Three Seasons of Christmas Tour: Argentina, Antarctica & Chile

A 14 day trip to Argentina 
4.9 out of 5 stars
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This Christmas, you can open the gift of the southern hemisphere’s natural treasures, discovering majesty and wonder in Argentina, Antarctica, and Chile. The thundering clouds rising from Iguazu Falls provide a stunning image of nature’s raw power. The nesting penguin colonies on a small Antarctic island offer a view of pure and untouched wildlife. The snow-white salt flats of Chile’s Atacama Desert contrast with the shades of the mountains, demonstrating splendor in a spectrum of natural colors. From a Chilean Christmas feast to the trails of Tierra del Fuego, this holiday season, you open a present the likes of which you have never dreamed. 

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Iguazu, Ushuaia, Antarctica, Punta Arenas, Atacama 

Departure Dates 

Flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Iguazu – Dec. 15th – Season’s Greetings from the Argentine Jungle 

The jungle of Puerto Iguazu wraps around the eponymous riverbanks and the banks of Rios Parana. The calls of hidden Great Dusky Swifts linger beneath the canopy. Hundreds of birds move with the breeze near the opening of the great Iguazu Falls. Toucans linger on the branches of the encompassing trees and crunch nuts with their colorful arching beaks. Once in Buenos Aires, you board your flight to Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport and meet your private transfer at baggage claim. In town, you find hummingbird feeders dangling from the rooftops of brightly painted homes. Walking trails leading into the jungle lead to sightings of rusty-breasted nunlets and white-winged swallows. You reach the gorgeous grounds of Loi Suites, a luxurious five-star hotel close to the famous thundering cascade of Iguazu Falls. The hotel blends into the jungle with shimmering pools and a natural wooden façade emblematic of the staggering trees. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation 

Day 2: Iguazu – Dec. 16th – A Summer in December 

At breakfast, you look out from the dining room with an open view of the pools and the treetops. A server points into the canopy, showing you the swishing bill of a feeding toucan. They twist their heads around the nuts along the branches and crunch the outer shell with vigorous force. Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby after your meal and escorts you to Iguazu National Park, which encompasses an area of nearly 260 square miles. Tapirs rest in the underbrush and butterflies flutter around the mists of the riverbanks. 

Capuchin monkeys linger in the trees in troops, overlooking the picnic areas. Trails crisscross the upper and lower reaches of the national park winding beneath the trees, opening up to spectacular views of the nearly two miles wide and 270-foot drop of Iguazu. The upper trail reaches a length of more than 5,740 feet and leads to a balcony overlooking the whole park. The thunderous sound of the cascade hitting the water echoes in the air. Mist clouds swell from the Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped gorge in which the river trundles over the upper edges. Board a steamboat to ride along the water near the San Martin cascade. The view of Iguazu from below provides a different perspective in which the magnitude, force, and beauty of nature fill the panorama.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation 

Day 3: Ushuaia – Dec. 17th – Jungle Living to the Edge of the Continent  

At breakfast, you once again search the trees for signs of toucans. The warmth of the jungle surrounds the hotel. The pools glint in the spreading sunlight, contrasting the emerald shine of the trees. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport for your flight to Buenos Aires to make your connection to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. The city maintains a balance of pristine nature bordering the bustling port. Streets meander around the coastline and lead into the foothills of the snowcapped Martial Range. 

The mountains slope into the sea where the waves crash onto the rocks. A microbrewery boasts its delicious beers, offering a chance for visitors and locals to enjoy a taste of a drink crafted in the world’s most southerly brewery. Your private transfer meets you at Malvinas Argentinas International Airport and escorts you to the stunning Los Cauquenes Resort Spa. The captivating accommodation offers panoramic views of the Beagle Channel and the mountains in the distance. The water shines shades of indigo and cobalt against the lush trees rising along the shore, with snowcapped summits edging the resort. In the afternoon, you can sit on the deck beside the water and listen to the sea lap against the rugged coastline. The herbaceous scent of mate tea blends with the sea breeze. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation 

