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  • Argentina: Patagonia Hiking Journey
Overview

Explore the Legendary Landscapes of Southern Patagonia with Boundless Journeys

Covering some 400,000 square miles — more than two and a half times the size of California — the sparsely-populated landscape of Argentina’s Southern Patagonia is unlike any other place on Earth. Vast, remote, and at times, unforgiving, it’s a place that has captured the imaginations of everyone from explorers and scientists, to ranchers and visitors from around the globe.

Hike in some of the most scenic areas to turquoise-hued Argentino and Viedma Lakes, in the shadow of the Mount Fitz Roy massif, and in Los Glaciers National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains dozens of glaciers and miles of pristine lengas forest. Time in the vibrant capital of Buenos Aires bookends days spent on country walks and mountain hikes, and at night, we retreat to luxurious hotels and lodges for restorative evenings and delicious, regional wine and cuisine. In short, this trip is a chance to gain a more in-depth and inspired understanding of this far-flung yet incomparable corner of the world.

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Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Arrival in Buenos Aires

  • Activity Overview: City walking
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 1-3 hours

Welcome to Buenos Aires! Upon arrival in Argentina's capital, you'll be met by your local guide at the airport and transferred to your elegant, downtown hotel in Buenos Aires' Palermo Hollywood neighborhood.

Founded by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, the capital — whose name translates to "City of our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds" — was an important New World trading center for more than two centuries. In 1816, following what is known as the May Revolution and several years of conflict, Argentina earned its independence from Spain. Despite two later efforts by French and Anglo-French forces to blockade the city into submission, Buenos Aires maintained its independence, and its reputation as Argentina's most liberal, free-trading, and European-influenced city continues to this day.

This afternoon, there will be time to explore Buenos Aires on your own, including its unique blend of European architecture, cobbled streets, and quaint cafés. There are shopping opportunities at nearby artisan markets and antique stores, and also the chance to enjoy your first taste of Argentinean beef served on an open parrilla barbecue. This evening, we'll enjoy an introductory talk and welcome dinner with our guide(s) before retiring for the evening.

Accommodations
Casa Sur Palermo

Casa Sur Palermo
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Conveniently located near art galleries, shops, and restaurants in Buenos Aires’ vibrant Palermo Hollywood neighborhood, this sophisticated property features 61 contemporary rooms, a pool, and sprawling rooftop terrace.

Day 2

Buenos Aires to El Calafate

  • Activity Overview: Flight transfer and walking
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 3-hour flight, 2 hours walking (1-2 miles)

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport for our three-hour flight to El Calafate, in southern Patagonia. Located on the Patagonia steppe at the edge of the ice field, El Calafate is named for a Chilean berry that, once eaten, guarantees a visitor's return to Patagonia — and for good reason.
A surreal landscape comprised of stark grasslands, dramatic peaks, and sparkling turquoise lakes — including the country's biggest, Lago Argentino — El Calafate feels like a world all its own. The town is also the gateway to the region's main attraction, the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the few glaciers on the planet that is still advancing.

Upon arrival this afternoon, you will have the choice to explore town or kick back at our relaxing, boutique hotel with views of Lake Argentino. Depending on timing, we may have the opportunity to walk down to Laguna Nimez to enjoy our first Patagonia sunset together.

For dinner this evening, we head to La Zaina for regional dishes served inside a cozy, wood-paneled dining room.

Accommodations
Los Ponchos Apart

Los Ponchos Apart
El Calafaté, Argentina

With expansive views of Argentino Lake, this boutique apartment hotel is located just minutes from the Perito Moreno Glacier, and features a rustic Argentinean décor, Hispanic art collection, and roomy, shiplap-accented guestrooms

Day 3

Los Glaciares National Park

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 2 hours

Today's itinerary features a full day of exploration in Los Glaciares National Park. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, the park and its famous Perito Moreno Glacier offer some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in Argentina, and our journey today takes in the very best of the region.

Our route begins with a 31-mile drive through Santa Cruz's vast farmland, dotted by estancias, or ranches, and provides a glimpse into the rural heart of southern Patagonia. We drive to Roca Lake and on to Estancia Nibepo Aike, one of the region's sheep-ranching pioneers. There, we enjoy a short hike on the property before delving into a traditional Patagonian lunch comprised of family recipes and ingredients harvested from the gardens.

