Patagonia, the land of wonders, is a very big region taking up most of Southern Argentina. The region features a glacier-dotted mountainous interior, unique coastal wildlife and amazing Andean national parks. The mountains and lakes in Patagonia are also some of the most beautiful of all found in the world. It is characterized by the primitive force of their landscapes in those where the man's hand, without being absent, it usually passes inadvertent. A vigorous nature is imposed on the observer in the semi-arid plateaus of the east, fitted by deep valleys and canyons, like in the upright western mountain ranges, covered of an arboreal tapestry, crowned of snow and sprinkled of glaciers and lakes. Argentinian Patagonia can be broken up into the smaller travel destinations: The Lake Region, Atlantic Patagonia, Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Each destination is very unique and offers much to entice the visitor.
Located in the province of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is the most southern urban center in the world. The town offers imprssive views: wonderful fiords and lakes all surrounded by snow capped mountains, a natural deep sea port, and beautiful virgin places only some just minutes from the urban area. The city is very picturesque, with old wooden houses of steep metal sheet roofs to avoid snow accumulation.. Beagle Strait is easily reachable through a well organised network of small and medium ships that offers Spanish and English spoken guided tours. The well known train of the end of the world will take travellers on a journey back in time to when the town was a state run prison. To the southwest of Ushuaia peninsula, in The Beagle Channel there is La Isla de los Lobos. Cape Holy Spirit is on the south end of the oriental access to the Strait of Magellan. 30 km from the big island of Tierra del Fuego, separated only by the strait of La Maire, there is States Island, with an estimate surface of 520 km². South of the Horn Island is Cape Horn, a reference point between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
TRAIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Departing from the Civic Park of Ushuaia, where the Tourist Quay is, we travel by bus on national route 3 toward the “Estación del Fin del Mundo” (Station at the End of the World), located 8 Km west from town. From there, by means of a replica of the “Prisoners Train”, visitors will travel the same route travelled decades ago by the prisoners to provide the town with wood. Hundred-year-old forests, rivers, sphagnum bogs, and the replica of an Indian settlement will appear before the travellers’ eyes. The ride also has a stop a the Macarena cascade; and in its last stretch the train enters the National Park Tierra del Fuego, ending at the park station. This is the ideal excursion to get to know the National Park. The train departs every day, all the year round and the departure times from November to March are 09:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 03:00 p.m. and 05:00 p.m. and from April to October at 10:00 a.m. The tour lasts 1 hour NATIONAL PARK TIERRA DEL FUEGO Depart from the Hotel toward Tierra del Fuego National Park located only 12 kms from Ushuaia. It preserves typical species of the Andean Patagonic forest such as firebushes, beech trees, ñires, box leafed barberries and flowers in an area of 63.000 hectares. Travel to the most scenic sites inside this park. We will be delighted by the beauty of the landscape. Views of the Beagle Channel surrounded by mountains and forests make us feel closer to Nature. On the way toward the Lapataia River we will view the peat bogs and the beaver dams. We will cross the river to get to Laguna Verde. We recommend you going for a walk to Laguna Negra or to the Beaver's trail before proceeding to Lapataia, where archaeological sites were found and where the Panamerican route which starts in Alaska ends. On our way back to the city we will stop at Roca Lake.
It lets you enjoy the wonderful views of the Beagle Channel, the city of Ushuaia and the surrounding mountains. Departure from the local port, from the tourist pier, we navigate the Bay to Beagle Channel through the Short pass. During the itinerary we can enjoy the beautiful views of the channel, the city of Ushuaia and the surrounding mountains. Then we visit the “Isla de los Lobos” and the “Isla de los Pájaros” pertaining to the archipelago Bridges where we will see not only the colonies of seals and cormorants but also many species of marine birds too, such as seagulls, skúas, petrels, albatross and ducks among others. Finally we arrive to the Eclaireurs lighthouse. When we return we navigate near the coast to the north of the channel admireing the “fueguina”’s characteristic flora and some historical places such as “Estancia Tunel”.
