- Enjoy dinner and a tango show in Argentina's capital of Buenos Aires
- Visit different wineries in Mendoza on a tasting tour
- Go horseback riding in the Andes outside Mendoza
- Hike up to viewpoints of towering peaks in Aconcagua National park
- Walk along the edge of the thundering Iguazú Falls and witness its power
|Day 1||Arrival in Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Buenos Aires City Tour - Dinner & Tango Show||Buenos Aires|
|Day 3||Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana||Buenos Aires|
|Day 4||The Argentine Culinary Experience||Buenos Aires|
|Day 5||Boat Excursion to Tigre||Buenos Aires|
|Day 6||Fly from Buenos Aires to Mendoza||Mendoza|
|Day 7||Mendoza Vineyard Tour & Tasting||Mendoza|
|Day 8||Horseback Riding in the Andes||Mendoza|
|Day 9||Full-Day Tour & Trek in Aconcagua National Park||Mendoza|
|Day 10||Fly from Mendoza to Iguazú Falls||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 11||Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 12||Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side)||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 13||Fly from Iguazu to Buenos Aires, Depart Argentina|
|Day 14||Depart Buenos Aires|
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: Buenos Aires City Tour - Dinner & Tango Show
After breakfast, you'll join a fascinating tour for an overview of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s history and culture. During this 3-hour tour, you'll visit the neighborhood of Retiro and Avenida 9 de Julio, South America’s widest avenue. Along this street, you'll see the Teatro Colón, the continent's most opulent opera house, and the iconic Obelisco monument.
You will 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 visiting the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo. After, you'll stop by the city's original port, La Boca.
In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by glasses of wine and a tango performance, one of Argentina's most well-known cultural highlights. After this spectacular show, you'll head back to your hotel to for a good nights rest.
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: The Argentine Culinary Experience
To truly get to the heart of Argentine culture, you must do so one bite (and sip) at a time. While the nation's cuisine may be defined by its beef, a closer inspection reveals a more eclectic array of dishes. And being the hotbed of activity that it is, the capital of Buenos Aires is the perfect place to learn about this culinary heritage in a fun and entertaining way. This is where the Argentine Experience comes in. It's a convivial gastronomic odyssey that celebrates great Argentine food and wine.
Hosted in the trendy neighborhood of Palermo, guests at this unique "dinner party" share a table and prepare a gourmet meal while enjoying a few glasses of the country's famous wine. Professional hosts guide you through the evening and explain how Argentine culture and how it reveals itself in its food. You'll learn how to prepare handmade empanadas plus make alfajores (delicious Argentine cookies). You'll also prepare your own maté, an herbal tea that is the lifeblood of the country.
The evening begins by preparing three different kinds of wine cocktails as well as some delicious tapas to pair with them. As you progress through the night, you'll also try different boutique wines from the house cellar. By the time the experience ends, you will have enough first-hand knowledge of the traditional food and drink of this country to practically be considered an honorary Argentine!
Day 5: Boat Excursion to Tigre
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, enjoy views of the city skyline from the deck. You will enter a 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 small-town, relaxing atmosphere stand in stark contrast to Buenos Aires' bustling energy. You'll spend the better part of the day so enjoy free time to stroll the waterfront, stop in at the cafés and bistros, visit the museums, and experience this riverside gem any way you like.
Suggested activities include:
- Browse Puerto de Frutos. Right on the water, you'll find the "Port of Fruits," a maze of craft markets, produce stalls, artisanal goods, and even garden centers. You're sure to find the perfect snack or souvenir to appeal to your tastes and interests.
- See the town on a tour bus. The Bus Turistico is a hop on/hop off tour bus that covers the basic highlights of Tigre as it drives along the waterfront. The circuit lasts about an hour and is a quick and relaxing way to get to know this town.
- Visit Tigre's museums. The Museo de Arte is the most popular house in the Belle Epoch-inspired Tigre Club and 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 is a fun little place that offers an overview of maté (a herb cultivated in the Paraná region of the country for tea) with tastings at their "mate bar."
