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Stunning landscape of Mendoza
Land-Based Expeditions

Wine & Wildlife of Argentina & Chile

Stunning landscape of Mendoza

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Wine & Wildlife of Argentina & Chile

Migrating southern right whales, one of the world’s largest nesting colonies of Magellanic penguins, breathtaking scenery and some of the world’s finest wines are just a few of the highlights that await you on International Expeditions’ new Wine and Wildlife of Argentina and Chile adventure. An exciting and rare combination of three unique regions creates an adventure to delight the senses as you journey from the wildlife-packed Atlantic shores of the Valdes Peninsula to the Andean paradise that is Argentina’s wine country and all the way to Chile’s premiere wineries on the Pacific Coast.  

Under the guidance and leadership of a professional IE Expedition Leader, local guides and oenologists, guests on IE’s new Wine and Wildlife of Argentina and Chile journey will search out interesting and unique species of the Patagonian steppe and Atlantic waters, walk amongst Magellanic penguins at one of the largest nesting colonies on Earth, witness the peak of the of the southern right whale migration where roughly 1,000 congregate to mate and give birth, and pay visits to some of the premier wineries that Chile and Argentina, the world, have to offer.  A combination of the best wildlife and wine will make for a rewarding and memorable journey while multiple optional extensions can add even more to the experience.

Optional Pre-Trip Extensions

Iguazu Falls Extension

Salta Extension

Daily Itinerary

Wine and Wildlife of Argentina and Chile Itinerary

  • Day
    1-2

    Depart Home City / Buenos Aires

    Depart your home city on independent flights to Buenos Aires. Consider one of our optional extensions to Salta or perhaps Iguazu Falls to enhance your experience in Argentina. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires you'll be met and transferred to your hotel, The Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel. Join your fellow travelers and your Expedition Leader for dinner this evening before an early flight to Trelew in the morning. (Day 2: D)

  • Day
    3 - 4

    Peninsula Valdes

    The fantastic Valdes Peninsula Reserve is home to roughly 32,000 southern elephant seals, nearly 8,000 southern sea lions and the largest breeding population of southern right whales on Earth. Every year between early June and mid-December up to 1,000 of these majestic cetaceans gather here for mating and to give birth to their young. They spend up to 7 months a year in the pristine waters of this remote paradise. Venture out on a whale watching/photography excursion to get up-close and personal with these amazing creatures. Your expedition has been timed for when the mothers are raising their young in preparation for leaving the area until the following year. With luck and good weather the photo opportunities and whale viewing should be excellent. Watch for orcas, dolphins, Magellanic penguins and many other sea creatures while on and along the water. During your time on the peninsula you’ll stop at any of a number of seaside lookout points and walkways to watch and photograph the seals and sea lions.  You may even be lucky enough to spot orcas hunting these aquatic mammals as they lounge, unsuspectingly, in the sun onshore.

    Herds of guanaco roam freely on the peninsula where they are a protected species. As such, they are quite abundant here. Also in great abundance are Magellanic penguins. Visit Estancia San Lorenzo, a private property where around 50,000 penguins nest along the shore and into the Patagonian steppe. Magellanic penguins dig their own nesting burrows under bushes or in open areas not far from the shore. They are quite accustomed to the presence of humans in their breeding grounds and do not run from the visitors. Quite the contrary, with penguins standing and walking right next to your feet the photo opportunities and simple joys of wildlife watching are endless. Enjoy a typical Argentine BBQ lunch in the estancia's great hall.

    Also found on the peninsula is the largest rodent in Patagonia; the mara (Patagonian cavy). A smaller cousin of the mara, the lesser Patagonian cavy, is frequently found soaking in the sun just outside Magellanic penguin burrows where they find shelter. Two species of armadillos live there as well. Dwarf armadillos are normally very tame and do not hesitate to get close to humans. Shyer mammals such as the Patagonian grey fox might be spotted and keep an eye out for South America’s largest bird, the flightless rhea, along with eagles and many other species of birds as you spend your days combing the coast line and interior of the peninsula enjoying the wildlife and vistas. Your home for two nights is Paradise Hosteria in Puerto Piramides. (B,L,D Daily)

  • Day
    5

    Puerto Madryn

    A boat excursion from Rawson will give you the unique chance to see the Commerson’s dolphins. Commerson’s dolphin (also called panda dolphin, skunk dolphin, and piebald dolphin) are not a species easily seen in many places. They are most concentrated near the Falkland Islands and Kerguelen Islands and are believed to be highly migratory, following their food source. These waters are one of the few places they can be seen along mainland South America. Their streamlined body shape makes them exceptionally fast and acrobatic swimmers. They are known to be one of the most curious species of dolphins, not at all shy about approaching the boat and enjoying surfing in the wake from the engines. Watch for more marine wildlife on your excursion before driving to Puerto Madryn and the boutique Hotel Territorio for the night. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    6 - 8

