Enjoy the four-day Patagonia cruise on the Stella Australis, where daily zodiac trips ashore allow exploration of the remote landscape, its wildlife, and flora. Onboard, enjoy informative slide shows, a knowledgeable, attentive crew, and delicious food. Next, travel to Chile, where you stay at the foot of Los Cuernos in Torres del Paine National Park. End your trip in El Calafate with two nights at a historic hacienda - part B&B, part working ranch. This is a wonderfully varied and easy-paced Patagonia travel option.
Day 1 : Arrive in Buenos Aires Day 2 : Fly to Ushuaia Day 3 : Tierra del Fuego National Park Days 4-5 : Australis Cruise in Patagonia Day 6 : Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine Days 7-8 : Torres del Paine Excursions Day 9 : El Calafate Day 10 : Perito Moreno Glacier Day 11 : Return to Buenos Aires
Cruise the labyrinth of inlets, islands, fjords, and channels of Tierra del Fuego
Visit an enormous Magellanic Penguin rookery on Magdalena Island
Explore Torres del Paine National Park
Take a walk on the 3-mile-wide Perito Moreno Glacier
Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer independently to your hotel. Spend your free time exploring the amazing architecture of Buenos Aires, or simply relax after your long international flight. Overnight.
Fly south to the colorful port town of Ushuaia at the end of the world to begin your Argentina travels. With previous incarnations as a missionary outpost and, subsequently, prison town, Ushuaia is now most well-known as the "Gateway to Antarctica." From its dramatic setting between the Beagle Channel and the rugged glaciated peaks rising from the landscape, opportunities for hiking and exploring abound.
Spend the afternoon with your guide exploring nearby trails and enjoying the vistas that look over the Beagle Channel while learning about the human and natural history of this isolated region. May we recommend the Museo Marítimo & Museo del Presidio? When convicts were moved from Staten Island to Ushuaia in 1906, they began building the national prison. Finished in 1920, it was built with spoke-like halls containing single cells. In its heyday, there were as many as 800 prisoners housed in this unique facility that was designed to hold 380! It was closed in 1947 and now serves as a museum.
Day 3 Tierra del Fuego National Park
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Just north of Ushuaia is the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, Argentina's first coastal national park. The trail system of easy and undemanding paths makes this an ideal place to spend a relaxing day exploring Patagonia. Wander along the coastal path, undoubtedly the most beautiful in the park. The 3-½ hour hike takes you through forests of high and low deciduous beech, evergreen beech, winterbark, firebrush, and more. Finish the walk at Lake Roca in time for lunch. After eating your fill, climb into inflatable canoes and begin the easy downstream paddle to the Ovando River. The crystal-clear water runs into Laguna Verde, one of the most picturesque, panoramic spots in the park. The take-out point is Lapataia Bay, where you may see petrels, albatross, steamer ducks, and on occasion, penguins. Return to Ushuaia and transfer directly to the Stella Australis - a luxury passenger ship which was built specifically for cruising through the fjords of the Straits of Magellan. Make yourself at home on this spacious and comfortable ship.
Day 4-5 Australis Cruise in Patagonia
2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Read Detailed Cruise Itinerary »
Spend the next few days cruising the labyrinth of inlets, islands, fjords and channels of Patagonia. Twice-daily zodiac trips ashore allow you to experience the stunning beauty of this region and to learn about its flora and fauna. Onboard there are daily informative slide shows on the region, and the ship also has a well-stocked library with reference materials on the land, people, flora, and fauna of Tierra del Fuego. Your crew takes excellent care of you with delicious meals and attends to all your creature comforts onboard. From the decks of the ship you can see a wide variety of wildlife and, weather permitting, stunning views of glaciers and the Darwin Mountain range. Enjoy the roaring symphonies as huge chunks of ice break off into the water on this journey that traces the routes of some of the world's most famous explorers.
Early in the morning, drop anchor at Magdalena Island, the home of an enormous rookery of penguins, and walk to the lighthouse. Arrive in Punta Arenas around 11:30 am and enjoy some time to explore the town. Transfer mid-afternoon to Torres del Paine National Park with other travelers who are also going to EcoCamp.
Arrive at EcoCamp, a deluxe tent camp of large igloo-shaped tents built to minimize environmental impact while providing a comfortable setting with the luxury Suite Domes. EcoCamp provides candlelight, feather comforters, composting toilets, and plenty of quiet to enjoy your spectacular surroundings.
Your time at EcoCamp is flexible and includes a menu of guided excursions. Choose your day's activities from a daily menu based on your interests and energy level for the day, options ranging from easy-paced to strenuous hikes or even cycling tours. Click here for the weekly excursion schedule.
Hikers can venture to the foot of the gigantic spires of El Paine (8 hours roundtrip). Weather permitting, witness the most famous sight of the Torres del Paine - the three granite monoliths reaching 9,400 feet- a testament to the massive glacial forces that carved them out of the earth.
Some travelers prefer to relax and stay at EcoCamp to enjoy the vistas and tranquility or take a walk apart from the guided group. Horseback riding and spa services can be arranged at the nearby Hosteria Las Torres during any free time or as an optional activity.
After breakfast, transfer out of the park (an hour transfer by private van) to the Chile-Argentina border and board a comfortable bus to El Calafate, the gateway to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and the famous Moreno Glacier. This drive takes approximately 4 hours.
Stay at the picturesque El Galpon del Glaciar (formerly known as the "Estancia Alice"). The lodge is warm and welcoming with delicious homemade food, located just 15 minutes from downtown El Calafate. The homestead covers an area of Patagonian Steppe - a unique ecosystem of rivers, lakes and lagoons. While at the homestead visit the nature reserve and enjoy its many trails - over 40 species of migrating birds pass through here so keep turning your eyes skyward! The homestead is also a working ranch and you have the opportunity to tour the shearing sheds and watch the working sheepdogs in action. For those who want to explore by horseback this is also an option.
Drive into Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and go to the stunning lookout of the Perito Moreno Glacier. This huge advancing glacier is more than 3 miles wide at its front and over 20 stories high. Board a boat and sail across Lago Argentino, passing the massive front wall of blue ice all the while watching for icebergs. After landing on a small beach, start hiking through the forest to the massive face of the glacier, where you don crampons and get to hike on the ice! (This Glacier trek has a minimum age of 12 and a maximum age of 65. Alternate excursions are available for those under 12 or over 65 years of age.) Eat your lunch sitting on the lateral moraine of the glacier, giving you the opportunity to absorb the magnificence of the glacier's anatomy and the treat of listening to its thunderous concerto of groaning and cracking ice dropping into the lake below. As you hike out this afternoon there are numerous photographic opportunities. See if you can spot the Andean condor or buff-necked ibis!
Day 11 Return to Buenos Aires
Early in the morning, transfer to the airport for the morning flight to Buenos Aires and connecting flights homeward to conclude your Patagonia tour. With a few more days, you can add extensions in Buenos Aires or to Iguazu Falls to continue your Argentina travels!
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.