30 days - 29 nights
- Accommodation in double room with breakfast
- Private Transfers detailed in the itinerary
- Tours listed in the itinerary (except optional)
- Tickets to Natural Reserves and National Parks included
- Bilingual English Spanish Guide
- 24 hour emergency service
Day 1 - Arrival to Buenos Aires
Welcome to Argentina. Reception and transfer from Ezeiza International Airport (Buenos Airtes City) to the hotel.
Day 2 - Private tour of the city of Buenos Aires
Breakfast in the hotel. Like many cities, Buenos Aires is split into areas (barrios) that commonly have distinctive features. We begin our tour visiting some of the most classic of these barrios where we will discover some splendid architecture that ranges from the old colonial structures such as the Cabildo, the ostentatious French style palaces and buildings mostly related to the very prosperous early twentieth century, art deco and the modern skyscrapers of the business micro centre and Puerto Madero, the renovated dock area. We go to some of its principal noteworthy sites such as the spectacular, recently renovated, Colón Opera Theatre, the most recognized monument, the Obelisk, the Plaza de Mayo, known especially for its silent protests against the military government and its surrounding buildings such as the Cabildo, the foundation of Buenos Aires, the Metropolitan Cathedral where lies the mausoleum of Don José de San Martin, the 'father' of the Republic, and, of course, the Presidential House, the Casa Rosada.
We discover barrios such as San Telmo, the Antique centre, which was inhabited by the first aristocracy until there was a general movement to Barrio Norte (Recoleta) due to the yellow fever outbreak at the end of the nineteenth century. We visit La Boca, the home of the famous football team, and one of the most picturesque barrios due to its colourful houses and its working class Italian immigrant influences. It is also known for its tango and art and here we take a walk down the artisans' passage and to its gallery as well as a walk to the Port. This is followed by a visit to Puerto Madero, the renovated dockland site, with the new part with its excellent offices and apartments securely separated from the city by bridges. Going further north we reach the very popular parks of Palermo known for their traditional monuments such as the Planetarium, Galileo Galilei and the Magna Carta.
We also visit the elite residential barrio of the City, Recoleta, where we also find the Museum of Fine Arts, the picturesque colonial church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar and the famous cemetery where Eva Peron was buried. These are situated close to the Plaza Francia where every Sunday there are popular artisanal stalls and people take advantage of sunny days relaxing in the beautiful plazas with their incredible trees. In Palermo Chico, a very exclusive residential zone, we can see luxury French style palaces and enjoy the parks designed by the French landscaper, Thays, that have a style different to the rest.
Day 3 - Exclusive boat trip of the Río de la Plata & Delta del Tigre
Breakfast in the hotel. In the North Dock in Puerto Madero, in the centre of Buenos Aires, we board a modern launch with state of the art nautical technology, great comfort and available refreshments, in order to make a cruise along the coast of the Río de la Plata and into the Delta del Tigre. We are accompanied by the excellent views of Buenos Aires from the water and pass by the Jorge Newberry Airport, the football stadium home of River Plate, known as the Monument, and the City University. We then cruise by the exclusive residential barrios of Vicente López, Martinez and the elevations of San Isidro, the port of Olivos and various nautical clubs until we enter the Delta of the río Paraná, a fast flowing river that has its source in Brazil.
Especially at weekends and on sunny days there will be a lot of marine activity with an abundance of yachts and cruisers as well as the water taxis that service the houses and restaurants that on the islands in the Tigre Delta. The Delta is like a rural Venice with its houses on the banks and its streets being the waterways. We go to the El Alcázar recreation centre on the Banks of the río Sarmiento and then continue our trip past a number of the islands until we stop close to midday at the bustling water transport station of Tigre, where we can go and have lunch. After lunch we return to Puerto Madero.
Day 4 - Departure to Puerto Iguazú
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to domestic airport. Reception and transfer from Iguazú Airport to the hotel.
Day 5 - Iguazu Falls: Argentina & Navigating the Iguazu River
Iguazu Falls: Argentina
We will do one of the most interesting excursions through the hanging bridges, which will lead us to visit the stunning Falls from the Argentine side. Then we will get to the Devil's Gorge and be dazzled by its rough waters, a nature spectacles at a height of 80 meters. In the Lower Area (Circuito Inferior) we will enjoy the rich wildlife around us, as we go down the flight of steps where we can watch the spectacle offered by this water curtain surrounded by thick vegetation. We will pass by Álvar Núñez Fall, from where we will enjoy the first views of the Devil's Gorge. Following the path, we will find San Martín Island and the homonymous Fall. Finally, at the end of trip we will find Bosetti and Dos Hermanas Falls. We can stay and appreciate this spectacle of waters and get refreshed since the steam from the waves breaking on the rocks will spray us completely.
We will continue our trip, this time in the Upper Area (Circuito Superior), where we will go around the same falls but from a different point of view of the Falls and their surroundings. Besides, we will get close to our next destination, the most stunning, which will guide us through the roaring of the water currents. We will get to the Devil's Gorge's station by train, and start our trip around the islands, and thus, have a wider view of this great nature "mistake" in the middle of the forest created, according to a legend, by the angry God of Iguazú River.
