Patagonia Welsh Heritage Tour
Peruvian Secrets is proud to announce Patagonia as a new destination to our countries of South America. As a tour operator here in North Wales, we're looking forward to providing welsh speaking tours to Patagonia's unique Welsh colonies...
Few places in the world have captivated the imagination of explorers and travelers like Patagonia has. Almost 500 years ago, the first Europeans sailed through on four ships captained by Ferdinand Magellan. But this vast region was one of the last on the planet to be settled and remains pristine and sparsely populated. What seduces so many people to Patagonia is the idea of the "remote" -- indeed, the very notion of traveling to the End of the World. It is a seduction, but also an illusion. After all, on a globe, everywhere is both the center and the end of the Earth at the same time.
Full Tour Itinerary
Early arrival to Ezeiza International airport where you will be met by an Andes Celtig representative. You will then be escorted to your hotel (1 hour) where you will have time to recuperate from your long flight.
At lunch time you will be taken to a restaurant in the fashionable port area of Puerto Madero for lunch on the Costanera Norte. After lunch you will be taken on a "City Tour" of Buenos Aires. Amongst the places you will see are Avenida 9 de Julio, Teatro Colón, Obelisco, Congreso, Viejo Congreso, Manzana de las Luces, Plaza de Mayo, La Boca, El Caminito, Palermo and Recoleta.
In the evening at about 2000hrs, you will be picked up from the hotel and taken to a Tango Show where you will see and hear how the traditional Tango is expressed nowadays. Listen to a Tango orchestra while watching a sophisticated choreography as you enjoy your meal.
Excursion (full day): Travel to a traditional estancia (1½ hours) to enjoy a day with the gauchos. On arrival, you will be welcomed and received in a traditional building with empanadas (a kind of pasty), soft drinks and wine. You will then be escorted around the estancia and visit the main residence, the museum, the bakery, the stables and other building. You will be given an opportunity to be driven by horse and carriage, or ride your own horse. Following the equestrian activities will be a gaucho show and an asado (a feast of roast meats, vegetables, bread and wine). While you enjoy your asado, professional folklore dancers and singers entertain you with traditional Argentine dances and songs.
In the afternoon, gauchos on horseback entertain you with their skills as they carry out their activities and games. This can be followed by a stroll around the lands of the estancia while enjoying the rural landscapes of the pampas. There are shops on the property where regional crafts are available.
You will be transferred to Aeroparque airport (30 minutes) to board a 2 hour flight to Trelew in the province of Chubut in Patagonia. You will be transferred to Porth Madryn on the shores of the Bahía Nueva, a 1 hour drive, and taken to your hotel.
In the afternoon you will be taken to Amgueddfa'r Glaniad (Disembarkation Museum) on the shores of the bay in front of where the first Welsh settlers disembarked from the clipper "Mimosa". This historical centre interprets the early days of the Welsh colonists and has many interesting items to see, including the original caves that were used for temporary shelter.
At about 2100hrs you will be taken to dine with a few members of Porth Madryn's Welsh Society.
Excursion (full day): You will be taken to Peninsula Valdés situated across the Bahía Nueva from Porth Madryn.
The peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its biodiversity and for its Southern Wright Whales, the principal attraction. In the morning you will embark on a whale watching boat trip from Puerto Pirámides that should provide you with close encounters with the whales.
In the afternoon you will be guided to other parts of the peninsula, including Caleta Valdés to see another spectacular animal, the Southern Elephant Seal. Other creatures that you may come across during this day are sea lions, guanacos, armadillos, rheas, foxes, vultures, maras (a Patagonian hare) and many birds of all colours. You will travel about 320Km on this day.
Free day: Enjoy Porth Madryn, a popular sea-side resort which has many attractions and services for the tourist.
