Patagonia Nature Safari

Travel Idea:

Patagonia Nature Safari

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Length of trip:

14 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 3600

Best travel dates to go:

Oct 17, 2008 to Oct 30, 2008; Nov 12, 2008 to Nov 25, 2008; Dec 07, 2008 to Dec 20, 2008; Dec 22, 2008 to Jan 04, 2009; Jan 17, 2009 to Jan 30, 2009; Feb 14, 2009 to Feb 27, 2009;


Detailed Description of this trip:

Patagonia is an extremely vast and diverse region, with scenery ranging from dramatic mountain formations to flat barren pampas and expansive ice fields. On this comprehensive journey through Argentine Patagonia, you will enjoy authentic experiences and breathtaking landscapes. Your journey begins in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, where you will explore the city and visit the San Isidro and Tigre districts and the nearby Parana River. From here you will travel along the Atlantic coast to Bahia Bustamente, a unique “seaweed village” that offers a variety of great activities, including bird watching, sailing, trekking, and mountain biking. Next, you will venture to Gaiman, a traditional village that symbolizes the Welsh colonization in Patagonia. You can enjoy seasonal wildlife spectacles at the Valdes Peninsula, a true sanctuary of fauna and marine life. In Ushuaia, the “end of the world,” you will explore the famous Museum of Paleontology “Egidio Feuglio,” hike in Tierra del Fuego National Park, and see Harberton Ranch and Gable Island. Continue onward to El Calafate and experience the majesty and might of Los Glaciares National Park, including a trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s largest continental glaciers. This trip truly encompasses all Patagonia and its spectacular natural wonders!



Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Buenos Aires

    Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be transferred to the hotel.

    Hotel

    Overnight lodging at Elevage Hotel (or similar).

  • Day 2 - Buenos Aires

    Sightseeing

    Today you will explore one of the most beautiful zones of Buenos Aires’ surroundings, the northern riverside districts of Tigre and San Isidro.

    Sightseeing

    In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel to reach the city of San Isidro. This city has an important colonial heritage reflected in its houses and buildings. On your tour of San Isidro, you will visit the Pueyrredón Farm, the San Isidro Cathedral, several colonial mansions, and the Victoria Ocampo's Mansion (once the cultural center of South America).

    Shopping

    Continue to Tigre, a city overlooking the delta of the Paraná River. Here, you will explore the Fruit Market, a different, almost magical world with streets full of the colors of rustic fabric, furniture and accessories made in cane and willow, delicious jams and honey, brilliant flowers, and of course, a large variety of native fruit.

    Sightseeing

    After free time to have lunch, enjoy a riverside walk and a boat trip through the countless islands of the delta of the Paraná River.

    Sightseeing

    You’ll have beautiful views of the riverside villas, Victorian docks, English gardens, and traditional rowing clubs. If weather conditions allow, you will sail by the River Plate to return to Buenos Aires.

    Hotel

    Later, you will be transferred back to your hotel, the Elevage Hotel (or similar).
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 3 - Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires - Patagonia Altantic Coast.
    Commercial Flight

    You will be transferred to the airport in order to board the flight to Comodoro Rivadavia.

    You will be met at the airport and transferred about 180 km/111 mi northeast to Bahia Bustamante, a seaside village entirely surrounded by nature.

    Sightseeing

    This place invites you to enjoy a deep blue sea contrasting with red rocks, a petrified forest, sea and steppe birds, sea lions, killer whales, dolphins, guanacos, and Patagonian hares as well as lighthouses, starry skies, and aboriginal working areas. Since 1952, the village has been exclusively devoted to the harvesting of seaweed. Today some 40 inhabitants live in Bahía Bustamante, all of whom are devoted to seaweed production, which makes this place world’s unique “seaweed village.”

    Bed & Breakfast

    Four comfortable houses by the sea have been remodeled to serve as your accommodations. Each house has two twin-share bedrooms, living room, kitchen, one fully equipped bathroom (that will be shared with the other guests), heating, and hot water.

    Adventure

    After having lunch, you will have time to enjoy activities such as sailing along Malaspina Cove, panoramic trekking, bird watching, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, visiting archaeological sites such as aboriginal areas and cemeteries, and learning about the workings of the seaweed industry.

