Patagonia Nature Safari

Explore Peninsula Valdes, Tierra del Fuego National Park, and El Calafate
Overview

overview

Patagonia is an extremely vast and diverse region, with scenery ranging from dramatic mountain formations to flat barren pampas and expansive ice fields. On this comprehensive journey through Argentine Patagonia, you will enjoy authentic experiences and breathtaking landscapes. Your journey begins in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, where you will explore the city and visit the San Isidro and Tigre districts and the nearby Parana River. From here you will travel along the Atlantic coast to Bahia Bustamente, a unique “seaweed village” that offers a variety of great activities, including bird watching, sailing, trekking, and mountain biking. You can enjoy seasonal wildlife spectacles at the Valdes Peninsula, a true sanctuary of fauna and marine life. In Ushuaia, the “end of the world,” you will explore the famous Museum of Paleontology “Egidio Feuglio,” hike in Tierra del Fuego National Park, and see Harberton Ranch and Gable Island. Continue onward to El Calafate and experience the majesty and might of Los Glaciares National Park, including a trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s largest continental glaciers. This trip truly encompasses all Patagonia and its spectacular natural wonders!

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Buenos Aires
    Welcome to Buenos Aires!

    Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be transferred to the hotel. The “Paris of South America,” as Buenos Aires is called, is a superlative introduction to the exploration of Argentina. This cosmopolitan city, European in appearance, can keep any culture-oriented visitor busy indefinitely.
    This afternoon, enjoy the unique Four Balconies of Buenos Aires Tour. It is an exclusive visit of Buenos Aires in which a guide uses four parks or plazas of Buenos Aires (Plaza de Mayo in Montserrat, Parque Lezama in La Boca, Plaza San Martin in Retiro, and Plaza Alvear in Recoleta) to introduce visitors to Argentina, its history, its contrasts, its contradictions, and the characteristic psychology of the “porteños,” the inhabitants of Buenos Aires.

    Lodging
    Hotel Lafayette or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: San Isidro, Tigre & Delta of the Parana

    Today you will explore one of the most beautiful zones of Buenos Aires’ surroundings, the northern riverside districts of Tigre and San Isidro. In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel to reach the city of San Isidro. This city has an important colonial heritage reflected in its houses and buildings. On your tour of San Isidro, you will visit the Pueyrredón Farm, the San Isidro Cathedral, several colonial mansions, and the Victoria Ocampo's Mansion (once the cultural center of South America).
    Continue to Tigre, a city overlooking the delta of the Paraná River. Here, you will explore a different, almost magical world with streets full of the colors of rustic fabric, furniture and accessories made in cane and willow, delicious jams and honey, brilliant flowers, and of course, a large variety of native fruit. After lunch, enjoy a riverside walk and a boat trip through the countless islands of the delta of the Paraná River. You’ll have beautiful views of the riverside villas, Victorian docks, English gardens, and traditional rowing clubs. If weather conditions allow, you will sail by the River Plate to return to Buenos Aires. Later, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Lafayette or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Patagonia's Altantic Coast

    You will be transferred to the airport in order to board the flight to Comodoro Rivadavia. You will be met at the airport and transferred about 180 km/111 mi northeast to Bahia Bustamante, a seaside village entirely surrounded by nature. This place invites you to enjoy a deep blue sea contrasting with red rocks, a petrified forest, sea and steppe birds, sea lions, killer whales, dolphins, guanacos, and Patagonian hares as well as lighthouses, starry skies, and aboriginal working areas. Since 1952, the village has been exclusively devoted to the harvesting of seaweed. Today some 40 inhabitants live in Bahía Bustamente, all of whom are devoted to seaweed production, which makes this place world’s unique “seaweed village.” Four comfortable houses by the sea have been remodeled to serve as your accommodations. Each house has two twin-share bedrooms, living room, kitchen, one fully equipped bathroom (that will be shared with the other guests), heating, and hot water. After having lunch, you will have time to enjoy activities such as sailing along Malaspina Cove, panoramic trekking, bird watching, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, visiting archaeological sites such as aboriginal areas and cemeteries, and learning about the workings of the seaweed industry. Stay overnight at local guest houses in Bahia Bustamente for the next two nights.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bahia Bustamante guest house
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Bahia Bustamente

