Andean Patagonia: Bariloche & El Calafate – 21

Discover the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, the forests of Bariloche, and the Lake District in Patagonia.

DAY 1 : BUENOS AIRES

Description: you will be greeted at Ezeiza airport by your guide and you’ll settle in at the hotel. You’ll have the afternoon off, or if you prefer, an initial tour around Buenos Aires. At the end of the day, a briefing around a map with one of our Operations Representatives will take place.
Lunch and dinner: not included.
Accommodation: Mio Recoleta Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 2 : BARILOCHE / CIRCUITO CHICO / BARILOCHE

Description: after your transfer to the airport and a 2h20 flight, your guide will greet you at Bariloche airport. Once settled in at the hotel, you will begin a short circuit tour, which starts on the south coast of Lake Nahuel Huapi towards the Llao Llao Peninsula. You will cover 17 km (11 mi) until reaching the base of Mt. Campanario, whose small chair lift will take you 1050 meters (3445 ft) up. Located in the midst of a mosaic of lakes and peninsulas, the panoramic view is exceptionally beautiful. Ideal for taking your time and enjoying the moment! From Km. 26 of the peninsula, you will see the Llao Llao Hotel and St. Edward’s chapel. The circuit then crosses a forest and the road, as you ascend, allows you to discover successive exceptional viewpoints up to the Swiss Colony.
Distances: 80 km (50 miles) throughout the day.
Optional: hike to Villa Tacul, located at the end of the Llao Llao peninsula; 300 meters (985 ft) from the parking lot you will find a rocky viewpoint overlooking lake Nahuel Huapi. From there you can walk on the beaches, an area well known for its myrtles.
Lunch: gourmet picnic in the Swiss Colony region.
Accommodation: El Casco Art Hotel.

DAY 3 : BARILOCHE / NAHUEL HUAPI LAKE / VILLA LA ANGOSTURA

Description: after breakfast, you will travel down the road to circle Lake Nahuel Huapi, the remains of a 100 km long glacier. In Villa la Angostura, you hop onboard a catamaran and begin a tour though Arrayanes Park around the myrtles peninsula. At the end of the Park, you stop for an 800 meter (2600 ft) walk through the famous myrtle forest. This tree’s bark is chestnut when it’s young and orange when it reaches adulthood, after 160 to 250 years. You can return on a foot tour to the pier, accompanied by the guide; the walk leads to the peninsula entrance and it is 12 km (7.5 mi) long. It will take you about 3 hours.
Optional: sail across Lake Nahuel Huapi in a private exclusive sailboat with two stops: first, Victoria Island, whose small chair lift will take you to the top of Mt. Bella Vista, where the view overlooks the entire Manhattan-sized island, completely covered in forest. After sailing for 45 more minutes you disembark at Quetrihué Peeninsula, at the end of the Arrayanes National Park. After a walk in the woods, the sailboat will drop you off at Villa La Angostura.
Note: if possible, book this trip option when booking the package.
Technical description: with capacity for 1 to 6 people, the “Chandon” sailboat is an F&C44 «ketch» 13.41 meter (44 ft) long vessel, with a teka covered fiber hull, two masts and an interior cabin made of cedar. The boat is equipped with all the security devices required by International Standards: autopilot, radar, GPS, plotter, eco-sounder, VHF, heating, refrigerator and freezer.
Distances: 83 km (51 miles) around the lake, from Bariloche to Villa La Angostura. For the sailing option: 2 to 3 hours, depending on the wind, in order to reach Victoria Island and 2 more hours to reach Villa La Angostura.
Lunch: at the Automóvil Club Restaurant or equivalent or prepared by a chef onboard the vessel.
Accommodation: Las Balsas Hotel & Spa, or equivalent.

DAY 4 : VILLA LA ANGOSTURA / 7 LAKES ROUTE / SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES

Description: you will start your day travelling the famous 7 lakes route and head towards San Martin de Los Andes. Throughout the day, you will stop at different viewpoints with various detours and hikes: a detour through Lake Espejo Chico and the north branch of lake Traful, a walk around Lakes Villarino and Falkner where you will stop for lunch. Other majestic landscapes await you: on km 141 Vulignanco Waterfall and Lake Hermoso. Finally you will travel and get to the Arrayan viewpoint which overlooks Lake Lacar and San Martin de los Andes.
Distances: 110 km (68 mi) total, 48 km (30 mi) dirt road and 62 km (38 mi) paved.
Optional: if the idea appeals to you, and if there’s time, have a walk through the Mapuche community (Indian village). The vehicle will travel to take you to the Bandurrias viewpoint overlooking Lake Lacar, opposite the Arrayan viewpoint.
Lunch: at La Reserva restaurant in San Martín de los Andes.
Dinner and accommodation: Estancia Tipiliuke or equivalent.

