If you love adventure, nature, and active excursions, this 16-day itinerary is one for the bucket list. Journey to Argentina’s spectacular far south, where the remote destinations and gorgeous landscapes of Patagonia are waiting to be discovered. Trek the Perito Moreno Glacier, hike to azure lakes and rugged peaks in El Chaltén, and bike through winding river valleys. From Ushuaia, you’ll sail the Beagle Channel, canoe through the sub-antarctic forests of Tierra del Fuego, and hop over to Chile for a breathtaking cruise through icy fjords.

Highlights

  • Picnic atop the famous Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Trek to rugged peaks & mountain lakes in Los Glaciares National Park
  • Mountain bike along the Lago del Desierto
  • Canoe among rare flora & fauna at Lapataia Bay
  • Sail the Beagle Channel at the southernmost city in the world
  • Cruise through the remote fjords of Tierra del Fuego

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Argentina! Buenos Aires
Day 2 Explore Buenos Aires by Bike Buenos Aires
Day 3 Fly to El Calafate El Calafate
Day 4 Ice Trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier El Calafate
Day 5 Estancia Cristina Adventure El Calafate
Day 6 Transfer to El Chaltén, Stop at La Leona Petrified Forest El Chaltén
Day 7 Trek to Mount Fitz Roy & Laguna de los Tres  El Chaltén
Day 8 Lago del Desierto Mountain Bike Excursion El Chaltén
Day 9 Transfer to Ushuaia, the "End of the World" Ushuaia
Day 10 Sail the Beagle Channel & Hike to Island H Ushuaia
Day 11 Trekking & Canoeing in Lapataia Bay  Ushuaia
Day 12 Board the Darwin Expedition Cruise Tierra del Fuego
Day 13 Cruise the Parry Fjord Tierra del Fuego
Day 14 Return Cruise to Ushuaia Ushuaia
Day 15 Return to Buenos Aires & Tango Evening Buenos Aires
Day 16 Goodbye Argentina!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Argentina!

Spend your first day getting a taste of Argentina's capital
Spend your first day getting a taste of Argentina's capital

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: Explore Buenos Aires by Bke

See the city sights by bike

Today you'll get to experience the city on two wheels as opposed to two feet. On this full-day bicycle tour, you'll zip through the capital, visiting neighborhoods in and around the center of Buenos Aires.

The day starts in the historic city center of San Telmo, where you'll stop at Lezama Park to learn about the first settlement of Buenos Aires and how immigration shaped the city historically and culturally. Pedaling south takes you towards the La Boca neighborhood and La Bombonera, the home stadium of famous local fútbol club, the Boca Juniors. Here you can visit the famous and colorful Caminito Street, which abounds with art, music, and tango dancing. Next, cruise towards Puerto Madero, a mega-port that was once obsolete but has now been transformed into the most modern and sophisticated district of Buenos Aires. Stop for lunch at a typical parrilla to refuel and appreciate the art form that is Argentine barbeque (delicious veggie options can be arranged in advance). 

After lunch, escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a quick visit to the peaceful 865-acre ecological reserve of La Reserva Ecológica Costanera, before pedaling north, where the historic working-class barrios give way to the upper-class enclaves of the aristocracy. First, it's the Retiro neighborhood, which is famous for its ornate buildings and baroque architecture. This leads to the famous Recoleta neighborhood, whose old French-inspired buildings feature arched doorways and long, yawning windows. It's also home to Recoleta Cemetery, the oldest and most famous final resting place in the city. Here lies the remains of the most prominent historical figures and the most famous citizens of Argentina. After turning south, you'll make your way back to the very heart of Buenos Aires and end your memorable day at the iconic Plaza de Mayo.

Day 3: Fly to El Calafate

The Southern Patagonian Ice Field
The Southern Patagonian Ice Field

This morning, a driver will pick you up at the hotel for your private transfer to the airport to catch your flight to El Calafate. This town sits on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which is home to Los Glaciares National Park. The most famous landmark in this protected area is Perito Moreno, a 150 square-mile (250 square-kilometer) ice formation that is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world. 

