- Go on a walking tour of Buenos Aires and see the city's famous sights
- Hit the slopes of Bariloche, the premier skiing destination in Argentina
- Visit a Patagonian island home to thousands of Magellanic penguins
- Enjoy dinner and a tango show in B.A.'s historic center
|Day 1||Arrival in Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Walking Tour of Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 3||Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana||Buenos Aires|
|Day 4||Buenos Aires to Tigre||Buenos Aires|
|Day 5||Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche||Bariloche|
|Days 6-8||Cerro Catedral Ski Excursion||Bariloche|
|Day 9||Bariloche to Ushuaia||Ushuaia|
|Day 10||Penguin Colony Excursion||Ushuaia|
|Day 11||Hike to Ojo de Albino Glacier||Ushuaia|
|Day 12||Free Day in Ushuaia||Ushuaia|
|Day 13||Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 14||Depart Buenos Aires|
Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires
Welcome to Argentina! Renowned as the "Paris of South America" and the "Queen of El Plata," the capital city of Buenos Aires is defined by passion. This is exemplified in the rich tango heritage and its citizens' limitless enthusiasm for fútbol (soccer), which is by far the country's most popular sport.
When you arrive at the airport, your driver will be waiting to take you in a private car to your hotel where you can relax after a long flight. But make no mistake: the city will beckon you. So after a quick recharge, be sure to venture out into the welcoming arms of Buenos Aires and explore.
When evening falls and dinnertime arrives, do like the locals and order a thick, juicy steak (Argentina has some of the best beef in the world) drizzled with the nation's famous chimichurri (a garlic, herb, and vinegar sauce). Know that Buenos Aires is a culture that thrives after dark, and it's not uncommon for locals to have dinner well past nine in the evening, especially on weekends.
Day 2: Walking Tour of Buenos Aires
After breakfast, you'll take an organized tour of Buenos Aires. During this three-hour walking excursion, you'll visit the neighborhood of Retiro plus stroll Avenida 9 de Julio—South America’s widest avenue. You'll pass through the historic city center, home to the Teatro Colón opera house, National Congress, Plaza de Mayo, and the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). Then, visit the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo. Afterward, you'll stop by the city's original port, La Boca.
In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by a tango performance—one of Argentina's most well-known cultural highlights.
Day 3: Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana
Just as North Americans have their cowboys, Argentines have their gauchos. This frontier culture is strongest in the pampas (prairies) immediately surrounding the capital since this is where the country was first settled. Gauchos are national symbols in Argentina, whether it's the real-life horsemen who still exist today, or the folk heroes of epic Argentine poems, like Martín Fierro, whose stories are passed down over generations.
Today you'll get a real gaucho experience. You'll be picked up in the morning and whisked off to Santa Susana, a working Argentine estancia (ranch). Here you'll enjoy a welcome reception that includes wine, soft drinks, and empanadas. After a guided tour of the property, you'll do some horseback riding (or perhaps enjoy a carriage ride) before settling in for a traditional folkloric music performance—and everyone's invited to get up and dance.
Lunch will be an Argentine asado (mixed grill) paired with even more of the country's fantastic wine. Real gauchos will then showcase their prowess with the bolas—traditional throwing weapons comprised of round weights connected by cords. Their displays will demonstrate how these deceptively simple weapons, when used in the right hands, can be effective at bringing down horses, cows, and even people.
After lunch, you'll be treated to more entertainment. The gauchos will continue to showcase their abilities, this time as they perform a series of feats known as carreras de sortijas (ring races). These are typical in gaucho equine competition and showcase the cowboys' great skills on horseback. You will end the day at the estancia with a late-afternoon serving of mate, the popular tea-like infusion that is an indispensable part of Argentine culture.
By the time you transfer back to your hotel in the evening, you can be happy in the knowledge that you've enjoyed a traditional Argentine frontier experience.
Day 4: Buenos Aires to Tigre
Today you'll travel up Río de la Plata where it converges with the Paraña River Delta, located about an hour north of Buenos Aires. During the boat ride, you'll enjoy views of the city skyline as you enter a network of freshwater canals and sail among the islands that make up this unique region. The main port is in Tigre, a Venetian-style village whose small-town and relaxing atmosphere contrast with Buenos Aires' bustling energy.
On the waterfront, you'll find Puerto de Frutos, a maze of craft markets, produce stalls, and artisanal goods. The Museo de Arte features a grand collection of Argentine art spanning two centuries. The Naval Museum and the Museo de Maté are other highlights worth a visit. The latter offers an overview and tasting of maté, an herb cultivated in the Paraná region of the country and used for tea.
Day 5: Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche
After enjoying some exciting city life in Buenos Aires, it's time to head for the southern wilderness. At the scheduled time, a driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Bueno Aires' local airport, Aeroparque. From here you'll catch a flight to San Carlos de Bariloche, the main city in Argentina's Lake District, which is home to some of the most impressive scenery in the country.
San Carlos de Bariloche was founded in 1902 on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, which itself is part of the larger Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. If you detect some native influence in that name, you're correct. It comes from the Mapuche indigenous people who once inhabited the area, and it means "jaguar island."
The lake straddles the Chilean border, with the city of Bariloche located on the southeast shore. While beautiful in the summertime, Bariloche became globally famous as a prime winter ski destination. So be excited, because you're about to experience the best slopes in all of Argentina.
