Patagonia The Grand Tour 18 Days

Explore the highlights of Argentina's claim to the wild and wondrous region of Patagonia Abundant in wildlife, Argentinean Patagonia boasts a colony of three-quarter million Magellan Penguins and is the only continental breeding area of the incredible Sea Elephant. It is also the site of the only growing glacier in the world, the Perito Moreno, and the magical land of Tierra Del Fuego. Experience a superlative land of exotic beauty, sophisticated charm, and wondrous flora and fauna, and the ecological purity of Chile's Torres del Paine National Park a member of the U.N.'s International Network of Biosphere Reserves.


Day 1 Saturday

Arrival in Buenos Aires. Afternoon Tour of Buenos Aires City - In this tour of Argentina's cultural and political capital, you will get a sampling glimpse of the diverse districts that make up this grand city. Visit the colorful "Boca" district and the elegant North Quarter and Palermo Park. See the government "Casa Rosada" - pink house, the Colon Theater, May Square and drive down the famous 9th of July Avenue. Tango show at "Casa Blanca". Hotel De Las Americas.


Day 2 Sunday

Full Day Estancia and Fiesta Gaucha Excursion - In today's excursion you get the chance to learn about and admire the traditional dances, songs and meals of the Argentine gaucho by taking part in a real Gaucho Festival. The party is held at a beautiful country residence, in an old ranch situated on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. (B, L)


Day 3 Monday

Transfer to airport for flight to Trelew. Transfer to Punta Tombo rookery to admire a magnificent colony of millions of Magellan penguins. Hotel Rayentray. (B)


Day 4 Tuesday

Full Day Excursion to Valdes Peninsula - Morning departure to Punta Norte Wildlife Reservation, the only continental breeding place of enormous herds of seals and sea elephants. Next, visit the sea lions' habitat at Puerto Piramide. On your way back stop at Isla de los Pajaros (Birds' Island) to see a wide variety of marine birds: cormorants, gulls, Antarctic pigeons,

Herons and albatross among others. The bird-nesting season is September through May. Note: In October and November it is also possible to take an optional whale watching boat trip. (B)


Day 5 Wednesday

Transfer to the airport in Trelew for a flight to Rio Gallegos. Transfer by bus to El Calafate, a developing town located on the shore of Lake Argentino and the southern gateway to The Glaciers National Park. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight. Enjoy the serenity of this lake's wide stretch of blue-grey waters reflecting the beauty of surrounding forests and snow-capped peaks. Hotel Posada Los Alamos. (B)


Day 6 Thursday

Full Day Excursion to Upsala Glacier and Onelli Bay - Travel to Punta Bandera to enjoy a launch sightseeing trip to the Upsala Glacier sailing among icebergs that have broken off. In case this excursion can't be done, you will have an alternative tour. (B)


Day 7 Friday

Full Day Excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier - Today you'll visit one of the world's largest continental glaciers that are continually expanding, the so-called Continental Ice Block of Patagonia. Surrounded by the towering Andes peaks you can feel the magic isolation of these gigantic masses of ice. Every three to four years a worldwide renowned event takes place: the fascinating crash of Perito Moreno Glacier's ice wall. The deep silence of this imposing scenery is broken when huge blocks of ice fall away from the main wall and into the lake with thunder-like sounds. You can also opt to do the mini-trekking at no extra cost if you request it when you make your reservation. (B)


Day 8 Saturday

Free day in El Calafate for an optional mini-trekking adventure to Perito Moreno Glacier, visit a local estancia or take the day to relax and walk around town. An two-day excursion to Fitz Roy Mountain is also suggested. (B)


Day 9 Sunday

Travel across the Patagonian Steppes, home to rheas and pink flamingoes, to Torres del Paine National Park, where herds of guanaco (the local llama) graze amidst vibrant blue and vivid green lakes towered over by jagged, snow-capped peaks soaring up to 3,000 meters. Four nights' accommodation in the park's Hosteria Lago Grey or Hosteria Las Torres. (B)


Day 10 Monday

Morning visit to the national park's Administration Center for an orientation overview of the park's topography and recreational offerings and then on to view the beauty of the Salto Chico ("Small Waterfall"). Afternoon excursion to the Salto Grande ("Large Waterfall") and a short walk to the panoramic overlook at Lago Nordenskjold. (B)


Day 11 Tuesday

Choice of a 3-hour trek (level: leisure) or a 10-hour trek (level: moderate to difficult). The former begins at the emerald-green Laguna Verde and ends at the Administration Center. The latter sets out from the vivid blue Laguna Amarga to reach the base of the Torres del Paine, the three peaks that dominate the park. (B)


Day 12 Wednesday

Morning excursion to Lago Grey. Morning photo safari to Laguna Amarga in search of guanacos, foxes, rheas, pink flamingoes, condors, and some 100 other species of birds. Afternoon excursion to Laguna Azul ("Blue Lagoon") in search of more wildlife. (B)


Day 13 Thursday

En route to Punta Arenas stop at the Milodon Cave where the remains of the giant Milodon sloth that roamed the Patagonian plains some 11,000 years ago were discovered in 1896 by the German settler, Herman Eberhard. Flight to Puerto Montt. Hotel Viento Sur. (B)


Day 14 Friday

Full Day excursion to Frutillar - Located by the Llanquihue Lake and with a spectacular view of the Osorno volcano, Frutillar is a charming German style village, housing the most complete museum in the area, which exhibits samples and relics from the German pioneers who colonized the region. (B)


Day 15 Saturday

Scenery drive skirting Llanquihue Lake to Petrohue Falls. View of Osorno Volcano, motor ship crossing Todos Los Santos Lake to Peulla. Continue on motor coach & motor ship crossing Frias & Nahuel-Huapi Lakes to Puerto Panuelo and on to Bariloche. Hotel Edelweiss. (B).


Day 16 Sunday

Short circuit tour to admire this beautiful city with deep blue lakes, towering mountains, colorful flowers and unbelievable scenery. (B)


Day 17 Monday

Free day in Bariloche for leisure activities. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are available. An optional full day excursion to San Martin de los Andes is also available. $50 (B)


Day 18 Tuesday

Transfer to airport for flight Home. (B)


Land cost per person: $3999 in double room, $3889 in triple room, $5799 in single room.