Patagonia is a natural wonderland adorned with glaciers, accentuated with snowcapped mountains, and detailed with alluring fjords. The currents shift around Cape Horn. Penguins waddle along secluded island shores. Dolphins arc out of the water, playing in the wake of your luxurious cruise ship as you sail the channels. Pillared peaks create a skyline, the likes of which you have never seen. The countless cultures of Buenos Aires’ independent neighborhoods captivate you. Your custom tailored Patagonia...
Buenos Aires – Introduction to Argentina
Buenos Aires is the heart and soul of Argentina, encompassing the passion of South America and emanating the beauty of a historic European city. Each of the 47 barrios that make up Buenos Aires has a distinct culture, filling the city with cosmopolitan thrills and captivating vibrancy. Your private transfer greets you at Ministro Pistarini International Airport upon your arrival and escorts you to the charming neighborhood of Recoleta. The Neoclassical façade of the Metropolitan Cathedral faces the historic Plaza de Mayo. The Spanish established the first church in the city in the 16th century.
The cathedral’s interior contains Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance altarpieces and statues, including a one of a kind 19th-century organ that has 3,500 pipes. After you settle into the comforts and beauty of your hotel, your guide escorts you to dinner. Tables line the gallery and balcony, overtaking the grounds of the former theater with more than 100 years of history. Each seat offers guests a perfect view of the stage. Ginormous velvet curtains open to reveal a couple ready to tell the story of the evolution of tango. The music begins. The aroma of Argentinian steak fills the room. The band eases you into the storyline, and the dancers’ fluid motions tell the perfect tale.
Buenos Aires – Footsteps of the Capital
Cafes open their doors in the morning. The aroma of freshly baked empanadas stuffed with hand-chopped beef, mozzarella, and basil drifts out of the kitchen. Porteños (Buenos Aires residents) line up to enjoy the mixture of juicy, flaky, and savory baked goods. After breakfast, your guide meets you in the lobby, ready to show the marvels of Buenos Aires on a walking tour. Consider learning more about your Argentina travel agents who strive to design a highly personalized touring experience.
Artists capture the colorful corrugated homes of La Bocca. They set out their easels along the pedestrian streets and paint the vibrant facades and quaint balconies decorated with flowerpots. Cobblestone paves the streets, and gas lamps line the walkways of the neighborhood of San Telmo. On Sundays, the antique market overtakes the streets and squares. Shops with brilliant window displays fill Calle Defensa and lead to Plaza Dorrego. Locals sip wine at tables scattered around the square. Tango dancers perform inside the cafes, utilizing the small spaces to enhance each movement as they press themselves closer together to one another.
Fjord Cruise – Edges of Tierra del Fuego
After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the airport for your flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. The end of the Andes Mountains slopes steeply into the sea. The Beagle Channel wades along the southern border of the city. Snowcapped peaks contrast the cold cobalt water.
Your guide leads you through the protected lands of Tierra del Fuego National Park. Mountain peaks transition into deep valleys. Lenga and Guindo trees populate the antiquated forests. Ferns add a spiced zest to the air. Lush moss fills the underbrush with a bright green. You venture to Lookout Point. The trail leads through the lenga woods. In the autumn, the leaves change to an auburn color. When you reach the summit, you have an unparalleled view of Lapataia Bay. The snow-white peaks of the Patagonian mountains rise in the background. You return to Ushuaia and board your luxurious cruise ship at the harbor.
Fjord Cruise – Tip of the Continent
The morning light washes over the southernmost point of the South American continent, known as Cape Horn. A rugged cliff emerges of the water, rising to a height of 1,394 feet. Windswept grass forms pockets of green along the craggy limestone surface. A monument dedicated to sailors lost on the journey around the horn adorns the hillside, overlooking the water. Steel sheets resemble a kite flying in the Antarctic winds. At the heart of the design is an albatross in mid-flight. A Spanish poem embellishes a marble plaque. The memorial adds to the serenity of the site.
Onboard the ship, you can see the precise moment the Atlantic Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean. The tides collide, the water shifts colors, from turquoise to navy, and the natural phenomenon is magical. You reach Wulaia Bay, the site of the largest Yamana Aboriginal settlements until the 19th century. The Magellanic forest fills the landscape. On land, plaques tell the history of Captain Fitz Roy and Charles Darwin’s exploration of the land and sea. The windswept grass brushes back from the coastline. The water has a stoic atmosphere when seen from the craggy hilltops.
Fjord Cruise – A Closer Look at the Landscape
Sea lions bask in the spreading sunlight along the pebbled shores of various islands. You can see them huddled atop one another, nestling into the warmth of their fur. Dolphins burst from the water in the wake of the boat before splashing back down. The natural wildlife is as stunning as the landscape. The ship cruises through the Agostini Sound. The waterway separates Cordon Navarro mountain range from the Monte Buckland Mountains. The latter mountains have rugged peaks decorating the horizon. Ice covers a majority of the Cordon Navarro range.