Excursion (half day): You will be taken to Punta Tombo, a Magellan Penguin Rookery. Punta Tombo is the largest Magellan penguin in the world. The excursion presents a unique opportunity to become part of a community of over 1 million Magellan penguins. Walk amongst these small likeable birds, observe their activities, their funny walks and the way they tend to their nests and care for their chicks amidst the shrub.
From Punta Tombo you will be transferred to Gaiman and taken to your hotel.
At about 2100hrs you will be taken to dine with a few of Gaiman's Welsh descendents.
In the morning you will be taken on a gentle stroll about Gaiman visiting the Welsh chapels, the first house built by Dafydd Robert (1873), and other places of interest. Gaiman was founded by the Welsh in 1874 and its municipal government was formed in 1885 with authority over the whole valley, the first in the territory of Chubut. For a number of years formal documents were produced in both Welsh and Spanish. The principal attraction of the town today is its Welshness and the characters that live there and there will be plenty of opportunities to have a chat with descendants of the original Welsh colonisers - Welsh or Spanish of course!
In the afternoon we will visit Moriah chapel located on the outskirts of Trelew next to the river Chubut. The chapel, the third in the colony, was built in 1880 and the Reverend Abraham Matthews was its first minister. Unique amongst the Welsh chapels in Chubut, Moriah is the only chapel that has an adjacent graveyard. The chapel has been registered as a Provincial Historical Monument by the government of Chubut.
During the journey to Moriah through the river valley, travelling though the areas of Bryn Gwyn, Drofa Dulog and Pont Hendre, you will see how the farmers prepare and irrigate their land to ensure a secure and measured flow of water depending on the use that is made of the land. We will return to Gaiman to visit the historical museum.
After perusing the historical items at the museum you will then be taken to one of Gaiman's famous tea houses for a late afternoon traditional tea.
Free morning and early afternoon. Stroll around Gaiman and pick up a few souvenirs, complete with red dragons.
Excursion (3 hours): In the afternoon you will be taken to Bod Iwan, a Welsh farm in Bryn Gwyn near Gaiman. Bod Iwan has a traditional and original colonial clay brick farmhouse with mud-plastered walls. The farmhouse was built in 1910 for the family of Llwyd ap Iwan following the tragedy of his death. Llwyd ap Iwan, Michael D Jones' son, was killed by two North American bandits in Nant y Pysgod, the Andes, in 1909. In Bod Iwan, you will be guided by members of the present residents, the Williams family, and will learn about the family history and the importance of irrigation and the canal system towards the success of the colony. The farmhouse has been preserved in its original form and furnished with items of the period. A typical Welsh tea will be served in the farmhouse.
Transfer/Excursion (full day 630km): to Trevelin over the Patagonian steppe to the Andes. Travelling over the steppe is normally a highpoint and an opportunity to marvel in amazement at the astonishing and striking scenery, set in an ambience of silence and tranquillity, while gazing at infinite horizons.
The steppe abounds in history - in the history and place names of the old Welsh colonisers that ventured into and pioneered the steppe. Feel the thrill of finding ruts and grooves worn down by the old wagons, or a piece of chunky coloured glass, shards of old pottery, a horseshoe or a rusty piece of metal once belonging to an old bridle.
En route you will visit sites of special Welsh interest including Rhyd y Beddau in Dyffryn y Merthyron, Rocky Trip in Dyffryn yr Allorau, and Nant y Pysgod in Dyffryn Teca. On arrival in Trevelin you will be taken to your hotel.
At about 2100hrs you will be taken to dine at restaurant Patagonia Celta.
Excursion (am): You will be taken to Esquel (30 minutes) to board the La Trochita steam train. One of the characteristics of the railway that the Trochita train runs along is the narrowness of its gauge of only 75 centimetres (29.5 inches). This railway has changed little since 1922 and a there are a number of unique steam engines.
