- Explore high-energy Buenos Aires on foot
- Take a day trip to a working estancia (ranch) and enjoy a traditional BBQ
- Tour Bariloche and embark on kayaking trips and nature hikes
- Hike along the edge of the thundering Iguazú Falls and witness its power
|Day 1||Arrival in Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Walking Tour of Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 3||Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana||Buenos Aires|
|Day 4||Buenos Aires to Tigre||Buenos Aires|
|Day 5||Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche||Bariloche|
|Day 7||Kayaking & Trekking on Mascardi Lake||Bariloche|
|Day 8||Catamaran Tour of Victoria Island & Myrtle Forest||Bariloche|
|Day 9||Fly from Bariloche to Iguazú Falls||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 10||Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 11||Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side)||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 12||Buenos Aires Departure|
Day 1: Arrival 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 by far 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.
When evening falls and dinnertime arrives, do like the locals and order 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: Walking Tour of Buenos Aires
After breakfast, you'll take an organized tour of Buenos Aires. During this three-hour walking excursion, you'll visit the neighborhood of Retiro plus stroll Avenida 9 de Julio—South America’s widest avenue. You'll pass through the historic city center, home to the Teatro Colón opera house, National Congress, Plaza de Mayo, and the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). Then, visit the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo. Afterward, you'll stop by the city's original port, La Boca.
In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by a tango performance—one of Argentina's most well-known cultural highlights.
Day 3: Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana
Just as North Americans have their cowboys, Argentines have their gauchos. This frontier culture is strongest in the pampas (prairies) immediately surrounding the capital since this is where the country was first settled. Gauchos are national symbols in Argentina, whether it's the real-life horsemen who still exist today, or the folk heroes of epic Argentine poems, like Martín Fierro, whose stories are passed down over generations.
Today you'll get a real gaucho experience. You'll be picked up in the morning and whisked off to Santa Susana, a working Argentine estancia (ranch). Here you'll enjoy a welcome reception that includes wine, soft drinks, and empanadas. After a guided tour of the property, you'll do some horseback riding (or perhaps enjoy a carriage ride) before settling in for a traditional folkloric music performance—and everyone's invited to get up and dance.
Lunch will be an Argentine asado (mixed grill) paired with even more of the country's fantastic wine. Real gauchos will then showcase their prowess with the bolas—traditional throwing weapons comprised of round weights connected by cords. Their displays will demonstrate how these deceptively simple weapons, when used in the right hands, can be effective at bringing down horses, cows, and even people.
After lunch, you'll be treated to more entertainment. The gauchos will continue to showcase their abilities, this time as they perform a series of feats known as carreras de sortijas (ring races). These are typical in gaucho equine competition and showcase the cowboys' great skills on horseback. You will end the day at the estancia with a late-afternoon serving of mate, the popular tea-like infusion that is an indispensable part of Argentine culture.
By the time you transfer back to your hotel in the evening, you can be happy in the knowledge that you've enjoyed a traditional Argentine frontier experience.
Day 4: Buenos Aires to Tigre
Today you'll travel up Río de la Plata where it converges with the Paraña River Delta, located about an hour north of Buenos Aires. During the boat ride, you'll enjoy views of the city skyline as you enter a network of freshwater canals and sail among the islands that make up this unique region. The main port is in Tigre, a Venetian-style village whose small-town and relaxing atmosphere contrast with Buenos Aires' bustling energy.
On the waterfront, you'll find Puerto de Frutos, a maze of craft markets, produce stalls, and artisanal goods. The Museo de Arte features a grand collection of Argentine art spanning two centuries. The Naval Museum and the Museo de Maté are other highlights worth a visit. The latter offers an overview and tasting of maté, an herb cultivated in the Paraná region of the country and used for tea.
Day 5: Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche
This morning, after breakfast in Buenos Aires, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to Aeroparque Airport, located in the city. You will then catch a flight to Bariloche, located southwest in Argentina's Lake District.
