- Enjoy neighborhood tours and tango shows in Buenos Aires
- Take food tours and cooking classes in Buenos Aires and Santiago
- Hike to lagoons and walk with penguins in Tierra del Fuego
- Visit the legendary Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate
- Go trekking amid granite peaks in Chile's Torres del Paine
- Browse local markets and take a bicycle tour of Santiago
|Day 1||Arrive in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Dinner & Tango Show||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||City Tour & Palermo Food Walk||Buenos Aires|
|Day 3||Day Trip to Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay)||Buenos Aires|
|Day 4||Buenos Aires Free Day, Culinary Experience||Buenos Aires|
|Day 5||Fly to Ushuaia, Optional Activities||Ushuaia|
|Day 6||Half-Day National Park Hike & Train Ride||Ushuaia|
|Day 7||Day Trip to Isla Martillo & Penguin Walk||Ushuaia|
|Day 8||Half-Day Trek to Laguna Esmeralda||Ushuaia|
|Day 9||Fly to El Calafate||El Calafate|
|Day 10||Perito Moreno Glacier Excursion, Nautical Safari||El Calafate|
|Day 11||El Chaltén Viewpoints & Waterfalls Hike||El Calafate|
|Day 12||Estancia Visit & Perito Moreno Boat Tour||El Calafate|
|Day 13||Transfer to Puerto Natales (Chile), Optional Activities||Puerto Natales|
|Day 14||Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park||Puerto Natales|
|Day 15||Day Trip to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers||Puerto Natales|
|Day 16||Full-Day Hike to Base Torres||Puerto Natales|
|Day 17||Fly to Santiago||Santiago|
|Day 18||Santiago City Bike Tour||Santiago|
|Day 19||Day Trip to Valparaíso & Casablanca Valley||Santiago|
|Day 20||Chilean Cooking Class||Santiago|
|Day 21||Depart Santiago|
Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Dinner & Tango Show
Welcome to Argentina! Your arrival here kicks off a grand three-week adventure that will take you around the southern cone of South America, a region known as Patagonia. First, you'll experience the highlights of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. This enchanting metropolis is known as the "Paris of the South" due to its abundance of Baroque and neoclassical architecture. You'll discover these romantic streets over a few days of city tours and cultural activities.
When you arrive at Ezeiza International Airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city. After settling in, you'll head out in the evening to discover Argentina's most famous export: tango. Born in the 19th century near the port of the historic San Telmo district, this musical/dance style merged the country dances of rural Spain with other influences from newly arriving immigrants. By the early 20th century, it had become famous around the world. You'll see the magic of this genre live when you sit down for dinner and a live performance at a local milonga (tango venue).
After dinner, you can learn the tango steps during a dance lesson and/or sample various Argentine wines with an optional tasting. Later, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 2: City Tour & Palermo Food Walk
Wake up early and meet your guide for a city tour around Buenos Aires by vehicle. This three-hour, small-group tour will take you to famous landmarks like 9 de Julio (the widest avenue in the world), the soaring Obelisco monument, and the Teatro Colón, which has consistently been ranked one of the great opera houses in the world since its opening in 1908.
You'll also visit upscale Puerto Madero and historic Plaza de Mayo, home to the iconic Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace), plus stroll the cobbled streets of San Telmo, the oldest neighborhood in the city. Continue south to La Boca, an old port area known for its zinc houses and colorful Caminito Street. It's home to La Bombonera, the country's most famous fútbol (soccer) stadium. The tour ends in the Recoleta neighborhood with a visit to its stately cemetery (the final resting place of Eva Perón), after which you'll return to the hotel.
Later in the day, you'll transfer to Palermo, another historic neighborhood and one of the city's trendiest enclaves. Filled with cool bars and restaurants, you'll take a four-hour food walk and visit four local eateries. It's a great excuse to try Argentina's culinary staples (like its succulent beef) and sample its fine wines (like the famous malbec). Even better, throughout the walk, your guide will point out colorful street art and other cultural highlights the neighborhood is known for.
Day 3: Day Trip to Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay)
You're in for a treat, as this morning, you'll hop the border into neighboring Uruguay, located right across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires. The day starts with a transfer to the river terminal, where you'll board a ferry for the 1.5-hour ride to Colonia del Sacramento. Dating to 1680, it has the distinction of being the only colonial town in the Río de la Plata region founded by the Portuguese as opposed to the Spanish. Its history, cobbled streets, and unique architecture have been remarkably well preserved, which has led to it being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Upon arrival at the port, you'll meet your guide for a walking tour around the historic neighborhoods of this charming town. Enjoy the beguiling mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, and post-colonial architectural styles as you stroll its cobbled streets. Stop in at local cafés and restaurants for a coffee or to snack on an empanada, and be sure to take advantage of the great shopping here—Colonia del Sacramento is home to a free-trade zone. At the end of the day, you'll board the ferry for the return trip to Buenos Aires.
