Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires
Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer independently to your hotel. Spend your free day exploring the amazing architecture of Buenos Aires, or simply relax after your long international flight. Overnight in Buenos Aires.
Day 2 Fly to Ushuaia
Fly south to the colorful port town of Ushuaia - 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, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring.
Spend the afternoon with your guide along nearby trails and enjoying the vistas that look over the Beagle Channel while learning about the human and natural history of this isolated region. We also highly recommend a visit to 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 fascinating museum.
Day 3 Trek and Paddle 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 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 just 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 Tierra del Fuego. The take-out point is Lapataia Bay, where you may see petrels, albatross, steamer ducks, and on occasion, penguins. After this excursion, you will return to Ushuaia and transfer directly to the Australis cruise ship. This luxury passenger ship which was built specifically for cruising through the fjords of the Straits of Magellan. Settle into your spacious and comfortable floating hotel.
Day 4-6 Australis Cruise in Patagonia
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Spend the next few days cruising the labyrinth of inlets, islands, fjords and channels of Patagonia. Zodiac trips will take you ashore twice each day to 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 about 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. From the decks of the ship you can view a wide variety of wildlife and, weather permitting, stunning views of glaciers and the Darwin Mountain range. Enjoy the roaring symphonies of huge chunks of ice breaking off into the water. This incredible journey takes you along the routes of some of the world's most famous explorers.
Day 7 Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Early in the morning, the Australis will drop anchor at Magdalena Island. This island is the home of an enormous rookery of penguins, as well as a picturesque lighthouse. Arrive in Punta Arenas around 11:30 AM and meet an EcoCamp representative who will transfer you to Torres del Paine National Park along with other EcoCamp guests.
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 suites provide candlelight, feather comforters, composting toilets, and plenty of quiet to enjoy your spectacular surroundings.
Day 8-9 Torres del Paine Excursions
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Your time at EcoCamp is flexible and includes a variety of guided excursions. Choose your activities from a daily menu based on your interests and energy level for the day. Options range from easy-paced to strenuous hikes and even cycling tours. Click here
for the weekly EcoCamp 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 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 optional activities.
Day 10 El Calafate
After breakfast a EcoCamp, transfer out of the park (an hour transfer by private van) to the Chile-Argentina border and board a comfortable bus to El Calafate. This town is the gateway to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. This drive takes approximately 4 hours. Enjoy a free evening in El Calafate and overnight in comfortable accommodations. Let us know if you are interested in staying on a working sheep ranch to experience the gaucho lifestyle.
Day 11 Perito Moreno Glacier
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 wall of blue ice while watching for icebergs. After landing on a small beach, start hiking through the forest to the massive face of the glacier, where you put on crampons and get to hike on the ice! (This Glacier trek has a minimum age of 10 and a maximum age of 65. Alternate excursions are available for those under 10 or over 65 years of age.) Eat your lunch sitting on the lateral moraine of the glacier, giving you the opportunity to take in the magnificence of the glacier. During lunch you will also enjoy the treat of listening to a thunderous concerto of groaning and cracking ice dropping into the lake below. As you hike out this afternoon there are numerous photographic opportunities. As a challenge, see if you can spot the Andean condor or buff-necked ibis!
Contact us if you are interested in the Big Ice Adventure, a more active excursion that spends more time on the ice. Click here
for more details.
Day 12 Return to Buenos Aires
You will transfer to the airport for an early morning flight to Buenos Aires to conclude your Patagonia tour. Head homeward or spend extra time in Argentina. With a few more days, you can add extensions in Buenos Aires or to Iguazu Falls to continue your Argentina travels!