- Visiting the highlights of Patagonia!
- Enjoy Buenos Aires as the Big Entrance of Argentina and a fun Nature Walk to get acquainted with Argentina´s nature reserves.
- Rub noses with the amazing wildlife of Valdes Peninsula: Whales from September through mid December, penguins, sea lions and elephant sea in all the departures
- Learn about the Welsh Heritage in Gaiman, while staying at the very cosy Posada Los Mimbres, an oasis in the Patagonian Steppe.
- Hike the end of the World; explore the Southern Beech forest and navigate the legendary waters of the Beagle Channel
- Hike the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the most impressive glaciers of the Continental Ice Fields
- Traveling in a small group escorted by local guides that stand out for their knowledge and passion for Patagonia!
- An unbelievable diversity of wildlife such as: orchids, wild flowers, birds, guanacos, foxes, cavies and the sea mammals.
DAY 01: BUENOS AIRES.
Arrival in Buenos Aires. Meet and greet at the International airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Rest of the day at leisure.
NATURE WALK - A two hour exploration of the Costanera Sur Nature Reserve.
The expansion of the City of Buenos Aires modified and destroyed wildlife native to the Río de la Plata. This process became more acute as the city grew anarchically and seriously contaminated the river and its shores. Several years later a group of local conservationists, walking by, discovered to their great surprise that, during the time the lands by the river in Puerto Madero had been left untouched, Mother Nature had worked uninterruptedly, bringing seeds, sediments and wildlife, transforming this site, abandoned by man, into a true natural paradise; we can say that once again NATURE PREVAILS. The visit will be led by a foremost naturalist guide that has been the President of a Local conservation Association and who is an expert in native plants, nature and also an amateur birdwatcher. She has ample experience and knowledge about the natural processes in Argentina and will be a source of invaluable information to enjoy Patagonian nature at its most.
DAY 02: BUENOS AIRES - TRELEW - PUNTA TOMBO - GAIMAN.
Transfer to the domestic airport to fly to Trelew. Arrival, meet and greet at the airport and transfer to PuntaTombo rookery.
We will visit Punta Tombo rookery, the most important breeding colony
of Magellan penguins in the world.
We will walk through a trail that
cuts deep into the colony to
observe these fascinating birds.
Other species such as kelp gulls, skuas, guanay cormorants, giant petrels, dolphin gulls, the Chubut steamer duck, hairy armadillos and Patagonian foxes also inhabit the area and may be seen here. The aim of Punta Tombo reserve is to protect one of the most diverse sea bird colonies in Argentina and the largest Continental Colony of Magellanic penguin, housing almost one million individuals. It is a rocky 3-km long and 600 m wide mass getting into the sea, covered by sand, clay and gravel and surrounded by large sandy beaches, offers the largest concentration of birds in the entire Patagonian coast. The area is full of caves, where the penguins lay their eggs and raise their young. We will be able to watch the hectic activity dominating the colony, while some penguins would dig their caves, others would fight over their territories, at the same time that the continuous murmur of their voices would invade the atmosphere. Punta Tombo is also a paradise for other sea birds: kelp gulls and dolphin gulls, skuas, two species of cormorants - the king cormorant and the rock shag (or Magellanic cormorant), steamer ducks, snowy sheathbills, and several species of terns and giant petrels to mention but a few.
On the way back to Trelew we will visit Gaiman, where Posada Los Mimbres is located.
Meals: B - box-lunch & D.
DAY 03: VALDES PENINSULA.
In the numerous gulfs, bays, inlets and peninsulas along the vast Argentine shoreline of the South Atlantic we find large colonies of marine animals. Owing to the various ocean currents which mix along this coast and thanks to the relatively low traffic and fishing activity, the sea is still rich in plankton, algae, fish and shellfish which in turn serve as food of enormous birds and marine mammal population. On the way to the Peninsula we will stop to see the wildlife of the area: guanacos, lesser rheas, Patagonian foxes, hairy armadillos, maras and the most important rookeries protecting large colonies of South American sea lions and Southern elephant seals, Magellan penguins also inhabit the area along with oystercatchers, dolphin gulls, kelp gulls, cormorants, etc.
