This 15-day adventure delivers unforgettable experiences in Buenos Aires and Patagonia, Argentina's most beautiful region. After a few days living it up in B.A., you'll fly to Puerto Madryn and embark on wildlife-spotting tours. Then you'll travel further south, to Tierra del Fuego, for nature excursions. Finally, head back north to visit some of the most enormous glaciers in the world.

Highlights

  • Kick off the adventure with dinner and a tango show in Buenos Aires
  • Explore the coast off Puerto Madryn, home to whales, penguins, and sea lions
  • Take a boat ride along the Beagle Channel
  • Enjoy a coastal hike and canoe ride in Tierra del Fuego National Park
  • Tour Perito Moreno, one of the most impressive glaciers in the region

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 2 Buenos Aires City Tour - Dinner & Tango Show Buenos Aires
Day 3 Boat Excursion to Tigre Buenos Aires
Day 4 Fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn - Golfo Nuevo Tour Puerto Madryn
Day 5 Tour the Penguin Colony at Punta Tombo Puerto Madryn
Day 6 Explore Península Valdés - Whale-Watching Tour Puerto Madryn
Day 7 Snorkeling with Sea Lions in Puerto Madryn Puerto Madryn
Day 8 Fly to Ushuaia - Explore the City Ushuaia
Day 9 Hiking and Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego Ushuaia
Day 10 Boat Tour to Gable Island - Nature Hike Ushuaia
Day 11 Free Day in Ushuaia Ushuaia
Day 12 Fly from Ushuaia to El Calafate El Calafate
Day 13 Discover Los Glaciares National Park El Calafate
Day 14 Free Day in El Calafate El Calafate
Day 15 Fly from El Calafate to Buenos Aires - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Explore Buenos Aires

The Obelisco in Buenos Aires
The Obelisco 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 famous for its passion. This can be seen in Argentina's rich tango heritage and its citizens' limitless enthusiasm for fútbol (soccer), the country's most popular sport. 

When you arrive at the airport, your driver will take you to your hotel where you will have the chance to recharge from the journey. Once you are well-rested, be sure to venture out into the welcoming arms of Buenos Aires and explore. The city center is your best starting point.

Day 2: Buenos Aires City Tour - Dinner & Tango Show

Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo
Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo

After breakfast, you'll join a fascinating tour for an overview of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s history and culture. During this three-hour tour, you'll visit the neighborhood of Retiro and Avenida 9 de Julio, South America’s widest avenue. You will also pass through the historic and architecturally impressive city center, home to the Congress Building, Plaza de Mayo, Avenida de Mayo, and the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). Then, walk along the upscale waterfront promenades of Puerto Madero before heading to the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo. Afterward, you'll stop by La Boca, the city's original port.

In the evening, enjoy a scrumptious meal accompanied by free-flowing wine and a tango performance, which is one of Argentina's most iconic, cultural highlights. After this memorable experience, you'll head back to your hotel to relax for the night.

Day 3: Boat Excursion to Tigre

Tigre's iconic canals
Tigre's iconic canals

Today you will travel up the Río de la Plata to the point where it converges with the Paraña River Delta, which is comprised of a series of islands, about an hour north of Buenos Aires. During the boat ride, take time to enjoy views of the city skyline from the deck. You will then enter the network of freshwater canals and sail among the many islands that make up this unique region. 

The main port on these canals is in Tigre, a Venetian-style village whose relaxed nature and small-town charm stand in stark contrast to Buenos Aires' bustling energy. This is where you'll spend the better part of the day. Enjoy free time to stroll the waterfront, stop in at the cafes and bistros, visit the museums, and experience this riverside gem any way you see fit. 

After a day discovering this evocative town, hop on a train back to Buenos Aires. Your tour officially ends at the Retiro station, where you'll have the rest of the evening to explore on your own.

Day 4: Fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn - Golfo Nuevo Tour

A beach near Puerto Madryn
A beach near Puerto Madryn

Be prepared for an exciting and action-packed day! A driver will pick you up at your hotel in Buenos Aires and transfer you to the airport for a domestic flight to Trelew. Upon arrival in Trelew, you will travel a short distance to the city of Puerto Madryn, famous as the jumping-off point for nearby Península Valdés. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best place to witness endemic animals in their natural habitat, including sea lions, penguins, guanacos, whales, and orcas. 

