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Feedback Requested 10-night Argentina Itinerary: Buenos Aires~Iguazu Falls~Patagonia

Feedback Requested 10-night Argentina Itinerary: Buenos Aires~Iguazu Falls~Patagonia

Old Aug 11th, 2018, 09:20 AM
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Feedback Requested 10-night Argentina Itinerary: Buenos Aires~Iguazu Falls~Patagonia

I am seeking input into the 10-night Argentina (Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia) itinerary below. I will be traveling with my two sons (ages 13 and 15), my 70 year old father-in-law, 68 year old mother-in-law, and my husband, who will be joining us after three days. Due to school/work schedules and flights, we are traveling over the December holidays. All of us enjoy nature, wildlife, music, and hiking, but my mother-in-law recently injured her leg and will not be able to do lengthy or strenuous hikes with us. Half of us really like history and architecture, though I am probably the most enthusiastic. All of us have traveled internationally together before. Our last family trip abroad was a multi-sport (kayaking, snorkeling, hiking) family tour to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador two years ago.

We would like to arrive at our hotel and book private tours either through the hotel concierge or directly with a local tour agency. If we can book a recommended private tour in advance, that is fine too. We plan to fly between Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Patagonia, since our time is limited. I realize that we will be arriving in Buenos Aires on Christmas morning. While I have read some posts that say Buenos Aires shuts down at Christmas, I am hoping that there are still some sights to see or activities to do. Since we'll be traveling overnight on Christmas Eve and probably be sleep-deprived, I imagine that we'll be ok taking a nap and settling in to our hotel for part of Christmas Day.

We aim to have a balance between leisure, relaxing time and sightseeing/touring/hiking. The purpose of this trip is to celebrate my father-in-law's 70th birthday together, so quality family time will be more important than rushing around to see and experience everything. Regarding budget, we are planning to stay at 4-star hotels (hotels that have some "luxury," but are not over the top outrageous). Cleanliness, location and good service are more important to us than the number of stars. If we can find a 3 star hotel in an excellent location that is clean and has good service, we would take that over other more expensive hotels. The highlight for my in-laws are Iguazu Falls. The highlight for my sons is Patagonia. I am excited for everything. My husband is looking forward to spend time with the family anywhere, though he would like to visit a beautiful beach if time allows.

I hope this provides plenty of context for what we are searching for in our Argentina vacation. I would welcome feedback to get the most out of our trip and be able to experience Argentina in a short amount of time.
  • Travel to Buenos Aires on Dec. 24 and arrive on Dec. 25
  • 3 nights Buenos Aires
  • 3 nights Iguazu, Argentina
  • 3 nights Patagonia (El Calafate)
  • 1 night Buenos Aires
  • Travel to US on Jan. 4 and arrive on Jan. 5


Starting Itinerary:
Monday, Dec. 24: Travel to Buenos Aires

Tuesday, Dec. 25: Arrive Buenos Aires in the morning (1st night Buenos Aires)

Wednesday, Dec. 26: (2nd night Buenos Aires)

Thursday, Dec. 27: (3rd night Buenos Aires)

Friday, Dec. 28: Husband arrives in Buenos Aires in the morning; Travel to Iguazu Falls (1st night Iguazu)

Saturday, Dec. 29: (2nd night Iguazu)

Sunday, Dec. 30: (3rd night Iguazu)

Monday, Dec. 31: Travel to El Calafate (1st night El Calafate)

Tuesday, Jan. 1: (2nd night El Calafate)

Wednesday, Jan. 2: (3rd night El Calafate)

Thursday, Jan. 3: Travel to Buenos Aires (4th night Buenos Aires)

Friday, Jan. 4: Buenos Aires; travel to US at night

Saturday, Jan. 5: Arrive in US in the morning

**Key Questions:
1. What activities are there to do or sights to see on Christmas Day and the couple days after?
2. In my preliminary research, it looks like traveling from Iguazu Falls to Patagonia (El Calafate) will take about a day (7 hours total travel time with connecting flights). Is this correct? Or is there a faster route that I'm not aware of?