DAY 5 : SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES / HUECHULAFQUEN and LANIN LAKES / SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES - "Une nature à l'état original"

Description: after breakfast, you will begin your trip around lake Huechulafquen, located on the southern slope of the majestic Lanín volcano. Following the Chimehuin River you arrive at an impressive view of the lake and volcano. Ask your chauffeur guide to detour towards the small pointy chalet. The road circles the lake, goes through a wooded area and ends up at a great plain where Lakes Huechulafquen and Paimun meet. You will be at the heart of the Mapuche Community.
Distances: 161 km (100 mi) of which only 46 km (28 mi) are paved.
Option 1: a short trek, accompanied by your guide, until El Saltillo Falls. The path is level for a long stretch, then it ascends towards the falls alongside the river. The last stretch, through the woods, is quite steep. The trek takes around 2 hours (round trip).
Option 2: starting at Port Canoa, a tour from Lake Huechulafquen to Lake Epulafquen to observe Achen Niyeu Volcano and, above all, the Escorial, (petrified lava river).
Duration: 2 hours. This option must be selected a minimum of two days in advance. You must coordinate with your guide. Cost included in package.
Note: the boat is a non exclusive 14.5 meters (47 ft) long catamaran with a max capacity of 60 people. The boat has a snack bar. The excursions from December to March depart at 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5 and 6.30 p.m.
Lunch: gourmet picnic in an araucaria forest (beautiful chapel).
Dinner and accommodation: Estancia Tipiliuke or equivalent.

DAY 6 : SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES / PASO DE CORDOBA / LAGO TRAFUL / BARILOCHE

Description: you will leave the Estancia to enjoy the majestic scenery on the road towards Bariloche. You begin by circling Lake Meliquina. You cannot avoid taking a detour to beautiful Lake Filo Hua Hum before returning to the Paso de Cordoba road, which meanders up towards the mountain (1300 meters, 4265 ft) and where you will find unusual rocky formations. The view is absolutely stunning, especially in autumn. The circuit descends to a confluence which you follow in order to get to the town of Villa Traful. A stop at the viewpoint of the Wind is a must: a sublime panorama overlooking Lake Traful. After lunch, you continue the circuit through the Enchanted Valley, where you will observe strange rocky formations such as the Fingers of God, the Sentinel, the Express Train and the Siamese, among others. You follow the course of the Lima River without missing out on the Amphitheatre viewpoint.
Distances: 254 km (156 mi) of which 130 km (81 mi) are dirt roads.
Lunch: at the Ñancu Lahuen at Villa Traful.
Accommodation: El Casco Art Hotel.

DAY 7 : BARILOCHE / EL CALAFATE

Description: at mid morning you will travel to Bariloche airport for a 1h45 flight to El Calafate. This city, whose name originates from a kind of blueberry, is famous for its popular ski resort. At the foot of Mt. Frias there stands Eolo Lodge, lost in the immensity of a deceitfully deserted valley. The lodge is built on a 3000 hectare property and evokes traditional Patagonia estancias. It offers a 300° view, encircled by lake Argentino in the north and the Crystal Belt in the south, and the unmistakable pillar of Torres del Paine fading out in the horizon. Eolo has been designed to pave the way to ecstasy which contemplating such natural beauty may provoke. Only those who live experiences from within discover its true essence: this is Eolo Lodge’s raison d’être. Once settled in, you can choose from a variety of activities according to your preference: hiking or mountain biking through Mt. Frias or La Anita Valley, bird watching, fauna and flora observation, swimming in the pool or enjoying the spa or library.
Distances: the lodge is located 40 km (25 mi) from the airport, and El Calafate is exactly halfway.
Note: it is possible to go horse riding; payable in situ.
Lunch: in El Calafate at Casimiro restaurant or equivalent.
Dinner and accommodation: Eolo Lodge Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 8 : EL CALAFATE / SPEGAZZINI and UPSALA GLACIERS / EL CALAFATE

