Patagonia: Epic hiking adventure in Argentina + Iguazu Falls Extension

Buenos Aires, Argentina

KS
Karina Safari
  • Email address verified
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40 reviews
Mar 10 - 17, 2023
Group size: 10 - 13
Patagonia: Epic hiking adventure in Argentina + Iguazu Falls Extension
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Karina Safari
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
40 reviews

$NaN
Mar 10 - 17, 2023
Group size: 10 - 13

About this trip

Join the Ultimate Patagonia Adventure!  If you love hikes and outdoors this trip is just for you!  Enjoy most incredible views as you hike in the Fitz Roy area of Argentinian Patagonia, walk on the surface of giant Perito Moreno glacier, marvel the beauty of the legendary Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) - a home to Magellanic penguin colony on a Beagle Channel.  Opt for a 2 -days extension to watch the dramatic Iguazu Falls, the largest in South America and the 3rd largest on Earth!

Highlights

💃🏼 Buenos Aires, Start adventure from the city of Tango, try the best cultural and gastronomy experiences in a company of knowledgeable local guide

🏔 El Chalten: Take 2 epic day-hikes on the foothills of Mt. Fitz Roy 

🧊 El Calafate:. Experience the wonders of Los Glaciares National Park,  Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world's largest. Walk on it's surface of iceberg in crampons is doable for everyone. Taste a shot of whiskey with a glacier ice as a reward! :-)

🔥 Ushuaia: Reach the end of the Earth. Explore Tierra del Fuego national park on foot and kayaks.

🐧 Walk with Penguins on Martillo island on the legenday Beagle Channel  

💦 Iguazu Falls 2-days extension (optional, at additional cost):  take a boat to the base of the dramatic waterfalls and explore the nearby jungle 

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✈️  Trip start/end: Buenos Aires, Argentina

😫 Level of difficulty:  Intermediate, no special climbing skills required

🏔 Participant's  Physical fitness:  Good. Previous hiking experience is preferred

🏡  Comfort Lodging:  Hotel in historic neighborhood of Buenos Aires, chalet-style lodges in Patagonia (twin sharing rooms w/private bathroom)

🚙  Included transportation: private van, boats, canoe & zodiac boat rides

🍭  Kids:  14`+ (assisted by parent, previous hiking experience is must)


Please read before you book this trip:

Level of difficulty:  Intermediate to Upper Intermediate.  Be prepared for 2 days of relatively strenuous hikes in the Fitz Roy (El Chalten) region, which are undoubtedly the highlights of this trip: 8-9 hours hiking daily on a steep uphill/downhill rocky and sometimes muddy terrain. 

Trails are well marked . Distance of each hike is 12mi on average with altitude gain approx. 2000-3000 feet (pls see more detailed info in the itinerary below). Good physical fitness is required. 


If you have any health issues, previous injuries, pre-existing health conditions or you are in a process of recovering after a surgery, please notify Organizer before departure.  Pregnant women are NOT allowed for hiking activities in El Chalten and not allowed for Perito Moreno Mini-trek (according to the rules of local provider company). Age limit for Perito Moreno Mini-Trek is up to 65 y.o.


Altitudes:  The good thing that both Argentinian treks are at the LOW ELEVATION, there is not risk of altitude sickness.  Altitudes range between 600 to 4000 feet. Altitude gain on the day treks hikes is 2000 feet average, which is doable for the healthy and relatively fit person.

Weather

Hiking season:  March is the end of Summer - beginning of Fall in Patagonia, a time of the year when the landscape start having golden-reddish and yellowish shades. This is an ideal time for hiking and photography opportunities.


Weather in Patagonia (El Chalten, El Calafate, Tierra del Fuego Ushuaia) in March:

It is characterized by an unstable trans-Andean climate, with very strong winds.  March being the end of the summer season, is still the warm time of the year, with average day  temperatures of 12-23°C (54-75°F), with a low of 1°C (33°F).  Rain and strong wind is very possible any time all year round. Always come prepared for the 4 seasons. As Patagonia climate is very unstable, rain and shine can happen in the same day.


Weather in Buenos Aires and Iguasu Falls in March:  Warm. The average daily temperatures are around 80-85F (26-30C). The probability of rain is still high. March to May is the best season to visit the Iguasu Falls.

