Patagonia: Untouched Wilderness14 days & 13 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
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Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Puerto Varas, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine, El Calafate & Ushuaia
Patagonia is one of the world's great wilderness areas with vast plains, towering peaks, huge skies and enormous glaciers. Patagonian culture is intertwined with that of the European pioneers and gauchos, and this fascinating journey through four national parks in Argentina and Chile reveals the distinct cultures and landscapes of this remote part of the world.
Day 1Arrive Buenos Aires
You will be met and taken to your hotel.Brick Hotel Buenos Aires - 2 Nights
Day 2Buenos Aires
Explore the elegant and cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. Firstly you visit the 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest in the world, passing the famous Colon Opera house and the Obelisk commemorating the founding of the city in 1536 and continue to the Plaza de Mayo and the buildings surrounding it which include the Government House, Metropolitan Cathedral and Town Hall. Then you visit La Boca, a typically Italian district, where you visit the 'Caminito' street. The tour continues to Buenos Aires port area towards Palermo Chico residential district and Palermo Park and ends in the elegant district of Recoleta where you visit the Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron was buried.Brick Hotel Buenos Aires (B)
Day 3To Bariloche
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport to board the flight to Bariloche.
Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.Hotel Edelweiss - 2 Nights (B)
This tour starts along Exequiel Bustillo Avenue, bordering Nahuel Huapi lake to Playa Bonita, from where you can see Huemul island. Continue to Campanario hill to take a chairlift to the top to enjoy the views of this beautiful area (tickets included). The next stop is Llao Llao peninsula, location of the renowned hotel and San Eduardo chapel, and Puerto Panuelo on Nahuel Huapi lake. Cross the Angostura river, which connects the Nahuel Huapi and Moreno lakes, via the Angostura bridge, to reach the panoramic view point that offers an excellent view of both Moreno lake and Llao Llao peninsula. The tour ends at El Trebol lagoon and then returns to Bariloche.Hotel Edelweiss (B)
Day 5To Puerto Varas
Full day lake crossing by road and boat from Bariloche to Puerto Varas (shared basis).Cabana del Lago Hotel - 1 Night (B)
Today you will travel from Argentina to Chile, passing through the spectacular scenery of the lake district with its lakes, mountains and volcanoes. This morning you will be picked up from your hotel in Bariloche and driven to Puerto Panuelo on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. You will then cross the lake by motorized catamaran and arrive at Puerto Blest. Continue by road to Puerto Alegre and then cruise across Lake Frias. On disembarking the boat you will complete the border formalities for departure from Argentina. Continuing over the Andes, you climb up to 2,953 feet before descending to Peulla on the Chilean side of the mountains where you will pass through the border controls. You are not permitted to take any perishable foodstuffs into Chile.
In the afternoon you will cross the emerald green waters of Lake Todos los Santos. Here you may see spectacular views of Cerro Puntiagudo and the Osorno Volcano, known as little Mount Fuji. On arrival at the Petrohue dock you will continue by road to Puerto Varas. En route you will stop at the Petrohue Falls where crystal waters cascade over black volcanic rocks with Osorno in the background.
Day 6To Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales
Enjoy the morning at leisure.Hotel CostAustralis (Fjord View Room) - 1 Night (B, Box Lunch)
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to Puerto Montt airport, a journey of approximately 40 minutes. Board your flight to Punta Arenas.
On arrival you will be collected from the airport and driven to Puerto Natales, a journey of approximately 3 hours.
Day 7To Torres del Paine
You will be driven from Puerto Natales to the Torres del Paine with a full day's exploration of the national park. Total journey time is approximately 8 hours, including stops.Hotel Rio Serrano (Paine Cuernos View room) - 2 Nights (B, L)
The spectacular Torres del Paine National Park is part of the United Nation's World Biosphere Reserve system. Here, pumas, foxes, guanacos and rhea coexist in what is nothing if not Patagonian "Eden", a rich landscape of lengas and coigues, fragrant heather, legendary calafate (it is believed that those who sample this regional berry always return) and other amazing flora.
The journey to the park begins with a drive out of Puerto Natales along the Seno de Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Continue through the hills and extended pampas of the wild and beautiful Patagonian landscape and arrive at the Torres del Paine National Park.
