- Spend a day exploring Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world
- Explore Mendoza, the famous wine-growing region of Argentina
- Visit the northern colonial city of Salta and tour the region's salt flats
- Trek on the icy surface of the famous Perito Moreno glacier
- Discover the hikers' paradise of El Chaltén
|Day 1||Arrive in Buenos Aires & Sightsee||Buenos Aires|
|Day 2||Explore Iguazú Falls||Puerto Iguazú|
|Day 3||Continue to Mendoza||Mendoza|
|Day 4||Tour Vineyards & Taste Wines||Mendoza|
|Day 5||Take a Cooking Class in Mendoza||Mendoza|
|Day 6||Travel to Salta||Salta|
|Day 7||Discover the Quebrada de Humahuaca||Salta|
|Day 8||Venture to the Great Salt Flats||Salta|
|Day 9||Transfer to El Calafate||El Calafate|
|Day 10||See Perito Moreno Glacier||El Calafate|
|Day 11||Enjoy a Scenic Drive to El Chaltén||El Chaltén|
|Day 12||Hike to Laguna de Los Tres||El Chaltén|
|Day 13||Travel from El Chaltén Back to El Calafate||El Calafate|
|Day 14||Depart Argentina - End of Trip|
Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires & Sightsee
Welcome to Argentina! The capital city of Buenos Aires is known as the "Paris of South America," thanks to its mix of European architecture and Latin American culture. When you arrive at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Buenos Aires is the birthplace of tango, and you'll have the chance to see tango dancers performing to live music as you explore downtown. Head south into the neighborhood of San Telmo, walking along cobblestoned streets — this is a great area to soak up the city's historic charm, stop in a traditional café, and browse through the antiques at the elegant Mercado San Telmo marketplace.
You'll visit the neighborhood of Retiro and 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). Afterward, you'll stop by the city's original port, La Boca. In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal accompanied by a tango performance. Then get some rest before the adventure continues tomorrow.
Day 2: Explore Iguazú Falls
Catch an early flight from the domestic airport. You'll arrive in Puerto Iguazú, the gateway to Iguazú Falls. The massive cascade straddles the border of two countries – Argentina and Brazil – and is part of one of the largest natural protected areas in South America. After checking in at your hotel, you'll take some time in the afternoon to orient yourself in Argentina's Iguazú National Park. Well-marked paths lead you to different viewpoints around the waterfalls, including the spectacular thundering torrent known as Garganta del Diablo (The Devil's Throat). You'll leave the park at dusk and enjoy a traditional Argentine dinner of empanadas, grilled meats and vegetables, and red wine, followed by a dessert of alfajores (Argentine sandwich cookies made with dulce de leche).
Day 3: Continue to Mendoza
This morning, 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 wine industry. Vineyards abound here, with many producing Argentina's flagship varietal: Malbec. Originally a French import, this previously ignored berry is the foundation of one of the most popular wines in the world.
Mendoza features breathtaking scenery and lots of 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, you'll transfer to your hotel. You'll then have the rest of the day to relax and explore the city at your own pace. The center of Mendoza features expansive plazas and wide boulevards shaded by leafy trees. One of the most popular meeting spots for locals is Plaza Independencia, with its impressive fountains and elegant acacia trees. There's also Parque General San Martín, an expansive park dotted with palm trees. Check the Museo del Pasado Cuyano, which features many exhibits on local history as well as collections of weapons from the independence era. Relax over dinner before getting out to explore the area's vineyards tomorrow.
Day 4: Tour Vineyards & Taste Wines
Today you will embark on a guided tour of two distinct wine-producing areas around Mendoza, the Maipú Valley and Lujan de Cuyo. Your first winery tour includes a presentation on the wine-making process and a wine tasting. The second tour includes another tasting. Lunch will be served in the winery's warehouse, where you will enjoy a gourmet menu paired with some of the best wines from the cellar. Afterward, you will visit two more wineries. You'll meet some winemakers and have a chance to discuss their work, tasting varietals along the way.