What to pack for the trip

PATAGONIA (El Chalten, El Calafate, Tierra del Fuego)


Outfit and gear for hiking:

- Lightweight insulated down-jacket (evenings and mornings can be chilly)

- Windproof/Waterproof jacket for hiking (preferably gore-tex to keep you dry in case of downpours). 

- Hiking pants that are breathable and light are a must, as these will dry out quickly after rain and will keep you from getting too warm when hiking long distances. 

- Rain-poncho - suggested, if your hiking jacket doesn’t provide enough water-resistance

- Fleece jacket or hoody

- A change of quick-dry T-shirts, including long-sleeved (not cotton, as it does not dry as quickly, or keep you as warm during active days)

- Woolen or fleece beanie

- Sun hat

- Gloves (preferably water-resistant ) 

- High-ankle hiking socks (merino wool hiking socks will keep your feet extra comfortable and warm)

- High-ankle trekking boots. Good sturdy waterproof boots that have been well worn before the trip (to avoid blisters). If you have brand new boots, try them on hiking trails BEFORE the trip.

- Comfortable tennis shoes (a change after hiking, as you feet will need some rest)


Other gear & accessories:

- Backpack for daily hikes and excursions, (~28-35L), make sure it has enough space for all your daily kit: water, extra warm layer, sunscreen, a snack, sunblock, personal first-aid kit etc… 

- Backpack protection water-resistant cover (dry bag the size of your backpack)

- Sunglasses

- Sun block (UV50) + Lip balm 

- Water bottle/hydration system or camelback (min 1.5L) 

- Personal first aid Kit (Tylenol or ibuprofen, Imodium, band aids, eye drops, cough&sinus relief, any other personal medicines you can’t do without)

- Trekking poles - very suggested for your knees protection (we have 2 days of relatively steep hiking in El Chalten). Trekking poles are allowed into the checked baggage and not allowed in carry-on. You may rent trekking poles in El Chalten for additional cost in the local gear rental shop (subject to availability, sorry  we can't make an advance order for rent). 


Provided gear:

- Crampons for ice walk will be provided at no additional cost before the Glacier Mini-trek.


WHAT TO PACK FOR IGUASU FALLS:


- Comfortable Shoes: There are several trails, to it´s good to bring comfortable shoes, and if possible closed-toe athletic or tennis shoes, or some type of hiking shoes.

- Sunblock, Sunhat, Sunglasses

- Insect Repellant: it's important in subtropical jungle area, and there are mosquitoes and insects in the area. 

- Clothing: Wear a bathing suit and/or light clothing that you won’t mind getting wet. Some people bring a rain-poncho. A good idea would be to wear long sleeve and long pants as an additional protection against sunburn and mosquito bites.

- A lightweight quick-dry towel (optional), and some clothes for possible changes. The place is very wet

- A waterproof bag, so you can prevent your camera, lens, passport, and any other document, or item from getting wet on a boat tour. Be prepared to get soaked no matter what :)

- For photographers: if you are bringing professional photo-camera, bring wide angle Lens and telephoto Lens. Very useful for expansive landscape photos, especially for a waterfall as wide as Iguazu Falls. And, if you’re a wildlife lover, you’ll want telephoto lens to take photos of wild animals (there are parrots, toucans, and many other birds, coaties, monkeys etc)

Travel entry requirements in Argentina

The Argentinian border had reopened to fully vaccinated travelers with negative PCR test result.  A self-isolation is no longer required. All restrictions has been lifted however masks are still required on public transit.

More official info and updates: 

Entry requirements to Argentina:

1- Travel Insurance with COVID-19 medical coverage

2- Submit an electronic sworn statement within 48 hours before departure confirming vaccination status and absence of COVID-19 symptoms

Trip Cancellation Policy

In if the Trip departure is canceled by Organizer, the amount paid by Participant will be fully refundable;

If the trip is cancelled by Participant due to any personal reason, the following penalties will be applied: 

- Cancellation 90 or more days before departure - deposit is fully refundable

- Cancellation 89 to 55 calendar days before departure -  registration deposit is non-refundable

- Cancellation 54 to 31 calendar days before departure  – up to 50% of trip cost, including the registration deposit is non-refundable

- Cancellation 30 to 0 days before departure - trip cost is non-refundable

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance with COVID-19 medical coverage is mandatory to enter Argentina

We recommend World Nomads (www.worldnomads.com) or Generali Travel  Insurance (www.generalitravelinsurance.com/) as your insurance provider for active travels, although you can choose any other insurance company according to your own preferences. 


