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6 Days in Argentina: Buenos Aires & Patagonia’s El Calafate & El Chaltén

January 9, 2017

With Argentina being the 8th largest country in the world, it is no wonder that it has so much to offer. In this beautiful and underrated place, you’ll discover everything from mountains, wineries, glaciers, jungles, waterfalls and chic cities.

During my visit to Argentina, I spent time revisiting one of my favorite cities, Buenos Aires. I then took a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and hopped on a 3 hour plane ride to the remote and relaxing region of Patagonia to explore its awe-inspiring glaciers, steppe and mountains. I was fortunate enough to have been hosted by Destino Argentina and Mai 10 Luxury Travel Company and worked closely with Maita, the owner, who curated the ultimate Buenos Aires / Patagonian experience for me. Mai 10 is Argentina’s top travel specialist company and they do an absolutely remarkable job in ensuring that each client’s custom itinerary is as trip is as unique, existing and memorable as possible.

Buenos Aires: The Paris of South America is Chic & Elegant
Upon arrival to this gorgeous city, I always feel as if I’ve just teleported to Europe. With elegant neighborhoods like the historic Recoleta area, home to one of the most gorgeous cemeteries in the world, to the hip neighborhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires is reason enough to visit Argentina.

Things to do in Buenos Aires:
Tea time at the Alvear Palace Hotel
Dating back to 1932, this historic hotel was the meeting place for the elite in the ‘20s. If you’re not already staying at this hotel, at least make your way here for tea time at the gorgeous L’Orangerie winter garden.


Sightseeing
• Plaza de Mayo: located in the main square
• Presedential Palace of Casa Rosada
• Recoleta Cemetery: amazing mausoleums and statues


 Photo by @missjetter on Instagram


Neighborhood hop
• Recoleta: Parisian style buildings and homes
• Palermo: gardens, monuments and mansions with hip cafes and restaurants
• La Boca: a colorful and picturesque neighborhood with tango dancers and street artists, Boca Juniors soccer stadium
• San Telmo: the old part of the city with a boho atmosphere, cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.
• Puerto Madero: the old harbor of Buenos Aires with a very unique and modern bridge structure


Photo by @missjetter on Instagram



The Tigre River

The world’s widest river: the Rio de la Plata separates Argentina from Uruguay. Sail along the river by an old wooden islander boat and view charming homes, mansions and yachts along the way.
Isla el Descanso
A private island and retreat of an art collector who designed an amazing sculpture garden with bridges, ponds and flowers. We were told stories about life, love and history on our tour of the gardens. Isla el Descanso is remarkably beautiful and the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to unwind, meditate and reflect. The home also features contemporary artworks of renown Argentine artists like Pablo Reinoso, Baston Diaz, Carlos Gallardo and Jose Fioravanti.


Helicopter Ride
We joined pilot Sebastián of Patagonia Chopper on one of his beautiful helicopters that transferred us from Isla del Descanso to Buenos Aires over the Tigre River. It was an incredibly exhilarating experience.

Tango Show at the Faena Hotel
One of the best tango shows in the world, Rojo Tango happens inside the El Cabret nightclub at the Faena Hotel designed by Philippe Stark. The intimate show will captivate you and take your breath away featuring a 5 piece orchestra, 2 singers and 4 dancing couples.

Where to Stay:
Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
The elegant Palacio Duhau, originally home to the Duhau family, is strikingly beautiful and combines French style architecture with modern touches. The property is made up of 2 buildings with its stunning cascading gardens in between that can be admired from the terraces of both buildings. Don’t miss it at night when it’s beautifully lit up! Rooms are comfortable and minimal. Tip: request a room with a view of the courtyard.





Buenos Aires fast facts:

  • The Argentine currency is the Peso ($)
  • Credit cards are widely accepted in stores, restaurants, etc.
  • As from September 2016, American citizens no longer require the payment of the “reciprocity fee” to enter Argentina.
  • Gratuity in restaurants: Expected tip is 10% of bills.
  • It is perfectly safe to drink the tap water in Buenos Aires, but not so in the country.

El Calafate

   ‘He who tastes Calafate, shall return’ – Tehuelche proverb

About a 3 hour plane ride from the city of Buenos Aires, El Calafate is located in the cast region of Santa Cruz, Patagonia and is famous for its gorgeous glaciers (most popularly, Perito Moreno), desert, lakes, mountains, views, estancias and more.

The choices of adventure filled activities are endless here and the hotels are not just places to store your belongings, they are full experiences in and of themselves.