Day 4: Buenos Aires Free Day, Culinary Experience
You'll have the morning free to enjoy Buenos Aires on your own. Start the day with a traditional Porteño breakfast of coffee and medialunas (half-moon-shaped pastries) before exploring more of Buenos Aires' famous barrios (neighborhoods). One option is a return to Palermo, this time to relax in its expansive parks. For culture, head back to Recoleta and visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum). It features paintings by Argentines such as Benito Quinquela Martín, Xul Solar, and Antonio Berni, plus works by masters like Degas, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Van Gogh.
In the evening, cap your time in Buenos Aires with a memorable culinary activity. One popular option is the Argentina Experience. Guests at this unique "dinner party" share a table and prepare a gourmet meal while enjoying a few glasses of the country's famous wine. Professional hosts guide you through the evening and explain how Argentine culture reveals itself in its food. You'll learn how to prepare handmade empanadas, the famous chimichurri seasoning, and alfajores (delicious Argentine cookies). You'll also try maté, an herbal tea that is the lifeblood of the country.
Day 5: Fly to Ushuaia, Optional Activities
Today kicks off the Patagonia portion of this epic South American journey. After breakfast at the hotel, you'll transfer to the airport and catch a 3.5-hour flight south to Ushuaia. This famous resort town on the southern Tierra del Fuego archipelago occupies an idyllic location. It's nestled between the Martial Mountains and sits on the Beagle Channel, the same waterway that Charles Darwin sailed through nearly 200 years ago. Today, people come for nature excursions, wildlife tours, and boat trips.
Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel near the center. After settling in, you can stroll around this remote city with a small-town vibe. Perhaps go shopping in the city center and stop at a restaurant to try Ushuaia's famous seafood like centolla (king crab). You should also visit the Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Museum), which has exhibits on the region's natural and Indigenous history.
Day 6: Half-Day National Park Hike & Train Ride
This morning, you'll leave on a half-day tour into Tierra del Fuego National Park. Located just outside the city, this vast protected area encompasses 155,000 acres (62,726 ha) of pristine wilderness. First up is a ride on the famous Tren del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Train). This historic steam train originally served the local prison back in the 19th century but now runs scenic tours in the national park. It's a quick trip, too—just 4.3 miles (7 km) one way.
Then, you'll venture into the park for a guided trek along nature trails through subantarctic forests. Starting at Ensenada Bay, you'll hike to tranquil bays, rushing rivers, and the glassy waters of Lago Acigami (formerly Lago Roca). You'll also visit the world's southernmost post office as well as Lapataia Bay, the location of the terminus of the Pan-American Highway, the world's longest drivable road. This transcontinental route begins in Alaska and runs the length of the Americas. After the excursion, you'll transfer back to your hotel.
Day 7: Day Trip to Isla Martillo & Penguin Walk
Get ready for a six-hour excursion to do some penguin spotting. The trip starts at the Ushuaia pier, where you'll catch a bus to Estancia Harberton, a working Patagonian ranch that dates back to 1886. The estancia's property sits on 50,000 acres (20,234 ha) that include glassy lakes and virgin forests.
After spending some time on the ranch, you'll head to a nearby dock on the Beagle Channel and hop in a Zodiac boat. You'll then zip along the water until you reach Isla Martillo, an island that's home to thousands of Magellanic penguins and even some rare gentoo penguins. On a 90-minute walking tour, you'll get up close and personal with these waddling birds as an expert guide offers insights into their characteristics and behavior. After the tour, you'll return to Ushuaia.
Day 8: Half-Day Trek to Laguna Esmeralda
Meet your driver at 8:30 am and leave on another active adventure that starts with a scenic drive along beautiful Route 3. Heading away from the Beagle Channel, you'll pass some of the most gorgeous valleys in Tierra del Fuego. At one such valley, you'll leave the car behind and head out on a three-hour, cross-country wilderness hike.
This 5.8-mile (9.4 km) trek will take you over a peat bog to a forest full of native lenga trees. From there, cross beaver dams and follow a stream to reach Laguna Esmeralda. Framed by snowcapped mountains and boasting glassy turquoise waters, this is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Patagonia. Here you can relax and enjoy lunch surrounded by some of the area's most stunning hanging glaciers. Afterward, you'll head back along the same trail and meet your driver for the ride back to the city.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 9: Fly to El CalafateYour driver will transfer you to the airport this morning, where you'll catch a 1.5-hour flight north to El Calafate. Sitting on the southern shore of Lago Argentino, this town is the gateway to the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, home to Los Glaciares National Park. Within this protected area is the region's star, Perito Moreno, a 96-square-mile (250 sq km) ice formation that is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will transfer you to your hotel, and you'll have the rest of the day free.
