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Heart of Ice : outdoors adventures in Patagonia

Itinerary idea for a 12-day trip to Argentina.

This 12-day route takes you as close as one can be to the Patagonian Glaciers – ride a kayak close to the Perito Moreno, floating upon the blue pastel waters of the Argentino Lake. Take in the sound of ice cracking and rippling alongside your boat, and the height of this frozen giant. Hike around the iconic Fitz Roy, its multi-coloured lagoons and snowcaps the perfect background for outdoors lovers – several trails are still little known and worth the hike for keen walkers. End your stay in a typical estancia, these giant farm lands where the warm weather and hosts invite you to discover the Argentinian Pampa traditions.

Length of stay: 12 days

Kind: Argentina Off the Beaten Paths

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Countries visited: Argentina

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Day 1 : International Aiport Ezeiza

Meet your driver at Ezeiza International Airport – transfer to Buenos Aires in a private vehicle. Transfer with an English-speaking guide. Walking City Tour Buenos Aires (half day).

Guided tour of the Recoleta neighbourhood, characterized by many colonial houses, often old houses of historical figures, currently inhabited by powerful Argentine families. Enter the luxurious Pacifico Shopping Center , characterized by its French architecture of 1889 with vaulted ceilings. This stunning place is a locals’ favourite.

Visit the Recoleta Cemetery , where many celebrities, writers and politicians rest. The best known and most revered even today is the tomb of Evita Peron , the legendary wife of President Peron .

Continue your visit by the Palermo neighbourhood, with a stroll in the park Tres de Febrero , inaugurated in 1875, representing the largest green area of the city.

Return to your hotel. Night at the Palo Santo Hotel in Premium room (STD).

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Day 2 : Buenos Aires

Bike tour of the city (aproximately 5 hours)

Meet your guide in historic San Telmo (Peru 988), where you start your bike tour of Buenos Aires with a thorough orientation, introducing you to the city, your bike and each other.

Start with the backstreets of one of the oldest barrios in Buenos Aires, home to antique shops, historical cafés and a locals’ favourite. Your next stop is La Boca with elaborate urban art, an iconic stadium and the birthplace of Tango in colourful Caminito. Enjoy some free time to discover these vibrant 4 blocks that once greeted millions of immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.

You can now watch a completely different world in the neighbouring Puerto Madero. The obvious contrast is felt as you ride through the quiet, yet very modern streets.

Pause for lunch at a local favorite barbecue food truck (vegetarian options available).

You now head to the “Heart of the City” in Plaza de Mayo where you will learn about the political and historical events that happened right where you stand. Cycle back to San Telmo as your tour ends, to enjoy your guide’s best tips on the city and share a moment before going back to your hotel. Boedo Experience : Discover the historical Boedo neighbourhood in Buenos Aires and the daily life of a franco-argentinian family.

Visit the neighbourhood walking amongst the typical murales (colourful wall paintings) celebrating tango and football, before having a drink at Café Margot – a symbolic place dear to the locals.

Your hosts welcome you in their house, to teach you how to make empanadas and share a meal together. The evening ends with a kahoot game, quizzing all participants about the neighbourhood and its history. Night at the Palo Santo Hotel in Premium room (STD).

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Day 3 : Buenos Aires

Transfer from your hotel to Buenos Aires Domestic Airport in a private vehicle. Domestic flight Buenos Aires* – Calafate.

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Transfer from El Calafate Airport to your hotel in a private vehicle. An English speaking guide will acompany you during your transfer. Free day in El Calafate.

Enjoy your free time to try one of the following activities:

– Visit the Laguna Nimez Natural Reserve to enjoy the wilderness and observe the flamingos and the 80 other species of birds living there. This is an easy, 20-minute walk from the city center – duration of the visit: 2 hours.

– Visit the Interpretive Center which covers various themes such as paleontology, geology, anthropology and history.

– Rent an electric bike to explore the city.

– Have a drink downtown at the ice bar. The Rancho Aparte experience offers the opportunity to savour a home-cooked meal in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The Chef opens the doors to his home, a small house overviewing El Calafate.

What Gabo says: Travel through the encounters you make – and what best way to get to know us than sharing a meal, listening to some nice music, making new friends while living a different experience. I will make yourself feel at home, come meet me in Rancho Aparte

3-course meal, 1 non-alcoholic drink and 1/2 bottle of wine per person included. Night at the Los Canelos hotel in a standard room.

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Day 4 : El Calafate

This morning, leave your hotel to discover the Perito Moreno in a unique way. In an accessible tour for everyone, get a brush with the culture of rural Argentina surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.

Drive across the steppe in the heart of Patagonia, on the old estancia road. Your first stop is the Nibepo Aike estancia, a pioneer in El Calafate – enjoy a shearing demonstration and gauchescas tasks before a traditional lunch.

You will then navigate upon the Brazo Rico of the Argentinian Lake. Disembark to walk for 20 minutes in a beech forest, to reach an exclusive viewpoint over the southern side of the Perito Moreno glacier. On the way back, you can take in the southern face of the Moreno Glacier while enjoying a whiskey on glacier ice and chocolates.

Disembark and head to the footbridges facing the glacier to enjoy all fronts and ice cracks, outside mass hours.

At the end of the day, return together to the city of El Calafate (drop off at your hotel). Entrances included. Night at the Los Canelos hotel in a standard room.

