Buenos Aires is one of the largest cities in the world which is sometimes referred to as ‘the Paris of the south’. It is modern and dynamic but manages to retain considerable charm and traditions. The endearing Recoleta district has tree-lined boulevards and elegance whilst the refurbished docklands area of Puerto Madero is now a thriving hubbub of restaurants, hotels and bars. The Sunday antiques market in San Telmo is highly recommended.
There are some beautiful estancias within easy reach of Buenos Aires which can be visited either as a day trip from the capital or for a stay of a few days. They range from traditional working farms to luxurious manor houses with extensive grounds. The 750-acre estancia El Ombu (above) dates from 1880 and is located 80 miles from Buenos Aires near San Antonio de Areco. The estancia has 9 guest rooms and a pool with solarium. Activities include riding and cycling.
The Iguazu Falls really must be seen to be believed. 275 waterfalls make up the Iguazu Falls and there are paths to follow on both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls. The falls are fullest in the wet season (December to February). If there is time we recommend a visit to the nearby Itaipu Dam.
The Ibera marshlands cover 13,000 km² (over 5,000 square miles) with 60 lakes and an abundance of wildlife including black caimen, capybara, marsh deer, otters, anacondas and rhea as well as 350 species of birds. We recommend combining Ibera with the Iguazu Falls and the Jesuit Missions of San Ignacio near Posadas.
San Carlos de Bariloche is located on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and makes an ideal base for exploring the lake district. Activities include riding, cycling, fishing, kayaking , climbing and skiing (June-Sept). We recommend the cable car trip to Cerro Otto for wonderful views from the revolving restaurant. Bariloche is also well known for its chocolate.
The spectacular Lakes Crossing from Bariloche to Puerto Montt in Chile involves a great combination of journeys by road and water across different lakes (bus-boat-bus-boat-bus-boat-bus). The journey can be completed in a day or over two days if you prefer to savour the experience with a stop in Peulla. Schedules subject to change due to volcanic activity.
Mendoza is at the heart Argentina’s wine industry which has gained a strong international reputation over the last 25 years. The region is responsible for 70% of Argentine production. We recommend a visit to Parque San Martin, a carefully designed park with hundreds of species of plants. Our wine tours usually visit two bodegas to learn traditional and modern production processes. Other activities include cycling, cooking and white-water rafting.
Puerto Madryn is the gateway for travel to the Valdes Peninsula, home to elephant seals, armadillos, rheas, sea lions, guanacos and Patagonian hares. The whale-watching season runs from June to November. Between September and April we recommend a visit to the Punta Tombo rookery, south of Trelew, breeding ground to some 500,000 Magellan penguins, making it the largest colony in South America. Good for cormorants, petrels, terns & skuas too.
Posadas is the capital of the Argentine province of Misiones and stands on the south bank of the Rio Parana, opposite Encarnacion in Paraguay. The ruins of the Jesuit missions can be easily visited from here. San Ignacio Mini was the largest, founded in 1696, with a population of some 4,000 Guarani Indians, controlled by the Jesuit priests until their expulsion in 1767. Loreto, founded in 1610 and Santa Ana, founded in 1633 are both nearby.
The Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colours) in the Humahuaca Gorge near Purmamarca and the giant cacti of Los Cordornes National Park are just two of the attractions in the North West. We also recommend Cachi, Tafi del Valle, Cafayate and the Quebrada de las Flechas with curious rock formations carved by erosion by winds and rain. Salta itself is an attractive colonial city. Railway enthusiasts will enjoy the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds).
El Calafate is the base from which to visit Perito Moreno. We recommend a trip to the Upsala and Oneli glaciers too. If there is time, we suggest a visit to the Glaciarum ice museum with its Glaciobar where the bar, tables, seating and walls are all made of ice. We can combine El Calafate with Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia.
The Perito Moreno glacier is constantly changing as enormous blocks of ice break off and crash into the lake below. Unlike most glaciers, which are receding, Perito Moreno is advancing. If conditions allow, we thoroughly recommend the opportunity to take a walk on the glacier with crampons.
Ushuaia is located on the northern shore of the Beagle Channel through which Charles Darwin and Captain Robert FitzRoy sailed in 1832. Ushuaia is an ideal base from which to explore Tierra del Fuego National Park and is the starting point for trips to Cape Horn, Antartica and through the Magellan Strait to Punta Arenas in Chile.
Australis operates three or four night cruises from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas between October and March. They also offer a three night journey from Ushuaia which visits Garibaldi and Pia Glaciers, Wulaia Bay and Cape Horn. The Via Australis has 64 cabins and was built in 2005. The Stella Australis has 100 cabins and was constructed in 2010. Early booking is essential.