    Bed & Breakfast

    Stay overnight at local guest houses in Bahia Bustamante for the next two nights.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 4 - Argentina

    Bahia Bustamente.
    Sightseeing

    Enjoy a full day of unforgettable activities in Bahia Bustamante. Here, you can discover the remaining fossils of forests that existed in Patagonia 60 million years ago. You can view huge petrified tree trunks that have become rock with its characteristic glow of opal, which has replaced the tree’s original organic matter. If you wish, you can participate in daily activities at a typical Patagonian ranch, such as marking, weaning, and shearing sheep.

    Adventure

    For bird watchers, the coast of Bahia Bustamante and Malaspina Cove have the greatest diversity of seabirds in all of Patagonia and are also home to sea lions, penguins, and several seabird colonies. All activities in Bahia Bustamante may be modified due to weather conditions.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 5 - Argentina

    Bahia Bustamente - Gaiman.
    National Parks

    On the way to Gaiman, you will visit Cabo Dos Bahias Natural Reserve. From November to April in the reserve, you can view the penguin colony. About three kilometers away, rocky slopes afford views of the first fur seal colony on the continent. This species is currently protected by the reserve. The site also offers an incredible view of the steppe, and you can also see some guanacos.

    Sightseeing

    Later, you will travel to Gaiman, a traditional and peculiar village of the lower valley of Chubut River. Gaiman is the symbol of Welsh colonization in Patagonia. The first settlers arrived in 1865, looking for a virgin territory to be able to found the "New Wales" and follow their own rules and customs without being bothered. Huge and untamed Patagonia was that promised land.

    Sightseeing

    At present, you can still discover the attitude that characterized these first inhabitants of the town by walking around the streets of Gaiman, which still keeps its village essence, sprinkled with farms, typical chapels, and Welsh-style houses. The main attractions are the Welsh Tea Houses, where the descendants of the settlers prepare and serve the greatest classic Welsh tea.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at Posada Los Mimbres, a beautifully landscaped farm on the Rio Chubut. Posada Los Mimbres is situated only 6 km from Gaiman and 30 minutes away from Trelew. Each one of the comfortable guest rooms has a private bathroom and unique charm. The friendly family-run restaurant offers traditional, home-cooked Patagonian food, blending local flavors with delicious national and European cuisine. Many activities and services are available: trekking, geological and ecological tours, river navigation, etc.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner.

  • Day 6 - Argentina

    Valdes Peninsula - Golfo Nuevo.
    Sightseeing

    Your full day enjoying the beautiful landscapes of this area begins with a drive along National Route Nº 3 to reach the entrance of the Valdes Peninsula. After crossing the Ameghino Isthmus, where you can view Golfo San José and Golfo Nuevo, you enter the Peninsula and the road leads you to Puerto Piramides. On the way you will be able to see some of the local wildlife, including guanacos, lesser rheas, Patagonian foxes, hairy armadillos, maras, and important rookeries protecting large colonies of South American sea lions, dolphin gulls, and kelp gulls. Puerto Pirámides is a beach that, with its gentle slopes, is protected by cliffs resembling pyramids, where there are fossilized invertebrates more than 9 million years old.

    Ocean Cruise

    Here, you’ll embark on a ship to navigate the sea and appreciate the shoreline views and marine wildlife. This narrow strip of land 35 km long, with its arid soil and the deepest salt marshes in South America, possesses a very important natural resource of international value: the Southern right whale. You may enjoy a whale-watching navigation that will allow you to see and sometimes get close to southern right whales; the mating and birth of these huge mammals is seen every year from June to December. Killer whales are more frequently seen between February and May, while dolphins are seen all year round.

    Sightseeing

    After free time to have lunch, continue to Puerto Madryn, passing through El Doradillo Beach on the way. Located on the eastern coast of the Province of Chubut, Puerto Madryn overlooks the blue waters of the Golfo Nuevo.

    Sightseeing

    On arrival at Puerto Madryn, visit the Ecocentro. On one of the shores of the Nuevo Gulf, the Ecocentro House invites visitors to observe the sea in a different way. The building, whose architectural style reminds us of the Welsh immigrants, is strategically located on a cliff. Each room teaches something different about the fascinating marine world, and the vantage point allows visitors to view the sea from the large windows.

    Sightseeing

    From Puerto Madryn, you will continue to Punta Ninfas. Visit the Punta Ninfas lighthouse, where you will have an extraordinary view of the Peninsula and the Golfo Nuevo. You can also go down the cliff to reach the colony of elephant seals. The purity of the air and the sound of the elephant seals and sea birds make this area a unique place to visit.