Full Moon (optional in Argentine Falls) We will enjoy this unique trip at night with a full moon, which will allow us to appreciate the sounds and secrets of Misiones forest. We will leave on the Ecologic Train and head for Devil's Gorge Station, where we will capture the first sounds of nature, which creates a magic and mysterious environment. The spectacle offered by the Falls, with the rainbow that appears from the waters with the moon reflection, will completely dazzle us. Besides, once within this overwhelming environment, we will get the movements and sounds of the animals that go for their food. After such a magnificent experience, we will return by train to the travelers' center.
Navigation type Zodiac rubber boats for the Iguazu River
After visiting the Iguazu Falls walking down the upper and lower footbridges we still need to enjoy a boat ride that takes us to the heart of the biggest jumps in the park. We can start from the Visitor Center or through the jungle missionary Yacaratiá Macuco path to and from the port out to experience navigation in zodiac boats type by the lower margin of the Iguazu River. It is a worthwhile experience. We approach the most important leaps, especially Three Musketeers and Salto San Martin, in the latter inevitably enjoy a full wet as if we were showering in the same waterfall. Back through the jungle or arrive at the port that leads to the visitor center to continue to enjoy true nature in its purest form.
Day 6 - Iguazu Falls: Brazil
Here we will have a very beautiful trip through the only hanging bridge of 1 km to enjoy the view of Iguazú Falls from the other side, the Brazilian region. During this trip we can also learn more about the fauna and flora, enjoy a unique landscape of the falls since the area is more open regarding falls because most of them are on the Argentine side and form a water curtain of 2.700 meters wide. So from this side we will be dazzled by the beauty of the Devil's Gorge to the full.
Besides, this place is home to rare wildlife species, some of them in danger of extinction such as giant otters, anteaters, jaguars, red deer and yellow alligators. We will also see native flowers such as orchids, bromelias and thousands of butterflies.
Note: We have to bear in mind that this trip is available only 5 days per month during the full moon; two days before, two days after, and during that period. We have also to take into consideration that the capacity for this activity is limited and, of course, it depends on the weather conditions that day.
Day 7 - Salta - City Tour
We will start our tour along the city from the nice 9 de Julio Square, so eye-catching because of its decorated coloured quarries and its fruited trees which leave a nice fragrance in the salteño air. From the square we will be able to have a first vision of its history and colonial past, as we will be surrounded by old buildings such as the Cabildo, the Cathedral, the Church of San Francisco, the Convent of San Bernardo de las Monjas Carmelitas, one of the oldest buildings in the city which was the entrance door to the convent and it is made of carob wood that was carved by the natives in 1762; its old houses complete the historical quarter, which are today very important monuments.
Then, we will go to the impressive and most recognised hill in the salteña city: Cerro San Bernardo. Before getting to it, we will tour along the streets, getting to Güemes monument, an argentinian general who is known because of its ideals of freedom, dispise to materialism and his love to his Motherland. We will get to San Martín Park where we will find the cable railway station, our means of transport to get to the hill so we can have an amazing panoramic of the city and its surroundings, with the hills at the background.
After the ascent, we will continue to a really charming place, which is chosen by many tourists because of its wonderful natural attractions and the different activities to do: the summer village of San Lorenzo, where we will find the Quebrada, an ideal place to spend the day at the edge of the river, listening its relaxing sounds. We will enjoy our way to it, as we will go through flowered Gardens, mansions and castles which are surrounded by small hills and where we can do (horse) riding, trekking and pic-nic. We will go back to the city, going through the Handmade Market (Mercado Artesanal) first, where we will be able to get some souvenirs from this beautiful city, such as silver and pottery pieces, rustic fabric of llama wool, craftwork in leather, among others.
Day 8 - Quebrada de Humahuaca
Breakfast at the hotel. Today a full day of history and landscapes will be waiting for us, as we will do the circuit to Quebrada de Humahuaca, where we will visit its prehispanic villages which date from hundred years ago and some are so well kept that they shows us its original buildings and houses, so we can visit and tour closer around them.
In first place, the Quebrada de Humahuaca was declared a Natural and Cultural Heritage Mankind in 2003.
We will start by crossing the Siancas Valley through Gral. Güemes town to tour a sugar cane, tobacco, cotton farming area, among others and we will get to the bordering province of Jujuy and its capital in a valley of 155 kilometres extense, which is surrounded of multicoloured mountains and hills, an arid vegetation area and río Grande. We will get into an area of an amazing variety of brown, green, ocres and reddish tonalities. We will continue to Yala, a summer village which is located in the middle of the mountains, rivers and lagoons, with guest houses and weekend houses, there is also the Potrero de Yala Provincial Park which preserves the Lagunas de Yala (Yala Lagoons) where some birds´ species can be watched. We will start ascending the quebrada, going through villages which are kept like the ancient years and they make an unforgettable postal through the landscapes.
