Gear up for an epic trip in Patagonia! Spend some time in Buenos Aires, then travel south to Tiera del Fuego; you'll discover the best of Patagonia as you trek across a glacier, march with penguins, hike incredible mountains, spot wildlife, and enjoy the best of Argentina's National Parks, cuisine, and culture.

Highlights

  • Visit the famous Perito Moreno glacier and take a boat towards Estancia Cristina
  • Feel the peace and quiet of idyllic El Chalten
  • Discover Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world
  • trek in the Lake District, surrounded by lakes, mountains and lakes

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires - Afternoon City Tour Buenos Aires
Day 2 Buenos Aires to Ushuaia Ushuaia
Day 3 Trekking & Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego Ushuaia
Day 4 Estancia Harberton & Martillo island Ushuaia
Day 5 Ushuaia to El Calafate El Calafate
Day 6 El Calafate El Calafate
Day 7 El Calafate El Calafate
Day 8 El Calafate to El Chalten El Chalten
Day 9 El Chalten El Chalten
Day 10 El Chalten El Chalten
Day 11 El Chalten to El Calafate and onto Bariloche Bariloche
Day 12 Andes trail Bariloche
Day 13 Fly from Bariloche to Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 14 Depart Buenos Aires  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires - Afternoon City Tour

The Obelisco, a central monument in Buenos Aires
The Obelisco, a central monument in Buenos Aires

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 the Argentine enthusiasm for fútbol (soccer), not to mention food, wine, music, and outdoor exploration. 

When you arrive at the airport, your driver will meet you and escort you 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, venture out into the welcoming arms of Buenos Aires and explore. The best starting point is the city center, where you'll embark on a four-hour tour of this incredible metropolis. 

With your guide, you'll visit sites like the Plaza de Mayo, which is Buenos Aires' main square and home to Argentina's Presidential Palace. The plaza is the site of legendary events, including the May Revolution of 1810 that kicked off this former Spanish colony's quest for independence. The famous Casa Rosada (or "Pink House," as the Presidential Palace is known), is also rife with history. It's on the front balcony that dictator Juan Perón made some of his most famous speeches with his glamorous wife, Evita, at his side. Ultimately it was she who won the hearts and minds of the Argentine people.

You'll also stop by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the principal Catholic church in the city and another historic building that also faces the Plaza de Mayo. It was consecrated in 1791 but its earliest origins date back to the late 16th century when a humble chapel first sat on the current site. Onto San Telmo, BA’s oldest neighborhood, which boasts a vibrant tango and arts scene. Its antique markets, cobbled streets dotted with faroles (French street lamps), and old brick buildings with wooden balconies all add to the uniquely bohemian atmosphere. Sundays are especially abuzz with activity here as the main street market comes alive around Plaza Dorrego.

Your tour continues in La Boca, a well-preserved historic neighborhood that's nearly as old as San Telmo. The area is known for La Bombonera, the home stadium of one of two principal soccer teams in the city: Boca Juniors. It's also home to colorful Caminito Street, a pedestrian zone teeming with old restaurants and tanguerías. Finish your whirlwind around the city at Recoleta Neighborhood, home of the famous Recoleta Cemetery where the remains of Evita Peron rest.

After, find a nearby restaurant to tuck into some delicious Argentine cuisine, accompanied by the country's incredible wines. Or wind down at your hotel and prepare for the adventure ahead. 

Day 2: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

The End of the World Lighthouse in Ushuaia

 

Your transfer will take you to Aeroparque (the domestic airport), where you'll board a flight to Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city, which sits at the edge of the vast South American continent. 

Upon arrival, check into your hotel room and explore your new surroundings. Located in a large bay featuring a rocky coast and surrounding snowcapped Martial Range, Ushuaia features a charming downtown and scenic dock area. Enjoy the relaxing pace of today before your more physical, outdoorsy activities begin tomorrow.

Day 3: Trekking & Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego

Coastal trail in Tierra del Fuego
A coastal trail in Tierra del Fuego

You'll spend today in Tierra del Fuego National Park, one of the most popular highlights around Ushuaia. Its proximity to the city and affordable access means it's wide open for locals and visitors alike. There are many wonders within its 155,000 acres, so you'll want an experienced guide to show you the best hikes, lakes, and lookout points. 

On this day trip, your specialized guide will help you discover the park's natural beauty. You'll learn about this scenic, protected paradise, from seaside mountains to freshwater rivers and subantarctic forests to tranquil bays.

After breakfast, you'll depart from your hotel for a short ride to the park entrance, then head on a 4.3 mile (7 km) hike along a coastal path that follows the Beagle Channel. You'll have prime views of the channel along the way, but you'll also get to enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of the area. You'll also pass remnants of ancient settlements once occupied by the Yámana indigenous people.

After this scenic three-hour trek, you'll reach Lago Roca where you can relax and enjoy a hot lunch. Then it's time to start the canoe ride down the Lapataia River; this waterway leads to your ultimate destination: Lapataia Bay. Located in the Beagle Channel, it sits at the end of the Pan American Highway and Nacional Route No. 3.