After a day discovering this town, board 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 6: Fly from Buenos Aires to Mendoza
After breakfast, a driver will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Mendoza. This western region of Argentina is ground zero for the country's booming viticulture industry. A seemingly limitless number of vineyards abound here, with many producing Argentina's flagship varietal: Malbec. Originally a French import, the Argentines took this largely ignored berry and ran with it. The result is one of the most robust wines in the world.
Mendoza also features some breathtaking scenery and opportunities for outdoor activities. With the Andes Mountains looming over the area's vineyards, travelers can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. Of course, vineyard tours and wine tastings are also popular activities in the region.
Upon arrival in Mendoza, you'll transfer to your hotel for check-in. You'll then have the rest of the day to relax and explore the city at your leisure. The center of Mendoza features expansive plazas and wide boulevards shaded by canopies of bushy green sycamore leaves. In stark contrast to Buenos Aires, people here move at a relaxed pace, making this the perfect city in which to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
Suggested activities around town:
- Stroll Mendoza's famous parks. One of the most popular meeting spots for locals is Plaza Independencia with impressive fountains and elegant acacia trees. There's also Parque General San Martín for well-manicured grounds dotted with palm trees.
- Visit a museum. There are a few in Mendoza. One recommended option is the Museo del Pasado Cuyano, which features many exhibits on local history as well as collections of weapons from the independence era.
- Enjoy some local cuisine. Mendoza sits at the foot of the Andes, so fare here tends to be rustic. That said, you'll find a wide variety of eateries and many high-end options, too. There's none more famous and revered than 1884, the flagship restaurant of legendary Argentine chef Francis Mallman, who perfected the technique of cooking over an open flame. The food here is heavy on grilled meat and can best be described as "haute country." This is one of the most popular restaurants in Argentina, so be prepared to splurge.
Day 7: Mendoza Vineyard Tour & Tasting
Today you will embark on a guided tour of two distinct wine-producing areas around Mendoza: the Maipú Valley and the town of Lujan de Cuyo. Maipú is located a mere 12 miles (20 km) away, while Lujan de Cuyo is located directly adjacent to Mendoza in the south.
The first winery tour includes a presentation on the viniculture process with a subsequent tasting. The second tour includes another tasting as well as more education about wine development. Lunch will be served in the winery's warehouse, where you will enjoy a gourmet menu paired with some of the best wines from the cellar.
Afterward, it's time to visit two more wineries before ending the day's excursion. With a full stomach and a head swirling with all the delicious varietals of Mendoza, you can spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening relaxing while enjoying your hotel's amenities.
Day 8: Horseback Riding in the Andes
Today you'll saddle up for a horseback-riding excursion. It begins in the morning when you transfer from Mendoza to the precordillera region of the Andes Mountains. Once on the horse, you'll ascent mountain trails to elevations of over 5,500 feet (1,700 meters) above sea level. The scenery at these altitudes is incredible, as you'll be surrounded by views of snow-capped Andean, some of which are over 15,000 feet (5,000 meters) tall.
After the excursion, you'll return to your hotel in Mendoza.
Day 9: Full-Day Tour & Trek in Aconcagua National Park
Get ready for some spectacular scenery, because today you're going to enjoy a full-day driving tour through the Andes. After breakfast, you'll meet a bilingual guide and embark on the first part of the drive, which passes through small mountain villages such as Uspallata, Puente del Inca, Penitentes, and Horcones.
From here, the drive continues uphill where you'll stop for a short trek that reaches the viewpoint of Mount Aconcagua. Standing a whopping 22,837 feet (6,961 meters), this the highest peak in South America. Be sure to savor the views and snap plenty of photos. At the end of the trek, you'll return to the car and drive back to Mendoza where you'll have the evening free.
Day 10: Fly from Mendoza 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 in 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 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 such as monkeys and coatis.
Note: special visas are required for certain countries. Please ask the specialist if it is necessary for your itinerary.
Day 11: 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 12: 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 13: Fly from Iguazu to Buenos Aires, Depart Argentina
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. You will then catch your international flight back home.
Day 14: Depart 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!