El Calafate, Argentina.
Argentina Road Trip
This trip offers a complete panorama of the North and South of Argentina in 20 days. You will drive across the country to immerse yourself in a spectacular variety of landscapes: Buenos Aires, Patagonia, El Calafate, El Chaltén, Bariloche, Salta, Jujuy
and Iguazú Falls (Argentinian and Brazilian side).
Duration: 20 nights
Prices are in US dollars per person in double basis.
Reviews 2 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday TypeCultural, Nature
Day 1: Welcome to Argentina
Arrival in Buenos Aires and transfer to the hotel (Palermo)
You will be transferred to the hotel in the neighborhood of Palermo. Your local guide will welcome you and give you some recommendations so that you can make the most out of local cuisine.
You’ll have a free afternoon to discover and enjoy the city by yourself.
Recommendation: In the afternoon we suggest visiting: Bosques de Palermo – Botanical Garden – Generic Floralis – National Museum of Fine Arts – Museum of Decorative Art – Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) – Recoleta Cultural Center – Recoleta Cemetery
Day 2: Flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate
Excursion in 4x4 to Argentino Lake, visit to an archaeological site and patagonian dinner in a cave
In the morning you will take a plane to El Calafate and you be transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon you will participate on a 4×4 excursion to the turquoise colored waters of Lake Argentino and a trail that offers a spectacular view of the Andes Mountains. You’ll reach an archaeological site with cave paintings of the pre-Tehuelche culture (more than 4,000 years old). In the early evening, before heading back to the hotel, you will enjoy a Patagonian dinner in a cave.
Day 3: Welcome to Los Glaciares National Park
Country day at Nibepo Aike Ranch and sail in Lago Argentino
In the morning, you will have an excursion to a typical ranch, Nibepo Aike, you will get to know the place, its history and all about the rural activities of Patagonia. You will have lunch as a gaucho, a true ”asado” (Argentinian barbecue). In the afternoon you’ll navigate in the Argentino Lake to get closer to the famous Perito Moreno glacier.
Day 4: Sailing on the Upsala Channel
Excursion in 4x4 to Estancia Cristina and Trekking Cañadón de los Fósiles
One of the best experiences you can have within the Los Glaciares National Park is the embark on the Upsala Canal, with a majestic view to the western front of the Upsala Glacier, sailing among mountains and icebergs to disembark at Estancia Cristina where you will board a 4×4 to ascend the Feruglio cord. Here you’ll leave the vehicle and start hiking towards the Upsala Viewpoint, with views of Lake Guillermo, the eastern front of the Upsala Glacier and the Southern Patagonian Continental Ice Field. At this point you will start a 14km trek to enter the Cañadón de los Fósiles, named for its great concentration of fossils discovered by glacial action.
Day 5: Welcome to El Chalten
On the road to the city of trekking
In the morning you will go to a car rental office to pick up your car. After about 3 hours you will reach El Chaltén, at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy, and on the banks of Río de las Vueltas you will find this town known as the ”capital of trekking”.
You’ll have a free afternoon to explore this scenic town and its surroundings.
Recommendation: Some simple and short walks are Chorrillo del Salto (1 hs) – Mirador del Torre (3 hs) – Laguna Capri – (4 hs).
Day 6: Welcome to El Chaltén
You will have a day off to enjoy the city of trekking. As the name implies, we suggest this unforgettable experience: trekking and a picnic in Laguna de los Tres.
Recommendation: Laguna de los Tres is one of the most sought after walks by trekking and climbing lovers. There are 10 km separating the start on the main street San Martin to the final point and a walk that lasts between 9 and 10 hours alongside Mount Fitz Roy and a lake with turquoise colored waters at your feet. The hanging Piedras Blancas glacier and the Capri Lagoon are two strategic points to peacefully contemplate the landscapes.
Day 7: Welcome to San Carlos de Bariloche
After breakfast, you will drive from El Chaltén to the airport in El Calafate (around 3 hours) where you will return the car at the local office (you must show at the airport at least 3 hours before the flight’s departure as you have to leave the car)
On arrival to Bariloche airport, you’ll be transferred to your hotel in the city.
Recommendation: It is a good time to try Bariloche’s famous chocolates or to discover the Circuito Chico, the most traditional route in the city, which begins in the center and borders the southern coast of the Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Day 8: Welcome to Villa La Angostura
Exploring the Road of the Seven Lakes
The Road of the Seven Lakes is a section of the National Route 40 that connects, amongst others, the towns of Villa La Angostura and San Martin de los Andes. It’s located on the northwest coast of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and brings together the best of nature and Patagonian geography: mountains, lakes, forests of cypresses and myrtles. After 1.20 hours you will arrive at Villa La Angostura, a beautifull town that’s more quiet and better preserved than Bariloche.