We continue to the nearby port, where a short boat ride brings us to the starting point for our walk along Playa de las Monedas, or Coins Beach. There, our 20-minute excursion winds through a forest of beautiful Andean lengas trees, culminating with breathtaking views of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

We return to our boat and continue south to the Bajo de las Sombras port, where a short bus ride brings us to a series of glacier catwalks inside the National Park, where our guide will describe the various faces of ice we observe. As an active glacier, portions of the ice 'calve,' or break-off, frequently, providing visitors with the opportunity to witness this rare, natural phenomenon.

We return to our hotel to enjoy Argentinean home cooking and local wines at Pura Vida Restaurant in El Calafate.

Accommodations
Los Ponchos Apart

Los Ponchos Apart
El Calafaté, Argentina

With expansive views of Argentino Lake, this boutique apartment hotel is located just minutes from the Perito Moreno Glacier, and features a rustic Argentinean décor, Hispanic art collection, and roomy, shiplap-accented guestrooms

Day 4

El Calafate to El Chaltén

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Activity Length: 3 hours (6 miles)

Our destination today is El Chaltén, located three hours north of El Calafate and known as the trekking capital of Argentina. Winding through the unique desert scenery along the famous Route 40 highway, the road skirts the La Léona River, an important connecting point between the region's two major lakes: Lake Argentino and Lake Viedma. Along the way, we stop at the La Leona Road House, made famous by turn-of-the-century outlaws, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who visited after robbing the Londres and Tarapaca's Bank in Rio Gallegos, and remained hidden in the area for almost a month.

Situated at the foot of the Fitz Roy Mountain, El Chaltén is surrounded by glaciers, lakes, rivers, and forest. Despite increased tourism in recent years, it remains a hidden gem of the south. The town is the staging point for most excursions in the region, ours included. Our hike takes in the wild beauty of the borderlands between Argentina and Chile at Los Glaciares National Park.

Beginning in El Chaltén's downtown area, our trail leads west through the Fitz Roy River Valley, toward Grande Glacier and the snowcapped Cerro Torre (the highest peak in the ice fields), and through the Andean-Patagonian forest. The isolation of this unique, 45-million-year-old woodland is what makes it known as a "green island," offering a rare mix of endemic flora and fauna unseen anywhere else.

Tonight, we return to relax and enjoy dinner at our hotel.

Accommodations
Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa

Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa
El Calafaté, Argentina

Perched along the El Chaltén Valley and surrounded by mountains, this chalet-like property offers five-star services, cheerful interiors, and luxurious amenities, including a gourmet restaurant, gym, pool, and spa.

Day 5

Hiking to Laguna de los Tres

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Strenuous
  • Activity Length: 8-9 hours (12.5 miles)

It's time to lace up our hiking boots! After an early breakfast, we prepare for a full day out on the trails with a transfer to El Pilar to begin the De los Tres (Mount Fitz Roy) Lagoon Trek.

This classic route takes in some of the most scenic portions of the Fitz Roy region and, though strenuous at points, is a true highlight of our trip and well worth the effort. Our hike begins gradually, eventually incorporating some significant uphill climbs. Starting in virgin lengas forest, we have an early payoff at Piedras Blancas with views of the glacier and surrounding lagoon. We continue on to the Poincenot Base Camp, which is a starting point for various treks within the Fitz Roy range, and proceed to the aquamarine De los Tres Lagoon. Here, we have one of a kind photo opportunities of the jagged Fitz Roy peaks, emerging from the ice in the distance.

We return via a different path that passes the Capri Lagoon. Back in El Chaltén, we have time to toast our adventure over a well-earned, ice-cold beer. Tonight, you are free to enjoy dinner on your own.

Accommodations
Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa

Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa
El Calafaté, Argentina

Perched along the El Chaltén Valley and surrounded by mountains, this chalet-like property offers five-star services, cheerful interiors, and luxurious amenities, including a gourmet restaurant, gym, pool, and spa.

Day 6

El Chaltén to Estancia Helsingfors

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3 hours (3.7 miles)

Today, we make a four-hour transfer — circumnavigating Lake Videma — to the family-owned Estancia Helsingfors, our base for the next two nights. In 1907, the estancia was founded by Alfred Ramström, a Finnish immigrant escaping the Russian regime in his native land. Ramström bred and sold horses to pay for this scenic stretch of ranchland in what is today Los Glaciares National Park, naming it "Helsingfors," which means Helsinki in Swedish.

