Crossing the Andes: Explore Chile, Argentina & Patagonia with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum & Knowmad Adventures

Bariloche Travel

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in conjunction with Knowmad Adventures is proud to host this encore of the beloved, “Crossing the Andes: Explore Chile, Argentina and Patagonia.” This 13-day small group trip from January 21st to February 2nd will highlight the incredible landscapes of Chile and Argentina as well as the varied cultures throughout these regions while visiting Santiago, Chilean wine country and coast south to the Patagonia and across the Andes by way of fjords and glacial lakes into beautiful Bariloche, Argentina ending in vibrant Buenos Aires. From Buenos Aires you will have the option to extend your adventure and visit the magnificent Iguazu Falls.* We will enjoy exclusive private garden visits curated by a variety of designers, architects, and garden owners. This trip attracts mostly travelers over 50 with wide ranging interests as well as a taste for horticulture and gardens. As the small group adventure is nearly sold out, registration will be closing very shortly. Inquire today to join!

Update: This trip has already departed. Please use the below trip idea as a starting point and contact a Knowmad Trip Specialist at 612-315-2894 or [email protected] to begin planning your private and custom Chile and/or Argentina adventure today! 

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity! Read on for trip highlights, a look at the itinerary and more.

Crossing the Andes: Explore Chile, Argentina & Patagonia Trip Highlights

  • See Santiago’s slights, Chile’s dynamic capital city.Exploration of Chile Vineyards
  • Enjoy vineyard visits and tastings in the Casablanca Valley.
  • Meander coastal Valparaiso’s cobblestone streets and World Heritage architecture.
  • Explore the Chilean-German countryside and visit a working ranch
  • Traverse the Andes by boat through the volcanoes, turquoise lakes, temperate rainforest and mountain peaks of the Patagonia.
  • Eat, shop, and explore in Bariloche, Argentina the “Switzerland of South America.”
  • Visit beautiful private gardens throughout and enjoy exclusive access. • Experience dynamic and cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.
  • Marvel at Iguazu Falls situated on the boarder of Argentina and Brazil.*
  • Do it in style! This luxurious adventure highlights carefully selected accommodations in a variety of settings including modern, boutique, charming, historic, and lakeside.
  • Trip escorted by Arboretum Director Emeritus Peter Olin.
  • $300 tax-deductible donation to Arboretum included. Your donation helps less fortunate public gardens around the world in their conservation efforts.



JAN 21 USA – Santiago
You will take an overnight flight from the U.S. arriving to Santiago the following morning.

  • No meals

JAN 22 Santiago – Viña del Mar & Valparaiso
Upon your early morning arrival you will be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken into Santiago. Enjoy a half-day privately guided exploration of this dynamic and contemporary metropolis in the heart of Chile’s central valley. Your bilingual guide will lead you on a tour featuring Santiago’s most important historic and cultural sites, as well as a visit to a private garden. Highlights include: the Plaza de Armas, La Moneda Presidential Palace, the historic República & Concha y Toro neighborhoods, the cobblestoned Lastarria neighborhood and Parque Forestal. For a panoramic view of the city, you’ll visit the top of San Cristobal Hill, 984 feet above the city, where you’ll also find a beautiful Japanese garden. Continuing on, stop at Chile’s Parque Bicentenario to visit the National Garden Club. Here you’ll stay for lunch at an outstanding restaurant. You’ll also have the chance to visit the famous La Chascona Museum, former home to beloved poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. Following your exploration and lunch, you’ll continue on to Viña del Mar, located along Chile’s breathtaking coastline and white sand beaches.

  • L – Hotel San Martin or similar

JAN 23 Valparaiso

Valparaiso Chile Travel
You will be met at your hotel and drive the short distance to neighboring Valparaíso, one of the first cities founded by the Spanish and one of the most interesting places in Chile. In 2003, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for its architectural and cultural significance. The tour commences downtown, where you can learn about the history of ‘Valpo’ and its importance in South American trade and commerce. Century-old hillside ascensores (funicular railways)
will transport you up into the city’s steep hills, where a labyrinthine maze of streets reveals brightly colored buildings, bohemian cafes, elegant restaurants and spectacular views of the harbor below. You are led through two of the most famous and eclectic neighborhoods, Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre. Visit one of Pablo Neruda’s three homes-turned-museums, La Sebastiana. Lunch is at one of Valparaiso’s top restaurants nestled in the hills, where a varied menu can be paired with a refreshing pisco sour or a glass of wine.

After lunch, you’ll head to Viña del Mar resort, also known as ‘the garden city’ for its lush
gardens and palm-lined boulevards. You’ll pass the Reloj de Flores (flower clock) on your way to Fundación Jardín Botánico Nacional, Chile’s largest botanical garden responsible for conserving biodiversity, preserving flora and fauna as well as the country’s development of botanical science. It has a variety of collections and gardens with protected native flowers and Chilean palm trees. In the afternoon you’ll be taken back to your hotel for a relaxing evening.