Day 5: Take a Cooking Class in Mendoza
Discover the secrets of the art of distilling today during a unique experience in the heart of Chacras de Coria, Mendoza. You will visit a microdistillery making high-quality spirits in an old family house. You'll also learn about the traditional Argentinian cuisine of the Andes with a renowned chef during a cooking class.
Day 6: Travel to Salta
This morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Salta, one of Argentina's most impressive Spanish colonial cities. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Take the rest of the day to get settled in and enjoy the town. Easy to explore on foot, the city's compact colonial center is lined with gorgeous neoclassical buildings and lively cafés and bars.
Recommended activities include taking the cable car up Cerro San Bernardo to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city and beyond. Appreciate the city's beautiful architecture by visiting the pink Salta Cathedral, consecrated in 1878, as well as the striking mauve and yellow Church of San Francisco and the baroque Town Hall building. Explore the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology, which sheds light on important archaeological discoveries in the Andes. Learn about the region's rich history by paying a visit to the Historical Museum of the North, which showcases items from local indigenous cultures as well as colonial times. Stroll around the craft market, where you can buy traditional products from rugs to pottery. Finally, enjoy a traditional Argentinian dinner at a cozy local restaurant
Day 7: Discover the Quebrada de Humahuaca
There are few more mystical and historic areas in Argentina than the Quebrada de Humahuaca. This arid desert valley gets its start in the high altitude Andean plateaus before running down into Jujuy Province and meeting the Río Grande, at which point it forms a 96-mile (155-km) corridor.
Believe it or not, this valley gorge, which runs from north to south, has been populated and used by humans for over 10,000 years, starting with the earliest hunter-gatherers. It then became an important Incan trading route in the 15th and 16th centuries, and later became a link between the Viceroyalty of the Río de La Plata, in Buenos Aires, and the Viceroyalty of Peru. It was even an important battleground in the War of Independence. You can see remnants of prehispanic towns here, and small white churches still dot the stratified rocks that make up the landscapes.
Your tour of the area begins with an early morning pickup at your hotel in Salta. The first place you'll visit is the village of Purmamarca, where you'll find the famous Cerro de Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colors), which is notable for its strata that are seemingly "painted" various shades of red. Other notable sites in the village include the whitewashed Iglesia de Santa Rosa and the artisanal craft market.
Then head a few miles north to the town of Tilcara and Pucará de Tilcara, the hilltop remains of a prehistoric fortress where you'll visit a fascinating archeological museum. Next is Huacalera, located just north of the Tropic of Capricorn (a giant sundial marks the exact location). From here you'll visit the tiny village of Uquía, which boasts one of the most impressive whitewashed churches in the region, the Iglesia San Francisco de Paula, which was built in 1691. Inside, you'll find a number of paintings done in the Cuzco style and featuring angels in 17th-century battle dress. Before lunch, you'll arrive at the town of Humahuaca, which is denoted by its labyrinthine narrow streets, adobe houses, and its monument to independence, El Indio, done by sculptor Soto Avendaño.
After lunch, your tour will continue to the town of Maimará, notable for its haunting hillside cemetery and the brightly colored mountains that surround it. These are known as La Paleta del Pintor (The Painter's Palette). If time allows, you will return to Salta via the Abra de Santa Laura (a mountain path lined with subtropical vegetation), which is surrounded by stunning scenery.
The tour ends with a return to your hotel with enough time to sample more of the local dining scene in the evening.
Day 8: Venture to the Great Salt Flats
Today, it's time for another tour in the Salta area. Like yesterday, you'll be picked up from your Salta hotel in the early morning to start this full-day tour.