Day 4: Cruise – Dec. 18th – December Warmth in the Land of Fire 

Sailboats wade in the marine in the morning with their masts waving to and fro in the gentle wake. Fishing boats return to shore with fishermen eager to take their brimming nets to the market. You meet your guide after breakfast and venture to the edges of Tierra del Fuego for a half-day tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park. The name derives from the tales sailors once told while passing around the wild landscape. They would look back at the shore and see glowing pockets cast by campfires the indigenous Fuegian tribes had made. The national park covers a stretch of land leading from the coast to the mountains, and is flush with stunning nature, from waterfalls to pristine lakes. 

Wander the celebrated trails lined with lush lenga and nires trees leading to your eyes to mountain peaks rising above the canopy. The aroma of pine lingers in the air. You can’t help but enjoy the thrill of strolling through the preserved, fragile environment of the most southerly national park in the world. A long-tailed meadowlark perches on a thin branch of the underbrush; its red breast stands out from its black plumage. The waters of Lago Roca Lake fill with geese and torrent duck stretching their wings beneath the summer sun. When you return to Ushuaia, you make your way to port to board the Antarctica Express Air. The boat weighs anchor and traverses the Beagle Channel heading west towards Puerto Williams. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 5: Cruise – Dec. 19th – Legends on the Water 

Outside your window on the cruise ship, you find the waters calm and the sky an expansive, open blue. You have crossed Nassau Bay overnight and have awoken to the edge of Cape Horn, the southern tip of the South American continent, in full view. After breakfast, you board a zodiac boat and cross the water. The scent of sea salt emanates from the water. The rugged cliffs ascending from the ocean reach heights of 1,395 feet. Windswept grass grows in patches along the granite rock face. A trail on the shoreline leads to a memorial at the top of the cliff erected in the 1990s. 

The monument contains a poem drafted to commemorate sailors lost in their attempts to navigate the tumultuous pass. A steel outline of an albatross casts its wings in flight, forever gliding in the wind. The sight of the cerulean water crashing against the rocks offers insight into how the elements shaped the cape, along with an inkling of nature’s raw power. You return by zodiac to the cruise ship and continue through the famous Drake Passage, named after the 16th-century British explorer, Sir Francis Drake. You sit in your room with a comforting cup of hot chocolate and watch the unique southern sea in your window. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 6: Cruise – Dec. 20th – Sailing Open Seas Near Christmas 

Your ship continues through the Drake Passage. The water rises and falls against the hull of the boat. On deck, you can hear the ocean splashing, with intermittent mist spraying alongside the open walkways. A light-mantled sooty albatross glides above the boat, peering down in search of extra food. A marine biologist on board keeps you company on the deck, answering questions about aquatic life in the area. The instructor stops talking and points to the water. A tail breaches and waves before dipping back down. It was the tail of a humpback whale. 

An adult female can reach a length of up to 52 feet long. Tubercles cover their jaw, giving them a distinct look apart from other whale species. The marine biologist tells everyone to wait. Within a minute, the whale bursts from the water, arching its back to display its enormity. The whale crashes back into the surface leaving behind the little trace it had ever breached the water at all. Your heart races with excitement. The marine biologist offers information on the humpback whale, from breeding to migration, and continues to scour the water in the hopes another will soon breach. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 7: Cruise – Dec. 21st – A More Familiar December 

Ice sheets float past the cruise ship in the morning, signaling the passing of the Antarctic Convergence. At breakfast, you can’t help but look out the window, noticing icebergs floating nearby, until the first sign of the Antarctic landscape appears in the form of the South Shetland Islands. The island group stands 75 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula, encompassing an area of more than 1,400 square miles. The ship weighs anchor in an ice-filled bay, and you board a zodiac boat to reach the shores of a penguin colony. The daylight in December beneath the equator feels endless, especially near the globe’s southern point. Seals poke their heads from beneath the water, curious about the noise rumbling along the surface. 

