A vast estuary that separates Argentina and Uruguay, the Río de la Plata is one of South America's most vital waterways. This 9-day itinerary takes you to both shores, discovering the tango culture of Buenos Aires, touring the colorful, cobbled streets of Colonia del Sacramento, and ending in the eclectic Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.

Highlights

  • Explore the highlights of the Río de la Plata area
  • Discover the vibrant neighborhoods & nightlife of Buenos Aires
  • Tour the cobbled streets of UNESCO-listed Colonia del Sacramento
  • Sample Uruguayan cuisine at Montevideo's bustling Mercado del Puerto

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Buenos Aires! Buenos Aires
Day 2 Buenos Aires Half-Day City Tour & Tango Show Buenos Aires
Day 3 Free Day in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 4 Transfer to Colonia del Sacramento Colonia del Sacramento
Day 5 Colonia del Sacramento Half-Day City Tour Colonia del Sacramento
Day 6 Transfer to Montevideo, Lunch at Mercado del Puerto  Montevideo
Day 7 Montevideo Half-Day City Tour Montevideo
Day 8 Free Day in Montevideo Montevideo
Day 9 Depart Montevideo   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Buenos Aires!

The vibrant, distinctive cityscape of Buenos Aires
The vibrant, distinctive cityscape of Buenos Aires

Bienvenido a Buenos Aires! Upon arrival, a guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. Buenos Aires, known as the "Paris of South America"  is defined by passion. This is exemplified in the rich tango heritage and its citizens' limitless enthusiasm for fútbol (soccer). And make no mistake: this city will entice you out. So after a quick recharge from your flight, be sure to venture out and discover as much as you can. The best starting point would be the city center (although bear in mind that tomorrow you will be having a more in-depth guided tour of the city).

Ideas for your first day in Buenos Aires include:

  • Stopping by the Teatro Colón, one of South America's premier opera houses. The theater runs a diverse program, but it's always breathtaking just to pass by its exterior, too. The neoclassical facade has always numbered among the finest buildings in Buenos Aires since its opening in 1908.

  • Dining at an Argentine parrilla (steakhouse). When night falls and dinnertime arrives, do like the locals and enjoy a thick, juicy steak—Argentina has some of the world's best beef—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. 

  • Strolling Puerto Madero, an upscale waterfront neighborhood adjacent to downtown and a great place to get a perspective on the more frantic city center. It is also one of the most pleasant walking areas in the city.

Day 2: Buenos Aires Half-Day City Tour & Tango Show

The city has many colorful colonial houses
The colorful, colonial houses of San Telmo

This morning, you will embark on a half-day guided tour of Buenos Aires' highlights, by foot and by transfer where appropriate. You will get to see the 16-lane Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest city street in the world, with the Obelisco, perhaps the most famous icon of the city, in the middle of it. This obelisk was built in 1936 to commemorate 400 years of Spanish settlement in the Río de la Plata area. You will also see the iconic city thoroughfare Avenida Corrientes, known for its theatre scene.

The first stop will be in the Plaza de Mayo, where you can visit the Cathedral and the Cabildo (Old City Hall). After that, your trip will continue towards San Telmo, a charming district characterized by its old colonial houses, cobblestoned streets, and tango scene. Continue to the traditional working-class La Boca neighborhood, located in the south of the city, where you will get to see the colorful zinc houses that make up this area of Buenos Aires and that used to be the refuge and home for the first immigrants and artists.

Your next port of call will be Puerto Madero, the old city port, now transformed into one of the city's most exclusive residential and dining areas. Next, you visit Palermo, one of Buenos Aires' liveliest barrios (neighborhoods), and hugely popular with tourists thanks to its excellent museums, restaurants, bars, and cafés. Here you may also get to spend some time in Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Woods), where 740 acres of beautiful gardens and ponds are surrounded by elegant buildings.

