See the highlights of Argentina with this complete 11-day itinerary that will give you a chance to explore the country's natural wonders at a relaxed pace. From tango in Buenos Aires to hiking in the Los Glaciares National Park to gazing down the Devil's Throat at Iguazú Falls, you'll experience the most quintessential attractions the country has to offer. 

Highlights

  • Kick off the trip with a late-night steak drizzled in chimchurri sauce
  • Head south to visit the iconic glacier - Perito Moreno
  • Visit El Chaltén and trek near the base of Fitz Roy
  • Hike the thundering cliffs of Iguazú Falls in both Argentina and Brazil

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires, Dinner & Tango Show Buenos Aires
Day 2 Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate El Calafate
Day 3 Perito Moreno Full-Day Tour El Calafate
Day 4 From El Calafate to El Chalten El Chalten
Day 5 Full-Day Hike to Laguna de Los Tres & Mt. Fitz Roy El Chalten
Day 6 Hiking in El Chaltén El Chalten
Day 7 El Chaltén to El Calafate & Fly to Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 8 Fly from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls Puerto Iguazu
Day 9 Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side) Iguazu Falls
Day 10 Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side) & Return to Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 11 Depart Buenos Aires  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Buenos Aires, Dinner & Tango Show

Couple dancing tango in Buenos Aires

 

Welcome to Buenos Aires! Also known as the "Paris of South America," the capital of Argentina is a city defined by passion, from its rich tango heritage to its citizens' limitless enthusiasm for fútbol (soccer), which is by far the country's most popular sport. 

A driver will pick you up from the airport when you land and take you to your hotel, where you can rest and recharge after your long flight. But make no mistake: the city will be calling you. So after a quick break, venture out and explore. The best starting point is the city center.

Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Obelisco, which might be the city's most famous monument. This obelisk (which even Argentines admit is a little too reminiscent of the Washington Monument) is worth a visit for its location alone. It sits right in the middle of Avenida 9 de Julio, which boasts a whopping 16 lanes, making it one of the widest avenues in Latin America.
  • Stop by the Teatro Colón, one of South America's premier opera houses, which is known worldwide for its incredible acoustics. Even if you plan on taking a tour or catching a show here later, it's still worth passing by to take in the exterior architecture. The Colon's neoclassical façade has made it one of the most handsome buildings in Buenos Aires since its opening in 1908.
  • Stroll through Puerto Madero, an upscale waterfront neighborhood adjacent to downtown. Puerto Madero may be the "new money" finance center of Buenos Aires, but it's also one of the most pleasant places to walk in the city. Take a romantic stroll by crossing over the canal on the Puente de la Mujer ("Woman's Bridge") at sunset. 

In the evening, we'll pick you up and take you out to discover one of Argentina's most mesmerizing traditions: tango. Tango is more than Argentina's national dance; it's a reflection of Buenos Aires' eclectic immigrant origins, a display of emotions and sensuality through movement. Professional tango dancers will perform stories of love and loss, accompanied by live music played by local artists. The show lasts around 3 to 4 hours and includes an à la carte dinner of delicious Argentine cuisine. 

At the end of the night, your driver will take you back to your hotel, with your head and heart full of the bohemian spirit of our beloved Buenos Aires.

Day 2: Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate

Lago Argentino
Lago Argentino

In the morning, a driver will meet you at your hotel and take you to the airport for your flight to El Calafate, a city that sits on the shores of Lago Argentino and is known as the gateway to Argentina's glaciers. If you can, get a window seat so you can take in 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 venture out and enjoy the quaint cafes and shops around town. You can also take in some information on the nearby glaciers by visiting the Glaciarium. This multi-media center has an ice museum, various interactive displays, and educational information regarding glaciers. It even has a bar made totally of ice.

Day 3: Perito Moreno Full-Day Tour

Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier

Today, you're in for an excitement-filled day. After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to head to Los Glaciares National Park. As you enter the park you'll catch your first glimpse of the majestic Perito Moreno. This expansive ice mass flows down from the Andes out over the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino, ending abruptly in a great wall of ice that curves around the lake. You'll witness "calving," the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the glacier and crashing into the tranquil waters below. Every time ice hits the water a thundering crash echoes on the lake. 

While it's not the only glacier in the area, Perito Moreno is the star of the park. It's also one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, which is what causes the calving mentioned above. You'll be able to admire Perito Moreno from a number of different vantage points thanks to the network of wooden walkways that zigzag strategically in front of the glacier. You'll also be able to see the massive ice wall up close on a boat tour. 

After a day spent viewing the glacier and wandering the numerous trails, you'll head back to El Calafate to enjoy a free evening.

