This diverse 9-day tour combines top destinations in Argentina for a trip that won't disappoint. Start by experiencing the cosmopolitan bustle of Buenos Aires before you fly south to El Calafate for a number of spectacular glaciers, which you'll see by land and boat. Then, fly north to the Brazilian border (and warmer weather) to explore Iguazú Falls—the largest waterfall system in the world.

Highlights

  • Stroll over Buenos Aires' Puente de Mujer (Woman's Bridge) at sunset
  • Take an city tour with a local guide, followed by a tango show
  • Get up close to major glaciers on two boat trips (one that includes a gourmet lunch)
  • Hike around several stunning waterfalls in both Argentina and Brazil
  • Ride a double-decker bus through Iguazú National Park and look for monkeys

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires
Day 2 Buenos Aires City Tour, Dinner & Tango Show Buenos Aires
Day 3 Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate El Calafate
Day 4 Perito Moreno Boat & Walking Tour El Calafate
Day 5 Glaciers Gourmet Experience El Calafate
Day 6 Fly from El Calafate to Iguazú Falls Iguazu Falls
Day 7 Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side) Iguazu Falls
Day 8 Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side) Iguazu Falls
Day 9 Fly from Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires - Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buenos Aires

A Japanese garden in Palermo
A Japanese garden in Palermo

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 far and away 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, simulate 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: Buenos Aires City Tour, Dinner & Tango Show

Dorrego Square in San Telmo
Dorrego Square in San Telmo

After breakfast, you'll join a fascinating tour for an overview of Buenos Aires as well as a better understanding of Argentina’s history and culture. During this three-hour tour, you will visit Retiro as well as Avenida 9 de Julio, South America’s widest avenue. Along this street, you'll see the Teatro Colon, the continent's most opulent opera house, and the iconic Obelisco monument.

You will also pass through the historic and architecturally impressive city center, home to the Congress Building, Plaza de Mayo, Avenida de Mayo, and the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). Then, walk along the upscale waterfront promenades of Puerto Madero before heading to the oldest neighborhood in the city, San Telmo. Afterward, you'll stop by La Boca, the city's original port.

In the evening, enjoy a scrumptious meal accompanied by free-flowing wine and tango show, one of Argentina's most iconic cultural highlights. After this memorable experience, you'll head back to your hotel to relax for the night.

Day 3: Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate

Lago Argentino
Lago Argentino

This morning, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to El Calafate, a city that sits on the shores of Lago Argentino and is known as the gateway to Argentina's glaciers. If you can, get a window seat so you can take in the stunning views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field as you fly over it. 

Upon arrival at El Calafate, another transfer will take you to your hotel. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or venture out and enjoy the quaint cafes and shops around town. Maybe 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: Perito Moreno Boat & Walking Tour

Enjoy the views of Perito Moreno
Enjoy the views of Perito Moreno

Today, you're in for an exciting full-day excursion. It starts with a pick up from your hotel in El Calafate, followed by a one-hour transfer to Los Glaciares National Park. As you enter the park you'll catch your first glimpse of 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. 

While not the only glacier in the area, Perito Moreno is indeed the star of the show. It's also unique in that it is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, a factor that results in the calving mentioned above. Upon arrival, you'll be able to admire Perito Moreno from a number of different vantage points via the network of wooden walkways strategically situated in front of the glacier. Even better, you'll also get up close and personal with its massive ice wall on a boat tour. 

After a day spent discovering the glacier and wandering the numerous trails, you'll head back to El Calafate to enjoy the evening as you please.

Day 5: Glaciers Gourmet Experience

This full-day tour offers serious photo opportunities
This full-day tour offers serious photo opportunities

Today, you'll take part in an exciting full-day cruise through Los Glaciares National Park, one of the most wonderful places in Southern Patagonia. Sailing aboard the Glaciers Gourmet will allow you to enjoy the highest standard of comfort and gourmet cuisine for a truly memorable experience.

This UNESCO-listed park offers a magnificent combination of forests, lakes, mountains, and more than 200 glaciers. The most renowned pieces of ice include Spegazzini, rising 442 feet (135 m) above sea level, Upsala covering an entire valley with a length of 32 miles (53km), and Perito Moreno, a massive glacier that is constantly advancing and calving—one of nature’s most impressive sights.

