Highlights for Classic Patagonia and Buenos Aires Trip
- Discover a city where old world European charm melds with a new world vibe
- Scintillate to the music and spectacle of a tango show
- Gaze at wide open space carved by glaciers
- Walk across wind-swept steppes to Lago Argentino
- Strap on crampons and climb Perito Moreno Glacier
- Indulge in gourmet meals
|Trip Length||9 days/8 nights|
|Included||8 Breakfasts and 1 dinner, all national park entrance fees, airport transfers in all destinations in South America, box lunches on all day hikes, full time guides on all hikes and expeditions.|
|Hotels||First Class or luxury accommodations as specified by the client|
Flight to Buenos Aires. Private transfer from Ezeiza International Airport to your hotel. Evening at your leisure.
Overnight in Buenos Aires
Full day tour and excursions in Buenos Aires
Optional Jewish Tour of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires was founded by immigrants. It is the recognized birthplace and world capital of tango, a rhythm and dance form that was created along the banks of the Rio de la Plata at the end of the 19th century. The fusion of European, African and Jewish music represents the cultural diversity that makes Buenos Aires such an exciting city.
The city’s identity was built on Spanish, Italian, and French influences. Take a walk through neighborhoods like Recoleta and Belgrano, for examples of outstanding European architecture. You’ll be convinced that you’re still in the Old World.
Even Porteños, as residents of Buenos Aires are called, characterize themselves as more European than South American. If Buenos Aires has a European face, its soul is intensely Latin. This is a city where the sun shines brightly, where people speak passionately, where family and friendship still come first. It is a city where locals hang out at a café, dine late on exceptional food, enjoy their wines, and stroll with friends in parks and plazas. Your day will be tailored to what you like and can include a visit to trendy Palermo Soho, colorful La Boca – once famed for its brothels along the port, San Telmo – known for tango culture, the opera house built in 1908 and renowned through the world for having the best acoustics, the famed Recoleta cemetery and burial place of Eva Perron, and so more. We work with locals to offer “real life experiences” on our Buenos Aires Tours.
Enjoy a scintillating tango show with an outstanding dinner.
Overnight in Buenos Aires
Early morning flight to El Calafate (3 hours 20 minutes) followed by a drive to El Chalten (3 hours) En route you’ll see glaciers soaring into the sky, get a glimpse of magnificent Lago Argentino, and if you’re lucky, see puma roaming wild in the grasslands.
Dinner at your leisure in Argentina’s newest outpost town on the Chilean borders. El Chalaten was built on land donated by the government for settlers to create a populous along the borders between Argentina and Chile. It’s one of the last places on earth that will remind you of the “wild west.”
Overnight in El Chalten
DAY 4 AND DAY 5
A) LAGUNA DE LOS TRES
The full day hike begins at your hotel in El Chalten. This hike is easily accessible from the town of El Chalten and will provide a good warm-up for more avid trails. This hike is perfect for those who enjoy hiking at a leisurely pace and are ready to be wowed by amazing natural surroundings. There are outstanding views of the Fitz Roy range along the way. The trail ends at the cobalt-blue Laguna de los Tres, at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy. The last 1.5 kilometers of this hike are steep and exposed, and as a result some hikers choose to overnight at the nearby Campamento Poincenot prior to climbing the last, difficult stretch. Strong hikers can to do the whole trek form town and back in one day. A 500-meter, well marked additional trail winds around to to the left of Laguna de los Tres and leads to a spectacular, cliff side overview of Laguna Sucia, some 200 meters below Laguna de los Tres. A good alternative route is to start at Hosteria El Pilar and hike back to El Chaltan, stopping at Laguna de los Tres mid-way.
Patagonia Hiking Details:
6-8 miles / Average hiking time: 7-8 hours round trip from the town /mostly easy
B) FULL DAY LAGUNA DEL DESIERTO
The full day to Laguna del Desierto/ Desierto Lake trip combines a short trek (1 to 2 hours each) and vehicle ride along the Cañadón River de las Vueltas. (37 kms. Roundtrip). The Laguna is located in the Andes, close to the border with Chile. Stop at the Salto del Chorrillo, Saltos del Rio de las Vueltas, Laguna Condor and finally accessing to spectacular views of Fitz Roy and its surrounding needles. Once at the lake, you can choose to trek the Glacier Huemul and its turquoise lagoon, where you’ll have one of the best 360 degree panoramic views in the area, including the north face of Fitz Roy or the green Lago del Desierto. Take in vistas of the turquoise waters of Laguna Huemul and the Vesprigniani mountain range with eternal snow. Cross the Rio de las Vueltas via a little rustic bridge to walk along the shore of Lago del Desierto lined with the virgin forests of Patagonia. To the north is another panoramic view of Fitz Roy and the mountain’s lake reflections. The land travel for this tour is in a group and by Minivan (not in a 4×4 vehicle).
Patagonia Hiking Details:
6-8 miles / Average hiking time: 3-4 hours
C) CERRO TORRE HIKE
After breakfast, you will start a full day of hiking. Mt. Torre is famous for its beauty but also for its climbing difficulty. This is the pinnacle of trekking Patagonia. Every year countless expeditions attempt to reach the summit, but only a few succeed. After a half hour of hiking, you reach the viewpoint of the Fitz Roy River and Margarita waterfall. Continue for another 30 minutes until you reach the Mirador del Cerro Torre, a lookout facing the Cerro Torre and Adelas ranges. From this point, the trail descends into the valley. The trail ends on the shores of Laguna Torre, offering a stunning view of Mt. Torre surrounded by the Egger and Standhard spires and the Adelas range as a backdrop together with the glacier Torre. You will have time to enjoy the view, eat lunch, and rest before returning on the same trail back to the town of El Chalten. (B, L)
Patagonia Hiking Details:
11-12 miles / Elevation gain: 1,000-1200 ft / Average time: 7 hours
Full day Difficulty high
Overnight in El Chalten
Begin the day with a transfer to El Calafate (3 hours). After checking into your hotel there is time for an afternoon visit to Perito Moreno Glacier.