Penguin Island reaches a height of 540 feet above sea level, offering a strategic viewpoint of the surrounding land and seascape. Chinstrap and Adelie penguins waddle along the shoreline. Chinstrap penguins are named for the line rounding their chins, which resemble straps. They can grow up to 28 inches tall and have reddish-brown eyes. They overtake the volcanic outcroppings on the shoreline, waddling above the rocky landscape in view of the water below. They call out to one another with a harsh, loud call similar to the sound of two stones clacking together. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Punta Arenas – Dec. 22nd – On the Opposite Side of Santa Claus 

King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and encompasses more than 500 square miles. Bays and fjords texture the flat coastline with Adelie and chinstrap penguins keeping close to the shore. Blue-eyed shags linger on the rocks. Their eyes glow a dark blue that borders purple against their dark wingspan and white chests. The island contains stations maintained by numerous countries including Argentina, Chile, China, and Russia, each connected by a network of roads and tracks crossing more than 10 miles. Visit Villa Las Estrellas, the Chilean commune on the island. You had imagined snow to cover the entirety of the landscape, but the soil showcases the land beneath the ice. 

Patches of snow and ice continue to bleach the tiny hills near the edge of the community. A school offers classes from first to eighth grade. A health care facility run by the Chilean Air Force provides necessary pharmaceuticals and physical health. Although removed from the world, the community continues like a civilized society in the throes of the unsettle Antarctic. The crisp air fills with the aroma of the sea, mixed with the freshwater of melting ice. You bid farewell to the sea and the Antarctic landscape before boarding a flight to Presidente Carlos Ibanez del Campo International Airport in Punta Arenas. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation 

Day 9: Santiago – Dec. 23rd – A Return from World’s Southern Edge 

The aroma of fresh bread emanates from local bakeries, overtaking the scent of the coast in Punta Arenas. At breakfast, locally made marmalades accompany soft, artisan-baked bread. Pastel painted homes line the streets and look out to the Strait of Magellan. Elaborate mansions continue to decorate the central piazza, harkening back to the former wool boom of the late 19th century, embodied in Casa Braun-Menendez in Plaza Munoz Gamero. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel when you are ready and escorts you to the airport for your flight to Santiago, the capital of Chile. The cosmopolitan ambiance blends with a youthful atmosphere.

The metro station of Universidad de Chile contains a giant mural depicting the history of the country, highlighting both the tumultuousness and beauty of the past. The scent of fresh coffee emanates from Fix, a popular café known for its cold brew, iced coffee, and local special of café cortado, an espresso with condensed milk. The snowcapped Andes edge the city to the east with the Pacific Ocean nearby to the west. Cerro San Cristobal is the second highest hill in the city that rises out of the center of the city, offering an unparalleled view of the high-rises, rooftops, and plains leading to the Andes border. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation 
Day 10: San Pedro de Atacama – Dec. 24th – Christmas Eve on the Desert Plain 

The home of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once acted as a secret hideaway. The rooms contain nautical themes, including a dining room modeled after a ship’s main cabin. Colored glass provides radiant, celebratory light to the interior, highlighting the shells and artwork. Santiago remains the cultural center of Chile, eager to connect big city luxury with a past both charming and raw. After breakfast, you depart Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport on a flight bound for El Loa Airport at Calama in northern Chile. Your private transfer meets you at baggage claim and escorts you to the luxurious Explora Hotel de Larache. 

The minimalist design allows the beauty of the surrounding desert landscape to shine. Cypress trees rise to a point, imitating the mountain summits on the horizon. In the evening, the wildlife beyond the edges of the town travels the borders of the 42-acre property. Cobblestone courtyards provide the perfect space to utilize the telescope. You have a perfect introduction to the landscape and the skies in the high-altitude desert, which reaches upwards of 14,000 feet above sea level. Gaze at the stars through the lodge’s private telescope, which contains an advanced optics lens for extraordinary resolution. The streaks in the Milky Way are visible with the naked eye; the view of the stars becomes greater when peeking through the telescope. 