    Mendoza

    Leave the Patagonian steppe and shores of the south Atlantic behind as you fly to Mendoza, nestled high in the Cuyo region, bathed in Andean scenery at the very heart of Argentina’s wine country. Argentina's wine region has more continental weather patterns, with hotter summers and cooler winters than Chile's wine regions. There is also plenty of water coming from the mountains. All this combines to provide ideal conditions for the production of complex, distinct wines. With two-thirds of Argentina's wine coming from Mendoza province, this is the most important wine center in Argentina and one of the eight “Great Wine Capitals” of the world. 

    Explore this historic city on a guided walking excursion before your local wine specialists, known as oenologists, and your IE Expedition Leader immerse you in the wine cultures of the Uco Valley and Maipu area, two of Argentina's preeminent and most prestigious. Known especially for Malbec, merlot, pinot noir, semillon and torrontes varieties of wine, the Uco Valley is probably Argentina’s most popular and rewarding wine region at this time. High quality white wines, such as chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, are also being grown here. Not to be confused with Maipu Valley in Chile, though its name does derive from that region, the Maipu area of Argentina is also known for high quality Malbec, as well as other acidic and strong red wines.  Here we find the highest altitude wineries, from 5,500 ft and up. Many of the wineries in the Maipu area have been family-run for generations and you can be assured that all the wineries you visit will be filled with friendly locals eager to share their culture with you.

    Visit three wineries in each region, learning about the different varieties, processes, care, breeding and fractionation of different types of wine while you also drink in the awe inspiring scenery. Picture-perfect vineyards, blue skies and rolling hills stretch to the horizon where they meet the imposing and towering Andes Mountains. Careful attention will be paid to the current overall quality of experience (quality of wines, best menus, best service, visitor numbers, etc.) when our local staff selects the wineries and restaurants you will visit. Enjoy boutique accommodations at Huentala Hotel in Mendoza City. (B,L,D Daily)

  • Day
    9 - 10

    Santiago

    A highlight of your trip is crossing the Andes by road from Mendoza to Santiago, taking in the changing and contrasting landscapes along with unmatched mountain views along the way. At Los Libertadores Pass you’ll see Mt. Aconcagua (weather permitting), known as the “Colossus of the Americas”. At 22,841 feet above sea level, Mt. Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Drive through a tunnel that goes 10 kilometers under the mountains before you enter Chile and watch as the high Andean desert gradually changes into lush green valleys as you approach Santiago and The Singular Hotel.

    Visit some of Santiago’s most interesting neighborhoods and important sites before paying a visit to Santa Rita winery. Founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez in the same area of Alto Jahuel where its main facilities stand today, from the end of the nineteenth century to mid-1970s the winery developed under the ownership of the García Huidobro family.  The high quality of wines and rich history of the vineyard has given Santa Rita winery a prestigious and privileged position as a top producer and leading exporter of quality premium wines. (B,L D Daily)

  • Day
    11

    Santiago / Depart

    Your next destination is Casablanca Valley, close to the Pacific Ocean and heavily influenced by the cold Humboldt Current. The unique cool-weather climate results in a longer ripening period. This produces distinct and outstanding sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, as well as pinot noir which grows well in the cool climate. Visit Casa del Bosque to learn from local experts the different varietals grown in the area. Casas del Bosque produces award-wining chardonnay, Riesling and sauvignon blanc as well as syrah and pinot noir. Best of all, the premium carmenere and cabernet sauvignon from this region are some of the best in Chile. After lunch you return to the hotel where your room has been reserved until 6pm. A transfer to Santiago’s international airport will be provided for your independent overnight flight home. (B,L)

  • Day
    12

    Arrive Home City

    Arrive back home.

Things to Know

What is included in the price of IE's Wine and Wildlife?

Included in the price of your trip are the following.

Accommodations, excursions, meals and transportation as listed in the itinerary
Services of a private IE Expedition Leader and local guides
Park and entrance fees
Arrival and departure transfers between the group hotel and airport no matter what day or time
One soft drink or local beer per person per included lunch and dinner, in addition to any wine program or wine with meals at wineries
Bottled water on excursions, group transfers, at included lunches and dinners and in rooms daily
All gratuities to group service staff except your IE Expedition Leader

What is the level of activity for IE's Wine and Wildlife?