In the morning, you'll be picked up at your hotel in El Calafate to join the scenic cruise. Lunch will be served on board, and you'll return to El Calafate in the early evening.

Day 6: Fly from El Calafate to Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls in the late afternoon light
Iguazú Falls in the late afternoon light

This morning a driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport in El Calafate. A domestic flight will take you from the rugged forests and icy peaks of southern Patagonia to the mango trees and rainforest jungles of northern Argentina's Misiones Province. Here you'll find the jewel in the crown: Iguazú Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world.

Upon arrival to the city of Puerto Iguazú, you'll have the rest of the day free to relax, visit the Three Borders Landmark in the tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and enjoy a panoramic view of Iguazu Falls from the walking paths surrounding the cascades.

You also have the option for a half-day tour of the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls (as opposed to the Argentine side) beginning in the afternoon. (Depending on your itinerary, this tour may be included later in your trip). This is a good introduction to the falls, as the Brazilian side offers what amounts to a couple of easily accessible viewpoints. That means you'll be able to enjoy the majesty of this natural wonder without the extensive walking that accompanies a visit to the Argentine side. 

In any case, enjoy the falls as you acclimate to the warmer weather (temperatures here can top 90°F in the summer months). Also, be on the lookout for exotic animals that call the area home, such as monkeys and coatis.

Day 7: Explore Iguazú Falls (Argentine Side)

Touring Iguazú from the Argentine side
Touring Iguazú from the Argentine side

After breakfast at your hotel, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to the entrance of Iguazú National Park, on the Argentine side of the falls. This is where you will begin the day's adventure. It's a full-day excursion that involves traversing three circuit routes around the falls, each offering exceptional vantage points from which to view this magnificent natural wonder. 

Three circuit routes include:

  • The upper circuit (1 hour), which features 2,624 feet (800 m) of catwalks. These walkways are elevated from the jungle surface so as not to disrupt the natural pathways used by the indigenous fauna. The circuit affords views of the upper portion of Iguazú; that means you'll be treated to no shortage of panoramic vistas of the surrounding falls.

  • The lower circuit (2 hours), which consists of 5,250 feet (1,600 m). These are also elevated and offer views from directly below and around Iguazú falls. This circuit takes you near the base of the falls and provides a unique experience where you'll be up close with the natural surroundings, feeling the magnitude of the falls from up close. 

  • Devil's Gorge (2 hours), enjoys an intimidating reputation that will precede your arrival to the park. This is the star of the show and the biggest of the some 275 falls that makeup Iguazú. A small tourist train leaves from within the park at the Cataratas Station and travels 18 minutes to Garganta Station, where you'll find restrooms, a snack bar, and the start of the wooden pathway to the falls. Then a walk of about 3,937 feet (1200 m) will take you over the river, culminating at a viewpoint. Just hearing the plunging falls reverberating in your ears is a one-of-a-kind experience. Actually peering 269 feet (82 m) down into the cavernous abyss as the highest of Iguazu's falls thunders all around you is downright unforgettable. 

At the end of the tour, the driver will pick you up and transfer you back to the hotel.

Day 8: Explore Iguazú Falls (Brazilian Side)

Pedestrian walkways with epic views
Pedestrian walkways with epic views

The Brazilian side of Iguazú may lack the number of hiking routes found on the Argentine side, but it makes up for it with a wealth of amenities in the form of conveniences and restaurants with terraces overlooking the falls. Upon arrival at the Visitors Center, you'll board a double-decker bus that embarks on a 30-minute ride into the park.

After you jump off the bus, your first stop is a balcony that offers panoramic views of the Argentine side of the falls (be sure to keep your camera at the ready). You'll then hike 3,116 feet (950 m) along the Iguazú River until you reach the falls on the Brazilian side. The walkway passes over the river to the Salto Floriano (Floriano Falls). This magnificent wall of plunging water makes quite an impression, as do the vistas of the lower Iguazú River and the Devil’s Throat Canyon.

Once you have the lay of the land, spend your day enjoying the various views and having lunch on a terrace before returning to your hotel.

Day 9: Fly from Iguazu Falls to Buenos Aires - Departure

Goodbye, Argentina!
Goodbye, Argentina!

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, transfer to the international airport for your return flight home. ¡Buen viaje!

Map

Map of Classic Argentina: Patagonia & Iguazú - 9 Days
Map of Classic Argentina: Patagonia & Iguazú - 9 Days