  • B, L – Hotel San Martin or similar

JAN 24 Wine Country
You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and head to the San Antonio Valley with a first stop at Casa Marín Winery. Founded in 2000 by Chile’s first female vineyard owner, Maria Luz Marín, it has been described as one of the most daring and innovative vineyards in the country.
Its outstanding wines have received many awards including Best Sauvignon Blanc in the World (2010) and Winery of the Year (2010) by industry association Wines of Chile. Most recently, it was named among the Top 100 Wineries in the World (2012) by Wine & Spirits magazine. Two of its top wines – Miramar Vineyard Syrah 2010 and Cipreses Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – were named the “best in Chile” by the country’s most prestigious wine publication Descorchados. You’ll enjoy a private tour and tasting of their premium wines.

Next, you will head the short distance to Matetic Winery. A state-of-the-art winemaking facility, Matetic is designed to complement its beautiful natural surroundings. Wine & Spirits magazine has selected Matetic among its 100 Top Wineries in the World on more than one occasion, and the winery has been called a “great ambassador” for Chilean wine on the world stage. You will enjoy a tour and tasting of their distinctive wines followed by a leisurely lunch on their beautiful grounds. After lunch, return to your hotel in Viña for the evening.

  • B, L – Hotel San Martin or similar

JAN 25 Santiago – Puerto Varas
You will be picked up in the late morning and taken to the Santiago airport where you will take a flight south to Puerto Montt in Los Lagos region, famed for its breathtaking scenery of lakes and volcanoes. Upon arrival you will be met by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken on a short drive to the picturesque and historic town of Puerto Varas, where your lakeside hotel is located. Founded by German colonists, the town has distinct architecture, food and culture. Its unique flora, fauna and waterfalls make it a great destination for nature lovers. You will have the rest of the day to explore and enjoy your beautiful surroundings at leisure.

  • B – Cabaña Del Lago or similar

JAN 26 Puerto Varas
Explore the coastline of Llanquihue Lake and the numerous villages along the shoreline. The picturesque towns of Frutillar, Puerto Varas and Puerto Octay in particular are known for their strong influence of German colonists. Today you will travel the perimeter of the lake with various stops along the way including lunch in Puerto Octay. In addition to the breathtaking scenery, Frutillar is a special highlight. It is home to the German Colonial Museum, well kept gardens, colorful houses and charming tearooms. In the late afternoon, you will stop off at Lavanda Casa de Té, a café surrounded by lavender fields, before returning to your hotel.

  • B, L – Cabaña Del Lago or similar

JAN 27 Puerto Varas – Bariloche

Explore Chile Argentina Patagonia
Today you will make the majestic crossing of the Andes from Chile into Argentina and to the heart of the Argentian Lake District, Bariloche. Part of what makes this city in the Andean foothills so beautiful is the journey it takes to get there. Navigating roads and lakes through the Andes Mountain range, you’ll have the opportunity to see beautiful forests, mountains, volcanoes and crystalline lakes.

Leaving Puerto Varas in the early morning you’ll drive through Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park with a stop at the breathtaking Petrohué waterfalls. You’ll then board a ferry to take you across the crystal blue waters of Todos Los Santos Lake where you will stop to enjoy lunch (paid directly by travelers) in the small town of Peulla. Say goodbye to Chile and cross the border into Argentina, driving to Frías Lake where you’ll have another beautiful ferry ride to Puerto Alegre. After another two transfers and lake crossings, you’ll arrive to Bariloche, at the foot of the Andes and on the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi.

  • B – Cacique Inacayal or similar

JAN 28 Bariloche
Explore Nahuel Huapi National Park. You’ll take a short drive along the southern shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake until arriving at Playa Bonita (Beautiful Beach) where you get a wide view of Huemul Island. Continuing on to Cerro Campanario, you will take a chair lift to its summit for a breathtaking view of the lake and its surrounding mountains and forests. Your journey continues through a dense forest of “coihues” (Nothofagus Dombeyi) and passes by Mount Lopez and another scenic viewpoint to get a full view of the Nahuel Huapi and Moreno lakes, the Llao-Llao peninsula and the “Valle del Sol” (Valley of the Sun). Enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon take an easy and scenic walk through the Arrayan forest, where you will not only see arrayans, but a variety of flowers, trees, native bushes and more. After your walk, you will have the chance to experience a mate tea tasting learning of the traditions surrounding this ritual. You’ll have a brief introduction to the origin of the mate and will taste the different kinds with some local sweet cakes. Return to the hotel for a relaxing evening.

