Discover two of the most culturally distinct countries in South America—Argentina and Uruguay—on a two-week tour. Start in Uruguay's coastal capital of Montevideo, where you'll marvel at Spanish-colonial landmarks on your way up the coast for wine tastings and tours of Jesuit ruins. Then, cross the river to Argentina for city fun in Buenos Aires before heading south to Patagonia, where you'll snorkel with sea lions, go whale watching, and visit penguin islands in Tierra del Fuego.


  • Explore Uruguay's coast, from city tours of Montevideo to wine tastings in Colonia
  • Travel by boat to the Paraña Delta and visit romantic river islands
  • Snorkel with sea lions and spot southern right whales in Puerto Madryn
  • Travel up the Beagle Channel in Ushuaia to islands inhabited by penguins

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Montevideo (Uruguay), City Tour & Market Lunch Montevideo
Day 2 Day Trip to Wine Estates & Lunch Montevideo
Day 3 Transfer to Colonia del Sacramento, Walking Tour Colonia del Sacramento
Day 4 Tour Jesuit Ruins & Wine Tasting in Carmelo Colonia del Sacramento
Day 5 Colonia Walking Tour & Maté Colonia del Sacramento
Day 6 Ferry to Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cooking & Dinner Party Buenos Aires
Day 7 Paraña River Delta Experience & Boat Trip to Tigre Buenos Aires
Day 8 Fly to Puerto Madryn, Guided City Walking Tour Puerto Madryn
Day 9 Day Trip to Penguin Colony, Snorkeling With Sea Lions Puerto Madryn
Day 10 Whale Watching Excursion Puerto Madryn
Day 11 Fly to Ushuaia, Optional Activities Ushuaia
Day 12 Beagle Channel Tour, Isla Martillo & Estancia Harberton Ushuaia
Day 13 Trek to Glacier Vinciguerra & Laguna de los Tempanos Ushuaia
Day 14 Depart Ushuaia  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Montevideo (Uruguay), City Tour & Market Lunch

Marvel at Art Deco landmarks on a tour of Montevideo

Welcome to Uruguay! This small nation on the Atlantic side of South America is often regarded as the younger sibling of neighboring Argentina due to the two nations' shared history and culture. There's no better introduction to all things Uruguayan than its capital, Montevideo. Founded in the early 18th century by the Spanish, Montevideo has a rich history shaped by colonial rule, independence struggles, and waves of immigration. It also enjoys a scenic coastal location on the estuary of the Río de la Plata.

A driver will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your hotel in the city. There's no time to waste, as right after dropping off your bags, you'll head out on a small-group tour of the town. The best place to start is in the Ciudad Vieja (Old City), which abounds with colonial-era buildings as well as Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, and eclectic architectural gems. Major landmarks you'll visit include the 19th-century Solis Theater, the Cabildo (Government House), and the Citadel Gate, an 18th-century structure that once served as the entrance to Montevideo when it was a fortified city.

The tour finishes on the waterfront and the Mercado del Puerto, where you can enjoy lunch (or an early dinner, depending on when the tour starts). This municipal market dates to the 19th century and serves up excellent plates of barbecue (known as parillas in Uruguay and Argentina) comprised of some of the best beef anywhere in the world. After eating, you can take a leisurely stroll down the Rambla, the coastal avenue that separates Montevideo from the shores of the Atlantic.

Day 2: Day Trip to Wine Estates & Lunch

Spend the day on tasting tours of some of Uruguay's finest wineries

Rise and shine! This morning, you'll leave the city on a half-day tour of the wine region surrounding Montevideo. The country's viticulture heritage dates back to when the first Spanish and Italian immigrants brought the grapevine over from Europe. That was around 250 years ago, and today, wine remains a prominent part of Uruguayan culture.

This tour will take you to two bodegas (wine estates) in the countryside. Start at Bodega Juanicó, where you'll sample Don Pascual wines, accompanied by a table of delicious snacks and homemade bread. This pioneering winery, which produces both whites and reds, was the first in the area to build an underground cellar in 1830, enabling incredible quality wines due to the naturally cool environment in the cellar.

Continue to Bodega Pizzorno, located roughly 12 miles (20 km) from Montevideo in Canelón Chico, a prime area for wine production with warm days and cold nights that produce more intensely colored and flavored grapes. Tour the vineyard and taste the best selection of wines and several regional food specialties. End the visit with a three-course lunch paired with complementary wines. Afterward, you'll return to the city.

