Day 1: Buenos Aires - travel to Argentina
Fly to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. You will probably fly overnight and arrive the next morning. Please note: international flights are quoted separately.
Day 2: Buenos Aires - arrive in 'BA'
On arrival you are collected by your guide and taken to your charming small hotel in the Las Canitas area of lively Palermo. Despite being close to the centre of the city, this barrio is quiet, leafy and green with lots of pavement cafes. Take the rest of the day at leisure after your journey.
Day 3: Valdes - south to Patagonia
Transfer to the domestic airport this morning for your flight south to Trelew on the Atlantic side of Patagonia. On arrival you are transferred to nearby Puerto Madryn, the gateway to the Valdes Peninsula. You may have some time left this afternoon to explore; you might like to visit the very interesting dinosaur museum in town. Between late September and early April you can also visit penguin colonies at Punta Tombo. (b)
Day 4: Valdes - explore the Peninsula
Spend a full day today on a guided exploration of the wildlife and landscapes of the Peninsula. The peninsula is a natural reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. The isthmus leading onto Valdes is only 11km wide, which makes the peninsula almost an island. The landscape is one of sand dunes, cliffs, bays and lagoons around the coastline. Inland, the landscape is dry, windy Patagonian steppe. As you come onto the peninsula there is a good visitor centre which is worth a look. The most famous inhabitants of Valdes are around 3,000 endangered Southern Right whales. They can grow to up to 17m and weigh up to 100 tonnes. By taking a boat trip into the bay, you can get incredibly close to these huge, gentle beasts. The peninsula also holds important groups of elephant seals, sea lions and orcas (a.k.a. “killer whales”). The breeding season for the Southern Right whales is June through December, but from September is best. Return to your hotel this evening and relax. (b)
Day 5: Valdes - Welsh heritage
This morning your excursion takes you in the other direction from the peninsula to the town of Gaiman. Situated at the lower end of the Chubut Valley, Gaiman is known as the heart of Welsh Patagonia, and has a fascinating history of immigration. The language is still being preserved by a dedicated group, and is almost as incongruous in South America as the Welsh teahouses! Return to Puerto Madryn this afternoon. (b)
Day 6: Ushuaia - far south of Argentina
It’s an early start this morning to transfer back to Trelew airport for the direct flight down to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Overnight here in a comfortable hotel prior to your cruise tomorrow. (b)
Day 7: Australis - board your boat
A leisurely day for you to relax before joining the Stella Australis for your cruise. Check-in to your cruise by mid-afternoon. At 5.30pm you will board the boat. The Captain and crew give a welcome cocktail reception this evening before setting sail. Spend the next three nights on board cruising from Tierra del Fuego through the Magellan Straits to Cape Horn and on to Punta Arenas. (b,d)
Day 8: Australis - at Cape Horn
Sail through the Beagle and Murray Channels as far as the Cape Horn National Park. Cape Horn, a sheer, 400 metre high promontory, marks the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans merge. It was first discovered in 1616 by the Dutch commercial expedition organized by Isaac Le Maire. The Cape owes its name to the Port of Hoorn, the expedition’s departure point. Weather permitting, we aim to disembark at this legendary spot. This afternoon, walk through a Patagonian forest up to a panoramic viewpoint of the end of the world. (b,l,d)
Day 9: Australis - Eagle Glacier
Continue sailing today through several different channels into De Agostini Sound. Glaciers plunge all the way down to the shore here, one of the most appealing is the Aguila (Eagle) Glacier. Take a ride in zodiacs (small boats) this afternoon for a gentle hike along the bottom of the glacier past Patagonian forests. (b,l,d)
Day 10: Torres del Paine - into the park
You have a final excursion this morning by zodiac onto Magdalena Island. Walk to the lighthouse past vast quantities of Magellanic penguins before you return to the ship and disembark later this morning at Punta Arenas. When you arrive meet your lodge based guide. The five-hour drive across the open plains of Patagonia takes you into the stunning Torres del Paine National Park, the jewel of Patagonia. The park is unique in being home to all of the different landscapes of Patagonia in one small area.
Spend the next four nights at the park exploring everything from the glaciers to the lakes, mountains, rivers and grasslands. Patagonia Camp is a unique concept in the region, a collection of 18 ‘yurts’ set in a stunning location on the edge of the park, looking out over Lake Toro and the Paine massif. The tented domes are all equipped with their own bathroom and a private terrace, with hot running water and heating. The remote location is spectacular, and creates a true feeling of wilderness not always to be found in the centre of the park. Choose what to do from a daily menu of guided excursions of varying degrees of activity from vehicle- based trips to horse riding. Also included are all meals, drinks and yurts with views of the Paine massif and Lake Toro. (b,d)
Day 11: Torres del Paine - explore Paine
Choose your included excursion with the help of the lodge’s own guides. Here we describe some of the options for you to get a sense of the sort of activities available. Travel by comfortable van to explore the southern side of the park including the Paine waterfalls and Laguna Azul from where you have beautiful views over the mountains. (b,l,d)
Day 12: Torres del Paine - explore Paine
Set off to Lake Grey this morning to walk to the viewpoint of Glacier Grey. The walk takes a couple of hours in each direction but is taken at a relaxed pace. Walk through mature forest before heading across the windswept beach in front of the glacier. Enjoy a picnic lunch with views of Glacier Grey before returning for a pre-dinner drink. (b,l,d)
Day 13: Torres del Paine - explore Paine
Early start to hike up to the distinctive mile-high granite towers. The day starts off on an undulating path leading through a pretty beech forest. Once you emerge from the forest you find yourself at the foot of the glacial moraine beneath the towers. It is a steep walk to get through this maze of huge boulders but you emerge on the edge of a small lake at the base of the towers. Walk 16km, 7hrs, up 900m, down 900m. (b,l,d)
Day 14: Puerto Varas - travel to the Lakes
Transfer to Punta Arenas airport this morning to fly north to Puerto Montt, gateway to the Chilean Lakes District. (b) From here it is not too far to the arguably more pleasant town of Puerto Varas, on the shore of Lake Llanquihue. Stay two nights in a very comfortable, and fairly unique, hotel just outside the town. (b)
Day 15: Puerto Varas - explore or relax
Today is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish. Your hosts at the hotel are very friendly and helpful should you want to arrange a trip to walk in the Vincente Perez Rosales National Park nearby. There are a number of short trails you can hike in this park at the base of the Osorno Volcano. Horse riding and biking are also available, as is a longer trip over to Chiloe Island. (b)
Day 16: Bariloche - Lakes Crossing
Today’s journey takes you right across the Andes Mountains back into Argentina. Cut through a high pass which is dominated by snow capped volcanoes and beautiful turquoise lakes. The journey takes around 13 hours in total. Drive along the shores of Lake Llanquihue in the shadow of Osorno Volcano to Petrohue and board the first boat. This takes you along Lago Todos los Santos, often referred to as the most beautiful lake in the world. On arrival at Peulla, catch a bus across the Chilean border for the short journey to Lago Frias. From Puerto Blest you set off on the longest boat trip of the day as you cross Lago Nahuel Huapi to dry land just outside Bariloche. Stay in a lovely hotel in the hills up above the town, this is a peaceful and remote spot, perfect for relaxation or walking. The hotel serves very good food so settle in over supper. (b)
Day 17: Bariloche - day to explore
Join a full day guided exploration of the area today, to include both hiking and kayaking. This hike is an opportunity to really appreciate the stunning Andean landscapes. Kayaking is a fun way to view the area from a different perspective, and no previous experience is required. Paddle across the amazingly deep blue waters for a tranquil exploration. (b)
Day 18: Bariloche - day to explore
Spend today relaxing and taking advantage of your hotel’s beautiful location. Your hotel is close to the mountains at Cerro Catedral and Cerro Otto for walking. The friendly staff at your hotel will be able to advise you on this and any other activities in the area. (b)
Day 19: Buenos Aires - to the capital
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Buenos Aires, and a final two nights’ stay. (b)
Day 20: Buenos Aires - explore the capital
Spend this morning in the company of your own private guide who can take you on and off the beaten track in this lively and beautiful city. You will have a car at your disposal, but we recommend getting out and walking for some of the tour. Rather than follow a specific route, you basically just let them know what sorts of things you like to see and they can take you. It could be that you want to see the main sites, or you might want to stroll amongst the small local boutiques of Palermo or the lovely buildings of Recoleta. This afternoon you might like to explore the enormous and rather lovely Recoleta cemetery. (b)
Day 21: flight - travel home
Transfer back to the airport to catch your international flight back to the UK (flight times may vary). Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday. (b)
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $0 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.
The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.