Pasacana Cactus (Trichocereus pasacana) in Northern Argentina

Argentina Eclipse: Salta Region Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Argentina
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
AAN
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

14 Days Flight Inclusive
12 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Experiencing a total solar eclipse is a truly special experience. As the moon moves between the sun and the earth, the sky darkens, birds and animals become agitated and the heart palpitates in anticipation. It can be a very moving experience and one which is enriched by experiencing it in an exotic destination, such as the north west of Argentina. On 2 July 2019 a total solar eclipse will draw a path through the sky over parts of Argentina. Combine this astronomical event with a visit to one of Argentina's most scenic and lesser known regions.

At a Glance

  • Travel by minibus and 2 internal flights
  • Group normally 6‐16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 6 nights comfortable hotels and 5 nights standard hotels 
  • Some long journeys

Trip Highlights

  • Total eclipse at Jachal 
  • Visit one of the most important archaeological sites in Argentina, Shincal de Quimivil
  • Drive along exquisitely picturesque roads passing colourful gorges
  • Free time to explore Buenos Aires, a beautiful and cosmopolitan capital 

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is a one-off departure to coincide with the total solar eclipse of July 2019. We have two internal flights on this trip, but there are still 4 long drives. The longest transfers are from Salta to Cachi on Day 4, Cachi to Cafayate on Day 5, Cafayate to Belen on Day 6 and Belen to Villa Union on Day 7. These transfers are approx. 5-6 hours including stops to take pictures. 

On day 6 we visit the Quilmes ruins and to walk around the site, it will take approximately 1 hour. Including walking up the hill to get a great panoramic view of the site.

The weather in San Juan is fairly constant year round so whilst there are good chances of clear skies for the eclipse we cannot guarantee that there will not be some cloud cover. 

Please note there is another eclipse trip available, which includes Mendoza instead of the Salta region. Although there will be an overlap with this group in Buenos Aires and Villa Union, both groups will each have a separate tour leader. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

There will be a local leader, drivers and local guides where needed.

We use local tour leaders, experienced at working with groups, English speaking, and very knowledgeable about their country.

During the eclipse we will also provide an expert in astronomy.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Buenos Aires
End City:
Buenos aires

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Buenos Aires; afternoon at leisure

    Those on the group flight will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in Buenos Aires. Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to choose one of the many excellent restaurants, most serving legendary Argentine steaks!

    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Half day walking city tour

    Our local leader will meet us today for a briefing and take us on a short walking tour of the city, discovering its wealth of history and culture. In this walking tour the tour leader will show you the main sites and landmarks Buenos Aires can offer. The highlights of this tour are the famous Recoleta cemetery where Eva Peron (Evita) is buried, the Colon Theatre and San Martin Square. Afterwards you will have the rest of the day at leisure to explore more of this fascinating city. Tonight we recommend visiting one of the excellent tango shows in the old quarter of San Telmo. Please ask your tour leader and they will help you to arrange it.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Salta; afternoon city walking tour.

    After breakfast we take a short transfer to the domestic airport and board our flight to Salta. On arrival we make our way to the hotel and have some free time to eat lunch in one of many delicious restaurants in the city. In the afternoon we have a walking city tour that will visit the city highlights, including the old town hall, cathedral, the magnificent Franciscan convent and learn about the heroes and stories about the most beautiful town in Argentina.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Cachi; afternoon at leisure

    After breakfast we head south from Salta through the Obispo slope – an amazing feat of road engineering - to the route’s highest point (3348 metres above sea level), known as the Piedra Del Molino. From here we drive through the Los Cardones National Park, which is famous for its giant cacti (cardones) which dot the hillside, ranging in colour from dark green to deep red. Today's driving time is approx. 4-5 hours with plenty of stops to take photos. Or arrival in Cachi we will check in to our hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure. 