We now arrive at Purmamarca, a picturesque town located at the foot of the impressive and unic Cerro de los Siete Colores, which surprise us with its amazing ranges that mixes with the environment tranquility, its vegetation and the blue sky, apart from the hundred ruins of the first villages in the region. We will continue to Maimará, a town which is exactly in the centre of the quebrada, there we will be able to appreciate la Paleta del Pintor (Painter´s Palette), with is multicoloured hills which honours its name; Posta de Hornillos where we will find a museum to live and be witnesses of the prehispanic life; we will go to Tilcara, a famous village because of its caves and its small church, which is one of the oldest ones in the area. We will enjoy some regional and exquisite dishes and then, we can do a tour where the craftsmen are so we can buy some native souvenirs, rustic fabrics made of llama and vicuña, with the company of those kind and thankful people.
Day 9 - Horse riding to las Lomas de San Lorenzo
Breakfast in the hotel. From Salta we take a quick 10km drive to the charming summer town of San Lorenzo, one of the most attractive areas close to the city, surrounded by hills. The combination of pasture lands, rivers, hills and quebradas make it an ideal place for horseriding and afford some magnificent views of the valley of Lerma. Moreover there are many other activities that lend themselves to this area amongst the rolling hillsides.
This horse ride we recommend especially to people with little or no experience of horseriding because it is of relatively short duration and very relaxed with low difficulty. We ascend by a gentle slope that takes us into the rolling hills and rivers with its mountain scenery. It is a very peaceful ride broken only by the sounds of nature and the murmuring river.
Optional: Rafting in the river Juramento
For the able bodied and more adventurous we suggest rafting over a course of 12 kms that gets the adrenalin running amongst the rapids of the crystalline clear river and the avoidance of the natural obstacles.
The rafting is moderately difficult but is preceded by a short introductory course for security and to enable full participation in this fun activity. All the equipment such as life jackets, water proof clothing and helmets are provided. The river passes through a wild landscape replete with geological formations that contain the remains of dinosaurs and algae fossils which make this two hour event so visually and physically enjoyable.
Day 9 - Calchaquíes Valleys through Cachi
Breakfast at the hotel. We will do the way around through the Calchaquí Valleys, this time through Cachi, driving between extremely lovely landscapes. During our tour to this charming town, we will be able to see beautiful tourist spots in particular, starting in Quebrada del Escoipe, almost a wild region followed by the homonymous river and it crosses several Bridges until getting to Cuesta del Obispo. This last one is also a nature work, as we start the ascent by a twisted and cornice road, where we will be surrounded by impressive green coloured hills, an indescribable view together with the vegetation, in contrast with the sky. The highest point in this way is Piedra del Molino, to 3348 metres above the level of the sea and, from where we will have a unic panoramic of the Quebrada del Escoipe.
Two kilometres before getting to Piedra del Molino, we will be able to appreciate the sign which says that we are in Los Cardones National Park that protects its vegetation, such as Neblina, Monte, Puna and Alta Montaña bushes. Some fauna like the taruca, vicuña, guanaco, puma, red fox, wild cat, Wessel, quirquincho, condor, carpintero de los cardones, ututo lizard, coral, yarara, among others, are preserved in this national park.
After coming through the highest point, Piedra del Molino, we will arrive at Valle Encantado, a place where shapes and colours are mixed and where the action of the wind and water sculpt the landscapes with curious shapes and reliefs. There we will find a small lagoon and cave paintings. Of course, if we are lucky, we will be able to watch condors flying through the sky. Later on, we will get to a small soft mountainside valley covered of bushes, which is eaten by the cattle, that we are surely going to cross during the tour. If we continue a few kilometres more, we will appreciate an enclosed basin and El Hervidero lagoon, the favorite place to graze by the guanacos.
The Tin Tin Straight Line (Recta de Tin Tin) will be another unforgettable spot in our tour as we will watch it along the way we go, as it is a perfect straight line of 18 kilometres, from where we will be able to watch a great quantity of thistles and looking at our right we will see the Tin Tin Hill and at our left we will see the Negro Hill. We will go through this old inca road so we can get to Payogasta where we will be surprised with the red and reddish pepper plantations, now descending to Cachi town, which is located at the base of Nevado Hill between the homonymous river and Calchaquí. There we will go for a walk along the streets watching its dazzled white buildings, its houses made of adobe and paving streets, but the town stresses more because of its kindness and warm contact that the local people give. We will return to Salta in the afternoon.
Day 11 - Safari to the Clouds – Salinas Grandes – Purmamarca
Breakfast at the hotel. We will tour the road that the Train to the Clouds does, even visiting the Big Salts (Salinas Grandes) to Purmamarca. Campo Quijano will be the first village that we are going to cross, it is a peaceful town in which we have to highlight Las Lomitas Dike, where we are going to get beautiful views of its farms and green hills such as the Arenales river landscape in El Encón, it is a traditional town in the Lerma Valley, very well known for being the entrance door to the Puna, where the Train to the Clouds railway tracks go past.