Day 4: Estancia Harberton & Martillo island

estancia Harberton
Estancia Harberton

You'll spend today getting up close and personal with nature and the unique habitats only available in this part of the world. This morning, you'll head to Bird Island, inhabited by King and Imperial cormorants. After watching the birds, you can enjoy the view of the Rock Cormorants on the cliffs. Then, you'll navigate toward Sea Lion Island to see its eponymous creatures, as well as scores of adorable fur seals. Finally, you'll find Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, which was built in 1919 and is regarded as an important symbol of Ushuaia.

After your introduction to sea life, it's time to march with the penguins. You'll sail to Martillo Island, part of the Estancia Harberton, and home to Magellanic penguins between September and April. These avian stars share their habitat with other birds, such as skúas, petrels, cormorants, vultures, and South American terns. On the island, you'll take a one-hour guided walk with Gentoo and Magellanics penguins, learning about the birds, their habits, and their environment. You'll see the Magellanic penguin rookery, one of only three in Tierra del Fuego, which hosts around 1,000 nests. There is also a small colony of nine breeding couples of gentoo penguins, the only breeding colony of its kind in South America.

Later in the day, you'll shake off your adventure back in Ushuaia, where you can enjoy some delicious local seafood and relax for the evening. 

Day 5: Ushuaia to El Calafate

Condor
A condor soars through the skies

This morning, a transfer will take you to Ushuaia airport, where you will board your flight to El Calafate, named after the berry that, once eaten, ensures your return to Patagonia. Once you arrive, you will be taken to your hotel located downtown, less than 50 miles (80 km) from the Perito Moreno glacier. 

Explore the quaint town, and if you're out at dinner tonight, mingle with other visitors from around the world who've journeyed to the end of the earth to see the nature marvels ahead. 

Day 6: El Calafate

Perito Moreno glacier
Perito Moreno glacier

Your walk on the wild side in Patagonia continues with a full-day excursion to Los Glaciares National Park, where you will visit the stunning Perito Moreno glacier, declared a UNESCO Mankind Heritage Site. 

You'll take a series of short walks around the area, all of which will enable you to witness the ice detachment phenomena, with the hollow sounds of ice falling and becoming smaller floating glaciers. This particular ice field is 19 miles (30 km) long and is the planet's third-largest reserve of fresh water. There's a chance that your visit may coincide with a rupture, a phenomenal natural spectacle caused by the build-up in pressure that then releases a fantastic release of damned water. 

You can also enhance your excursion with a couple of options in the area: board a one-hour catamaran ride for a nautical safari that will treat you to close-up views as you approach the glacier's front wall. Or embark on a 5-hour mini-trekking adventure across the glacier itself. 

First, you'll sail across the Rico Arm, enjoying views of the glacier’s front walls and Iceberg Channel. You'll then disembark on the opposite shore, where specialized mountain guides will welcome you and lead you towards the glacier's edge. Once on the ice, you'll be fitted with crampons and will learn basics for the trek. You'll follow your guides for the next two hours, learning about the local landscape: streams, small lagoons, gullies and plenty of ice formations of the most incredible blues. You will receive explanations about flora, fauna, general glaciology of the region, and a more in-depth explanation of the glacier's rupture cycle.  

When you return to your hotel, warm yourself back up with a hot, perfectly brewed mug of mate before hitting the town's shops and cafes.

Day 7: El Calafate

Estancia Cristina
Estancia Cristina

After breakfast, you'll be taken to Puerto Banderas, where you'll board a ship on which you'll sail among icebergs on the Argentino Lake. Relax as you take in the breathtaking views of the Glaciar Upsala en route to today's destination: Estancia Cristina, a storied ranch deep in Los Glaciares National Park.

Estancia Cristina was founded in 1914 by Joseph Percival Masters, an Englishman who named his home Estancia Cristina after his daughter. In addition to exploring the beautiful landscape — surrounded by glaciers, snow peaks, and lakes — you'll learn about the history and legacy of the Masters family, inspiring pioneers who left an everlasting mark in this unique region of Patagonia.

You can choose from three different approaches to today's itinerary: you can keep things simple with a visit to the museum and the Chapel, followed by a short trekking up to the Caterina River. You can take the "Discovery" route, in which you visit the museum, then take a 4-wheel drive ride up to the Continental Ice Hut, from which you can trek to the Upsala Viewpoint. Or you can spend the day devoted just to trekking: you'll head straight to the Upsala Viewpoint, then will trek to the Cañadon de los Fosiles, a unique valley landscape that boasts curious sea fossils.

Day 8: El Calafate to El Chalten

Fitz Roy mt
Fitz Roy mountain

Get your motor running for an incredible road trip in Patagonia! Today you'll drive through a myriad of landscapes en route to El Chalten, a famed trekking capital with spectacular views. First, you'll cruise through the desolate wilderness, stopping by the Santa Cruz River at La Leona, an old traditional waypoint for early sheep wool traders. The horizon will then give way to the imposing Fitz Roy mountain and, in the distance, the Viedma Glacier

After your 2.5 hour trip, you'll reach El Chalten, a small Patagonian mountain village near the Continental Ice fields. Rising sharply above the flat town are Fitz Roy’s two magnificent peaks, with Cerro Torre behind them. During the summer months (December to March) trekkers make their way to this town explore the many lagoons, lakes, glaciers, and mountains within. See if you can catch the unique wildlife here in the Patagonia steppe, as herds of guanacos, foxes, partridges, pumas, deer, guanacos and rheas run freely across the land.