You take a Zodiac raft to the shores of the sound. Boulders and pebbles spread from the water to the forest. You soon see the Aguila Glacier winding along the craggy mountains and nearly touching the lagoon. The bright blue ice shines in the sunlight. Streaks of black ash muddle the glacier’s true color and are remnants of ancient volcanic eruptions that helped shape the area. The closer you get to the glacier, the grander it becomes. You can make out the crevices and individual paths the icicles take, making the frozen deluge resemble a prairie swirling in the wind.
Fjord Cruise – Morning on the Colony
The boat docks at Magdalena Island. The sea brushes against the muddled shores. You can hear the faint call of cormorants in the distance. You follow the footpath to the white and red lighthouse that watches over the island and safeguards ships in the distance. You find the celebrated penguin colony home to approximately 200,000 Magellanic penguins. In the summer, the penguins burrow into mounds on the shoreline and nest. They waddle along the rocks and boulders as some gather to clean their feathers.
Other penguins glide through the water in search of fish. They can grow up to 30 inches tall and weigh more than 14 pounds. Adults have black backs and white stomachs, along with white bands over their eyes that resemble eyebrows. Witnessing the once endangered species thriving on the island is breathtaking. Listening to them call out to one another is unique. Watching them glide through the water as if they could fly is captivating.
Torres del Paine – To the Mountain Base
Punta Arenas is Chile’s southernmost city, shaped by both time and the elements of Patagonia. The Strait of Magellan brushes against the edges of the city and add to its colorful landscape, from the vibrant tombs of the Municipal Cemetery to the buildings vivifying the streets. The historic mansions decorating the Plaza Munoz Gamero showcase the historical importance of Punta Arenas during the wool boom. The city also functions as a port for ships sailing to and from the tumultuous Arctic waters. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you north into the depths of the famous Torres del Paine National Park.
Mountains rise over the Patagonian steppe more than 6,500 feet. Yellow wildflowers blossom on the banks of azure lakes. Emerald forests lead to roaring waterfalls. You settle into your hotel that overlooks a luxurious prairie. You can see the outline of condors circling the sky in the distance in search of food. Rheas, an ostrich-like bird, roam along the landscape, grazing in the tall grassland. They span out their wings out wide when they run, extending over eight feet long.
Torres del Paine – Splendors of Paine
In the morning, the scent of rich coffee is refreshing. Guanaco, cousins of the alpaca, graze on the high altitude plains. They travel in packs with shimmering gold fur. The day is yours to explore the region as you desire, taking in the remarkable mountains and thundering waterfalls, stunning lakes, and tranquil grasslands all around you. At the estancia, you can mount a horse and follow your gaucho guide through the scenery.
The ranch remains a working site that offers a sample of the historical and legendary lifestyle of the hearty explorers that claimed the area. Your gaucho guide sits atop a polished leather saddle. He carries a traditional bota bag, a leather sack used to hold wine. You are not just exploring the landscape but also gaining insight into the rich culture of Patagonia. The horse runs through a gushing stream, kicking up water as it passes to the opposite bank. Windswept grass folds over the hills. In the distance, you see the snowcapped mountains over the plain.
Torres del Paine – Touching the Ice
In the morning, you set out on a journey to explore the far reaches of Grey Lake. When you reach the shoreline, you find the water a shimmering metallic color. You board a boat that takes you along the surface. The lake is more than 12 square miles. You can see lush lenga trees on the shore, along with ruby-red notro flowers blossoming in the trees. They are known locally as “firebush.” Large icebergs float on the lake, creating a quasi-obstacle course with blue peaks resembling icicles.
At the edge of the lake, you find Grey Glacier, a mass of ice 17 miles long and encompassing 100 square miles. The ice wall towers above the water more than 130 feet tall. The milky blue color glistens in the sunlight. You hear an echoing thunder and search for rain. Your guide explains that it is the sound of the ice calving. A magnificent chunk of the glacier wall breaks away from the wall and causes a marvelous splash as it hits Grey Lake. For an added adventure, you can follow a certified guide on a glacier walk, traversing the grooves, caverns, and unique formations of the glacier’s surface.
Santiago – Marvelous Seclusion to Urban Radiance
The sunlight washes over the famous peaking towers that go by the name, “Torres del Paine.” The granite pillars rise nearly 9,500 feet above sea level and glint a remarkable blue color in the passing light. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you south to Punta Arenas. The city feels like a metropolis, buzzing with daily activity. The fresh aroma of fern trees and fresh lakes shifts to the sweeping sea breeze hinted with freshly brewed coffee wafting out of the cafes. You fly from Presidente Carlos Ibanez del Campo International Airport to Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile.
