Brazil & Argentina: Christmas/New Year 2019/2020 Rio – Paraty – Iguazu Falls – Salta – Cafayate – Buenos Aires

We had a fabulous trip in Brazil and Argentina this Christmas and New Year.

In Argentina, the Salta leg of the trip worked really well – the local agents were really lovely and organised some brilliant trips for us.

We had fantastic city tour in Salta with a guide called Romero. The kids really enjoyed learning about the local area from him and thought the museum was the best they have ever been to, the perfect combination of interesting and short!  White water rafting was superb, well organised and fun.

We went through a very interesting gorge – good lesson in plate tectonics etc. We even saw dinosaur footprints!  We enjoyed a brilliant bbq afterwards too.

The kids’ favourite activity was the cycling tour in the Andes, as described by Ben below.   Again, it was really well organised, they were met by their guides and bikes at 3,000m above sea level, then cycled down hill for 22 km.

Cafayate was also great, the wineries and backdrop of the Andes were stunning.  All in all a total success and your choice of Finca Valentina was perfect – a really relaxed friendly place, perfectly positioned for all the activities.

Ben Wickens, aged 9:
The highlight for me was a cycle ride in the Andes which I did with my Dad and my 2 brothers.  We had to drive for an hour and a half up hill through the foothills of the Andes.

The peaks were around 5000 m high, but the highest peak of all was 6,300m which is over three-quarters the size of Everest.  I was really scared that it was going to be raining the whole time we were cycling and I was nervous that I would slip and maybe fall.

Thankfully it was clear blue skies at the drop-off point which was close to the border with Chile.This was at 3,000m above sea level and was above the treeline. The whole cycle ride was 22 km downhill on a road which didn’t have very much traffic. We went slow at first because it wasn’t too steep, we almost didn’t pedal at all.  The only time we pedalled was when we had to go up a small hill. There were lots of sharp turns in the road and in the valley it looked like a volcano.

There were fast-flowing rivers cascading down the mountainside because of all the rains.  To me, these looked like lava flowing down the  mountain. The mountains were steep with jagged rock but eventually the trees re-appeared and we were back within the treeline.  Two thirds of the way down the road we entered sub-tropical rainforest and it suddenly felt really hot.  We were into the last stretch of the whole trip.  We had dropped 2,000m in elevation from our starting position of 3,000m above sea level.  It took us 1 hour 15 minutes.

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