Upon your arrival at El Calafate, another transfer will take you to your hotel. You can spend the day relaxing or venture out and enjoy the quaint cafes and shops around town. You can also prime yourself with information on the nearby glaciers by visiting the Glaciarium. This multi-media center has an ice museum, various interactive displays, and educational information regarding glaciers. For fun, it even has a bar made totally of ice.

Day 4: Ice Trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier

Trek across the Perito Moreno glacier

After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Los Glaciares National Park, where 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 that curves around the lake. Wait a bit and you'll 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 reverberates in the ears.

On today's full-day adventure, you'll take a short boat trip across Rio Brazil to reach the glacier. After an hour's hike, stop at a spectacular viewpoint to suit up with crampons, harnesses, and helmets and begin your journey across the ice. Accompanied by a certified guide, you'll enjoy crossing deep blue ice crevices and hiking over meltwater streams as you experience Perito Moreno up close. Along the way, the guide will help you learn more about the ice, its surroundings, and the nearby mountains of Cerro Dos Picos, Cerro Pietrobelli, and Cerro Cervantes. You'll also get to experience a memorable picnic lunch on the ice, in one of the most breathtaking locations imaginable.

During the day you'll also have ample time to witness the glacier from one of the many viewing platforms in the park. These platforms are accessible via a network of boardwalks that run along the shores of the lake. They offer the best vantage points and sweeping views of the glacier, making for great photo opportunities.

Day 5: Estancia Cristina Adventure

Take a boat tour by the glacier
A boat trip takes you past glaciers to reach Estancia Cristina

After breakfast, start your tour along Route 11 towards Punta Bandera Port, where you'll board a catamaran to sail among icebergs and stunning scenery overlooking the western front of the Upsala Glacier. After crossing the Cristina Channel, disembark at a small pier that welcomes you to Estancia Cristina, one of the most impressive ranch-style lodges in the region. It was founded in 1914 by pioneers and built on a valley once covered by the Upsala Glacier. A visit to the Folkloric Museum here (located in an old sheep-shearing shed), offers insight into the history of the estancia. The surrounding scenery is nothing to scoff at either—all around are impressive panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, rivers, lakes, and glaciers. 

Today you'll be embarking on a Gully of the Fossils adventure, traveling by ATV along 6 miles (9.5 km) of rugged mountain trails, where you can explore a landscape that until recently was covered by glaciers and is a place of great geological interest. With a backdrop of sweeping views across the Upsala Glacier, Guillermo Lake, the Southern Patagonian Ice Sheet, and the Andes Mountain Range, you'll search for fossils in this unique valley. After a picnic lunch, return to the estancia to board the boat and return to your hotel for the evening. 

Day 6: Transfer to El Chaltén, Stop at La Leona Petrified Forest

Explore prehistoric Patagonia on a trip to a petrified forest

Today you'll transfer north to El Chaltén, stopping en route for an excursion into a fantastical fossilized landscape. Your detour takes you to an estancia (ranch) halfway between El Calafate and El Chaltén, just off a section of the mythical Route 40. Here you'll stop at the historic Hotel La Leona, before continuing along a dirt track to the slopes of Mount Los Hornos to reach the remains of a petrified forest. Step back in time to prehistoric Patagonia as you set out on foot to explore the eroded landscape, its abundant fossils, and its many 70 million-year-old petrified tree trunks. 

In the afternoon, get back on the road and continue to El Chaltén. If the skies are clear, you'll be treated to incredible views of Mount Fitz Roy along the way. Because of this famous peak, the town is nicknamed "hiker's paradise" due to the abundance of mountaineering options all around (which you'll soon get a chance to experience firsthand).

Upon arrival, check into your hotel and take the rest of the day to acclimate to your new surroundings. Perhaps you'll want to take a walk in town before a relaxing evening sampling El Chaltén's many restaurants and craft beer bars.