Tonight, get comfortable at your hotel in preparation for the amazing day that awaits you tomorrow.

Day 9: El Chalten

Laguna de los Tres
Laguna de los Tres

It's time to commune with nature today on a full-day guided hike to Rio Blanco base camp and the Laguna de los Tres vantage point for an absolutely stunning view of the complete Fitz Roy massif.

Before you start your day, you'll back a boxed lunch and lace up your shoes for the journey ahead, which will switch from moderate to difficult as you cross 11 miles of terrain in 7 to 9 hours through native lenga tree forests. Tackle the steep path in the last hour of your hike, knowing that the effort will be worth it: the incredible views that reward you at Laguna de los Tres promises to be one of your highlights here in Patagonia. 

Day 10: El Chalten

Cerro Torre
Cerro Torre

 

Today's full-day hike to Torre Lake in Los Glaciares National Park is easier and a bit shorter than yesterday's epic trek and promises incredible vistas of snowpacked peaks the towering spires that shoot up from the earth. Your trail today runs along beech forest, bogs and shrubland. From the camp, a short hike takes you to Laguna Torre, enclosed by moraines and the Glacier Grande on its west side. You can also expect to spot icebergs pushed by the wind on the coast of the lagoon.

Stop and admire the thin and elegant granite spire of Cerro Torre, topped with an imposing ice cap; your panorama will also be punctuated by the Adela range in the continental icefields in the background. The trail itself will take 6 to 7 hours to complete and you'll have trekked 13 miles of easy to moderate terrain. 

Tonight, reward yourself with smoky platters of Cordero al Palo, the classic Patagonian dish of lamb, slow-cooked for hours over an open flame. Douse your plate with plenty of chimichurri, a fragrant and garlicy herb salsa that also pairs nicely with warm empanadas (traditional meat pies). Wash it all down with a glass of Argentine red wine or class things up with a refreshing Pisco Sour before you turn in for the night. 

Day 11: El Chalten to El Calafate and onto Bariloche

El Chalten to El Calafate
El Chalten to El Calafate

Today you'll hit the road back to El Calafate, then onto your flight to Bariloche; once you arrive, you'll have time to settle into your hotel on the shores of the Nahuel Huapi, a large glacial lake surrounded by the Andes Mountains.

Then, relax as you take in an afternoon of exploring the local landscape. You'll take in the southern shore of Lake Nahuel, as well as a gorgeous view at Panorama Point. Take your pick of summer or winter activities in the picturesque countryside of just admire the scenery and fresh air.

Get a taste of the area, thanks to a bevy of tea houses and craft breweries, or shop for beautiful, locally-made textiles, ceramics, leather, candles and crafts. Bariloche is also home to the best chocolate in Argentina, so be sure to sample some of the town's incredible confections. 

Day 12: Andes Trail

Andes trail
Andes trail

 

Enjoy a morning in Bariloche, strolling around town, sipping on mate, or getting lost in nature before you head out for an easy hike at Bahía López in the Andes. A guide will lead you on a 30-minute walk that will take you deep into the woodland to the natural balconies at the Brazo Tristeza of Nahuel Huapi Lake.

The journey itself will provide magnificent views over the nearby mountains and sapphire lake. After a short ascent, you'll reach another balcony, where you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the gorgeous Cerro Tronador and its seven glaciers. Those who dare to go a little farther can also choose to rappel back down the mountain!

You'll also enjoy an incredible lunch in the Andes, thanks to a chef who will join you and will prepare local delicacies for a gourmet picnic overlooking paradise. 

Day 13: Fly from Bariloche to Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires

Bid farewell to Patagonia and head back to the city. Your transfer will take you to Bariloche airport, where you will return to Buenos Aires. Once you arrive at your hotel, rest up so you can enjoy your last night in Argentina — in style!

You'll spend your final evening in style with a gourmet dinner and show at the glamorous Gala Tango. Relish this feast for the senses, complete with a distinctive menu, complemented with wines from one Argentina's most exclusive wine-houses. You'll be treated to an elegant, refined tango and folklore show: hear traditional orchestration by a quartet (a piano, large concertina, two violins, and double bass), performances by two tango singers and four sets of expert dancing partners. You'll also be swept away by the music from a charango, a small Andean stringed instrument, and a demonstration by boleadoras, gauchos trained the traditional lassoing technique that uses a weighted leather string.

Day 14: Depart Buenos Aires

Goodbye, Buenos Aires!
Goodbye, Buenos Aires!

Enjoy one last breakfast in Buenos Aires, then it's off to the airport for your departing flight and then home after an unforgettable trip.