This escape to Argentina packs the best excursions over 12 days in four beautiful regions. You'll arrive in the capital of Buenos Aires and not only tour this "Paris of the south," but you'll also venture up the Río de la Plata on a riverboat tour. Then you'll fly to Bariloche for nature hikes followed by wine tastings in Mendoza, plus take a trip to the largest waterfalls in the Americas, Iguazú.

Highlights

  • Explore high-energy Buenos Aires on a walking tour
  • Stroll the streets of Bariloche, an alpine town as beautiful as any Swiss village
  • Go kayaking on Lago Mascardi followed by a nature trek through the forest
  • Visit different wineries in Mendoza on a tasting tour
  • Hike the thundering cliffs of Iguazú Falls in both Argentina and Brazil

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 2 Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 3 Buenos Aires to Tigre Buenos Aires
Day 4 Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche Bariloche
Day 5 Kayaking & Trekking on Mascardi Lake Bariloche
Day 6 Catamaran Tour of Victoria Island & Myrtle Forest Bariloche
Day 7 Fly from Bariloche to Mendoza Mendoza
Day 8 Mendoza Full-Day Wine Tour Mendoza
Day 9 Fly from Mendoza 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  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Explore Buenos Aires

B.A.'s 9 de Julio Ave. and the famous Obelisco

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

Views of Teatro Colon
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 Colon 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

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: Fly from Buenos Aires to Bariloche

The beautiful shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi
The beautiful shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi

This morning, after breakfast in Buenos Aires, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to Aeroparque Airport, located in the city. You will then catch a flight to Bariloche, located southwest in Argentina's Lake District

San Carlos de Bariloche was founded in 1902 on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, which itself is part of the larger Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. If you detect some native influence in that name, you're correct. It comes from the Mapuche indigenous people who once inhabited the area, and it means "jaguar island." The lake straddles the Chilean border, with the city of Bariloche located on the southeast shore. This region is beautiful and you'll be able to experience its majesty on nature hikes and excursions.

Upon arrival at Bariloche's airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Even though you may be tired from your flight, try to get out and explore the city. The charming chalet-style buildings and alpine architecture can be seen and enjoyed on a brisk walk around, and the city center abounds with waterfront plazas, chocolate shops, and upscale restaurants. 

When dinnertime comes around, be sure to sample the local cuisine. You'll find that it differs considerably from what's typically found in Buenos Aires. Here regional fare like wild boar and lake trout is popular and delicious, as is the fondue (a culinary addition first introduced by the city's Swiss immigrants).

Day 5: Kayaking & Trekking on Mascardi Lake

Enjoy lunch on the shore of Lago Mascardi
Enjoy lunch on the shore of Lago Mascardi

Today is a special day with a combined excursion that mixes kayaking on Lago Mascardi with a nature trek through the forest. The adventure begins with a pickup at your hotel followed by a forty-five minute drive south of Bariloche along the famed Ruta 40 to get to the lake.

Your first destination is a lakeshore campsite owned by the local indigenous community. Here you'll jump into your kayak and begin paddling for Playa Leones, a beautiful pebble beach on Mascardi. Once you arrive at this tranquil beach, you'll be able to relax on shore and enjoy the surrounding wilderness.  

Afterward, you'll embark on a hike through native coihue forests until you reach a secluded lagoon. Then it's time to head back to Playa Leones, where you'll enjoy lunch while relaxing on the shore. Finally, you'll kayak back to the starting point and return to Bariloche in the late afternoon.

Day 6: Catamaran Tour of Victoria Island & Myrtle Forest

Myrtle forest path
Myrtle forest path

Today, you'll take part in another guided tour in the area, this time by boat. In the morning or in the early afternoon, you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to Puerto Pañuelo. This is where you begin a catamaran ride on the clear waters of Lake Nahuel Huapi to get to Victoria Island, surrounded by snowy mountains and lush forests. 

Disembark the boat and walk into the pine forests and birch coihues to get a sense of the stories and legends of this magical place. Keep an eye out for the native residents, including exotic red deer and golden pheasants, as well as a ranger school and warm lodge—all of which give life to the island. 

Once you're back on the boat, the tour continues up to Quetrihue Peninsula, where the famous Myrtle Forest (consisting of an Andean tree species) is located—unique in the world because of its size, density, and development. Covered with white flowers or snow, the forest is undeniably a magical place and on a different dimension.

Day 7: Fly from Bariloche to Mendoza

Pretty fountains in downtown Mendoza
Pretty fountains in downtown Mendoza

It is time to say goodbye to Bariloche! This morning, you'll head to the airport for your domestic flight to Mendoza where a wine experience is waiting for you. Once you arrive in Mendoza, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel.

This relatively sleepy city of about a million people is more than the sum of its parts, as it sits in the heart of Argentina's world-famous wine region. This is ground zero for viticulture in the nation, and it's home to Argentina's flagship wine: Malbec. There's also impressive landscapes and interesting sights all around the city, from the high peak of Aconcagua to the Mendoza River to the little villages that dot the countryside, like Uspallata, which date back to pre-hispanic times.

You'll have free time to explore the city as you see fit. Or maybe, you'd just like to lounge by the swimming pool and make reservations for dinner at one of Mendoza's best restaurants. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your day in Argentina's wine capital.

Day 8: Mendoza Full-Day Wine Tour

Vineyard in Luján de Cuyo
Vineyard in Luján de Cuyo

Today you'll enjoy a full-day Argentine wine experience. You'll travel to several wineries to learn all about how the wine is produced and, more importantly, how it tastes. 

After breakfast at your hotel in Mendoza, you'll head to the region of Luján de Cuyo, located at the base of the imposing Andes mountains. Boasting many centuries-old vineyards, this area is known as the cradle of Malbec. Over the course of six hours, you'll visit three different wineries accompanied by a multi-lingual guide. Note that the proposed wineries change according to the season, so we can't give a specific list here. 

Regardless of what season and which specific vineyards you visit, today you'll enjoy a delicious three-course meal paired with a selection of delectable wines right at the winery. And looking out over the grapevines to the Andes mountains beyond is the perfect way to enjoy your meal.

Day 9: Fly from Mendoza to Iguazú Falls

Aerial view of the falls
Aerial view of the 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 to the city of 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. 

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. 

Day 10: 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 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 11: Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side) - Fly to Buenos Aires

View of Iguazu Falls from Brazil
View of Iguazu Falls from Brazil

In the morning you'll embark on a half-day excursion to Foz do Iguaçu, where you can appreciate Iguazú Falls from the Brazilian side. Here, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the entire waterfall system. It offers the ideal vantage point to take in the full scope of the massive falls, so you'll want to snap plenty of photos. 

Afterward, in the afternoon, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, a private car will take you to your downtown hotel. Enjoy the rest of the evening on your own, perhaps taking advantage of any restaurants or lounges you may have missed at the beginning of the trip.

Day 12: Depart Buenos Aires

Goodbye, Buenos Aires!
Goodbye, 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! 

Map

Map of Classic Argentina: Patagonia, Mendoza, & Iguazú - 12 Days
Map of Classic Argentina: Patagonia, Mendoza, & Iguazú - 12 Days