We will continue our tour going through Río Blanco, which is surrounded by pure nature, we will get to Quebrada del Toro, which stretches to Puerta Tastil, a small precolumbian city which has its higher development in the XIV century and then, it strangely disappeared, in this very same village it appears the Río Blanco again that goes along the way. The prehispanic city of Tastil represents the entrance "door" to Quebrada de las Cuevas, where we will find the archaelogical Ruins of Tastil. We will continue by Abra Blanca which is located at 4080 metres over the level of the sea to San Antonio de los Cobres, a small village that is found at 4000 metres over the level of the sea and it is famous because the Pachamama (Madre Tierra) National Festivity takes place there. Besides, it is the best spot in the Train to the Clouds.
We will continue on the Route 40 to the Big Salts (Salinas Grandes), now in Jujuy, which are at 3450 metres over the level of the sea, aproximately. These stretch through the Puna Jujeña region. The origin of the salts date from 5 and 10 millions years ago, in which period this salt´s basin was covered with water with a great quantity of salts because of the volcanic activity, and little by little, the evaporation of these waters gave rise to this big salt, which is an spectacle to enjoy and it contrast with the sky. We will descend the Cuesta de Lipán and we will get to Purmamarca town, located at the foot of Cerro de los Siete Colores.
Day 12 - Departure to Puerto Madryn or Mendoza
Breakfast in the Hotel. Transfer to Salta Airport. Reception and transfer from Mendoza Airport or Trelew Airport to the hotel.
Day 13 - Península Valdés and Whale Watching or Along the Andean Range bordering the Mendoza river
Option: June to November
Península Valdés and Whale Watching
Breakfast at the hotel. We will have great excitement on this day. We will set out first thing in the morning towards Península de Valdés, which was declared Natural and Cultural World Heritage by the UNESCO for being one of the few places in the world where you can watch the Southern right whale in its natural habitat. In this place we can find the biggest concentration of sea animals in the entire Atlantic coastline.
We will visit the Interpretation Center in Carlos Ameghino Isthmus, and then we will head for the ecotouristic village of Puerto Pirámides, which is the only urbanized town in the Peninsula. In Pirámides, we will enjoy a spectacular experience watching the whales in their natural habitat, accompanied by whale specialized guides, biologists, and film and naturalist photography teams.
Before starting our voyage, we will provide travelers with a raincoat and a life jacket. We will set out on a motorboat tour around the crystalline waters of Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) to see the Southern Right Whale. We will have a unique natural experience when the whales make their appearance moving, swiping their tails, blowing air through their holes and jumping. From the end of May to December, whales from Antarctica reach the coasts of Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) to breed in the coastline of Puerto Pirámides.
Note about the whale watching: It is performed between July and November. Waterproof clothes and windbreakers are recommended. Before the trip, elemental advice is provided. This adventure is available for adults as well as for children.
Option: December to July
Along the Andean Range bordering the Mendoza river
Breakfast at the hotel. This program takes us to the limit with Chile crossing the Cordillera de los Andes (Andean Mountain Range) along the Routes 40 and 7 bordering the Mendoza river. We go by the Potrerillo Reservoir which contains the Mendoza river waters and along the Uspallata Valley dividing the foothills from the mountain range. We make a short detour to visit the Picheuta Bridge, a real milestone as General Jose de San Martin crossed it with The Andean Army when crossing the Andes. We will visit the most imposing Andean massif, the Aconcagua Mount, with its 6.962 meters over sea level and we watch the Puente del Inca (Inca Bridge), which is a natural bridge with a famous history and thermal waters. We stop at the entrance of the park to make a short walk to be able to watch the southern side of the Aconcagua and enjoy the sight of the Horcones Lake. The journey continues along the Route 7 and takes us to the ski resort Los Penitentes, up to the border town of Las Cuevas and with good weather we climb to the Cristo Redentor Monument (Christ The Redeemer). We can optionally have lunch (not included) to return later to Mendoza city.
Day 14 - Punta Tombo Penguin colony with Valle Inferior & fossils or Atuel Canyon
Option: June to November
Punta Tombo Penguin colony with Valle Inferior
Breakfast at hotel. Today we visit the most important Magellan penguin colony in South America: Punta Tombo, located in the south of the Valle Inferior of the Chubut River. At the beginning (more than 50 years ago), it was a natural reserve, 20 years later it was considered protected area. Punta Tombo has an expanse of almost 3.000m per 500m wide along the Atlantic Ocean. This natural accident is produced by crystalline rocky structures appearance before the Jurassic era which have beared the erosion produced by the ravages of the sea. Key factors for nest creation are the existence of boulder and compact sand. The season is from the beginning of September until April, when penguins emigrate to nest and protect their young.
Depending on the season, all their productive cycle can be observed. First males appear so as to build their nests or rebuild the previous year one, they take advantage of the natural caves for that. One month later, females lay their eggs to sit on them during 40 to 45 days. During that gestation period, males go for food. At the beginning of April, chicks are already good swimmers and feed alone. In the past, this zone was an indigenous cemetery where many Tehuelches also lived and hunted. When walking around the reserve we recommend not to divert the route. When returning from this adventure with penguins, we go towards the lower valley, to know the industrial and commercial center of the region: Trelew. Then we continue towards Gaiman, the most important Welsh colony in Argentina. There are still traditions and customs such as the Welsh tea with Welsh Black cake, as well as the walnut cake with fruit and homemade bread. If we go back the chacras (eateries), we will observe the different Welsh Chapels and observe the farming-tourist ventures.