LAKES FAGNANO AND ESCONDIDO
It starts in the morning, when we depart from the city of Ushuaia. We take national route 3, heading north, we pass by several mountain ranges and part of the Andes, where we will discover sphagnum bog valleys, glaciers and cascades in the middle of the Patagonian forest. At Rancho Hambre, we will start the ascent of Paso Garbaldi, following the windy path of the route and reaching a lookout point at 430 masl, where we will be able to see spectacular view of the lakes Escondido and Fagnano. After that, we will make a brief stop at lake Escondido, where we will watch the emerald-green waters framed inside an amazingly beautiful landscape of the Andean-Patagonian forest. Continuing our route we pass by a local sawmill to end up in Lake Fagnano, located 100 Km north from Ushuaia; one of the biggest lakes in South America.
El Calafate is a village where the inhabitants have made of hospitality a cult. It is a peaceful and picturesque settlement, a heaven of peace and vegetation, where the Patagonian beauty can be discovered. It is a place where steppes, mountains, lakes, woods and glaciers coexist with rich native flora and fauna. Inhabited by 5000 thousand people, El Calafate is located on the southern bank of Lake Argentino, at the foot of the mountain under the same name, in the southwest of the province of Santa Cruz. El Calafate is the main access to the renowned Los Glaciares National Park, one of the most amazing parks in Argentina with blocks of thousand-year-old ice floating in the lakes. El Calafate is named after a small bush typical of southern Patagonia, whose fruit (a kind of berry) is very much used in local confectionery, especially for jams, but also cakes, pies, drinks and desserts, which are very difficult to resist. According to the tradition, the person who eats calafate will come back for more. However reality shows that whoever visits El Calafate does not ever want to leave. If you are planning to visit the glaciers you cannot miss this small village and all the magic that its natural attractions offer. You cannot miss the opportunity of crossing the bridge that joins the most magic and unknown part of the Patagonian geography. You cannot miss the feeling you are already in heaven as you come in contact with these breathtaking ice blocks.
ESTANCIA EL GALPON
Only 22km away from El Calafate, El Galpon offers you a Te reception, a guided visit to the shearing shed, a live shearing demonstration and flock gathering demonstration by Kelpie Dogs, after these activities passangers can choose either to go for a horseback ride or on a guided foot tour expedition to the nature reservation "La laguna de los pajaros" (birdwatching of over 40 migrating species). And followed by a Tipical Patagonian Lamb barbacue. MINITREKKING HIKING ON THE PERITO MORENO GLACIER
The excursion begins in the “Bajo de las Sombras” where you embark for a 20 minutes navigation across the Rico Arm, enjoying breathtaking views of the glacier’s front walls and Icebergs Channel. You debark on the opposite shore, where qualified mountain guides welcome you and lead you to a small shelter. After cheking the last details, groups of 10 follow their guides along the lake’s shore towards the edge of the glacier. Once on the ice the guides handle each participant a pair of crampons, and explain how to use them. The two hours circuit that follows introduces you to the fascinating landscape of the glaciers: strems, small lagoons, gullies, cravasses and plenty of ice formations of the most incredible blues. You will receive explanations about flora, fauna and general glaciology of the region and also about the particular phenomenon that happens in the Perito Moreno Glacier and eventually produces its rupture . Afterwords a stroll through the forest brings you back to the shelter. Land transportation from El Calafate is available if required, and it includes a one hour visit to the glaciar Balconies. All these services are provided daily. Activities are permanently supervised by bilingual mountain guides.
UPSALA, ONELLI AND SPEGAZZINI GACIERS
It is a full day sailing excursion. We depart from El Calafate at 7.15 approximately. After 50 km we arrive at Punta Bandera Port from where we will set sail towards the front of Upsala Glacier after having sailed along the northern branch of Lago Argentino among adrift icebergs. This glacier is one of the largest of the area (only Viedma is obove its size), with a dimension that represents three times the size of Buenos Aires Capital approximately. We sail to Onelli Bay, land for a short trek of 800 m across the forest to reach Onelli Lagoon, where Onelli, Bolados and Agassiz glaciers converge, and due to the detachments of their icebergs, the lagoon is full of small floes. There is a restaurant where visitors can have lunch ,or else visitors are recommended to take a box lunch to enjoy it being surrounded by the majestic landscapes of this area. After midday we sail to Spegazzini Glacier, which is the highest and one of the most beautiful hanging glaciers within this area. We will also have a view of Seco Glacier. Once back to the port in the late afternoon, we visit the village of El Calafate.
SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE
On the shores of Nahuel Huapi lake, in the heartland of the National Park of the same name and in the middle of the Andes mountains, San Carlos de Bariloche town welcomes people from all over the world and opens the gates to Argentine Patagonia. Bariloche stands out for its architectural features and because it is surrounded by hills, woods, mountains covered with eternal snow, lakes and rivers. It offers the widest range of options for tourism, both conventional and adventure, and may be enjoyed in every season of the year. This place not only offers its population panoramic vistas and a constant contact with natural beauty, but also serves as a melting pot of different cultures and races, aptly reflected in the indigenous origin of its name and its German influence. Bariloche is the gate to the Patagonian lakes. It has been a tourist attraction for eighty years, and there is a wide variety of services based on an important infrastructure of all-category hotels and an annual movement of 650,000 tourists that visit the town. There are few places in the world where the seasons are so well marked as in Bariloche. The snow changes the landscape abruptly in winter time, spring is full of colors, long and warm days in summer and spectacular color shades in the fall, and all these changes permanently accompanied by the welcoming friendliness of the people Isla Victoria y Bosque de Arrayanes Bosque de Arrayanes is a forest formation unique in the world with centenary specimens. The crust of the trees are cold, smooth and of cinnamon color. They have white flowers and purple fruits of a pleasant taste. A small house built in the middle of the forest and the deer living in the area, (Called Pudú-Pudú) small in size, were the inspiring muse of the famous Walt Disney for his cartoon "Bambi". Later you can embark to Puerto Anchorena in Victoria Island, where you can walk on different paths and visit a coniferous nursery. There is an option to use the chair lift to Cerro Bella Vista to enjoy a panoramic view of the island and majestic Lake Nahuel Huapi. Villa la Angostura Villa La Angostura is in the Province of Neuquen about 1,250 Miles southwest of Buenos Aires on the eastern slopes of the Andes and has 4,400 inhabitants. More to the point it is between Argentina's two major ski resorts San Martin and Bariloche (located 50 miles to the South of the latter) and can be reached by paved roads from both. It is increasingly popular resort, especially for good fishing, , all kinds of navigation (windsurf, sailboats and cruise ships) and, obviously, trekking, horse riding, mountain biking, hang-gliding and delta wing gliding. Villa La Angostura is a space where the true meaning of ecology can be found, which is much more than just environmental protection. It is its life style, as exemplified by its architecture that blends into its natural surroundings. Following are some of the attractions that make it so uniquely enticing. An incomparable mountain village, with a downtown area that covers only a few blocks filled with quaint coffee shops as well as 'homemade-style' chocolate factories. A warm, helpful and friendly community in addition to a unique attraction: a mesmerizing view of the Nahuel Huapi lake and the most exquisite sceneries of Argentina's South.
SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
San Martín de los Andes is the most important tourism center in Neuquén province. It is a picturesque, alpine-like city with wooden buildings and wide paved streets with a neat. Its geographical location is of singular beauty, almost hidden in a sumptuous amphitheater in the mountains that preserves the fertility of its lake and forest environment. In addition to the environmental beauty and peace and quiet of its great stretches of greenery and the Lanín National Park, the largest in the province of Neuquén (383,612 has), San Martín de los Andes is the "jewel" of the "Corredor de los Siete Lagos" (Seven Lakes Belt). Thanks to their natural beauty, the famous "belt" and the Lanín National Park are the main attractions in this region. As the most important location close to Lanín National Park , it possesses an excellent tourism infrastructure, making it the starting point for excursions throughout the area. Honoring its reputation as a "family tourism center", the city places many options at the disposal of its visitors including entertainment and tours of its natural wonders. The whole area has a highly diversified attractiveness. Almost all the options of adventure tourism, such as rafting, hang-gliding, trekking, volcano climbing, salmonid sport fishing, photo safaris, 4 wheel-drive excursions,etc, are found in this area The summer season extends to the month of April During wither the city becomes snow-covered. This makes it an ideal environment to practice skiing at the nearby winter sports center of Chapelco Besides, one can enjoy activities such as lake excursions for nautical sports enthusiasts, and those fond of sailing, kayaking, windsurf and water skiing