Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL). Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Santiago before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Santiago. In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel. Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel Happy House Hostel Moneda 1829 Santiago Chile Tel - +56 2 2688 4849 Activity Approximate Cost Explore and discover the streets of Santiago Free About Santiago: Chile's capital, Santiago, is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city, wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks, and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline. Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There are plenty of interesting museums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s history, to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristóbal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia. As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want to head out to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brasil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here. If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city. Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it is relatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valparaíso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.
Today we have a free day in Santiago to explore. Activity Approximate Cost Discover all of Santiago's sights on a hop-on/ hop-off bus around the city CLP 21000 Take in the breathtaking vista of the city skyline backdropped by the mighty Andes, from the viewpoints at Cerro San Cristobal or Cerro San Lucia Free Learn more about Santiago and its history on a free walking tour of the centre from a knowledgeable local guide Free
Today we leave Santiago for a full day drive south to the beautiful Lake District of Chile and the lakeside town of Pucón. In Pucón we will stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). About Pucón: Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alps or New Zealand have to offer! Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and camping. The attractive small town of Pucón is located at the heart of the Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano - a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some fantastic self-guided walks. Alternatively Pucón offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain-biking opportunities. For those who would prefer to relax, there are also some great thermal springs nearby - the natural pools at Pozones are located in a beautiful setting and are a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening!
Border information: Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal. Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route). In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a friendly family-run hostel outside of town. Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours. About Bariloche: The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture-perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding Andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a magical place to explore and take in all the amazing views. In winter, the town is a popular centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat trip across to Victoria Island. Bariloche itself is also an interesting place to wander around. The town is famous for its handmade chocolates, and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops. Because of its popularity with Argentinians as well as international tourists, the town has a lively bar and restaurant scene with some great places to choose from. This is a particularly good place to sample some world-class Argentinian steak, and wild boar and Patagonian lamb is also worth a try here too!
We will have two free days to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak or boat! Activity Approximate Cost Horse riding and mountain biking around Bariloche ARS 1600 Discover the incredible scenery of the Nauhel Huapi Lake and the Victoria Islands on a boat trip from Bariloche ARS 1200 Hire mountain bikes to explore the forests and hills surrounding Lake Nauhel Huapi and Bariloche ARS 390 Visit the interesting Fenoglio Chocolate Museum in Bariloche, and learn all about the town's tradition of chocolate making ARS 50 Explore the nearby Lago Gutierrez and take in its amazing views from the water on a half-day tandem kayaking trip ARS 550 Explore the best viewpoints around Bariloche and some of the locals' favourite spots, such as the summit of Cerro Campanario, the beautiful beach of Playa Bonita, and the delightful waterfalls of Los Duendes Free
Today we continue our drive south to the Rio Pinturas area, where we have an included visit to the mysterious Neolithic cave-art site of Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands), some of the most well-preserved ancient art in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tonight we will wild camp near the Cueva de las Manos. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Visit the UNESCO site Cueva de las Manos at Río Pinturas Included in Kitty About Cueva De Las Manos: The UNESCO World Heritage site of Cueva de las Manos lies in an isolated and remote spot in the valley of Rio Pinturas. The cave takes its name from the hundreds of paintings of hands made by indigenous inhabitants some 13,000-9,000 years ago - possibly by the ancestors of the Tehuelche people. The images of hands are 'negative-painted, meaning that they put their hand on the rock face and sprayed the paint around the outline by blowing it through a bone pipe. As well as the hand impressions, there are also depictions of human beings, guanacos, rheas and other animals, as well as geometric shapes, zigzags, and representations of the sun, moon and hunting scenes.
