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Southern Patagonia with Expedition Cruise

 

Departures: From September to April

Places Visited: Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia, Cape Horn, Wulaia Bay, Magdalena Island, Torres del Paine, El Calafate.

 

Highlights

This extensive tour encompasses a stay in the vibrant Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, a day on the pampas with the gaucho cowboys and the top destinations of Patagonia with pristine nature, magnificent glaciers, abundant wildlife and rugged wilderness at `the end of the world`; visit the Punta Tombo Penguin Colony, tour the Valdes Peninsula with its outstanding marine life and birds. Experience the mysterious world of glaciers, pristine mountain lakes in El Calafate. Admire the spectacular views of Tierra del Fuego National Park, visit the most southern town in Argentina, Ushuaia and follow in Darwin’s footsteps with a cruise to Cape Horn and the Strait of Magellan. 

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 14 Nights of accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and local taxes.
  • All Inclusive program at Australis Cruise and Las Torres Hotel
  • 1/2 day private guided city tour in Buenos Aires with visit to Tortoni Café & Colon Theatre
  • 1 Dinner and Tango show in Buenos Aires.
  • 1 Full day Town of Gauchos in Buenos Aires
  • 1 Full day trip to Punta Tombo in Puerto Madryn
  • 1 Full day trip to Peninsula Valdes & Whale watching in Puerto Madryn
  • 1/2 day city tour & End of the World Museum visit in Ushuaia
  • 1 Full day tour to Perito Moreno in El Calafate
  • 1/2 day shopping tour in Buenos Aires

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Domestic Flights
  • Meals and drinks other than those mentioned
  • Tips or personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional tours and experiences
  • Any items not mentioned

Day 01: BUENOS AIRES. Meeting at Ezeiza International airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at Casa Sur Hotel 

Half day City Tour with visit to Colon Theatre

Enjoy a three-hour sightseeing tour of Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan city that reflects the rich heritage of the numerous immigrants that shaped Argentina’s capital. The tour starts at the historic Plaza de Mayo Square, the scene of influential political manifestations. The square is flanked by the Government House, better known as the "Pink House”; the Cabildo (the old City Hall) and the Cathedral. Further south, visit the picturesque port neighborhood of La Boca. One of the highlights is the famous colorful street "Caminito"; its unique architecture and customs reflect the influence of the European immigrants, especially Genoese sailors, who settled along these shores at the end of the 19th century. The tour continues towards San Telmo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Settled by immigrants, the neighborhood has preserved most of its architectonic heritage and boasts lovely cobblestone streets lined with colonial houses. Stop at the traditional café Tortoni for a freshly roasted coffee with a crispy ‘medialuna’ (Argentinian croissant). Next visit the modern, well-heeled district of Puerto Madero and Palermo neighborhood with its elegant residences set among large green spaces. Explore Recoleta, Buenos Aires’ most sophisticated and upscale neighborhood; one of its most famous landmarks is the Recoleta cemetery, the final resting place of Evita Perón. The last stop on the tour is the Colón Theatre, Buenos Aires’ main opera house; its acoustics makes it one of the five best concert houses in the world. The Colón Theatre has its own Ballet and Dance School, and is home to the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra.

Day 02 : BUENOS AIRES.

Full Day “Town of Gauchos” (Town & Estancia)

This tour offers a complete Pampa experience: "Nestled in lush farmlands, San Antonio de Areco is probably the prettiest town in the pampas.…" (Lonely Planet Guide). In the morning, visit this lovely colonial town, learn more about the gaucho lifestyle and browse the work of local leather and silversmith artisans. In the afternoon, visit a typical Argentine Estancia and experience the traditional gaucho hospitality; savor a delicious ‘asado’ barbecue, listen to folkloric music, enjoy a carriage ride and observe the gauchos as they show off their horse handling and riding skills.

Day 03 : BUENOS AIRES / PUERTO MADRYN. After breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to Trelew. Reception and transfer to Punta Tombo Penguin reserve.

Half day tour to Punta Tombo

The Punta Tombo Penguin Reserve is home to more than 500,000 Magellan penguins that gather in this colony every year. This tour allows plenty of opportunity for an up close and almost personal encounter with these friendly sea birds that are often curious enough to approach visitors. In addition to the penguins, the colony is home to numerous other bird species that build their nests here. Keep an eye out for seagulls, petrels, Antarctic pigeons, skuas, vapor ducks, chorlos and cormorants. Dolphins may also be spotted as they enter the bay looking for fish. Lunch in the reserve (optional).

