This 13-day itinerary focuses on Buenos Aires and Patagonia, two highlight regions of Argentina that couldn't be more different, though each offers plenty of fun and adventure. Start by wandering Buenos Aires' wide boulevards and enjoy sultry tango music before jetting off to Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city. This kicks off many days of excursions in Patagonia that include hiking through national parks, boat tours to majestic glaciers, and much more.


  • Enjoy dinner and a tango show in Buenos Aires
  • Walk with penguins and hike through national parks in Ushuaia
  • Visit the famous Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia
  • Hike the trails around El Chaltén and enjoy views of Mount Fitz Roy

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 2 Free Day in Buenos Aires, Dinner & Tango Show Buenos Aires
Day 3 Fly to Ushuaia & Argentine Patagonia Ushuaia
Day 4 Visit Isla Martillo Penguin Colony & Fishing Village Ushuaia
Day 5 Half-Day Hike in Tierra del Fuego National Park Ushuaia
Day 6 Carbajal Valley Lakes Tour Ushuaia
Day 7 Half-Day Trek to Laguna Esmeralda Ushuaia
Day 8 Transfer to El Calafate, Optional Activities El Calafate
Day 9 Perito Moreno Boat & Walking Tour El Calafate
Day 10 Visit La Leona Petrified Forest, Transfer to El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 11 Guided Hike to Laguna Capri El Chaltén
Day 12 Self-Guided Hike to Lago del Desierto El Chaltén
Day 13 Transfer to El Calafate & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires

See the highlights of Buenos Aires' downtown, like the Obelisco

Welcome to Argentina! The second-largest country in South America is full of wonders, both human-made and natural. Start your exploration in the capital of Buenos Aires—a great global metropolis of around 15 million people. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting at the terminal to transfer you to your hotel in the city. After checking in, you can venture out and explore on a self-guided tour.

Known as the "Paris of the South," Buenos Aires is a beguiling mix of European influences and Latin American culture. Head to the city center, and you'll notice right away the abundance of Baroque and neoclassical architecture. Highlights in this area include 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. Also, don't miss the historic Plaza de Mayo, home to the iconic Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). 

Day 2: Free Day in Buenos Aires, Dinner & Tango Show

Witness the artistry of the tango, a dance created in Buenos Aires

You'll have this morning free to wander around the city on your own. Perhaps start the day with a traditional porteño breakfast of coffee and medialunas (half-moon-shaped pastries). Then you can explore some of Buenos Aires' famous barrios (neighborhoods). Palermo is a trendy district known for its excellent restaurant scene and expansive city parks. Recoleta is an old-money enclave defined by its Baroque buildings and famous cemetery. It's the final resting place of some of the country's most prominent historical figures, including Eva Perón.

In the evening, you'll head over to San Telmo, the oldest neighborhood in the city. It was here in the late 19th century that a new style of music was born that merged the country dances of rural Spain with other influences from newly arriving immigrants. The music was called "tango," and 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, wine, and a live performance with musicians and dancers at El Viejo Almacén, one of the premier tango venues in the neighborhood.

Day 3: Fly to Ushuaia & Argentine Patagonia

Early morning in Ushuaia
The early morning sun over the Beagle Channel in Ushuaia

In the morning your driver will take you to the airport for the almost four-hour flight to Ushuaia. Located in the Tierra del Fuego region of Patagonia, this is 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, which is 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 4: Visit Isla Martillo Penguin Colony & Fishing Village

Time to visit some penguins
Walk near Magellanic penguins on a visit to Isla Martillo

After breakfast, you'll head out for a day on the water. Transfer to the marina, where you'll board a boat and sail down the Beagle Channel and across Brown Bay. During the trip, you'll pass incredible landscapes and islands home to colonies of sea lions on your way to Isla Martillo, a rocky islet populated by Magellanic penguins. When you arrive, you'll hop off the boat and walk near them, though close contact isn't allowed. Even so, there will be no shortage of fantastic photo opportunities.

