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Argentina and Chile These South American


neighbours are proving increasingly popular as


a twin-centre trip for visitors taking their fi rst steps in the continent,


says Andy Hoskins


Argentina. These neighbouring countries are considered the most developed, Westernised nations on the continent, with excellent tourism infrastructure and transport networks – not to mention wonderful cities and spectacular landscapes – and are often paired up in the itineraries of UK tour operators. Argentina also has the added bonus of direct flights from London with British Airways, and it’s this particular development that has helped boost visitor numbers to the country with operators such as Hayes & Jarvis. “Demand for Argentina has mushroomed by 150% as holidaymakers make Buenos Aires the stepping off point for South


I


American tours,” says the


operator's


f you have clients in search of an easy introduction to South America, then look no further than Chile and


JOURNEY SOUTH


Commercial Director, Niel Alobaidi. The Post Office, meanwhile, says demand for the country’s currency, the peso, was up 183 per cent last year, more than any other currency it offers. With the Andes running along the border between Chile and Argentina, and landscapes ranging from the


Atacama Desert in the north, through the picturesque Lake Districts, lush winelands and tropical wetlands to rugged Patagonia, visitors should expect to be covering a lot of ground in a typical two-week itinerary and only longer trips will be able to squeeze in all the principal highlights.


Across both of them, however, visitors can be assured of fine dining, excellent native wines, luxury


accommodation with plenty of character – think ranches, boutique hotels and wilderness lodges – and no end of soft adventure activities. Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, is often likened to Paris such is its sophistication and beauty. Dramatic Patagonia, with its craggy peaks and giant glaciers, stretches across the southern tip of the two nations, while excellent wineries – many with accommodation – can be found in the Andean foothills of both countries.


Unique to Chile is the weird and wonderful Atacama Desert in the far north


as well as distant Easter Island with its mysterious Moai statues. The country’s capital city, Santiago, is used as a hub for international and domestic flights, but is not without its charms. Back in Argentina, the enormous Iguazu Falls on the border with Brazil are a ‘must see attraction’ for many visitors, while the Valdes Peninsula, further south, is a haven for an array of marine life, including whales. Argentina’s next biggest city, Cordoba, lies in the centre of the country, while Salta is a gateway to the remote northwest, and Mendoza is a base for adventure activities.


This page: Exploring Patagonia by boat; Inset: Explora's Hotel Salto Chico. Opposite page from left: La Rioja, Argentina; Easter Island moai; rafting in Bariloche, Argentina


60 March 2012 • www.sellinglonghaul.com


Selling Tip


“Chile and Argentina are two of the most developed countries in Latin America – perfect for first-timers”


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