First, you will travel to the ruins of Tastil to arrive at San Antonio de Los Cobres. There, have a lunch break. Afterward, drive by National Route No. 40 until reaching Salinas Grandes or the Great Salt Flats, right on the border between Salta and Jujuy. You will have free time to take pictures and enjoy this unique natural environment where the large extension of white salt contrasts with the blue of the sky. Start the descent down Cuesta de Lipán, keeping your eyes open for condors.
In the evening, you'll return to Salta with free time to enjoy the city at your own pace.
Day 9: Transfer to El Calafate
This morning, you'll embark on the next leg of the journey. After breakfast, you'll head to the airport for a flight 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 trip.
After checking into your hotel, you can relax and spend the afternoon exploring the town and its surroundings. Learn about the region's glaciers at the Glaciarium, a multimedia center featuring an ice museum, interactive displays, and educational information. Then enjoy a drink at the museum's Glaciobar BrancaIt, Argentina's first ice bar — be sure to bundle up, as it's chilly inside! For dinner, be sure to sample the local cuisine of roast Patagonian lamb, ribeye steak, and empanadas. Wash it all down with a glass or two of Malbec.
Day 10: See Perito Moreno Glacier
Get ready to explore Los Glaciares National Park. As you enter the park, you'll catch your first glimpse of the majestic glacier known as Perito Moreno. This expansive ice mass flows from the Andes Mountains into the waters of Lago Argentino, ending abruptly in a great wall curving around the lake. View the glacier from one of the park's many viewing platforms, accessible via a network of catwalks that run along the shores of the lake, offering the best vantage points. With a little luck and patience, you may witness "calving," the inspiring sight of ice breaking off the glacier's edge and crashing into the calm waters below.
Perito Moreno is not the only glacier in the area, but it is the most famous in the park. You can admire the massive glacier from a number of different vantage points, thanks to the network of wooden walkways around the area. You will also get the chance to see the massive ice wall up close on a boat tour. If you like, you can also go on a guided trekking excursion on the surface of the ice. After a day spent viewing the glacier and wandering the numerous trails, head back to El Calafate to enjoy the evening at your leisure.
Day 11: Enjoy a Scenic Drive to El Chaltén
After breakfast, head to the bus station in El Calafate to board a bus to El Chaltén. Grab a window seat and get ready to enjoy the incredibly scenic northbound journey that covers 124 miles and takes around three to four hours. You'll ride along Ruta 40, the famous Patagonian highway that cuts through great expanses of barren steppe and reveals views of snowy peaks on the horizon. El Chaltén sits at the foot of the iconic Mount Fitz Roy and is nicknamed "Hiker's Paradise," due to the abundance of mountaineering options around. Tomorrow you'll get out and explore, but for today, just relax in town and have a beer or a meal in one of several cozy restaurants and bars that cater to outdoor enthusiasts.
Day 12: Hike to Laguna de Los Tres
Put on your hiking boots this morning — it's time for a full-day, 16-mile (26 km) excursion into Los Glaciares National Park. El Chaltén is the perfect starting point, as there are a number of trailheads just outside of town, many of which lead to Mt. Fitz Roy. Your destination today is Laguna de los Tres. This glassy body of water earned its name — which translates to "Lake of the Three" — because it offers prime views of three peaks. In addition to Fitz Roy, you can see Poincenot and Torre from here. You'll follow a trail that leads up through alpine forest. At the top, take in views of the valley below and Piedras Blancas Glacier. Hike back to El Chaltén for a relaxing evening.
Day 13: Travel from El Chaltén Back to El Calafate
After breakfast, you'll make the three-hour drive back to El Calafate. Today you are free to enjoy El Calafate however you choose. You could book a luxurious spa treatment and spend the day relaxing. Embark on an active adventure, like horseback riding at a nearby ranch, or go for a kayak trip on the lake. You could also tour Reserva Laguna Nimez, a protected area that's home to exotic birds like the Chilean flamingo. The reserve is located just a short walk outside town.
Day 14: Depart Argentina - End of Trip
Today the trip comes to an end. Head to the airport to make your way to your next destination. Safe travels!
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