    Hotel

    Later, return to Gaiman, where you will stay overnight at Posada Los Mimbres.
    Meals: Dinner

  • Day 7 - Ushuaia

    Gaiman - Ushuaia.
    Adventure

    Enjoy the morning at your leisure. We suggest that you visit the Bryn Gwyn Geological Park, only 8 km away from the town of Gaiman. The Park contains a fossil reservoir of over 600 acres, located on the southern slopes running along the valley of the Chubut River. Forty percent of these fields are devoted to paleontological research. Visitors are welcomed at the Lower Field Station located on hillside. The tour starts with an introduction by experienced guides. As you climb the easy slopes, you will observe the different geological layers and learn about the different fossils found partially uncovered in the ground.

    Sightseeing

    In another part of the park, you will find a new arboretum with paths that will take you through the different species that live in central Patagonia. This arboretum is, in fact, part of the institute of plant research. The easy, relaxed walk lasts about one hour and takes you back to the Lower Field Station.

    In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in Trelew.

    Museums

    Before your departure from Trelew, you will stop to visit the Egidio Feruglio Museum. The Museum of Paleontology "Egidio Feruglio" (MEF) is a new concept for cultural tourism in Argentine Patagonia. It combines scientific exploration and education with great audiovisual entertainment. Located near one of the world's largest and richest fossil deposits, MEF offers fascinating opportunities to know and appreciate the natural history of our planet.

    Commercial Flight

    Continue to the airport and board the flight to Ushuaia.

    In the southern end of Argentina, on the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, lies Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Located on the Beagle Channel and an impressive array of the sea, forests, lakes, and mountains, Ushuaia is a picturesque city that offers unexplored, untouched territories that invite visitors to discovery and adventure. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

    Hotel

    Overnight stay at Los Fuegos Hotel (or similar)

  • Day 8 - Ushuaia

    Tierra del Fuego National Park.
    Hiking

    Today you explore Tierra del Fuego National Park. The full day excursion around the park includes an easy trek and a canoeing expedition. A short drive from your hotel brings you to the park, where you start a 7-km trek of about 3 1/2 hours to a wonderful scenic point overlooking Lake Roca, Lagunas Verde and Negra, Rivers Ovando and Lapataia, and Bahía Lapataia.

    Hiking

    Hiking through this beech forest you will be able to look for the Magellanic woodpecker (the largest in South America), Austral parakeets, black-chested buzzard eagles, and Andean condors.

    Food and Dining

    Enjoy a fun outdoor lunch in the camping area of Lake Roca. Spend the afternoon paddling in the National Park.

    Canoeing

    You will be outfitted with equipment and embark on sturdy inflatable canoes with instructions from your experienced guide in Lago Roca. Paddle the Ovando River, which flows into the Green Lake, offering one of the most beautiful views of the Park. Upon landing in Lapataia Bay, you will be able to spot all sorts of local birds. For those who don’t want to paddle, you can choose to navigate the waters by inflatable zodiac boat.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at Los Fuegos Hotel (or similar).
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 9 - Ushuaia

    Harberton Ranch & Gable Island.
    Sightseeing

    Today you will visit Harberton Ranch and Gable Island. Depart early in the morning from Ushuaia, and drive about 90 kilometers to Tierra del Fuego's oldest ranch: Estancia Harberton. The lands it is built on were a gift from President Roca's government to Rev. Thomas Bridges, for his contributions in exploring the area and in establishing a harmonious relationship with the native population, the Yamanas.

    Sightseeing

    The Yamanas were the native inhabitants of the coast of the Beagle Channel. It is said that the Yamanas advised Rev. Bridges on the site to establish his estancia, which is the actual location of Harberton. From the estancia you will board a small boat to visit the penguin rookery at Martillo Island. The unique location of this island (close to the point where the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean waters merge) allows for an incredible variety of rich sub-aquatic life, making it an amazing spot for bird watching (petrels, skuas, cormorants, sea gulls, and albatross).

    Food and Dining

    From there, continue to Gable Island, the largest in the Beagle Channel, for a late lunch.

    Hiking

    The view over the Beagle Channel is breathtaking. You will enter a beech forest with white orchids, wild berries, and ferns. After a 40-minute hike, return to the refuge, stop for tea, and head back to the continent.