When leaving Gaiman we will take RN 3 (national route 3) towards Puerto Madryn. Upon arrival in Puerto Madryn we cross the city (sometimes we stop for a quick visit on the way back) and following the coastal road we get to the peninsula. The first stop will be the visitor center; we resume our drive for about 5 km (3 miles) to reach Isla de los Pajaros lookout point and then onto Puerto Piramides, a small village which is the starting point of the whale watching navigation.
** Every year between mid June and December the Eubalaena Australis type of whales (commonly known as Southern Right Whale) come to the calm waters of the Nuevo Gulf at the Peninsula to mate and give birth to their calves.
Optionally during the season we will embark in a 1,30 hour navigation to sight these giants of the sea. A must do experience!
From Puerto Piramides the next stop will be either Punta Delgada, the southernmost tip of the Valdes Peninsula. This area is particularly interesting for its elephant seal colony (Mirounga leonine) or Caleta Valdes, another interesting rookery of sea lions and elephant seals colonies. Depending on the time of the year we may continue North towards Punta Norte where it might be possible to observe the famous Orca - Orcinus Orca - if lucky and during high tide and most likely during March and April. This means an extra 400 km. Or drive across the Peninsula Lowlands and salt beds to reach Puerto Piramides again and then drive back to Puerto Madryn and Gaiman.
Meals: B - box-lunch & D.
DAY 04: GAIMAN - TRELEW - USHUAIA
Morning at leisure until the time of the flight to Ushuaia.
At Los Mimbres, Marcela, the host and a Patagonian passionate will offer activities (some of them at an additional cost) such as:
* Visit to the Geological Park Bryn Wyn
* A visit to the Egidio Feruglio Museum that exhibits many of the findings of the geologists and paleontologies working in Patagonia in search of traces of the giants of the Mesozoic. www.mef.org.ar
Transfer to the airport to fly to Ushuaia. Arrival to the southernmost city in the world. Meet and greet at the Airport and transfer to HOSTERIA LOS FUEGOS. Accommodation.
Tierra del Fuego contains all the different ecosystems which typify Patagonia on a single island: South Atlantic coast, bushy steppe, Andes surrounded by glaciers, snow, lakes and forests. As if it weren't enough the island also has its unique sub-Antarctic rainforest. Unexpectedly lush beech forests are covered with a magic carpet of green mosses, lichens waving in the wind in these seemingly enchanted forests.
DAY 05. HARBERTON RANCH - THE HISTORY OF THE PIONEERS.
This excursion is the perfect introduction to Tierra del Fuego, its history, its magnificent natural history and traditions. We start from Ushuaia driving east towards Estancia Harberton. The estancia belongs to the descendants of the first British Missionaries to reach the area - Rev. Thomas Bridges - and has been managed by many years by Ms Natalie Goodall, a foremost naturalist in the area. We visit the estancia and then board a small boat to navigate to Gable Island (the largest in the Beagle Channel) where we stop for lunch. 2.3 hs demanding hike in the island and then resume our navigation to the penguin rookery at MARTILLO ISLAND, the domain of the Magellan penguin and some few Gentoo Penguins too. The unique location of this island (close to the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean waters merge) allows for an incredible variety of rich sub aquatic life, making it an amazing spot for bird watching (petrels, skuas, cormorants, sea gulls and albatross).
Return to Harberton and back to Ushuaia.
*** For operational reasons or weather conditions the activities during this tour can be changed to enhance the experience of visitors to the area.**
Meals: B - L.
** Very important: This excursion operates from November 1st, so for the September and October departures, we change the tour for a visit to this area but concentrating in the Gable island which we reach with our duckies (inflatable canoes). No navigation and no penguins.
