The far south of Argentina, land of vast open expanses, hardy people and truly amazing scenery. See ice carve from giant glaciers and get up close and personal with whales for an unforgettable tour.
Day 1 – Arrive El Calafate to start your Argentina tour
Today you will be met at El Calafate airport for a private transfer to your hotel in the town. Where you fly from is up to you, we design our Argentina tours to suit you whether you connect direct to Patagonia from home or spend time in Buenos Aires en-route. El Calafate is on the southern shore of Lago Argentino, 312 km by road north-west of Río Gallegos in southern Argentina, and roughly the same from Puerto Natales in Chile. For a century, this tiny settlement at the western margin of the Patagonian steppes served a few dozen remote sheep ranches. Tourism in the last twenty years has transformed it into a bustling hub set amidst truly awe–inspiring scenery.
Day 2 – Perito Moreno Glacier with Glacier Cruise
Departing from El Calafate to Los Glaciares National Park it is a 1½-hour drive to the walkways and viewing platforms overlooking the Perito Moreno Glacier. There aren’t many sights on Earth that are more awe-inspiring. The thundering shards of falling ice are a breathtaking spectacle as you pass at a safe distance along the walkway in front of the Canal de los Tempanos, which separates Brazo Rico from the main part of the lake. The Glacier has a surface area of approximately 195 km². It is five kilometres wide and stands 60m above the surface of the lake. Its ice masses are fed by the southern continental ice field from the west, and from other smaller surrounding glaciers.
After lunch (not included) in the nearby cafeteria you will board the Safari Nautico for an hour long cruise on the lake beneath the glacier walls, with a guide explaining about the glaciology of the region and how these natural phenomenon. You will then cruise back to El Calafate. You may take the option to trek on the glacier surface, please let us know if this interests you.
Day 3 – Full-day Excursion to the Upsala and Onelli Glaciers.
This 10-hour trip is one of the most magical in all Latin America – a boat trip past azure-blue icebergs to the Patagonian icecap. Drive west along the southern edge of Lago Argentino and across the Patagonian Plateau to Punta Bandera, 40km away.
Embark by (150 or 350-seat) catamaran across the jade-green glacial waters of Lago Argentino, to explore some more of this wondrous glacial landscape. It is warm inside the catamaran (hot chocolate and coffee on sale), and you can also go on deck. Passengers receive a commentary in Spanish and English from an on-board guide. There are about 15 bumpy minutes as the vessel crosses the southern arm of the lake; soon after, the first icebergs come into view.
After continuing westward for an hour or so, you are treated to views of the hanging glacier of Spegazzini. Steer left to Onelli Bay, and disembark for lunch (not included) at a restaurant there. You may have time to follow the path which leads through woods of southern beech (15 mins) to Lake Onelli. In winter, the surface is a mass of tiny icebergs embedded in the frozen ice. Beyond, four glaciers – Onelli, Bolados, Agassiz and Heim – coalesce. Before you start the walk, check you have sufficient time and how long you can stay. Return to the catamaran for your trip back to Punta Bandera, and drive to your hotel. Please note that in some years if there are too many icebergs, it may not be possible to get into the arm of the lake that leads to Onelli Bay. In these circumstances, the ship enters the Spegazzini arm.
Day 4 – Trelew and Puerto Madyrn
You will be taken to the airport for your short flight to Trelew. Lying about 20km upstream from the mouth of the Río Chubut Trelew was originally settled by Welsh colonists in the latter half of the 19th century, although it has now lost its Welsh look. From here you will be taken to your hotel 60km away in the town of Puerto Madyrn your base to explore the fabulous Valdez Peninsula a UNESCO world heritage site due to the wealth of its fauna. Depending on your schedule you may have time for visits today or you may wish to wander and soak in the atmosphere of the place.
Day 5 – The Valdez Peninsula
Today you will be picked up from your hotel for a full-day tour of the Valdez Peninsula. This excursion will take you out to the extremely flat terrain of the Valdez Peninsula where you will have the opportunity to see the huge variety of wildlife that calls the area home, including many sea mammals, while you are walking around on peninsula. Among the animals you may see are sea lions, elephant seals, rheas (a South American relative of the ostrich), armadillos and wild guinea pigs. You can also see killer whales swimming and hunting just offshore. Heading out in a small boat you will then have the opportunity to get to see whales from up close, a truly amazing experience. Please remember that nature does not always play along and what you see will a combination of seasonal tendencies and luck.
Day 6 – To Buenos Aires
Today we will take you back to Puerto Madyrn airport in time for your onward flight. In Buenos Aires you may decide to extend your Argentina tour to enjoy sultry tango and delicous steaks, or you can connect to another Latin American destination. Just let us know to help you plan you Argentina tour package.