Travel in Mendoza, Valley of the Moon and Talampaya park – 7
Tour in the Mendoza wineries and the exceptional parks of Cuyo.
DAY 1 : BUENOS AIRES
Description: you will be met at Ezeiza international airport by a member of our team. After check-in at the hotel the afternoon is free, or you can take your first tour of Buenos Aires. The city tour goes through 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world with its 65-meter (213 feet) obelisk, and Avenida de Mayo, which is well known for its buildings of Galician architecture influence. At Plaza de Mayo you will discover the Casa Rosada, HQ of the president. You will then visit La Boca neighborhood with its colorful houses made of materials recovered from ships, works of art that inspire many poets and painters. Later you will discover San Telmo the best place for antique shops and traditional Tango bars. La Recoleta is a traditional residential neighborhood, where walking is a real pleasure due to its numerous parks and squares. To end the tour, you’ll visit Puerto Madero, the old city port which has recently been completely refurbished. There is a briefing around a map with a member of our operations team. Lunch and dinner: not included. Accommodation: Atempo Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 2 : BUENOS AIRES / MENDOZA / LUJAN DE CUYO / CHACRAS DE CORIA
Description: after transfer to the airport and 1h50 flight, a guide waits for you in Mendoza. You will then travel to the vineyard where you will be staying so that you can settle in. The day’s activities are arranged according to the flight arrival time. Tour around Lujan de Cuyo wineries, one of the main vine-growing regions of Argentina. Visit and wine tasting at the impressive pyramidal architectonic wonder of Catena Zapata winery. Visit to the Tapiz winery for a first look at the vineyards of the region where you can walk through wine cellars and enjoy wine tasting directly from French and American oak casks. Lunch in an exclusive dining room at the Ruca Malen winery, where you will enjoy its delicious cuisine and wine tasting. Distances: 100 km (62 miles) approximately. Note: the choice of wineries is our recommendation, but may be adapted according to your preferences. Alternatives:Norton winery, Carlos Pulenta, Carmelo Pati. Lunch: at the Ruca Malen winery. Aperitif, wines and cheeses: at Finca Adalgisa. Accommodation: Hotel Casa Margot or equivalent.
DAY 3 : CHACRAS DE CORIA / VALLE DE UCO
Description: you will set off to Uco Valley (90′ drive southwards), located at the foot of the Andes range. On your way though the circuit, you will stop at the beautiful “Cristo Rey” viewpoint which overlooks the entire valley. The trip will be arranged according to your preferences. Option 1: wine tasting and tour at the Salentein winery; its new visitor’s center features a museum of contemporary art and a very modern winery. Option 2: wine tasting and private tour at the Andeluna winery, a more traditional site with a thrilling view of the Andes Mountains.
After these activities we recommend a fantastic lunch with wine tasting at the Altus winery which offers excellent regional cuisine and a warm personal atmosphere. In the afternoon you can take an excursion to the historical Manzano town, or return to the lodge to enjoy its facilities, its swimming pool and its view. Distances: 150 km (93 miles) approximately on paved road, through the Argentina’s Wine history. Optional: tour of one final winery: O’Fournier or La Azul. Lunch: at the Altus winery. Accommodation: Hôtel Alpasion Lodge or equivalent.
DAY 4 : VALLE DE UCO / LA CARRERA / CORDON DEL PLATA
Description: after breakfast you will travel towards Cordón del Plata, the pre-cordillera. You will go through Tupungato in order to arrive at the estancia Rancho E’Cuero, an exclusive place set in an absolutely beautiful landscape. Its owner will pick you up at the main road with a 4×4 and will take you to his property, where you will be able to enjoy a stay as the only guest, a tasty “asado” (barbecue) and other activities such as walks or horseback riding through one of the numerous paths which lead to the mountain tops, where a spectacular view opens up over the peaks of the Cordillera and its never-ending snow. Distances: 64 km (40 miles), half on dirt road. Lunch, dinner and accommodation: Rancho E’Cuero or equivalent.
DAY 5 : CORDON DEL PLATA / ACONCAGUA / LEONCITO / BARREAL
Description: you will depart in the early hours for the Chilean border and the Aconcagua Park. You will descend through the “La Carrera” path to later detour towards the villages of Potrerillos and uspallata. This magnificent valley ascends to Penitentes with its curious rocky formations, and then to Puente del Inca, a unique semi-natural construction which owes its colors to the salt and sulphur filled waters. A short distance away you enter the Aconcagua Park, which hosts the highest peak in America (6959 mts – 22831 ft above sea level), which you will contemplate from a viewpoint. After descending you will reach uspallata, where the circuit in San Juan province begins. You will find yourself in an open landscape, with the snow-topped volcanoes of the Andes on the horizon. This ample valley leads you to “El Leoncito” dry lake. The southern sky is one of the most crystal clear skies on Earth. To the west you will be able to see the most important astronomical observatory in Argentina, where you can witness the 300 starry night skies per year. After going through the Park, the town of Barreal appears as a true oasis. Optional: trekking at the Aconcagua Park towards Espero and Horcones lakes (1 hour max.), weather permitting. Distances: 350 km (217 miles) of highway, of which 140 km (87 miles) are dirt roads. Lunch: free,a gourmet picnic facing the Aconcagua weather permitting or you can go to the Ayelen Restaurant. Accommodation: Posada de los Patos or equivalent.
