Home >> Mara Tour to Argentina, Chile - Itinerary

Enquire About This Tour Code BCS Mara

Duration: 12 Days Route: El Calafate to Santiago Style: Overland Tours Price: US$2,239.00

Argentina, Patagonia, Chile

A short adventure through the stunning Lakes Districts of Chile and Argentina to the vast windswept plains of Patagonia.

The tour that we operate in the reverse direction is Mara (BSC).

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 to 2 - Arrive El Calafate

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.

El Calafate is located on the southern shore of Lake Argentino. El Calafate is our base to visit the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier. With a height of around 60 metres and a front of five kilometres (three miles), covering some 250 square kilometres the glacier is an incredible sight and is one of the few glaciers in the world to be growing slightly, not decreasing in size as most glaciers do. Named after Argentine explorer Francisco Merino, the glacier is coloured in a variety of hues from blue to grey to white and continually creaks and cracks. Advancing at a speed of around two metres per day, it can put on a spectacular show when giant chunks of ice at the outermost edges crack under tremendous pressure, rupture and crash into the water – a process known as calving. You will have the chance to walk around some paths and terraces where you can get some great views of the glacier.

Included Excursions: Perito Moreno Glacier tour
Optional Excursions: Regional Museum of El Calafate – free • Boat trip on Lago Argentino – ARS120 • Reserva Muncipal Laguna Nimez, bird watching – small entry fee

Day 3 to 4 - El Chaltén

We travel on through the windswept Patagonian countryside stopping enroute at the small town of El Chaltén, our base for visiting the Fitzroy National Park, which is renowned for its spectacular scenery and a great place for trekking. Options include half or full day treks to Lago Capri or various other trails to take in the views of the Fitzroy Massif and the many glaciers.

Included Excursions: Fitzroy National Park
Approximate Travel Time: Four Hours
Optional Excursions: Fly-fishing – from ARS900 • Horse riding – from ARS450 • Hiking • Ice trekking – from ARS450

Day 5 to 5 - Perito Moreno

Our next destination is the multicultural town of Perito Moreno, where we overnight to break up the journey.

Approximate Travel Time: Full drive day

Day 6 to 7 - Bariloche

Our next stop is the resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche, also known simply as Bariloche, on the shores of Lake Nahuel Haupi. This town is a famous winter ski resort, but it also has a great deal to offer during other seasons and is a favourite holiday spot for Argentines. Originally built by Swiss and German immigrants in the Alpine style, here you will find charming Swiss-style chalets, numerous chocolate shops and even St. Bernard dogs with brandy barrels around their necks.

With the towering peaks of the Andes to the west, the glistening lake in front and the Patagonian steppe to the east, outdoor adventures abound in Bariloche, with popular options including mountain biking, horse riding or a bus ride along the lake with an opportunity to take in the sensational scenery from the cable cars.

If you’re very (very!) lucky you may spot the legendary Nahuelito, a giant creature which the indigenous Mapuche people believe lives in the depths of the lake. There haven’t yet been any recorded sightings to support this story, which predates the Loch Ness Monster, however despite that, the Buenos Aires Zoo took it seriously enough to make a trip to the lake to search for evidence in 1922.

Approximate Travel Time: Full drive day
Optional Excursions: Museo de la Patagonia – ARS20 donation • Cerro Catedral ski lifts – from ARS155 • Mountain bike hire – ARS100 • Circuito Chico, a 60km circuit of nearby attractions which can be completed by local bus • Lakeside beaches – free • Hiking in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi

Day 8 to 10 - Pucón

Heading north through vast vineyards, farmlands and pine-forests we come to Salto del Laja, or Laja Falls, where we stop to take photos above the impressive waterfalls which drop 47 metres over the rocks below. In addition to the main, most frequently photographed waterfall, there are also three other smaller falls nearby.

We continue to the Lake District of Chile and the small resort town of Pucón on Lake Villarrica, overlooked by the perfect cone-shaped Villarrica Volcano. The whole area, known as "El Camino de los Siete Lagos" is surrounded by lakes, mountains, forests, rivers and waterfalls. These natural attractions offer many exciting optional activities such as trekking to the top of the active volcano, white water rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking and water sports on the lake such as sailing, kayaking, sport fishing and water skiing. We have plenty of free time to take advantage of some of the great activities on offer or simply relax.

Approximate Travel Time: Full drive day

Day 11 to 11 - Santiago

The capital and economic centre of Chile, Santiago is a fast growing city encircled by the peaks of the Andes Mountains to the east and a smaller range of coastal mountains known as the Cordillera to the west. With its fountains, parks and imposing neoclassical buildings standing side-by-side with glossy office skyscrapers, Santiago is a modern city very much in touch with its colonial past.

Pedro de Valdivia established Santiago in 1541 but not much remains of its original glory, except Santa Lucia Hill where the original fortress was constructed. From the top of the hill here are excellent views of the city below. However, for even better photo opportunities, take a funicular railway to the top of San Cristobal where the Statue of the Virgin overlooks the capital and the distant Andes. At this very pleasant viewing area you’ll find wine-tasting facilities and a couple of beautifully situated swimming pools. Much of the city is best explored on foot, particularly neighbourhoods like Bellavista which features outdoor markets. In the Plaza Constitución at the Palacio de la Moneda you can see the changing of the guard on most days. There is an interesting culture to explore in Santiago, with chic cafés, impressive museums, excellent restaurants and great shopping opportunities to enjoy.

While in Santiago you can take an optional excursion to Chile’s cultural capital, the port of Valparaíso. Take a funicular elevator from the flat town centre up the hill to explore the labyrinth of streets and cobblestoned alleyways of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Approximate Travel Time: Full drive day

Day 12 to 12 - Depart Santiago

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

Day by Day Itinerary

Day Activity Country Meals Single Room
Day 1 El Calafate Argentina L
Day 2 El Calafate Patagonia B
Day 3 El Chaltén B
Day 4 El Chaltén B
Day 5 Perito Moreno BL
Day 6 Bariloche BL
Day 7 Bariloche B
Day 8 Pucón Chile BL
Day 9 Pucón B
Day 10 Pucón B
Day 11 Santiago BL
Day 12 Santiago B

(B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner included)

For tours that include the option of a single supplement, a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available.

The detailed and day by day itineraries above are provided in good faith and it is our intention to adhere to the published route. Changes may be made before or during your tour for operational or safety reasons or to incorporate improvements. Impromptu changes may also occur whilst you are travelling as a result of one-off circumstances such as an excursion being closed on a particular day, weather conditions or transport. Delays are rare but occur occasionally and for this reason and the reasons above this itinerary should be considered as a guide only. Published transport times are approximations and may vary depending on local conditions.

Customer Reviews

Elizabeth

"One of the best ways to do South America! Stunning sights, unbelievably knowledge tour and local guides and time well spent with lifelong friends. An experience like no other."

Received March 2014

Click here to read more Reviews

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