Combining city tours and tango performances in Buenos Aires with treks through Tierra del Fuego National Park at the "End of the World", this trip is an excellent blend of nature and culture. The focus is on wildlife sightings, with whale-watching excursions near Peninsula Vales and visits to the largest sea lion and elephant seal colonies in the region. You'll cruise along the famous Beagle Channel and canoe rivers to reach Lapataia Bay, plus visit regional museums and walk with penguins on Martillo Island.

Highlights

  • Walk with penguin colonies on Martillo Island
  • Visit the most extensive colony of elephant seals and sea lions in Patagonia
  • See the whales of Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Hike and canoe through Tierra del Fuego National Park
  • Enjoy a tango performance in the lively city of Buenos Aires

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires - Explore the city Buenos Aires
Day 2 Discover the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires on a private tour Buenos Aires
Day 3 Fly to Peninsula Valdes - Explore Puerto Madryn Puerto Madryn
Day 4 Go whale watching and visit the Magellan penguin reserve Puerto Madryn
Day 5 Visit the sea lion colony at Punta Loma Puerto Madryn
Day 6 Transfer to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world Ushuaia
Day 7 Trek through Tierra del Fuego National Park and canoe to Lapataia Bay Ushuaia
Day 8 Cruise the Beagle Channel - Walk with penguins on Martillo Island Ushuaia
Day 9 Return to Buenos Aires - Enjoy an evening of Argentine tango Buenos Aires
Day 10 Depart Argentina  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires - Explore the city

Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires
Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires

Welcome to Argentina!

Upon arriving at the airport in Buenos Aires, your guide will transfer you to your hotel in the city. Along the way, you'll receive all the information needed for your trip, including your itinerary. After settling into your accommodation, take some time to explore Buenos Aires.

Although you'll enjoy a guided tour of the city tomorrow, you can spend your first few hours visiting some of the main sites. Start in the center, walking by the famously ornate theaters of Teatro Nacional Cervantes and Teatro Colón. Stroll the streets and relish the architecture of the buildings, stopping to admire the Deco structure of Palacio Barolo. From here, you can either visit Plaza del Congreso, which perfectly frames the city's congress building, or walk toward the port, passing through Plaza de Mayo and by the presidential palace, Casa Rosada.

Both of these areas are buzzing with activity. There are plenty of eateries lining the streets, so you can easily find a lively bistro or cozy restaurant for dinner.

Day 2: Discover the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires on a private tour

Colorful Houses in La Boca Neighborhood
Colorful Houses in La Boca Neighborhood

Today you'll explore some of the top spots in Buenos Aires on a private city tour. This tour can be adapted to your interests and tastes, which you'll discuss with your guide beforehand.

Some of the areas and sites to consider include:

  • Plaza de Mayo is home to the national government palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. This historical, political, and foundational epicenter of the city is a great starting point for the city tour.

  • One of Buenos Aires' oldest neighborhoods is San Telmo, a great area to visit if you're interested in tango and the arts. Its antique markets, candle streetlighting, cobbled roads, and historic buildings with original facades and décor create a lovely bohemian atmosphere. Sundays buzz with activity as the main antique market comes alive around the Plaza Dorrego.

  • You can also visit La Boca, a neighborhood famous for its brightly-painted houses and coventillos (communal housing tenements). It's also home to the legendary Boca Juniors Football Club where Diego Maradona made his name.

  • The city's youngest neighborhood is Puerto Madero, which is situated on the riverside along the Río de la Plata. This major gastronomic and business hub is situated in former commercial docks. Along the canals, these former industrial warehouses were converted into elegant bars, eateries, and offices during one of the most successful urban waterfront restoration projects in the world.

  • Palermo, the largest neighborhood, hosts huge parks and some of Buenos Aires' trendiest bars, clubs, and fashion boutiques. This neighborhood—which has nearly 350 acres (142 hectares) of parks, lakes, and wooded areas—offers a peaceful retreat from the city's usual busyness.

  • The European style district, Recoleta, is home to an array of fashionable restaurants, cafés, boutiques, malls, and luxury hotels which you'll find along tree-lined avenues. One of the main attractions, The Cemetary, is the final resting place for generations of well-known Argentineans including Evita Peron.

After you've finished your personalized tour, head back to your hotel for a little rest. The evening is yours to continue exploring the city. Use your newly acquired knowledge to roam the streets and find the perfect eatery for a traditional Argentian dinner. 

Day 3: Fly to Peninsula Valdes - Explore Puerto Madryn

Whales and Seabirds near Puerto Madryn
Whales and Seabirds near Puerto Madryn

After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Peninsula Valdes. You'll arrive at Trelew Airport, where your guide will meet you for your transport to Puerto Madryn

Peninsula Vales is wild and treeless, loosely linked to the mainland and nearly surrounded by the choppy waters of the South Atlantic. It's a UNESCO-registered nature reserve that is home to a large variety of wildlife, including whales, penguins and elephant seals, as well as guanacos, rheas, and armadillos.

After settling into your accommodation, take some time to explore the city of Puerto Madryn. Its core is relatively small, with Plaza San Martín marking its lively center. Walk to Punto Panorámico along the Muelle Luis Piedrabuena pier, or simply stroll along the city's beaches. If you have time, check out the white cliffs of Proyecto Iris and find solitude at the Histórico Punta Cuevas Park on the coast.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at one of the eateries lining the waterfront.

