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Argentina for Thanksgiving for $1,629

Obelisk on Avenida 9 de Julio
The 8 Day Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires & Wine Country of Mendoza package features round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, local round-trip airfare, and sightseeing.Dennis Degnan/Corbis / CORBIS
/ Source: ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, local round-trip airfare, and sightseeing, from $1,629 per person—plus an estimated $70 in taxes.

When: Depart on Oct. 30, Nov. 13, Nov. 27, 2008. Additional departure dates are available; per person rates before taxes and fees start from $1,579 for Sept. 18 (limited availability); $1,599 for Oct. 2, 16; and $1,759 for Dec. 11.

Gateways: Miami; Add $89 for New York; $258 for Chicago, L.A.; $419 for Houston; $460 for Seattle; $630 for Denver; additional gateways are available.

The fine print: Included are round-trip airfare to Buenos Aires, round-trip airfare between Buenos Aires and Mendoza, airline fuel surcharges (up to $240), accommodations in Buenos Aires and Mendoza, breakfast daily, hotel taxes, and all transfers. The rate also covers a sightseeing tour of Buenos Aires, an excursion to the vineyards in the Uco Valley, transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach, entrance fees per itinerary, and the services of English-speaking local guides. An $18 per person departure tax is also additional. Prices are based on double occupancy; single supplement is approximately $570. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability. (A reservation made fewer than 30 days before departure will incur a $50 fee.)

Contact: Gate 1 Travel, 800/682-3333, gate1travel.com.

Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, the cost of multicity airfare—flying from Miami to Buenos Aires on November 27, from Buenos Aires to Mendoza on December 1, and then from Mendoza to Buenos Aires to Miami on December 4—starts from $2,725 with taxes (multiple carriers). For $1,026 less than the cost of airfare, this Gate 1 package covers multicity flights, fuel surcharges, taxes, six nights' accommodations, breakfast, two sightseeing tours, transportation, and the services of English-speaking local tour guides. In short, this one's a steal.

Trip details: The package, called 8 Day Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires & Wine Country of Mendoza, features round-trip airfare between Miami and Buenos Aires, as well as a local round-trip flight between Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Gate 1's most commonly used carriers for the international and local flights are LAN Argentina, LAN Chile, and LAN Peru.

Begin the journey in Argentina's capital, known to some locals as B.A., your home for the next three nights. You'll stay at the 120-room Waldorf Hotel in downtown Buenos Aires, within walking distance of the luxury shops in the Galerías Pacífico mall (on the corner of Florida and Cordoba Streets).

The package includes a half-day tour of the metropolis, covering the major sites such as the Government House, the Town Hall, the metropolitan Cathedral around the historic Plaza de Mayo square; the port neighborhood of La Boca, and the colonial houses and cobblestoned streets of San Telmo. The tour will also take you to the lively districts of Puerto Madero (a port with canal-like docks that are lined with steakhouses and hotels) and Recoleta (a neighborhood with brightly painted, French-style architecture and many nightlife attractions).

The nearest metro station, General San Martín, is only a five-minute walk from the hotel, so you should have an easy time exploring other parts of the city. In the evening, treat yourself to an optional dinner and tango show at El Querandí ($78 per person).

Leaving Buenos Aires, you'll transfer to the airport (the transfer is included) to catch a two-hour flight to Mendoza, the capital of the province of the same name and the heart of Argentina's wine industry. You'll stay three nights at the 105-room NH Cordillera Hotel in the city center near the Main Square. The property features an outdoor swimming pool, a sauna, and a gym. There's also an on-site restaurant serving Spanish, French, and Argentinean cuisine.

The highlight of your stay is an excursion to Tupungato, in the Uco Valley at the foot of the Andes, to visit the area's vineyards, which boast chardonnay, merlot, malbec, and sémillon grapevines. You'll also have the opportunity to hike, fish, or otherwise explore the surrounding mountains, fields, and forests. Or join an optional full-day excursion to Puente del Inca and Las Cuevas, which is across the Chilean border ($86 per person).

Concluding the journey, you'll transfer to the airport in Mendoza to catch a flight back to Buenos Aires (or in some cases to Santiago, Chile) en route to Miami.

If you'd like to stay longer, expect to pay about $53 per person per night for a double room at both the Waldorf in Buenos Aires and the NH Cordillera in Mendoza in early December. The easiest way to add extra nights is by contacting Gate 1 Travel's reservations department directly.

Before you go, get the scoop on what to do by visiting Argentina's Ministry of Tourism on the Web.