- Kick off the trip with dinner and a tango show in Buenos Aires
- Visit several vineyards in Mendoza on a tasty wine tour
- Tour Perito Moreno, the most impressive glacier in the region
- Travel down the Beagle Channel, in Tierra del Fuego
|Day 1||Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Fly from Buenos Aires to Mendoza||Mendoza|
|Day 3||Mendoza Wine Tour||Mendoza|
|Day 4||Fly from Mendoza to El Calafate||El Calafate|
|Day 5||Explore Los Glaciares National Park||El Calafate|
|Day 6||El Calafate to Ushuaia||Ushuaia|
|Day 7||Beagle Channel Cruise||Ushuaia|
|Day 8||Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires - Departure|
Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires - Explore
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 abounds with cobbled streets and beautiful Baroque architecture.
Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Once you've had the chance to rest, you can head out and explore. The city center is your best starting point.
Suggested activities include:
- Visit the Plaza de Mayo, the city's oldest square. This plaza is ringed with ornate government buildings, the Metropolitan Cathedral, City Hall, and the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace).
- See the Obelisco, one of the most famous landmarks in the city. This iconic national monument sits in the middle of Avenida 9 de Julio. With 16 lanes, it's the widest city street in the world.
- Discover the Teatro Colón, one of South America's premier opera houses. The horseshoe-shaped gallery features 2,487 seats and incredible acoustics. You can opt to take a tour or watch a show here. The Colón's neoclassical facade has been the face of one of the most picturesque buildings in Buenos Aires since its opening in 1908.
- Take a walk in Puerto Madero, an upscale waterfront neighborhood adjacent to Buenos Aires' downtown. Here you can enjoy a romantic stroll over the canal on the Puente de la Mujer bridge at sunset.
- Dine at an Argentine steakhouse or parilla. You should plan on eating late because Buenos Aires' culture thrives after dark and it's common to have dinner after 9 pm, especially on the weekends.
Day 2: 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.
Day 3: Mendoza Wine Tour
It's time to get out and explore beyond the city while discovering the region's wine culture. On this circuit, you'll visit the most famous wine destinations around Mendoza, from the area around the town of Luján de Cuyo to the fertile soil of the Maipú Valley. It's a fun-filled excursion that mixes equal parts wine history with wine tasting.
Over the course of the tour, you'll learn how Mendoza rose over the centuries to become Argentina's premier wine-making region. It began with Jesuit priests and European immigrants who settled here and combined their wine-making knowledge with the irrigation techniques handed down from the Huarpe indigenous people. The end result is that Mendoza is home to renowned wineries producing high-quality varietals that are famous on the global viniculture stage.
You'll visit two wineries that still rely on traditional irrigation methods as well as others that use the latest technology. On tours of the bodegas' facilities, you'll learn about vinification methods, processing, bottling, and even the labeling of wines. Of course, this is all accompanied by a tasting of the different varietals these bodegas offer. You'll also get to sample locally grown olives, artisanal cheeses, and eat Malbec grapes right off the vine!
Day 4: Fly from Mendoza to El Calafate
This morning, you'll say goodbye to Mendoza and embark on the next leg of the journey. At the appropriate time, you'll transfer to the local airport where you will fly to Buenos Aires and connect with your flight to El Calafate, the gateway to Los Glaciers National Park. If possible, snag 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, and then you'll have the rest of the day to explore this waterfront town on the shores of Lago Argentino.
You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or venture out and enjoy the quaint cafes and shops around town. Maybe prime yourself with 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. For fun, it even has a bar made totally of ice.
Day 5: Explore Los Glaciares National Park
Today you will head to Los Glaciares National Park. As you enter this protected area, you'll catch your first glimpse of the majestic Perito Moreno. This expansive glacier flows down from the Andes over the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino and ends abruptly in a great wall of ice that curves around the lake. You may also witness "calving", the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and crashing into the tranquil waters below. Every time ice hits the water, a thundering crash echoes around the lake.
Perito Moreno is not the only glacier in the area, but it is the most famous in the park. It is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, which is what causes the calving of ice. After arriving, you can admire Perito Moreno from a number of different vantage points thanks to the network of wooden walkways around the glacier. You will also get the chance to see the massive ice wall up close on a boat tour.
Day 6: El Calafate to Ushuaia
Enjoy a hearty breakfast in El Calafate before transferring to the airport for your one-hour flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and have the rest of the day to explore.
Located on a bay in the Patagonian region of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia sits between the jagged peaks of the Martial Mountains and the silver waters of the Beagle Channel. This is the same waterway Charles Darwin explored when he was traveling on the HMS Beagle almost 200 years ago. Make sure to get out and walk along the waterfront for a better glimpse of the craggy mountains and wide channel. As you stroll amid Ushuaia's colorful buildings, you'll notice an endearing jumble of architectural styles with everything from mock chalets to tumbledown wooden cottages.
For something a little different, visit the building that houses Ushuaia's Maritime Museum, which was once an old prison. Constructed at the turn of the 20th century, some 600 convicts occupied 380 cells until the prison's closing in 1947. There's also the Museo del Fin del Mundo, or "End of the World" museum. Located on the waterfront, this small museum features fascinating exhibits detailing the region's natural and indigenous history. You'll also find extensive exhibits on birds and sailing.
For an easy afternoon hike, head 11 miles (17 km) outside of Ushuaia to the Laguna Esmeralda trailhead. The shores of this turquoise lake are a great spot to enjoy a picnic lunch and take photos. Regarding the cuisine in Ushuaia, the region is famous for its seafood, particularly centolla (king crab). Try it au gratin—it's the most decadent dish in Ushuaia.
Day 7: Beagle Channel Cruise
After breakfast in Ushuaia, head to the pier to board a boat for a local cruise. Today's excursion sails through the Beagle Channel, one of the region’s most important waterways. It was named after the HMS Beagle, a 19th-century British ship that once carried Charles Darwin to South America.
As you pass through the channel, you'll get breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Ushuaia and the entire bay. Be on the lookout for diverse marine wildlife such as cormorants and sea lions, especially near the Lobo and De Los Pajaros islands. If the winds are calm, you can even hop ashore, collect giant shells, and look out to the opposite coast, which stretches across both Chile and Argentina. Before making your way back to Ushuaia, see the famous Les Eclaireurs, the so-called "Lighthouse at the End of the World."
Day 8: Fly from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires - Departure
In morning, you'll head to Ushuaia airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. You'll then transfer to the international airport for your flight back home. Buen viaje!