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.
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 M/V 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.
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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 will take excellent care of you with delicious meals and attend to all your creature comforts onboard. From the decks of the ship you will be able to 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 the EcoCamp.
Arrive at the 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. The EcoCamp provides candlelight, feather comforters, composting toilets, and plenty of quiet to enjoy your spectacular surroundings.
Click here to see more information about the excursions in Torres del Paine.
Your time at the EcoCamp is flexible and includes a menu of guided excursions. Choose your activities based on your interests and energy level for the day, options ranging from easy-paced to strenuous hikes or even cycling tours. Set off with your guide to travel across the park to Grey Glacier. Along the way, stop to visit the Salto Grande waterfall and take a quick hike (one hour roundtrip) to the Mirador Nordenskjold for stunning views of Los Cuernos and the French Valley. In the afternoon, board the ferry and set off across the Lago Grey.
Hikers may venture to the foot of the gigantic spires of El Paine (8 hours roundtrip). Weather permitting, you'll 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 the 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'll 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 will 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!
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!
$1475 single supplement
Single Supplement does not apply to cruise. Contact us for details.
Rate based on A cabin on Australis cruise during high season. Prices from from $4936 - $6788 depending on season and cabin type
*Special Savings for 2013 departures starting Oct 21, Nov 25 and Dec 2 - please inquire*