Best of Patagonia Tour - Argentina Highlights
DAY 01: BUENOS AIRES.
Arrival in Buenos Aires. Meet and greet at the International airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at Pulitzer Hotel or Similar.
Afternoon small group city tour, starting around 2pm. The tour is 3 hours long and visits the most important spots in the spectacular city of Buenos Aires. At the first stop you will discover the history of “May Square”, the site of the most important historical events and where their protagonists made history since its foundation where you can see its surroundings, the most emblematic buildings, and learn all about them. Then enjoy May Avenue and wonder in awe at the oldest residential neighborhood in Buenos Aires: San Telmo. Walk along its cobble-stoned streets and discover its antiques shops and picturesque buildings. Live and feel the original Tango in the neighborhood of La Boca: walk along “Caminito Street” and enjoy the dancers and souvenir shops. See the mythical Boca Juniors soccer stadium. Contemplate the modernization of the city whilst traveling along “Madero Port” and its exclusive docks, full of excellent restaurants and large office buildings. Pass through the Retiro neighborhood and move on to see Palermo and its most exclusive residential area before finally arriving at Recoleta. Once there, discover the final resting place of Eva Peron, “Evita” and wander through Recoleta Cemetery where she is to be found.
DAY 02: BUENOS AIRES - TRELEW - GAIMAN.
Transfer to the domestic airport to fly to Trelew to start the Patagonia Argentina tour. Arrival, meet and greet at the airport and transfer to Posada Los Mimbres. Includes free use of bike and kayak and self guided coastal trail, dinner and non-alcoholic beverages. http://posadalosmimbres.com.ar/
Day 03 - 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.
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 we will visit Gaiman, where Posada Los Mimbres is located.
Meals: B - box-lunch & D.
DAY 04: 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 05: GAIMAN - TRELEW - USHUAIA
Morning at leisure until the time of the flight to Ushuaia, another part of La Patagonia Argentina.
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 your accommodation at Altos Ushuaia or similar. http://www.altosushuaia.com/
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 06. 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 07: TIERRA DEL FUEGO NP
Full day visit to the Tierra del Fuego NP. Upon arrival in the park, we start a 7 km trek (3.5 hours) to a wonderful scenic point overlooking Lake Roca, Lagunas Verde and Negra, Rivers Ovando and Lapataia and Bahía Lapataia. Hiking through this beech forest we will be able to look for the Magellanic woodpecker, largest in South America, Austral parakeets, black-chested buzzard eagles and Andean Condors. Lunch in the camping area of Lake Roca.
Afternoon paddling in the National Park. After an instructive view in Lago Roca, kayak Ovando River, which flows, into the Green Lake, one of the most beautiful views of the Park. During this easy- downstream ride, we will enjoy the crystal-clear, quiet waters of Ovando River. We will run into Laguna Verde, one of the most wonderful spots in this part of the Park. As we go on, we will be amazed by the beauty of the scenery.
Approaching Lapataia Bay, we may encounter sea birds flying over, looking curiously at us: sea petrels, albatross, and steamer ducks, among others. Lapataia Bay is our final destination. After we disembark, we just relax and enjoy the early, southern sunset behind the mountains. We are at the end of the southernmost reaches of the Panamerican Road, at the end of the world.
We drive then back to Ushuaia and the hotel.
Meals: B- L
DAY 08: 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.
DAY 09: 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.
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 10: 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.
Sample 2016-2017 Rate per person in US$ (hotel rates vary during the season)
1 person in single = US$3608
2 people in double = US$2443
3 people in triple = US$2289
ADDITIONAL SERVICES YOU CAN ADD
* Whale watching navigation (regular departures)
The rates include:
The rates do not include:
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE: For domestic flights is 15kg to check in and 5kg as carry on per person. Any luggage heavier than these limits is charged an additional cost which varies between U$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.