    Enjoy a full day of unforgettable activities in Bahia Bustamente. Here, you can discover the remaining fossils of forests that existed in Patagonia 60 million years ago. You can view huge petrified tree trunks that have become rock with its characteristic glow of opal, which has replaced the tree’s original organic matter. If you wish, you can participate in daily activities at a typical Patagonian ranch, such as marking, weaning, and shearing sheep. For bird watchers, the coast of Bahia Bustamente and Malaspina Cove have the greatest diversity of seabirds in all of Patagonia and are also home to sea lions, penguins, and several seabird colonies. All activities in Bahia Bustamente may be modified due to weather conditions.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bahia Bustamante guest house
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Cabo Dos Bahias/Puerto Madryn
    See an abundant colony of penguins.

    On the way to Puerto Madryn, you will visit Cabo Dos Bahias Natural Reserve. From November to April in the reserve, you can view the penguin colony. About three kilometers away, rocky slopes afford views of the first fur seal colony on the continent. This species is currently protected by the reserve. The site also offers an incredible view of the steppe, and you can also see some guanacos.
    Later, you will have lunch at Camarones, a small port that displays Patagonian architecture. Overnight in Puerto Madryn.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Piren or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Valdes Peninsula / Golfo Nuevo
    You may spot whales.

    Your full day enjoying the beautiful landscapes of this area begins with a drive along National Route Nº 3 to reach the entrance of the Valdes Peninsula. After crossing the Ameghino Isthmus, where you can view Golfo San José and Golfo Nuevo, you enter the Peninsula and the road leads you to Puerto Piramides. On the way you will be able to see some of the local wildlife, including guanacos, lesser rheas, Patagonian foxes, hairy armadillos, maras, and important rookeries protecting large colonies of South American sea lions, dolphin gulls, and kelp gulls. Puerto Pirámides is a beach that, with its gentle slopes, is protected by cliffs resembling pyramids, where there are fossilized invertebrates more than 9 million years old. Here, you’ll embark on a ship to navigate the sea and appreciate the shoreline views and marine wildlife. This narrow strip of land 35 km long, with its arid soil and the deepest salt marshes in South America, possesses a very important natural resource of international value: the Southern right whale. You may enjoy a whale-watching navigation that will allow you to see and sometimes get close to southern right whales; the mating and birth of these huge mammals is seen every year from June to December. Killer whales are more frequently seen between February and May, while dolphins are seen all year round.
    After free time to have lunch, continue back to Puerto Madryn, passing through El Doradillo Beach on the way. Located on the eastern coast of the Province of Chubut, Puerto Madryn overlooks the blue waters of the Golfo Nuevo.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Piren or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Puerto Madryn/ Ushuaia
    Ushuaia: the southernmost city in the world.

    Enjoy the morning at your leisure.  In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in Trelew for the flight to Ushuaia. In the southern end of Argentina, on the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, lies Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Located on the Beagle Channel and an impressive array of the sea, forests, lakes, and mountains, Ushuaia is a picturesque city that offers unexplored, untouched territories that invite visitors to discovery and adventure. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at Los Fuegos Hotel (or similar).

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hosteria Patagonia Jarke or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Tierra del Fuego National Park
    Float through the park in a canoe.

    Today you explore Tierra del Fuego National Park. The full day excursion around the park includes an easy trek and a canoeing expedition. A short drive from your hotel brings you to the park, where you start a 7-km trek of about 3 1/2 hours to a wonderful scenic point overlooking Lake Roca, Lagunas Verde and Negra, Rivers Ovando and Lapataia, and Bahía Lapataia. Hiking through this beech forest you will be able to look for the Magellanic woodpecker (the largest in South America), Austral parakeets, black-chested buzzard eagles, and Andean condors. Enjoy a fun outdoor lunch in the camping area of Lake Roca. Spend the afternoon paddling in the National Park. You will be outfitted with equipment and embark on sturdy inflatable canoes with instructions from your experienced guide in Lago Roca. Paddle the Ovando River, which flows into the Green Lake, offering one of the most beautiful views of the Park. Upon landing in Lapataia Bay, you will be able to spot all sorts of local birds. Stay overnight at Los Fuegos Hotel (or similar).