Punta Ninfas lighthouse: Elephants & fossils
Breakfast at hotel. We start the excursion at the southernmost point of Golfo Nuevo, where Punta Ninfas is located, an excellent place to enjoy the panoramic view of the whole gulf. Visitors know this place for the lighthouse with the same name. This antique lighthouse in Punta Ninfas has been the principal shelter for elephant seals since over a century. We will be able to see the place history through the marine fossils.
Option: December to May
Breakfast at the hotel. We set off from San Rafael towards the Cuesta de los Terneros to go to Dique Valle Grande and the Atuel river. We stop at the San Francisco de Asis lookout point to enjoy a terrific sight of the city and the canyon. After several kilometres we enter El Nihuil which is impressive for the depth of its lake. We rest and may have lunch (not included). We set off to the Atuel Canyon, to be trapped by a landscape of pure beauty, typical of the andean ecosystem, due to the erosive action of winds and water creating natural sculptures becoming awesome landforms, fanciful shapes of mother nature such as Museo de Cera (Wax Museum), el Lagarto (the Alligator), Los Monstruos (the Monsters), Los Jardines Colgantes (The Hanging Gardens) or La Ciudad Encantada (The Haunted City), etc. The canyon is formed by the Atuel river, Valle Grande Reservoir and El Nihuil. We make a short
walk along the canyon to arrive at the Valle Grande. The ones who want adventure tourism, can enjoy rafting, rappel or a boat voyage (all these activities must be booked at destination).
Optional: Rafting in Mendoza
Breakfast at the hotel. The Cañon del Atuel river is a synonym of rafting and is famous in all the country for its rapids and the transparency of its water which combine with the beauty of the place. The river is navigable every month except June with a difficulty level 2, based on the international scale from 0 to 6, its average depth is 1,20 meters. The rapids of Atuel and Diamante rivers are excellent to practise this sport, Grande river is another option.
Day 15 - Departure to Ushuaia
Breakfast in the Hotel. Transfer to Salta Airport or Trelew Airport. Reception and transfer from Ushuaia Airport to the hotel.
Day 16 - Classic Navigation on the Beagle Channel and Magellan Penguins watching on the Martillo Island, Tierra del Fuego National Park & Train of the End of the World
Classic Navigation on the Beagle Channel and Magellan Penguins watching on the Martillo Island, Tierra del Fuego National Park
After breakfast we leave during the morning from the port to navigate the icy waters of the Beagle Channel. We visit the Isla de los Pájaros (Bird Island) to see its abundant marine fauna, including skuas, steam ducks and grey seagulls. We can also watch sea lions of one and two hair on the Isla de los Lobos Marinos.
Both Islands are part of the Bridge's Archipelago. On the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse there are Imperial and Rock cormorants. This was the place where the SS Monte Cervantes sank in 1930. We continue our navigation to get to Port Almanza in Argentina and Port Williams in Chile until we disembark in the Martillo Island to appreciate the Magellan and Papúa Penguins.
On our return to Ushuaia it is possible to see the Túnel and Remolino Estancias, which hoard the remains of the Monte Sarmiento steam boat that sank at the beginning of the 20th century. Our return to the city is very inviting due to the presence of the ultimate mountain chain of the Andes. This navigation lasts approximately four hours and a half.
Train of the End of the World
During the afternoon we will go to Tierra del Fuego National Park which highlights for being the only park with sea coast because it is located at the shore of the Beagle Chanel. Outside Ushuaia, we will go through the Valley of Pipo River to get to the entrance. We will get on board the Train of the End of the World which is outside the Tierra del Fuego National Park where we start in the Central Station until getting to the Tierra del Fuego National Park Station. We will have the excellent opportunity to meet the Southern Fueguino Railway which travels along one of the routes that were used in the past by thousands prisoners who obey everyday their routine in those legendary woods. The journey starts over the embankment that the prisoners made a long time ago, going through the Cañadón del Toro so then we can ascend a steep surrounding the Pipo River until getting to the "Cascada de la Macarena" Station where we will hace the possibility to descend to the restoration of a native camp or we can have the option to appreciate the amazing panoramic view of the fall´s source.
The train´s horn give us the signal that we have to continue with the journey to get into the sub-antarctic woods. Surrounding the Pipo river and the "turbales" area where the moss Sphagnum grows, the train ends the journey when it arrives at the Park´s Station where we will descend to continue with the tour. Once we get into into the Tierra del Fuego National Park which was founded in 1960 and it is located in the region of the patagonic woods and the Andean mountain chain. Our tour goes to Ensenada Bay where we will be able to see the Redonda and Estorbo islands and the Montes Nevados in front of them which belong to the Sampaio mountain chain in Chile. Then we get to Roca Lake.
We continue the way while we are surrounded by lengas, ñires and guindos woods until getting to the bridge of the Lapataia river, an ideal area to do trekking as there are many paths such as the Paseo de la Isla, Roca Lake, Black Lagoon, etc. We will go through a winding way where we will find the Green and Black Lagoons, this last one is an impressive "turbal", until flowing in the Beavers´ dike which will guide us to Lapataia Bay.
