This 10-day itinerary highlights three of Argentina's most impressive natural wonders. Kicking off in Buenos Aires, you'll venture to Bariloche, surrounded by beautiful lakes and mountains—great for kayaking and hiking. Next is high-altitude Mendoza where you'll and take part in several wine tastings (especially Malbec). Finish at the Brazilian border to experience hundreds of waterfalls in both countries.

Highlights

  • Kick off the trip with a late-night steak drizzled in chimchurri sauce
  • Take a driving tour and catamaran ride to see the Lakes District near Bariloche
  • Go kayaking on Lago Mascardi followed by a nature trek through the forest
  • Visit three different wineries in Mendoza on a fun and educational tour
  • Hike the thundering cliffs of Iguazú Falls in both Argentina and Brazil

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore the City Buenos Aires
Day 2 Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche - Private Tour Bariloche
Day 3 Kayaking & Trekking on Mascardi Lake Bariloche
Day 4 Catamaran Tour of Victoria Island & Myrtle Forest Bariloche
Day 5 Fly from Bariloche to Mendoza Mendoza
Day 6 Mendoza Full-Day Wine Tour Mendoza
Day 7 Fly from Mendoza to Iguazú Falls Iguazu Falls
Day 8 Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side) Iguazu Falls
Day 9 Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side) - Fly to Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 10 Departing Buenos Aires  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore the City

The Obelisco, a central monument in Buenos Aires
The Obelisco, a central monument 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 far and away 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.

Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Obelisco, which might be the most famous icon of the city. This obelisk (which even Argentines admit is a little too reminiscent of the Washington Monument) is worth a visit for its location alone. It sits right in the middle of Avenida 9 de Julio, which boasts a whopping 16 lanes, making it the widest city street in the world.

  • Stop by the Teatro Colon, one of South America's premier opera houses. The horseshoe-shaped gallery features 2,487 seats and incredible acoustics. Even if you plan on taking a tour or catching a show here on another day, it's always breathtaking to pass by its exterior. The Colon's neoclassical facade has been the face of one of the most handsome buildings in Buenos Aires since its opening in 1908.

  • Stroll Puerto Madero, an upscale waterfront neighborhood adjacent to downtown. Puerto Madero may be the "new money" finance center of Buenos Aires, but it's also one of the most pleasant walks in a city famous for its walking areas. A romantic stroll involves walking over the canal on the Puente de Mujer ("Woman's Bridge") at sunset. 

  • Dine at an Argentine steakhouse or parilla. When night falls and dinnertime arrives, do like the locals and enjoy 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: Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche - Private Tour

Bariloche from above
Bariloche from above

This morning, after breakfast at your hotel in Buenos Aires, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Bariloche. At the terminal, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel in the village center.  

Once you've had time to settle in your room, a private guide will pick you up for a half-day tour of the area where you'll discover the breathtaking scenery around the Lakes District. You'll view all of Bariloche's most important mountain landmarks, and learn about the area as you pass through meadows, forests, and mountains of this beautiful region. The tour covers about 40 miles (65 km) and explores the best spots around the Nahuel Huapi Lake

First, you'll skirt the shores of this lake toward Cerro Campanario and disembark to take pictures. Next, you'll head toward the calm landscape of the Llao Llao Peninsula, and then Puerto Panuelo—the starting point of many excursions. Continue toward Lopez Bay, Lopez Hill, and the beautiful El Trebol Lagoon. while your private guide shares the history of the area.

In the evening, you will head to a local brewery for a beer tasting and a snack typical from the region. The brewery is located along a natural viewpoint facing Moreno Lake and surrounded by the forest for a spectacular view. After this fun finale to the tour, you will be taken back to your hotel in Bariloche.

Day 3: Kayaking & Trekking on Mascardi Lake

Enjoy lunch on the shore of Lago Mascardi
Enjoy lunch on the shore of Lago Mascardi

Today is a special day with a combined excursion that mixes kayaking on Lago Mascardi with a nature trek through the forest. The adventure begins with a pickup at your hotel followed by a 45-minute drive south of Bariloche along the famed Ruta 40 to get to the lake.

Your first destination is a lakeshore campsite owned by the local indigenous community. Here you'll hop into your kayak and begin paddling for Playa Leones, the most beautiful beach on Mascardi. Once you arrive at this tranquil pebble beach you'll be able to relax on shore and enjoy the surrounding wilderness.  

Afterward, you'll embark on a nature trek through native coihue forests until you reach a secluded lagoon. Then it's time to head back to Playa Leones, where you'll enjoy lunch while relaxing on the shore. Finally, you'll kayak back to the starting point and return to Bariloche in the late afternoon.

Day 4: Catamaran Tour of Victoria Island & Myrtle Forest

Arrayanes forest path
Arrayanes forest path

Today, you'll take part in another guided tour in the area, this time by boat. In the morning or in the early afternoon, you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to Puerto Pañuelo. This is where you begin a catamaran ride on the clear waters of Lake Nahuel Huapi to get to Victoria Island, surrounded by snowy mountains and lush forests. 

Disembark the boat and walk into the pine forests and birch coihues to get a sense of the stories and legends of this magical place. Keep an eye out for the native residents, including exotic red deer and golden pheasants, as well as a ranger school and warm lodge—all of which give life to the island. 

Once you're back on the boat, the tour continues up to Quetrihue Peninsula, where the famous Myrtle Forest (consisting of an Andean tree species) is located—unique in the world because of its size, density, and development. Covered with white flowers or snow, the forest is undeniably a magical place and on a different dimension.

