Essence of South America - Tauck | Pavlus Travel

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Itinerary & Activities

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Itinerary map of Essence of South America

Arrive in Santiago, Chile

Tour begins: The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago at 6:00 PM. A transfer from Santiago Airport to The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago is included. Please join us for our welcome cocktail reception and dinner tonight.

Santiago and a Winery Lunch

Get acquainted with Santiago today - the city is a mix of skyscrapers and classical buildings - beginning with a visit to the Plaza de Armas. Head outside of the city to a winery for a tour and a gourmet lunch that celebrates generations of Chilean winemaking traditions. Back in Santiago, the rest of the day is free to explore as you please.

Northern Patagonia's Lake District

Fly this morning to the Lake District of southern Chile, renowned as a wonderland of mountain lakes, snowcapped volcanoes, waterfalls and lush forests. Have lunch in Puerto Montt, reflecting the German heritage of the area's original settlers, en route to the Patagonian resort town of Puerto Varas on the shore of Chile's largest man-made lake, Lago Llanquihue. Time at leisure lets you enjoy the flavor of this resort town.

Crossing the Andes by land and boat

Today, you'll cross the majestic Andes Mountains - a highlight of South America tours - traveling from Chile to Argentina. Following a morning drive from Puerto Varas to the Argentine border, board a private boat and cruise to Bariloche, the "Switzerland of South America" on Nahuel Huapi Lake in Nahuel Huapi National Park; have dinner à la carte this evening at your leisure at Llao Llao Resort, your home for the next two nights, where you'll enjoy a Lake Suite in the Moreno Wing.

A day as you please at your resort in Bariloche

Today... an entire day for you to immerse in the natural splendors of your idyllic lakeside setting. Enjoy the amenities at your award-winning resort (some at an additional charge) including archery, golf, tennis and sailing or spa treatments. Hotel shuttles are available if you wish to explore downtown Bariloche on your own. This afternoon, join us for a private tango lesson for Tauck guests only.

Fly to Buenos Aires

You've basked in the beauty of Patagonia from the ground up. Today you will experience it from a different perspective when you take a chairlift up Cerro Campanario for stunning views of the surrounding mountains, wide open sky and the lake waters below. Another change of scenery awaits this afternoon on a flight to Buenos Aires for a three-night stay at the Alvear Palace Hotel, a landmark in La Recoleta, one of the city's most elegant and distinguished neighborhoods. Dine à la carte, as you please, tonight at the hotel.

Buenos Aires Sights / Tango as Art

No doubt about it, Buenos Aires defines "sizzle"... and you'll discover why today when a local guide shows you the city. First up is a visit to Plaza de Mayo, Metropolitan Cathedral and Casa Rosada (government palace) where you'll see the balcony made famous by Evita Perón. Explore the colorful La Boca neighborhood, which is both a working class barrio and artist colony, and then enjoy lunch in the San Telmo District, a mix of colonial-style homes, narrow lanes, artist lofts and hip bars. After dinner, you'll discover the allure and passion of the tango at the Esquina Carlos Gardel, a landmark in Buenos Aires.

Teatro Colon Opera House in Buenos Aires

After a late night out at one of the city's most elegant dining and dancing venues, spend the morning at leisure. Following lunch you'll get a fascinating privately guided behind-the-scenes visit to Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires' seven-tiered opera house. First opened in 1908, its opulent stained glass, marble staircases and excellent acoustics underwent a three-year refurbishment for a highly anticipated reopening in 2010. Today it is considered among the five best concert venues in the world. The rest of the day is free to explore as you wish.

Buenos Aires city treasures and on to Iguazú Falls

Sightseeing continues today when you see the immense Avenida 9 de Julio, a stately avenue traversing Buenos Aires that was modeled after Paris' Champs Élysées in the 1930s, along with the posh Embassy District and the Rose Garden, an oasis of green. On foot, explore La Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place of many of Argentina's famous and wealthiest families, including the grave of Evita Perón. Have lunch at a popular local restaurant, before taking an afternoon flight to Iguazú, reigning as one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls and set in a wildlife rich subtropical setting. Wherever you look, the views are breathtaking. Your hotel is set in the heart of the national park; dine tonight at the hotel's restaurant, boasting wonderful views of the thundering waters!

The "Great Waters" of Iguazú

Taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide, Iguazú Falls, named a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, claimed another title as one of the "New Seven Wonders of Nature" by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation in 2011. You'll have to visit two countries to get a complete look at the falls - its 275 cascades are spread in a horseshoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazú River, straddling the borders of Argentina and Brazil. Today you'll experience the Argentinian side, walking along grated walkways of metal and climbing steps as you view the thundering water. Do as many walks as you like; intriguing names like the "Devil's Throat," the "Superior Circuit," and the "Lower Circuit" offer a descriptive hint of what you'll see. Optional activities like boat rides, hikes and other excursions are available at an additional charge and give you the opportunity to experience nature at her finest in South America.

The Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls and a flight to Rio de Janeiro

Cross the Tancredo Neves Bridge from Argentina to Brazil to view the famous falls (known as Iguaçu here) from a different perspective this morning; you'll never forget your walk along the base of the falls on the Brazilian side - 275 cascades form a 1 1/2 mile-long waterfall. Later, fly to Rio de Janeiro and your iconic Art Deco landmark hotel overlooking Copacabana Beach, the 5-star Belmond Copacabana Palace.

Summit of Corcovado, Samba City & more in colorful Rio

Journey by train to the summit of Corcovado to see the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, standing high above Rio and the sea below. Back down the mountain, visit Samba City for a behind-the-scenes look at Carnaval traditions and a samba dance show. Follow lunch at the famous Colombo Tea Room with a walking tour of Rio's historic downtown, including the Cathedral and other Belle Époque landmarks; spend the evening as you please on your own in Rio tonight.

Private cruise, Rio's skyline, Sugarloaf Mountain & more

Head out this morning aboard a private boat cruise on Guanabara Bay for awe-inspiring views of Rio's skyline and beachside gems, followed by a tour of the city's historic downtown and its many Belle Époque landmarks. After lunch at a traditional Brazilian churrascaria, a two-stage cable car ride to the 1,390-foot summit of iconic Sugarloaf Mountain rewards with stunning views. Return to the Belmond Copacabana Palace in the late afternoon, and join us this evening for a farewell cocktail party in one of the hotel's magnificent ballrooms, followed by dinner at a local Rio restaurant. Truly saboroso!

Journey Home

Tour ends: Rio de Janeiro. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Belmond Copacabana Palace to Rio de Janeiro International Airport. Spend your last day in Rio as you wish, browsing in the city's museums and shops or savoring the sights on Rio's beautiful beaches. While hotel check-out time from Belmond Copacabana Palace is 12:00 noon, if you are on a later flight Tauck has reserved a hospitality room to refresh and relax before making your flight; plan to arrive at the airport at least 3 1/2 hours before your flight departs.

Things to Know

Preparing For Your Trip
  • Make Sure to Bring All of Your Important Documents: Passport, Foreign visa (if applicable), Itinerary, Trip confirmation, Airline ticket, Drivers license, Credit cards, Travel documents.

  • Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) can provide you their recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.

  • Are You Taking Any Prescriptions or Other Medications? Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you are unexpectedly delayed.

  • Insurance: Purchase travel insurance to cover yourself against unexpected situations. You never know when something might happen, so always be prepared.
While Traveling
  • Keep an eye on your belongings. Do not leave your belongings unattended in public spaces

  • Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards.
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