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Southern Argentina

From the Andes to the Atlantic | View photos »

The remarkable wildlife of the Valdes Peninsula, the mountains and glaciers of Fitzroy National Park and even a cruise to Cape Horn feature in this tailor-made journey through Argentine Patagonia.

17 day trip described, guide price £5,364pp i

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Map of the area

"Perfect combination"

"Perfect combination"

Well oiled outfit! Combining your ideas & knowledge of the area with 2 couples from different countries with their own ideas was no mean feat! Perfect combination of adventure, fun & sightseeing... We got more from this holiday than we ever expected. Tony N

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Sample itinerary

Travel to Argentina

Fly to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, most likely on an overnight flight. Please note: international flights are quoted separately.

Arrive in Buenos Aires

Land in Buenos Aires today. On arrival you are collected by your guide and taken to your charming small hotel in either the Palermo or Las Canitas area. Despite being close to the centre of the city, these barrios are quiet, leafy and green with lots of pavement cafes. Relax after your journey and stretch your legs this afternoon, before strolling to one of the restaurants nearby for supper.

Inside Buenos Aires with your guide

Spend this morning in the company of your own private guide who can take you on and off the beaten track in this lively and beautiful city. You will have a car at your disposal, but we recommend getting out and walking for some of the tour. Rather than follow a specific route, you basically just let them know what sorts of things you like to see and they can take you. This afternoon you might like to explore the enormous and rather lovely Recoleta cemetery.

Travel into Patagonia and the Valdes Peninsula

Fly south to Trelew on the Atlantic side of Patagonia, and pick up your car to drive to the Valdes Peninsula. The landscape in these parts is one of sand dunes, cliffs, bays and lagoons around the coastline. Inland, you find dry, windy, Patagonian steppe. Our recommended lodge is set on a working sheep farm where you have freedom to wander and see all of the wildlife from miles of private coastline and beaches.

Watch wildlife from the shore

While here you can be as active or relaxed as you like, either way you should see plenty of wildlife. The most famous inhabitants of Valdes are around 3,000 endangered Southern Right whales. They can grow to up to 17m and weigh up to 100 tonnes. You are perfectly positioned to view their arrival from the beach as well as getting up close to local colonies of sea lions and elephant seals.

Explore more on foot, or by car

Another day to look for wildlife, or be more active. You can hike and mountain bike. The guides at the lodge are available for a more structured nature walk if you like. As you have the car, you have the option of driving round the peninsula to other great wildlife viewing points, though in truth you’re likely to see as much wildlife here at the lodge – you’ll certainly see far, far fewer people.

Travel south to the Fitzroy mountains

Drop off your car at the airport and fly from Trelew south to Calafate in southern Argentina. On arrival, join a comfortable scheduled transfer to drive the beautiful three hours up to the village of El Chalten at the foot of the spectacular Cerro Fitzroy. The route will take you along lakes Argentino and Viedma with wonderful views of Fitzroy. Settle in to your comfortable lodge, staying in a superior mountain view room.

Hike into Fitzroy with your guide

Spend today with a private guide hiking in the stunning surroundings of the granite walls of the Fitzroy massif and up to Laguna de Los Tres. After breakfast, hike the trail up to Rio Blanco which is a climbers’ base camp to the east side of the mountain. From here a steep one-hour trail leads you to one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the National Park: Laguna de los Tres.

Walk independently in Fitzroy

Spend another day exploring the Fitzroy area. There are many self-guided trails you can follow or you could grab a taxi to take you further up the valley to visit the impressive Lago del Desierto. Whichever way you choose to do, the birdlife in particular is fantastic and the scenery unforgettable. Return to your comfortable hotel for a final night.

Travel south by bus to El Calafate

Return to Calafate today. You might like to take the opportunity to take a final half-day walk around Fitzroy this morning, and get the afternoon bus. You spend the next two nights in a lovely small hotel in the somewhat touristy town of Calafate. Stroll down the main street and stop for a coffee or hot chocolate – chocolate is a big deal in these parts.

Take a tour to see the Perito Moreno glacier

Travel around the southern bank of Lago Argentino, into the Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno. The glacier is one of only three in Patagonia which is not retreating. The face is some 5km wide, the ice being an average height of 74m above the surface. It continues about 100m below the surface of the lake. The glacier moves at quite a pace which means that it makes the most amazing creaking and splitting sounds, regularly calving great lumps of ice into the water.

Fly onto Tierra del Fuego

This morning fly from Calafate down to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Stay tonight in a very comfortable hotel on the edge of town prior to your cruise. You have the rest of the day to explore Ushuaia, the town is very small so it’s easy to find your way around.

Explore Ushuaia, board your small ship

You have the morning at leisure, as your journey to the southern tip of South America begins this afternoon. Settle into your very comfortable cabin and get to know your way around the ship. The Australis vessels are extremely spacious for their capacity, with a number of lounges and viewing areas. Spend the next three nights on board, cruising the waters around Tierra del Fuego and the Magellan Straits to Cape Horn.

Sail through Murray Channel to Cape Horn

Sail through Murray Channel as far south as the Cape Horn National Park. Cape Horn, a sheer, 400 metre high promontory, marks the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans merge. Weather permitting, disembark here and set foot on what was long thought of as the ‘End of the Earth.’

Ride to the face of the Pia Glacier

Delve into the fjords today towards the Garibaldi Glacier, the most western point of your cruise, where you hike through the forest up to a glacial waterfall to enjoy the spectacular views. This afternoon it’s time to turn back towards Ushuaia and navigate the main part of the Beagle Channel to enter the Pia Fjord and visit the Pia Glacier. Walk to a viewpoint offering amazing views over the entirety of the Pia Glacier, along its entire length from mountain to the sea.