Day 10: Perito Moreno Glacier Excursion, Nautical Safari
Meet your driver this morning and head out on a tour of Los Glaciares National Park. The ride there takes about an hour, and as you enter the park, you'll catch your first glimpse of the mighty Perito Moreno. This expansive glacier flows down from the Andes over the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino, ending in a great wall that curves around the lake. You can enjoy views of this marvel of Mother Nature via a network of wooden boardwalks on the waterfront (be sure to take plenty of photos).
Then you'll head over to the port at Bajo de Las Sombras and board a boat for a one-hour tour of the glacier's southern face. The first 20 minutes of the trip will take you past icebergs floating on the lake. These are the result of "calving," a periodic occurrence when ice breaks off the face of the glacier. Eventually, you'll get up close with Perito Moreno's massive ice wall reaching 230 feet (70 m). After the hourlong tour, you'll return to the port and transfer back to El Calafate.
Day 11: El Chaltén Viewpoints & Waterfalls Hike
Wake up early and meet your driver for the three-hour transfer north up the famous Ruta 40 to El Chaltén, a major hub in Patagonia for mountain hikes. During the drive, there will be stops for coffee and to snap pics at mountain/glacier viewpoints. Also, if the skies are clear, on the ride into town, you'll witness incredible views of the iconic massif of Mount Fitz Roy.
Once in El Chaltén, you'll embark on a scenic hike with an expert guide. The trailhead leaves right from town and is a low-difficulty hike that lasts about an hour and leads to Los Cóndores. This magnificent viewpoint offers panoramic vistas of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, among other mountain peaks. Then you'll return to town and have lunch at a local restaurant.
After eating, the day's adventure continues with a hike northeast of El Chaltén into the stunning Río de las Vueltas Valley. There, you'll arrive at the Salto del Chorillo, a postcard waterfall that plunges over a rocky cliff into a crystalline lagoon below. Enjoy some time relaxing by the falls before hiking back to El Chaltén, meeting your driver, and transferring back to El Calafate.
Day 12: Estancia Visit & Perito Moreno Boat Tour
One trip to Perito simply isn't enough, so today, you'll see this star of Patagonia on another outdoor adventure. First, you'll travel to Lago Roca, just south of Los Glaciares National Park. Hike along the Patagonian steppe until you reach Estancia Nibepo Aike. You'll spend time at this working ranch and see daily activities like sheep shearing and equestrian demonstrations. Afterward, you'll sit down to a traditional asado (barbecue) of grilled Patagonian lamb followed by pancakes with dulce de leche (Argentine caramelized milk).
After lunch, you'll board a boat and travel up the lake's western arms to Perito Moreno Glacier. The boat will arrive at Playa de las Monedas, and from there, it's an easy 20-minute hike through native lenga forest to viewpoints overlooking the glacier's southern face. Then, return to the boat for a ride to the south face of Perito Moreno. While there, you may witness the aforementioned calving when sections of the glacier break off the face. As an added treat, you'll enjoy a refreshment of chocolate and a glass of whiskey chilled with glacial ice. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 13: Transfer to Puerto Natales (Chile), Optional Activities
In the morning, you'll transfer to the station in El Calafate. You'll board a bus there for the six-hour transfer south out of Argentina into Chile and Puerto Natales. Upon arrival, another driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel. After checking in, you'll have the rest of the day to explore.
This small port city is famous as the base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. It's less touristic than other Patagonian hubs and has an air of small-town tranquility. Here, you can enjoy simple pleasures like strolling the promenade fronting the silver waters of the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). In the distance, you'll see the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro, and the sunset views are phenomenal.
Day 14: Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park
After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for the transfer to Torres del Paine, the crown jewel of Chile's national parks. Outside Puerto Natales, you'll stop at Cuevas del Milodón (Mylodon Caves). This network of caverns houses a replica of a giant herbivore that went extinct in the Pleistocene era. The remains of other ancient animals have been found here, including the prehistoric cave bear and saber-toothed tiger. After the caves, you'll continue for two hours to Torres del Paine. On the way, watch for endemic animals like the guanaco, a camelid related to the llama.
Upon reaching Torres del Paine, you'll begin the full-day tour. Visit some of the park's main attractions, such as the Laguna Amarga, which features views of the iconic peaks of the Cordillera Paine. You'll also hike over a suspension bridge in the Lago Grey sector and enjoy views of glaciers. Continue trekking to Salto Grande, the park's famous thundering waterfalls. At the end of the day, you'll return to Puerto Natales, stopping at glassy Lago Sarmiento to snap a few final photos.