  • B, L – Cacique Inacayal or similar

JAN 29 Bariloche

Bariloche Travel
Departing after breakfast, visit several private gardens on the San Pedro Peninsula. Mr. Bullrich’s house is the home to a beautiful garden designed by Josefina Casares and Martina Barzi. Next you’ll stop at Mr. Blanco’s house, with a garden designed by Moira Kenny. You’ll also see the transitional Valdivian rainforest vegetation (myrtle, nalcas, and fuchsias) and a garden on Llao Llao Peninsula. Enjoy tea time on the peninsula and then a walk through the myrtle forest. You’ll end the day with a visit to Rafael Maino, local rose collector and painter.

  • B, L – Cacique Inacayal or similar

JAN 30 Bariloche – Buenos Aires
Enjoy the morning at leisure to independently continue exploring Bariloche. You’ll meet with your guide in the afternoon for lunch at a traditional local restaurant, before transferring
to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival you’ll be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken to your hotel located in the historic Recoleta neighborhood.

  • B, L – Esplendor Plaza Francia or similar

JAN 31 Buenos Aires

Exploration of Argentina
Today you’ll begin the day with a guided exploration of one of the most interesting and dynamic cities in South America. The adventure highlights aspects of the city, through its history and culture: the historic development, the immigration process, specific cultural topics (soccer, tango music), its architectural heritage, Peronism and other interesting features of Argentine society.

Dive deep into its culturally rich neighborhoods. You’ll walk along the cobblestone streets of
San Telmo, home to bohemians, artists and antique shops. Continue on to La Boca, a colorful and artsy neighborhood, and then Puerto Madero along the riverbank and full of modern architecture. You’ll see Micalea Bastidas park and a work of Diana Balmori, a well-known
U.S. and Spanish landscaper and urban designer. Heading to the north, you’ll stop at San Martin Square, surrounded by elegant buildings with French architecture, and one of the most aristocratic areas of Buenos Aires. You’ll learn about the usage of native species in San Martin Square. Continue on to the traditional neighborhood of Palermo, a favorite place for porteños
to play sports or go on long walks. Stroll along its large parks, rose gardens and lakes. Finally, return to Recoleta, one of the most fashionable parts of the city. Here you’ll find South America’s most opulent and extraordinary cemetery and the resting place of Eva Peron.

In the afternoon enjoy lunch at a private house and visit two of the cities most impressive private gardens. After a relaxing teatime, return to your hotel for the evening.

  • B, L – Esplendor Plaza Francia or similar

FEB 1 Buenos Aires
Today you will visit some nearby gardens and an ecological reserve, Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur, located just a few blocks from the financial district. You’ll learn about the origin of this park and its woody and perennial plants. Before heading to the airport in the evening for your overnight flight home, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

  • B, L, D

FEB 2 Arrive Home


Important Info

  • $5,395** Per traveler, double occupancy. $950 Single supplement.
  • $1,800*** Estimated airfare costs. It is estimated international air on Delta will be around $1,200 plus an additional $600 for your intra- South America flights.

**Note: As currency exchanges and fluctuations vary, this is an approximate cost, which Knowmad Adventures reserves the right to adjust. Tour price based on minimum 10 travelers. Knowmad reserves the right to adjust this price in order to accommodate fewer registrants should there be less than 10. Trip size is capped at 20.

***Airfare Information: Knowmad Adventures will assist in arranging your airfare to/from and within South America, but is not responsible if available flights exceed the price estimate. You may also purchase independently. Please contact Knowmad Adventures prior to purchasing international airfare however to be sure your arrival and departure schedule comply with the trip.


Please refer to the following detailed itinerary document for the Iguazú Extension Detailed Itinerary, Crossing the Andes: An Exploration of Chile, Argentina & Patagonia.

  • $875 Per traveler, double occupancy.
  • $450 Single supplement.
  • $300 Flight estimate will increase by approximately $300 per person.

Extension requires a Brazil visa which you must apply and pay for in advance. A visa processing company that can assist you will be recommended upon confirmation.

Click the following link for a look at the detailed itinerary and registration information, Crossing the Andes: An Exploration of Chile, Argentina & Patagonia.


Hasta Pronto, Knowmad Adventurers 

South America Travel - Knowmad AdventuresKnowmad Adventures works closely with independent-minded travelers creating innovative trips to South America. Our specialists in Patagonia, ChileMachu Picchu, Peru, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Antarctica are eager to collaborate and create a trip as unique and authentic as you are, and our experienced South American operations team guarantees you get an insider’s perspective, superior values, and a flawlessly operated trip.

Note: This post was originally posted on October 29, 2015 and was adjusted to include the most up-to-date information on November 2, 2016.