South Patagonia: El Calafate & Ushuaia – 11

This southern circuit comprises two legendary regions of Argentina: the mythical Perito Moreno Glacier and Ushuaia, the land of the end of the world.

DAY 1: BUENOS AIRES

Description: you will be greeted at Ezeiza airport by your guide and you’ll settle in at the hotel. At the end of the day, a briefing around a map with one of our Operations Representatives will take place.
What to see? You may spend the afternoon touring Buenos Aires. The most interesting circuit goes through 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, the president’s HQ. You may then visit La Boca neighborhood with its colorful houses built from materials recovered from ships, inspiration for painters and poets. San Telmo is home to antique shops and traditional tango bars. Recoleta is a traditional residential neighborhood: walking through its numerous parks and squares is a true pleasure. To end the circuit you may visit Puerto Madero, the old city port which has recently been completely refurbished. You’ll be able to continue exploring the city the last day of your trip.
Option: flight over Buenos Aires in a private helicopter. Get an unforgettable panoramic view of Buenos Aires from 200 m in the air, 30 to 45 min tour, covering around 100km.
Lunch and dinner: not included.
Accommodation: Atempo Design Hotel or equivalent.

DAY 2: BUENOS AIRES / EL CALAFATE

Description: after the transfer to the airport and a 3h flight, a member of our team will be waiting at El Calafate airport to provide you with your vehicle. After carrying out the vehicle security inspection and signing the rental contract you will be free to begin your trip. This city in the Santa Cruz province, whose name comes from a kind of blueberry, is famous for its popular ski resort. Further away at the foot of Mt. Frias there stands Eolo Lodge, lost in the immensity of a deserted valley. The lodge is built on a 3000 hectare property and evokes traditional Patagonia estancias. It offers a 300° view, surrounded 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 road to ecstasy which contemplating such natural beauty may elicit. Only those who live experiences from within discover their true essence: this is Eolo Lodge’s raison d’être.
What to see? once settled in, you will have the liberty to choose the activities of your preference: hiking or mountain biking through Mt. Frias or La Anita Valley, bird watching, fauna and flora observation, swimming in the pool or making use of the spa or library.
Note: it is possible to go horseback riding; payable in situ.
Distance: the lodge is located 40 km (25 miles) from the airport, and El Calafate is exactly halfway.
Lunch and dinner: included in Eolo Lodge.
Accommodation: Hotel Eolo Lodge or equivalent.

DAY 3: EL CALAFATE / SPEGAZZINI & USPALLA GLACIERS / LA ANITA VALLEY - "Ice Carrousel"

Description: after enjoying the morning light from the lodge’s breakfast lounge, you depart for Punta Bandera. This full-day excursion covers the north branch of Lake Argentino, the country’s most important lakes. You board at the Captain’s Club (VIP lounge and private dock), on the Chonek or Nueva Leon catamarans. Zigzagging between the icebergs, the boat takes you through the lake’s different branches to the base of the main glaciers: Spegazzini, with its 80 meter (262 feet) walls, Uspalla, the second biggest glacier among the Park’s 47, and Onelli. Then you may disembark for lunch, and after an 800 meter (half a mile) walk through a magnificent lenga forest you reach Onelli Bay, which is full of icebergs in a unique landscape of glaciers and snowy peaks. Back onboard, you navigate for 1 hour to get back to 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 and timing: from the lodge to Punta Bandera, 28 km (17 miles), of which 3 km (2 miles) are dirt roads. Five hours of nautical excursion.
Note: the excursion (VIP seats) is included in the rates.
Lunch: Picnic gourmet in Eolo Lodge.
Accommodation: Hotel Eolo Lodge or equivalent (dinner included).

DAY 4: PERITO MORENO / EL CALAFATE - "A parade of blues… intense, crystalline, pastel and opaque"

Description: This day you have two options:
We recommend 1: a mini trek through the southern section of the Perito Moreno Glacier. You cross the Rico Branch by boat (15 minutes), and after receiving a short briefing and putting on crampons (ice nails), you are ready to begin a 90-minute circuit on the ice. What is most amazing in this icy world, besides the silence and total absence of life, are the uncommon deep blue tones.
We recommend 2: from the “Bajo la sombras” dock you sail for 1 hour towards the southern wall of the glacier. The façade of the glacier is 5 km (3 miles) long; its height reaches 170 meters (557 feet), though only 60 meters (197 feet) emerge from the surface.
What to see? After the optional tour, we suggest hiking a trail which borders the Iceberg Canal and enables you to gradually discover the glacier, and then reaches the traditional footbridge circuit. The cherry on top of the cake is having a delicious tea at an ideal location: La Usina, located on the shores of some rapids, under the shade of some lenga trees.
Distances: 58 km (36 miles) from the lodge to the footbridges, of which 12 km (7 miles) are dirt roads.
Note: this trekking adventure is for people over 10 to 65 years old. Two mountain guides lead each group of 20 people max. We recommend you select this option once you fill in the booking form.
Lunch: Picnic gourmet in Eolo Lodge.
Accommodation: Hotel Eolo Lodge or equivalent (dinner included).

