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The Old Patagonian Express: Argentina and Chile
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The Old Patagonian Express: Argentina and Chile

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 17 day(s)
Group Size: 30 - 100 people
Destination(s): Argentina   Chile  
Specialty Categories: Railway Trips   Photography and Videography  
Season: November
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 4245 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4640 Pound Sterling (GBP)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Buenos Aires. Arrive Buenos Aires and transfer to the four-star El Conquistador hotel for four nights.

Day 2: Buenos Aires. After breakfast enjoy a free morning. Following lunch we'll have a city tour including an exciting vintage tram ride. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 3: Special Steam Charter. From San Miguel station we board a British built 0-6-0 steam locomotive, along with the Tren Historico, to Capilla del Señor, a Gaucho town in the Pampas. A superb barbecue will be provided for us on arrival, with folk dancing and music. Our special train returns us to Buenos Aires for dinner. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 4: Visit a Steam Depot. After breakfast we visit the Ferro Club Steam Depot in Escalada with all available locomotives in steam. We’ll stop for a tasty lunch at the Ferro Club and enjoy dinner, a thrilling tango show and overnight in Buenos Aires. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 5: Rail To Patagonia. After breakfast in our hotel we’ll take an internal flight to San Carlos de Bariloche, followed by lunch. We’ll transfer by coach to Ingeniero Jacobacci for dinner and overnight accommodation in our hotel. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 6: The Old Patagonian Express. After an early breakfast, the steam-hauled Old Patagonian Express will be waiting for us, hauled by a narrow-gauge Mikado. Around 7:30 a. our train will steam out into the Patagonian wilderness of moors, mountains and forests. Despite its narrow gauge, it carries a restaurant car, and we will be served coffee, tea, light refreshments and lunch on board. We will see for ourselves how difficult this country is for railways as we experience an exhilarating ride, battling against the force of gravity up through the mountains. After several photo opportunities, we should arrive at El Maitén by around 4 pm, where a coach will transfer us to El Bolsón and our three-star hotel. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 7: La Trochita to Esquel. After breakfast we transfer to El Maitén Station and board the Old Patagonian Express again. Refreshed with hot coffee and snacks we set off on La Trochita, a local phrase meaning "The Little Train". This is a wild and remote line which is still totally steam-operated. Our ride will be extremely exciting as the train tackles severe gradients through the mountains with the high Andes always in sight. Lunch is served on board, and we arrive in Esquel at around 5 pm. On arrival we transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 8: Steam Esquel to El Maitén. Today there are two choices: the first option is to transfer to Esquel Station where La Trochita waits for us. We travel steam-hauled to El Maitén (with two locomotives to Nahuel Pan), calling at Lepá for a barbecue lunch beside the line. Alternatively, you can choose to enjoy a morning tour of the Esquel area, visiting some early settlements where, unusually, only Welsh and Spanish are spoken! The two groups will reconvene for a barbecue at Lepá. Returning to El Maitén, we will have time to visit the locomotive depot before departing by coach to Bariloche. Here we stay for three nights, with dinner each evening, in our four-star hotel. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 9: Enjoy the Lakeside Town of Bariloche. In the morning we have a sightseeing tour of the town, situated on the side of Lake Bariloche, followed by a leisurely lunch and a free afternoon to relax. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 10: Steam Charter Train. At Bariloche railway station we board our train of three superbly restored vintage coaches hauled by British-built 1912 2-8-0 No. 121. A full day on the train lies ahead, traveling through the splendid mountains. There will be many opportunities to take photos of the stunning scenery, with lunch in the train’s vintage restaurant car. We return to Bariloche in the afternoon. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 11: Argentinean Lake Crossing. Early this morning we travel by coach to the lake (our luggage goes separately), where we board our vessel to begin the famous Argentinean Lake crossing to Puerto Montt in Chile. We cruise three beautiful lakes, interspersed with short road journeys on unmarked roads. We pass active volcanoes, spectacular glaciers and majestic mountains always covered in snow. This must be the most scenic border crossings in the world! On arrival in Puerto Montt, we check into our three-star hotel for dinner and an overnight stay. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 12: Steam Train from Valdivia to Antilhue. Today you’ll enjoy a scenic ride by coach to Valdivia. We visit the station to view two old steam locomotives, including a Beyer Peacock 2-6-0. Lunch will be taken in a famous German pub that brews its own beer. This afternoon you’ll enjoy a guided city tour down to the river to view seals and walruses. Dinner and overnight accommodation will be in the pleasant Melillanca Hotel in Valdivia. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 13: “Tren de la Araucania” to Temuco. Our special steam-hauled train awaits us at Antilhue. Our powerful Baldwin-designed (1953) 4-8-2 has special 1930 Linke Hoffman coaches and an Argentinean Fiat dining car, where we'll enjoy lunch. During the journey we will have plenty of photo runbys in glorious scenery. All too soon our steam journey of over 100 miles comes to an end as we arrive in Temuco. We visit the railway museum in an old roundhouse, containing a collection of twenty locomotives, mainly steam, before having dinner and staying overnight at the Holiday Inn. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 14: To Santiago. After breakfast we go to Temuco station. The train will again be formed of the 1930s Linke Hoffman coaches complete with Argentinean Fiat Dining Car. We depart northwards towards Chillian hauled by a Beyer Peacock designed (but Chilean built) 2-6-0. During the journey we cross the highest viaduct in all of Chile. At Chillian we change to a regular train for the fast journey to Santiago where we check into our hotel. Meals included: (B) (L).

Day 15: Day Trip to Los Andes. We visit the railway works and museum in Los Andes before riding the Flying Goose Railcar to Rio Blanco on the last surviving section of the famous Trans-Andean Railway. After a barbecue lunch we return to our hotel. Alternatively, feel free to spend the day in lovely Santiago at your leisure. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 16: A Day on the “Wine Train”. Today we join the infamous Wine Train, hauled by a Beyer Peacock 2-6-0 with three Linke Hoffman balcony coaches. A fantastic way to end our epic journey, this is a dramatic 30-mile ride to the terminus at Santa Anna. We spend most of the day relaxing on the wine train visiting several wine lodges and tasting the superb wines produced in this area. Lunch will be at the delightful Viu Manent, a lovely restored manor house. After lunch we visit the Colchagua Museum with a fantastic collection of weapons, old carriages and automobiles, including a Beyer Peacock 2-6-0 similar to our wine train locomotive. This is truly fantastic and unforgettable journey! We return by train to San Fernando and by coach to the hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. Meals included: (B) (L) (D).

Day 17: Railway Museum. In the morning we visit the Quinta National Railway Museum’s impressive collection of locomotives. Transfer to the airport this afternoon for flights home.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Prices:
- Double occupancy: £4,245 (per person)
- Single occupancy: £4,640 (per person).

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