Visit the world's oldest glaciers on a 13-day Patagonian adventure that includes the alpine town of Bariloche plus Los Glaciers National Park. In the latter, you'll enjoy boat tours from the town of El Calafate to the most incredible glacier in the region, Perito Moreno. Then, in Argentina's beautiful Lake District, you'll experience the charms of Bariloche while embarking on nature hikes and boat trips around Lake Nahuel Huapi.

Highlights

  • Enjoy dinner and a tango show in Argentina's capital of Buenos Aires
  • Visit the colorful river town of Tigre
  • Get up close to the massive Perito Moreno glacier
  • Pamper yourself on a full-day glacier cruise complete with gourmet lunch
  • Enjoy boat trips and nature excursions around Bariloche

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore Buenos Aires
Day 2 Walking Tour of Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 3 Buenos Aires to Tigre Buenos Aires
Day 4 Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate El Calafate
Day 5 Perito Moreno Glacier Tour El Calafate
Day 6 Glaciers Gourmet Boat Tour El Calafate
Day 7 Free Day in El Calafate El Calafate
Day 8 Fly from El Calafate to Bariloche Bariloche
Day 9 Bariloche Guided Tour Bariloche
Day 10 Hiking Bariloche Bariloche
Day 11 Bariloche Half-Day Excursions Bariloche
Day 12 Fly from Bariloche to Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 13 Depart Buenos Aires  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore

The Obelisco in Buenos Aires
The Obelisco in Buenos Aires

Welcome to Argentina! The capital city of Buenos Aires is known as the "Paris of South America" and the "Queen of El Plata." Famous for its mix of European ambiance and Latin American culture, it's the birthplace of the tango and is filled with beautiful Baroque architecture. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will transfer you to your hotel. Once you've had the chance to rest, you can go out and explore. The city center is your best starting point.

Day 2: Walking Tour of Buenos Aires

The Teatro Colón
The Teatro Colón

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 B.A.'s original port, La Boca.

In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by a tango performance—one of Argentina's most famous cultural highlights.

Day 3: Buenos Aires to Tigre

The canals of Tigre
The canals of 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 4: Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate

The city of El Calafate, Argentina
The city of El Calafate, Argentina

After breakfast, you'll head to the airport for a three-hour flight south from Buenos Aires 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 stunning views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field along the way.

Upon arrival, you'll transfer from the airport to your hotel for check-in. You can then spend the rest of the day relaxing or strolling around town and visiting its charming cafés and boutiques. You can learn about nearby glaciers at the Glaciarium—a multi-media center that has an ice museum, various interactive displays, and educational information regarding glaciers. Or, don a coat, boots, and gloves, to enjoy a drink at the museum's Glaciobar BrancaIt, Argentina's first ice bar.

Day 5: Perito Moreno Glacier Tour

The massive ice walls of Perito Moreno
The massive ice walls of Perito Moreno

After breakfast, you'll depart your hotel for a full-day excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. Comprised of over 96 square miles of solid ice, Perito Moreno is one of the world's most impressive glaciers.

As you head east from El Calafate into Los Glaciares National Park, you'll catch your first glimpse of Perito Moreno. Extending from the Andes, it ends in a great wall that curves around the lake. Three miles of wooden walkways carry visitors all around the glacier and feature many lookout points. As you stand at one of these viewing areas, you're likely to witness "calving," an event where great chunks of ice break off from the glacier wall and crash into the waters below.

But we know you'll be eager to get an even closer view. So this day's itinerary also includes a short cruise across the lake, where you'll get right alongside Perito Moreno's massive ice wall, which reaches heights of 240 feet (74 meters) in places. In the evening, you'll return to your hotel in El Calafate where you can relax and enjoy a lovely dinner.

Day 6: Glaciers Gourmet Boat Tour

Take a luxury boat tour of Perito Moreno
Take a luxury boat tour of Perito Moreno

In the morning, you'll be picked up from your hotel and embark on a full-day boat cruise into Los Glaciares National Park. As the name of this tour suggests, this boat offers the highest standard of comfort plus a gourmet lunch, which will be served on board.

You'll travel throughout this UNESCO World Heritage Site, passing forests, lakes, and mountains, all within an area home to more than 200 glaciers. You'll see a few of these renowned pieces of ice, including Spegazzini, which rises 442 feet (135 meters) above sea level; Upsala, which has a surface area of 32 miles (53 km); and Perito Moreno, a massive glacier that is constantly advancing and calving, which is one of Mother Nature's most impressive sights.

Day 7: Free Day in El Calafate

Reserva Laguna Nimez
Reserva Laguna Nimez

Today is free to enjoy El Calafate however you choose. You can book a luxurious spa treatment and spend the day relaxing. Perhaps choose an active adventure like horseback riding on a nearby ranch or embarking on a kayak trip on the lake. You could also tour Reserva Laguna Nimez, a protected area 15 minutes walking distance from town and which is home to exotic birds like the Chilean flamingo. Or simply spend the day hanging out in the cafés in El Calafate.