Day 17 - Off Road 4x4 Adventure to the Fagnano and Escondido Lakes
Breakfast at the Hotel. We begin our adventure to the Fueguino Lakes: Fagnano and Escondido. We go to the centre of the Grand Island of Tierra del Fuego where we can see the transition between the Andes Mountain Chain and the end of the rugged Patagonian Plains. We spend some time in the Alto del Valle Ski Centre to see the breeding and training of the Siberian sleigh dogs. We then continue to the north to cross the Andes Mountain Chain by the Luis Garibaldi Pass with its unique views of the Fagnano and Escondido Lakes, the track connects the River Negro and the Estancias of the Island with Ushuaia. This mountain pass is the highest place that reaches until 460 metres high. We get closer to the Escondido Lake where we stop to have our box lunch before we start our off road experience. The Escondido Lake, also called the Escondido Lagoon is surrounded by a forest full of coihues, pines and lengas. It is possible to see what the beavers are doing with the trees: they roll them so that they can use to build their dams which produces floods in the forest. We enter to the forest by the tracks made by the woodcutters, which are covered in mud, the trucks soon look as though they have been painted. Suddenly, the scene changes as we leave behind the forest and arrive at the Fagnano Lake and then we continue until the camp site to eat before return to Ushuaia.
Day 18 - Knowing Ushuaia - Departure to Calafate
We will do a very special tour in the morning as we start knowing the magic of the city of Ushuaia which is very famous for being recognized as the "End of the World" (also known as the most southern city of all). We will also visit the Museum of the End of the World which started working in 1979. It was firstly for families and then became part of the heritage in Ushuaia. This museum shows its collections in five different rooms where there are glasses that honour those people linked with the local history such as the explorers, natives, etc. We will know the main and most famous attractions that Ushuaia has: the old Recidivists´ Prison which is known because of its exciting and strong history, every year many visitors go visiting it because of its prison architecture and also because of its history. It is important to higlight that it worked from 1900 to 1947 and the city started growing more and more around this prison where today many and important cruises and transatlantic.
We will enjoy the building, its corridors and even today we can feel the pain the people suffered. This militar prison worked firstly in the Staten Island in San Juan de Salvamento, then it was transferred to CooK Port until it was settled in Ushuaia for humanitarian reasons. It accommodated sentenced people like the anarchist Simón Radowitsky or Cayetano Santos Godino known as the big eared shorty or the writer Ricardo Rojas. We will visit the Port, the Paseo del Centenario, an excellent panoramic spot where there is the monument for the Ushuaia´s Centennial and then, the Beban House an important architectural heritage, which was bought in Sweden and made in Ushuaia between 1911 and 1913 by Don Tomas Beban. Is one of the most ambitious buildings in the city.
Transfer to Ushuaia Airport. Reception and transfer from Calafate Airport to the hotel.
Day 19 - Journey to the centre of the most famous glacier in the world (Big Ice)
If we have already visited the glacier from the outside, this is the opportunity to discover it from the inside. Like Jules Verne's 'Journey to the centre of the earth' book, this is a trip to the centre of the most famous glacier. For four hours we walk on top of the frozen surface with the object to arrive to the 'seracs', giant ice structures, where the ice folds.
We begin our crossing between the ice structures on the Port 'Bajo de las Sombras' in order to sail along the waters of the Brazo Rico until we arrive at the western coast. Before we start the adventure we receive instructions from the professional mountain guides who explain how to use the materials and help us to obtain the necessary equipment. We advise using sun glasses.
We are now ready to take the path that takes us to the southern moraine of the Perito Moreno Glacier (the area where the ice and ground join together). After an hour of walking we reach an astonishing place: a viewpoint where we have an impressive view of the glaciers and their surrounds. From here, we enter to the interior of the glacier to discover new landscapes such as grand sumps, white caves, very deep crevices and blue lagoons. We find a place which gives us unforgettable images and postcards of the journey to the centre of the glacier. During the excursion, we learn about glaciology, wildlife and native flora thanks to the participation of the guides who are specialists in these subjects. Around midday we have time for lunch and admire the landscapes that surround us.
We continue the trail to the moraine, walking for another hour until we finish our hike. We then embark in order to get closer to the southern wall of the Perito Moreno. Late in the afternoon we return to El Calafate.
Important Note: This excursion is only available from middle of September to the end of April. It is a demanding excursion where the terrain is irregular and only persons between 18 and 45 years old and in good physical shape can do it. Pregnant women are not authorized. The entrance fee to the National Park is neither included, nor for personal equipment, or the box lunch (is the responsibility of each person). We advise the use of sun glasses and sun protector of a minimum of factor 30, light clothing but warm, a sun visor, rain proof jacket, gloves, hiking boots (not rubber boots), rucksack of 40 litres, water bottle and lunch box for personal food.
