Do you want it all Do you want to travel to Brazil, travel Uruguay and Argentina and then experience all the adventure travel Chile can offer If you do, the Coast to Coast tour is a perfect tour choice. Spectacular National Parks, the vast wilderness of Patagonia, the awe inspiring Iguazu Falls and Rio's Carnival or New Year's Eve celebrations makes this trip ideal for hiking enthusiasts, outdoor lovers and party animals alike.
This tour can be joined in either Rio or Santiago. For those joining in Rio the itinerary below should be followed in reverse. All Coast to Coast tours either arrive or depart Rio to coincide with Carnival or New Years Eve. If you wish to arrive a few days before our tour departs or stay a few days after your trip has ended we can reserve accommodation for you in both cities including over the Carnival and New Years period.
Day 1 - 6 (or days 46 - 51)
If you're looking for adventure travel, Chile is ideal not least thanks to its spectacular and dramatic natural scenery. Leaving Santiago on the first day of the trip, we pass small villages and deep blue lakes with mountains towering above us as we wind through Chile's Lake District. Pucon, an outdoors centre in its own right, will be our base for the next few days from where it is possible to organise whitewater rafting, skiing, water sports, horse riding and one day hikes up nearby Villarrica Volcano. Ascending the Andes via some spectacular mountain passes we arrive in Bariloche, Argentina. This very popular holiday destination for Argentineans is the top ski resort on the continent and also has several hiking trails and a great nightlife.
Day 7 - 14 (38 - 45)
For trips that depart Rio in January we are usually able to join the Camino Austral in Chile adventure travel at its best! Large parts of this road are only open in the summer months of January and February. It is a breath taking spectacle as we pass tree lined fjords and penetrate deep in to a land of spiraling volcanoes and glaciers and camp next to rushing rivers and rainforest. For tours departing over the rest of the year we continue on to our Argentina travel leg of the tour as we head into the deep south on a good dirt road and enter the vast wilderness of Patagonia. The perpetual wind makes it difficult for trees and plants to grow, so for a while we are faced with endless grassland. However our long drive will soon be rewarded with the stupendous views that Los Glaciares NP provides - it also has the largest glacier in the world and here we have the option to take a boat ride up close to Moreno Glacier, almost 200 ft high. Torres del Paine NP is another area of outstanding beauty where huge granite cliffs dominate the landscape. A good way to explore the area is either hiking or by horseback.
Day 15 - 24 (28 - 37)
We continue south towards the wild and hauntingly beautiful land at worlds end, the island of Tierra del Fuego. We cross by ferry and visit the most southerly town in the world Ushuaia, from where we can view the green waters of the Beagle Channel and the snow clad peaks beyond. We now cross to the Atlantic coast of Patagonia and visit one of the marine sanctuaries. Penguins, Sea Lions, Sea Elephants, Sea Birds and sometimes Whales can be seen. Following the excellent paved roads north along the coast we pass through some quite affluent towns. One, Puerto Madryn, was the landing place over a century ago for the first group of Welsh settlers that subsequently colonised and now farm the surrounding area. We traverse the vast Pampas grasslands, South America's cowboy country, where gun-toting gauchos on horseback look after vast herds of cattle.
Day 25 - 32 (20 - 27)
Travel to Argentina is not complete without a visit to the country's capital, and so we follow the coast to Buenos Aires. A few days in this smart cosmopolitan city and you could be forgiven for thinking you were back in Europe. There is plenty to do, museums, horse racing, football matches, shopping, tango dancing for the confident, restaurants that serve the best steak in the world, and many plazas with cafes to sit and observe Argentinean life go by. From here we travel to Uruguay - a relatively little known country when compared with its neighbours. We spend several days in the lively town of Colonia del Sacramento - with its excellent beaches and pleasant tree lined streets it is a welcome rest from the bustle of the previous few days.
Day 33 - 38 (14 - 19)
We then cross back into Argentina and visit the region between Argentina and Paraguay that is home to many Jesuit Missions built in the 16th century to convert the Guarany Indians. We visit the ruins of San Ignacio before crossing the border into Brazil, where we also cross from Spanish to Portuguese, and it is time to get our tongues around a new linguistic challenge! The Iguazu Falls form the natural border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, higher than Niagara and wider than Victoria Falls they are an awe-inspiring place to spend the next three days before we continue on with travel to Brazil. The lush tropical forest surrounding the falls has many walking trails leading to smaller hidden falls, ideal to refresh from the steaming heat and abounding with parrots, toucans, woodpeckers and colourful plants. Here you can also undertake a number of optional activities such as rafting, helicopter flights and mountain bike riding.
Day 39 - 46 (6 - 13)
Next stop is Bonito where we can swim and snorkel in some of the clearest rivers and lakes in the world. Spectacular walks in the mountainous forests may reveal wildlife that includes monkeys, alligators and anaconda. We begin our travel to Brazil in earnest as we journey on to the Pantanal region where we organise treks out into the vast wetlands which is home to over 600 species of birds and 350 kinds of fish, piranha being common, as well as an abundance of reptiles and animals.
Day 47 - 51 (1 - 5)
We now head to the coastal village of Parati. This unspoilt and picturesque town has remained fundamentally unaltered for three centuries. Cars have been banned from its cobbled streets that run down to the seashore; instead mountain bikes are used and are a good way to get around. Another great way to explore the secluded islands of this pristine coastline is taking a sailing trip in one of the traditional schooners. Our final drive takes us to the hedonistic playground of Rio de Janeiro, where the folk are raring to party out of their minds and live purely for the moment. The Carnival and New Years Eve celebrations are always chaotic, crowded and fun and a must during any stint of travel to Brazil!