We arrive at the ranch in time for a special treat: a traditional Argentinean asado barbecue. Consisting of beef, sausages, and other meats prepared outside over an open fire, asado is typically served alongside local red wine and salads. After lunch, we enjoy some short walks around Estancia Helsingfors, taking in the peaceful surroundings and incomparable views of this one-of-a-kind property.

Accommodations
Estancia Helsingfors

Estancia Helsingfors
El Calafaté, Argentina

Comprised of nine, elegantly-appointed, en-suite guestrooms, this early 20th-century estancia lodge and gourmet restaurant boasts an unmatched location inside Los Glaciares National Park overlooking Lake Videma, Mount Fitz Roy, and the Andes beyond.

Day 7

Estancia Helsingfors to Blue Lagoon

  • Activity Overview: Hiking or horseback riding
  • Activity Level: Moderate to strenuous
  • Activity Length: 5.5 hours hiking or 4.5 hours horseback (10 miles)

We continue our exploration of Los Glaciares National Park and Estancia Helsingfors, this time with a visit to one of the region's most dramatic locations, the Blue Lagoon.

Our full-day hike (a horseback option is available) will depart from our hotel, following the gradually-ascending Alfredo Valley, whose river provides power for the local area, including Helsingfors Lodge. We continue our trek through this surreal landscape, skirting the side of Huemul Hill, and making a final, steady climb culminating with views of the Blue Lagoon. Here, the pool's sapphire hues contrast dramatically with the dark shadows of the surrounding mountains and the whiteness of the glacier, providing ample payoff for our efforts today on the trail.

We enjoy dinner this evening at the lodge.

Accommodations
Estancia Helsingfors

Estancia Helsingfors
El Calafaté, Argentina

Comprised of nine, elegantly-appointed, en-suite guestrooms, this early 20th-century estancia lodge and gourmet restaurant boasts an unmatched location inside Los Glaciares National Park overlooking Lake Videma, Mount Fitz Roy, and the Andes beyond.

Day 8

Return to El Calafate

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 1-3 hours

We bid farewell to Estancia Helsingfors and set off back to El Calafate. The trip takes about three hours, and we arrive in time to visit the renowned Glaciarium Ice Museum, a glacier interpretation center.

Founded in 2011, the Glaciarium's impressive exterior was designed by architect, Pablo Güiraldes, to replicate the face of a glacier. Inside, the museum's three exhibition halls contain dioramas, 3D documentaries, and other multimedia displays that provide in-depth information about southern Patagonia's rare, natural phenomena with an eye toward environmental preservation. The museum also contains Argentina's only ice bar, where you can enjoy a drink in sub-zero glacial temperatures for up to twenty minutes at a time.

You are free to continue a leisurely exploration of El Calafate independently before our group dinner this evening.

Accommodations
Los Ponchos Apart

Los Ponchos Apart
El Calafaté, Argentina

With expansive views of Argentino Lake, this boutique apartment hotel is located just minutes from the Perito Moreno Glacier, and features a rustic Argentinean décor, Hispanic art collection, and roomy, shiplap-accented guestrooms

Day 9

Buenos Aires and Tango Show

  • Activity Overview: Flight transfer and walking
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 3-hour flight, 3 hours walking

We transfer to the airport this morning for our return flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival, we are treated to a walking tour of Argentina's capital that focuses on the city's cosmopolitan northern district.

Among today's highlights are Palermo, which is Buenos Aires' largest neighborhood and contains the city's zoo, Japanese and Botanical gardens, and the SOHO area, known for its fashion, design, and street culture. We also stop in the chic, aristocratic Recoleta area, famous for its Beaux-Arts architecture and its 19th-century cemetery, which contains the grave of famed Argentinean First Lady, Eva Perón ("Evita").

During our farewell dinner, we celebrate our time together with one of Argentina's most emblematic cultural highlights: an exciting tango show. We raise a glass of local Malbec to our adventure and the unforgettable moments shared in this magical land.

Accommodations
Casa Sur Palermo

Casa Sur Palermo
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Conveniently located near art galleries, shops, and restaurants in Buenos Aires’ vibrant Palermo Hollywood neighborhood, this sophisticated property features 61 contemporary rooms, a pool, and sprawling rooftop terrace.

Day 10

Departure

This morning, you will be transferred to the Buenos Aires airport in time for your international flights home.

