Little House on the Cerrado
Think of this trip as South America’s best Europe impression. Santiago’s got sass and vineyards, Pucon has hiking and whitewater rafting. Argentina’s Lake District boasts skiing (and lakes), Bariloche does chocolate and chateaux. And Buenos Aires? She just knows she all class.
Live out your Motorcycle Diaries fantasies (minus the hot actor and the motorcycle). Whether you’ve read the book or seen the movie (we don’t judge) there’s no doubt Che Guevara’s story has inspired many a Latin American adventure.
Day 1-2 - Santiago - overnight bus
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Santiago.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting in the evening of Day 1 (usually at 6 pm). You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Although Santiago covers a large area, the city centre is quite compact and easy to get around. The city's centre is roughly triangular in shape with the Plaza de Armas, the main plaza and home to the Cathedral, sitting in the centre. Panning out from here are wall-to-wall shops, restaurants and parks. For a more serene look at Chilean life, head out to Barrio Bella Vista, Santiago's 'Paris Quarter'.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour of Santiago visiting the Plaza de Armas in the city's historic centre, the Central Market with its colourful seafood restaurants and the Palacio de la Moneda, the seat of government and presidential residence. Perhaps take a cable car up to Cerro San Cristobal. If the weather permits you'll have impressive views over the city and the peaks of the Andes.
Use your free time wisely. Try some local wine and indulge in a terremoto in Santiago's drinking den, La Piojera. Terremoto means 'Earthquake', and you might feel a little shaky after the mix of sweet-wine and pineapple ice-cream served in a one litre glass.
Maybe tour the vineyards, including Concha y Toro, and taste some local wine
Catch a comfortable overnight bus to Pucon (approx 10 hrs) on the evening of Day 2.
If you are taking a transfer with us and have arrived on a
International flight, please leave by door 4 (not 3 nor 5) or a domestic flight, please leave by door 2 (not 1 nor 3Ecohostel or similar
Day 3-5 - Pucon
In the heart of the Lake District and set on the foot of the active Volcan Villarrica, Pucon is every outdoors fanatic's dreamland. Mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing, horse riding - you name it, you can do it in Pucon. There's even a casino inside the luxurious Hotel del Lago and busy nightlife.
Pucon is a thrillseeker's dream. Hike up a volcano, go mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing, horse riding, or whatever else you can think of to get your adrenaline pumping. If adrenaline isn't your thing, blow off some steam in one of the many bars of restaurants. You have two full days (after your arrival day) in Pucon to enjoy the optional activities.Donde German Hotel or similar
Day 6-7 - San Martin de los Andes
Travel by local bus across the Andes to San Martin de los Andes in the Lake District of Argentina. Hopefully you will arrive in San Martin de los Andes before 4pm, but that depends on the border crossing.
Nested on the shores of Lake Lacar and surrounded by the majestic Lanin National Park, San Martin de los Andes is one of Argentina most picturesque towns.
What to do in town varies depending on the season. The best way to discover the natural wonders of San Martin is hiking. Lanin National Park has many treks to keep you busy for a few days. In winter, Chapelco ski resort offers some of the best sport in the area.
San Martin de Los Andes plays host to heaps of optional lakeside pursuits....or skiing.....or trekking....or sleeping!Donde German Hotel or similar
Day 8-10 - Bariloche - overnight bus
Travel to Bariloche (approx 3hrs).
A year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all types, Bariloche sits on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Outdoor activities range from skiing on the peaks of Cerro Catedral (in season), to hiking or biking around its base.
One of Bariloche's renowned pastimes is dining: find a comfortable café and try the fresh salmon or lake trout, or even a hearty beef parrillada. The town is famous for its handmade chocolates and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops.
Be warned, Bariloche is well known for its fine chocolates. A tour to one of the main chocolate factories is a great way to try the many flavours available before settling for a kilo of your favourite.
Cerro Otto is one of locals' favourite lookout points. You can hike or bike to the top or travel via a cable car. At the summit there's a revolving café which offers 360° views of the breathtaking surrounds.
On the last day in Bariloche we take an overnight bus to Buenos Aires (approx 25 hrs including stops along the way). The bus is semi-cama, meaning that seats recline to a far more comfortable position that you would expect on a plane . There's a toilet on board.Tango Inn hotel or similar
Day 11-13 - Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style all of its own, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (the local residents) are justifiably proud of BA, which is comprised of distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own style.
If you're in Buenos Aires for a weekend, visit San Telmo for its antiques market and artists displays. La Boca, settled by waves of immigrants who built brightly painted buildings, is home to the world-class Boca Juniors football team. Recoleta is the place to browse museums with Buenos Aires' well-to-do. There are many sights in the heart of the city with churches, cathedrals and historic buildings aplenty.
Take a guided orientation walk around the Microcentro district, passing some of the historic buildings along Avenida de Mayo, including the Casa Rosada (Argentina's government house) and the impressive Palacia Barolo.
Vegetarians, look away. Everyone else, your first order of business is to find the nearest parrilla (steak house) and order a big, plump, juicy piece of the world's best steak.
When you've finished exploring, settle down at one of the many streetside cafes and prepare yourself for a night of tango at one of the many milongas.
The trip ends on Day 13 and there are no activities planned for this day.Hotel Two or similarBreakfast
What to Know
Gecko's tour leader, local guides, transport, sightseeing, meals and entrance fees as indicated.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, entrance to Sugarloaf, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
On April 22nd Volcan Calbuco (located in the south of Chile) erupted. The ash plumb emitted by the volcano affected the following areas visited during Geckos trips: Pucon (Chile), San Martin de los Andes (Argentina) and Bariloche (Argentina).
Fortunately there are no reports of casualties however the day to day life in these destinations was disrupted by the falling ash.The situation on the ground has improved since. The volcano has become less active (the alert level has changed from red to yellow), airports and roads are re-opened and optional activities are running once again.
Based on this, all future Geckos trips to the region will continue to run as normal.
Should the volcano become active once more, or ash fallings impede accessing these destinations (Pucon, San Martin de los Andes and/or Bariloche) or prevent optional activities on the ground from running normally, we will proceed to operate the following alternative itinerary instead:Day 1 – SantiagoDay 2 – ValparaisoDay 3 – MendozaDay 4 – Mendoza – Overnight bus to CordobaDays 5 to 6 – CordobaDay 7 to 9 – Mina Clavero (South of Cordoba)Day 10 – Overnight bus to Buenos AiresDays 11 to 13 – Buenos Aires (as normal itinerary)
While this itinerary is vastly different the original one, we believe it is a very enjoyable itinerary in its own rights!
Given the unpredictable nature of volcanic activity, we may decide to run the alternative itinerary at short notice. We endeavour to inform travellers as soon as possible should that be the case.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 21 Oct 2015 - 02 Nov 2015 Fully Booked US $1,930 Contact us 04 Nov 2015 - 16 Nov 2015 Fully Booked US $1,900 Contact us 18 Nov 2015 - 30 Nov 2015 Fully Booked US $1,900 Contact us 09 Dec 2015 - 21 Dec 2015 2 places left US $1,845 Book Now 16 Dec 2015 - 28 Dec 2015 2 places left US $1,845 Book Now 30 Dec 2015 - 11 Jan 2016 Available US $1,830 Book Now 13 Jan 2016 - 25 Jan 2016 Available US $1,780 Book Now 27 Jan 2016 - 08 Feb 2016 Available US $1,780 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Little House on the Cerrado
Louisa - Toowoomba, QLD, 24 Jun, 2011
Veronica was wonderful - compassionate & friendly. Claudio was good - gave everyone individual attention, and was a great source of local information.