Explore two of Argentina's most beautiful regions—Patagonia and the Lake District—on this active 11-day trip. You'll start the journey in Buenos Aires before flying to El Calafate. See the region's glaciers, then make the scenic drive to El Chaltén for several days of hiking in the park. Finish the adventure in the Swiss-style lakeside destination of Bariloche, the perfect base for experiencing Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi.


  • Hike on the surface of the famous Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Enjoy a full day of touring glaciers by boat
  • Trek around El Chaltén and enjoy views of Mount Fitz Roy
  • Kayak around Lago Mascardi and enjoy a picnic lunch

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires, Explore the City Buenos Aires
Day 2 Fly to El Calafate, Visit the Glaciarium El Calafate
Day 3 Ice Hike on Perito Moreno Glacier El Calafate
Day 4 Enjoy a Full-Day Glacier Boat Tour El Calafate
Day 5 Bus to El Chaltén, Explore El Chaltén
Day 6 Trek to Laguna de Los Tres El Chaltén
Day 7 Explore Mountain Trails Around El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 8 Bus to El Calafate, Fly to Bariloche & the Lake District Bariloche
Day 9 Go on a Half-Day Excursion to Isla Victoria Bariloche
Day 10 Kayak on Lago Mascardi  Bariloche
Day 11 Fly to Buenos Aires & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires, Explore the City

Tango performers 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), 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 a long flight. A few hours later, venture out to explore the city center.

Visit the  Obelisco, the city's most famous monument. It sits right in the middle of Avenida 9 de Julio, a busy avenue that's 16 lanes wide. Stop by the Teatro Colón, one of South America's premier opera houses, which opened in 1908. Stroll through Puerto Madero, an upscale waterfront neighborhood, and cross over the canal on the Puente de la Mujer (Woman's Bridge) at sunset. Finish with dinner at a parrilla (Argentine steakhouse).

Day 2: Fly to El Calafate, Visit the Glaciarium

 Sunset over Lake Argentino from El Calafate
 Make sure to catch a colorful sunset over El Calafate

This morning, after breakfast, a driver will take you to the airport for your flight to El Calafate. It's your base for exploring the stunning glaciers of southern Patagonia, including the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier. After the trip, check into your hotel and take the rest of the day to relax or explore the colorful city. Learn about glaciers at the interactive Glaciarium museum—and stop for a delicious drink at the museum's ice bar. In the evening, head to the Laguna Nimez Reserve, where you can admire an array of native birds in the sanctuary and watch the sunset over Lago Argentino.

Day 3: Ice Hike on Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier, framed by the forest

Today, you're in for an exciting excursion. After breakfast at your hotel, venture into 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. Stick around to witness "calving," the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the glacier and crashing into the tranquil waters below. A thundering crash echoes on the lake every time ice hits the water. 

In the afternoon, you'll trek on the surface of the glacier on an ice hiking expedition. Equipped with crampons and an ice ax, follow your guide across deep blue ice crevices and icy streams as you experience Perito Moreno up close. Finish the day observing the glacier from one of the many viewing platforms in the park. These platforms are accessible via a network of walkways that run along the shores of the lake. Then return to El Calafate for the evening. 

Day 4: Enjoy a Full-Day Glacier Boat Tour

Tour the glaciers by boat
Cruise past ice walls and ancient glaciers on today's boat tour

In the morning, transfer to Punta Bandera Harbor and board a catamaran for a boat tour. As you travel north along the frozen waters of Lago Argentino, you'll weave between icebergs as you make your way toward the first site, Upsala Glacier. After crossing the Boca del Diablo (the narrowest part of the lake), you'll enter the Upsala Channel and the glacier.

Continue to the Spegazzini Channel, where you'll catch a glimpse of the Seco Glacier, a retreating wall of ice that is perpetually moving inland from the lakeshore. Finally, you'll reach Spegazzini Glacier, with ice walls 442 feet (135 m) tall. The tour ends with the boat's return to Punta Bandera.  

Day 5: Bus to El Chaltén, Explore

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

This morning you'll board a bus bound for the town of El Chaltén. The scenic journey covers about 124 miles (200 km) along Ruta 40, the famous Patagonian highway that cuts through great expanses of desert and affords views of snowy peaks on the horizon. After about three hours, you'll reach El Chaltén, which sits at the foot of the iconic Mount Fitz Roy.

You won't have to wait to discover the region's spectacular landscapes. In the afternoon, you'll embark on a two-hour hike through the native forest to a lagoon with deep blue waters. Known as Laguna Capri, this lake sits at the foot of the mountains and offers an unobstructed view of the jutting granite towers of the Fitz Roy massif. After the hike, you'll return to your hotel and have free time to relax.

Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Trek to Laguna de Los Tres

Laguna de los Tres
The turquoise waters of Laguna de los Tres

You'll embark on a full-day excursion into Los Glaciares National Park this morning. Your destination on today's hike, which will take between eight and 11 hours, is Laguna de los Tres. Leaving town, the trail leads you up through an alpine forest. Take in views of Piedras Blancas Glacier until you reach the lake. From this elevated vantage point, you'll enjoy panoramic views of three peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre. Break for a picnic lunch, then descend the mountain and return to your hotel in El Chaltén.

Day 7: Explore Mountain Trails Around El Chaltén

Hike up to Laguna Torre
Hike up to Laguna Torre
Today, enjoy a fantastic day hike in the mountains just outside of town. Spanning just 3.5 miles (6 km), Los Condorés/Los Aguilas is the shortest hike in the park and can be completed in two hours. If you're interested in a longer hike, try the 15-mile (24 km) trek to Laguna Torre, which takes six to seven hours to complete. Be prepared for a steep climb until you reach the first viewpoint, Mirador Torre. Continue along the Río Fitz Roy until you reach Laguna Torre, a glacial lake cradled next to the mountain of the same name. Continue along the lake's north shore, and you'll reach another viewpoint, Mirador Maestri, which offers excellent views of the mountain's peak.

Day 8: Bus to El Calafate, Fly to Bariloche & the Lake District

Bariloche sits on Lago Nahuel Huapi
A view of Lago Nahuel Huapi

Prepare yourself for a big travel day. In the morning, you'll leave your hotel in El Chaltén and transfer to El Calafate by bus. From there, take a flight north to San Carlos de Bariloche, the main city in Argentina's Lake District, home to some of the most impressive scenery in the country. Bariloche was founded in 1902 on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi, part of the larger Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi.

Even though you'll likely be tired from your bus ride and flight, try to get out and explore the city. The charming chalet-style buildings and alpine architecture can be seen and enjoyed on a short walk, and the city center abounds with waterfront plazas, chocolate shops, and upscale restaurants. Just outside town, you could visit the historic Hotel Llao Llao for afternoon tea service or ride a cable car to the top of Cerro Campanario. The view from atop the mountain, looking down at the lake and snow-covered mountains, is nothing short of breathtaking.

Day 9: Go on a Half-Day Excursion to Isla Victoria

Take a boat ride on the vivid blue waters of Lago Nahuel Huapi
Take a boat ride on the vivid blue waters of Lago Nahuel Huapi

Today you'll have the pleasure of sailing around Lago Nahuel Huapi on a half-day tour. First, you'll transfer from Bariloche 30 minutes to Puerto Pañuelo, where you'll hop on a catamaran cruise bound for Isla Victoria, a small island on the northern end of the lake. It's home to the Antarctic beech, an otherworldly tree defined by its deep red bark and serpentine, moss-covered roots. Some of these trees are over 600 years old!

Explore the island's hiking trails and pebble beaches before continuing to the Quetrihué Peninsula and Los Arrayanes National Park. As the name suggests, the park features a vast arrayán (Chilean myrtle) forest. It's a sight to see, as the thin red stalks of these exotic trees jut skywards like long fingers reaching for the sky. Legend has it that Walt Disney got the inspiration for Bambi's forest after a visit to Los Arrayanes. Wooden walkways cut through the park, making it easy to enjoy the forest at your own pace. 

Day 10: Kayak on Lago Mascardi 

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

Today's adventure begins with a pickup at your hotel, followed by a 45-minute drive south of Bariloche along the famed Ruta 40 to Lago Mascardi. Your first destination is a lakeside community where you'll climb into a kayak and begin paddling toward Playa Leones, the most beautiful beach on the lake. Once you arrive at this tranquil pebble beach, relax on shore and enjoy the surrounding wilderness. Then go on a hike to a secluded lagoon, circling back to Playa Leones to enjoy a picnic lunch on the shore. Finally, kayak back to the starting point and return to Bariloche.

Day 11: Fly to Buenos Aires & Depart

Street art in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires

The adventure has come to an end. After breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport to catch your flight to Buenos Aires. From there, you'll take a flight home or continue on your journey. Safe travels!

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Map of Discovering the Highlights of Argentine Patagonia & the Lake District  - 11 Days
Map of Discovering the Highlights of Argentine Patagonia & the Lake District - 11 Days