Day 1: Buenos Aires
Upon arrival in this elegant city you will be met and chauffeured to your hotel. The elegance of Europe and the spirit of South America live side by side in Buenos Aires With its wide boulevards, leafy parks, grand buildings and varied culture and nightlife, the city is reminiscent of Paris or Barcelona. Today, take a walk through neighborhoods like Recoleta and Belgrano, try visiting a café terrace, and stroll around some of the parks and plazas. At night you’ll be met at your hotel for a night of tango complemented by an exquisite dinner at one of the many famous tango houses.
Day 2: Buenos Aires
After breakfast you’ll go on a three and a half hour sightseeing tour in this bustling city. Departing from the Hotel to get to 9 de Julio Ave. the widest in the world, past the famous Colon Opera house, the Obelisk commemorating the first founding of the city in 1536 to get to Plaza de Mayo (May Square), and the buildings surrounding it: Government House, Metropolitan Cathedral with the Mausoleum of General San Martin, Argentina's greatest national hero and the Cabildo, the colonia town hall built in 1751. The tour continues to La Boca, and the brightly painted houses of 'Caminito' street. The tour continues to Buenos Aires port area, past San Martin Square towards Palermo Chico residential district and Palermo Park with its jacaranda and palo borracho trees which flower in the spring and late summer. The ride continues to the elegant district of Recoleta. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Pampas
We visit the traditional “gaucho” town of San Antonio de Areco in the Pampas , 123 km from Buenos Aires, learning about the Gaucho´s history and traditions. We would visit a famous silversmith workshop, whose work is sought after by kings and collectors worldwide, to see the “behind the scenes” life of a precious gift and know-how still passed from father to sons. We meet the artist most of the times. We then continue to a private estancia, where we savor a typical Argentine barbecue of fine beef and wines, and relax in the soothing views of the endless plains… A wonderful way to see and enjoy the countryside immersed in an ambience of nature, history, and tradition, activities include horseback riding and riding a “sulky” or chariot.
Note: This is not a “touristy show” but simply a wonderful day away of the city, to experience estancia life at its best.
Day 4: Bariloche
Upon check out, your private driver will take you to the airport for a flight to Bariloche. Bariloche is a quaint Swiss like town and is often considered the cradle of South American skiing during the winter (June-Aug). Located in the heart of Argentina's Patagonia, it is the gateway to the ski area called "Gran Catedral". No other Argentinean mountain area can beat Bariloche in nightlife, dining, cinemas, theater, discos and casinos. It is now possible to stay at the base of the Mountain, but for better night life and town atmosphere, stay at hotels in downtown.
Day 5: Bariloche
Full day tour of Gourmet Islands. Victoria Island has a universe of natural attractions and spots. Gliding across crystal clear waters we reach the island of Centennial Cypresses, Coigues woodland and native and exotic fauna. Navigate across the cold waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake up to the millenary island. There you will step into the woodland, to observe its varied flora and fauna. Internal trails take you to isolated beaches and exclusive coasts and provide you with the possibility to contemplate various unique trees such as the ancient Arrayán, with its ever-cold cinnamon-colored bark and its white flowers. Being quiet and a little lucky, you might spot some deer or pheasant.
Day 6: El Calafate & Glaciers
Upon check out, you’ll be transferred to the airport and fly to EL Calafate. Located at the base of Calafate Hill on the shore of the Argentinean Lake, 315 km from Río Gallegos, the capital of the Santa Cruz Province. The doubled pitched roofs of the houses, the colorful vegetation - rose bushes and a great variety of flowers and trees - mildly blend in this charming tourist town of 6,500 inhabitants, whose friendly attitude make tourists feel at home.
Day 7: El Calafate & Glaciers
Full day of the Glaciers National Park. This is a full day enjoying this spectacular place, listening to the ice cracks and roars, with possible pieces plundering into the blue water… Drive to catwalks for striking views of Perito Moreno Glacier. Short Boat ride from Bajo de las Sombras across the Brazo Rico to disembark in the opposite coast. After a short walk through birch forests along the lake shore, the guides will place you crampons to start an unforgettable walk on the glacier itself. The walk on the ice lasts 1:30 hours, always escorted by specialized guides. An incredible experience of walking over endless ice lands viewing crevices, underground rivers, cascades and ice-caves of iridescent blue hues. Soon afterwards, you’ll get to the shelter where lunch will be served. Finally you’ll return by boat, navigating very close to the Southern Face of the Perito Moreno Glacier listening the ice cracks and roars, with possible pieces plundering into the blue water…
Day 8: El Calafate & Glaciers
Full day tour to Puerto Banderas. Early Drive to Puerto Banderas to board Upsala Explorer. A continental breakfast will be served on board while we navigate with striking views of the western front of Upsala and Spegazzini Glaciers. We will continue on Cristina Channel up to Estancia Cristina, where our adventure will continue in one of the most fascinating and remote Patagoniana Valleys, where we at some point during the day we are likely to see the Cóndors, lord of Patagonian birds.
We can provide one out of the following 3 alternatives for group members:
A) 4WD to the Upsala outlook (2, ½ hrs), driving through 9.5 kms of winding mountain roads framed by superb landscape, reaching the Continental Ice Cup shelter, to short trek over polished rock up to view point from where you can see Lago Guillermo and the impressive oriental front of the glacier. A Patagonian lamb BBQ will be served at the antique sheep shearing house, followed by a historical walk around explaining the sheep and wool tradition in Estancia Cristina and Patagonia. (sheep are no longer permitted inside the National Park. The walk is very interesting and the small museum holds all original pieces related to Estancia life & work. (this alternative fits all from 12 to 65)
B) Trekking to the Fossil´s Canyon. (5 hrs includes lunch and stops). 4WD vehicles will save us from the first steep road to the Upsala Outlook, from where we will begin our trek escorted by our mountain guide. We will trek through rocks polished by the glacier action, reaching the edge where we can see the Upsala Glacier, the continental ice Cup feeding all the glaciers in the area, and the spectacular Andes range framing all of it…. We will stop to enjoy the rewarding view of the greatest of all glaciers and the monumental natural landscape. We will then descend through the Fossils Canyon, where we can explore the ancient history of our planet printed on rocks and has a camp style lunch to recover our energy. Then continue our descent next to 100 meters high stone walls up to a beautiful lagoon and on to the Estancia Cristina main house. Note: This moderate trek is aimed to people used to walk in nature or who exercise regularly. Suits people from 12 to 65.
C) Horseback riding (5,1/2 hrs) with panoramic views of Upsala Glacier. A one in a lifetime day, exploring the valley in the way gauchos and pioneers did. Succulent camp lunch will be served. (basic horseback riding skill required)
All activities end at Estancia Cristina Main House, where we gather to return to port and navigate back to main land. Once more, a snack will be served on board.
Day 9: Departure from Rio Gallegos
Breakfast and a last leisurely morning. Afternoon transfer to the airport for your return flight.