San Carlos de Bariloche was founded in 1902 on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, which itself is part of the larger Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. If you detect some native influence in that name, you're correct. It comes from the Mapuche indigenous people who once inhabited the area, and it means "jaguar island." The lake straddles the Chilean border, with the city of Bariloche located on the southeast shore. This region is beautiful and you'll be able to experience its majesty on nature hikes and excursions.
Upon arrival at Bariloche's airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Even though you may be tired from your flight, try to get out and explore the city. The charming chalet-style buildings and alpine architecture can be seen and enjoyed on a brisk walk around, and the city center abounds with waterfront plazas, chocolate shops, and upscale restaurants.
When dinnertime comes around, be sure to sample the local cuisine. You'll find that it differs considerably from what's typically found in Buenos Aires. Here regional fare like wild boar and lake trout is popular and delicious, as is the fondue (a culinary addition first introduced by the city's Swiss immigrants).
Day 6: Bariloche
In Bariloche, you'll have a guided tour and history lesson. Learn how San Carlos de Bariloche evolved relatively quickly from a small mountain village into one of the most attractive and popular cities in Argentina. As you experience the natural beauty of the region and hike around its terrain, you'll begin to understand why Bariloche was voted Argentina's national capital of adventure tourism. At the end of the tour, you'll visit a local microbrewery for lunch and beer tasting.
Day 7: Kayaking & Trekking on Mascardi Lake
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 forty-five 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 jump into your kayak and begin paddling for Playa Leones, a beautiful pebble beach on Mascardi. Once you arrive at this tranquil beach, you'll be able to relax on shore and enjoy the surrounding wilderness.
Afterward, you'll embark on a hike 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 8: Catamaran Tour of Victoria Island & Myrtle Forest
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 9: Fly from Bariloche to Iguazú 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.
Day 10: Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)
After breakfast at your hotel, a driver will pick you up and drop you off at the entrance of Iguazú National Park, the Argentine side of the falls. This is where you will begin the day's adventure, a full-day tour that involves walking the three circuits that weave around the falls. Each of these offers different vantage points from which to view the water.
The three circuits include:
- The upper circuit (1 hour) is made up of 2,624 feet (800 m) of walkways elevated above the jungle floor to avoid disrupting the natural paths of indigenous fauna. On this route, you'll see the upper portion of Iguazú, including countless panoramic vistas of the surrounding falls.
- The lower circuit (2 hours) is 5,250 feet (1,600 m) long and is also made up of elevated walkways, which go directly below and around the falls. This circuit takes you near the base of the falls and right up to the crashing torrents of water. You'll be able to feel the magnitude of the falls from up close.
- The Devil's Throat (2 hours) is the star of the show. A small tourist train leaves from the Cataratas Station and travels 18 minutes to Garganta Station, where you'll find restrooms, a snack bar, and the start of the path. You'll walk 3,937 feet (1200 m) over the river until you reach the viewing platform. From there you'll be able to peer 269 feet (82 m) down into the water, as the highest of Iguazu's falls thunders all around you.
At the end of the tour, the driver will pick you up and take you back to your hotel.
Day 11: Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side)
The Brazilian side of Iguazú may lack the number of hiking routes found on the Argentine side, but it makes up for it with a wealth of amenities in the form of conveniences and restaurants with terraces overlooking the falls. Upon arrival at the Visitors Center, you'll board a double-decker bus that embarks on a 30-minute ride into the park.
After you jump off the bus, your first stop is a balcony that offers panoramic views of the Argentine side of the falls (be sure to keep your camera at the ready). You'll then hike 3,116 feet (950 m) along the Iguazú River until you reach the falls on the Brazilian side. The walkway passes over the river to the Salto Floriano (Floriano Falls). This magnificent wall of plunging water makes quite an impression, as do the vistas of the lower Iguazú River and the Devil’s Throat Canyon.
Once you have the lay of the land, spend your day enjoying the various views and having lunch on a terrace before returning to your hotel.
Day 12: Buenos Aires Departure
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight back home. Until next time!