Finally, the last point in the tour is Recoleta, a classy district of Parisian-style architecture and high-end boutiques where you can visit Recoleta Cemetery.  Eva Perón is just one of the many famous Argentines laid to rest in this striking landmark, often cited as one of the world’s best cemeteries—wander through aisles of elaborate marble mausoleums designed in Art Deco, Baroque, and Art Nouveau architectural styles. Recoleta also has many bars, cafes, and fancy restaurants worth a visit.

In the evening, you will be taken by your English-speaking guide to historic San Telmo, the hub of Buenos Aires' tango scene for a dinner, tango, and folk music show.

Day 3: Free Day in Buenos Aires

Teatro Colon
The historic Teatro Colón opera house

Today is yours to explore Buenos Aires at your own pace. You could spend the day touring the parts of the city that appeal to you most, such as the vibrant neighborhoods of San Telmo, Recoleta, and Palermo. For culture, Recoleta's Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum) is the city's (and arguably the country's) most important museum. This colonnaded building contains works by Argentine artists such as Benito Quinquela Martín, Xul Solar, and Antonio Berni, alongside important works by Degas, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Van Gogh. And of course, there are plenty of culinary highlights. The Las Cañitas section of Palermo is a special area of the city known for its beautiful tree-lined avenues, historic polo fields, and burgeoning culinary and nightlife scene.

In the evening, consider a culinary excursion such as Palermo's Argentine Experience, which allows you to take part in a convivial gastronomic odyssey that celebrates great Argentine food and wine. Guests at this unique "dinner party" share a table while enjoying gourmet food and the country's famous wine. Professional hosts guide you through the evening and explain the uniqueness of Argentine culture and how it reveals itself in the nation's food.

Another option is a tango show excursion at the historic Café de los Angelitos. Opened in 1890, it became a meeting point for famous Buenos Aires personalities, compadritos (swaggerers), and malandras (scoundrels), including the verbal duels of gaucho minstrels like Gabino Ezeiza. Now remodeled, it is a luxury address at which to end your time in the Argentine capital, as 21 artists perform an unforgettable live dinner show 

Day 4: Transfer to Colonia del Sacramento

Discover the historic cobbled streets of Colonia del Sacramento

Head to the pier of Buenos Aires this morning to board a ferry across the Río de la Plata to the Uruguayan town of Colonia del Sacramento. Your base for the next two nights, this historic UNESCO-listed Portuguese city dates back to the 17th century and offers cobbled streets and colorful facades with a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, and Post-Colonial styles. 

Day 5: Colonia del Sacramento Half-Day City Tour

Sunset over the Río de la Plata

Today a half-day guided tour takes you through the highlights and hidden gems of Colonia del Sacramento. Discover charming stone streets, a historic fort, and the scenic port of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. You'll explore the bustling downtown and stroll the Rambla to reach the "Old City," where you can visit the Plaza de Toros, the Hipodromo, and the old harbor.

Day 6: Transfer to Montevideo, Lunch at Mercado del Puerto 

Have lunch in the capital's Port Market

After breakfast, transfer to the bus terminal to catch a bus to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, traveling southeast along the Río de la Plata. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to the lively 19th century Mercado del Puerto to enjoy a memorable lunch before getting settled into your accommodations. 

Day 7: Montevideo Half-Day City Tour

Montevideo's central Plaza Indepenencia

Discover Montevideo's rich history and eclectic culture today with a half-day guided city tour. Visit the historic center with its pedestrian streets, the stately town hall building, and the cathedral, before heading to Plaza Independencia. Then explore the traditional Prado neighborhood, the elegant riverside Rambla, and the city's famed Mercado del Puerto, where you can grab lunch amongst the hustle and bustle of the colorful market.

Day 8: Free Day in Montevideo

Today is yours to discover Montevideo at your own pace

Today is free to relax and explore Montevideo at your leisure. 

Day 9: Depart Montevideo 

Goodbye, Montevideo!

At the set time this morning, you'll be transferred to Montevideo Airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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