Tuesay, 13th January – Monday, 19th January
We decided we would like to visit the Galapagos in 2009. We then thought if we were going that far we would like Business Class travel, and then, if we were spending so much, we should see more of South America!
We attended a travel show in February 2008 in order to help us plan the trip. Loaded with brochures and travel itineraries, and having spoken to a number of tour operators we developed an outline itinerary which would take about six weeks. We then approached three operators for suggestions and quotes.
The itinerary expanded and the price kept rising, but in the end we settled on the quote from Steppes Travel. We particularly liked their presentation and general approach. The itinerary was for 7½ weeks through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.
We left on 12th January for our first stop in Buenos Aires. We were travelling with Iberia from Heathrow with a transfer in Madrid. We had some concerns as Iberia pilots were on a work to rule and Madrid airport had been closed due to snow. In the event delays were short although we did have to have the plane de-iced on the runway in Madrid.
We had three nights in Buenos Aires with a private guided tour of the city, a group tour to Tigre including a river cruise to the Parana Delta, and a visit to a Tango show and dinner. We also had time to explore the city ourselves. Highlights of the city were the Casa Rosada on the Plaza Mayo, famous as the place where Eva Peron addressed the masses (a la Evita), the Recoleta Cemetery (a city of mausoleums – including that of Eva Peron), and La Boca, a working class district now occupied by artists.
We left Buenos Aires to fly 200 miles north to the Iguazu Falls, at the point where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. We stayed in the Sheraton Hotel in the National Park with wonderful views of the falls from our room. On the first day we visited the falls on our own on the top trail. On the second day we had a guide to take us to the Brazilian side of the falls where we had a boat trip under the falls, where we got extremely wet! On the third day we took a further two trails on the Argentinean side, one requiring a tourist train ride through the forest to reach a boardwalk to the top of the falls.