It's helpful to think about insurance covering you against 3 different types of event:

- A minor accident, incident or delay that disrupts your holiday and incurs an unexpected cost (e.g. flight delay, broken ankle, lost luggage).

- A major accident or event that requires emergency attention, evacuation and/or repatriation 

- Cancellation of your holiday by yourself, most likely in advance, as a result of poor health or the requirement to support a family member.

Luggage limits on domestic flights

We would recommend a medium sized not bulky suitcase for your travels.


Luggage allowance at Aerolineas Argentinas:


- Hand luggage 5kg - dimensions must not exceed 55 x 35 x 25cm (21.5 x 13.5 x 9in)

- Checked luggage: 15kg - dimensions must be less than 158cm (62in) for combined height + length + width. Excess luggage weight between 16 and 23kg is allowed with an extra fee.


Useful travel info:

MONEY & CURRENCY


The official currency of Argentina is the Argentine Peso, however, it's common to use US dollars when traveling in the country.


Pre-travel currency options

- Take some budget in US dollars with you in cash (for small pocket expenses, souvenirs, paying for your meals at the restaurants at group dinners, for tipping etc). 

- Bring notes in a mixture of 20,10, 5, 1s bills. Change can be hard to come by in Patagonia, so be sure to break your large notes whenever you can (sometimes smaller shops may not be able to sell you anything if you are trying to pay with a high note denomination). 

- Take two credit or debit cards with you (in case one doesn’t work) to withdraw local currency from ATMs and/or for payments: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted.

(!) Please be aware that you may be charged fees every time you use an ATM or pay with a credit card. Merchants often impose a 2-4% surcharge for paying with a card, which means paying in cash is often cheaper.


On arrival:

- There are ATMs in Buenos Aires international airport and in town as well

- At "Casa de Cambio" (street currency exchange kiosks) you can exchange some of your USD notes into local currency. The exchange rate in "Casa de Cambio" at the airport tends to be quite low. You need an ID to exchange US dollars. Sometimes you can exchange USD at hotel..


While traveling:

- All major towns Argentinian Patagonia have ATMs, but please note that El Calafate and El Chalten are notoriously problematic (there is only one in El Chalten and its always empty), so try to plan ahead and withdraw enough cash in Buenos Aires 

- Most restaurants in towns accept Visa/MasterCard/Amex, however, please be aware that cards are not usually accepted in more remote parts of Argentina, please stock up on some local currency before venturing into more remote areas

- Even if you intend to pay by card and/or withdraw local currency from an ATM, please ensure that you carry some US dollars cash as your backup currency as well


Budgeting (Meals):

As a rough guide, you should budget $45-60 USD per person per day for your lunch and dinner.


TIPPING:

It is at your discretion whether or not you choose to tip, however, if you do decide to tip, we generally suggest as a rule of thumb:

Meals at restaurants: 10% of your bill. Local Guides $3-5 USD per person per day for groups - this will be paid at the end of your tour/excursion to your guide.

ELECTRICITY & OUTLETS:

The Argentinian plug outlet usually has three flat prongs or 2 parallel round prongs. Please bring an adaptor. The voltage is 220V.


WIFI & CELLPHONE RECEPTION

Cellphone reception will be available in towns,  limited or non-existent whilst out on treks . 

Wifi will be available in hotels and in some public places in towns.

What’s included

  • Professional assistance
    Experienced Team Leader (Russian-English-Spanish speaking) on the entire trip
  • Ground transportation
    Airport transfers and private transport btw destinations (van)
  • Guided tours & hikes
    Local english-speaking guides
  • Standard Lodging
    Twin-sharing accomodatiion. Rooms with private bathroom and hot shower. Hotel in historic neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Charming alpine-style lodges in El Chalten, El Calafate, and Ushuaia
  • Admissions
    Sights of interest, national parks, ferry tickets included
  • All hikes & activities
    Guided tours: city-tour in Buenos Aires (Private), Perito Moreno mini-trek & viewpoints in EL Calafate (shared), Tierra del Fuego NP in Ushuaia (private), Penguin colony day-tour (shared)
  • Meals
    7 breakfasts, 5 packed lunches on trails and day-tours
  • Flights
    International (from $1200 USD round trip from SFO) , plus 3 domestic flights (~$600 USD)
  • Meals
    4 lunches and 5 dinners in towns. Allow a budget of ~$35-40USD per meal in a good restaurant
  • Travel insurance
    ~$80 USD per person for entire trip
  • Tips to local guides
    Optional
  • Iguazu Falls Extention
    Tour and flights not incl.
  • Extra nights in hotel
    Hotel in Buenos Aires before or after the tour