Day 15: Day Trip to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
Embark on another boat tour today, this time to glaciers in Chilean Patagonia. After breakfast, transfer to the pier in Puerto Natales and board a boat for a ride along the Señoret Channel—keep your eyes peeled for toninas (Chilean dolphins) along the way. One highlight is when you pass Estancia La Península, home to a population of cormorants (aquatic seabirds). The trip continues to Punta de Lobos and a nearby waterfall and cliffs, where you might spot condors flying overhead.
The next point on the route is Mount Balmaceda, which rises nearly 7,000 feet (2,000 m), where you'll see the glacier of the same name. Disembark at Puerto Toro and walk the shores of Tempanos Lagoon, hiking through the native forests toward the nearby Serrano Glacier. Then, visit a local ranch to enjoy a typical Chilean lunch before returning to the boat and transferring back to Puerto Natales.
Day 16: Full-Day Hike to Base Torres
Wake up early and embark on a full-day hike up one of the most famous routes in Torres del Paine: the trail to Mirador (Base) Las Torres. Located at the foot of the Torres del Paine, in this spot, three granite pillars jut out of the ground over a silver lagoon and make for the best view in the park.
It's a challenging ascent that covers about 12.5 miles (20 km) and takes over 12 hours to complete. The trek begins at Reserva Cerro Paine with a walk up Almirante Nieto, a mountain featuring expansive views of Lago Nordenskjöld and the Asencio Valley below. After two hours of steady ascent, you'll arrive at Refugio Chileno, a lodge where you'll take a break and enjoy a box lunch with your fellow hikers.
From here, it's another hour of hiking through a dense lenga forest. After emerging from the forest, you'll approach a rocky moraine and climb up to Mirador Las Torres. You'll likely be exhausted, but the image of those granite peaks towering over you will make the whole experience worthwhile. Later, you'll hike down the mountain and meet your driver for the ride back to Puerto Natales.
Day 17: Fly to SantiagoIn the morning, you'll transfer to the airport in Puerto Natales and board a three-hour flight north to Santiago. Chile's sprawling capital sits at 1,700 feet (518 m) above sea level and is surrounded by snowcapped Andean peaks. Lining its wide boulevards are a mix of modern skyscrapers and historical landmarks dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up at the terminal and transfer you to your hotel in the city. You'll have the rest of the day free to relax.
Day 18: Santiago City Bike Tour
Explore Santiago on two wheels as you leave on a small-group bicycle tour in the morning. This fun excursion will take you to some of the city's most historic and colorful neighborhoods. One highlight is trendy Bellavista, known for its chic eateries, street art, and bohemian vibe. The next stop is La Chascona, once the home of Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet and cultural icon Pablo Neruda. Today it's a museum.
The bike tour culminates with visits to La Vega Central, Santiago's largest municipal market. Here, you'll find everything from fresh produce and seafood to food stalls and more. On the way back to the drop-off point, you'll ride through the picturesque Parque Forestal, a 42-acre (17 ha) green space along the Río Mapocho in the city center.
Day 19: Day Trip to Valparaíso & Casablanca Valley
After breakfast, you'll meet a local guide and hit the road on a full-day tour. It's a 1.5-hour drive west from Santiago to Valparaíso, one of the most unique cities in the world. During this scenic journey, you'll pass the hills and vineyards of the fertile Casablanca Valley, home to many top wineries. During a stop here, you'll tour a vineyard and sample a few Chilean wines, like the famous torrontés varietal.
Eventually, you'll reach the coast and the historic port city of Valparaíso. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its colorful hillside neighborhoods, winding stairways, and abundance of street art. It's a well-preserved snapshot of a time when electric trolleys coasted through downtown in front of Art Nouveau buildings.
On tour, you'll visit famous landmarks, such as Plaza de la Victoria and the Naval Academy, and ride a funicular elevator up into the hills to enjoy panoramic vistas of the Pacific. A real highlight is visiting La Sebastiana, the coastal home (now a museum) of Pablo Neruda. Afterward, you'll return to Santiago.
Day 20: Chilean Cooking Class
Today you'll learn all about Chilean culture through its cuisine during a cooking class. The experience begins in the morning at your hotel. From there, you'll meet a guide and head over to the Mercado Central, an architectural icon designed by Gustave Eiffel. After picking up the requisite ingredients, you'll transfer to the sophisticated Italia, a historic enclave famous for its art, culture, and food.
There, you'll meet your expert instructor and receive an overview of Chilean gastronomy. Then, it's time to start cooking, as you prepare traditional dishes from local recipes. When the meal is complete, everyone will sit down for lunch and pair their creations with fine Chilean wine. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel.