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Argentinian contrasts: from Cape Horn to the Iguazu Falls

Idea of itinerary travel in Argentina in 14 days.

Here is a unique trip to discover the Argentinean and Chilean glaciers and the natural parks Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego. You will embark at Punta Arenas in Chile for a prestigious cruise that will take you to Cape Horn. An extension to the Iguazu Falls, at the end of your stay, will give you a complete panorama of the natural wonders that Argentina has to offer.

Length of stay: 14 days

Kind: Southern Cruises

Fix: For all public

Countries visited: Argentina, Chile

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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. An English speaking guide will acompany you during your city tour. Visit Buenos Aires (8h excursion)

Buenos Aires is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Start your visit by the political and historical centre of the capital around the Plaza de Mayo , before visiting the picturesque neighborhood of La Boca , host to the small alley of El Caminito and its ancient colourful wooden houses.

Visit Los Pibes del Playón cooperative

Los Pibes del Playon was created as a cooperative in the aftermath of the 2001 economic crisis, to produce the first hand-made alfajores in Buenos Aires (typical argentinian biscuits). Its members run various solidarity activities in the neighbourhood. Visit the cafe and listen to the story and experience of this place told by its participants.

Cook lunch with your hosts: they will teach you how to fold and cook the traditional empanadas , small savoury pastries stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables.

In the early afternoon, visit San Telmo, one of the oldest neighbourhoods with an intact Porteño atmosphere : galleries, antique shops, indoor market… Famous outdoor fleamarket every sunday. Visit the National Museum of History to learn about the highlights of Argentine history since independence.

Return to the hotel in late afternoon. Night at the Cassa Lepage Hotel in a standard room.

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Day 2 : Buenos Aires

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

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Transfer from El Calafate Airport to your hotel in a private vehicle. Pick-up at your hotel at 4h30 p.m. to go to the Estancia Nibepo Aike.

The Estancia was founded by a Yugoslavian pioneer named Don Santiago Peso, who settled on this land at the beginning of the twentieth century. Nestled in the very midst of the Glacier National Park, the estancia lives off cattle farming.

During your visit, you will learn more about the estancia’s farming activities as you will see the traditional sheering demonstration and other daily activities. Enjoy a traditional asado (grilled meat) for dinner.

Excursion in pool service with a local English-speaking guide. Night at the Los Canelos hotel in a standard room.

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Day 3 : Perito Moreno Glacier

Around 9am, a pool service will pick you up from the hotel to head for the Perito Moreno Glacier some 80 km from El Calafate. This full-day excursion allows you to thoroughly enjoy the exceptional natural surroundings with panoramic views from the numerous footbridges facing the glacier and its surrounding lenga forest.

Return trip to El Calafate at 16h30. Nautical Safari tour included (1h):

From the port located at Refugio Argentino, you embark on an hour navigation to enjoy the South face of the Glacier that can surpass 70 meters. Entrance to Los Glaciares National Park included. Night at the Los Canelos hotel in a standard room.

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Day 4 : Puerto Natales

Transfer with a private vehicule from the hotel to the bus station in El Calafate.

You leave el Calafate by bus at 8h30. towards Puerto Natales (Chile).

This township is located 360 km South of El Calafate. During the trip, you can watch the beautiful Patagonian landscapes across the Andean Range. As you reach Puerto Natales, enjoy the view on the many snow-capped mountain tops and glaciers. Arrival is scheduled around 13h30. Puerto Natales is a small town located at sea-level on the shores of the Senoret Channel.

Note: 362 km – 5 hours (subject to the border crossing).

Your driver welcomes you at Puerto Natales bus station and drives you to Puerto Natales.


Night at the If Patagonia hotel ***.

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Day 5 : Torres del Paine National Park

This full day together with an English-speaking guide, allows you to explore the highlights of Torres del Paine including the rich Patagonian flora and faune, the Paine Massif and its glaciar, and the famous “towers”: Cuernos del Paine.

You will discover along the Nordenskjöld and Pehoé lakes and take a short 45 minutes walk to the Salto Grande waterfalls.

Box lunch included


Night at the If Patagonia hotel ***.

 

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Day 6 : Puerto Natales

Your driver picks you up at your hotel in Puerto Natales to drive you to the Punta Arenas harbour.

Check in at 1398 Costanera del Estrecho Ave. (Arturo Prat Port) in Punta Arenas between 13h00 and 17h00 (1-5 PM) on the day of your Australis cruise departure.

Board the vessel at 6 PM. After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the remotest corners of planet Earth. During the night, you will cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels alongside the Patagonian coasts. The twinkling lights of Punta Arenas gradually fade into the distance as you enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.

 

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Day 7 : Strait of Magellan

By dawn the ship is sailing up Admiralty Sound (Seno Almirantazgo), a spectacular offshoot of the Strait of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The snowcapped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is defined by the deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park. We go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which harbors copious bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals which can sometimes be spotted from the Zodiacs. Two guided excursions are available: one is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall-and-moss-covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest; the other is a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine. Both afford views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.

Leaving our Ainsworth Bay tour behind, we sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, we board the Zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit the tiny islands. More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth and nurture their chicks. Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the occasional Andean condor. In September and April — when the penguins live elsewhere — this excursion is replaced by a short walk to a glacier at nearby stunning Brookes Bay.

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Day 8 : Tuckers Islets

Overnight we sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the Australis cruise tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a Pia Glacier tour. After disembarking we take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.

No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.

Back onboard the ship, we continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet on the north shore. Most of them named after European countries — Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

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Day 9 : Pia glacier

During the morning we cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition — and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland — Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the End of the Earth. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.

In the afternoon we navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station — which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area — passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay. On all of these you will be strolling through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travelers – an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.

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Day 10 : Cape Horn

The following morning we sail into Argentine waters and dock in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city.

Arrival at 08:30 a.m. or 9:30 am according to date of departure.

NOTE: The excursions described in the itineraries can usually be carried out without any problems. Nevertheless, the shipowner holds the right to alter, change or skip certain portions of the itinerary without prior notice, whether motivated by the passengers’ well-being and safety, by the appropriate protection of the environment, or in case of any extraordinary event, unforeseeable circumstance or force majeure. For this reason, departures or arrival may be subject to change. Furthermore, sighting of birds and other species cannot be guaranteed as their exact location is variable by nature. Transfer from the port to your hotel in Ushuaia in a private vehicle. An English speaking guide will acompany you during your transfer. Half day excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park with a private guide and vehicle. Located only 11 km from Ushuaia, its 63.000 hectares protect lakes, lagoons and rivers.

Drive out of the city passing by the slope of the Susana Mount, site of the Southern Fuegian Railway – a short stop is made if you are interested in riding the train.

You then reach the Pipo River Valley leading to Ensenada Bay, where you can observe the Redonda and Estorbo Islands and the Beagle Channel across, bordered by the snow-white Mountains of the Sampaio Chain (Chile). You reach the Roca Lake and Lapataia River.

Drive on to the other end of the Park until Lapataia Bay to discover the Green Lagoon and Black Lagoon, large growing peat bogs. Pass by the beaver dams before returning to Ushuaia for lunch time.

Excursion of approximately 4 hours. An English speaking guide will acompany you during your tour. Entrance fee to the National Park included. Night at the Tierra de Leyendas Boutique Hotel in standard room.

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Day 11 : Ushuaia

2 hours before your flight, check out and transfer to Ushuaia Airport. Domestic flight Ushuaia – Buenos Aires*.

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Domestic flight Buenos Aires* – Iguazu.

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Welcoming at Puerto Iguazu Airport and transfer to the hotel in a private vehicle.

Transfer with an English-speaking guide. Night at La Aldea de la Selva Lodge – standard room.

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Day 12 : Iguazu National Park, Argentinean side

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel to visit the Iguazu Falls, 18km from the city of Puerto Iguazu, on the Argentine side. Private service with an English-speaking guide.

The Iguazu Falls were caused by a 70 meters drop of the Iguazu river, which created as many as 275 falls. Start your tour by the upper path of the falls on the Argentinian side which offers many panoramic viewpoints. Continue on the lower path which allows you to observe the Dos Hermanas Falls, and San Martín Island. Free time for lunch. After lunch, continue your discovery by the Garganta del Diablo path, which face the Devil’s Throat . This powerful fall, 150 m long and 80 meters high, is shrouded in a dense mist.

Note: bring waterproof and light clothing. Entrance to Iguazú National Park (Argentina) included. Night at La Aldea de la Selva Lodge – standard room.

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Day 13 : Iguazu National Park, Brazilian side

Departure to the Brazilian side of the waterfalls in a private vehicle with an English-speaking guide.

The 1,200 meters path takes the visitor along footbridges and viewing decks to admire the minor Floriano and Teodoro Da Fonseca falls before reaching the Santa María Falls: take in the breath-taking panoramic view over San Martín Island and the entirety of the falls.

Note: Bring waterproof and light clothing.

Note 2: from mid-October to mid-February, Brazil is one hour ahead of Argentina (daylight saving time). Entrance to Iguazú National Park (Brazil) included. Transfer from your hotel to Puerto Iguazu airport in a private vehicle.

Transfer with an English-speaking guide. Domestic flight Iguazu – Buenos Aires*.

*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 a standard room.

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Day 14 : Buenos Aires

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

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