Day 8: Fly from El Calafate to Bariloche

Aerial view of Bariloche
Aerial view of Bariloche

After breakfast, you'll catch a two-hour flight from El Calafate to San Carlos de Bariloche. This is the main city in Argentina's famously beautiful Lake District, which is the doorstep to Patagonia.

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. The lake straddles the Chilean border, with the city of Bariloche located on the southeast shore. To witness the full scope of the region's unspoiled beauty, you can ride the cable car to the top of Cerro Campanario. The view from atop this 3,444-foot (1,050-meter) mountain is nothing short of breathtaking.

For dinner, regional fare like wild boar and lake trout is popular and delicious, as is fondue (a culinary addition first introduced by the city's Swiss immigrants).

Day 9: Bariloche Guided Tour

Bariloche views
Bariloche views

Today, you'll embark on a guided tour of San Carlos de Bariloche and learn about its rich history. It began as a small mountain village but grew relatively quickly into one of the most attractive and popular cities in Argentina. As you experience the natural beauty of the region and stroll around Bariloche's chalet-like buildings and lovely waterfront, you'll understand why it's so popular with travelers.

At the end of the tour, you'll visit a local microbrewery for lunch and a beer tasting.

Day 10: Hiking Bariloche

The view from atop Cerro Llao Llao
The view from atop Cerro Llao Llao

Today, you'll partake in a half-day hiking excursion, and you don't have to travel far from Bariloche in order to do it. A car will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Llao Llao Municipal Park, located just a few miles northwest of the city. This protected area is situated on the lakeshore and takes up a relatively small area of Nahuel Huapi (just 3,000 acres). Here you'll find some of the most stunning scenery in the region plus a network of well-maintained hiking paths.

The hike you'll embark on is a moderate one that follows old trails and covers many of the area's natural highlights. One of these, Cerro Llao Llao, is the largest mountain within the park boundaries, standing 3,363 feet (1,025 meters) high. You can hike up to the top of it where you'll be treated to postcard-worthy views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Other points of interest include the sandy beaches of Villa Tacúl, the ancient Puente Romano (Roman Bridge), and the little-visited Hidden Lake. Throughout the trip, you'll be making your way through Patagonian forest with towering arrayán and lenga trees flanking the pathways. You'll also stop at vantage points that offer panoramic views of Lake Nahuel Huapi, Lake Moreno, Puerto Blest, the Brazo Tristeza fjord, Mount López and Mount Capilla, before returning to Bariloche for the night.

Day 11: Bariloche Half-Day Excursions

Consider a cycling trip around Bariloche
Consider a cycling trip around Bariloche

Today you have the option to choose your own adventure around Bariloche. 

You could opt for a kayak trip on Lago Mascardi. This V-shaped lake, which lies about 18 miles (30 km) south of Bariloche, is a popular spot due to its glassy waters and pebble beaches. During the drive to the put-in, you'll pass beautiful locales including Lake Gutierrez and Cerro Catedral, Argentina's premier ski destination. You'll also cross the Continental Divide before arriving on the shores of Lake Mascardi where it meets the Manso River. This is the starting point for the moderate 2-3-hour kayak excursion.

First, you'll navigate through the Tronador (east-west) branch of Mascardi, paddling over turquoise waters flanked by evergreen forests surrounded by the dramatic Nahuel Huapi mountains. You’ll stop for a break at a remote beach where you can relax and enjoy a picnic lunch. Then it will be time to paddle back to the starting point. 

Or, you can opt for a 2-to-3-hour mountain-biking trip following a route that takes you from the suburbs of Bariloche into the Andes foothills. It's a moderate ride comprised of mostly backroads and dirt tracks with a few uphill ascents. Along the way, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Lake Gutierrez, Lake Moreno, and the surrounding mountains. You'll ride across creeks and visit Colonia Suiza, a chalet-filled village founded by Swiss pioneers in the late 19th century.

Day 12: Fly from Bariloche to Buenos Aires

Return to Buenos Aires
Return to Buenos Aires

A driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport where you'll catch a flight back to Buenos Aires. You'll then have the rest of the day to relax in your hotel or get out and visit any of the city sites you might have missed thus far. 

If you're feeling peckish then maybe visit one of B.A.'s many panaderias (bakeries), where you can indulge in a medialuna (half-moon-shaped pastry) or famous alfajore (cookie with dulce de leche). Perhaps while away the afternoon hours on a patio table at one of the city's many coffee houses. Buenos Aires is proud of its café culture, and there's no better vantage point in which to do some good old fashioned people watching than at one of the many options in the city. 

For a delicious piece of B.A. history, stop in at Café Tortoni. This café has been a city institution since it opened back in 1858. Come for a coffee and a churro dipped in dulce de leche, and relish the opulence and history.

Day 13: Depart Buenos Aires

Goodbye, Buenos Aires!
Goodbye, Buenos Aires!

Enjoy one last breakfast in Buenos Aires. When it's time to leave, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport for your flight home. Buen viaje! 

Map

Map of Buenos Aires, El Calafate, & Bariloche - 13 Days
Map of Buenos Aires, El Calafate, & Bariloche - 13 Days