What’s Included: dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 11: San Pedro de Atacama – Dec. 25th – Christmas at the Atacama 

In the morning, the aroma of crisp quinoa accompanied by apples and cherimoya juice fills the dining room. The sweet and savory combination offers a perfect start to the day in view of the distant mountains. After discussing the various excursions offered by the lodge, you choose to explore Laguna Cejar on a cycling tour. You follow your guide south, reaching the Sala de Atacama area, known for its Salt Flats encompassing 1,200 square miles. The rugged landscape consists of salted rocks protruding from the desert grounds. 

Glassy ponds and lakes reflected their surroundings with images made richer by the pure saline quality. Thyme and salt grass grow wild around the untamed salty grounds. The trails are flat and easy to follow. You reach Cejar Lagoon, a body of water surrounded by a set of lakes. Change into your bathing suit and dip into the salt water. The lagoon carries your body weight, keeping you afloat with ease. You can relax with a view to the open blue sky, drifting on the surface of the lagoon. When the water dries, the salt crusts over your skin. You return to the lodge and find the welcoming aroma of roast turkey, potatoes, and a mixture of summer vegetables. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 12: San Pedro de Atacama – Dec. 26th – Splendors of the Altiplano

In the morning, the lobby fills with the aroma of freshly brewed cappuccinos. After the previous day of activity and feasting, you indulge in the pleasure of a refreshing cup of coffee. Based on what you had seen of the Atacama, along with your desire for activity after the Christmas extravaganza, you set out with your guide to the Salar de Tara near the eastern Altiplano. The road to the national park hugs the Bolivian border passing the high-altitude Quipiaco Lagoon, located at more than 15,000 feet above sea level. Your guide points to the wild guanacos lingering around the lakeshore. 

The golden fur contrasts the silver streaks of polished rocks spread over the landscape. The wild quadrupeds are relatives of the llama, with slender, elegant necks. A flock of flamingos perches in the shallow waters of the lagoon. They cast a pink reflection in the water and dig their bills beneath the surface in search of plankton and algae. You continue along the Altiplano until you reach gigantic rock formations reminiscent of elegant cathedrals, known as the “Cathedrals of Tara.” The wind sculpted the pillars over millions of years near the edge of the Zapaleri River. The visible palimpsests highlight gold, orange, and white hues of the natural soil. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 13: San Pedro de Atacama – Dec. 27th – A Desert Day at Rest 

The view of the desert plains and bordering mountains maintains an air of majesty in the morning. The day is yours to once again explore the stunning landscapes around the Chilean high-altitude desert. Before sunrise, you meet your private guide in the lobby and venture to El Tatio Geysers. The cold air swirls around you. In the darkness before dawn, the steam from the geysers provides a mystical ambiance. Snowcapped peaks frame the geysers. A ring of volcanoes encircles the area, contributing to the gurgling geysers and fumaroles. 

The crisp atmosphere at sunbreak nips at your cheeks. The spectacle of El Tatio erupting with splashing, hot water warms your insides before the geyser creates a pool rushing to a defined line of smoothed rocks near your feet. The steam rises out of holes and craters in columns. At sunrise, slivers of pink and rose gold fade into the empty blue sky. Vicunas graze on the fern-like plants around the edges of the geyser field. You return to the lodge with the remainder of the day to explore even more wonders of the region or relax in the serene luxuries around the grounds. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation 

Day 14: San Pedro de Atacama – Dec. 28th – A December to Remember 

In the morning, the steam from the idyllic hot springs of Termas de Puritama imitate the warm pillars you saw drifting out of the volcanic plain at El Tatio. The waters reach a heat of 91 degrees Fahrenheit and contain several pools in which the spring cascades into. The volcanic spring, located in a box-like canyon, is another natural wonder in a region made of splendor. Each day offered the excitement of Christmas morning, when you ventured out into the landscape with anticipation, unwrapping the scenery to find a unique and unforgettable image of Chile. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to El Loa Airport in Calama. Your flight takes you to Santiago, where you board your connection home. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.