Thank you so much to anyone who replies!
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 01:00 PM
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Your itinerary is doable, although it will result in lots of time getting to and from places. Most flights between Iguazu and Patagonia involve connecting through Buenos Aires, which will indeed take a full day. It may be worthwhile to think about flying through Buenos Aires directly to Iguazu or El Calafate, although it is likely that you will need to change airports in BA.

Iguazu is easy to do on your own - no tour needed. If you do not want to drive, just arrange for a taxi to the park and back. Once inside the park, on the Argentinian side, you can walk or take the train inside the park. The Brazilian side is one long walking trail.

You may not want to hear me suggest this, but I would choose either Iguazu or Patagonia but not both with such a short trip.
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 05:23 PM
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Thank you for your reply tripplanner001. It looks like I need to connect to the municipal airport for a flight to Iguazu Falls or Patagonia.

For Buenos Aires and for Patagonia, what attractions, activities or sights would you recommend? Also, do you have a sense of anything being open or perhaps outdoors sights that we could visit the second half of Christmas Day? Thank you.
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 05:56 PM
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The international airport is Ezeiza. The domestic airport is Newbery, in the Palermo neighborhood. Travel from one to the other by taxi took us an hour; it could be even more depending on traffic. If you fly into BA from outside of South America and connect to a destination outside of BA, then you will likely need to switch airports.

As for sights, it depends on your interests and the amount of time you have available. I wrote about what I did in BA and in El Calafate (the main attraction is Perito Moreno Glacier, although you could also go to El Chalten, but you would need for time) here: From Argentina to Antarctica: The Ultimate Expedition
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 10:55 PM
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I think your plans are just about achievable but as suggested by triplanner, you will be spending a lot of time in transit. My own experience of air travel within Argentina has not been good; strikes, flights redirected. We had direct flights form Salta to IGU that were changed six times in as many weeks, the last change resulted in it being re routed via BA. You will probably be ok but expect things to change even when flights are booked!

Depending upon actual flight times, you could probably lose one night in Iguazu. The Brazilian side of the falls takes half a day, the argentine side, close to a full day. You could do the Brazil side on the day of departure or arrival. No need for a tour, just hire a taxi driver via your accomodation or, if you get a nice one at the airport, do a deal with them. Just agree times for collection etc. and get a phone number. Some details of our time in Iguazu on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/categor...ica/argentina/

We were in BA over Christmas a few years ago. As I recall everything started to close down around lunchtime on the 24th. Christmas Day was very quiet. Maybe a "gala lunch" at a nice hotel. We loved our visit to the Alvear Palace with Avrooster one Sunday a couple of years ago. Other potions for the next couple of days would be San Telmo, La Boca and Recoletta cemetery. Maybe a tango show. Also see https://www.fodors.com/world/south-a...s-to-do/sights
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Old Aug 12th, 2018, 06:52 AM
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You don't even need a taxi for Iguazu, I found the buses were fine.

For part of my SA trip, Iguazu (from Rio), Buenos Aires (via Uruguay) and El Calafate, see: Rio to Santiago via Patagonia
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Old Aug 12th, 2018, 07:36 AM
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We had a similar trip a few years ago - it was 2 weeks, but we had an extra destination. We flew directly to Iguazu (it was a long day of traveling), but that saved us that extra day at the end of the trip, as we had all Buenos Aires days at the end. All our domestic flights were with Aerolineas, and were all on time, no issues. I don't know if this would work for you though, as you have some family constraints to think of.
FWIW, Buenos Aires was our least favorite of the 4 destinations, with Iguazu and Calafate being on top, absolutely breathtaking. Have a great trip!
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Old Aug 13th, 2018, 02:00 AM
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Thank you for the feedback! This is all very helpful. I am thinking of now doing:
- 3 nights Buenos Aires
- 2 nights Iguazú Falls
- 4 nights El Calafate
- 1 final night in Buenos Aires