A trip to Argentina and Chile requires good health and mobility. While we have time scheduled for rest, your itinerary in has a moderate pace, involving activities and transportation from place to place to ensure that you have maximized opportunity to interact with the wildlife and local culture. Consult your physician if you are in doubt about your ability to enjoy this adventure and please contact our office with any questions.

The Valdes Peninsula is a large place, requiring visitors to drive long distances to get from place to place.  The drive from Trelew to Puerto Piramides is two hours, one way, on good roads. Your days on the peninsula will start early to beat the heat and can last all day, with wildlife-viewing at the best spots on that particular day. You will drive from place to place and then walk to sets of stairs along the coast where you descend to get closer to the wildlife.  There can be up to 100 stairs or as few as 20. You will also take a boat for whale watching.  Life vests are provided. In addition, Rawson and Punta Tombo are on the mainland and reachable only by road. Punta Tombo is a four-hour drive from Puerto Piramides.  At the penguin rookeries you will walk up to two miles roundtrip on mostly even surfaces in the open sun. Walking is at a leisurely pace and there are some places to sit.  Driving in the Mendoza region is not long from place to place and the roads are good.  It’s a full day driving from Mendoza to Santiago but that includes stops for photos, WCs, and lunch.  Your visits to wineries involve little walking and are not strenuous.

What is the expected weather for IE's Wine and Wildlife?

September/October is springtime for our destinations. Buenos Aires will be mild to warm, and we can expect the same at the Valdés peninsula, though typically at least a bit cooler so pack some warm clothes as well. It will be cool to cold in the mountains and Santiago, with little rain expected.

Do you offer optional extensions to IE's Wine and Wildlife?

We do offer optional extensions to other wonderful places in the region to enhance and complete your experience, should you choose to do so. Information on these extensions is listed on the webpage for this program and feel free to contact our office for more info. 

Are you able to customize a trip to Chile and/or Argentina to feature destinations and activities of my choice?

Yes! If our group itinerary does not suit your desires please contact our Custom Department where a specialist can craft the kind of experience that will make your adventure the trip of a lifetime.

Accommodations

Starwood Buenos Aires

Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel

Located in the heart of the city, the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center is just half an hour from Ezeiza Airport.  Standard rooms feature hairdryer, minibar, satellite television, alarm/clock/radio, voicemail, fax line, telephone, safe, individual climate control, river or city views and internet access for a fee.

Paradise Hosteria

Paradise Hosteria

The Paradise Hosteria features just 12 rooms, all of them with fully-equipped private bathroom. Services include heating and A/A, TV, IDD and NDD, Fax, Wi-Fi, maid, room service and hot water 24 hours a day.

Hotel Territorio

Hotel Territorio

This boutique hotel is located on the edge of town with wonderful views of Gulfo Nuevo. Built in the spirit of a traditional sheep shearing farm with infusions of modernity and elegance, the hotel features a lounge,  restaurant and highly attentive staff. 36 rooms all feature individual temperature control, mini-bar, hair dryer, en suite facilities and free Wi-Fi. The hotel offers a fitness room and laundry services.

Huentala Hotel

Huentala Hotel

Huentala means “Valley of the Guanacos” and its name honors the ancient Huarpes, one of the first settlers of Mendoza. Opened in 1976, the hotel is a landmark in its four-star category. Located in downtown Mendoza City, on a beautiful cobblestone street, Huentala Hotel is just one block from San Martin Ave. and is in walking distance to the main attractions of the city. Classic rooms include free Wi-Fi, AC, LED TV, hairy dryer, and mini-bar.  The hotel offers a pool, gym, spa, laundry service and even a wine tasting cellar.  Authentic regional cuisine combines with elegant and peaceful atmosphere in Champay (House of Friends) Bistro while Kunuk Bar is known for its elegant cocktails, including a chinch corn drink for which the bar is named.

The Singular Santiago

The Singular Santiago

Located in the Lastarria neighborhood of Santiago, The Singular Santiago is the city's latest 5-star hotel, combining the style of early 20th century buildings with neoclassical French architectural influences. The result is a striking new addition to the Santiago cityscape. Everywhere you go in this Santiago hotel, you’ll experience yet another pleasant surprise; the endlessly indulgent Spa; the superlative dining experience at the Singular Restaurant; and the dazzling views and refreshing cocktails in the ninth floor The Singular roof Top Bar. Step out onto the elevated terrace and you’re treated to a spectacular view of the Parque Forestal, an arboreal escape right alongside the hotel. Also enjoy the Roof Top Swimming Pool. The hotel is located just a few minutes walking from The Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Visual Arts, the Gabriela Mistral Center and more. Classic rooms are 301 square feet and feature mini-bar, safe, walk-in shower, hair dryer, free Wi-Fi, ad LCD TV with cable.

