Welcome to Argentina. Home for the next three nights is Legado Mitico in Buenos Aires. This eleven-room hotel is located in the fashionable Palermo Soho district, surrounded by cobblestone streets, green plazas and upmarket restaurants.
Kick-start your exploration of Buenos Aires with a walking tour. First up is Alvear Avenue, lined with aristocratic palaces, grand embassies and boutiques. Step inside the Alvear Palace Hotel to marvel at the 1930s-style lobby. Afterwards, visit Nuestra Senora del Pilar Church and Recoleta Cemetery. Filled with magnificent monuments and mausoleums, this is the final resting place for many important characters from Argentine history.
It’s time to get up close and personal with the sport of kings. Just 48 kilometres outside Buenos Aires is La Martina polo farm, home of the world’s best polo player, Adolfo Cambiaso. Here you’ll discover the history of polo, learn the rules of the game and get the lowdown on pony breeding and training. A two-hour polo clinic follows, suitable for beginners as well as advanced players. Having worked up an appetite on the field, you’ll have a well-deserved lunch of homemade Argentinian fare.
Sandwiched between the pampas and the Andes, some 1,000 metres above sea level is Estancia Los Potreros. This 2,400-hectare cattle ranch has been run by the same Anglo-Argentine family for four generations. The family will introduce you to the way of the gaucho – brave equestrians and a national symbol of Argentina. You’ll spend three days horse riding here, following trails to waterfalls and hidden valleys, or working alongside the ranchers. Those who dare can even compete in gaucho horseback games.
A short flight to Mendoza and your next stop is Cavas Wine Lodge, nestled in a 22-hectare vineyard. The hotel’s own Bonarda wine is served as a welcome drink on arrival, setting the tone for the next few days. Enjoy a wine tasting with an expert sommelier or take a guided safari of nearby wineries – there are more than 900 in this vast region in the foothills of the Andes.
Now for Easter Island, some 3,000 kilometres off the coast of Chile. It is, of course, best known for its moai, 600 mysterious figures hewn from volcanic rock. Archaeological evidence suggests Polynesians first discovered the island around 400AD. Today, the land, its people and their language are all known locally as Rapa Nui. As well as the famous sculptures, the Rapa Nui’s distinctive culture is also evident in petroglyphs (rock carvings), as well as wood carvings, barkcloth crafts, tattoos, music and dance.
Fly from Easter Island back to Santiago for a stopover night.
A short flight and a 90-minute shared transfer take you to Chile’s Lake District in the south of the country. Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira is a Relais & Chateaux property immersed in nature. Forests, mountains, rivers and lakes beg exploration on foot, horseback or by kayak. Go fishing, sailing or rafting, or take a cooking class at the hotel. The region’s volcanoes provide gallons of geothermal waters for hot-spring bathing.