DAY 06: TIERRA DEL FUEGO NP
Full day visit to Tierra del Fuego NP in a private car - exclusive to our small group. Upon arrival in the park, we start a 7 km soft trek (3.5 hour walk - uneven terrain) to a wonderful scenic point overlooking Lake Roca, Lagunas Verde and Negra, Rivers Ovando and Lapataia and Lapataia Bay. Hiking through this beech forest we will able to look for the Magellan woodpecker, largest in South America, Austral parakeets, black-chested buzzard eagles and Andean condors. Embarkation on an 18-people boat and head towards Isla Redonda for lunch. Afternoon short walk on the island. On the way back to Lapataia bay, we will able to watch cormorants and sea lions, albatross and petrels. Upon arrival we hike an old trail to Laguna Verde, where we board our vehicles back to Ushuaia.
Meals: B - L.
DAY 07: USHUAIA - EL CALAFATE
Morning at leisure in Ushuaia to enjoy the city or visit the interesting End of the World Museum. Transfer to the airport to fly to El Calafate. Arrival in El Calafate, meet and greet at the airport and transfer to the HOTEL de CAMPO KAU YATUN. Accommodation.
Formerly part of the Estancia 25 de Mayo this beautiful, yet simple hotel, offers the best facilities for a relaxed and pleasant stay and a nice retreat after our exploration outdoors. It is only 7 blocks from city center, making it very convenient for a stroll and a quick visit to El Calafate. www.kauyatun.com
DAY 08: PERITO MORENO GLACIER
Transfer to Los Glaciares NP in the Sub-Antarctic Continental Ice-cape, which extends over 60000 sq km (23000 sq miles) and gives birth to several major glaciers along the Patagonian Andes. We will board small boats to cross Argentino Lake in front of towering ice walls of the Perito Moreno glacier and will navigate around the ice blocks which are constantly calving from it. We will land on an uninhabited beach and hike on the glacier. (Neither additional equipment nor previous experience needed). The wildlife of the area includes Andean condors, buff-necked ibis, black-chested buzzard eagles, ashy headed geese, etc.
The two hour circuit that follows will introduce us to the fascinating landscape of the glaciers: streams, small lagoons, gullies, crevasses and plenty of ice formations of the most incredible and different kind of blue. Together with the hike the guides will introduce us to this amazing area: flora, fauna and glaciology. After this unforgettable experience we hike back through the forest to the shelter, where re return our crampons, and have lunch (pack lunch provided by the hotel Kau Yatun) in a small beach by the Glacier to then navigate back to the board walks to observe the amazing Perito Moreno Glacier.
Recommended gear for the day: Sport shoes or trekking boots, with warm woolen or cotton socks. (Rubber and après ski boots, as well as high heels are not advisable).
Comfortable sports wear, long trousers, warm sweater or pile, water or wind proof jacket, sunglasses, sun block and gloves.
Important notes for Minitrekking:
* The excursion begins at the small pier at "Bajo de las Sombras" bay - about 6 km before the glacier boardwalks - where we will embark for 20 minute navigation across the Rico Arm, enjoying breathtaking views of the glacier's front walls and iceberg channels.
* We will disembark on the opposite shore, where the mountain guides will lead us to a small shelter. After checking last details, abilities and a short safety briefing we will be divided into groups of 20, and head to the lateral moraine of the glacier, where the guides will done us crampons and our exploration will begin.
* The trekking is MODERATE. The ice surface is irregular but firm and safe.
* Land transportation from El Calafate is on a shared basis, it does NOT include guide and includes one hour visit to the glacier's boardwalks.
* Entrance fees: These are NOT included in the rate, so participants are to pay upon arrival to the entrance of the National Park. The ticket costs $ 45. - (pesos 45.-) and it is to be paid locally in PESOS (US Dollars or any other currency are not accepted).
* The tour is not recommended for:
Passengers over 60 years old or children under 12 will not be allowed; Pregnant women, People with vertigo, overweight or some kind of difficulty to walk on their own or who need assistance.
Meals: B & box-lunch.
DAY 09: EL CALAFATE - BUENOS AIRES.
