One of the most popular combinations of travel destinations in Argentina is El Calafate and Ushuaia. And for good reason - these two towns in southern Patagonia offer dramatic scenery and incredible attractions. Travellers are often overwhelmed by the options and how to put together their travel plans, and so to help you out, we've put together some suggestions for planning the perfect End of the World itinerary.
A tour group about to go mini-trekking on Perito Moreno glacier / Photo by Daytours4u
First of all, book your flights. Don’t underestimate the distances in Argentina. Unless you want to spend days in a bus, you’re better off booking a flight. Both Aerolineas Argentinas and LATAM have daily flights between Buenos Aires and El Calafate and Ushuaia, as well as between the two towns themselves. This way you can spend most of your time enjoying the amazing sites.
There are many ways to combine these two destinations at the end of the world, depending on the amount of time you have. Of course, the longer your itinerary, the more you can discover. Here are our recommendations:
Day 1: Buenos Aires - Ushuaia
Take a morning flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Be warned - most flights leave very early, but this gives you plenty of time to explore. Spend the morning exploring the town, and indulging in a warming submarino and pastry or a full on Patagonian lamb feast at one of the many great places to eat in Ushuaia. Then take an afternoon cruise on the Beagle Channel.
The landscapes around Ushuaia are something of the imagination
Day 2: Ushuaia
On your second day, visit one of the most iconic places in Ushuaia, and indeed Patagonia: Tierra del Fuego National Park. You can take an ordinary tour, or the more adventurous can try a variety of hiking, canoeing and cycling options. In the afternoon, visit the old prison and its Maritime Museum.
Day 3: Ushuaia
If you’re feeling active, immerse yourself in Tierra del Fuego’s spellbinding landscapes with a wonderful hike. Emerald Lagoon is a popular trail that isn’t strenuous but offers great scenery. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go for a hike up to Vinciguerra glacier. Alternatively, if you like getting your thrills a bit more passively, take a fun offroad 4x4 tour to the lakes.
Day 4: Ushuaia - El Calafate
Hop on a morning flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate. Make the most of the afternoon by booking an afternoon tour to Cerro Frias. Or, if you want to do your own thing, walk down to the Laguna Nimez Reserve to see the flamingos and other bird life and stroll through the charming town with its many artisanal craft shops.
Take a classic tour to Perito Moreno and explore the amazing network of boardwalks / Photo by Daytours4u
Day 5: El Calafate
Dedicate a day to El Calafate’s biggest tourist attraction: the breathtaking Los Glaciares National Park and its main star, the Perito Moreno Glacier. There are a number of ways to experience it, depending on your preference: a normal tour or ice trekking. Whichever you choose, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of this vast expanse of moving ice.
Day 6: El Calafate
Spend your last day getting a real sense of the Patagonian gaucho (cowboy) lifestyle on a typical ranch. Estancia Cristina is a must-visit, thanks to its location in the Los Glaciares National Park, its choice of activities, and the insight it gives you into the life and history of Patagonia’s gauchos. Then it’s time to head back to Buenos Aires, or on to your next exciting destination in South America.
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Of course, there are numerous itinerary variations. These are simply our suggestions for making the most of a short vacation and planning the perfect itinerary in Ushuaia and El Calafate.
To make the most of your time, book a convenient End of the World Package to combine the best tours in El Calafate and Ushuaia. Visit argentina4u.com for more great tours in Patagonia.
By: Nicole Eberhard, travel writer and avid explorer, with a Masters in English Literature.