This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our current tour & cruise packages in South America.
Explore amazingly diverse and fascinating Patagonia, a magnificent "off-the-beaten-path" region spanning portions of Chile and Argentina, where you'll find soaring mountains, windy plains that stretch endlessly toward the distant horizon, lush forests filled with ancient flora and fauna, and pristine glaciers. It is an enchanted voyage filled with contrast and beauty, excitement and adventure, and one that you will never forget.
Begin in Buenos Aires, the beautiful and diverse capital city of Argentina, where a rich history and culture, world-class cuisine and spirited nightlife make this one of the world's most exciting destinations.
You'll also visit Santiago, Chile's charming capital city, where Spanish colonial buildings and old churches are juxtaposed against the spectacular, snowy peaks of the Andes Mountains.
Enjoy the gorgeous vistas and wonderful views framed by the glaciers and the Andes Mountains as you travel by motor coach. You'll spend a night at a beautiful hotel in El Calafate, where you'll find plenty to do and see in the little town that supplies the many hikers and trekkers who start their journeys here. From here, you'll have a chance to get very close to one of a very few glaciers in the world that is advancing, the Perito Moreno. You'll then stay overnight at a beautiful lodge inside the Torres del Paine National Park, get close to the Serrano Glacier as you navigate a fjord by zodiac boat, and see the local wildlife, including a soaring condor if you're lucky, that roams this unspoiled place.
Want even more? Add a 3-night optional pre-tour extension to Iguazu Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world and very likely the most impressive.
Day 2: Buenos Aires. After arrival formalities, set out on a tour of the city and discover why Buenos Aires is so often referred to as "the Paris of the South."
Your exploration begins at the Plaza del Mayo, historic and political center of the city. Here is located the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace from which Juan and Eva Perón spoke to throngs of adoring Argentinians. Continue to the Obelisk landmark on the Avenue 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world.
Admire the French architecture in the exquisite Recoleta neighborhood, including the beautiful Cemetery of La Recoleta, where Evita Perón is buried. It is one of many ironies of this complex city that Evita, heroine of the poor, is buried in the city's most elegant (and expensive) section. Dazzler Tower San Martin
Day 3: Buenos Aires and Estancia Visit. After breakfast this morning, travel outside the city for a full day excursion to the Argentine Pampas. Visit a traditional estancia (ranch), where you'll discover the life of the Argentine cowboys known as "gauchos." After a sumptuous barbecue lunch including delicious local wine, you'll enjoy a folkloric show with typical Argentine dance, song, and dress. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for dinner and an exciting performance of the tango, Argentina's passionate national dance. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Buenos Aires & El Calafate. After breakfast this morning, bid farewell to Buenos Aires as you transfer to the airport for your flight to El Calafate, gateway to the Argentine Patagonia. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure to explore this picturesque Patagonian village on the southern border of the Lago Argentino.
From the highest point (3600 ft), you have unrivaled views of the emerald waters of the Lago Argentino and the monumental Fitz Roy Massif. On a clear day, you'll even be able to see the mountains of Torres Del Paine National Park. As you descend, witness a sudden and dramatic change in scenery when you find yourself surrounded by a desert, almost lunar, landscape. Esplendor Hotel Breakfast provided.
You'll have the opportunity to experience this magnificent natural wonder from a variety of vantage points. Begin with views from the footbridges and then sail along the Lago Argentino for a close-up look at the glacier. The Perito Moreno glacier is formed by large blocks of ice that are in constant motion. Along the way, you'll hear the ice as it cracks, splits off from the glacier, and dramatically falls splashing into the water below.
After lunch inside the park, spend some time at leisure to explore the glacier on your own before returning to El Calafate. Take a stroll in the village before dinner and explore some of the well-equipped trekking and climbing shops, galleries and wonderful restaurants, where you'll enjoy endless varieties of grilled meats (parrilla) and great local wines. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 7: El Calafate & Torres del Paine. Today's excursion brings you to Torres del Paine National Park. The "torres" (towers) or horns are three massive granite monoliths of the Paine Mountain range that reach elevations of 10,000 feet. The park teems with a spectacular variety of wildlife and scenery, so bring plenty of film or memory for your cameras to catch the endless breathtaking vistas.
Hosteria Lago Grey or Hosteria Pehoe Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 9: Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas & Santiago. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your flight to Santiago.
Arrive in Santiago, bustling capital of Chile, located between the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Andes Mountains. Your guide will escort you to your centrally located hotel where you'll meet up with your fellow passengers from the cruise tour to share stories and experiences of your Patagonian explorations. Crowne Plaza Hotel Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Santiago. This morning, enjoy an orientation tour that showcases both the colonial and modern highlights of the city. Begin at Santiago's famed Jockey Club and then proceed to Centro Civico and Plaza Constitución. See the Casa de la Moneda, one of Spanish America's most stunning examples of colonial architecture and the current seat of the Chilean government.
Tonight, enjoy dinner and a colorful folklore performance at Buenos Muchachos, a restaurant decorated in traditional Chilean farm style. Sample local wines and regional cuisine as you experience live music and dance from Chile’s northern and central regions and the Chiloe and Easter Island zones. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 11: Valparaiso. Today's excursion takes you to Valparaiso, a vibrant port city and UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 1536.
Later today, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. Breakfast provided..
Day 12: Arrive USA. Your exciting South American adventure ends today as you arrive in the USA this morning.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Iguazu Falls, one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins as you depart from Miami this evening on your overnight flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Day 2: Puerto Iguazú. After arrival in Buenos Aires, transfer to the national airport for your flight to the Argentinean side of Iguazu Falls. Check in at your deluxe hotel, the only one located within the Park.
Take the remainder of the day to explore Iguazu on your own. There's plenty of well-marked trails through the rainforest around the Falls that afford multiple views of the roaring water and excellent picture-taking (be sure to protect your camera if it's not waterproof). Later, relax and cool off at your beautiful hotel pool. Sheraton Iguazú Hotel Breakfast provided.
Space on the Iguazu Falls Extension is extremely limited and subject to availability.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Argentina, click here.
For quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Chile, click here.
Meena and I immensely enjoyed the tour, guide and the company of many friends. The hotel accommodations and the meals were superb. The Lake Crossings to Argentina and the Iguassu Falls were spectacular views. We plan to take China and Egypt tours with Friendly Planet soon. We have been talking to many of our friends to join us in 2008 vacation adventure with Friendly Planet, who makes exciting excellent arrangements, worry-free. Looking forward to the companionship and friendship during our 2008 vacation.
— Ram & Meena Ramachandran, Richmond, Virginia