Discover the raw and rugged beauty of Patagonia, Argentina. Enjoy cultured Buenos Aires before exploring Patagonia, a vast land that has been shaped by wind and glacial movements. Highlights include colonies of elephant seals, migrating whales and guanacos, the relatives of camels, at Valdes Peninsula. See the largest warm weather penguins at Punta Tombo – Magellanic penguins, and dolphins at Rawson. Gaze in awe at the magnificent glaciers of glimmering ice at Los Glaciares National Park. From local estancias (sheep ranches) to comfortable hotels, this tour will delight and surprise you and you will bask in the warmth and hospitality of the locals
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
The varieties of climatic regions present in Argentina and Chile are almost too numerous to mention, stretching north to south from the tropics to the subantarctic and with elevations as diverse as Andean peaks and marshes many feet below sea level. Patagonia is mild year-round in the east and glacial in the south. In a typical Lago Argentino day, one can experience the four seasons during a one day cruise – that’s how variable and choppy the weather can be. Patagonia is best visited during the summer months – from October through April. The best months for wildlife viewing vary depending on the animals most sought after – whales are in October, male elephant seals in November, penguins in December & January, and orcas in April. Best overall viewing is during December and January when the shores are lined by hundreds of thousands of penguins and female elephant seals.
Board your overnight flight in Miami to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival the next day, you will be escorted to your traditionally elegant hotel nestled in the area of Recoleta near museums and galleries. One of the great capitals of the world, Buenos Aires has charm and vitality in abundance and its teeming life lingers on until all hours of the night. Begin, on your first night, with dinner at a local steak restaurant and later, a tango show. The next day visit some of its most popular attractions, including the Rio De La Plata, an ecological reserve, Plaza de Mayo and some of Buenos Aires’ most colorful barrios. HOTEL EMPERADOR . (Meals Aloft; B,D; B)
Fly to Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, and drive to the Valdes Peninsula. Your home for the next two nights is farmhouse steeped in family traditions. Discover on foot the magnificent wildlife found in the area, such as elephant seals – hundreds, at times thousands line the beach and can be seen up close. Spend a full day touring the Valdes Peninsula to see elephant seals and Magellanic penguins at Caleta Valdes. Sea lions await your arrival at Punta Norte. Guanacos graze against the brilliant blue background of the sea, Patagonian maras may be keeping pace with your vehicle, and you might also catch a glimpse of Darwin’s Rhea – the largest bird in South America and cousin to the emu and ostrich. ESTANCIA RINCON CHICO. (B,L,D Daily)/p>
Board your boat at Puerto Pyramides to view the amazing southern right whales or dolphins during a morning cruise (October through mid-December for whales, dolphins the rest of the time). Return to Puerto Madryn, which is nestled in a protected bay on the Golfo Nuevo. After lunch, visit the Ecocenter, dedicated to environmental education and research, for a guided tour by a scientist. Your home is located on a privileged nook on the banks of the Chubut River and offers a cozy and friendly oasis. POSADA LOS MIMBRES (6 rooms) or HOTEL PENINSULA VALDES. (B,L,D)
Head off to Rawson for a cruise in search of the dusky, Commerson’s, and bottlenose dolphins. Then it’s off to Punta Tombo to see the largest single colony of Magellanic Penguins on the continent. Nothing can prepare you for this spectacle, as in excess of 750,000 of these flightless birds make their home in this area. Everywhere you look, there are nesting penguins. Every inch of bush is taken, as is the beach. They’re not intimidated by you, and one may decide to begin pecking at your shoes. POSADA LOS MIMBRES or HOTEL PENINSULA VALDES. (B,L,D)
Fly to El Calafate on the southern shore of Lago Argentino. In the steppe you can find lesser rheas, guanacos, red and gray foxes. Birdlife is prolific and includes species such as Sierra-finches, Seedsnipes and Andean Condors. This remote region of Argentina is referred to as ‘Los Glaciares’ as much of it is covered by a vast ice sheet over 200 miles long and up to 40 miles wide. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1981, its main features are towering mountains, beautiful lakes and the massive edges of the glaciers descending from the Andes into icy arms on the lake’s western shores. Lago Argentino is the southernmost of the Park’s four huge lakes produced by Pleistocene glaciation. Surrounded by towering ancient forests and dazzling glaciers, it covers 937 square miles. Enjoy a visit to the Glaciarum Museum for a comprehensive explanation of Patagonian ice and glaciers. The next day, travel to the Upsala Glacier – the largest in the area – by catamaran to see its imposing ice sheets which nourish the lake in narrow channels and fjords. You will also have views of Bahia Onelli, Spegazzini Glacier. The icy blues shine with an eerie, cerulean glow. Disembark at Estancia Cristina and enjoy a magnificent asado (barbecue) lunch before returning home in the late afternoon. Your last ice-filled morning takes you to the permanently advancing Perito Moreno Glacier, the most breathtaking of all. Your afternoon is at leisure. HOTEL XELENA. (B,L Daily)
Fly back to Buenos Aires and connect with your overnight flight to Miami. (B, Meals Aloft)
Begin your adventure with a Pre-Extension to view Iguassu Falls, a World Heritage Site comprised of over 257 different falls dazzling the eye with spectacular views. Straddling Argentina and Brazil, the Falls are taller than Niagara and twice as wide, prompting Eleanor Roosevelt to exclaim at her first sight, “Poor Niagara!” An elaborate walkway system allows visitors to marvel at the immensity of the falls from both the Argentine and Brazilian side.
Extend your South American adventure with a Post-Extension to neighboring Chile. Enjoy excellent birding, wildlife viewing, and breathtaking scenery in Torres Del Paine National Park, view the Straights of Magellan at the frontier town of Punta Arenas, marvel at the colorful culture of Chile’s capital city – Santiago, and toast this amazing land at one of its many world-renowned coastal wineries.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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