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hosteria Patagonia Jarke or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Harberton Ranch & Gable Island

    Today you will visit Harberton Ranch and Gable Island. Depart early in the morning from Ushuaia, and drive about 90 kilometers to Tierra del Fuego's oldest ranch: Estancia Harberton. The land it's built on was a gift from President Roca's government to Rev. Thomas Bridges, for his contributions in exploring the area and in establishing a harmonious relationship with the native population, the Yamanas.
    The Yamanas were the native inhabitants of the coast of the Beagle Channel. It is said that the Yamanas advised Rev. Bridges on the site to establish his estancia, which is the actual location of Harberton. From the estancia you will board a small boat to visit the penguin rookery at Martillo Island. The unique location of this island (close to the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean waters merge) allows for an incredible variety of rich sub-aquatic life, making it an amazing spot for bird watching (petrels, skuas, cormorants, sea gulls, and albatross).
    From there, continue to Gable Island, the largest in the Beagle Channel, for a late lunch. The view over the Beagle Channel is breathtaking. You will enter a beech forest with white orchids, wild berries, and ferns. After a 40-minute hike, return to the refuge, stop for tea, and head back to the continent. Return to Ushuaia late in the afternoon. (**For operation or safety reasons or weather conditions the order of the activities during this day may be changed.)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hosteria Patagonia Jarkeor similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Ushuaia/El Calafate

    Enjoy the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, transfer to the local airport to board the flight to El Calafate. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, the Kau Yatun Hotel (or similar). In El Calafate you will find yourself at the gateway to the majestic world of glaciers. This town is near Lake Argentino, a green water surface covering 1,600 sq km. El Calafate connects you with the most interesting and magical features of Argentina’s geography. Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the western hemisphere are found in the Patagonian Andes. Numerous lakes fed by glacial run-off reflect the majesty of the snow-capped peaks, and the mountainsides are covered by primeval forests of sub-antarctic beech trees. Between the 48 and 51 South parallels, the Andes Mountain Range is covered by a large extension of permafrost known as the Patagonian Continental Ice-cap, which stretches for 560 miles from north to south, also called “the Third Pole.” The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore the areas around town. You may even make the 1 kilometer hike out to Laguna Nimez for a beautiful Patagonian sunset (private transfer with English speaking guide included).

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Kau Yatun Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Los Glaciares National Park/Nibepo Aike
    Perito Moreno Glacier

    Today you will visit Los Glaciares National Park, located in the Patagonian Continental Ice-cap. Upon arrival at the park, join with other travelers on a guided excursion, which begins in the pier located at “Bajo de las Sombras” Bay (approximately 6 kilometers before the glacier viewpoint). Here you will cross the Brazo Rico, reaching the southwest shore after 20 minutes of navigation on the bay. During your boat ride, you can observe the magnificent southern wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Upon disembarking, you will travel to the shelter where the guides organize the mini-trekking groups. (for clients 12-65 yrs old) An easy walk of about 20 minutes through the Magellanic forest brings you to the glacier. Here, the guides will assist with crampons that you’ll attach to your hiking boots and give you instructions for a 2-hour hike over the ice. In this trek over the glacier, you will appreciate many ice formations such as cracks, drains, and little lagoons. It is a moderate hike, and the ice surface where you will walk is irregular, but firm and safe. At the end of the hike, you will return to the shelter and embark to cross the lake. Once you arrive at the pier, you will travel for 6 km to reach the catwalks in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, from which you will have different and amazing views of this natural wonder. RECOMMENDATIONS:
     Footwear: Any type of sport footwear, for example, hiking boots or trainers. Use warm, thick socks. Rubber boots, ski shoes, and shoes with a heel are not admitted.