My husband will fly into Buenos Aires, and then catch a flight to Iguazú. His flight is scheduled to land at EZE at 9:20am. Would a 1pm flight to Iguazú work? Or would that be way too tight? He will only have carry-on. Thank you.
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Old Aug 13th, 2018, 02:47 AM
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Is the flight to Iguazu out of EZE or AEP? What day of the week is it? Whether or not he will make the connection will depend on his on-time arrival into EZE and the traffic between the two airports if he's transferring?
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Old Aug 14th, 2018, 05:33 AM
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My husband will be arriving in EZE at 9:20am on Friday, Dec. 28. He’ll have to get a flight from AEP. If no flight delays, when is the earliest he should fly to Iguazú? I’m thinking of 1pm as the absolute earliest. We may just be safe and book him a flight for the next day. Never know what delays - weather, mechanical- one might have.
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Old Aug 14th, 2018, 04:37 PM
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I would give more time if you are able. If the arriving flight is on time and he is able to get across town in an hour, then he could make the connection. Any delay, whether in the air or on the ground, and he would miss his connection.
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Old Aug 18th, 2018, 07:29 PM
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With some additional thought, we made some adjustments in the itinerary. I wonder if two places within Patagonia is too much packed in a short amount of time, however. Also, would it be better to travel to Ushuaia first or El Calafate first when visiting Patagonia?

Monday, Dec. 24: Travel to Buenos Aires in late afternoon

Tuesday, Dec. 25: Arrive Buenos Aires in the morning (1st night Buenos Aires)

Wednesday, Dec. 26: Travel to Iguazu Falls (1st night Iguazu)

Thursday, Dec. 27: (2nd night Iguazu)

Friday, Dec. 28: Husband arrives in Buenos Aires in the morning; Rest of the group leaves Iguazu and travels back to Buenos Aires (2nd night Buenos Aires)

Saturday, Dec. 29: Travel to El Calafate (1st night Patagonia - El Calafate)

Sunday, Dec. 30: (2nd night Patagonia - El Calafate)

Monday, Dec. 31: (3rd night Patagonia - Ushuaia)

Tuesday, Jan. 1: (4th night Patagonia - Ushuaia)

Wednesday, Jan. 2: Travel to Buenos Aires (3rd night Buenos Aires)

Thursday, Jan. 3: (4th night Buenos Aires)

Friday, Jan. 4: Buenos Aires; travel to US at night

Saturday, Jan. 5: Arrive in US in the morning

Feedback very much appreciated! Thank you, and I look forward to replies.
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Old Aug 18th, 2018, 08:27 PM
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I personally would not break up Buenos Aires into three chunks of time, as I would not want to settle into and leave a place more times than needed. And you would be paying for transport into and out of the city each time. You were already cramming it with three destinations. I wouldn't go for a fourth as your time is limited. If you have any flight issues, then you entire itinerary goes out the window. Now combining El Calafate and Ushuaia is easier and would reduce the amount of plane travel, but I would eliminate Iguazu Falls from this trip if I did that.
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Old Aug 19th, 2018, 04:50 AM
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Thank you for the advice! I will go back and adjust the itinerary. I broke up Buenos Aires to serve as buffers between flights, in the event that we had flight delays. Perhaps, it is best to fly direct (well, with no Buenos Aires overnight). My in-laws really want to see Iguazú and is the main reason for their visit to Argentina. My sons really want to see the glaciers. So, I’m trying to build an itinerary that satisfies both - without going crazy and packing too much in. There will have to be compromises for sure, but Iguazú and glaciers have to be on the itinerary. Maybe leaving only a day or two for Buenos Aires is the compromise. Will have to return for another trip to Buenos Aires. Ushuaia became an interest, since we visited the Galápagos two years ago as a big family. It would be neat to tie in the Beagle voyage, the penguins and the sea lions from both Galápagos and Ushuaia.
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Old Aug 19th, 2018, 05:55 AM
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Why don't you settle for Buenos Aires, Iguazu and El Calafate? I skipped Ushuaia on the grounds that it didn't sound that interesting and if I ever went to Antarctica I'd have to go there then. I would think it would be a disappointment after Galapagos.
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Old Aug 19th, 2018, 10:09 AM
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I would cut nights in Buenos Aires to the minimum, personally. I liked Ushuaia but if you are mainly going to see penguins be sure you know what's involved. The easiest place to see a big penguin colony in Argentina is Punta Tombo since you don't have to go to an island. However that is another flight, I think someone else figured it would be best to fly to Trelew from Buenos Aires or El Calafate.
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Old Aug 19th, 2018, 10:40 AM
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If any glacier would satisfy, then perhaps consider Martial Glacier, which is just above Ushuaia. It is not as big and impressive as Perito Moreno, but it is a glacier.
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Old Aug 19th, 2018, 12:10 PM
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I agree with cutting time in Buenos Aires. It's ok, be we enjoyed the outdoor portion of our April trip much more than BA. When I first saw your itinerary, I thought 3 nights was unnecessary for El Calafate and considered suggesting cutting BA time and doing 2 nights in El Calafate and 2 in El Chalten, which is easy to get to via bus, and would afford the hikers in the family fantastic hiking opportunities. But Ushuaia is not a bad choice - we had a similar dilemma about whether to keep it in our itinerary and are so glad we did. We LOVED the penguins - definitely do the tour that allows you to land on the island for an hour. Connections between El Calafate and Ushuaia are pretty easy - the flight is less than an hour. And you can fly direct from Ushuaia back to BA. We enjoyed Tierra del Fuego while in Ushuaia. You could rent a car for a few hours and drive to the park on your own. Very easy to do, and if the weather is good, a really scenic area. You can check out my trip report - Patagonia in Lovely April.
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Old Aug 20th, 2018, 08:30 AM
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Question..I know Buenos Aires is reputed to basically shut down over the holidays. Is it better to shuffle things so that you are on your way to Iguazu on the 25th, and then return on the 27th? Then flight issues which are common should not delay your intended departure on the 28th. And more things may (or may not) be available on the 27th..

