- 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
- Take a luxury boat cruise on Lago Argentino
- Explore Iguazú Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world
|Day 1||Arrival in Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Walking Tour of Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 3||Gaucho Experience at Estancia Santa Susana||Buenos Aires|
|Day 4||Buenos Aires to Tigre||Buenos Aires|
|Day 5||Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate||El Calafate|
|Day 6||Explore Los Glaciares National Park||El Calafate|
|Day 7||Free Day in El Calafate||El Calafate|
|Day 8||Glaciers Gourmet Boat Tour||El Calafate|
|Day 9||El Chalten to El Calafate - Fly to Iguazú Falls||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 10||Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)||Puerto Iguazu|
|Day 11||Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian side) - Fly to Buenos Aires||Buenos Aires|
|Day 12||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: Walking Tour of Buenos Aires
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: 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: Buenos Aires to 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 5: Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate
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 6: 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 7: Free Day in El Calafate
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: Glaciers Gourmet Boat Tour
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 9: El Chalten to El Calafate - Fly to Iguazú Falls
In the morning, a driver will pick you up from your hotel in El Chaltén and take you to the airport in El Calafate. You'll then fly from the icy peaks of southern Patagonia to the rainforest jungles of northern Argentina's Misiones Province. Here you'll find the region's crown jewel: Iguazú Falls, the second-largest waterfall system in the world after Victoria Falls, in Africa.
After arriving in the city of Puerto Iguazú and checking into your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day free to relax. If you feel up for it, head out to the Landmark of the Three Frontiers, which marks the tri-borders between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. You can also see the falls right away by visiting the Brazilian side, which offers a couple easily accessible viewpoints of this incredible natural phenomenon.
In any case, you'll want to acclimate to the warmer weather (temperatures here can top 90°F in the summer months). Also, be on the lookout for exotic animals that call the area home, such as monkeys and coatis.
Day 10: 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 waterfall. 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 cascades.
- 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 waterfall 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 11: Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian side) - Fly to Buenos Aires
If you haven't already, it's now time to visit the Brazilian side of the falls, which takes half a day. Once you arrive you'll have a panoramic view of the entire waterfall complex that you visited yesterday and get an overall sense of its vastness. Needless to say, the photo opportunities from this side are incredible.
In the afternoon, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own to relax or visit any of the restaurants or lounges you missed at the beginning of the trip.
Day 12: 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!