DAY 6: BARREAL / SAN JUAN / SAN AGUSTÍN DEL VALLE FERTIL
Description: the circuit continues along Route 12 northwards and then eastwards, on your trip to Valle Fertil Provincial Park. This road skirts Los Patos River and travels through spectacular landscapes until Calingasta. Just before reaching this town, we recommend a brief 20 minute walk in order to climb up to Alcazar viewpoint. After a narrow and winding road, lunch will be waiting for you in the city of San Juan, Argentina. In the afternoon, the road offers a completely different panorama. You will be able to enjoy another beautiful viewpoint, Las Tumanas, where you’ll be able to stretch your legs for a while. Route 510 skirts Valle Fertil Provincial Reserve and leads to San Agustín del Valle Fértil. You enter the park through a narrow dirt road, and after crossing three rivers you will be met by personnel from Finca La Media Luna. Distances: 420 km. Lunch: free, you can go to the Syrian-Lebanese Club Restaurant in San Juan city. Accommodation: Finca La Media Luna Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 7 : VALLE FERTIL / PARC ISCHIGUALASTO
Description: after leaving Valle Fértil, you will be able to stop at a small museum, rich in rocks and minerals. The paleontology museum at the entrance of the Ischigualasto Park is very interesting. Ischigualasto and Talampaya host the most complete continental deposit of fossils from the Triassic period (from 245 to 208 million years BC). There you will find six geologic formations containing a great variety of fossils of mammals, dinosaurs and plants’ ancestors. The excursion will introduce you to a strange world of minerals, where the widest range of colors is mixed with random shapes: The Worm, The Sphinx, The Submarine, The Mushroom. The ideal spot for photography lovers and free spirits. Optional: you may spend the morning walking or taking a ride around the Estate. There is a lovely river, birds of diverse species and a stunning view. The horse ride is paid there. Note: your tour through the Valley of the Moon is carried out with a private guide, unlike most of the tourists who must follow the Park’s vehicle. At Ischigualasto, light conditions are more attractive from midday onwards. Thus, it is convenient for you to enjoy the finca and take your trip to visit the museums. In addition, during the afternoon, there is a soft breeze which makes temperature more pleasant. In case of rain, the park rangers are the only people authorized to allow access and show you around the park. Distances: 170 km (105 mi). 12 km (7 mi) back and forth from the Estate. Dirt road. You must add the circuit within the State Park (dirt road). The excursion at Ischigualasto lasts approximately 2h30. Lunch: free, you can have a gourmet picnic during the tour. Accommodation: Finca La Media Luna Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 8 : VALLE FERTIL / PARC TALAMPAYA / VILLA UNION
Description: after spending a day on the Moon with the dinosaurs, this new day will be dedicated to the exploration of the Talampaya National Park. A canyon about 12 km long (7 miles) with rocky walls 160 meters high (525 ft). There you will discover numerous purple-colored formations, eroded by the scarce rainfall and wind, which have been baptized as “The Monk”, “The Needles”, “The Manger”, “The Cathedral”, “The Wise Man”, “The chessboard”, “The Chimney”, etc. The interest in Talampaya also lies in its fossil richness, cave art and in the archeological remains of the Aguada and Ciénaga pre-Columbian cultures. It is a 2 and a half-hour private tour in a Park vehicle. Note: in summer we recommend that you begin the excursion early in the morning to avoid high temperatures. Distances: 216 km, 12 km on the Estate’s dirt road. Lunch: at the Park’s restaurant, after the excursion. Accommodation: Hotel Canyon de Talampaya or equivalent.
DAY 9 : VILLA UNION / LA RIOJA / BUENOS AIRES
Description: travel towards La Rioja city in Argentina. The road is magnificent, particularly Miranda Hill with its stunningly beautiful red and green palette. You will round off the adventure with a final and delicious lunch in the Cuyo region. Your guide will accompany you to the airport where you will board the plane to Buenos Aires in the afternoon. Once in Buenos Aires, a dinner show will enable you to let yourself go and enjoy the passion and grace of tango. Moments before leaving, Argentina will thus reveal its soul. Distances and chronology: 283 km of paved road, around 4 hours. Lunch and Dinner: free. Accommodation: Hotel San Telmo Luxury Suites or equivalent.
DAY 10 : BUENOS AIRES / INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
Description: until leaving for the airport, you will continue to discover Buenos Aires and/or, according to your preferences, go shopping. The leather-goods and gaucho articles shops offer typical and original products. Option: enjoy Buenos Aires by helicopter. Experience the feeling of flying over Buenos Aires from an altitude of 200 meters and finish your trip with the best view of Buenos Aires. Lunch: free. Dinner and night: on the plane.