There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the area by road and on foot. Visit Amarga Lagoon for a breathtaking view of the park's iconographic Torres del Paine. Watch as the emerald Nordenskjold Lake at the base of the mountains pours through roaring Salto Grande (Grand Waterfall) into Pehoe Lake, a grand lake in its own right and a good location to see the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Paine) once more. Drive along the shores of the lake to Salto Chico (Little Waterfall) and stroll through an old lenga forest. Visit Lake Grey and see giant chunks of ice, pieces of the nearby Grey Glacier, drift along the lake. At the end of the tour you will be dropped off at your hotel in the park.
Day 8Torres del Paine
Take a short transfer to the national park entrance at Lake Sarmiento to begin a 2- to 3-hour hike along the edge of the national park to the park entrance near Amarga lagoon. During your hike you may spot guanacos and flightless rheas (nandus) that live in the park. You will also see ancient rock paintings created by the indigenous people of the region, before returning to your hotel.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure or take an optional excursion, which can be booked locally.Hotel Rio Serrano (Paine Cuernos View room) (B)
Day 9To El Calafate
Drive to the border of Argentina at Cancha Carrera. Here, you will be met by a representative of our Argentinian agents and will be taken to your hotel in El Calafate. The journey time is approximately 6 hours.Kosten Aike - 2 Nights (B)
Day 10El Calafate
Travel 50 miles north-west through the Patagonian steppes and into the Los Glaciares National Park. Featuring rugged, towering mountains, forests and glacial scenery, the park covers part of the vast Southern Continental Ice Field (the second largest continental ice field after Antarctica) and includes the glacier-fed arms of the huge Lake Argentino. Wildlife is not abundant here, but the most commonly sighted animals and birds in the region are: European hares, buff-necked ibises, southern lapwings, sheldgeese, flamingos, condors, rheas and guanacos.Kosten Aike (B)
Arrive at the magnificent Perito Moreno glacier. It is estimated to be more than 30,000 years old, spans an area of over 96 sq. miles (3 miles wide) and is at a height of about 196 feet. It is famous for its constant movement and dramatic landslides. A walk along the paths in front of its western wall allows for impressive views from different perspectives. As part of your tour, you will also take a one-hour boat ride (shared basis) through turquoise waters to the front of the glacier. Here, you will see the different colors and formations of the glacier, and you may see pieces of ice breaking off.
Day 11To Ushuaia
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport to board the flight to Ushuaia.Los Acebos - 2 Nights (B)
On arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.
Take a catamaran tour along the Beagle Channel. Here you will see the Bridges, Conejo, de los Pajaros and de los Lobos Islands and Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. On this excursion you can see seals and a large variety of sea birds and may sometimes see a glimpse of the shipwrecks of early explorers.Los Acebos (B)
Tierra del Fuego National Park is the southernmost protected area in Argentina. Situated 7 miles to the west of Ushuaia and covering 4 miles along the Beagle Channel, it has extremely rugged landscape of craggy mountains, with rivers and lakes in the middle of the valleys. There are six species of trees and a large variety of flowers as well as birds and animals such as silver fox, upland geese, rabbit, muskrat and beaver. You will visit the Rio Pipo Valley, Ensenada Bay and have an opportunity for views of Redonda Island, the Lapataia area and the Verde and Negra Lagoons.
Day 13To Buenos Aires
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport to board the flight to Buenos Aires.
On arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.
Optional evening dinner and tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel.Brick Hotel Buenos Aires - 1 Night (B)
Day 14Depart Buenos Aires
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.(B)
Generally, road travel in Latin America is reasonably good, however conditions vary greatly between the modern capital cities and the more remote areas. When traveling off the beaten track, roads are frequently narrow, bumpy, pot-holed and have stretches which are not paved, or which are under reconstruction. In Costa Rica, northern Chile and Bolivia particularly, conditions are very dusty and / or bumpy, and the road journeys tend to be quite strenuous. Road conditions change throughout the year and heavy rain and extreme weather patterns can affect journey times. Types of vehicles vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour: on escorted groups, transport will usually be in the form of a European-style coach or, for smaller groups, may be by mini-bus. On individual journeys, transport will generally be by sedan car. In destinations where conditions require it, off road driving will be in 4 x 4 vehicles.
Internal Flights / Delays / Insurance: Many countries within Latin America have their own air pass and, wherever possible, our tours will be constructed with the appropriate air pass, which will minimize the costs of the internal flight. Please note that the majority of air passes have restrictions; therefore if you require an itinerary with full flexibility, please contact your tour consultant who will advise the additional cost to provide you with a more flexible ticket. Please also note that in certain cases we may not be able to book internal flights under an airpass. In this event a supplement may be payable.
Because of increased air traffic, government restrictions and/or changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with your holiday arrangements, and additional costs may well be involved. This may be in the form of added accommodation costs, transfers and/or onward tickets. If this should occur, everything possible will be done to minimize the inconvenience. Cox & Kings will endeavor to ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible. As services are paid for in advance any services missed due to delays and/or schedule changes are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Flight Amendments: Flights on these tours are in general quoted separately and use special airfare. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict changes of date, route and airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Airport Departure Taxes: Most cities in Latin America levy a departure tax for passengers departing on international flights, which have to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in US dollars. Other cities within a country may also levy a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Occasionally, taxes may be included on your ticket and we will advise you accordingly. Since there is no standard charge between countries, and taxes are subject to change, it is not possible to list the taxes in this brochure. We will advise you of the current charge with your final documents, and our local agents will confirm the amount payable on arrival. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or US dollars to cover these taxes.
During some itineraries, it may be necessary to depart for excursions or transfers to the airport very early in the morning, sometimes before dawn. This is normally either due to the flight schedules within Latin America, or in order for us to maximize the opportunities for sightseeing during your tour. A number of flights to Latin America arrive / depart early in the morning and, while we will endeavor to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Latin America. In the larger cities, the hotels we use are fully modernized and have excellent facilities, unless you choose to opt for the more colonial style property, where facilities may be limited. In some smaller cities and more remote areas, we try to offer the best hotels available. However, these may be quite simple - sometimes small colonial-style properties, in which rooms may vary in size - and often have relatively basic facilities. Please note, all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room (e.g. to a lake or falls view, deluxe or suite etc.), please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-in & Check-out Times: For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in / out time is normally 3:00 pm, but this does vary between hotels.
Jungle Lodges & Remote Areas: Accommodation in some wildlife lodges in the Amazon rainforest, are not comparable to the better properties found in parts of Africa and Asia. Accommodation is often reached via narrow and unpaved roads, or by boat, and can be a long way from other civilization. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation is the best available; however sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases, we feel that the inconvenience of such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of staying in these more remote areas.
Capital: Buenos Aires
Official Language(s): Spanish
Visa or Fees: No Visa required. A $140 reciprocity fee is due upon arrival to the Ezezia International Airport in Buenos Aires. This fee is paid once and is valid for the life of the passport.
Argentina is a land of stunning natural beauty, from the wild windswept fjords of Tierra del Fuego to the high plateau landscapes of the north. As well as lively cities and fantastic food and wine, Argentina offers two of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders in Iguazú Falls and the Perito Moreno Glacier.
What To See
The energetic capital of Buenos Aires is a fantastic place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere, catch an impromptu tango session, enjoy superb steaks in some of its many fine restaurants and sample the lively nightlife.
The plains of Patagonia can be divided into coastal Patagonia and inland Patagonia. In Inland Patagonia, at the foot of the Andes, lies Los Glacieres National Park with the Perito Moreno Glacier, an inspiring sight. Coastal Patagonia’s Peninsula Valdes offers excellent wildlife viewing, including the world’s largest penguin colony at Punta Tombo Reserve, and opportunities to see southern right whales, sea lions, elephant seals, guanacos and maras (Patagonian hares).
Further north around the town of Bariloche, lies the Lake District, a region of beautiful forests, lakes and mountains and a great place for outdoor activities.
The wine-producing town of Mendoza is a stylish city which enjoys a stunning location in the foothills of the Andes. It is possible to visit a number of the city’s world-class vineyards.
When To Go
Argentina’s seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere’s. The best times to visit Buenos Aires are in spring and autumn. Mendoza and the Lake District are spectacular in autumn, when the leaves on the trees turn red and brown. For Patagonia, the best time to go is during the summer months (winter in US), as many services are unavailable in the winter.