Day 3: Transfer to Colonia del Sacramento, Walking Tour

Step back in time to historic Uruguay on a visit to Colonia de Sacramento

Leave the capital as you meet your driver after breakfast for the two-hour drive up the coast to Colonia del Sacramento. Dating to 1680, it's 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 historic whitewashed buildings have been remarkably well preserved, which has led to it being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When you arrive, your driver will drop you off at your hotel. Then, feel free to embark on a self-guided 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: Tour Jesuit Ruins & Wine Tasting in Carmelo

 La Caléra de las Huérfanas is a monument to Jesuit heritage in Uruguay

Take a day trip to the birthplace of wine in Uruguay at La Caléra de las Huérfanas National Monument, a former Jesuit mission-turned vineyard. Along with your guide, you'll explore ruins and well-kept grounds that date back to 1741. After learning about this vital historical landmark, you'll travel an hour up the coast to the town of Carmelo, where you'll enjoy several wine tastings. 

Begin at the Bodega Cordano, a family-run winery dating back centuries. Enjoy a tour of the vineyards and production areas with the owners and a tasting of several of their signature wines. You can also buy wine and souvenirs at the on-site Almacén de la Capilla, a vintage grocery store founded in 1855. 

Your next stop will be the Bodega El Legado, a boutique family-owned winery. Your visit includes a guided tour through the vineyards, wine cellar, and production area, followed by a tasting and lunch. Enjoy the three wines accompanied by a cheese and olive plate, then sit down for a traditional asado (Uruguay does barbecue just like Argentina). After the tours, you'll travel back down the coast to Colonia. 

Day 5: Colonia Walking Tour & Maté

The Street of Sighs, one of the oldest roads in Colonia

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel in Colonia. Then, meet a local guide for a walking tour of the town's cobblestone lanes and historic sites. These include the Portón de Campo (Old City Gate) and the pretty avenue of rough cobbles known as Calle de Los Suspiros (Street of Sighs). 

During the tour, you'll get to taste maté, a traditional tea made from the leaves of the yerba maté plant. The tea is prepared in an ancient ritual that has been practiced in the Paraña region of Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay for generations. A local maté expert will teach you the basics of making tea and provide background on the drink's history. Sample different varieties paired with regional pastries to refuel during your walk, then return to the hotel.

Day 6: Ferry to Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cooking & Dinner Party

The Obelisco, in Buenos Aires' sprawling center, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city

Say goodbye to Uruguay because this morning, you'll transfer to the port in Colonia and board a ferry for the 1.5-hour ride across the Río Plata to Buenos Aires. This grand metropolis of around 15 million people is one of the world's great cities. Abounding with history, culture, and legendary nightlife, the capital's European-inspired streets are lined with neoclassical and Baroque architecture, while its colorful neighborhoods haven't lost any romantic charm. Equally legendary is the food, particularly Argentine beef, which on its own is worth the trip.

Experience it for yourself when, after checking into your hotel, you head out for a dinner party/cooking class you won't soon forget. During this three-hour culinary experience, you'll meet a group, share a table, and prepare a gourmet meal. 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 sauce, and alfajores (delicious Argentine cookies). There will be plenty of maté to sip, as well as copious cups of Argentina's famous wine.

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Day 7: Paraña River Delta Experience & Boat Trip to Tigre

Take a ride up to the charming riverine towns along the Paraña Delta

Time for a boat trip! This morning, you'll meet your private guide and transfer along the mighty Río de la Plata to the point where it converges with the Paraña River Delta. This region, located about an hour north of Buenos Aires, comprises a series of islands and waterfront communities.

There, you'll enter a network of freshwater canals, eventually arriving at Tigre, a Venetian-style village. During a day tour, you'll stroll the waterfront, visit museums, browse the Puerto de Frutos marketplace, and experience this riverside gem any way you like. Don't miss Tigre's Museum of Fine Arts, housed in an impressive Belle Époque building. Later, you'll transfer back to Buenos Aires.

Day 8: Fly to Puerto Madryn, Guided City Walking Tour

Puerto Madryn is one of the top destinations in Patagonia for viewing marine life

Like the proverbial birds in winter, it's time to fly south. After transferring to Buenos Aires airport this morning, you'll board a plane for the two-hour flight to Puerto Madryn. This town on the Atlantic coast sits at the northeastern tip of the rugged Patagonia region, the wild frontier comprising South America's southern cone. Puerto Madryn is adjacent to Peninsula Valdés, which happens to be one of the best places to view marine life in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's home to seals, sea lions, penguins, southern right whales, and more.

Upon arrival, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. After settling in, meet a local guide and explore this pleasant seaside town and its surroundings. During this three-hour excursion, you'll spend time in the city center and its main plaza, General San Martín Square.

Continue on, passing historic buildings, churches, and monuments on your way out of town to the Punta Cuevas. The northern Patagonia region is filled with Welsh culture and history, and the ruins at this site, which dates to 1865, were once dwellings where the first Welsh immigrants lived. The tour ends with a stop at prime viewpoints overlooking the coast before returning to your hotel in town.