Overnight in El Calafate
Full day at Estancia Cristina (group activity) – Upsala Glacier navigation/4×4/trekking Cañadon de Los Fosiles. Includes park entrance ticket, lunch (beverages are extra)
For explorers who feel an affinity for the natural world as well as an appreciation for the purity of the geography, the historic sheep ranch Estancia Cristina is a destination worthy of a visit. Located at the entry to the Patagonian Ice Fields, this point of interest is only accessible by crossing the waters of Lago Argentino at the Canal Cristina. Situated in the heart of Los Glaciares National Park (also home to Perito Moreno Glacier) and at the base of the Cerro Norte Mountains, a remarkable view of the Upsala Glacier is possible for anyone who treks to this spot. In the year 1925, the Argentine government established a law that offered large pieces of land in Patagonia to pioneers. These daring immigrants, seeking independence and opportunity, arrived to farm the uncultivated region, developing over 1000 estancias including the Estancia Cristina. Operated by an English family in the early 20th century and functioning as a working sheep farm, residents endured hardships of weather and drought, but contributed to Patagonia in becoming the world’s second largest wool producer in 1937. As the years went by, the wool production decreased, influenced by the land becoming more desert-like and the increase of the fabrication of man-made fibers. These factors contributed to the Estancia Cristina changing its business from sheep wool to tourism.
The Estancia is reachable by boat from the Punta Bandera port (1 ½ hours). As you travel between the port and the Estancia, you will see stunning visions of the Upsala Glacier including passages between large azure-colored ice blocks that have broken off the glacier and float seamlessly in the water. Your 4×4 tour begins at the shores of the Estancia. Following a short ride in your 4×4 up to the Upsala Glacier view point, you trek into the Cañadón de los Fósiles (Fossil Canyon). Combine hiking mountain paths, walking on rocks eroded by glaciers, and views of the Upsala Glacier, Patagonian Ice Fields, and Don Bosco Mountains for your 51/2 hour hike. A visit to Canadon de los Fosiles offers a unique perspective of fossils, depicting the movement of the glaciers, accessible only on foot. The trek requires good physical condition. Descents through the Cañadón de los Fósiles area.
Overnight in El Calafate at Los Sauces
DAY 8 PERITO MORENO GLACIER
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your El Calafate hotel. An hour long bus ride takes you to the Bajo de las Sombras port on the shore of Lake Argentino. From there, you will board a comfortable boat for a 20 minute navigation across the lake. The cruise offers incredible views of the Perito Moreno glacier with its massive front wall of blue ice and surrounding field of icebergs. Following a beach landing, you’ll stop at a small shelter where the trekkers will be divided into groups of less than twenty. A short walk along an ancient beech forest takes you to the edge of the glacier, a prime location for photographing this spectacular natural wonder. You will be fitted with crampons and receive a safety briefing from your guides before beginning an unforgettable two hour trek on the glacier, with time for photos and a lunch break. This moderate trek will take you past small streams, lagoons, crevasses, and other ice formations as you explore the fascinating landscape of the Perito Moreno glacier. After completing the trek, you will embark on the boat for the return trip across the lake. A short bus ride brings you to an elaborate boardwalk system located across the lake from the glacier. From here you will be able to view and photograph the glacier from many angles, and possibly witness icebergs calving thunderously into the lake. In the late afternoon, you will return to your hotel for another comfortable night’s rest. (B,L)
**The upper age limit for the mini-trek portion of this trip is 65, regardless of fitness level. To substitute an alternative, equally enjoyable glacier excursion for this tour segment.
The Big Ice Glacier Hike extension gives you the opportunity to see Perito Moreno Glacier close up
This Patagonia tour is designed for trekkers who are interested in a longer, more in-depth exploration of the Perito Moreno glacier. Following the bus trip from El Calafate, your adventure begins with time to explore the expansive boardwalk across from the massive glacier. Continue by bus to the pier and embark on a boat trip across the lake. You will hike for an hour along a forest trail before getting fitted with crampons. After practicing safety techniques, you will spend three to four hours trekking deep into the ice field accompanied by local glacier guides. There is plenty of time for photos and a lunch break. A full day of exploring the glacier and its ice caves concludes with a return to El Calafate, arriving at your hotel in the evening.
(This ice hike is very demanding and is only available for eighteen to fifty year old participants who are in good physical condition. The total trekking time is about seven hours and includes uneven terrain.)
Overnight in El Chalten at Los Sauces
Early morning transfer to airport and home. Optional extensions available in BA or you can add on a trip to Ushuaia, known as Terra del Fuego.
INCLUDED: 8 Breakfasts and 1 dinner, all national park entrance fees, airport transfers in all destinations in South America, box lunches on all day hikes, full time guides on all hikes and expeditions.
NOT INCLUDED: International and internal flights, tips for guides and drivers, consumer protection (OPC) $4-8 per person, travel insurance, alcoholic beverages and all drinks unless specifically mentioned as included, personal purchases. Before entering Argentina all travelers will be charged a $75 reciprocity tax by the government for Canadians and $150 for US citizens. This can be purchased online or our concierge service can take care of the details for you.
B= breakfast included, L=lunch included, PicL=picnic lunch included, D=Dinner included
All bookings through Garth Allen Marksted Travel, Quebec Licensee.