Day 1 - Buenos Aires
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Argentina!
Please make sure you arrive on day 1 by 3 pm, in time for the first group meeting. Please have lunch prior to the meeting as we'll head out on our first activity straight afterwards. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. If you are intending to hire a sleeping bag for our nights in the Torres del Paine National Park please let your leader know at this meeting.
In the afternoon your tour leader will take you for an approximately 2 hour orientation walk around some of Buenos Aires' main attractions. In the evening you have the option of going out for a group dinner.
Buenos Aires must be the ultimate cosmopolitan city. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style, this is a city that will steal your heart. The Portenos (the local residents) are justifiably proud of their city which is comprised of distinct 'barrios' (neighbourhoods), each with their own style. Visit San Telmo for its weekend antiques market and artists' displays. La Boca was settled by waves of immigrants that built brightly painted buildings. It is also home to the world-class football team Boca Juniors and murals of famous footballers cover the district's walls. Recoleta is the place to browse museums with Buenos Aires' well-to-do.
When you have finished exploring, settle down at one of the many streetside cafes and prepare yourself for a night of tango at one of the many milongas.
If you arrive to Buenos Aires before day 1, there are plenty of galleries, museums and historic buildings to keep you entertained. On the east side of the Plaza de Mayo you will find the Casa Rosada, the pink presidential palace where Eva Peron appeared on the balcony in front of adoring fans in the 1940s. There is also a Museo Evita, dedicated to the life (and gowns) of this famed figure. MALBA is an incredible art gallery showcasing a private collection, including works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and great temporary exhibits.
Day 2 - El Calafate / El Chalten
Today we fly south from Buenos Aires to El Calafate (approx. 3 hrs), then travel by van to the frontier town of El Chalten, north of Glacier National Park (approx 3.5 hrs). Hikers and climbers from all around the world congregate here and the atmosphere is laid back and very outdoors-oriented.
Day 3 - El Chalten
The next two days we'll take on at least two of the most popular day treks in the area: Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Torre. Hikes are moderate to difficult. You can expect to walk from six to nine hours on clearly marked and well maintained paths. The terrain itself is not difficult. Wind and rain may be the main challenges you face on these walks.
The hikes we trek and the order in which we trek them may change depending on weather conditions.
Day 4 - El Chalten
Complete whichever trek you didn't tackle yesterday.
Day 5 - El Chalten / El Calafate
Enjoy your final morning in El Chalten before we transfer back to El Calafate
Day 6 - El Calafate / Perito Moreno Glacier
Today we visit Perito Moreno Glacier. This is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world and at 3km (1.8 miles) wide and 35km (21 miles) long is a spectacular sight. Watch and listen to the crack of the ice as it plunges into the waters below.
We return to El Calafate for the night.
Day 7-9 - Torres del Paine National Park
Be ready for another long travel day. Early in the morning we jump on a local bus to Cerro Castillo in Chile (approx. 5 hrs). Here we stop for lunch (not included) while we wait for the connecting van to Torres del Paine (approx. 1.5 hrs).
Please make sure you have water, snacks and warm clothing available for today bus journeys.
Sitting at the end of the earth is the awe inspiring Chilean Patagonia. Few people have the opportunity to see this area and those who do find it difficult to forget. Once a sheep estancia, the park was established in 1959. This is magnificent trekking country where nandues, condors and pink flamingos abound. Upon arriving in the park you will most likely be greeted by a herd of guanacos, relatives of alpacas. These strange animals provide great photo opportunities but don't get too close; they're likely to spit at you. There's also some of the world's best trout and salmon fishing.
The real star of the show, however, is the magnificent landscape. With sparkling lakes, gushing waterfalls, glaciers and striking mountains, much of our time trekking is spent slack-jawed in awe of our surrounds.
The campsite will be our home for the next three nights and the base from where we'll take on our day hikes.
The most popular trek in this area is locally known as "Base Las Torres" (The Tower's Base), your leader will recommend when to take this hike, depending on weather conditions.
Another available hike is towards "Refugio Los Cuernos" (The Horns' Lodge). This trek is long, but it has excellent views of this particular section of the park also known as "Los Cuernos del Paine" (The Horns)
The treks are moderate to difficult along clearly marked trails and we will usually hike between 5-8 hours per day. Weather in Patagonia is an important factor to consider - be prepared for cold, wet and windy weather.
You and a fellow traveller will share a tent for the next three nights. Sleeping bags are not provided on this trip so please bring your own. Alternatively you can hire it locally for approximately US$30 for the 3 nights. Make sure you inform your leader on day 1 of the trip if you intend to hire it locally for him/her to make the necessary arrangements. A (thermarest/inflatable camping mattress is provided on this trip.
3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners will be provided while camping. Dinners are simple (pastas, rice, chicken) and are served in a common dinning area. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit and sometimes a chocolate bar. Soft and alcoholic drinks are not provided and there is limited selection for you to buy from at the Camping's general store. If you particularly like certain snacks (almonds, nuts, raisins) or a drink (a bottle of wine, spirit) please make sure you bring it from Buenos Aires or Calafate.
Bathroom facilities are available in the campsite with communal showers and bathroom separated by sex.
Day 10 - Puerto Natales
You will be taken on a full day guided tour around another part of Torres del Paine National park including a visit to grey lake before transferring to Puerto Natales (approximately 3 hours) where you will spend the night.
Once a modest fishing port and now a gateway to Torres, there won't be much time to explore Puerto Natales but hopefully you can venture out for dinner and trial some of boutique beer or wine around town.
Day 11 - Ushuaia
Today we hit the road for one last time - a 14-hour bus ride takes us back to Argentina and to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. Needless to say you will need to arm yourself with your favourite book, your music player, drinks and snacks.
Ushuaia is the gateway to Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, Argentina's only coastal park.
Day 12 - Ushuaia
This morning we will take an included boat trip on the Beagle Channel. Observe the marine wildlife among the small islands and inlets along this waterway named after Charles Darwin's expedition ship.
Day 13 - Ushuaia
Day 13 are free for you to explore. We have some time to visit Ushuaia's museums before returning to Buenos Aires.
Day 14 - Buenos Aires
Return to Buenos Aires by plane for a final night out. Please note that while we intend to return to Buenos Aires in the early hours of the afternoon, airline schedules in Argentina are known for changing without much notice, meaning that we can potentially arrive in Buenos Aires as late as 11pm on Day 14.
We return to our centrally located hotel in Buenos Aires for our final night.
Day 15 - Buenos Aires
As there are no activities planned, you are free to depart at any time on Day 15.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money