After the tour, transfer to Puerto Madryn. Accommodation at Territorio Hotel

Day 04 : PUERTO MADRYN.

Full Day tour of Peninsula de Valdes

Enjoy a full day tour to Peninsula Valdes, a rugged nature paradise that has recently been declared a World Heritage site. Drive through the vast Patagonian steppes to reach the entrance to the World Heritage national park, flanked by the immense waters of the Golfo San Jose to the left and the vast bay of the Golfo Nuevo to the right. Enjoy a brief tour of the small village of Puerto Piramides the only inhabited area on the Peninsula. This is also where whale watching tours depart from (July to December only; optional excursion). Then continue to Caleta Valdes to observe a colony of sea elephants. Other animals such as storks, guanaco deer, armadillos, Patagonian hares, foxes and eagles are also often spotted. On the way back to Puerto Madryn, vist the intriguing Salinas Grande y Chica. These salt pits lie 35 meters below sea level and are a great spot for observing maras (Patagonian hare), guanacos, foxes and skunks. Return to Puerto Madryn.

Whale watching

Today’s nature-watching tour departs from Port Pirámides and heads into the waters of the Golfo Nuevo. This region is home to numerous bird species, including huge colonies of cormorants that build their nests against the cliffs.  Continue further into the gulf to observe the imposing Southern Right Whales come close to shore to mate and give birth. It is a truly magnificent and unique experience to watch these gentle mammals up close. Season: from June to December

Day 05 : PUERTO MADRYN / USHUAIA.  Transfer to Trelew airport for flight to Ushuaia. Reception at the airport and transfer to Los Cauquenes Hotel. Accommodation.

Half day City tour with World's End Museum visit

Visit Ushuaia, the southernmost city on earth; the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego lies approximately 3,500 km/2100 mi from Buenos Aires, wedged between the Beagle Channel and the Martial Mountain range with towering peaks that stand 1,500 m/5000 ft above sea level. The outlines of the Chilean islands of Navarino and Hoste can be seen across the Beagle Channel. The tour encompasses the historic part of Ushuaia, with its deep-water harbor, steep streets that climb the Andean slopes and traditional houses built by the pioneers who settled the region between 1902 and 1920. The tour concludes with a visit to the World's End Museum. In addition to displays on the history of the island and its first white settlers, the museum collection includes artifacts from the ancient aboriginal cultures who inhabited the region before the arrival of the white men. Return to the hotel.

Day 06 : USHUAIA / AUSTRALIS CRUISE. Breakfast at the hotel.

Half Day Tierra del Fuego National Park

Just outside of Ushuaia lies the world’s most southern National Park with stunning lakes, impressive mountains and spectacular ocean views. From Ensenada Bay, take in the majestic beauty of Redonda Island, set against the snowcapped mountains.  Then continue through thick Antarctic forest before crossing the bridge over the Lapataia  River. This tour is designed to give visitors a taste of the park’s exquisite rugged beauty in just half a day. It combines some short, easy hikes with excellent vistas and lookouts. 

Transfer from the hotel to the offices of Australis Cruises to check in.

Board the cruise ship at 5:30 pm. After a welcome cocktail reception by the Captain and his crew, the ship will depart for “the most remote part of the earth”. The boat will sail through the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel to explore one of the most breathtaking and remote wilderness regions in the world: Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego

Day 07 : AUSTRALIS CRUISE – STELLA AUSTRALIS.

Cape Horn – Wulaia Cape

Sail through the Murray Channel and Nassau Bay to reach Cape Horn National Park. If weather permits, passengers will be able to disembark. A sheer 425 meter/1395 ft high rocky outcrop, mythical Cape Horn was discovered in 1616.  For many years it was an important landmark on the navigation route for sailboats between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It was nicknamed “The End of the Earth”. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2005. In the afternoon, go ashore in historical Wulaia Bay, once home of the region’s largest Yamana indigenous settlement. Charles Darwin landed here in 1833, during his voyage on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography. Take a walk through the Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic flora. 

Day 08 : AUSTRALIS CRUISES – STELLA AUSTRALIS.

