Experience the sophistication of Buenos Aires, the mesmerizing force of the Iguazu Falls, the spectacular glaciers of El Calafate, and more. This 12 day trip to Argentina's historic capital and then across Patagonia perfectly balances natural and cultural sightseeing, making it ideal for any adventurous traveler.

Highlights

  • Explore the energetic neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango
  • Discover Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world
  • See giant glaciers and plummeting waterfalls up-close
  • Kayak, hike, and sail through a variety of landscapes across three national parks

Overview

This extensive trip lasts for just under two weeks and combines of the best destinations Argentina has to offer: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, El Calafate, and Ushuaia. Approximately three days will be spent in each of these four destinations, allowing for a balanced experience that seamlessly blends urban bustle, natural adventure, and small-town charm.

These destinations cover Argentina's northern jungles, southeastern coast, and far-southern edge, spanning across climate zones that range from tropical to tundra. Be sure to pack varied and appropriate clothing to accommodate for sudden weather changes, as well as physical activity. This tour includes certain excursions that require a degree of physical aptitude (hiking, rowing, etc.), but changes can be made to make certain parts more accessible. Overall, this option is a great choice for both families and more seasoned adventurers looking for a well-rounded introduction to Argentina.

Brief Itinerary

Day Destination Activities
Day 1 Buenos Aires (Arrival) Free Day
Day 2 Buenos Aires City Tour, Tango Show
Day 3 Buenos Aires – Ushuaia Travel, Free Day
Day 4 Ushuaia/Tierra del Fuego National Park Trail (3 hrs), Canoeing (1.5 hours)
Day 5 Ushuaia/Beagle Channel Boat Tour (3-4 hrs)
Day 6 Ushuaia - El Calafate Travel, Free Day
Day 7 El Calafate/Perito Moreno Glacier Glacier Tour (6 hrs)
Day 8 El Calafate Free Day
Day 9 El Calafate - Buenos Aires- Puerto Iguazu Travel, Free Day
Day 10 Puerto Iguazu Argentine Falls Tour
Day 11 Puerto Iguazu - Buenos Aires Brazilian Falls Tour, Travel
Day 12 Buenos Aires (Departure) N/A

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires

Solar Flower in Buenos Aires

Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel, then take the rest of the day to explore Argentina's enchanting capital city at your own pace. Each neighborhood will offer something different and new, so try to check out multiple neighborhoods to get a feel for the whole city. After the sun sets, get a taste of the local cuisine, from asado beef to empanadas and much more, at one of the many delicious restaurants Buenos Aires offers. Wrap up the night with an evening stroll through leaf-lined streets of Palermo, one of the most picturesque and lively neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.

Day 2: City Tour, Dinner, and Tango Show

Tango Dancing

After breakfast, a fascinating city tour will provide an overview of the Buenos Aires as well as a better understanding of Argentina’s history and culture. During this three hour tour, you will visit Retiro as well as Avenida 9 de Julio, South America’s widest avenue featuring El Teatro Colon and Obelisco. You will also pass through the historic and architecturally imposing city center, home to the Congress Building, Plaza de Mayo, Avenida de Mayo, and Casa Rosada. Then, walk along the modern docks of Puerto Madero before heading to the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo, stopping by upmarket Recoleta for the local cemetery and Plaza Francia and La Boca, the city's original port.

At night you, enjoy a scrumptious meal accompanied by free-flowing wine and an enchanting tango show, one of Argentina's most iconic cultural highlights. Take the rest of the night to rest and return to your hotel, and get a good night's sleep before traveling tomorrow.

Day 3: Buenos Aires – Ushuaia

Ushuaia's Landscape

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city at the edge of the vast American continent. Upon arrival, check into your comfortable hotel room and explore your new surroundings. Located in a large bay featuring a rocky coast, Ushuaia features a charming downtown and scenic dock area. This day will be relatively relaxed since the next day will feature more physical, outdoors activities.

Day 4: Ushuaia, Trekking, and Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego National Park

Canoeing down the Lapataia River

A shared service shuttle will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Located in one of the most notable ecological zones in the Americas, Tierra del Fuego is known for its subantarctic forest, dramatic scenery and rugged coastline. 