Loi Suites

Loi Suites

Loi Suites is a 5-star hotel found in the subtropical forest of Iryapú, just 15 minutes from Iguazu Falls and 20 minutes from the airport. Built with maximum respect for nature, preserving native vegetation, Loi Suites Iguazú is surrounded by magnificent trees and impressive wildlife. The hotel features internet, restaurant, pool bar, lobby bar, business center, outdoor heated pool, gym, laundry (for a fee) and a spa. Rooms feature internet, flat screen TV with cable, minibar, safe and individual temperature control.

Hotel Patio de Cafayate

Hotel Patio de Cafayate

Patios de Cafayate is a vineyard and rural hotel, located in the city of Cafayate, province of Salta. The chefs prepare typical dishes of the region, made with local foods from their garden, accompanied by Bodega El Esteco wines. El Esteco represents the trend of the new world with young, fresh and fruity wines, internationally renowned by the press and in major world competitions. The wine portfolio is made up of the following lines: Elementos, Don David, Ciclos, Fincas Notables, Esteco and Altimus, and El Esteco Champagne. The Hotel has 32 rooms and suites with views of the courtyards, gardens, vineyards and mountains surrounding the Calchaquí Valleys. Each room has its own decoration but all rooms feature cable TV, hair dryer, mini-bar, AC/heat, safe and free Wi-Fi.

Sala de Payogasta

Sala de Payogasta

Payogasta is a premier boutique hotel; an historic place with a beautifully restored home of adobe and stone set in some of the most remarkable and stunning scenery anywhere. The hotel is an excellent example of local architecture and part of a larger estate built in the early 20th century. The charming courtyards and lovely surroundings reflect the austere and self-sufficient economy that flourished in the plantations of the Valley from Cologne.  This simple and solid mud architecture is complemented by rustic carpentry. The hotel offers just 12 rooms uniquely restored and decorated, each with en suite restrooms. The uniqueness of each space is dictated by the original architecture and the incorporation of  comfort and quality, such as gas heating, wood stove and spas in all bathrooms. Payogasta vineyards arose from the dream of making wine in the highest part of Valle Calchaquí. With an average altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) above sea level, this vineyard is located at the top of the Wine Route, and among the highest in the world.

Hotel Galerias

Hotel Galerias

Hotel Galerías offers excellent services in a lovely historic setting of Santiago. It features an outdoor pool on the 6th floor, an extensive wine cellar and fine Chilean cuisine. The outdoor pool area features wooden decks, surrounded by tropical palm trees. Vichuquén Restaurant serves Chile's best wines and cuisine. The Make Make Bar offers a relaxed setting with pool views. Each room has heating, AC, safe, mini-bar Wi-Fi and cable TV.

Field Leaders

Argentina guide Paula Bertotto

Paula Bertotto

Expedition Leader

A native of Eldorado, Misiones, near Iguazú Falls, Paula studied at the Universidad Nacional de Misiones. An avid cyclist, after university Paula moved to Patagonia to lead biking tours. After devoting years to learning about the distinct flora and fauna of Patagonia, Paula returned to the Iguazú area. While working toward designation as a certified naturalist guide, Pala received a grant to work with The Nature Conservancy on a project in Iguazú National Park. As part of the project, Paula worked on the development of sustainable ecotourism with the park. This experience encouraged Paula to return to school to earn a second degree in Sustainable Tourism. Currently, Paula lives in Puerto Iguazú, the gateway to her beloved Iguazú National Park. Paula’s expertise in logistics will ensure a worry-free journey, while her experience as a naturalist will add immeasurably to the experience.

From: $7,998 per person
Duration
12 Days, 11 Nights
Departs From
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Guest Capacity
18 Guests
Trip Type
Land
Travel Style

Trip Highlights

  • Southern right whales, elephant seals, fur seals, orcas & more sea life of the Atlantic coast
  • Walk among Magellanic penguins at one of the world's largest rookeries
  • Watch for herds of guanaco as well as rhea, lesser & greater cavy, Patagonian fox and more
  • Exceptional wineries in the world-famous wine regions of Argentina and Chile
  • Travel from Atlantic shores, over towering Andes to Pacific coastline