I would then drop Jan 2 from Buenos Aires and add it to Patagonia.
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Old Aug 20th, 2018, 09:27 PM
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Thank you to everyone who provided advice. It was very helpful! We have decided on the itinerary below. Details to be determined. Everyone is happy - in-laws, two teenage sons, my husband and me. My sons and I will likely go to Antarctica some day and figured that we would travel to Ushuaia at that time. We also wanted to minimize travel time. Bariloche is closer to Buenos Aires and El Calafate than Ushuaia is. Bariloche also seemed to have more vegetarian options for my mother-in-law. And we love chocolate, which there seems to be plenty of in Bariloche.

Final Itinerary
Iguazu Falls - El Calafate - Bariloche - Buenos Aires
- Iguazu Falls - 2 nights
- El Calafate - 3 nights
- Bariloche - 3 nights
- Buenos Aires - 2 nights

Monday, Dec. 24: Travel to Buenos Aires in the afternoon

Tuesday, Dec. 25: Arrive Buenos Aires in the morning; travel to Iguazu Falls in the late afternoon/early evening (1st night Iguazu)

Wednesday, Dec. 26: Explore the falls (2nd night Iguazu)

Thursday, Dec. 27: Travel from Iguazu to El Calafate (1st night Patagonia - El Calafate)

Friday, Dec. 28: Husband arrives in Buenos Aires in the morning; husband will take a 4pm flight to El Calafate; the rest of the group will visit Perito Moreno Glacier (2nd night Patagonia - El Calafate)

Saturday, Dec. 29: Boat tour to Upsala and Spegazzini Glaciers (3rd night Patagonia - El Calafate)

Sunday, Dec. 30: Travel to Bariloche (4th night Patagonia - Bariloche)

Monday, Dec. 31: Bariloche (5th night Patagonia - Bariloche)

Tuesday, Jan. 1: Bariloche (6th night Patagonia - Bariloche)

Name:  unnamed.gif
Views: 393
Size:  43 BytesWednesday, Jan. 2: Travel to Buenos Aires (1st night Buenos Aires)

Thursday, Jan. 3: Buenos Aires (2nd night Buenos Aires)

Friday, Jan. 4: Buenos Aires; travel to US at night

Saturday, Jan. 5: Arrive in US in the morning
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