Skyscrapers resemble the Cerro Grande peaks of Torres del Paine National Park, creating a spectacular skyline in the heart of the financial district. The Andes Mountains roll along the edges of the city, creating a natural border between Chile and Argentina. The vibrant lifestyle of Santiaguinos (Santiago people) is no more prevalent than in the Universidad de Chile metro station. Murals decorate the walls, covering more than 12,900 square feet of space. Each section commemorates a moment in the nation’s history, from the Spanish conquest up to the late 1990s. When a train rushes through the station, the wind blows across one of the most unique art galleries in the world.
Santiago – Culture of the Capital
In the morning, locals stroll along the tree-lined walkways of Parque Bustamante. Santiaguinos (Santiago people) enjoy the refuge from the active bustle of the big city, watching their children play in the wading pool or relaxing at the open-air tables of Café Literario on the first floor of the library in the park’s center. Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby, and you are ready to venture out into the city to immerse yourself in the fabulous culture of the neighborhoods. The presidential offices are located inside the 18th-century Neoclassical Palacio de la Moneda. A statue of President Salvador Allende decorates the square and commemorates the bravery and patriotism of the man overthrown by the violent military coup. An antique cannon adorns the courtyard facing the main walls. A citrus aroma drifts from the orange trees inside the grounds. The palace emanates the history of the city in a single building, showcasing grandeur and turbulence simultaneously.
Santiago – Departure
In the morning, the lively restaurants of the Lastarria neighborhood open their doors. Staff set tables on the sidewalks and open umbrellas to help shade patrons from the passing sun. Business professionals file into the Financial District and order a Santiago traditional drink of “coffee with legs.” In the heart of the city, Gondolas rise to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, the largest green space in the city that encompasses nearly 1,800 acres. A funicular carries people up the sections of the hillside, connecting gardens, vistas, and the National Zoo. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at your hotel and escorts you to the airport for your flight home. As the plane takes off, the majestic Andes Mountains become smaller as you ascend, but you will never forget all the grandeur you have experienced in Patagonia.
- Delight in an up-close view of a penguin colony on the secluded shores of Magdalena Island
- Witness the milky blue hues and undulating icy peaks of Aguila Glacier
- Trek to explore the marvelous ice wall of Grey Glacier that towers over the surface of Grey Lake
- Explore the breathtaking landscape of Torres del Paine National Park at your preferred pace, horseback riding or hiking along the Patagonian Steppe
- Enjoy a luxurious cruise along the channels and bays of Patagonia, offering exceptional views of the mountainous coastline and passing glaciers
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures of Buenos Aires and Santiago, each capital emanating the unique qualities of their city and their countries
- Visit the powerful monument at the ends of the South American continent located in Cape Horn National Park
- Enjoy the ineffable experience of watching two oceans collide
- Encounter unique wildlife in the mountains, plains, and fjords of Patagonia, including guanacos, rheas, and elephant seals
Patagonia is home to mythical landscapes and unbelievable wildlife. The cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago emanate South American passion and European lifestyle. Mountains are ever-present. Oceans collide. Experience the best of urban life and natural wonders on your 12-day Patagonia tour to Argentina and Chile. The journey begins with your arrival in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The city is abundant with tradition and bustling with life. Your private transfer guides you into the city, where you enjoy an immersive evening at a tango and dinner show.
The following morning, your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you through the stunning neighborhoods of the city on a walking tour. Fly south to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. Visit the protected lands of Tierra del Fuego National Park before boarding a luxurious cruise ship, weighing anchor in the evening to sail along the Patagonian waterways. You then travel around legendary Cape Horn, exploring the grounds of Cape Horn National Park, and hiking along the trails of Wulaia Bay. The next day takes you into the Agostini Sound via the Magdalena Channel. Disembark the ship to visit the sensational ice wall of Aguila Glacier.
When the ship departs, you have an exceptional view of glaciers spreading across the landscape. Begin the following morning with a visit to Magdalena Island, to see the thriving penguin colony. Once in Punta Arenas, you disembark the ship and settle in the Chilean city. Your private transfer escorts you north into the treasured Torres del Paine National Park. The next couple days are yours to explore the splendor of the Paine Massif, azure lakes, and glistening glaciers as you please, allowing you to undertake the finest Patagonia tours from Chile. You could even trot across the plain on horseback.
Next, you return to Punta Arenas for your flight to Santiago, Chile. Your guide leads you on a fabulous tour to immerse yourself in the city’s history and vibrant culture, from Pablo Neruda to 17th-century buildings. On your final day, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the airport for your flight home. You could always extend your stay in Chile to visit the most secluded island in the world, Easter Island.
$2,995 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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