Day 4: From El Calafate to El Chalten

Journey down the famous Ruta 40, in Patagonia
Journey down the famous Ruta 40, in Patagonia

After breakfast, a bus will take you bus along the famous Ruta 40 to El Chaltén, a charming town about 125 miles (200 km) from El Calafate, which is nicknamed the "Hiker's Paradise." The town is right in the middle of Los Glaciares National Park and right at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy. Once you arrive you can tackle one of the easier hikes near town, such as the walk to Laguna Capri

Day 5: Full Day Hike to Laguna de Los Tres & Mt. Fitz Roy

View from Laguna de los Tres
View from Laguna de los Tres

Today you'll set out on a full-day outing in Los Glaciares National Park. El Chaltén is the perfect starting point for hiking because there are a number of trailheads that start just outside of town. Many of these lead into the Fitz Roy range and offer wonderful opportunities for day hikes.

A "day hike" here means a full day of hiking, since most trails can take up to 11 hours to complete, depending on which route you take. The hike you'll most likely be doing today goes to Laguna de los Tres. The trail leads up through an alpine forest—where you'll have beautiful views of Piedras Blancas Glacier—and all the way up to the lake. Laguna de los Tres gets its name from the panoramic view it offers of the three peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre.

At the end of this 16-mile (26 km) hike, you'll descend the mountain and return to your hotel in El Chaltén for a well-earned rest.

Day 6: Hiking in El Chaltén

So many trails to choose from
Hiking in El Chaltén

Today you'll have the whole day to discover numerous hiking trails at your own pace. You can choose when and where to go since all the paths are self-guided, clearly marked, and well maintained.

If you're up for it, choose a "day hike," which can last up to 11 hours, depending on the route you choose. Trails lead up from town and through alpine forests, with a diverse range of landscapes along the way.

There are many easier trails around, too. For an easier option, head out on a short 1.9-mile (3 km) walk with views of lenga forests and the Rio de las Vueltas. This option also gives the chance to see all kinds of birds, including woodpeckers. For more mountain views, head to the Cerro Torre lookout.

Or, set out on a two-hour brisk hike amid native forest to a lagoon with deep blue waters. This is Laguna Capri—a lake that sits at the foot of the mountains with unobstructed views of the Fitz Roy massif. 

No matter how you spend your day outdoors, you'll return to your hotel in time to explore more of the bar and restaurant options in El Chaltén.

Day 7: El Chaltén to El Calafate & Fly to Buenos Aires

Goodbye, Patagonia
Goodbye, Patagonia

Today a driver will meet you in El Chaltén and drive you back to El Calafate. From there, you'll catch your flight back to Buenos Aires. This will be a long day, but it's the best way to maximize your time in Argentina. 

Day 8: Fly from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls

Puerto Iguazu
Puerto Iguazú

After breakfast, you will be driven to the Buenos Aires airport for your flight to Puerto Iguazú, which is the gateway to the Argentinian side of Iguazú Falls, the world's largest waterfall system. Once you land, a driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. Enjoy a free evening to explore the town or relax in your hotel. 

Day 9: Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)

Touring Iguazú from the Argentine side
Touring Iguazú from the Argentine side

After breakfast at your hotel, a driver will pick you up and take you to the entrance of Iguazú National Park, on the Argentine side of the falls. This is where you will begin the day's adventure. It's a full-day excursion that involves completing three circuits around the falls, each of which offers exceptional vantage points from which to view this magnificent natural wonder. 

The three circuit routes include:

  • The upper circuit (1 hour) features 2,624 feet (800 m) of catwalks. These walkways are elevated from the jungle floor so as not to disrupt the natural pathways used by the indigenous fauna. On this route you'll see views of 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. These paths are also elevated and offer views from directly below and around the falls. This circuit takes you near the base of the falls and provides a unique experience where you'll be able to look up at the falls and feel their magnitude from up close.

  • Devil's Throat (2 hours) is the star of the show. A small tourist train leaves from within the park at the Cataratas Station and travels 18 minutes to Garganta Station, where you'll find restrooms, a snack bar, and the start of the wooden pathway. Then, you'll walk about 3,937 feet (1200 m) over the river, until you reach the viewpoint. Just hearing the plunging falls crashing beneath you is a one-of-a-kind experience. Actually peering 269 feet (82 m) down into the cavernous abyss as the highest of Iguazu's falls thunders all around you is downright unforgettable. 

At the end of the tour, the driver will pick you up and take you back to your hotel.

Day 10: Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side) & Return to Buenos Aires

View of Iguazu Falls from Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
View of Iguazu Falls from Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Now that you have seen the Argentine side of the Iguazú Falls, it's time to see the Brazilian side, with a half-day excursion to Foz do Iguaçu. On this side you'll get to see a sweeping panoramic view of the entire waterfall complex that you visited yesterday, and get an overall sense of its vastness.

In the afternoon, you'll be driven to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. Once you arrive, a private driver will take you to your hotel downtown. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own to see more of the city or try one of the restaurants or lounges you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Day 11: Departing Buenos Aires

Goodbye, Buenos Aires!
Goodbye, Buenos Aires!

Enjoy one last breakfast in Buenos Aires before your driver takes you to the airport for your flight home. Buen viaje!

Map

Map of Classic Argentina: El Calafate, El Chalten, & Iguazú - 11 Days
Map of Classic Argentina: El Calafate, El Chalten, & Iguazú - 11 Days