Once you arrive in Ensenada Bay, gaze upon a spectacular view of the Beagle Channel before strolling along the coast. This six-kilometer walk allows you to observe surrounding flora and fauna, including woodpeckers, guanacos, and foxes. In addition, you will be able to see traces of the Yamana's legacy, the historical indigenous inhabitants of the region. 

After 3 hours, you will arrive at Lake Roca, where picnic lunch will be served. Afterwards, canoe down the Lapataia River until you reach the southern end of the Pan-American Highway, the world's longest drivable road. This important trans-continental route begins in Alaska, and covers the entire length of the Americas. At night, return to your hotel in Ushuaia.

Day 5: Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse

In the morning, head out to a nearby and board a boat for a local cruise (requires a port tax of approx. $4 USD). Sail through the Beagle Channel, one of the region’s most important waterways named after the HMS Beagle, a 19th-century British ship that once carried Charles Darwin to South America.

As you pass through the channel, get breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Ushuaia and the entire bay. Be on the lookout for sightings of diverse marine wildlife, such as cormorants and sea lions, especially near the Lobo and De Los Pajaros islands. If the winds are calm, you can even hop ashore on one of the islands’ bridges, collect some giant shells, and see the opposite coast which stretches across both Chile and Argentina. Before making your way back, see the famous Les Eclaireurs, the so-called "Lighthouse at the End of the World".

Day 6: Ushuaia - El Calafate

El Calafate Lake, Argentina

Transfer to the local airport for your flight to Calafate, a regional hub for visits to the stunning glaciers of Southern Patagonia, including the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier. After a short flight, arrive, check into your hotel, and take the rest of the day to relax or explore the charming city. In the evening, try to stop by the Laguna Nimez Reserve, where you can admire an amazing array of endemic birds in the sanctuary and watch the sunset over Lago Argentino.

Day 7: El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier

After breakfast, prepare to start your full-day excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. Upon entering Los Glaciares National Park, you will take the route along Lake Argentino for approximately 80km from El Calafate. Walls of ice will appear in the distance, and soon, you will come face-to-face with the 70m high glacier. Numerous walkways leading to the front of the glacier, each complete with soundtracks of the glacier's natural motions, making for an experience like no other. The tour also includes a short cruise, where you can see Perito Moreno Glacier from a new perspective. You will return to the hotel in the evening.

Day 8: El Calafate Free Day

El Calafate Lake, Argentina

Get one more day in El Calafate to venture out and discover more adventures. Rent a kayak for a tour, check out other glaciers, or go horseback riding on a nearby ranch.

Day 9: El Calafate - Buenos Aires - Puerto Iguazu

Rainbow at the Iguazu Falls

Today, you will fly across to the opposite side of Argentina and make your way to the Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world. After stopping briefly in Buenos Aires, you will arrive in Puerto Iguazu and be transferred to your hotel. Take the rest of the day to soak up the warm tropical weather and relax by the pool. In the evening, you can check out the Three Borders Landmark, a museum, and monument complex located in the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Day 10: Puerto Iguazu and the Iguazu Falls

Bird's Eye View of Iguazu Falls

After breakfast, start your exciting full-day excursion to the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls. Roam along scenic paths and get breathtaking views of over 200 majestic waterfalls. Stop for some lunch at noon, and if you still want more thrills, embark on the Great Adventure tour where you sail up the river right beneath the falls. If you choose to go on this extra tour, make sure you bring a change of clothes since you will definitely get soaked in the splash zone! Later in the afternoon, catch the train to the single largest waterfall in the park, the jaw-dropping Devil's Throat. Then, return to your hotel and wind down.

Day 11: Excursion to Brazilian Iguazu Falls - Buenos Aires

The Devil's Throat

Now that you have seen one side of the Iguazu Falls, it's time to see the other through a half-day excursion to Brazil. Admire a sweeping panoramic view of the entire waterfall complex you visited yesterday, giving you an overall sense of the vastness of the Iguazu Falls. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport via regular service for your flight to Buenos Aires, then get a private ride to your hotel downtown.

Day 12: Depart from Buenos Aires 

Sunset in 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 Best of Argentina - 12 Days
Map of Best of Argentina - 12 Days