Recommendation: Explore Los Arrayanes National Park, which covers the Quetruhué peninsula on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and protects a forest of myrtles, which is almost unique in the world.
Day 9: From Villa la Angostura to San Martín de los Andes
Discovering the Road of the 7 Lakes
You will continue crossing the mirrored lakes of different colors along the Road of the Seven Lakes until you reach San Martín de los Andes. This city is located on the shores of Lake Lácar, is known for its landscapes nicknamed ”the city of roses” and for its urbanization. You will spend the night in the hotel of San Martin de los Andes.
Recommendation: We suggest you to stop along the way to enjoy the small beaches in the lakes.
Day 10: Return to Bariloche
From San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche
In the morning you will take the Road of the Seven Lakes back to Bariloche.
You’ll have a free afternoon to explore the city.
Recommendation: go and take the Circuito Grande, which is 240 km from the city center and runs through the Andean lakes and forests; to the Civic Center; to Colonia Suiza; or Puerto Pañuelo.
Day 11: Welcome to Salta
Flight to Salta and free day
In the morning you will drive to the Bariloche airport and take a flight to Salta. When you arrive at the city, you’ll rent another car to explore the Andean North.
You’ll have the rest of the day to explore the city by yourself.
Day 12: On the route from Salta to Cachi
Touring The Cardones National Park
You will take Route 33 to Cachi. You will go through the spectacular Valle de Lerma, the Quebrada de Escoipe, and you will discover amazing landscapes in the Encantado Valley. As you drive, you will also have the opportunity to tour the Los Cardones National Park and admire the amazing cactus. Finally you will reach Cachi, a small town with a quiet and pleasant environment.
Day 13: From Cachi to Cafayate
From the Calchaquíes valleys to the vineyards of Cafayate
You will take the route from Cachi and Cafayate and you will enjoy the spectacular landscapes with colorful mountains, hills, meadows and isolated villages. Molinos is one of the most beautiful villages in the Calchaquíes Valleys. Upon arrival, you will discover the city of Cafayate and visit a winery to taste the famous ”torrontés” wines, typical of this region.
Day 14: On the return to Salta
Touring the Quebrada de las Conchas
Today you will go back to Salta. On the way, you can make many stops to enjoy the views of the incredible Quebrada de Las Conchas and you will appreciate the beauty of these spectacular rock formations carved by erosion and winds, such as the Devil’s Throat, El Fraile, The Obelisk and The Castles.
Day 15: Welcome to Jujuy
Exploring the Quebrada de Humahuaca and Purmamarca
You will drive along Route 9 towards the province of Jujuy. You will have the opportunity to go through the beginning of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, and you will arrive at Purmamarca, a very traditional village, located at the foot of the famous Cerro de los 7 colores.
Recommendation: In the afternoon, we suggest visiting Salinas Grandes, the famous salt desert located at more than 4100 meters above sea level.
Day 16: Exploring the Quebrada de Humahuaca and Purmamarca
Purmamarca, Tilcara, Pucará (archaeological site) and Humahuaca
In the morning you will discover the Quebrada de Humahuaca and its small villages, this spectacular valley was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You will be able to know the colorful markets of each small town, including those of Tilcara and Pucará (archaeological site), and then the town of Humahuaca.
Recommendation: At the end of the afternoon, we recommend going through the magnificent Hornocal viewpoint.
Day 17: Welcome to Puerto Iguazú
Flight to Puerto Iguazú and free day
You will return to Salta airport where you will return your rental car and take a flight to Puerto Iguazú. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Free afternoon to enjoy the surroundings of the hotel or tour the city.
Recommendation: In the afternoon, you can visit the animal shelter Güra Oga, located near the hotel, it is a veterinary clinic and rehabilitation center for injured wild animals. We also recommend the point of view ”the Argentinean landmark” of the 3 borders between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Day 18: Welcome to the Iguazú National Park
Touring the Iguazú Falls (Argentine side)
You will be transferred in a small group to Iguazú National Park with your guide. After touring the catwalks and enjoy of each point of view, you will board a boat to navigate at under the falls.
Recommendation: Remember to bring a raincoat and clothes to get changed because you’ll probably get quite wet in this wonderful experience!
Day 19: Welcome to the Iguazú National Park
Touring the Iguazú Falls (Brazilian side) and Bird Park
You will visit the Iguazú National Park on the Brazilian side and you will be able to enjoy an exceptional panoramic view of almost all the jumps and with a great approach to the Garganta del Diablo.