After you have had some time to explore Península Valdés, you can join a three-hour guided tour of some of the most fascinating places in the area. The first stop is Cerro Avanzado, where your guide will explain the geology of the Patagonian soil here, and tell you about 35-million-year-old sea fossils. You'll then head to the cliffs near Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) and descend to the beach, which offers wonderful photo opportunities. From here, you'll visit Punta Lomas, where you can spot sea lions and cormorants.

Afterward, return to Puerto Madryn, where you'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening to spend at your leisure. Feel free to stretch your legs and stroll around this tranquil city. It's a safe, walkable community, and the charming waterfront promenade is lined with cafes and restaurants, some with patio seating and ocean views.

Day 5: Tour the Penguin Colony at Punta Tombo

Magellanic penguins sharing a moment
Magellanic penguins sharing a moment

Today involves a boat tour down the Atlantic coast, ending at one of the most incredible destinations in Patagonia: Punta Tombo. A driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to Puerto Rawson, a fishing village located about 31 miles (50 km) south of Puerto Madryn. From here, you will board a ship and start the tour. As you head down the Patagonian coast, keep an eye out for spectacular black-and-white Commerson dolphins, believed to be the smallest dolphin species in the world. 

The tour continues down to Punta Tombo, to the famous penguin colony. This tiny protected area is less than a square mile, but home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in Latin America. The colony was once home to over a million Magellanic penguins, although exact estimates vary. Everywhere you look here you'll see countless penguins. You'll even be able to explore the area on foot, wandering among these cute, waddling critters. Note that touching the penguins is prohibited, although photos are welcome.

Day 6: Explore Península Valdés - Whale-Watching Tour

Whale breaching near Puerto Madryn
Whale breaching near Puerto Madryn

After breakfast in Puerto Madryn, a driver will pick you up at your hotel for a full-day tour, on both land and sea, starting in Península Valdés. The first stop will be the Istmo Ameghino Interpretation Center. Through various educational exhibits, you will gain insight into the different types of fauna that call this peninsula home. There's even a lookout tower featuring stunning views of two magnificent bodies of water: the Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San José.

After visiting the interpretation center, continue to Puerto Pirámides. This is the starting point for today's oceanic wildlife excursion. Once aboard the ship, you will sail along the coast and enjoy several opportunities for wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for sea lions and (if you're lucky) right whales and killer whales. You will also pass a local lighthouse that epitomizes all the seafaring splendor and rugged coastal beauty for which Patagonia is famous.

Your day isn't over after the boat ride. On the way back to Puerto Madryn you will pass some salt flats, as well as Isla de Pájaros, an island abounding with different birds, including cormorants, egrets, rheas, and flamingos. In the late afternoon, you'll complete the tour and return to the hotel.

Day 7: Snorkeling with Sea Lions in Puerto Madryn

Snorkel with sea lions in Puerto Madryn
Snorkel with sea lions in Puerto Madryn

There are only a few places in South America where you can swim with sea lions in their natural habitat. Puerto Madryn is one. In the morning, a guide will pick you up at your hotel and transport you to their office where you will change into your swimwear. You'll then board a boat at Puerto Pirámides, on Península Valdés, and depart for a nearby bay, which is full of sea lions. 

Upon arrival, it's time to hop in the water (wetsuits and equipment will be provided). If you're feeling apprehensive, there's no need to be. Sea lions are curious by nature and will swim up and offer a friendly hello. Also, a guide will be there every step of the way to offer specific instructions about what to do when a sea lion approaches. It's an unforgettable experience.

Day 8: Fly to Ushuaia - Explore the City

Early morning in Ushuaia
Early morning in Ushuaia

After breakfast in Puerto Madryn, pack up before flying down to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Upon arrival, a driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the day to explore the city. 

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. This is the waterway where Charles Darwin rode the HMS Beagle almost 200 years ago. Be sure to get out and walk along the waterfront for a better glimpse of the majestic mountains and impressive channel.

Day 9: Hiking and Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego

Coastal trail in Tierra del Fuego
Coastal trail in Tierra del Fuego

In the morning, a shuttle will pick you up at your hotel in Ushuaia 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. 