As the sun begins to set against the Andes mountains, you will sail back to shore and return to your hotel for the evening.

Day 5: Fly from Bariloche to Mendoza

Pretty fountains in downtown Mendoza
Pretty fountains in downtown Mendoza

It is time to say goodbye to Bariloche! This morning, you'll head to the airport for your domestic flight to Mendoza where a wine experience is waiting for you. Once you arrive in Mendoza, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel.

This relatively sleepy city of about a million people is more than the sum of its parts, as it sits in the heart of Argentina's world-famous wine region. This is ground zero for viticulture in the nation, and it's home to Argentina's flagship wine: Malbec. There's also impressive landscapes and interesting sights all around the city, from the high peak of Aconcagua to the Mendoza River to the little villages that dot the countryside, like Uspallata, which date back to pre-hispanic times.

You'll have free time to explore the city as you see fit. Or maybe, you'd just like to lounge by the swimming pool and make reservations for dinner at one of Mendoza's best restaurants. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your day in Argentina's wine capital.

Day 6: Mendoza Full-Day Wine Tour

Vineyard in Luján de Cuyo
Vineyard in Luján de Cuyo

Today you'll enjoy a full-day Argentine wine experience. You'll travel to several wineries to learn all about how the wine is produced and, more importantly, how it tastes. 

After breakfast at your hotel in Mendoza, you'll head to the region of Luján de Cuyo, located at the base of the imposing Andes mountains. Boasting many centuries-old vineyards, this area is known as the cradle of Malbec. Over the course of six hours, you'll visit three different wineries accompanied by a multi-lingual guide. Note that the proposed wineries change according to the season, so we can't give a specific list here. 

Regardless of what season and which specific vineyards you visit, today you'll enjoy a delicious three-course meal paired with a selection of delectable wines right at the winery. And looking out over the grapevines to the Andes mountains beyond is the perfect way to enjoy your meal.

Day 7: Fly from Mendoza to Iguazú Falls

Aerial view of the falls
Aerial view of the falls

This morning a driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to northern Argentina's Misiones Province. Here you'll find the jewel in the crown: Iguazú Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world.

Upon arrival to the city of Purto Iguazú, you'll check into your hotel and then have the option for a half-day tour of the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls (as opposed to the Argentine side) beginning in the afternoon. This is a good introduction to the falls, as the Brazilian side offers what amounts to a couple of easily accessible viewpoints. So you'll be able to enjoy the majesty of this natural wonder without the extensive walking that accompanies a visit to the Argentine side (don't worry, because you'll experience that tomorrow). 

So enjoy the falls as you acclimate to the warmer weather (temps here can top 90°F in the summer months). Also, be on the lookout for exotic animals that call the area home, such as monkeys and coatis. 

Note: special visas are required for certain countries. Please ask the specialist if it is necessary for your itinerary.

Day 8: Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)

Touring Iguazú from the Argentine side
Touring Iguazú from the Argentine side

After breakfast at your hotel, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to the entrance of Iguazú National Park, on the Argentine side of the falls. This is where you will begin the day's adventure. It's a full-day excursion that involves traversing three circuit routes around the falls, each offering exceptional vantage points from which to view this magnificent natural wonder. 

The three circuit routes include:

  • The upper circuit (1 hour), which features 2,624 feet (800 m) of catwalks. These walkways are elevated from the jungle surface so as not to disrupt the natural pathways used by the indigenous fauna. The circuit affords views of the upper portion of Iguazú; that means you'll be treated to no shortage of panoramic vistas of the surrounding falls.

  • The lower circuit (2 hours), which consists of 5,250 feet (1,600 m). These are also elevated and offer views from directly below and around Iguazú falls. This circuit takes you near the base of the falls and provides a unique experience where you'll be up close with the natural surroundings, feeling the magnitude of the falls from up close. 

  • Devil's Gorge (2 hours), enjoys an intimidating reputation that will precede your arrival to the park. This is the star of the show and the biggest of the some 275 falls that makeup Iguazú. A small tourist train leaves from within the park at the Cataratas Station and travels 18 minutes to Garganta Station, where you'll find restrooms, a snack bar, and the start of the wooden pathway to the falls. Then a walk of about 3,937 feet (1200 m) will take you over the river, culminating at a viewpoint. Just hearing the plunging falls reverberating in your ears is a one-of-a-kind experience. Actually peering 269 feet (82 m) down into the cavernous abyss as the highest of Iguazu's falls thunders all around you is downright unforgettable. 

At the end of the tour, the driver will pick you up and transfer you back to the hotel.

Day 9: Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side) - Fly to Buenos Aires

View of Iguazu Falls from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
View of Iguazu Falls from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil

Now that you have seen the Argentine side of the Iguazu Falls, it's time to see the Brazilian side through a half-day excursion to Foz do Iguacu. Here, you'll admire a sweeping panoramic view of the entire waterfall complex that you visited yesterday for an overall sense of its vastness.

In the afternoon, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Once you arrive, you'll be transferred by a private driver to your hotel downtown. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own, perhaps taking advantage of any restaurants or lounges you may have missed at the beginning of the trip.

Day 10: Departing Buenos Aires

Goodbye, Buenos Aires!
Goodbye, Buenos Aires!

Eat one last breakfast in Buenos Aires, and at the appropriate time, drive the airport for your departing flight and head home after an unforgettable trip.

Map

Map of Classic Argentina: Patagonia, Mendoza, & Iguazú - 10 Days
Map of Classic Argentina: Patagonia, Mendoza, & Iguazú - 10 Days