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Day 5 : El Calafate

Around 7.30am, the transfer comes pick you up at your hotel to take you to the port of Punta Bandera to live a unique experience of Kayaking close to the Perito Moreno Glacier.

In Punta Bandera, follow the technical and safety instructions of your guide.

Start sailing across the northern arm of the Argentino Lake, surrounded by imposing landscapes – head towards the Upsala Channel and paddle between the blue and white iceblocks. You are immersed in your environment.

After disembarking, rest in a shelter and walk with your guide until a view over the Upsala Glaciar and its channel.

Time for a picnic (not included), rest and return to the port of Punta Bandera – arrival around 5pm.

You are provided with Kayak, paddles, dry suit completely sealed, thermal, Boots, Life Jacket and covers baths.

Note 1 : 2-person canoes or kayaks

Note 2 : 20-people group max

Note 3 : the activity includes a dry-suit, boots, gloves and a life jacket

Note 4: minimum 14 years old. Entrance Included. Transfer in pool service from the hotel in El Calafate to the hotel in El Chalten.

Departure at 7:30 pm.

210 km. 3 hours. Night at the Hosteria Confin Patagonico in a standard room.

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Day 6 : Trekking Laguna Torre

Hiking – 6 hours – Elevation +536m / -132m- Moderate Intensity

Trek by yourself up to Laguna Torre.

Maps are available at the entrance of the Park and trails are well marked.

You are off to a beautiful walk to reach the nearest viewpoint on the range of the legendary Cerro Torre. It lasts about three hours on a trail without great difficulty, passing through the viewpoint of Torre.

Before reaching the lake, walk by the De Agostini camp and after a ten minutes walk through the last glacial moraines, access one of the most famous sights of the park: the spectacular Cerro Torre, Egger and Standhardt, the snowy range of the Adelas… Night at the Hosteria Confin Patagonico in a standard room.

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Day 7 : El Chalten

Private transfer from El Chalten to Estancia los Huemules. From the estancia, follow the 7km path through the Devil’s River valley – 2-3 hour walk. You reach the Puesto Cagliero Refuge, with a privileged view of the Devil’s Lagoon and the Cagliero glacier, located in the Estancia los Huemules, to the north of the Glaciares National Park.

From the Refuge, you can either hike by yourself or hire a local mountain guide to guide you through some paths.

Walks available: Lagunas Escondidas, Cumbre Loma del Diablo, hike among the hills, or the Ice Trek Cagliero excursion to hike on the glacier after a vía ferrata trail.

Night in Puesto Cagliero with full board (except drink) in standard room.

Note: a hike by yourself to the glaciers requires crampons and minimum technical equipment – please consult with us prior to your trip.

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Day 8 : Estancia Los Huemules

Private transfer from the estancia Huemules to Chalten. After your breakfast, leave El puesto Cagliero to return to El Chalten. Night at the Hosteria Confin Patagonico in a standard room.

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Day 9 : El Chalten

Transportation by bus to El Calafate. Trip length around 3h. Domestic flight Buenos Aires* – Calafate.

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Transfer from Buenos Aires domestic airport to your hotel in a private vehicle. Night at the Cassa Lepage Hotel in standard room.

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Day 10 : San Antonio de Areco

Around 8:30am, pick up at your hotel in Buenos Aires.

Around 10 am you will be greeted by your guide in San Antonio de Areco, who will accompany you throughout the day. Dicover the little towncentre and its picturesque historical streets, the pulperías (gaucho’s traditional bars), the Draghi Silver Museum and Workshop, and a few local craftsmen workshops.

Enjoy a nice lunch in a local restaurant.

In the early afternoon, you will visit the famous Ricardo Güiraldes museum, dedicated to the poet, situated at the entrance of the village. After a short walk you will discover the “Puente Viejo” (Old Bridge, symbol of San Antonio de Areco) and the Areco river before reaching the Plaza Arellano.

At 4pm, departure for the Estancia El Ombu – enjoy a nice horseback riding in the estancia

Dinner and night at the Estancia Ombu.

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Day 11 : Estancia Ombu de Areco

After breakfast, you leave with your guide to attend the Gauchos show in town, for Lunch you have the traditional asado. In the afternoon we enjoy various gauchescos games, including rodeos and working with herds of cows or horses. Return to Buenos Aires in the late afternoon.

After breakfast, you can walk below the centuries-old trees of el Ombù: oaks, araucarias, palm trees, eucalyptus, magnolias… 300ha are dedicated to stockbreeding. Ride one of the 38 horses, explore the estancia in a sulky or walk around.

According to the season, you will be able to follow and participate in the estancia work.

Enjoy a traditional asado for lunch while discovering the folkloric music and the destrezas gauchas (equestrian display) realized by the gauchos.

Retour à Buenos Aires en fin d’après-midi. Night at the milonga, ballroom for tango aficionados

Step in the intimate atmosphere of the milonga to observe the tango etiquette at ease while sipping champagne: men cross eyes with seated women to invite them. A small nod means yes, and dancers then meet directly on the floor. The atmosphere is warm and lively at the tables, between visitors and regulars.

Note : the exact time and place of the milonga may vary depending on the day (El Beso, La Catedral, El Canning…) – some start at 7pm, others at 11pm, and a few continue till dawn, ending with hot coffee and fresh croissants! Transfer to the milonga Evening accompanied with an English speaking guide. Night at the Cassa Lepage Hotel in standard room.

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Day 12 : Buenos Aires

Transfer from the hotel to Ezeiza International Airport in a private vehicle.

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