Continue the boat trip to the small village of Almanza, where you'll have a seafood lunch with a local family and learn about the fishing industry in the area. Then continue on a hike to the Río Lasifashaj, which features a picturesque waterfall. Sunset will be approaching slowly as you return to Ushuaia for a relaxing dinner and rest at the hotel.

Day 5: Half-Day Hike in Tierra del Fuego National Park

Coastal trail in Tierra del Fuego
Hike along a coastal trail in Tierra del Fuego
Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Spend a day in Tierra del Fuego National Park, one of the highlights of the region. There are many wonders within its 155,000 acres (62,726 ha), and lucky for you, you'll have an experienced guide leading you around the best hiking trails, lakes, and lookout points.

In the morning, you'll depart from your hotel by minibus on a short ride to the park entrance. Then it's a 4.3 mile (7 km) hike on a coastal path that follows the Beagle Channel. You'll have prime views of the channel along the way, plus you'll enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of the area. You'll also pass remnants of ancient settlements once occupied by the Yámana Indigenous people.

After this brisk three-hour trek, you'll reach Lago Roca, where you'll take a break for lunch. Nearby is the Alakush Visitor Center, which you can visit if you want to learn more about the natural and Indigenous history of the region. After a while, you'll continue hiking to Lapataia Bay, stopping on the way at the southernmost post office in the world. Eventually, you'll reach Lapataia on the Beagle Channel. This bay is located at the end of the Pan American Highway and Nacional Route No. 3. Here, you'll hop in a vehicle and transfer back to Ushuaia

Day 6: Carbajal Valley Lakes Tour

Carbajal Valley Lakes Tour
Enjoy the lakes and mountain scenery of the Carbajal Valley

A driver will pick you up at your hotel in the morning, and you'll head out for a road trip along the scenic Nacional Route No. 3 highway. Your first stop on this day tour is in the Carbajal Valley, where you can marvel at some glaciers. Continue to the famous Paso Garibaldi, a mountain pass in the rugged Andes that offers panoramic views of shimmering lakes and soaring peaks. 

Then transfer to a 4WD vehicle for an off-roading trip through an ancient Fuegian forest on old logging roads carved by the region's first lumberjacks. After a stop at Lago Escondido for snacks and maté (a traditional herbal drink), continue to Fagnano Lake and see the Magallanes Fault. This continental tectonic fault line helped form prehistoric South America. Around noon, you'll head to a small village on the shores of Lago Escondido, where you'll enjoy a homemade lunch before returning to Ushuaia.

Day 7: Half-Day Trek to Laguna Esmeralda

The turquoise waters of Laguna Esmeralda
Hike to the famous turquoise waters of Laguna Esmeralda

Another day of active adventure awaits as a driver picks you up from your hotel for another unforgettable drive along beautiful Route 3. Heading away from the Beagle Channel, you'll pass some of the most gorgeous valleys on the island. At one such valley, you'll leave the car behind and head out on a cross-country wilderness hike.

The 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 the bright turquoise waters of Laguna Esmeralda. 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.

Day 8: Transfer to El Calafate, Optional Activities

El Calafate is a Patagonian city on the shores of Lago Argentino

In the morning, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport in Ushuaia for your flight north to El Calafate. Known as the gateway to Argentina's glaciers, the city is located on the shores of Lago Argentino, the nation's biggest freshwater lake. If possible, select a window seat to enjoy the stunning views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field as you fly over it. 

Upon arrival at El Calafate, another transfer will take you to your hotel. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or wander around and enjoy the quaint cafés and souvenir shops in town. Perhaps learn about nearby glaciers on a visit to the Glaciarium, a multimedia center with an ice museum, various interactive displays, and educational information regarding glaciers. A real treat is throwing on a coat, boots, and gloves and enjoying a drink at the museum's Branca Glacio Bar, Argentina's first ice bar.

Day 9: Perito Moreno Boat & Walking Tour

Dramatic views of Perito Moreno by boat
Get up close and personal with Perito Moreno on a boat tour

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 majestic 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. Wait a bit, and you'll witness "calving," the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and crashing into the tranquil waters below.