On the way back, you will have a stop to visit the Parque das Aves, an amazing natural park where you can discover the local fauna while walking on its trails. You will be able to see birds (mainly parrots and toucans), butterflies, reptiles, and some mammals.
Day 20: Return to Buenos Aires
Transfer to the hotel and free night
You’ll be transferred to the Puerto Iguazú airport to take your flight to Buenos Aires. You’ll be transferred to your hotel in the neighborhood of San Telmo.
You’ll have a free night to discover the city.
Day 21: End of the trip
After breakfast you will be transferred to the international airport according to your flight schedules.
The Best of Argentina begins in Buenos Aires, you can visit the neighborhood of Palermo and enjoy the natural charm of forests and lakes, museums, art galleries, the cultural offer and local cuisine.
This trip continues towards the Southern Patagonia: Calafate. You will have a 4×4 excursion and enjoy the views of Lake Argentino, you will visit a prehistoric archaeological site and you will have a patagonian dinner in a cave. You will have a field day in a typical ranch with a barbecue and discover the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Finally, you will sail through the Upsala Canal, visit Estancia Cristina and do a mini trekking through Cañadón de los Fósiles.
The tour continues by your own time with a rental car, you will take the route from El Calafate to El Chaltén, until you reach the city of trekking, to get the best views of Mount Fitz Roy.
The adventure continues by car to San Carlos de Bariloche, a city surrounded by mountains and forests, on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, to advance towards the spectacular Road of the Seven Lakes.
You will return to Bariloche and take a flight to Salta. Once there, you will take the route to discover Calchaquí Valleys, Los Cardones National Park, Quebrada de las Conchas, Cachi, Cafayate and its vineyards. Finally you will discover Jujuy, Quebrada de Humahuaca, Purmamarca and the salt desert from the Salinas Grandes.
Then you will discover the flora and fauna of the Iguazu National Park – on the Argentinean and Brazilian side – and you will sailing at the foot of the Iguazu Waterfalls.
The trip ends in Buenos Aires, you will have your last free night to enjoy the city.
- 20 nights accommodation in a double room.
- Breakfasts included in all hotels.
- Meals when “included” are mentioned.
- Guided tours and mentioned excursions, with english / spanish speaking guide if french is not mentioned.
- Navigation at the foot of the Iguazu Falls.
- Transfers to the airport (in private service when mentioned).
- Entrances to the National Parks.
- Meals (except when mentioned) and additional staff.
- Air transport (national and international), optional.
- Excursions indicated as optional.
At Mater we know that accommodation is much more than a place to sleep. It is an opportunity to experience the local culture. Because of this, our itineraries are designed to stay in local hotels and, whenever possible, have an experience in a family home.
The published price is in standard hotels, but we have options in superior and luxury hotels. We work with charming bed and breakfast, luxurious estancias, and comfortable houses.
At Mater we always search for alternative activities to those usually chosen by large groups of tourists so that you can have more intimate and authentic experiences, without missing out on the most emblematic places in Argentina.
In this case, you’ll visit the most amazing destinations in our country from north to south in three weeks, and you’ll discover the beautiful variety of landscapes and cultures that Argentina has to offer. You’ll have the opportunity to travel northern and southern Argentinian routes at your own rhythm and to be amazed with the incredible landscapes that surround them.
On top of our general sustainability policies (see here), there are some specific sustainable actions we take in this particular tour.
In El Calafate you’ll participate on a 4×4 excursion to visit a Pre-Tehuelche archeological site, and this day will end with an amazing dinner in a cave with a small group of travelers and and a guide that specializes in local culture, getting a unique perspective and a culturally enriching experience. You’ll also visit a local estancia that still works as one (not only for touristic purposes) and learn actively about the different activities they practise, such as sheep shearing. By doing this, we create an atmosphere of cultural exchange and you’ll get to know the Patagonian pioneers’ customs and their agricultural and breeding practices. You will reach the Perito Moreno glacier through an unconventional navigation, arriving at the catwalks when the groups of tourists have already left and consequently helping to prevent overtourism. By doing this, we also get unique views and reaching the glacier will be an experience itself.
Next, some days with intense trekking await, where you’ll get to appreciate the Upsala Channel in the Estancia Cristina. You’ll also see the amazing Cañadón de los Fósiles. Your trekking activities will continue in El Chaltén, known as Argentina’s “trekking capital”. Here you’ll have multiple trails that you will be able to travel freely to appreciate the well known Mount Fitz Roy, the Torre Hill, the Torre Lake And the Laguna de los Tres.
