Beaches, beaches, beaches ... and beef. With 500km of beach on three sides and an interior packed with cattle farms, sometimes it seems these are Uruguay's only offerings. Sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina, tiny, progressive Uruguay has acted as more than just a physical buffer between the two South American behemoths. Dominated by sophisticated Montevideo, home to half the population, Uruguay represents a symbolic compromise: the best of both countries, with the sum larger than the parts. Today Uruguay's fortunes - and prices - are chained to its two giant neighbours, which is good news for the traveller given the recent economic woes of both. A short hop from Buenos Aires, the premier beach town of Punta del Este draws Argentina's glitterati each summer for a seemingly endless paparazzi beach party. It may be full of tourists, but they're all beautiful, and at least they're all from Argentina.
Bold as a Malbec, this trip serves up a brave new world of South American wine and food. Starting in Chile, you'll sample vintages of the Maipo Valley before crossing the Andes into Mendoza, Argentina for more vino and a cooking class that introduces traditional techniques. The adventure concludes in sophisticated Buenos Aires with a visit to a Planeterra project that trains youth in gourmet cooking, then into Uruguay for two nights at an estancia. With an expert guide and your domestic flights included, this is a vintage best enjoyed now.
Highlights: Touring vineyards near Santiago, Sampling wines and taking a cooking class in Mendoza, Visiting a Planeterra culinary training project, Seeing traditional life at a stylish 'estancia' in Uruguay, Savouring Buenos Aires sophistication.
If we crammed all the family-friendly highlights of Brazil and Argentina into a single trip, you’d be on the road for months. This 14-day jaunt around South America comes amazingly close, though. Here, you’ll learn the Brazilian martial art of capoeira in Rio, explore idyllic Ilha Grande, feel the power of Iguassu Falls, get a taste of gaucho culture at a working cattle ranch and experience the entrancing pull of Buenos Aires, all without ever feeling rushed. It’s South America, snack-sized!
Highlights: Trying your hand at capoeira in Rio, relaxing on the famous beaches of Ilha Grande, taking a boat ride up to the impressive Iguassu Falls, learning to ride a horse on a traditional estancia, enjoying diverse culture in Buenos Aires.