Day 4: Go whale watching and visit the Magellan penguin reserve

Whale Watching in Puerto Madryn
Whale Watching in Puerto Madryn

Rise early for your day trip to Península Valdés and Estancia San Lorenzo. You'll start in Puerto Piramides, where you'll enjoy a boat trip out into the sea. If you're traveling from June to December, keep your eye out for whale sightings, specifically for orcas and humpbacks. From January to March, you'll look for sea lions and cormorants.
 
After whale-watching, make your way to Estancia San Lorenzo where you'll tour a traditional sheep farm and taste typical lamb on a spit. Afterward, you'll visit the largest Magellan penguin reserve in the world. Watch these creatures as they waddle along the shore, swimming, socializing, and feeding their young.

On your way back to Puerto Madryn, you'll stop at the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus interpretation center, where you'll learn about the region's history and biodiversity.

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Day 5: Visit the sea lion colony at Punta Loma

Sea Lions near Beagle Channel
Sea Lions near Beagle Channel

In the morning, your guide will pick you up in a 4WD vehicle for a half-day tour to Punta Loma Provincial Reserve, where you can visit the peninsula's famous seal colony. Along the way, you'll pass by Paraná Beach, the site of the Le Folies wreck. This is also a popular area for scuba diving. As you drive along the gravel road to the reserve, you can enjoy views of the dunes and sea cliffs along the Atlantic Ocean.

Upon arriving at the reserve, you'll notice the white bluffs that meet the pebble beach where the sea lions are usually sunbathing. There's a chance to see other wildlife as well, such as cormorants and other bird species, plus reptiles and other mammals.

In the late afternoon, you'll return to Puerto Madryn where you have the rest of the day to spend at your leisure.

Day 6: Transfer to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world

Morning in Ushuaia, Argentina
Morning in Ushuaia, Argentina

Your guides will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Ushuaia, which is known as the “Southernmost City in the World". It's also the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego.

Ushuaia was founded on October 12, 1884, by Commander Augusto Lasserre, who also inaugurated the subprefecture of Ushuaia to protect the borders of this southern region. The city is located on the slopes of Martial Mounts and the Beagle Channel coast, which gives it a unique appeal of colorful houses, a mountainous backdrop, and exceptional warmth of its inhabitants.

After settling into your hotel, walk along the city's waterfront, enjoying the views of the mountains and glaciers. You can't miss a photo with the famous End of the World Sign or the views out near the airport. Find dinner at one of the restaurants in the city center.

Day 7: Trek through Tierra del Fuego National Park and canoe to Lapataia Bay

Boating Along the Rivers and Bays in Argentina
Boating Along the Rivers and Bays in Argentina

Early in the morning, you'll leave for your full-day adventure into Tierra del Fuego National Park. This is one of the most frequently visited places in Ushuaia and the region. The park is truly a wonder, which you'll discover as your guide leads you to beautiful scenes of mountains meeting the sea, plus freshwater rivers and lakes mixing with saltwater bays and inlets.

On this tour, you'll hike through the dense forests of the park, catching glimpses of wildlife such as condors, eagles, foxes, and hares. Then you'll canoe down rivers and across lagoons, making your way to the famous Lapataia Bay. Here you can kayak or walk along its shore, passing by bird colonies and possibly spotting seals. You can enjoy the wooden boardwalks that take you over the marshland, and the mountain peaks surrounding the bay.

Today's lunch including Argentine-style nibbles, including dishes like chicken breast stuffed with vegetables and onion dauphinoise potatoes. Your host will explain the park's ecological and human history as you sit and listen to the sounds of the bay while sipping Argentinian red wine. 

In the evening, you'll return to Ushuaia.

Day 8: Cruise the Beagle Channel - Walk with penguins on Martillo Island

Rockhopper Penguins in Patagonia
Rockhopper Penguins in Patagonia

Today you'll visit the penguins that live along the Beagle Channel, which is the long strait that flows through the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, separating the largest island, Isla Grande, with the others. The Beagle Channel is surrounded by other famous waterways, including the Strait of Magellan (named after the famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan) to the north and the Drake Passage, which provides the shortest link to Antarctica, to the south. 

You'll start the adventure at Sea Lions Island, followed by visits to Birds Island and Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. As you can guess, these islands are excellent areas to spot the local sea lion colonies and numerous bird species. As you approach, you may even hear the chorus of barking sea lions. 

Afterward, you'll make your way to Martillo Island, where you'll spend an hour walking among the large colony of Magellanic penguins. This species has over 1,000 nests on the island. You can also see the colony of gentoo penguins, which is much smaller with just nine breeding couples.

After your walk with the penguins, you'll stop at the Acatashún Museum at Harberton Ranch, which offers exhibits about local mammal and bird species. You'll return to Ushuaia in the evening.

Day 9: Return to Buenos Aires - Enjoy an evening of Argentine tango

Tango in Buenos Aires
Tango in Buenos Aires

In the morning, you'll bid farewell to the incredible Tierra del Fuego region and head to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires. After settling into your hotel, enjoy your final day of the trip meandering the city's streets and enjoying local delicacies.

In the evening, your hosts will pick you up from the hotel for a memorable night of Argentine tango. This includes live orchestras with professional dancers and singers, as well as a delicious three-course dinner. 

After the show, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 10: Depart Argentina

Japanese Garden in Buenos Aires
Japanese Garden in Buenos Aires

It's time to say goodbye to Argentina. Enjoy one last morning in the country's capital city, then prepare for your departure. A private driver will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight.