THE BEAUTY OF PATAGONIA
February 3rd to 11th, 2018
Few places in the world have captivated the imagination of explorers and travelers like Patagonia has. Almost 500 years ago, the first Europeans sailed through on four ships captained by Ferdinand Magellan. But this vast region was one of the last on the planet to be settled and remains pristine and sparsely populated, protected by the harsh, cold climate. Sailors from around the world continue to test their luck and courage in these harrowing straits. Mountaineers stage elaborate excursions through rugged territories, only to be beaten back, like their predecessors, by unrelenting storms. What seduces so many people to Patagonia is the idea of the “remote” — indeed, the very notion of traveling to the End of the World. It is a seduction, but also an illusion. After all, on a globe, everywhere is both the center and the end of the Earth at the same time. And people do live here — very few people, but those who do are hardy survivors.
A harsh, wind-whipped climate and Patagonia’s geological curiosities have produced some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the world: the granite towers of Torres del Paine and Mount Fitz Roy; the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields with their colossal glaciers (the greatest masses of ice and sweet water reserves outside the polar caps); the flat steppe broken by multicolored sedimentary bluffs; and the emerald fjords and lakes that glow an impossible sea-foam blue. In the end, this is what compels most travelers to plan a trip down here. Beyond landscapes, the region’s cowboys (called gauchos in Argentina and baqueanos in Chile) lend a certain air of romanticism. Top the natural allure with an excellent array of new lodges and guiding services, and it’s more appealing, and easier than ever, to journey to the “end of the world.”
Day 1: February 3rd: Arrival to Buenos Aires
You will be met at the airport and taken to the Hotel Club Frances in the Recoleta neighborhood (one of the most interesting and eclectic areas of the city).
Day 2: February 4th: Buenos Aires
This morning we will have time to rest and have free time.
After lunch we will explore this world-famous city.
In the evening we will have dinner including a tango show.
Buenos Aires is the capital and most populous city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent’s southeastern coast. “Buenos Aires” can be translated as “fair winds” or “good airs”. The Greater Buenos Aires urban area, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 17 million. It is known for its preserved Spanish/European-style architecture and rich cultural life. Buenos Aires is a multicultural city, home to multiple ethnic and religious groups. Several languages are spoken in the city, in addition to Spanish, contributing to its cultural diversity. In the last 150 years the city, and the country in general, has been a major recipient of millions of immigrants from all over the world, making it a melting pot where ethnic groups live together making it one of the most culturally rich countries in South America.
Day 3: February 5th: Tour of Buenos Aires
During the day we will visit some of the most important and interesting sites in the city: La Boca – a traditional Buenos Aires neighborhood, Caminito – the neighborhood famous for tango dancing.
Our lunch will be at Restaurante La Brigada.
After lunch we will visit Palermo. Abasto Tango, Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada, Catedral, and Café Tortoni.
This evening we will have dinner in a local restaurant and visit a milonga.
A milonga is a social event or location for tango dancing. More simply, milongas are tango dance parties. People who dance tango at milongas are known as milongueros. Milonga is a musical genre that originated in the Río de la Plata areas of Argentina and Uruguay. It was very popular in the 1870s and remains popular today.
Day 4: February 6th: Buenos Aires – Calafate
We will transfer to the Buenos Aires airport for the flight to Calafate, where we will stay at the Hotel Xelena.
After lunch at the hotel, we will start our afternoon with a tour of Calafate City, and then a beautiful panoramic ride in the surrounding mountains, with great views of the valley, the Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier.
El Calafate is a town near the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It’s mainly known as the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, home to the massive Perito Moreno Glacier, whose ever-shifting icy landscape is popular for hiking and sightseeing. The history of El Calafate began in the first decades of the twentieth century. The town was officially founded in 1927 by the government of Argentina to promote settlement, but it was the creation of nearby Perito Moreno National Park in 1937 that sparked growth and the building of better road access. El Calafate experiences a cold semi-arid climate with cool to warm, very dry summers and cool to cold, slightly wetter winters. The city’s extremes of cold and heat are moderated by the influence of the very large lake – Lago Argentino. The waterfront of the city is located on a large shallow bay that is often frozen in the winter, allowing residents to ice skate. The highest temperature recorded was 87.3 F, while the lowest recorded temperature was 1.4 F on July 27, 2016. We will be there during their summer months.
Day 5: February 7th: Calafate: Pasarelas Perito Moreno
The Perito Moreno Glacier is a natural wonder that rises 190ft. above sea level and has 3.1 miles of water front that freezes the atmosphere. The Glacier was declared a Humankind Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is considered the 8th Natural Wonder. It is one of the most imposing glaciers on earth It is surrounded by forest and mountains in Los Glaciares National Park, in the Patagonia region of Argentina which also has 356 other glaciers. Perito Moreno Glacier is impressive due to its extension and height, its easy access, continuous advance and loud loosening of huge icebergs, and the spectacular rupture of the wall of ice. We will follow the paths that lead us to face the glacier and see different impressive views, while continuous detachments and constant ice breaking noises ring in our ears. Then for about an hour we will motor in a small boat between the floating ice to see different views of the ice walls. We will have the chance to explore and discover first-hand the absolute beauty and grandeur of the Perito Moreno Glacier.
Day 6: February 8th; Los Glaciares National Park, Uppsala and Spegazzini Glaciers
After breakfast we will board a 28 passenger ship at La Soledad dock in Bahia Tranquila. Sailing northwest on Lago Argentino we will see Paraje Punta Bandera, Punta Avellaneda, Boca del Diablo and Upsala Glacier.
Then we will sail southward towards Canal Spegazzini and Spegazzini Glacier.
We will have a beautiful gourmet lunch aboard the ship.
After lunch will will dock at Puesto de las Vacas for a guided hike. Finally we will return back through Brazo Norte to the La Soledad dock.
Return to the hotel for dinner and rest.
Los Glaciares National Park
The Patagonian Ice Field is, after Antarctica, the largest concentration of ice on the planet. Its glaciers descend from 1,500 to 200m. above sea level enabling unique access and viewing of the glaciers. Los Glaciares National Park offers a magnificent combination of forest, lakes, mountains, ice and steppes with over 200 glaciers. The most renowned glaciers being Spegazzini, rising 135m. above sea level and Uppsala covering an entire valley with an approximate extension of 765km2 and a length of 53km. We will sail on board a cruise ship around the channels that connect the Patagonian continental ice fields. The vessel accesses the ice-floes barrier lying close to the main wall of the Uppsala Glacier and the Spegazzini Glacier.
Day 7: February 9th: Calafate to Ushuaia
In the morning we will fly from Calafate airport to Ushuaia, then transfer to hotel Las Hayas.
In the afternoon we will do a short tour of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. While there are settlements farther south, the only one of any notable size is Puerto Williams, a Chilean settlement of some 2,000 residents. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel. On average the city experiences 146 days of precipitation a year, with many cloudy and foggy days, averaging 206 cloudy days a year. Despite receiving only 21in. average annual precipitation, Ushuaia is very humid with an average humidity of 77%. The city’s climate is influenced by Antarctica, and the duration of daylight varies significantly, from more than 17 hours in summer to just over 7 hours in winter.
History: The Selk’nam Indians, also called the Ona, first arrived in Tierra del Fuego about 10,000 years ago. The southern group of the Selk’nam, the Yaghan (also known as Yámana), occupied what is now Ushuaia, living in continual conflict with the northern inhabitants of the island. For much of the latter half of the 19th century, the eastern portion of Tierra del Fuego was populated by a substantial majority of nationals who were not Argentine citizens, including a number of British subjects. Ushuaia was founded informally by British missionaries. The British ship HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy, first reached the channel on January 29, 1833, during its maiden voyage surveying Tierra del Fuego. Charles Darwin was onboard the ship. Afterwards the ship sailed to the Galapagos Islands where Darwin was inspired to write “The Origin of the Species”.
During the first half of the 20th century, the city centered around a prison built by the Argentine government to increase the Argentine population and to ensure Argentine sovereignty over Tierra del Fuego. Escape from Tierra del Fuego was similarly difficult, although two prisoners managed to escape into the surrounding area for a few weeks. The prison population thus became forced colonists who spent much of their time building the town with timber from the forest around the prison. They also built a railway to the settlement, now a tourist attraction known as the End of the World Train, the southernmost railway in the world. The prison operated until 1947, when President Juan Perón closed it by executive order in response to the many reports of abuse and unsafe practices. After the closure, it became a part of the Navy Base, functioning as a storage and office facility until the early 1990s. Later it was converted into the current Maritime Museum of Ushuaia.