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Day 7: Trek to Mount Fitz Roy & Laguna de los Tres

Mount Fitz Roy and Laguna de los Tres
Embark on a full-day hike to the beautiful Laguna de los Tres

After breakfast, embark on a spectacular and unforgettable full-day trek towards Mount Fitz Roy. This exhilarating guided excursion starts with a transfer to the trailhead at El Pilar, located 10.5 miles (17 km) to the north of town. The journey is enjoyable for the lovely views of the valley along the way. From here you'll start walking in a dense forest of lengas that protect you from the winds coming off the Continental Ice Field. From the start, you'll be able to spot lots of different glaciers, including Marconi, Eléctrico, Cagliero, and in the distance, Vespignani. Your destination is Laguna de los Tres, a magical mountain lake that earned its name from the panoramic view it offers of the three peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre.

At the end of this 16-mile (26 km) hike, you'll descend the mountain and return to your hotel in El Chaltén for a well-earned rest.

Day 8: Lago del Desierto Mountain Bike Excursion

Follow the Rio de las Vueltas back to El Chaltén

Explore stunning scenery on two wheels today, with a mountain biking excursion to one of the prettiest routes in southern Patagonia. Pedal along the road between Lago del Desierto and El Chaltén to make the most of the prevailing winds, cruising through a scenic wonderland and enjoying waterfalls and lagoons en route.

First, a 90-minute transfer takes you from El Chaltén to Lago del Desierto. Here you have the option of starting the cycle back to El Chaltén straight away or taking some extra time to explore and enjoy Lago del Desierto with a walk or boat ride. When you're ready to set off on your mountain bike, you'll follow the mostly flat or downhill route through the valley basin of Rio de las Vueltas. The road runs alongside the river in several spots and passes lovely waterfalls and historical sites where you can stop for a well-earned break. After a few hours of riding, you'll arrive back in El Chaltén where you can toast your adventure with a locally-brewed beer.

Day 9: Transfer to Ushuaia, the "End of the World"

Welcome to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world

Enjoy a hearty breakfast in El Chaltén before transferring to the airport for a quick flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and have the rest of the day to explore.

Located on a bay in the Patagonian region of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia sits between the jagged peaks of the Martial Mountains and the silver waters of the Beagle Channel. This is the same waterway Charles Darwin explored when he was traveling on the HMS Beagle almost 200 years ago. Make sure to get out and walk along the waterfront for a better glimpse of the craggy mountains and wide channel. As you stroll amid Ushuaia's colorful buildings, you'll notice an endearing jumble of architectural styles with everything from mock chalets to tumbledown wooden cottages.

For something a little different, visit the building that houses Ushuaia's Maritime Museum, which was once an old prison. Constructed at the turn of the 20th century, some 600 convicts occupied 380 cells until the prison's closing in 1947. There's also the Museo del Fin del Mundo, or "End of the World" museum. Located on the waterfront, this small museum features fascinating exhibits detailing the region's natural and indigenous history. You'll also find extensive exhibits on birds and sailing.

For an easy afternoon hike, you can head 11 miles (17 km) outside of Ushuaia to the Laguna Esmeralda trailhead. The shores of this turquoise lake are a great spot to enjoy a picnic lunch and take photos. Regarding the cuisine in Ushuaia, the region is famous for its seafood, particularly centolla (king crab). Try it au gratin—it's the most decadent dish in Ushuaia. 

Day 10: Sail the Beagle Channel & Hike to H Island

Explore the Beagle Channel by sailboat

Wake early and enjoy breakfast in Ushuaia before heading to the pier and boarding a sailboat for a local cruise. You'll sail along the Beagle Channel, one of the region’s most important waterways named after the HMS Beagle, a 19th-century British ship that brought Charles Darwin to South America. As you pass through the channel, you'll witness breathtaking views of Ushuaia and the mountains behind it. Be on the lookout for marine wildlife such as cormorants and sea lions, especially near the Lobo and De Los Pajaros islands. If the winds are calm, you can see all the way to the opposite coast, which stretches across Chile and Argentina.