While not the only glacier in the area, Perito Moreno is definitely the star. It's unique in that it is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, which results in the calving mentioned above. Upon arrival, you can admire Perito Moreno from several different vantage points via the network of wooden walkways strategically situated in front of it. Even better, you'll get up close and personal with its massive ice wall on a boat tour. After a day on the water and wandering the boardwalks around Perito Moreno, you'll transfer back to El Calafate.

Day 10: Visit La Leona Petrified Forest, Transfer to El Chaltén

Spend time exploring a petrified forest and searching for fossils

The Patagonia region is not only home to incredible nature like lakes and glaciers, but it's also a paleontological wonderland abounding with dinosaur fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years. You'll discover some of these wonders on a full-day visit to La Leona, a hotbed of prehistoric fossils.

First, your driver will pick you up, and you'll embark on a morning road trip on the famous Route 40 across the rugged Patagonian steppe. Eventually, you'll arrive at La Leona Hotel, located halfway between El Calafate and the town of El Chaltén. From there, head out on foot to a petrified forest filled with tree trunks dating back 70 million years. As you wander around and explore the site, keep an eye out because occasionally, the fossilized remains of dinosaurs are discovered here.

After the petrified forest, you'll continue to El Chaltén. This town lies just above Lago Viedma and is a major hub in Patagonia for mountain hikes. If the skies are clear, on the drive in, you'll have incredible views of the iconic massif of Mount Fitz Roy. Upon arrival, your driver will drop you off at your hotel and you'll have the rest of the day free. You can embark on short hikes or spend time relaxing in town at one of El Chaltén's many cafés and craft beer bars. 

Day 11: Guided Hike to Laguna Capri

Hike up to the shimmering waters of Laguna Capri

Wake up early and embark on a guided hike up to Laguna Capri. This 5-mile (8 km) jaunt is the perfect introductory trek around El Chaltén. It only takes half a day and is packed with famous scenery, which includes mountains, valleys, glaciers, and of course, lagoons. Along the way, you'll also be treated to Instagram-worthy views of the Fitz Roy massif. 

The walk starts with a gentle climb out of the Río de Las Vueltas Valley, where El Chaltén is located. The first mile is uphill as you follow a trail up above the valley amid spectacular views. Continue on through an old-growth Patagonian forest of lenga and ñire trees, which is home to much endemic wildlife. You might even spot the rare Magellanic woodpecker.

Eventually, you'll arrive at Laguna Capri, a high-altitude lake with incredible views of Fitz Roy in the distance. Spend some time here relaxing on the lakeshore and enjoying the surroundings. After a while, you'll get back on the trail and hike back to El Chaltén.

Day 12: Self-Guided Hike to Lago del Desierto

Self-Guided Hiking and Navigation at Lago del Desierto
Hike on your own around Lago del Desierto and Huemul Lagoon

Today, you'll embark on another scenic circuit hike around El Chaltén—this time without a guide. In the morning, you'll transfer about a half hour by vehicle out of town and up a gravel road to Lago del Desierto. This scenic lake is famous for its deep-blue waters and the surrounding Antarctic beech forest and snowcapped mountains. From here, embark on a four-hour trek up to Huemul Lagoon, a mountain lake complimented by a glacier. During the hike up, you'll enjoy 360-degree views of Lago del Desierto and the valley below.

Once at Huemul, you'll hop on a boat for a 40-minute ride around the lagoon. During this excursion, you'll pass waterfalls, hanging glaciers, and enjoy views of Fitz Roy's north face. After the boat tour, you'll hike back down the trail and return to El Chaltén.

Day 13: Transfer to El Calafate & Depart

Sun setting over Perito Moreno glacier, in Patagonia
Your great outdoor adventure in Argentina has unfortunately come to an end for now. Wake up early and enjoy one more breakfast in El Calafate. Then hop in the car and transfer back to El Calafate and the airport, where you'll catch your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Buenos Aires & Argentine Patagonia - 13 Days
Map of Buenos Aires & Argentine Patagonia - 13 Days