    Hotel

    Return to Ushuaia late in the afternoon. (**For operation or safety reasons or weather conditions the order of the activities during this day may be changed.)
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 10 - El Calafate

    Ushuaia - El Calafate.
    Commercial Flight

    Enjoy the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, transfer to the local airport to board the flight to El Calafate.

    You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, the Kau Yatun Hotel (or similar).

    Sightseeing

    In El Calafate you will find yourself at the gateway to the majestic world of glaciers. This town is near Lake Argentino, a green water surface covering 1,600 sq km. El Calafate connects you with the most interesting and magical features of Argentina’s geography. Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the western hemisphere are found in the Patagonian Andes. Numerous lakes fed by glacial run-off reflect the majesty of the snow-capped peaks, and the mountainsides are covered by primeval forests of sub-antarctic beech trees. Between the 48 and 51 South parallels, the Andes Mountain Range is covered by a large extension of permafrost known as the Patagonian Continental Ice-cap, which stretches for 560 miles from north to south, also called “the Third Pole.”

    Hotel

    Stay at Kau Yatun Hotel.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 11 - El Calafate

    Los Glaciares National Park & Perito Mor.
    National Parks

    Today you will visit Los Glaciares National Park, located in the Patagonian Continental Ice-cap.

    Sailing

    Upon arrival at the park, join with other travelers on a guided excursion, which begins in the pier located at “Bajo de las Sombras” Bay (approximately 6 kilometers before the glacier viewpoint). Here you will cross the Brazo Rico, reaching the southwest shore after 20 minutes of navigation on the bay. During your boat ride, you can observe the magnificent southern wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

    Hiking

    Upon disembarking, you will travel to the shelter where the guides organize the mini-trekking groups. An easy walk of about 20 minutes through the Magellanic forest brings you to the glacier. Here, the guides will assist with crampons that you’ll attach to your hiking boots and give you instructions for a 2-hour hike over the ice. In this trek over the glacier, you will appreciate many ice formations such as cracks, drains, and little lagoons. It is a moderate hike, and the ice surface where you will walk is irregular, but firm and safe. At the end of the hike, you will return to the shelter and embark to cross the lake.

    Sightseeing

    Once you arrive at the pier, you will travel for 6 km to reach the catwalks in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, from which you will have different and amazing views of this natural wonder.

    Hotel

    Later, return to the Kau Yatun Hotel (or similar). Recommendations :
    1. Footwear: Any type of sport footwear, for example, hiking boots or trainers. Use warm, thick socks. Rubber boots, ski shoes, and shoes with a heel are not admitted.
    2. Don’t forget to bring your box-lunch!
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 12 - El Calafate

    Relaxation

    Enjoy the day at your leisure. We suggest the following excursions (not included in tour cost).

    Option A: Cerro Frias horseback riding - $75 per person.
    Adventure

    You can enjoy a full day ride to Mount Frias. The ride follows a valley to Mt. Frías through a Nothofagus forest, reaching the ridge with spectacular views to Lakes Roca and Argentino. You will experience the typical Patagonian steppe and have the chance to view wildlife, such as guanacos, pumas, and condors.
    If the weather is clear, you will be able to see as far as the Torres del Paine in Chile. Return to the ranch for lunch. The excursion includes full equipment and assistance of qualified bilingual guides. After your excursion, you will return to your hotel.

    Option B: 4x4 Calafate Balcony- $75 per person
    Mountain Climbing

    This excursion is an easy and panoramic drive to a lookout point in El Calafate to enjoy an aerial view of the city and Lake Argentino. You will travel by a 4x4 Land Rover.
    Start climbing the east side of the Huilyche Mountain, up to 850 meters above sea-level, until you reach "Calafate’s Balcony," where you stop for amazing views of El Calafate and its beautiful natural surroundings.

    Hotel

    Stay overnight at Kau Yatun Hotel (or similar). Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 13 - Buenos Aires

    El Calafate - Buenos Aires.
    Commercial Flight

    You will be picked up from the hotel to be transferred to the local airport and board the flight to Buenos Aires, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

    Performing Arts

    Tonight, you will be picked up to enjoy dinner and a glamorous tango show in one of the most prestigious historical houses in Buenos Aires.

    Hotel

    After the show you will be transferred back to the hotel. (Please note, dinner is served late and your return to the hotel will be late at night.) Overnight at Elevage Hotel (or similar).
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

  • Day 14 - Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires - Onward.

    Today you will be transferred from the hotel to the international airport for your onward flight.
    Meals: Breakfast

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