- 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||Welcome to Buenos Aires!||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 3||Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche||Bariloche|
|Day 4||Cerro Catedral Ski Excursion||Bariloche|
|Day 5||Cerro Catedral||Bariloche|
|Day 6||Fly from Bariloche to Ushuaia||Ushuaia|
|Day 7||Penguin Colony Excursion||Ushuaia|
|Day 8||Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 9||Depart Buenos Aires|
Day 1: Welcome to 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. The best starting point would be the city center.
Day 2: Buenos Aires
Get ready to explore, because it's time to see Buenos Aires on a self-guided walk around the city. Move at your own pace as you visit famous neighborhoods and city sights, like Plaza San Martín, located at the end of downtown's commercial pedestrian thruway, Florida Street. This leafy plaza, anchored by a majestic ombú tree, is named after one of the heroes of Argentina's independence movement—General José de San Martín.
At Plaza de Mayo, you'll find yourself in Buenos Aires' main square, which is home to the Casa Rosada, Argentina's presidential palace. This plaza was the site of the May Revolution of 1810 that kicked off this former Spanish colony's quest for independence. Also here is the Metropolitan Cathedral, the principal Catholic church in the city. It dates back to the late 16th century when a humble chapel first sat on its current site.
If you walk a few minutes south from Plaza de Mayo you'll arrive in Barrio San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ oldest neighborhood, which has a vibrant tango and arts scene. Its antique markets, cobbled streets dotted with faroles (French street lamps), and old brick buildings with wooden balconies all add to its bohemian atmosphere. Sundays are especially abuzz with activity as the main street market comes alive around Plaza Dorrego.
Continue your exploration of Buenos Aires at Cementerio de Recoleta, a sprawling cemetery located in the "old money" enclave of Barrio Recoleta. It's filled with the ornate mausoleums of famous and wealthy Argentinians throughout history, including Evita Perón.
Day 3: 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 from 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).
Day 4: 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 5: Cerro Catedral
Enjoy your time on the mountain!
Day 6: Fly from Bariloche to Ushuaia
After days enjoying the best skiing Argentina has to offer, it's time to venture further south 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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.