Exploring the Andes
This itinerary takes you to part of the Andes that most people don't reach, with the opportunity to climb two volcanoes, one in Argentina and one in Chile, and ending up at the foot of Aconcagua, in the high wine country of Mendoza.
It's a great trip for those who have already been to Argentina and want to explore one region in more depth, or for trekking enthusiasts who want to tackle the path less travelled.
Day 1 - 4, Bariloche to Junin de los Andes, small B&Bs en route
Starting from Bariloche, we'll drive the infamous Seven Lakes route, stopping to admire the many rivers, fjords and glacial lakes on the way. After arriving in San Martin de Los Andes, the Chamonix of Patagonia, we'll spend a few days exploring the northern extremities of the national park, before continuing north to our first major volcano - Lanin.
Day 5- 7, Volcan Lanin ascent, Mountain refuge accommodation
At nearly 4000m, Lanin towers over the Araucania, a wild region named for its forests of monkey puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana). Endemic to this area, these majestic trees are the second oldest living organism on earth, now harbouring mountain lion as they once harboured dinosaurs.
We'll set off early from Junin and hike to the refugio. Early next morning, weather permitting we'll make our summit bid. An extra day is allowed in case the weather turns against, or for breaking the descent the halfway.
Day 7 - 10, Villarica, B&B
Straight over the border to Chile and the smoking and snowcapped cone of Volcan Villarica. We'll spend the day relaxing in a this little German town, then explore a little known lakeland plateau replete with hot springs, culminating with a trek to Volcan Llaima and Volcan Lonquimay.
Day 10 - 11, Chos Malal, Hosteria El Torreon
Crossing back into Argentina, we'll pass more volcanoes and visit a Mapuche settlement. The only peoples to resist the Incas, the Mapuche have a fearsome reputation. By visiting their settlement, we'll help to raise awareness and prevent their continued segregation by the Argentine government. We'll drive to Mendoza, stopping overnight in the historic town of Chos Malal, site of one of Argentina's most important battles.
Day 11 - 14, Mendoza, Club Tapiz
After all the mountain exploration, you'll be able to relax by the pool surrounded by vineyards in this traditional winery with its wonderful 5* accommodation. We'll arrange a day wine-tasting with our English wine guide. We'll also give you a car so you can drive up the stunning Puente del Inca valley, at the foot of Aconcagua, and make a half day walk to see the highest mountain outside the Himalayas.
Guiding and accommodation
To allow for changing weather conditions this itinerary is relatively flexible. Summit attempts are all accompanied by local guides, and if you don't fancy it, or the weather looks suspicious, we'll have other activities on standby, like exploring the area on horseback, or rafting one of the rivers that tumble from the volcano's slopes.
We camp or stay in mountain refugios on some of the longer treks. On the road we stay in three or four star hotels, or local estancias which offer wonderful B&B.
Upon arrival in Mendoza, you'll be able to relax in the 5 star wine lodge, Tapiz, and put your feet up over a glass or two of Argentina's finest Malbec.
Price estimate (based on 2 sharing)
14 days - £1700 pp
Prices include - all guiding, 4x4 transport, horses if required, all accommodation with breakfast and transfers.