The train will run to and from Nahuel Pan, some 200 metres (650 feet) higher up through a ravine where you will see magnificent views of the steppe, baked from the activity of ancient volcanoes, and of Nahuel Pan mountain (Mynydd Llwyd). The author Paul Theroux in his book 'The Old Patagonian Express' describes his journey form Boston, USA, to Esquel and his arrival on the Trochita. The journey takes about 4 hours
Free morning: An opportunity to wander about Trevelin and enjoy the views of Gorsedd y Cwmwl mountain and the Andean range.
Excursion (pm): Historical tour of Cwm Hyfryd. Welsh pioneers first arrived in Cwm Hyfryd in 1885 during an expedition to explore the whole of newly funded Territory of Chubut. By 1888, the first colonisers arrived to settle on the banks of the Río Percy which flows through Trevelin. By 1918, a company headed by J. D. Evans built a flourmill and the village of Trevelin flourished around it. You will visit the historical museum, which is located in the old mill. Another historical museum that you will visit is at the old Escuela 18 at Pentre Sydyn in the Aber Gyrraints valley, which records the events of the 1902 plebiscite that helped to solve the territorial claims of Argentina and Chile over the region. Another museum, Cartref Taid, records the life of J. D. Evans and his faithful horse Malacara.
At about 2000hrs you will be taken to a nearby Welsh farm where you will enjoy an Asado with a few of the local descendents.
Excursion (full day): You will be taken to the Los Alerces National Park for the day (70Km). The Park is one of the largest in Argentina and has a land area of 263,000 hectares (650,000 acres – about the same size as the county of Gwynedd in North Wales). The park's characteristic feature is the Alerces forests. There are very few traces of human activity and the park is bursting with magnificent landscapes, lakes, rivers and numerous waterfalls, all surrounded by the Andes mountains swathed in thick forests.
The Alerce tree is a Patagonian cypress and some examples in the park approach 3,000 years of age and 70 metres (230 feet) in height. You will embark on a lake cruise, where you will be able to take pleasure in the spectacle of the Torrecillas glacier as you navigate the numerous inlets of these beautiful lakes. On the distant shore of Lago Futalaufquen is a footpath that you will be guided along to see examples of the Alerce tree.
Transfer/Excursion (330km): to Bariloche Airport. This is a 4-5 hour drive northwards through the Andes region and its spectacular scenery. En route it may be possible to visit the Indigenous Museum at Leleque and also stop at El Bolsón, a beautiful village set in incredible surroundings.
Your flight (approximately 2 hours) will take you to Buenos Aires where you will be met by one of our representatives and taken to your hotel.
Today, depending on your flight times, you may be able to enjoy the city of Buenos Aires and all that this beautiful city has to offer. Take a stroll along the pedestrianised areas or through the riverside parks. Ask our representative for information. At the appropriate time you will be transferred to Ezeiza International Airport and our representative will accompany until you until you arrive at passport control.
The price is based on 2 people sharing and includes:
Domestic flights as indicated.
Hotels (4* in Buenos Aires, 2*-4* quality accommodation elsewhere).
Transfers and excursions (in private minibuses).
Personal guide (English speaking in Buenos Aires, Welsh or English speaking in Patagonia).
Breakfast at all hotels and other meals as indicated in itinerary.
Entrance fees to national parks, wildlife reserves and museums.
The price does not include:
International flight to and from Buenos Aires or elsewhere.
Departure tax at domestic airports (approximately $7 ARS)
Departure tax at Ezeiza international airport (approximately $18 USD)
Optional excursions that you may organise with your guides.
Lunches and evening meals unless indicated in itinerary.
Drinks at hotels or with meals
Personal travel insurance.
Hotel Website Links
Hotel Posta Carretas, Buenos Aires - www.postacarretas.com.ar
Hotel Peninsula Valdés, Porth Madryn - www.hotelpeninsula.com.ar
Hotel Plas y Coed, Gaiman - www.plasycoed.com.ar
Hotel Patagoni Lodge, Trevelin - www.patagoniaflyfish.com