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Cachi to Cafayate

    Today we drive to the sleepy town of Cafayate. We follow the National Route 40 through the spectacular Calchaquies Valley. We will stop off at the Valley of the Arrows and see where the rock strata has been forced upwards to look like arrowheads. As the sun sets, the mountains change colour, making this long driving day really worth while before we arrive at our hotel in Cafayate. Today's driving time is approx. 6 hrs.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Belen via the Ruins of Quilmes

    After breakfast we will begin our drive towards Belen. En route we will make a stop at the ruins of Quilmes, where we will have a guided tour. These are Calchaquí native ruins, a tribe who once lived amongst the Calchaquí mountain range. After the visit we will continue to our final destination, Belen. Today's driving time is approx. 5 hrs.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Half day guided tour of Shincal; drive to Villa Union

    After breakfast we take a short transfer (approx. 30 minutes) to the impressive Shincal de Quimvil site. It is said to be the most important archaeological site in northern Argentina. Declared a national historical monument, various researchers discovered this site was an important administrative centre occupied by the Inca Empire between 1471 and 1536. After our visit we will continue on to Villa Union. We break up the journey with a few stops to take pictures of the dramatic desert landscape and the contrasting Andean mountains. Today's driving time is approx. 6 hours.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Full day exploring Ischigualasto National Park.

    In the morning we will head past Talampaya National Park and visit its neighbour Ischigualasto Provincial Park, also known as Moon Valley. The highlight of this tour is climbing up the Cerro Morado, for really incredible panoramic views of the park. Hopefully we'll see condors soaring overhead too! In the afternoon we head back to our hotel in Villa Union.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 9

    Eclipse day!

    After breakfast we have a short transfer before arriving at the spectacular Talampaya National Park. We spend most of the day exploring the highlight of the park, which is the Talampaya Canyon. This is a 150 metre high wall, where you can find many petroglyphs (rock carvings) as well as fossils which prove that dinosaurs lived here millions of years ago. We also cross a part of the park which can only be done in a vehicle accompanied by a national park guide. 

    In the afternoon we drive (approx. 2 hours) towards Jachal, where we will witness the eclipse. As tonight we will arrive late back at our hotel, we will have some free time to eat in town.

    A total solar eclipse is one of the most spectacular celestial events visible from Earth and can, for many people, be quite an emotional experience. We head out to our viewing spot as the eclipse takes place between 16:26 and 18:47 with totality commencing at 17:40 and ending at 17:42. Don’t forget your eclipse glasses (which we will send to you before the trip).

    After the eclipse we will drive (approx. 2 hours) back to our hotel for the night.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 10

    Fly back to Buenos Aires; afternoon at leisure.

    Depending upon the flight time, we may have some free time at the hotel this morning before we transfer (approx. 5-6 hours) to Mendoza airport. We fly back to Buenos Aires and usually arrive in time to explore more of this fascinating city.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Free day at leisure to take part in optional excursions in and around Buenos Aires.

    This is a free day to either spend exploring Buenos Aires or you can also book an optional tour to spend a day in the countryside. We recommend the full day trip to visit an estancia 'working ranch' in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. At the estancia you will have the opportunity to go horseriding, watch a game of Polo or even have a Polo lesson. Please ask your tour leader, and they will help you to arrange it.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 12

    End Buenos Aires.

    Depending on the time of your flight you may have another chance to see more of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Those on group flights will leave today for the flight back to London.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Post-trip Extensions

Iguazu Falls Extension

To the far North East of Argentina, boarding Brazil lies the magnificent falls of Iguazu (or Iguassu).  Add four additional days to your trip to experience this awe-inspiring sight. Staying on the Argentinian side you will have the opportunity to wander around this UNESCO World Heritage National Park packed full of flora and fauna. In the heart of the park you will find the cascading waters. This spectacular waterfall is not to be missed. You can also get up close to the falls by taking a boat trip as an optional extra.

The detailed itinerary can be found here.

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

It is possible to upgrade to premium accommodation- please call for details. 

Accommodation

Hotels

In Buenos Aires, Salta and Cafayate we stay in comfortable hotels which are ideally located for sightseeing.  

Accommodation in the more rural destinations of Cachi, Belen and Villa Union is more basic but provides all the amenities that we require. 

Most of the properties feature swimming pools. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £500.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and 2 lunches included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet-style and are included. There are 2 packed lunches included. These will consist of a sandwich or empanada, fruit, cereal bar or chocolate bar and a bottle of water or juice. 

There is a variety of good, quality food on offer in local restaurants. In each location where we stay there are numerous evening meal options to cater for different tastes. The group leader will be able to make recommendations and often everyone will eat together, however you can choose to dine wherever you prefer in the evenings. Please advise us at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements. Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, but please ensure that you advise us before you travel so that we can make the necessary arrangements on your behalf.

Argentine steak is famous around the world and you will not be disappointed, especially if you combine it with locally produced Malbec.

