On this nine-day vacation, you'll embark on exciting day trips from two of Argentina's most beautiful cities: Buenos Aires and Salta. The adventure begins in the capital where you'll enjoy city tours plus a visit to a country cattle ranch for horse shows and a traditional BBQ. You'll then head north to the colonial city of Salta and discover its painted hills and expansive salt flats on 4x4 tours of the region. 

Highlights

  • Zip along the streets of Buenos Aires on a bicycle tour
  • Travel up the Río de la Plata to Tigre, Argentina's most colorful river town
  • Visit the northern colonial city of Salta and tour the region's salt flats
  • Stay on a ranch in the Argentine countryside and enjoy a traditional BBQ

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 2 Walking Tour of Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 3 Buenos Aires to Tigre Buenos Aires
Day 4 Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana Buenos Aires
Day 5 Fly from Buenos Aires to Salta Salta
Day 6 Explore the Salt Flats & Quebrada de Humahuaca Purmamarca
Day 7 Winery Tour - Return to Salta Salta
Day 8 Fly to Buenos Aires - Explore the Pampas San Antonio de Areco
Day 9 Pampas - Buenos Aires & Farewell Argentina  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires

The famouos Obelisco in downtown Buenos Aires
The famouos Obelisco in downtown 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

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 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: 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: Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana

Argentinian gauchos in colorful garb
Argentinian gauchos in colorful garb

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 5: Fly from Buenos Aires to Salta

Salta's Pink Cathedral
Salta's Pink Cathedral

This morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Salta, one of Argentina's most impressive Spanish colonial cities. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Take the rest of the day to get settled in and enjoy the town. Easy to explore on foot, Salta's colonial center is lined with gorgeous neoclassical buildings, lively cafes, and cool bars that draw a young and energetic crowd.

Day 6: Explore the Salt Flats & Quebrada de Humahuaca

The salt flats of northern Argentina
The salt flats of northern Argentina

Today you will leave Salta and tour the natural highlights of the region on a full-day excursion (10 hours). This is an overnight trip in a private vehicle that travels mostly around Jujuy Province, just north of the city. Since you'll be returning to Salta the next day, it's best to leave your main luggage at the hotel in favor of daypacks.  

Your excursion begins early in the morning. Initially, you'll travel along the same route as the famous Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds), a tourist train that connects the Argentine northwest to southern Chile via the Andes Mountains. This route zigzags between lonely mountain roads and vast expanses of high desert plains. Along the way, you'll even have the opportunity to stop and visit pre-hispanic ruins.

Your first stop will be the small town of Campo Quijano and later the impressive Quebrada del Toro, a gorge through which the Tren a las Nubes also passes. Here you'll stop for a coffee break and to enjoy the views. Then you'll visit Santa Rosa de Tastil, a pre-Incan settlement dating back to the 8th century. After a visit to the village of San Antonio de los Cobres, you'll arrive at the Salinas Grandes salt flats. Be sure to take plenty of photos.

Finally, later in the afternoon, you'll arrive at your comfortable hotel in Purmamarca. This popular village, filled with adobe houses and craft markets, is located at the base of Jujuy's iconic Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colors) in the historic valley of the Quebrada de Humahuaca.

Day 7: Winery Tour - Return to Salta

Take a drive through the Quebrada de las Cochas
Take a drive through the Quebrada de las Cochas

After breakfast at your hotel, you will begin the return trip to Salta. But first, you will first stop at another winery. Even in the desert north of Argentina you'll find bodegas producing delicious Malbec and Syrah varietals, so enjoy a tour and tasting along the way.  

Continue your trip to Salta by driving along the bright red mountains of Quebrada de las Conchas. In this gorge, wind and rain erosion of the topography has resulted in some fascinating natural rock formations. Many of these protrusions are so wildly shaped that they've earned colorful nicknames, like Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat). There's also a natural amphitheater here which has excellent acoustics.

Day 8: Fly to Buenos Aires - Explore the Pampas

Estancia El Ombú de Areco
Estancia El Ombú de Areco

Get ready for an exciting day of travel and culture. First, you'll transfer to the airport and hop a flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival in the capital, a driver will meet you and transport you about an hour to a historic estancia (country home) located on the Pampas, central Argentina's famed prairie, near the town of San Antonio de Areco.

This charming town is notable as being ground zero for Argentine gaucho tradition. San Antonio de Areco abounds with folk history, so much so that it inspired famed Argentine author José Hernández's epic poem, Martín Fierro. The fictional narrative is told as a ballad, recounting the exploits of the eponymous hero as he endures life on the frontier. The poem is a national treasure and represents the spirit of rural Argentina, which is thick in San Antonio.

As for your residence during your time here, El Ombú de Areco is a late-colonial-style mansion built in 1880. It sits on expansive green grounds amid a magnificent countryside setting. Today you have a variety of options for activities: you can go horseback riding, hiking, or sightseeing in an old-fashioned, horse-drawn carriage. This estancia is also a working farm, and you can observe typical ranch-style activities such as herding animals, branding cattle, and milking cows.

In the evening, you will enjoy a typical Argentine asado (BBQ) as well as musical performances and folkloric dance.

Day 9: Depart Argentina

Goodbye, Argentina!
Goodbye, Argentina!

After transferring back from the countryside, enjoy your last hours in the cosmopolitan capital of Buenos Aires. At the scheduled time, your driver will pick you up and transfer you by private car to Ezeiza International Airport, where you'll catch your return flight home.

Map

Map of Buenos Aires & Salta Adventure - 9 Days
Map of Buenos Aires & Salta Adventure - 9 Days