    Transfer to Estancia Nibepo Aike. Nibepo Aike retains the essence of the old Patagonian estancias. It is found within Los Glaciares National Park on the shores of the Southern Arm of Lago Argentino. It covers more than 12,000 hectares, extending as far as the border with Chile. The estancia was formerly devoted to sheep production, maintaining a small herd nowadays, but its chief output is breeding Hereford cattle, for which it has developed a prestigious herd. The main buildings of the estancia are typical of the Patagonian pioneer architecture, all being very uniform in style. The imposing view of the Andes mountain range is ever-present, while the estancia’s everyday life carries on and it is common to see the men riding past herding the cattle and/or sheep and disappearing over the horizon. Behind the house is the vegetable garden which provides most of the fresh produce consumed on the estancia. Choose between several hiking options and observing rural tasks like branding of cattle, sheep-shearing with hand shears, herding of sheep, milking the cows, rounding up the cattle, and more.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Afternoon tea, Dinner
    Lodging
    Estancia Nibepo Aike
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Nibepo Aike
    Horseback ride amidst breathtaking scenery.

    Relax and enjoy a full day of activities at Estancia Nibebo Aike. (Activities may vary with the weather.) Horse-riding, hiking and rural work at the estancia are just some of the activities you may enjoy.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Estancia Nibepo Aike
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Return to Buenos Aires
    The colors of La Boca are the most vibrant in all of Buenos Aires.

    You will be picked up from the hotel to be transferred to the local airport and board the flight to Buenos Aires, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Tonight, you will be picked up to enjoy dinner and a glamorous tango show in one of the most prestigious historical houses in Buenos Aires. After the show you will be transferred back to the hotel. (Please note, dinner is served late and your return to the hotel will be late at night.)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Lafayette or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Buenos Aires / Onward
    Your adventure ends today.

    Today you will be transferred from the hotel to the international airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$5,575
domestic airfare not included; Dec holiday surcharge may apply
Single Supplement:
$1190
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

The Patagonian climate:
The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the winds that circle the Antarctic land mass. Also, both the strong marine influence and the South Patagonic Ice Field influence makes the weather hard to predict. During the spring or early summer, fine weather may deteriorate without much warning, bringing unexpected rains and sometimes snow. Even in the summer (December to March) you should be prepared to find strong, cold winds and rainfall. The average summer temperature is 11ºC/52ºF.

Recommended packing list:
Day pack, trekking boots, comfortable shoes, warm parka and windbreaker, sweater, light pullover or sweatshirt, gloves, hat, bandanna, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, camera and extra batteries.

Duration:
14 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
delightful, superior hotels
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
delightful, superior hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Iguazu Falls

Duration: 3 days

Taller than Niagara Falls, twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horsehoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazu River, Iguazu Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption which left yet another large crack in the earth. These matter-of-fact ... read more

Torres del Paine Wildlife

Duration: 5 days

Patagonia symbolizes faraway, still unexplored lands and untouched wilderness. Here, hidden at the far south of the Andes is the Torres del Paine National Park, by far one of the most impressive sights in the southern hemisphere. This program appeals... read more

Torres del Paine Trekking

Duration: 5 days

The trails in between the Torres del Paine famous craggy mountains are among the world´s classic trekking routes. Breathtaking views along with glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests, and abundant wildlife provide for constantly changing scenarios and exp... read more

Buenos Aires

Duration: 1 days

Extend your trip or make the most of your time in Buenos Aires.

Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia

Duration: 4 days

This exploration of the Southern Andes is a great addition to an Antarctic cruise or a trek in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Torres del Paine Kayaking

Duration: 4 days

This is the perfect way to cap off your Torres del Paine Trek or Patagonia Wildlife Safari: paddling down the Serrano River in a sea kayak. The Torres del Paine kayaking extension is an active adventure in extraordinarily beautiful surroundings.

Atacama Desert

Duration: 4 days

The Atacama Desert, in the north of Chile, is said to be the driest place on earth, with places where it hasn't rained for 400 years. The desert is so dramatic that, at first sight, it appears never to have sustained any life. However, pink flamingoe... read more

Fitzroy Trek

Duration: 7 days

This trip in Los Glaciares National Park has been designed as the perfect complement to one of our regular trips. Los Glaciares is one of the most impressive national parks in South America. This vast reserve protects around 2,300 square miles of the... read more

Altiplano Wildlife

Duration: 5 days

The Altiplano is a flat plateau located on top of the Andes at an average altitude of 13,000 feet. Its extraordinary natural wonders include active and dormant slender-coned volcanoes, clear blue lakes with abundant bird life, extensive steppes suppo... read more

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