The naval base at Ushuaia was engaged during the Falklands War in 1982. The Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano, subsequently sunk by the British Fleet, sailed from the Port of Ushuaia, where a memorial was erected in February 1996.
Day 8: February 10th: Beagle Channel & Visit to the Penguins Island
We will board the motor yacht Les Eclaires, navigating southwest to enter in the Beagle Channel, where will stop at Birds Island to see local species such as imperial cormoran, skúas, giant southern petrels, and the black eyebrow albatross, then at Sea Lion´s Island we will see South American sea lions, and South American fur seals. We will continue on to the Eclaires Archipelago to see its famous light house, and continue through the Beagle Channel viewing the Patagonian landscape including Puerto Williams, the Chilean village. We will disembark at Estancia Haberton, a very old Hacienda, that still preserves its original farming activities.
From there we will take a smaller motor boat for a short trip to Martillo Island where we will walk through a Magallanic and Papuas penguin colony, which will be a very special encounter with this beautiful bird. Coming back to the Estancia we will have lunch, and visit the Acatushún Museum of marine mammals and birds. We will go back to Ushuaia by land enjoying the dramatic scenery of Patagonia.
Day 9: February 11th: Ushuaia – Buenos Aires.
We will take an early flight back to the airport in Buenos Aries.
Please make your all flight departures after 3:00pm.
$3,800 per person (double occupancy)
Single supplement: $1,600
Initial deposit of $1000 will confirm your space. Second payment of $1500 is due September 1st. Balance of $1300 is due December 1st, 2017.
Note: Wifi will be available in most of the locations.
Reservations: All reservations are subject to availability. For information about how to reserve your space and make your deposit for the journey, please contact Linda Leyerle at firstname.lastname@example.org. In Argentina, it is not possible to reserve rooms or park entrance fees without the traveler’s passport information. Linda will give you details about how to get that to us. Time is of the essence so please respond as soon as possible if you are interested in this journey.
Cost includes: Private tour bus or van for travel during the journey, all the breakfasts, 1 lunch (In the Glaciers-Patagonia) and 1 dinner (Tango Show), hotels, tips for restaurants and hotels, water during meals, transportation from airport in Buenos Aires, Calafate, Ushuaia, park entrance fees, local guide to share history and cultural information.
Cost does NOT include: Roundtrip international airfare to Buenos Aires, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, tips for the local guides and private bus driver, personal items, souvenirs. Please Note: Only 1 lunch and 1 dinner are INCLUDED in the cost of this journey. The other meals are to be paid by each traveler.
This journey is for individuals ready to have an educational/experiential experience. Persons with physical challenges may find this journey too difficult or uncomfortable. We recommend a visit with your doctor at least 6 weeks in advance of departure. No immunizations are required unless you will be entering Argentina from a country with Yellow Fever – in which case you will need a Yellow Fever immunization and be prepared to show proof. At times you will be near 4000ft. elevation.
No visas are required for most people entering Argentina (US, Canadian, EU, Australia and New Zealand citizens). If you have questions about this, please let Linda know. Your passport must be valid at least 6 months after the date of your return (May 5, 2018).
Once you have reserved your space, we will send you more information – packing lists, info about the country, etc. You will be fully prepared for the journey. Also, Linda is always available by email for any questions or concerns – whatever they may be.
Cancellations & Refunds: Due to availability of space on our journey and the time required to process trip reservations, your deposit will not be refundable if received after September 1st, 2017. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance in order to protect yourself in case extenuating circumstances force you to cancel your trip. Travelex or CSA are two respected possibilities.
Responsibilities: ANDEAN PATHS reserves the right to accept or reject any person as a participant at any time, and to make changes in the itinerary whenever deemed necessary for the comfort, convenience, and safety of our participants, and to cancel a journey at any time. In the event a journey is cancelled, ANDEAN PATHS shall have no responsibility beyond the refund of monies paid to it by program participants as listed. By registering, the participant agrees that neither ANDEAN PATHS nor their affiliates shall be liable for any damages, loss or expense occasioned by any act or omission by any supplier providing services to any program participant. Reasons that Andean Paths might cancel a program include, but are not limited to, issues around safety due to impassable roads, protests in Argentina, or similar unforeseen events.
Information from Wikipedia and other Google sources.