Return to Buenos Aires

After breakfast on board, disembark this morning in Ushuaia, where you are transferred to the airport. Fly back up to Buenos Aires, where you stay for a final night. Celebrate your journey round Argentine Patagonia.

Travel back home

You may have time for some final exploration or shopping this morning before you transfer to the airport for your flight home. Again, please note that international flights are quoted separately.

About this trip

Summary

The remarkable wildlife of the Valdes Peninsula, the mountains and glaciers of Fitzroy National Park and even a cruise to Cape Horn feature in this tailor-made journey through Argentine Patagonia.

How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

This is an outdoors holiday. It is very much intended to be a trip where you spend most of your time exploring the great outdoors.

There is some quite serious hiking in the Fitzroy National Park if you choose to push yourselves – your local guide will be able to lead you on a variety of different routes depending on your energy levels. There is also a day of self-guided hiking in the same area, again with a range of different route choices for you from easy strolls to more strenuous.

The Australis cruise is in fact quite an active experience with regular landings and hiking on shore – including glaciers and Cape Horn, as long as weather conditions permit.

In terms of weather, the southern hemisphere summer is the only time of year we can offer this trip in full. That means from October through April, when the days are long and the weather is at its best. Saying that, Patagonia’s weather is notoriously fickle so there is never any guarantee of warm, dry conditions. In fact, it’s far safer to assume that you will encounter wind, rain, sun and snow at some stage in your journey. If you are in luck though, daytime temperatures in high summer (January) can reach the mid-20s in Patagonia. Up in Buenos Aires temperatures will be safely up in the 30s so very warm indeed.

Level of comfort

The hotels and lodges on this holiday are carefully chosen, first-class accommodations that enable you to explore wild and remote locations in a very comfortable way.

The boats that take you around the southernmost point of South America offer high levels of comfort with spacious cabins and private facilities. Nonetheless, these are genuine expedition cruises: the focus is on an active discovery of the wild landscapes you are traveling through, rather than on wine and dining (though this is also very good given the remote location).

Level of culture

This holiday is built around the wildlife and cultures of the beautiful southern part of Argentina though you start in the fantastic city of Buenos Aires, known as the Paris of South America. Though this might be a reasonable reflection of the grandeur and sophistication of the city, Argentina really leans more towards Italy than France. There is also a somewhat surprisingly Anglophile culture here of polo, cricket and rugby – particularly noticeable in the areas near Buenos Aires.

Your guide will help you uncover the best of the capital – we always like to try and get you here for a Sunday as that’s the day when markets spill into the streets and impromptu tango into the parks.

As you head south, first to the Valdes Peninsula and then into Patagonia proper and beyond to Cape Horn, the human influence fades. These were some of the very last parts of the world to be inhabited. In truth, apart from some early cave paintings, human habitation is linked from the 19th century onwards with the enormous cattle ranches ('estancias') which predominate throughout the steppe. On the Valdes Peninsula, you will stay on a traditional working sheep ranch where you have the opportunity to get to know more about the history of European settlers and the way of life today in Patagonia's rugged and remote landscapes.

The gaucho culture is a fascinating one which you may brush up against during your time, and it’s likely that you will enjoy a maté at some point – the ultimate sign of hospitality in Patagonia. Maté is usually described as a cousin to the tea plant. A small cup (also known as a maté) is filled to the brim with the leaves, often with plenty of sugar too, before being filled with very hot water. The super strength contents are then drunk through a silver straw by one individual before the cup is passed back to the pourer to be refilled and passed on to the next person. Thus the cup travels around a group as a means of welcome.

We are also careful to create holiday guide information for you to take with you designed to enable you to get to know Argentina better – descriptions of foods, wines, places to visit – which all enhance your time in the country.

Practicalities

We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, as set out above. Please give us a call on 01273 676 712 or email us at info@pura-aventura.com and we can send that to you.

Ultimately though, this is a tailor made trip so we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you. It might be that you want a shorter trip, or a longer one. You might want to travel on board Australis into southern Chile to visit the Torres del Paine National Park, or even head to Antarctica.

In the form set out above, the holiday price includes first-class hotel accommodation, twin cabin accommodation on the Australis cruise (A class cabin), breakfasts, internal flights and transport, and 4x4 rental car on the Valdes Peninsula. Guided activities, excursions, entrances and other meals are included as set out in the detailed itinerary. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.

International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routings are to fly in and out of Buenos Aires (airport code: EZE).

Departs

Departs on a date to suit you, from September through April, though must coincide with the Australis cruise schedule.

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Book Send me exclusive content » High winds create beautiful cloud formations over Fitzroy, Argentina Reading the papers in Buenos Aires The colourful neighbourhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires Tango performers on the streets of San Telmo, Buenos Aires Punta Tombo is a great place for wildlife spotting Southern Right Whale leaping off the Valdes Peninsula, Argentina Driving onto the Valdes Peninusla High winds create beautiful cloud formations over Fitzroy, Argentina The Laguna de los Tres and Fitzroy mountain, Patagonia The fantastic mountain landscapes of Fitzroy in Argentine Patagonia The town of El Calafate in Argentine Patagonia Perito Moreno glacier calving off spectacularly in Patagonia Ushuaia reflected in the Beagle Channel The port of Ushuaia Walking in the Darwin mountains, Patagonia At the Pia Glacier Whale watching from the Australis ship Aerial view of Buenos Aires