Description: after enjoying the morning light from the lodge’s breakfast lounge, you will travel to Punta Bandera. This full-day trip will cover the north branch of Lake Argentino, the country´s largest lake. You will board at the Captain’s Club (VIP lounge and private dock), on the Chonek or Nueva Leon catamarans. Zigzagging between the icebergs, the boat will take you through the lake’s different branches to the base of the main glaciers: Spegazzini, with its 80 meter (262 ft) walls, Uspalla, the second biggest glacier among the 47 in the Park, and Onelli. You will disembark for lunch, and after an 800 meter (half a mile) walk through a magnificent lenga forest, you will reach Onelli Bay, which is filled with icebergs in a unique landscape of glaciers and snowed peaks. Back onboard, you’ll navigate for 1 hour to meet your guide in Punta Bandera.
Technical description: with a max capacity of 250 people, the Chonek and Nueva Leon catamarans are state-of-the-art ships. They are equipped with all the security devices required by international standards: GPS, plotter, eco-sounder, VHF, heating and bar service.
Distances: from the lodge to Punta Bandera, 28 km (17 mi), of which 3 km (2 mi) are dirt roads. Five hours of nautical excursion.
Lunch: gourmet picnic basket provided by your guide.
Dinner and accommodation: Eolo Lodge Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 9 : PERITO MORENO GLACIER / EL CALAFATE

Description: for this day you have two options:
Option 1: a mini trek tour on the southern section of the Perito Moreno Glacier. After crossing the Rico branch by boat (15 minutes), and receiving a short briefing, you put on crampons (ice nails) and you’ll be ready to begin a 90 minute circuit on the ice. What is most amazing in this icy world are the rare deep blue tones.
Option 2: from the “Bajo la sombras” dock you will travel and sail for 1 hour towards the southern wall of the glacier. The façade of the glacier is 5 km (3 mi) long; its height reaches 170 meters (557 ft), though only 60 meters (197 ft) emerge from the surface. After the optional tour, we suggest hiking a trail which skirts the Iceberg Canal and enables you to gradually discover the glacier. Then you will reach the traditional footbridge circuit. The cherry on top of the cake is having a delicious tea at an ideal place: La Usina, located on the shores of some rapids under the shade of the lenga trees.
Distances: 58 km (36 mi) from the lodge to the footbridges, of which 12 km (7 mi) are dirt roads.
Note: this trekking adventure is for people over 10 to 65 years old. Two mountain guides will lead each group of 20 people max. We recommend you select this option once you book.
Lunch: gourmet picnic basket provided by your guide.
Dinner and accommodation: Eolo Lodge Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 10 : EL CALAFATE / LAGO ROCA / BUENOS AIRES

Description: argentines call it a “dia de campo” (farm day): a day for enjoying nature and taking part in typical estancia’s activities. Nibepo Aike is located in a fairytale landscape: Lake Roca, the southern branch of Lake Argentino, the peaks looming on the other side of the banks, mountain grasslands, lenga forests… Even the access road is beautiful; don’t miss the chance to go up the small hill where the park rangers live. You will have absolute freedom to choose among the activities the estancia has to offer: a horse ride tour between the lake and the Crystal Belt; a short climb to the highlands which surround the estancia, from where you can see the puzzle formed by the branches of the different lakes, with the Perito Moreno glacier in the background. The estancia’s gauchos will suggest you witness a sheep clipping demonstration, and will invite you to share a hearty asado. This Yugoslavian family, pioneers in the region, settled in these lands at the beginning of the 20th century. At around 3 p.m. you will have to set off to El Calafate airport. After a 3h flight your guide will greet you in Buenos Aires and transfer you to your hotel.
Distances: 81 km (50 mi) of which 36 km (22 mi) are dirt roads, and 76 km (47 mi) to get to the Calafate airport through the old dirt road.
Lunch: at Estancia Nibepo Aike.
Accommodation: Mio Recoleta Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 11 : BUENOS AIRES / FLIGHT

Description: before leaving for the airport, you will continue to discover Buenos Aires and/or, if you wish, go shopping. The leather-goods and gaucho articles shops offer typical and original products. The city tour goes through avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world with its 65 meter (213 ft) obelisk and Avenida de Mayo, which is well known for its buildings of Galician architectural influence. At Plaza de Mayo you will discover the Casa Rosada, HQ for the president. You will then visit La Boca neighborhood with its colorful houses made of material recovered from ships, which inspire many painters and poets. You can then visit San Telmo, home of antique shops and traditional tango bars. Recoleta is a traditional residential neighborhood, where walking is a true pleasure due to its numerous parks and squares. To end the tour, you’ll visit Puerto Madero, the old city port which has recently been completely refurbished. You cannot miss out on this visit.
Option: fly over Buenos Aires in a private helicopter. Get an unforgettable view of Buenos Aires from 200 m high. The tour will take 30 to 45 minutes to cover around 100 km.
Lunch: at the Gardiner restaurant or equivalent.
Dinner and night: on the plane.