Upon arrival in Ensenada Bay, you'll be treated to a spectacular view of the Beagle Channel. You'll then embark on a four-mile (six-kilometer) coastal walk in which you'll get to observe the surrounding flora and fauna of the region. Interesting animals you can spot include woodpeckers, guanacos, and foxes. In addition, you will be able to see traces of the Yamana indigenous settlements that once existed here.

After three hours, you'll arrive at Lake Roca, where a picnic lunch will be served. Afterward, you'll hop in a canoe and paddle down the Lapataia River until you reach the southern end of the Pan-American Highway, the world's longest drivable road. This trans-continental route begins in Alaska and covers the entire length of the Americas.

Day 10: Boat Tour to Gable Island - Nature Hike

Take a boat ride on the Beagle Channel
Take a boat ride on the Beagle Channel

Today's excursion is a scenic journey to a largely uninhabited location, the first estancia (ranch) in Tierra del Fuego, Harberton Ranch. There, you can visit the Marine Mammal Museum (called Acatushún), as well as the surroundings of what is one of the first foreign settlements in Tierra del Fuego.

Next, board a motorboat and head to Martillo Island, where you will see Magellanic penguins in their natural habitat. The boat tour continues to the main attraction, the enormous Gable Island. Here, lunch will be served, along with Patagonian wine. 

After the meal, explore more of this gorgeous island on a hike. The walk includes crossing over beaver dams and passing through forests on your way to the shores of the Beagle Channel. There, a boat will return you to Harberton Ranch, from where you'll hop on a bus back to your hotel.

Day 11: Free Day in Ushuaia

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse in Beagle Channel
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse in Beagle Channel

Today you're free to do as you please in Ushuaia! You can spend more time seeing the sights in town or join an organized excursion.

Day 12: Fly from Ushuaia to El Calafate

Icebergs on a lake in El Calafate
Icebergs on a lake in El Calafate

After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to the airport in Ushuaia for your flight to El Calafate. This regional hub is home to the stunning glaciers of southern Patagonia, including the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier.

After arriving, your driver will transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to rest or explore this charming city. In the evening, consider stopping by the Laguna Nimez Reserve, where you can admire a diverse array of endemic birds in the sanctuary and watch the sunset over Lago Argentino.

Day 13: Discover Los Glaciares National Park

View Perito Moreno up close on a boat tour
View Perito Moreno up close on a boat tour

After breakfast, head to Los Glaciares National Park. As you enter this protected area, you will catch your first glimpse of the majestic Perito Moreno. This expansive glacier flows down from the Andes over the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino, and ends abruptly in a great wall of ice that curves around the lake. You may also witness "calving"—the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and crashing into the tranquil waters below. Every time ice hits the water, a thundering crash echoes around the lake. 

Perito Moreno is not the only glacier in the area, but it is the most famous in the park. It is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, which is what causes the calving. Upon arrival, you can admire Perito Moreno from a number of different vantage points, thanks to the network of wooden walkways positioned in front of the glacier. You will also get the chance to see the massive ice wall up close on a boat tour. 

Day 14: Free Day in El Calafate

Aerial view of El Calafate
Aerial view of El Calafate

Today, you'll have a free day to explore El Calafate. Arrange a spa treatment at a resort or venture out and discover more adventures in and around El Calafate. Perhaps you'd like to see more glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park, go horseback riding on a ranch, or join a kayaking tour. 

For a break from the glaciers, you can also take a short 15-minute walk from El Calafate to an ecological reserve called Laguna Nimez. This protected area is a haven for a great variety of birds, including the Chilean flamingo. There's a self-guided walk along a boardwalk that takes visitors around the whole reserve. 

Another museum option (besides the Glaciarium) is the town's history museum: Centro de Interpretación Histórica. Covering the history of Patagonia since the ice age, there is useful information on glaciers, as well as dinosaurs, extinct animals, indigenous peoples, and the formation of other geographical landscapes.

Day 15: Fly from El Calafate to Buenos Aires - Departure

Sunset in Buenos Aires
Sunset in Buenos Aires

This morning, your driver will take you to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be transferred to the international airport for your return flight home. ¡Buen viaje!

Map

Map of Best of Argentinian Patagonia - 15 Days
Map of Best of Argentinian Patagonia - 15 Days