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Setting sail from Buenos Aires
The streets of Buenos Aires are redolent of a grand old European capital, lined with elegant architecture that wouldn't look out of place in Madrid or Paris. There is also plenty of Latin passion on display: Argentina is the home of tango, that most electrifying of dances, and the central Plaza de Mayo has played host to countless revolutions and rallies over the years. Food is an important part of life here, and carnivores shouldn't pass up the opportunity to try the world's finest beef at one of the many steakhouses, known as parrillas. Other attractions include the beautiful Recoleta cemetery, the grand Teatro Colón and the colourful, arty district of La Boca.
Plan to stay longer than you think you’ll need; the city offers plenty and the breathtaking Iguazu Falls can be reached by a short flight.
Perched on the ragged southern edge of Argentina, where the snow-capped Andes fall away into the churning sea, Ushuaia has a frontier town feel to it, and serves as the base for expeditions into the icy waters of Antarctica.
Chile: Cape Horn
Surrounded by notoriously treacherous waters and battered by gale force winds known as the Furious Fifties, Cape Horn is the dramatic southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. This is the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet, watched over by a lonely lighthouse.
Chile: Chilean Fjords
Chile: Puerto Natales
Puerto Natales, situated at the southern end of the Chilean Fjords, is a major tourism hub for southern Patagonia. Formerly a fishing port, the town is now the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park, a spectacular landscape of granite peaks, grassy steppes and azure lakes, populated by guanacos, condors, pumas and more.
Chile: Chilean Fjords, Tortel
Chile: Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt is the capital of the Chilean Lake District, spread out around a wide bay against a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. This wild region offers a host of outdoor activities, including mountain hikes, kayaking, white water rafting, fishing, zip lining and cycling.
Chile: Castro (Chiloé Island)
Rugged and unspoilt Chiloé, situated at the southern end of Chile’s Lake District, is a unique and culturally distinct island that stands apart from the rest of the country. The main town, Castro, is notable for its colourful waterfront homes on stilts (known as palafitos), and is the gateway to the dense forests and rolling hills of the island interior.
Arriving in Valparaíso
Characterful, colourful and a little chaotic, the port city of Valparaíso enjoys a somewhat awkward setting, scattered across 45 vertiginous hills. Thanks to this difficult topography the city streets are punctuated by steep staircases and funicular elevators, and energetic explorers will be rewarded with wonderful views of the pastel hued buildings that hug the slopes. Valparaíso's most famous former resident was the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and you can visit one of his former residences, La Sebastiana, which now houses a small museum.
Although there are museums and some great architecture, what you really mustn’t miss is the vibe of this quirky and characterful town, so take the time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the views.
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
Just steps away from the elegant Santa Fe Avenue and famous Florida Street, we love the Alvear Art Hotel.
Explore Buenos Aires
Take a private city tour to see all the highlights including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Cabildo, colourful La Boca, the Colon Theatre and the Recoleta cemetery, resting place of Evita.
Where to stay in Valparaíso
The 23 room Palacio Astoreca comprises two buildings, including a completely restored national monument.
For contrast, visit clean and orderly Viña del Mar just up the coast.