Today we embark on a full day drive south towards the Patagonia region on the legendary Ruta 40 (Route 40). Tonight we will wild camp in the Rio Mayo area. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours. About Argentinian Patagonia: Patagonia is the name of the region in the far south of South America, the southernmost stretch of the Andes and the surrounding plains and plateaus. The area is split down the middle by the Andes, with Chilean Patagonia on the west, and Argentinian Patagonia on the east. Renowned for its desolate landscapes, unrelenting winds and magnificent lake, mountain and glacial scenery, the name Patagonia comes from the word "Patagon", used by the explorer Magellan to describe the local people who he believed to be giants. Today historians believe that the Patagons were actually Teheulches, with an average height of about 1.8m as opposed to the average height of a Spaniard at the time of 1.55m! Argentinian Patagonia includes the spectacular national parks of Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego, home to the Pe
Today we will drive into the heart of the Patagonia region and reach the tiny town of El Chaltén, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities. In El Chaltén we stay in dorm beds in a hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours. About El Chaltén: El Chaltén is small remote Patagonian town nestled under the shadow of the iconic Mt. Fitz Roy. The town itself has an interesting origin - the area was disputed between Argentina and Chile for a number of years, so the Argentinians thought they would settle the argument by hastily building the town of El Chaltén in 1985 to claim the territory! The name of Chaltén comes from the Tehuelche word for 'smoky mountain', so called as the early morning clouds gathering around Fitz Roy look remarkably like volcanic smoke. It is a fantastic base from which to explore the northern sections of the incredible Los Glaciares National Park, and is home to many adventure tour operators offering outdoor activities in the area.
We will have two free days to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and the incredible scenery of the nearby Mt. Fitz Roy. There are lots of trekking and walking opportunities here, as well as boat trips, horse riding, and many other fantastic options. Activity Approximate Cost Horse riding and trekking around El Chalten ARS 1600 Freely explore and trek around the walking trails of Los Glaciares National Park, taking in the marvellous vistas of the Fitz Roy mountain range Free Take a boat out onto the stunning Viedma Lake, and get up close to the Viedma Glacier to see its impressive facade. USD 55 Enjoy a spectacular kayaking trip down the Río de las Vueltas, taking in some incredible views of the surrounding mountains USD 125 Head on a rock-climbing course in the magnificent landscapes surrounding El Chaltén USD 90 About Los Glaciares National Park: Los Glaciares National Park is the largest protected area in Argentina, covering a huge area of Argentinian Patagonia along the southern tail of the Andes range. The National Park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, and wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest. By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot - there are plenty of wellestablished trails through the mountains and forests of the National Park that are easy to explore independently with a map, so you can plan many treks around the area from around two hours to an entire challenging day out. As well as the phenomenal needle-like Cerro Torre, the iconic mountain of Fitz Roy looms over our base of El Chaltén, an impossibly-picturesque and steep mountain (which is also the logo for the 'Patagonia' clothing brand!) which can be viewed from many angles on treks in the area. Other activities can include boat trips and ice climbing on the incredible Videma Glacier, a visit to the serene Lago del Desierto, and horse-riding excursions through the incredible landscapes.
Today we will leave El Chaltén and head south, overlanding across the Patagonian steppe and heading towards the southern island of Tierra del Fuego. Tonight we will wild camp at a stunning ancient crater called Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon). Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
Border information: Exit Argentina at Integracion Austral, enter Chile at Integracion Austral Continuing south, we head back into Chile to cross the Magellan Straits over to the island of Tierra del Fuego. Here we will visit the small King Penguin colony that have recently set up home at the remote Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay). Tonight we will wild camp near Bahia Inutil. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Head out to the remote corner of Chilean Tierra del Fuego to view the King Penguin colony at Bahia Inutil, the only colony of these type of penguins outside of Antarctica Included in Kitty About Tierra Del Fuego: Tierra del Fuego (meaning "Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Strait. The island gets its name from the fires of the Selknam tribe that originally lived here, which Magellan and his sailors observed from their boats on their first travels through the area - unfortunately the Selknam and Yaghan tribes that originally inhabited the island are all but extinct due to illnesses brought in by European settlers that arrived in the 19th Century. The island is split in half with a straight north south line between Argentina and Chile, with the Argentinian half containing the island's largest settlement, Ushuaia. The island of Tierra del Fuego is Patagonia at its most remote and desolate, with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. On the Chilean half of the island lies Inútil Bay, a remote bay that is home to the only colony of King Penguins that exists outside of Antarctica!
Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San Sebastian. Today we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world! In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. About Ushuaia: Ushuaia is a port town that lies at the south of Tierra del Fuego on the Argentinian side - it is often known as "the city at the end of the world", as it is the world's most southern city (the Chilean town of Puerto Williams is slightly further south but is much smaller than Ushuaia). Ushuaia itself is low-lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel. Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a British-funded mission in the late 1800s and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a small sleepy town has grown rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here. There's plenty to do in Ushuaia and the surrounding area. The town itself is home to an interesting museum where you can learn more about the history of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and the indigenous people who originally lived here. The surrounding scenery is also impressive, so it's worth getting out on a boattrip into the Beagle Channel, which will give you some great views of town with the Martial mountain range in the background. You can also explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, another beautiful spot with some spectacular lake and mountain scenery.
We will have two free days in the wonderful remote town of Ushuaia, with plenty of time for optional activities such as a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park, boat trips to see the scenery and wildlife of the Beagle Channel, or heading out horse riding along the coast. Activity Approximate Cost Beagle channel boat trips ARS 1100 Explore the haunting beauty of Tierra del Fuego National Park and wander its atmospheric walking trails on a day tour from Ushuaia ARS 1100 Head out to the impressive Martial Glacier near Ushuaia, taking in the beautiful scenery of the Darwin Mountains and the Beagle Channel USD 110 Delve into Ushuaia's past and learn about its maritime tradition and former prison colony at the Maritime Museum ARS 350 Learn all about Tierra del Fuego's history and nature at the 'Museum of the End of the World' in Ushuaia ARS 90 Enjoy an active day out in Tierra del Fuego National Park with a 7-kilometre trek to the scenic Lago Roca followed by a canoeing trip down the Lapataia River ARS 2200 Discover the beautiful scenery of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel on a horse riding trip to the nearby Susana's Mountain viewpoint ARS 1990 Explore the excellent trails around the hills and forests of Ushuaia by hiring a mountain bike ARS 450 Take a journey along the Rio Pipo on the 'Train to the End of the World', once built by prisoners at Ushuaia's old penal colony ARS 690
Border information: Exit Argentina at San Sebastian, enter Chile at San Sebastian. Today we start heading back north on a full day drive back across the Magellan Straits and up the Chilean side of the mainland Tonight we will wild camp close to the Magellan Strait. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours
Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and the main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders! We will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up our local guides and cook who will accompany us during our time in the National Park. Tonight we will camp at Camping Pehoe, a stunning campsite inside the National Park with incredible views of Los Cuernos mountains, which we will refer to as our 'base campsite'. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. Activity Approximate Cost 4 days to explore and trek the rugged Torres del Paine National Park Included in Kitty About Torres Del Paine National Park: Torres del Paine National Park contains what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the three impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by high plateaus and towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it is also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including guanacos, pumas, flamingos and condors. The best way to explore the National Park is definitely to get out on foot - the region is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes or embarking on a multi-day walk such as the famous W-walk, stopping off at the park's refugios or camping along the way. Horse riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoé in season.
Dragoman offers two options for your time in Torres Del Paine National Park: - Base Package - Camping at Lago Pehoe, full board and a guided trek on our final day to the stunning three peaks viewpoint is included on all Dragoman Patagonia packages. - Full W-Walk - Optional upgrade to embark on the 4-day W-Walk with a local guide. Places at the campsites are limited by the National Park, so it is important to pre-book this option with your sales agent at least 60 days before your trip as it is not possible to book on arrival. Today is a free day for our passengers on the base package. W-Walk Group - We will transfer by truck to take the morning Catamaran across the lake to Paine Grande. We will then begin our first trek with our local guide along the edge of Lago Grey to an excellent viewpoint over the spectacular Grey Glacier. We will then trek back to Paine Grande where we will camp overnight. Approximate walking distance: 22 km, estimated duration: 8 hrs. (alternatively, you may turn around at an earlier view point, making the trek today 4hrs). Activity Approximate Cost W-walk extension The extension package includes the full W-walk, with three nights camping on the W-Walk trail within the Torres del Paine National Park, with facilities, food and the service of an expert English-speaking local guide. Please note that this package must be prebooked at least 60 days in advance through your sales agent. From September 2018 onward the W-Hike will be included in the price of the kitty and this itinerary will run as follows: Embark on the full W-Walk with a local guide. Places at the campsites are limited by the National Park, so we book them in advance of your trip. We will be trekking the W-Walk from West to East, to enjoy the spectacular views. This morning we will wake early and transfer by truck for the morning Catamaran at approximately, to cross Lago Pehoe. We will then set up camp at Paine Grande, before continuing on our hike towards Glacier Grey. You can choose to hike to the first look out to enjoy views of the Glacier (approx 4hrs round trip) or to continue to the second look (approx 8hrs round trip)!! Both walks return by the same route.