Morning at leisure to explore El Calafate or do activities organized by the hotel Kau Yatun (panoramic 4WD explorations, horseback rides, etc.). Transfer to the airport to fly back to Buenos Aires. Arrival and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
DAY 10: BUENOS AIRES
At leisure to enjoy the bustling city. Transfer to the International airport to fly back home.
** Rooms will be available till noon. There is a possibility to leave the luggage at the hotel´s deposit until the time of the transfer to the airport.
Late check out on request and maybe subject to an extra cost.
2012 DEPARTURES: NOV 11, DEC 02, DEC 24, DEC 30
2013 DEPARTURES: JAN 06, JAN 20, FEB 03, FEB17, MAR 03, MAR 17, MAR 31
2012-2013 RATES FIXED DEPARTURES
rate per person sharing a double room: U$S 2613
Single supplement: U$S 651
October /November departures supplement of U$S 82 p/ person in double
Supplement for Xmas´ Eve & New Year´s Eve departure: U$S 66 p/ person for the dinner celebration.
Rates are based on a minimum of 2 pax traveling together.
Supplement for Italian/ French Speaking guide: U$S 191 p/ person (min. 2 pax)
This supplement applies for all the tours and transfers except for El Calafate where the trek on the glacier does NOT include other guide than English speaking.
PRIVATE DEPARTURES (rate per person, double occupancy): 2 people = U$S 2813, 4 people U$S 2428.- 6 people = U$S 2230
Estimated domestic airfare (subject to change without prior notice) from U$S 1330.- (4 coupons including taxes and airport taxes from Buenos Aires). Local taxes in Trelew, Ushuaia and El Calafate are to be paid locally. This stands for a class which is the lowest category; charges and penalties for changes and cancellations apply.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES YOU CAN ADD
* Whale watching navigation (regular departures) US$75
RATES & CONDITIONS
The rates include:
" Accommodation in the mentioned hotels with private facilities and breakfast.
" Round trip transfers between airport and hotels in every destination
" Private services in Buenos Aires, Valdes Peninsula and the full day visit to the Tierra del Fuego NP with a naturalist guide.
" Services in seat in basis (shared services) in El Calafate and the visit to Harberton Ranch
" Assistance of expert naturalist guides in Ushuaia and Valdes Peninsula; mountain guides for the Minitrekking
" Trekking gear if necessary
" Meals as stated on the itinerary (without beverages)
" Entrance fees to parks and reserves (in Ushuaia and Valdes Peninsula)
The rates do not include:
" Airline tickers, airport departure taxes
" International departure tax
" Tips for luggage handling and optional gratuities for guides and crew
" Extras and personal expenses
" Optional tours.
" Entrance fees to Los Glaciares NP (Perito Moreno glacier).
1.- IMMEDIATE CONFIRMATION: Hotels have been booked, so the trip has an immediate confirmation to make sales easier. However, please note that there are some departures where hotels may change from the list below.
Buenos Aires: Hotel Madero in Puerto Madero - www.hotelmader.com
Valdes Peninsula: Posada Los Mimbres - www.posadalosmimbres.com.ar
* Eventually, in case the Posada is fully booked we use Tolosa in Superior rooms as a back up.
Ushuaia: Hosteria Los Naranjos - www.losnaranjosushuaia.com or Altos de Ushuaia - www.altosushuaia.com / Alto Andino Ushuaia - .www.altoandinohotel.com
El Calafate: Hotel de Campo Kau Yatun -SUP rooms - www.kauyatun.com
** IMPORTANT NOTE about the hotels: Due to high demand the hotels are not always able to provide the rooms at the time of arrival. Please inform the clients accordingly. Normal check in time is between 0200 PM and 0300PM
.BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE: For domestic flights is 15kg to check in and 5kg as carry on per person. Any luggage heavier than these limits is charged an additional cost which varies between U$S 1.5 to U$S 3.- per extra kilo. In our past experience the airlines not always charged these overweight, however they retain the right to do so.
* Participants must be prepared to traveling long distances by car
* Participants are to travel with health insurance
* Meals are based on meat and fresh vegetables. Vegetarians or any other special diet must be informed at least 15 days prior to departure.