DAY 5: LA ANITA VALLEY / LAKE ROCA / CALAFATE - "The eternal search for something different"

What to see? Argentineans call it a “dia de campo” (farm day): a day for enjoying nature and taking part in typical estancia 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 out on 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 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 arms 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.
Distances: 38 km (24 miles) on dirt road and 56 km (35 miles) on the old dirt road to return to Calafate.
Lunch and dinner: not included. We recommend eating at the Estancia Nibepo Aike.
Accommodation: Los Ponchos Hotel Boutique or equivalent.

DAY 6: EL CALAFATE / TIERRA DEL FUEGO / USHUAIA - "Lands sown with dreams"

Description: you will have already scheduled the time and place for returning the car with a member of our team. From there you’ll be driven to the airport. After a 70-minute flight one of our drivers will be waiting in Ushuaia to provide you with your vehicle. After carrying out the vehicle security inspection and signing the rental contract you will be free to begin the excursion or head for the hotel.
What to see? you may devote the afternoon to a range of activities according to your preference: city tours and/or shopping – Ushuaia is a free market port zone, so you’ll find many articles at very low prices-. You will enjoy a panoramic view of the city from its marina and visit the Marine Museum located inside the ancient prison: rooms that recreate penitentiary life, an exhibition describing the exploration of Antarctica and detailed models of ships covering 500 years of history. There is also the possibility of taking a tour to the Marcial Glacier, which is located right above the city and can be reached by chair lift in 20 min, 7 km (4miles) from town.
Distances: the hotel/airport transfers are 20 km (12 miles) and 5 km (3 miles) respectively.
Lunch and dinner: not included. Numerous restaurants in Ushuaia.
Accommodation: Hotel & Spa Los Cauquenes or equivalent.

DAY 7: TIERRA DEL FUEGO NATIONAL PARK / USHUAIA - "The southernmost post office in the world"

What to see? You may begin with an excursion and walk through Tierra del Fuego National Park. After a short drive to the Ushuaia Park restaurant, you start walking through level and simple paths. The circuit goes through Lake Roca, Lake Pipo, the mires, lenga forests and beaver dams… the itinerary reaches Lapataia Bay before returning to the restaurant. Then you drive to Ensenada Bay, where you board a private zodiac for Redonda Island. Before disembarking on the island, you’ll see a colony of Magallanes cormorants (from Nov to Jan). The surface area of the island is about 10 hectares and its highest point is 105 meters (345 feet) above sea level. Scientifically, Redonda Island constitutes a natural botanical garden which gathers all the vegetation in the area. At the foot of the pier you will find the southernmost post office in the world. There you will be able to stamp your passport, your postcards or your letters with rare stamps!
Timing and distances: 28 km (17 miles) of dirt road by car, roundtrip, + 2 to 3 hours walk according to your rhythm. Ten minutes on the zodiac to Redonda Island.
Lunch and dinner: not included. We recommend the restaurant at the park or taking a picnic.
Accommodation: Hotel & Spa Los Cauquenes or equivalent.

DAY 8: USHUAIA / MARTILLO ISLAND / USHUAIA - "Range of snowy-white peaks caressed by the wind"

Description: depart early from Ushuaia for a land excursion up to Estancia Haberton. You cross woods and peat lands; the last 5 km (3 miles) will offer a magnificent view of the Beagle Canal. Around 10 a.m. you’ll arrive at the Estancia Haberton and at 10.30 you’ll take a zodiac to Martillo Island. Between November and March, this island houses a significant colony of Magellan as well as Vincha or Papuan penguins; you can disembark on the beach and get close enough so as to observe them and take pictures in ideal conditions.
Note: the night before, contact the Estancia Haberton to confirm the schedule for the nautical excursion.
Distances: 40 km (25 miles) paved road + 35 km (22 miles) dirt road from Ushuaia to Haberton. Lunch and dinner: not included. We recommend the Tierra Mayor Lodge, on the way back.
Accommodation: Hotel & Spa Los Cauquenes or equivalent.

DAY 9: USHUAIA / BUENOS AIRES - "A land of secrets, whose enigmatic image we will forever treasure"

Description: after your last breakfast in front of the Beagle Channel, it is time to head for the airport. You will have already scheduled the time and place for returning the car with a member of our team. From there you’ll be driven to the airport. After a 3h40 flight one of our drivers will be waiting in Buenos Aires to drive you to your hotel.
Distance: 5 km (3 miles) to Ushuaia airport.
Lunch and dinner: not included.
Accommodation: Hotel Serena or equivalent.

DAY 10: BUENOS AIRES / INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT

What to see? Before leaving for the airport, you can continue to discover Buenos Aires and/or go shopping. The leather-goods and gaucho articles shops offer typical and original products. We will arrange a time for you to be picked up at the hotel and taken to Ezeiza airport.
Timing: you should allow between 50 and 90 minutes to get from downtown to Ezeiza airport.
Lunch: libre. Numerous restaurants in Buenos Aires.
Dinner and Accommodation: on the plane.