Along the way, you'll hop ashore at H Island, home to the Yamana people for thousands of years. Embark on a magical trek through a diverse landscape of rare plants and lichens, before boarding the ship once again for your scenic return journey.

Day 11: Trekking & Canoeing in Lapataia Bay 

Boating Along the Rivers and Bays in Argentina
Canoe down Patagonia's Lapataia River

Today you'll spend the day in Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is known for its sub-antarctic forest, dramatic scenery, and rugged coastline. Once in Ensenada Bay, enjoy the view over the Beagle Channel before starting your guided excursion with a walk along the coast. This route allows you to observe the flora and wildlife, including woodpeckers, guanacos, and foxes, as well as discovering traces of the area’s ancient indigenous people, the Yamana. 

After three hours, you'll arrive at Lake Roca, where lunch will be served. Then it's time to set out on a canoe trip down the Lapataia River, which will take you to Lapataia Bay in the Beagle Channel, the place where the Pan-American Highway ends. This important trans-continental route begins in Alaska, covers the length of the Americas, and finishes here, at the "end of the world."

Day 12: Board the Darwin Expedition Cruise

Cross into Chile and set sail into the fjords of Tierra del Fuego

Today's expedition starts early in the morning from your hotel in Ushuaia, with a transfer north toward glacial valleys and the Andes Mountains. Turning east takes you through vast steppes and past old estancias (ranches) to the Bellavista Pass, where you'll cross into Chile to reach the Azopardo River. Here you'll find Caleta María, where the next stage of your adventure begins. 

After a short walk on the beach, a rigid-hulled inflatable motorboat whisks you to a small cruise ship and your base for the next two nights as you discover the sub-antarctic fjords and glaciers of Tierra del Fuego. Cruise through Admiralty Sound to the entrance to Parry Fjord, where you can go ashore to explore ancient forests and rare flora on a guided trek. As the sun sets, your captain will find a peaceful spot to anchor for the night as you fall asleep to the sounds of nature.

Day 13: Cruise Parry Fjord

Go ashore to discover the flora and fauna of this remote wilderness

Explore a land of remote fjords, icy sounds, and towering glaciers today as you cruise through the Parry Fjord. With the snowcapped peaks of the Darwin Chain providing an imposing backdrop, you'll head towards the Cuevas and New Zealand glaciers, where, weather permitting, you can embark on an hour's trek to the remains of a 1950s Argentine plane and stop for a drink chilled with ice chipped from the glacier.

Afterward, cruise through a sea of shifting ice floes towards Doña Mercedes Pass to reach the majestic Parry and Rock glaciers, where you'll anchor in a sheltered bay for the evening.

Day 14: Return Cruise to Ushuaia

Savor your return journey through the fjords to Caleta Maria

This morning starts with a visit to Jackson Bay, where you'll visit a thriving sea elephant colony. The largest of the pinnipeds (flipper-footed mammals like walruses, seals, and sea lions), male sea elephants can measure up to 20 feet (6 m) and weigh as much as 4 tons. After spending some time admiring the remarkable fauna of the fjords, it's time to start your return trip towards Caleta María, and your eventual transfer to Ushuaia for the evening. 

Day 15: Return to Buenos Aires & Tango Evening

An evening of tango
An evening of tango

It's time to bid Patagonia farewell today as you transfer to the airport and catch your flight back to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel and can spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

In the evening, you'll be picked up for a celebratory final night on the town, featuring dinner and a tango show. Here you’ll discover one of Argentina's most famous traditions, a mesmerizing dance that tells stories of love, sensuality, and passion. A live band of local musicians will serenade you as world-class tango dancers show off their best moves, while you enjoy an à la carte dinner of delicious Argentine cuisine.

Day 16: Goodbye Argentina!

Sunset over Buenos Aires
Sunset over Buenos Aires

After enjoying one last morning in Buenos Aires, you'll be picked up and transferred to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels and buen viaje!

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