Base package group: Today is a free day on our Base Package. There are many short walks and other fantastic optional activities. Alternatively it's a great day to simply relax and enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite. W-walk group: Today we will depart Camp Paine Grande and hike into the French Valley, in the afternoon we will continue onto Camp Cuernos. The hike is approximately 6 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Zodiac boat trips, horse rides and trekking in Torres del Paine National Park CLP 50000 From September 2018 onward the W-Hike will be included in the price of the kitty and this itinerary will run as follows: Today we depart from our camp at Paine Grande and hike into the stunning French Valley. In the afternoon, we will make our way to Camp Cuernos. The hike is approximately 8 hours.
Head out on a fantastic boat trip on the Grey Lake to get up close to the colossal Grey Glacier CLP 70000 Base package group: Today is free for optional activities. W-walk group: Today we will leave Camp Cuernos and hike along Lake Nordenskjold, around Almirante Nieto and stay just outside Valley Ascencio. We will hike for approximately 5 hours today. From September 2018 onward the W-Hike will be included in the price of the kitty and this itinerary will run as follows: Today we have a slightly easier day, we will hike from Camping Cuernos along the edge of Lago Nodenskjold, around Almirante Nieto and stay just outside Valley Ascencio. We will arrive an Camp Central after approximately 5 hours hiking.
Today the base and W-Walk groups will come together and we will all trek to the breathtaking viewpoint of the famous three peaks, which give the National Park its name. After taking in the view, we will trek back to Las Torres camp site and transfer in the truck to Camping Pehoe. Approximate walking distance: 24 km, estimated time: 8 hrs. From September 2018 onward the W-Hike will be included in the price of the kitty and this itinerary will run as follows: This is our final day of the W-Walk and the most spectacular. The day begins with a steady climb from our camp site up Rio Asencio. Be prepared for the final hour which is a relatively steep scramble up to the Tarn and Mirrador Las Torres, affording great views of the iconic Towers. We will transfer back to Camping Pehoe, our base camp at the end of the day. Our hike today is approximately 8 hours for the return trip (20km).
Border information: Exit Chile at Cerro Castillo, enter Argentina at Cerro Castillo. Today we re-enter Argentina for the final time and drive to El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier. In El Calafate we stay in dorm beds in a lovely hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. About El Calafate: El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling atmosphere and an ever-growing tourist trade. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are guaranteed to return to Patagonia. Most people base themselves here to visit the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Los Glaciares National Park - the glacier is one of the most famous and spectacular glaciers to be seen anywhere in the world. The Perito Moreno Glacier is approximately 30kms long from where it spills out of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, and 5kms wide at its terminus, where it has a ice face that is on average 170m high (with about 70m of which is above the surface of the lake). Visitors can view the glacier from an incredible viewpoint only a few hundred metres away from its face, where if you're lucky you'll see some of the ice face carve off into the lake under the pressure of all the ice behind it! It is also possible to take a boat trip to get extremely close, or embark on a challenging ice-climbing expedition on the glacier itself.