Day 20 - Mini trekking to the Perito Moreno Glacier
To undertake this brief hike we need to cross the Rich Lake and then we arrive to the south east coast after a few minutes of navigation, which is in front of the southern wall of the glacier. Here we disembark and we go to the refuge where we are organized in groups. We begin our short 15 minutes walk going around the lake until we arrive to the glacier. Here we prepare our specialized equipment for trekking on ice. We suggest using hiking boots with thick socks, preferably woolen (it is not possible to use rubber boots because they are too slippery.
The track takes less than two hours to walk at a normal rhythm and we can discover a great variety of types and sizes of crevices, sump holes, small lagoons, and 'seracs' that are great blocks of ice divided by fissures caused by internal movements. We learn about the local flora and wildlife of the place and some other features of the glaciers: for example the continuous and incredible advance of the glacier leaving behind giant pieces of ice. We start our return through an Andean Magellan Forest covered in plants and typical trees of the southern Patagonia.
Note: This tour is available nearly all year round except for June and July. The people suitable for this expedition are those between 10 and 65 years old approximately. It all depends upon the physical condition of the person. It is forbidden for pregnant women, people with illnesses related to heart, movement or coordination. We do not recommend this tour for overweight people. Smoking is not allowed throughout the programme.
Day 21 - Navigating by the outskirts of the Upsala Glacier in the direction of the Cristina Estancia
We dedicate the day to the Cristina Estancia. We leave in the morning in a boat from the Punta Bandera Port in the direction of the Estancia and on the route we pass great icebergs and the incredible landscape of the western face of the Upsala Glacier before we enter into the Cristina Canal and disembark at the Estancia. We visit the Costumbrista Museum which was the old sheep shearing works and after we make our Patagonian journey by a 4x4 up mountainous tracks until we reach the Continental Ice Camp Site where we begin a short hike over the surface that has been eroded by the glaciers. Later we go until the appearance of the Cañadón de los Fósiles (the waterbed of the fossils) where there is a reservoir of marine fossil remains.
Note: This program is over irregular ground and involves a reasonable amount of effort and is not suitable for children less than 12 years old.
Day 22 - Departure to Bariloche
Breakfast in the Hotel. Transfer to Calafate Airport. Reception and transfer from San Carlos de Bariloche Airport to the hotel.
Day 23 - Valle Encantado, Villa Traful & Villa La Angostura
We leave San Carlos de Bariloche city crossing the Ñirihuau and Limay rivers, towards Rincón Chico. During the trip we go along the Limay river up to Rincón Grande where we can see the amphitheatre whose silhouette is similar to the one of the Roman circuses. We later arrive at Valle Encantado with its rocks drawing different figures such as El Dedo de Dios (God´s Finger), Los Siameses or El Centinela (the guard). Our next destination is Confluencia, where the Traful and Limay rivers meet. Before crossing over the Traful river bridge, we take a dirt road which winds between valleys and Coihue forests, edging Traful Lake up to Villa Traful.
After enjoying this beautiful Patagonian spot we go on towards Puerto Arrayán and El Portezuelo, where there is a junction with the Siete Lagos (7 lakes) route. After going through Quintupuray and going along the coast of the Correntoso Lake, we get into Ruca Malen. Going back to Bariloche, the trip takes us to the Espejo Lake, finally arriving at Villa La Angostura. We know Puerto Manzano, going by the Huemul peninsula. Then, we are only missing the trip from Villa La Angostura to Bariloche.
Day 24 - Valdivian Jungle: Puerto Blest, Frías Lake & Los Cántaros Waterfall
We embark at Puerto Pañuelo (Pañuelo harbour) towards Brazo Blest, where we will arrive at the Blest harbour. We go past the Centinela islet, famous for being the place where Perito Moreno has been buried. All this region is somehow similar to the channels of Tierra del Fuego and to the fjords in Norway, it overflows with vegetation due to the damp climate and frequent rains. There is an additional possibility to reach Frías Lake by bus. Then we go to Puerto Alegre in a northernly direction of the Frías Lake, to embark up to Puerto Frías. The Frías Lake has an oval shape, there are rocky zones which protrude from the East and West coasts generating the classic image of the fjords.
Continuous rains due to the damp winds coming from the Pacific characterize all the region. The rain average is around 3.700mm per year especially in Winter, being January the only dry month. This lake feeds on thaw water coming from the Tronador Mount and on the intense rains of the Valdivian jungle. When returning to Puerto Blest (it is on the Nahuel Huapi Lake just at the mouth of the Frías river) we go by Los Cántaros waterfall. We must climb through a native wooden track surrounding the waterfall reaching some 600 meters high, where beautiful small waterfalls can be seen. We return to the ship to go back to our destination.
Day 25 - 7 Lakes Road & Villa La Angostura
Just at the town of San Martín de los Andes is where the famous Seven Lakes Route begins and it ends in the town of Bariloche. The piers on the Nahuel Huapi lake stand out, and the most important points are the small town and the Manzano Bay. Then the Espejo Grande lake up to the branch off to Chile by the Antonio Samoré crossing and turning to the left to get to Villa la Angostura. Then we go into the zone of the Espejo Chico and the Ruca Malen lakes. The road takes us to the Pichi Traful lake and then we go around the edge of the Correntoso lake. We leave the asphalted road and once on the gravel road, rougher and more natural, we get into a zone of Coihues forests, the Escondido lake is on our right with its fantastic emerald colour. We go through the Vullingñanco Waterfall with its important fall of over 20. To honour the lakes, we delight seeing the fourth and fifth lake: to the east the Villarino lake and to the west the Falkner Lake.