Upon arrival at Bariloche's airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Even though you may be tired from your flight, try to get out and explore the city. The charming chalet-style buildings and alpine architecture can be seen and enjoyed on a brisk walk around, and the city center abounds with waterfront plazas, chocolate shops, and upscale restaurants.
When dinnertime comes around, be sure to sample the local cuisine. You'll find that it differs considerably than what's typically found in Buenos Aires. Here regional fare like wild boar and lake trout is popular and delicious, as is the fondue (a culinary addition first introduced by the city's Swiss immigrants).
Days 6-8: Cerro Catedral Ski Excursion
Wake up bright and early and enjoy a hearty breakfast. You're going to need the fuel because you'll be spending the day on the slopes of Argentina's premier ski destination: Cerro Catedral. This 7,640-foot (2,338-meter) mountain boasts 75 miles (120 km) of slopes of varying levels of difficulty. There are even 32 miles (52 kilometers) of cross-country ski routes if you'd like to test your endurance.
But first thing's first. After breakfast, you'll hop in a vehicle that will whisk you away to the mountain. Upon arrival, the driver will guide you to the office where you can pick up your equipment and passes. Then, from 9 am to 4 pm, you will enjoy the rush of carving your way down Cerro Catedral complemented by all the beautiful scenery of Lago Nahuel Huapi and the surrounding mountains.
Day 9: Fly from Bariloche to Ushuaia
After days enjoying the best skiing Argentina has to offer, it's time to venture even further south, to the end of the world, where more nature and adventure awaits. This morning you'll catch a flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. From the airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. You can spend the remainder of the day enjoying the city as you see fit. Try to get out for a walk, as this rugged Patagonian town is best explored on foot.
Located on a bay in the Patagonian region of Tierra del Fuego, the city sits between the jagged peaks of the Martial Mountains and the silver waters of the Beagle Channel. Yes, this is the same waterway where Charles Darwin found himself when he was riding the HMS Beagle almost 200 years ago. Getting out and walking along the waterfront allows you a glimpse of these majestic mountains and the impressive channel.
Day 10: Penguin Colony Excursion
Today you'll embark by boat from the tourist port of Ushuaia out into the Beagle Channel. As you venture out towards the center of the channel you'll be treated to panoramic views of the coast and the skyline of the city, all of which sits under the watchful gaze of Mount Olivia and the Cinco Hermanos Mountains.
You'll sail southwest and pass the Isla de los Lobos, which is little more than a rock but happens to be the permanent habitat of a large group of sea lions. You'll have ample opportunity to view these creatures and take plenty of photos. Then, it's off to Isla de los Pájaros (Bird Island). This is a natural habitat of various species of seabirds including Magellanic cormorants and imperial shags. It's a birder's dream, so keep your binoculars and macro camera lens close.
The furthest you'll venture today is Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, located on the northernmost of a chain of islands of the same name. Here it is possible to see part of the Monte Cervantes, an ocean liner that sank in 1930. Your guide will also point out many sites both onshore and across the channel, such as Estancia Remolino (a remote ranch), Gable Island, and the naval base at Puerto Williams (located on Navarino Island, Chile).
Eventually, you will reach Martillo Island, where the boat will stop and you can observe the sizeable colonies of Gentoo and Magellanic penguins that call the island home. After this six-hour day-trip, you'll return to the local port and you can spend the remainder of the day enjoying your hotel's amenities and exploring the town.
Day 11: Hike to Ojo de Albino Glacier
Today is a full-day guided trek to Ojo de Albino Glacier!
After an early breakfast, you'll be picked up and transferred to a trailhead located 12 miles (20 km) from Ushuaia. Upon arrival, meet your guide and talk through a safety briefing before entering the path. The first section travels through a forest and several peat bogs, crossing the Tierra Mayor Valley until you reach the Esmeralda Lagoon, which—as its name indicates—amazes the onlooker with its intense green color.
After a photography break, you'll walk around the lagoon in search of beaver dams until you cross the tree line where the ascension becomes more demanding. Notice how the slope is more pronounced through the large rock formations.
You've now entered a steep mountain landscape where you can appreciate the panoramic views of the valley and Laguna Esmeralda below. Keep going until you finally reach the Ojo del Albino Glacier. This part the glacier includes a mass of cracked flat ice, surrounded by sharp peaks, and, at the center, melting water with beautiful icebergs. Depending on the conditions of the ice, your guide will decide if it is safe to carry out a glacier transit.
Either way, you will have lunch surrounded by an imposing landscape. After this well-deserved rest, it's time to start making your way back to the entrance for your return to Ushuaia.
Day 12: Free Day in Ushuaia
Today you're free to do as you please in Ushuaia! You can spend more time seeing the sights in town or join an organized excursion.
Day 13: Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
This morning, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport in Ushuaia. You'll then hop a flight back to the capital of Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, you'll have free time to explore more of the city, perhaps taking advantage of anything you may have missed at the beginning of the trip.
Consider going out for "dinner and a show." No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without taking in a tango performance in the very city where it was invented. As the deft performers move to the music of love, sorrow, and passion, you'll dine on flaky empanadas, succulent steak, and decadent dulce de leche (most dinner shows also offer vegetarian options).
Day 14: Depart Buenos Aires
Enjoy your last hours in the cosmopolitan capital of Buenos Aires. At the scheduled time, your driver will pick you up and transfer you by private car to Ezeiza International Airport, where you'll catch your return flight home.