In the Northwest we offer a trip that helps decentralize tourism by visiting places that aren’t usually included in more classic tours to this province. This gives smaller communities, that aren’t frequently visited by international tourism and have a great cultural value, an opportunity to work and develop independently, as well as the possibility to enrich their culture through mutual exchange with visitors. By touring the area on your own and by car, you’ll be able to stop and appreciate the landscapes anytime.
Buenos Aires – El Calafate: 3h flight
El Calafate – El Chaltén: 3hs on route
El Calafate – Bariloche: 1.45h flight (if it’s direct)
San Carlos de Bariloche – Villa La Angostura: 1.20hs on route
Villa La Angostura – San Martín de los Andes: 2hs on route
Bariloche – Salta: between 6 and 7h flight (depending on the duration of stopovers)
Salta City – Cachi : 4hs on route
Cachi – Cafayate : 4hs on route
Salta – Cafayate: 3.30hs on Route 68
Ciudad de Salta – Purmamarca : 3hs on route
Purmamarca – Tilcara : 0.30hs on route
Salta – Iguazú: 2.10h flight
Iguazú – Buenos Aires: 1.50h flight
We suggest that you take this trip either on October, November or March, given that the best time to visit Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is between October and March, but from December till the last days of February is the Northwestern rainy season.
The weather in Patagonia changes constantly, so there can be a lot of wind and and low temperatures, even during the summer. In El Calafate and El Chaltén, the average annual temperature is 7.5ºC (45.5ºF). January is the warmest month and the temperature during the day is about 15ºC (59ºF). In Bariloche the average annual temperature is 8ºC (46.6ºF), sometimes reaching -2ºC (28.4ºF) in winter and 22ºC (71.6ºF) in summer.
The city of Salta, located on a valley, has an average temperature of 10ºC (50ºF) during the winter, and 20ºC (68ºF) during the summer, with a rainy season between December and February. In the rest of the province, temperatures vary according to altitude. For example, in the Puna region there is an elevated thermal amplitude with cold mornings and nights and more pleasant temperatures during the day. In Cachi and Cafayate the weather is warm during the summer, with an average temperature of 28ºC (82.4ºF), long and sunny days, and cooler nights. In winter, the average temperature drops to 15ºC (59ºF) during the day. In the Quebrada de Humahuaca the maximum average temperature during the summer is 23ºC (73.4ºF) with long and sunny days and cooler nights. In winter, temperatures drop to 16ºC (60.8ºF) during the day.
Misiones (province where you’ll find the well known Iguazú Falls) is one of the rainiest and most humid areas in the country. From May to September (autumn and winter) temperatures are quite pleasant, between 15ºC (59ºF) and 25ºC (77ºF), which is why this is an ideal time to come visit them! The summer is hotter, with temperatures that go above 35ºC (95ºF).
There are daily direct flights between all the cities visited in this tour, expect for Bariloche and Santa and, according to the season, El Calafate and Bariloche. Stopovers are usually either in Buenos Aires or Córdoba.
All cities visited are safe but, just like in any tourist place, we suggest that you pay attention to your personal belongings, especially in places crowded with tourists, such as the Perito Moreno sidewalks or the Iguazú Falls. In Buenos Aires we suggest that you don’t have your phones and cameras permanently in display, avoid dark and lonely streets (especially at night) and avoid wearing flashy jewelry.
In Patagonia, each region has its own specialties. In El Calafate you cannot miss the Patagonian lamb and the “frutos del bosque”, a variety of berries such as cassis, blackberries, rosa mosqueta or teh calafate! You can find these in desserts, spirits or marmalades.
The Northwest is definitely one of the most gastronomically diverse areas in Argentina due to the coexistence of different cultures. We strongly suggest that you try the most typical meals like tamales, locro, empanadas, cabrito casseroles, and more!
The unique gastronomy in the Puerto Iguazú area is a mix between guaraní traditions and Paraná flavors. Here you can find one of the most important fishing areas in Argentina and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy river fish such as the dorados, surubíes, bogas, pacúes and sábalos. The “locro norteño” is also worth mentioning. It has meat, corn, pumpkin and cassava. The “mbeyú” or “torta frita”, the “chipá”, the “polenta correntina” and the Paraguayan soup (which is, despite its name, a cornmeal bread with cheese, onions and spices), are also great local meals to try! Furthermore, while talking about this region we cannot forget to mention one of the most characteristic Argentine traditions, especially strong in this area: the “mate”.