Day 9: Day Trip to Penguin Colony, Snorkeling With Sea Lions

Do some of the best wildlife photography of your life at Punta Tombo 

It's off to the nature reserve at Punta Tombo today, located about 110 miles (177 km) south of Puerto Madryn. The reserve is home to a large colony of Magellan penguins, and you'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with them in their natural habitat (though touching the penguins is prohibited). Your guide will meet you at your hotel, and you'll head out for a scenic three-hour drive along the coast to the reserve.

Make a stop at the Visitor's Center to learn more about penguin life, as well as the history of the region. Then, receive a briefing from your guide before starting your walk. These curious creatures are used to visitors and are unlikely to show alarm at your presence, but it's important to maintain a safe distance and not disturb any of the bird's nesting areas. You'll have a few hours to explore and grab lunch at the on-site restaurant.

After Punta Tombo, you'll drive back to Puerto Madryn and continue to a small fishing village. There, you'll board a boat to a nearby bay that's home to great herds of sea lions. Upon arrival, you'll don a wetsuit and mask and hop in the water. This is one of the few places in South America you can actually snorkel with sea lions, and there's no need to be nervous. Sea lions are naturally curious and will swim up to you and offer a friendly hello. Also, a guide will be there to offer specific instructions about what to do when an animal approaches. After the swim, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 10: Whale Watching Excursion

A southern right whale breaches the surface near Puerto Madryn

This is your chance to marvel at even larger marine mammals on a boat tour to spot the region's famous marine mammals. In the morning, you'll transfer to the coastal village of Puerto Pirámides. There, you'll board a semi-submersible craft.

Once the vessel gets underway, you'll be able to view exotic marine life, like dolphins, southern right whales, and (possibly) orcas, from the dozens of windows lining the underwater cabin. It's the best way to get at eye level with some of the ocean's most incredible creatures. You can also head to the deck and watch the animals breach the surface from above.

Day 11: Fly to Ushuaia, Optional Activities

Photo taken by Douglas A
Welcome to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world

Return to the airport in Puerto Madryn this morning and board a connecting flight to Ushuaia and Patagonia's Tierra del Fuego region. Considered the southernmost city in the world, it's situated between the jagged peaks of the Martial Mountains and the silver waters of the Beagle Channel, the same waterway Charles Darwin explored when he arrived on the HMS Beagle almost 200 years ago. Upon arrival at the airport, another driver will transfer you to your hotel. After checking in, you can head out on a self-guided walking tour.

You'll find the most activity in Ushuaia's colorful downtown area. Here, there are cafés and restaurants where you can stop and try centolla (king crab), a regional specialty. If you like, stroll down the scenic waterfront and visit the Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Museum). It's a small museum but is packed with fine exhibits detailing the area's natural and Indigenous history.

Day 12: Beagle Channel Tour, Isla Martillo & Estancia Harberton

 Les Eclaireurs is a landmark of Tierra del Fuego

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll embark on a full-day excursion along the Beagle Channel. The trip starts at the Ushuaia pier, where you'll board a boat and get underway. As you travel along the channel, you'll enjoy epic views of Ushuaia and the coast. Be on the lookout for wildlife, such as cormorants and sea lions, especially near the Lobo and De Los Pajaros islands. One of the tour highlights is passing by the famous Les Eclaireurs, the so-called "Lighthouse at the End of the World.

Then, sail east to Isla Martillo, an island home to thousands of Magellanic penguins and even some gentoo penguins. On a walking tour of the island, you'll get up close and personal with these penguins as an expert guide reveals insight into their characteristics and behavior. Expect plenty of great photo opportunities.

Back on shore, you'll catch a bus to Estancia Harberton, a working Patagonian ranch that dates back to 1886. The hacienda's property sits on 50,000 acres that include lakes and forests. You'll pass through some of these rugged Fuegian forests on your way to the estancia. After the visit, you'll transfer back to Ushuiaia and your hotel.

Day 13: Trek to Glacier Vinciguerra & Laguna de los Témpanos

Lunch today will be served with glacier views

Your penultimate day in Argentina involves a thrilling hike to a real-life Patagonian glacier. After breakfast, travel just outside Ushuaia to a trailhead. The first leg of this 3.7-mile (6 km) hike lasts about two hours, taking you along a stream before ascending through Fuegian forests in the Martial Mountains.

The woodlands eventually give way to peat landscapes as you arrive at the glassy, turquoise waters of Laguna de los Témpanos. Above the lagoon are vast panoramas featuring Vinciguerra, an awe-inspiring glacier surrounded by mountain peaks and alpine landscapes.

Here, you'll break for lunch and enjoy your meal amid glacier views. After eating, the fun continues as you explore Vinciguerra's ice caves. There will be plenty of time for photos before hiking back to the starting point and transferring back to Ushuaia. 

Day 14: Depart Ushuaia

Farewell, Tierra del Fuego
You've made it all the way to the "end of the world," now it's time to point yourself north and return home. After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will pick you up for the transfer to the airport, where you'll catch your departing flight. Adíos! 

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