Available Packages

Early bird
Available until September 1, 20227 left
$4,125
Deposit: $1,400
Count me in!
Available until December 1, 20226 left
$4,355
Deposit: $1,400

Available options

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Argentina. Hola, Buenos Aires!

Welcome to Argentina, the home of Tango, Evita Peron and Diego Maradona! 

Arrival in Buenos Aires before noon. 

Meet at the airport on arrival btw 9:30-10AM. 

Airport pickup and group transfer to hotel Cyan Recoletta in historic neighborhood.

(Those participants who arrive earlier or later than the majority, please take a cab to hotel Cyan Recoletta on your own. Rooms will be available for early check-in).


Free time till the afternoon to take some rest and lunch.

In the afternoon (time TBC) - walking tour with local guide in Buenos Aires.


Overnight stay at hotel Cyan Recoletta historic neighborhood 

Your Organizer


KS
Karina Safari
40 reviews
Professional adventure travel organizer and team leader since 2006. Originally from Moscow, Russia. Lived and worked as a tour guide and destination expert in South American countries (Ecuador and Colombia) in 2009-2012. Moved to the U.S. in 2012. Resident of San Francisco bay area. Founder of Safarika Adventure Club, CA since 2013 (CST # 2112795-40). Join our tribe of active travelers! Experience epic bucket list destinations and world best trails you have only dreamed of in our unbeatable team adventures to South America and beyond

Reviews

Great guide, wonderful choice of hikes, we enjoyed it a lot
By Aleksey S for North Cascades Hiking Adventure (WA) on 27 Jul, 2022
GL
It was an amazing trip; actually 3 trips in one (Ecuador highlands, Amazon rainforest, Galapagos islands). Perfect organization throughput: transportation, local guides, high-end lodging and restaurants. Karina stayed in close contact throughout the trip and made sure here were no hiccups. Thank you a ton, Karina!
By Grigory L for Best hits of Ecuador: Avenue of Volcanoes, Amazon & Galapagos on 24 Jul, 2022
Amazing trip, we’ve seen volcanoes and waterfalls, amazing animals, ate delicious food and got to know the culture of this great country. Trip logistics was impeccably organized. We felt very supported along the way as well. Karina is the best in industry! Highly recommend!
By Maria S for Best hits of Ecuador: Avenue of Volcanoes, Amazon & Galapagos on 24 Jul, 2022
Amazing experience! Very well organized, awesome group of people. Lifetime memories are guaranteed!
By Andriy G for Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mt (Memorial day 2022) on 06 Jun, 2022
LZ
The best part of any trip is to meet new people and get to know everyone in a group. You can't find a better place to do this then gorgeous Hawaii. The food was diverse and delicious, abundance of fruit will surprise anyone. Accomodations were comfortable and spacious. I can't wait for the next adventure to meet new and old friends
By Larysa Z for Hawaii Big Island Encompassed: Best Hikes & Beaches on 12 Nov, 2021
Show More Reviews

References

YM
One of the best trips I've done! I am mainly either a solo traveler or prefer to go with my family But 4 days hiking trip to Montana Glacier NP has changed my preferences :) Thank you very much, it's been a pleasure and FUN Met so many interesting intelligent people, would highly recommend if you enjoy active vacations
By Yelena M on 10 Sep, 2020
GL
I traveled with Karina to Patagonia in 2020 and it was awesome! Perfect planning & organization throughout the trip, including dealing with the unexpected (e.g. lost luggage). I really liked other folks in the group and made several new friends in this trip. I highly recommend Karina's trips to casual and semi-serious hikers, and plan to be a return customer myself.
By Grigory L on 14 Mar, 2020
Thank you, Karina, for a wonderful first time experience of active adventure trip! Everything is well thought and organized. Would recommend to anyone!
By Aizhan T on 20 Jun, 2019