De Agostini Sound – Aguila Glacier

Today, the boat will sail through the Brecknock, Ocasión, Cockburn, and Magdalena Channels to enter the spectacular De Agostini Sound, in the heart of the Darwin Mountain Range. Here, glaciers descend from the side of the mountain to sea level. In the afternoon, travel by Zodiac boats to the Águila Glacier for an easy walk around the base of the glacier. Soak up the beauty of Patagonia’s rainforest and observe the rugged landscape formed by the natural elements.

Day 09 : AUSTRALIS CRUISES – STELLA AUSTRALIS / TORRES DEL PAINE.

Magdalena Island – Punta Arenas

Early in the morning (and weather permitting), go ashore on Magdalena Island, located in the middle of the Strait of Magellan. The island used to be an essential supply post for navigators and explorers. Today, it is home to an immense colony of Magellan Penguins.  In September and April this excursion is substituted by a zodiac ride to Marta Island to observe South American Sea Lions. Finally, disembark at Punta Arenas around 11:30 am.

NOTE: The excursions described in the itineraries above are part of the regularly schediuled activities. However, Transportes Marítimos Terra Australis S.A., Transportes Marítimos Via Australis S.A., and Transportes Marítimos Geo Australis S.A reserve the right to reschedule, shorten, or alter all or part of the itineraries and/or excursions without previous notice, in order to safeguard the well-being and safety of passengers, preserve the environment, or due to any extraordinary circumstances, acts of god or force majeure. For the same reasons, the departure and arrival times of the vessels may be subject to change.

Disembark at Punta Arenas. Transfer to Torres del Paine.

All inclusive 4 days/ 3 nights program at Las Torres Hotel

Las Torres Hotel offers a great variety of excursions by car, on foot or on horseback. Just choose according to your preference, interest or fitness level.

Day 10 - 11 : TORRES DEL PAINE. Days at leisure to enjoy some of the activities at the National Park. A highly recommended activity is a horseback tour; enjoy a leisurely guided ride through pampas and forest, and observe the magnificent glacier and mountain scenery.

Day 12 : TORRES DEL PAINE / EL CALAFATE.

Transfer to El Calafate.

Meeting and accommodationat Design Suites El Calafate Hotel

Day 13 : EL CALAFATE.

Full day Perito Moreno Glacier

Departure from the hotel towards Perito Moreno Glacier situated within Los Glaciares National Park, 80 km from El Calafate (partially along a gravel road). The first half of the drive goes through a typical Patagonian steppe landscape, with broom sedges (a hard and thorny type of grass) and 'calafates' (bushes of the barberry family, known for their yellow flowers and violet fruits). Shortly after leaving El Calafate, Argentino Lake with its Bahía Redonda (Round Bay) will appear on the right hand side; keep an eye out for a variety of interesting bird species. Closer to the national park entrance, the landscape changes dramatically. The vegetation becomes much thicker, dominated by species from the Andine-Patagonian Forest such as beech trees and shrubs. Perito Moreno Glacier is an imposing ice river 30 km (19 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The glacier’s walls tower 30 to 60 meters (100-195 feet) above the lake. In the central part of the glacier the ice reaches a depth of 250 to 350 meters (800-1150 feet). This frozen river slowly descends from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The impressive creaking and squealing, with the occasional thunderous roars is a stark reminder of the glacier’s constant movement. The glacier’s breathtaking beauty and magnificent scenery have earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Designation. Take a walk on the trails by the western wall to admire this impressive wonder of nature from different points of view. Return to the hotel. (National Park entrance fee not included)

Day 14 : EL CALAFATE / BUENOS AIRES. Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for flight to Buenos Aires. Meeting and transfer to Casa Sur Art Hotel.

Half day Shopping Tour

Buy some last minute gifts or browse for high-end Argentine fashion. Local fashionistas and style-experts have made a selection of the most exclusive shops and boutiques in Buenos Aires to visit and peruse. The selection includes leather goods stores, jewelers, fur shops, outlets and fashionable shopping malls; just state your preference and style

Day 15 : BUENOS AIRES. At the appropriate time transfer to Ezeiza International Airport.


Tour descriptions and approximate times are for informational purposes only.

Some places described may be substituted and/or approximate times may be subject to change, due to unexpected circumstances or weather conditions.