Stay at a traditional Estancia: Nibepo Aike
A cattle station with sheep, horses, cattle and more, Nibepo Aike was founded in the 20th century and gives guests a truly authentic Patagonian experience. It is rustic and authentic and will teleport you back to olden times when the pioneers lived here. We even got to witness a sheep shearing demonstration! If you love hiking and horse back riding, this is the place to stay.


Admire the shades of turquoise of the massive Lake Argentino
Lake Argentino is the third largest in South America and the largest lake in Argentina. One of the most picturesque lakes I’ve ever seen, don’t forget to look out the window to catch a glimpse of just how large it is.

Visit one of the most beautiful glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno
Located about 80 kilometers from El Calafate center and one of 48 glaciers in Southern Patagonia, Perito Moreno will top your list of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. I was in complete awe as I stepped foot on the catwalks to admire different viewpoints of the glacier.

The catwalks are made up of seven balconies, all of which boast a different perspectives of the massive wall. If time allows, I recommend starting from the red and stopping at all viewpoints because trust me, you’ll never want to leave.

Located at the end of the catwalks of Perito Moreno, there’s a great restaurant housed in a gorgeous lodge with giant windows and perfect views of the glacier and some icebergs. I highly recommend having lunch here afterwards.

Minitrekking over the Perito Moreno Glacier
Although I was unable to participate in this activity due to physical complications, this is one of the most popular and exciting activities to do when visiting Perito Moreno.

You’ll take a short boat ride where you will be able to view the ice walls of Perito Moreno up close. You’ll then hike across lush forests to get equipped with crampons attached to your shoes before walking along the 15,000 year old ice chipped from the top of the glacier.

A taste of luxury at EOLO – Patagonia’s Spirit – Relais & Chateaux
Set on 3,000 hectares of land, Relais & Chateaux’s Eolo Lodge is set in one of the most convenient areas, located just 30 minutes from the airport. Lived-in leather sofas, wooden tables and vintage antiques, wool rugs and blankets, giant fluffy pillows and natural light pour in from its massive windows, these are all the features that make Eolo feel like home. The hotel is all-inclusive and breakfast, lunch and dinner are included and delicious.



Take a road trip along Route 40 to visit the town of El Chalten and stay at the completely secluded at Aguas Arriba Lodge.

From Perito Moreno, the distance to El Chalten is approximately 220 km passing along Lakes Argentino and Viedma on Argentina’s version of Route 66, Route 40. This is one of the most scenic drives, so don’t forget your camera!


The small tourist town of El Chaltén features small lodges for mountain hikers and backpackers and is considered the national capital of trekking. People stay here to climb various routes and mountains like the famous and gorgeous Mt. Fitzroy.

Once we arrived to El Chaltén, we transferred vehicles to continue on to our journey towards Lago del Desierto for about 37 km on a very scenic unpaved, gravel road. Once we arrived, a boat was waiting that would take us on a beautiful 20 minute ride to get to the gorgeous and completely secluded Aguas Arriba Lodge.

This lodge is very special and is the only private property (for an exception of a small house and the Chilean border security patrol). It has views for days including the north face of Mt. Fitz Roy in the distance, Mt. Torre and the Vespignami Glacier right in front of the lodge.

The lodge offers various activities and hikes. The hiking guide surprised us and took us on a 1 hour, moderately difficult hike up to the Huemul Glacier. It is accessed through one of the most attractive trails in El Chaltén. Amidst a unique forest, this undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful sites to go hiking and it was totally worth the effort once we set our eyes on the glacier, not knowing what it looked like beforehand.


To protect your next trip, visit Allianz.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

I was invited to experience Argentina as guest by Destino Argentina and Mai 10 Luxury Travel Company. As always, all opinions are my own.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Guillermo January 10, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Very good review and tips of a extraordinary visit to Argentina!

  • Reply Jessica January 11, 2017 at 10:09 am

    What a great and informative guide to Argentina! Well done!!

  • Reply Guestpepino January 11, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Great post. We are from Argentina (currently living in Switzerland) and we have just returned from our new year trip in Buenos Aires.

  • Reply Maria Jesus February 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I can’t feel more honoured about this great post that shows how stunning my country is 🙂

    Thanks for all the useful advice and beautiful pics!

    • Reply Nastasia February 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Thank you so much for the kind words! I love your country!

  • Reply Taylor October 16, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    hello! what time of year were you in Patagonia? Looks amazing.

    Thank you!

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