We suggest that you allow about US$20 per meal (excluding alcohol) to eat at restaurants throughout the trip.

Transportation

We use minibuses which are comfortable and have excellent visibility. We also use internal flights between Buenos Aires-Salta, and San Juan-Buenos Aires that are generally on medium-sized comfortable commercial jets. 

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Winter in Salta is June to August. Our departure is scheduled in June/July where the average temperature is about 20ºC during day and 5ºC at night.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 14 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Air Europa (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Internal flights during the trip are normally with Aerolineas Argentinas.

Internal flights are used from Buenos Aires to Mendoza and San Juan to Buenos Aires (subject to change and availability). 

Travelling land only: 12 days starting and ending in Buenos Aires

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Buenos Aires in the morning of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

A shuttle bus from the airport to the city costs around £10 (US$15).

The cost of a taxi is likely to be about £35 (US$53) should you decide to make your way independently.

Location start:
Buenos Aires
Location end:
Buenos Aires

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Warm jacket for the evenings  
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream

Don't forget to bring the eclipse glasses which Exodus will have sent you. If you plan on taking photos of the eclipse you may want to rent a special filter which can be afixed to your camera.

Internal flights in the destination country are subject to a weight limit of 23kg.

Internal Flights Weight Limit

15kg

Practical Information

Passport

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

No visa required for holders of British passport.

If you are crossing the border into Argentina from Chile on your trip, we will need to know your profession in order to provide when entering Argentina.

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee which applies to Canadian and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows: Australians - US$100 (multiple entry) Canadians - US$75 (single entry) This fee must be paid before you enter Argentina. For full details, and to make the payment, please visit: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Programme (most British and western European citizens with a machine readable passport are), you are now required to register in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority (ESTA). There is a US$14 charge for the ESTA, which is only payable online with a credit card. Please see our website www.exodus.co.uk/usvisa for further information. All other nonresidents passing through the US must get a visa in advance. Check with your local embassy or consulate for more details on how to obtain a visa.

Vaccination

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Argentina with an update to the Health section – an outbreak of Hantavirus has been reported in Epuyén, Province of Chubut in southern Argentina; for more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers in Argentina, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever is also a known risk in Argentina. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Due to a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Misiones province of Argentina, vaccinations are strongly recommended if you intend to visit the Iguazu Falls.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Argentina's Timezone:
America/Argentina/Buenos_Aires -03 (GMT -03:00)

Electricity

Argentina's Electricity:

220 volts

In Argentina the electricity is 220 volts and it is easy to buy an adaptor at the airport or in Buenos Aires if needed. 

Money

Argentina's Currency

The Argentine Peso is the currency of Argentina with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 46 to the UK£ and 35 to the US$.

ATM Availability

Travellers cheques are only accepted in a limited number of places and so for this reason it isn't the most recommendable approach, plus they attract a commission %. Of course they do however offer security and can usually be replaced quickly if lost or stolen. The most straight forward method of obtaining travel money these days is simply to use your credit or debit card to withdraw cash directly from an cash machine at a local bank. ATMs supporting major credit cards are easily accessible in Buenos Aires and Mendoza. They will generally not be available in other more rural places visited on the itinerary. If you intend on using your bank card then first inform your bank of your travel plans and destinations that you'll be visiting, and check that your card will indeed function outside of your home country.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend that you take most of your spending money in US Dollars cash, since sterling and euros are less commonly exchanged and the rates of exchange are likely to be poor. We also recommend keeping the money in US Dollars, changing as and when necessary into Argentine Pesos. It is always wise to have some local currency for buying meals, snacks, incidentals etc. There are exchange facilities at Buenos Aires airport so you have the option of changing some money upon arrival if you wish. Your tour leader will give you more information on exchanging currency as you go along. Torn, damaged or marked bills can be refused so please make sure all your notes are clean and not too old.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus, however we do recommend tipping the tour leader at the end of the trip if you have been happy with their service. Gratuities are not something we can include in the tour cost, and are of course totally at your discretion. We recommend approximately USD 50 per person as an amount that will be appropriate to tip your tour leader. There will also be local guides on the trekking days so you should budget USD 3-5 per day for their tips as well. Tour leaders will often collect an optional kitty at the start of the tour to cover tips for the local guides things plus things like hotel and restaurant staff etc.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.