Today we will head out on an included full day guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia. Activity Approximate Cost Guided full day trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier Included in Kitty Boat trip beneath the Perito Moreno Glacier ARS 400 Learn all about glaciers at the fantastic modern Glaciarium Museum in El Calafate, and visit its cool ice bar in the basement! ARS 300 Explore the Perito Moreno glacier on an incredible full day expedition, trekking through the forests and onto the glacier itself using ARS 2400 crampons (please note that this is an alternative to the regular tour as there will not be enough time for both - however you will stop at the main viewpoint on your way back to El Calafate at the end of the excursion)
Today we will have a full day drive across the plains of Patagonia towards the South Atlantic coast. Tonight we will camp in a basic campsite. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours. Activity Approximate Cost See the incredible fossilised conifer trees of the Jaramillo Petrified Forest, the remnants of a 40-million year old forest naturally preserved in stone (if time and road conditions allow) Free About Jaramillo: The desolate cold plains of Patagonia surrounding the tiny town of Jaramillo are a world away from how this area was in the Jurassic era (around 150 million years ago) - believe it or not, at that time the landscape was covered with dense evergreen confierous forests. This changed at the start of the Cretaceous era when volcanic eruptions and the birth of the Andes coincided to reduce the amount of rain and cover much of the forestry with ash and lava, petrifying large amounts of the forest. This ecological legacy has been left behind in Jaramillo, with many examples of fossilised trees and cones lying strewn about the landscape.
Today we continue our drive north up the Atlantic coast to the small town of Camarones. If time and conditions allow we might visit the Jaramillo Petrified Forest en route. In Camarones we will camp in a basic campsite. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Visit the penguin colony at Camarones Included in Kitty About Camarones: Situated at the northern part of the vast San Jorge Gulf on the South Atlantic coast of Patagonia, Bahía Camarones and Cabo Dos Bahías are both important nesting sites for large colonies of Magellanic Penguins. Camarones is home to around 25,000 of the penguins that nest here on the windy, remote and rocky coast. Between September and April, the penguins come to these sites to incubate their eggs and prepare their offspring for migration - each couple stand in front of their nests protecting the eggs frombirds and other predators, and occasionally one adult goes to the sea for food. There are some fantastic walkways set up near some of the colonies, so that visitors can get very close to the penguins without disturbing them.
This morning we have an included visit to the incredible remote colony of Magellanic Penguins in Cabo Dos Bahias (Cape Two Bays), close to the town of Camarones. After seeing the phenomenal sight of thousands of penguins nesting on the shore, we will continue our drive north to the coastal town of Puerto Madryn. In Puerto Madryn we will camp in a basic campsite. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. About Puerto Madryn: Puerto Madryn is a port town on the South Atlantic coast of Argentina. The original settlers here were Welsh, founding the port and colonising the Chubut River valley - these original settlers came here in 1865 as they felt like their Welsh customs and traditions were being eroded back at home and that they should emigrate to better preserve them. Some of the smaller communities are still very proud of their Welsh heritage and retain many of the original immigrants' traditions, and some small towns such as Gaiman and Trelew you can even go for a Welsh afternoon tea in one of the local tea houses. A distinct Patagonian dialect of the Welsh language has been spoken in the region for over four generations, but although it is now quite rare and you are unlikely to hear anyone speaking it, there are three bilingual Welsh-Spanishs schools in Patagonia, and it is thought that 5,000-10,000 people speak Welsh as a first language and a further 25,000 as a second language. Puerto Madryn is most famous as the gateway to the Valdés Peninsula, a beautiful rocky outcrop known for its incredible wildlife - if you visit here, you will be able to see guanacos, armadillos and Magellanic penguins close-up, and seals and sealions from afar. If you're lucky you may spot an orca or a Southern Right whale in the waters surrounding the peninsular.
