TSC Patagonia October 2018
Pre Trip Easter Island
Post Trip Mendoza
TC: Sarah Granbery
PATAGONIA? Where exactly is Patagonia? According to Wikipedia and a few of our well-traveled members, it is a region shared by Argentina and Chile at the southern tip of South America.
TSC has chosen Patagonia as the destination for its 2018 Summer Expedition. That gives us plenty of time to plan and anticipate this bucket-list trip. SmarTours, the tour operator for this amazing trip, will take us to Santiago, Punta Arenas, Torres del Paine, Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate and Buenos Aires. The main trip will leave Houston October 17th and return October 26th. Also offered are a pre-trip to Easter Island (Oct. 14-18) and a post-trip in the wine region of Mendoza, Argentina (Oct. 24-28).
The main trip includes 7 nights lodging, 16 meals, airport transfers, and ground transportation. Here’s our action-packed itinerary:
· On day 1 the group leaves IAH and arrives in Santiago on day 2.
· We spend day 2 visiting the highlights of Santiago, such as Alameda, Cousino Palace, Central Market and San Cristobal Hill.
· Day 3 begins with a flight to Punta Arenas, the “city at the end of the world”. We will have lunch in Punta then continue our trip to Torres del Paine National Park where we will stay for 2 nights.
· Day 4 is spent in the National Park viewing waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and mountains.
· Day 5 we board our motorcoach and cross the border into Argentina to the town of El Calafate where we spend 2 nights.
· Day 6 takes us to the Patagonian Continental Ice Field of Perito Moreno Glacier returning to El Calafate for dinner and a night of leisure.
· Day 7 we fly to Buenos Aires to our 5* hotel in the Recoleta neighborhood for 2 nights with a day and a half to see the sights of Buenos Aires!
The pre-trip offered to us is to the Easter Islands for 3 nights. If you choose this option the departure from IAH is October 14th arriving in Santiago the morning of Oct. 15th for a day tour of the city before your late departure for the Easter Islands. The following 2 days include day tours of the island to see petroglyphs, the 900 stone statues, a visit to an extinct volcano, and time at a beach for a swim in the warm waters. This group will leave Easter Island on the 18th to join the main tour after dinner in Santiago.
The post trip offered is to Mendoza, Argentina, the home of the Malbec grape. The group will leave Buenos Aires for a short flight to Mendoza where they will stay at the Hotel Diplomatic with views of the Andes Mountains. The afternoon includes a tour of the city described as a “green city in a desert”. Day 2 is visiting wineries with a wine expert which includes lunch at a winery. Day 3 you can opt for a half-day hike or spend time in Mendoza at your leisure. A flight will leave in late afternoon for IAH via Santiago.
This is a busy itinerary; however if you have dreams of spending your time in different ways in Patagonia and the cities of Chile and Argentina, there are optional tours at additional cost. Some options are ice trekking, horseback riding, boat rides, wine tasting, tango lessons, cooking lessons, bike rides, and hiking!
Because this trip is in October 2018 and airline prices are not yet available, we are estimating the airfare at $1,699, which includes the round trip flight to South America and the 2 internal flights. This brings the full trip cost to $4,029. The land only package is estimated at $2,296 plus $450 for the 2 internal flights.
A deposit of $300 is due upon sign-up. Very limited single supplement options. Please contact TC regarding availability of SS.
Handouts detailing daily itineraries will be available at General Meetings.
TC – Sarah Granbery