to colonial times, such as: the Church and Monastery of San Francisco, rebuilt in the mid XVllI century, declared Minor Main Church by the Vatican in 1997; the ‘Cabildo and Historic Museum of the Northwest’ (old seat of the viceroyalty government and of the provincial government later on), the city’s main attraction, whose construction started the same day as the town’s foundation took place, but whose current building was completely rebuilt in the late XVII century; the San Bernardo Monastery, dating back to the late XVI century, which boasts a carob tree main gate considered a jewel of the local colonial art; and the and the Main Church Italian-styled building, built in the XX century, containing the Independence Wars hero’s mortal remains, General Martín Miguel de Güemes. The tour goes on towards the city’s outskirts, up to San Bernardo Hill, where the Monument to General Martín Miguel de Güemes stands. From the hill you will get a great view of the city and the Lerma Valley.
Day 6: Colome
Early departure from your hotel towards the enchanting village of Cachi, driving southward passing by Cerrillos, El Carril, Chicoana and up the Escoipe River Gorge to enjoy the imposing scenery of Cuesta del Obispo (Bishop´s Slope) up to ‘Piedra del Molino’, the highest point in the road at about 3,600 meters above sea level. From there the so-called Recta de Tin Tin, westbound along the bleak high plateau towards the terrain of the sleek, giant ‘cardón’ (cactuses) protected by ‘Los Cardones National Park’. The pre-Columbian village of Cachi glitters in a colorful clear atmosphere with its old houses, its radiant sun, good wines and attractive hills, where the air is so pure that locals are said to live longer than usual. Once there we will visit the XVIII century Parish Church and the Archaeological Museum.
From there we will go south along a winding and narrow mountain road, skirted by mud houses on one side and the view of the green Calchaqui valleys downhill on the other, and arrive to a small town of Molinos.
Day 7: Colome
Get in touch with the history of the winery. The film “Virtual Tour of Colome” played at the auditorium will introduce you to the winery and the long tradition in wine making of one of the oldest wineries in the country. We will enjoy a wine tasting experience, to sample the flavor and aroma and appreciate the body of the local wines.
Day 8: Cafayate
Morning at leisure to enjoy the superb surrounding scenery, relax and walk in the vineyards. After lunch, we will depart across the moon like landscape of Quebrada de las Flechas towards Cafayate, a beautiful colonial at the very heart of the Calchaqui Valleys, surrounded by rivers and vineyards. Seize the chance to walk around to admire its nice old houses that gracefully combine colonial and Baroque styles, the parish church, the town-hall and the Regional and Archaeological Museum. The region is well known because of its wine production among which the ‘torrontés’ variety stands out.
Day 9: Cafayate
Day at leisure. Beautiful views of the vineyard and hills or spectacular garden scenes create long-lasting memories of your stay at Patios de Cafayate Hotel & Spa. Take a stroll in the hotel’s extensive gardens and admire traditional architecture and antique colonial patios. Ancient traditions of the Calchaquí Valley promote relaxation, health, and pleasure. We strongly recommend the Winespa (own expense), which takes advantage of the benefits of the grape to reach all of the senses. The enhancing properties of the Andean cereal, “quinoa”, together with the typical products of the Valley, such as the carob tree, the cactus, and molle, are united with the skin of the grape to revive the ancestral treatments of the old Calchaquí culture.
Day 10: La Rioja
Departure southward to La Rioja. After a drive of some 60 km, the first stop will be for a visit to Quilmes Aborigine Ruins, located 1,980 meters above sea level where a flourishing civilization lived till mid XVII, century when they were forced to immigrate to Buenos Aires. The archaeological site shows remains of their city, a real example of urban and defensive planning, which had been carefully restored to show the architectonic perfection of the settlement. Then the journey continues for some 380 km south and then westwards to Chañarmuyo state along a region of small wineries. 1,720 meters above sea level, where Chañarmuyo Estate’s vineyards lies, there’s a perfect combination of height, climate and soil (rock, sand and slime). In the middle of this sublime landscape, Chañarmuyo Estate Lodge is located. A unique place with a distinct taste. An ideal place to grasp the particular spirit of La Rioja, taste regional dishes and local wines, wander around the hills, visiting the winery and the vineyards and regain energies.
Day 11: La Rioja
Day at leisure to enjoy different activities: visiting La Mexicana mine, sight seeing Talampaya Nacional Park, visiting the Inca Ruins of Shincal, Trekking, Bike-tours and horseback riding in the Famatina mountain range or 4WD expeditions at the Aimogasta dunes.
Day 12: San Juan
Enjoy the day traveling through Cuesta de Miranda mountain road an amazing beauty, which reaches its maximum height near Chilecito, 2,020 meters above the sea level. A 480 km drive towards the city of San Juan.
Day 13: Mendoza
Today we will continue to the final destination of our itinerary, Mendoza, Argentina’s prime and best known wine growing area, where many leading Argentine and foreign wineries are located with its vineyards spread in the surrounding area. Mendoza has over 140 hectares of vineyards (68% of the total surface in Argentina cultivated with grapevines). A most privileged area for high quality wine production due to its location at the foot of the Andean Cordillera which creates the perfect blend of latitude, altitude and soil combined with a superb craftsmanship that makes the best of both modern and traditional winemaking strategies in order to produce top level fine wines.
Day 14: Mendoza
A full day devoted to visiting some of the best wineries in Argentina with guided wine tasting in all of them and lunch. This tour allows the visitors to learn more about harvesting, winemaking process and the viticulture’s history in Mendoza. We will visit three wineries today, in one of which we will participate in an introductory talk about wine tasting to understand its properties, guided by an expert. Afterwards, at the restaurant, we will participate in a cooking class and we will prepare our own dishes guided by a real gourmet. The chef will teach us how to elaborate some regional dishes in a couple of hours. Everyone will have a place and the necessary kitchen utensils. Then we will enjoy the menu, accompanied by house wines. The goal is to get familiar with some of the Argentinean wine and cuisine secrets. Every tourist will obtain a certificate of “Wine tasting & cuisine experience” and a wine tasting cup of “Los Vinos de los Andes”. Wine tasting is included in all the wineries we will visit along the tour.
Day 15: Buenos Aires
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport, connection in Buenos Aires for International return flight home.