Today we will have a free day for optional activities in and around Puerto Madryn. There is the opportunity to take a tour to the Valdes Peninsular to see its desolate scenery and abundant marine life, head out on a boat trip in search of dolphins and whales, or perhaps go for afternoon tea in a Welsh tea house in the nearby towns of Gaiman or Trelew. Activity Approximate Cost Guided visit to the Valdes Peninsula to meet the elephant seals and sealions ARS 800 Set off on a boat trip on to the Atlantic Ocean from Puerto Madryn or Rawson, in search of playful Commerson's or Dusky dolphins and Southern Right whales! ARS 400 Visit the fascinating modern marine interpretation centre of EcoCentro Mar Patagonia, and learn all about the unique ecosystems of the Patagonian sea ARS 125 Explore the incredible shipwrecks and rocky reefs under the water on a scuba diving trip in the Golfo Nuevo off the shore of Puerto Madryn USD 150 Freely explore the intriguing Welsh village of Gaiman near Trelew, visit one of its iconic tea houses, and see the famous junk-art installations of the Desafio Park Free Visit the outstanding Museum of Paleontology in the near Welsh town of Trelew, and see the impressive ancient remains of the the dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures found in the area ARS 95 Discover the incredible colony of sea lions at Punta Loma, near to Puerto Madryn ARS 100
Today we have a full day's drive heading north towards Buenos Aires. We will see a definite change in the landscape today as the vegetation becomes more and more lush and green as we come out of the Patagonia region and into the pampas of Buenos Aires. Tonight we will wild camp en route, possibly in the coastal village of Monte Hermoso. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.
Another full day drive will take us across the beautiful grasslands of Buenos Aires province and to the cosmoplitan Argentine capital itself. In Buenos Aires we will stay in a centrally located hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours. About Buenos Aires: At the mouth of the River Plate estuary (where the Uruguay and Paraná rivers flow out into the Atlantic Ocean) lies the fabulous city of Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina. It's a buzzing, energetic city that often feels more European than Latin American, so much so that it's often referred to as "the Paris of the South". There is a huge amount to do see and do here, and it's a fantastic city to explore on foot and using the extensive metro system. Some areas to check out include San Telmo, a bohemian district full of charm, antique shops, street markets, and some excellent bars; Palermo, with its fantastic restaurants and nightlife; and Recoleta, the "Mayfair" of Buenos Aires and home to the La Recoleta cemetry, Eva "Evita" Perón's final resting place. The waterfront area known as La Boca is also worth exploring, a very photogenic district with its ramshackle buildings being painted in a rainbow of different bright colours. Everywhere you go you'll be surrounded by some fantastic architecture. The Plaza de Mayo is perhaps the most historically interesting, as this is the site of the Cabildo (original town hall), Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace) and the cathedral where the body of General San Martín lies. In the evenings, you are spoilt for choice - Buenos Aires has a vibrant nightlife, with a huge number of bars and night clubs to choose from. Restaurants here vary from cheap and cheerful to world class, and it's a great place to get stuck into some of Argentina's finest steak and red wine. Of course this is also the home of Tango, and there are many evening Tango shows you can buy tickets for or even take a dancing class yourself!
Today is a free day to explore the incredible city of Buenos Aires, soak up the atmosphere of its streets, and discover its amazing culture, art, and music. Activity Approximate Cost Enjoy a free city tour of Buenos Aires USD 90 Head out to an tango show in Buenos Aires' oldest cafe, the Gran Cafe Tortoni - seeing a slice of iconic Argentine culture in an ideal and intimate setting ARS 380 Visit the strangely beautiful cemetery of Recoleta, the final resting place of many expresidents and Argentine icons, most famously including the tomb of Eva Peron Free Try your hand at the art of tango dancing with a private lesson in Buenos Aires USD 25
Activity Approximate Cost Freely explore the cosmopolitan Argentina capital of Buenos Aires, or take a free walking tour of the city's highlights Free See a different side to Buenos Aires on a tour of its incredible street art with some of the local artists USD 20 Learn all about the cuisine of Argentina on a food tour of Buenos Aires, visiting several incredible local top-class eateries that you won't find in the guidebooks! USD 85 Try some of Argentina's most delicious wines on a top-level wine tasting afternoon in Buenos Aires USD 52 Border information: if you are finishing in Buenos Aires, you will most likely exit Argentina at Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza Airport (IATA code BUE/EZE). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Buenos Aires. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team if you would like to arrange some extra nights of accommodation here after your trip.