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2019
Trip Length

10 Days

Trip Dates

Mar 5-14, 2019

Dec 8-17, 2019

2019 Land Cost

From $6,295 Per Person


Internal Airfare

$630 Per Person

Buenos Aires-El Calafate-Buenos Aires

Single Supplement

First two reserved: $375

Additional:$875

See single supplement policy below.

PRICING BASED ON CURRENT RATE OF EXCHANGE

In order to keep our trip price as low as possible, we have based it on the current rate of exchange. If there were to be a significant change in the value of the Argentine Peso, we may be forced to raise or able to lower our trip cost; if so, your final invoice, sent 90 days prior to your departure, will reflect the difference.

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 10, except dinner on Day 5
  • Local wine and beer with included dinners
  • All on-tour ground transportation
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Argentina: Patagonia Hiking Journey is rated 3+, moderate to strenuous, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). Southern Patagonia's towering peaks, seemingly limitless ranchlands, and colorful lakes, lagoons, and ice fields offer low to moderate elevations ranging from about 650' to nearly 2,300'. Our walks and hikes range from 2 to 9 hours (up to 12.5 miles), on everything from paved city streets and well-trod forest paths to more rugged mountain trails.

Meeting Point

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Departure Point

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Ministro Pistarini International Airport (airport code: EZE)

Meeting Time and Place:
Your guide(s) will meet you on the first day at the airport upon your arrival.

Departure Time and Place:
Your guide(s) will provide drop-offs at the airport after breakfast.

Weather

Argentina is a large country (nearly 2,300 miles long) and its climate varies greatly from region to region. Buenos Aires has a subtropical climate, and summers are generally hot and humid. The low/high temperatures range from 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with the potential for heat waves in the low 100s. The warmest months are January, February, and December. March and November are warm-to-hot in the afternoons, while nights and mornings are mild.

In the southern towns of El Calafate and El Chaltén, the weather can be summed up in one word — unpredictable — but strong, relentless winds are one constant of life in Patagonia. The climate here is semi-arid, but frequent, light precipitation during the day is common, particularly in the mountains around El Chaltén. Weather here changes quickly, with frosts and light snow showers possible even in the summer months. Temperatures at this time of year are cool, ranging from 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit from December to March.

Please come prepared to walk in rain or shine, packing a range of warm, waterproof layers of clothing, even if the weather appears fine. We will do daily activities as planned, unless weather conditions make it dangerous to do so. You may obtain more detailed weather information at www. weatherbase.com.

Argentina

March

High: 62
Low: 40

December

High: 65
Low: 42

When to go

Summertime (December through February) typically offers the best weather. Even then, be advised that the Patagonian wind is prevalent, and temperatures rarely rise higher than 70 degrees. At the beginning of fall in March, there will be fewer visitors and the landscape will begin to change colors.

Cuisine

Like the country itself, Argentinean cuisine is reflective of its melting pot of cultures. European traditions — primarily Spanish and Italian — are frequently combined with indigenous influences, both in cooking techniques and the use of local ingredients. Throughout Argentina, food is culturally important, and social gatherings typically occur around a meal, especially Sunday afternoon 'family dinners.'

If there is one universal feature of Argentinean cuisine, it's beef (or carne) — in fact, the country has the highest consumption of red meat in the world. Typically, in the north, cuts of steak and ribs are prepared on the traditional asado barbecue, while in Patagonia, lamb and goat are more common. Sometimes, an entire animal is cooked on an open fire in a technique known as asado a la estaca. In both cases, asado meats are typically served along with vegetable sides and a chimichurri sauce of fresh herbs, garlic, and vinegar.

On most menus, you are also likely to find milanesas, or thin cuts of breaded and fried meats, various sausages (like chorizo) and sweet breads, and empanada pastries filled with everything from beef to cheese and sweet corn. Italian transplants, such as pizza and pasta, are also common, while salads and vegetables such as squash, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions are typically served as side dishes. For dessert, the nationally-beloved dulce de leche (a caramel-like spread made from heated, sweetened milk) is used to flavor cakes, toasted bread, ice cream, and more.

Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice, though choices tend to be more limited.

From $6,295 / person* *airfare not included
10 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Mar 5-14, 2019
    Dec 8-17, 2019


Activity Level 3+ Moderate with Strenuous Options

Moderate to Strenuous walking and hiking, 2-9 hours per day; optional horseback ride

Read about our Activity Levels
  • Group Size: 4-16 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

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