The second lake we see is the Machónico, then the Hermoso Lake where we abandon the Lanín National Park to continue along the Nahuel Huapi National Park. As we go on, we arrive at the forked Arroyo Partido, which divides its water in branches into the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The Chapelco Mountain range with its 2.200 meters high and the crystalline lakes of sweet water are always with us during the journey. We stop at the Pil-Pil lookout point to enjoy an overwhelming sight of the Lácar Lake. The landscape is composed of cypress, lengas, raulíes and oaks legendary forests. We set off around the edge of the Lácar Lake during almost 4km up to Paihuén. We continue to San Martin de los Andes to end the journey.
Note: Depending on the flight back end on day 7 this program to take us the flight from San Carlos de Bariloche. If instead the flight leaves from San Martin de los Andes, we return to this beautiful mountain village.
Day 26 - Quila Quina
We leave behind the beautiful town San Martín de los Andes to go deeper into the Lanín National Park so as to visit one of the most wonderful places of this region: Quila Quina. It is located on the banks of the Lácar Lake and the road is a typical mountain road with fantastic sights. During the visit to this residential village, we arrive at the best beach of the zone next to the pier. In summer, with hot weather, people bathe in the lake. Towards the east there is an interpretation path: The Cipresal, a cypress legendary reserve. We can return navigating through the Lácar Lake and enjoying the landscape (optional)
Day 27 - Navigating through the Lagos Huechulafquen and Epulafquen & Lanin Volcano
We set off to Junín de los Andes, a town located 40km away from San Martín de los Andes. There, in Junín, we will stroll around to know the church where the Vírgen de las Nieves (Snow Virgin) is situated. We continue towards the Huechulafquen and Paimún Lakes to appreciate a first class sight of the Lanín Volcano. We arrive at the gorge of the Río Chimehuín, this river is the most important one for fly fishing in the whole Patagonia. We walk around a transition area appreciating notros, maitenes and geological figures such as the Piedra la Virgen (Virgin Stone).
We enter the Andean-Patagonic forest going along the edge of the lake, where we observe a sub-antartctic jungle covered of coihues of more than 25m high, together with antique oaks and lengas (kind of Patagonic trees). The undergrowth is made of reeds, ñires, bushes introduced by the man, such as rosa mosqueta, apart from mutisias, amancay (lilies) and reina mora (a kind of berry). We continue towards the Lanín Volcano of over 3,500m, to approach the south base. We continue towards the Paimún Lake, and we will visit its chapel. When returning we will stop at the Río Rucu Leufú to appreciate another sight of the Lanín. Our last destination is the Saltillo Waterfall, having to walk almost half an hour through the Andean Patagonic forest.
Going back, in Puerto Canoa we can optionally take a ship to navigate along the extense lake. Once on board, on the north bank of the Huechulafquen we will go south to see the face of the Lanín Volcano of almost 3,800m high. The lakes with their frozen water can have over 400m depth and are of glacial origin. The Isla de los Chivos stands out of the lake. Towards the west, we arrive at the joint of the Huechulafquen and the Epulafquen rivers. The latter quite shallow and with legendary forests and snow-covered mountains where there is plenty of fauna due to the fact that man hasn´t made incursions nearby. The vessel arrives at the Escorial, a lava river in solid status, because of the eruption of the Achén Ñiyeu Volcano more than 480 years ago. As time went by, the lush vegetation covered this lava soil producing a midget forest or a bonsai forest, which doesn´t reach one meter of height.
Day 28 - Return to Buenos Aires
Breakfast in the Hotel. Transfer to Chapelco Airport. Reception and transfer from Buenos Aires Airport (Domestic Airport) to the hotel.
Day 29 - A day out at a country Estancia in the province of Buenos Aires: Estancia La Bamba or Ombú de Areco
We will set out for the ancient farm El Ombú de Areco situated in San Antonio de Areco town about 120 km from Buenos Aires. The Italian ranch house is from the end of 19th century. This place is surrounded by old oaks, araucarias, eucalyptus, casuarinas and magnolias and offers a stunning natural setting to the park covered by jasmine, rose and lime tree scents. The 300-hectare farm's main activity is cattle raising; Hereford and Aberdeen Angus are bred. Here we can do horse riding, have a trip on sulky or walk around to learn more about the place. At midday, we will taste a delicious native asado. Estancia La Bamba is 120 km far from Buenos Aires; it dates from 1830 when the typical colonial style of the house was an old sentry post along the Royal Road, a route joining Buenos Aires and the north of Argentina. La Bamba Farm has a significant historical value for the Town Hall of San Antonio de Areco, a town with a great gaucho tradition, the birthplace of Don Segundo Sombra.
Day 30 - Ezeiza International Airport
Breakfast at the Hotel. Transfer to Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires. End of our services.