This walking adventure combines exploration of Argentina’s most spectacular regions with exceptional cuisine. Led by experienced guides, you'll walk an average of 4-6 miles per day and visit Mendoza, Argentina's robust wine-producing area in the north, and Patagonia, with its crystal blue lakes flanked by snowcapped peaks in the south. Throughout, enjoy elegant lodgings and delicious regional cuisine.
• Sample Argentine wines at two wineries: Clos de Chacras and Bodega Norton.
• Experienced guides accompany you as you take your time soaking in the scenery.
• Picnic in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, the hemisphere’s tallest peak.
$75 per person gift certificate for The Country Walkers online store
Stunning scenery is the common theme among the varied and expansive landscapes of Argentina. Your itinerary follows the spine of the Andes from the wine country in the north to the peaks and shimmering lakes of Patagonia in the south, each area linked by a fascinating culture embracing both European and native traditions. Led by knowledgeable and experienced guides, daily walks are rated easy to moderate with an average of 4-6 miles per day. Each walk is flexible, based upon changing weather patterns and seasonal differences, but throughout, the guides set a leisurely pace so guests can enjoy the vistas, flora and wildlife.
You start in Mendoza, the center of Argentina’s wine industry and the largest wine producing area in Latin America. Mendoza is only one of nine cities worldwide in the network of Great Capitals of Wine and is the base for exploring the hundreds of wineries in the region. You'll get to do just that with a full-day excursion to the Clos de Chacras and Norton Wineries. Walk lanes flanked by vineyards at the foot of snowcapped mountains as you learn about wine production and savor some of the many vintages produced here. Before leaving the Mendoza region, you'll also enjoy walks alongside aqueducts dug by the indigenous Huarpes people hundreds of years ago and journey into the Andes for a picnic in the shadow of Mt. Aconcagua, the hemisphere’s highest peak.
Then head south to the mountain resort town of Bariloche in Argentina’s Lake District. Located on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi and often compared to the Swiss Alps, it is a majestic region of blue lakes, deep green forests and soaring peaks. Discover its many natural wonders while staying at your intimate lakeside hotel. Walk among wooded paths lined with Coihue trees that are centuries old in scenic Llao-Llao Municipal Park; take a catamaran ride to Victoria Island and explore its isolated beaches, native trees and exotic wildlife; and venture to the vast and wild Patagonian steppe where you’ll find giant condors circling 12,000-year-old archaeological treasures. Conclude your adventure with lunch atop a high granite cliff with views of Mount Tronador, an extinct volcano mantled in glaciers, then revel in a kayak excursion on Nahuel Huapi Lake or savor an afternoon at the spa. It’s your choice in a country that has everything to offer!
• 7 nights accommodations: 3 nights in Mendoza and 4 nights in Bariloche
• All meals except for 2 dinners; local beer and wine included with dinners
• All on-tour transportation from meeting point to departure point
• Assistance of 1 expert generalist guide plus regional local guides throughout
• Guided walks in Mendoza, at the Clos de Chacras and Norton Wineries, in Harcones Valley, Llao-Llao Municipal Park, Isla Victoria, on the Patagonian steppe and on the Brazo Tristeza Balcony
• Mobile phone rental - includes free phone rental, preferred calling rates and complimentary shipping
• All entrance fees and special events as per itinerary
Note: Please bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, inclement weather or transportation schedules. Therefore unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise but any itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and our guests’ experience.
Day 1 - Exploration of Mendoza (2-3 hours, Easy to Moderate)
Upon arrival in Mendoza, you are met at the airport and transferred directly to your hotel, a country house-style property located in the picturesque village of Chacras de Coria. The hotel reflects the art of combining Andean stone with typical desert wood, resulting in a natural, modern aesthetic. The swimming pool is set in a garden and promises tranquil afternoons and calm nights. This area of ranches is renowned for its warm microclimate and scenic location at the base of the Andes. The hotel is also just 20 minutes from the regional capital of Mendoza, the heart of Argentina’s best-known wine routes and gastronomic venues. This area of ranches is renowned for its warm microclimate and scenic location at the base of the Andes.
After settling into your room and enjoying a traditional lunch, an introductory walk will acquaint you with your surroundings. Explore the Plaza de Independencia and Emilio Civil en route to General San Martin City Park. Originally designed as a place to train the Argentine Army, locals and travelers alike now explore its beautiful Rosedal (rose garden) and Cerro de la Gloria (Mt. Gloria). Atop Mt. Gloria, sweeping views of Mendoza unfold with the Andes mountain range as a backdrop. This afternoon, return to the hotel to relax before dinner at a favorite restaurant within walking distance where you will toast the start of your adventures with wines from surrounding vineyards.
Accommodations: Lares de Chacras - 3 nights
Day 2 - Full-day wine tour of Clos de Chacras and Norton Wineries (2 hours walking, Easy)
Following a good night’s rest, wake to a satisfying breakfast at your hotel. Mid-morning, we set off for Clos de Chacras, a boutique winery constructed in 1921 but with a history dating back to 1883. Recently restored to its original grandeur, the bodega uses the latest technology to ensure production of some of the country’s most delicious wines, some of which you will have the pleasure of sampling alongside the bodega’s owner, whose grandparents started the winery.
Next we visit the Bodega Norton, a classic Argentine winery started in 1895 by one of the pioneers of Argentine viniculture, Sir Edmund James Palmer Norton. Among the growing vines, you are enlightened by our expert guide who gives a detailed explanation about the leaves, grapes and techniques of cultivation. Among the growing vines, he provides a detailed explanation about the different leaves, grapes and techniques of cultivation. In the heart of the vineyard—aromatic with the smell of the earth and the fresh breezes coming off the nearby mountains—appetites are whetted for the next quintessentially Argentine experience: the asado. A participatory feast, you learn about Argentina’s barbeque tradition as you help prepare it, which is an art in itself! Enjoying the fruits of your labor in the beautiful vineyard gardens, you’ll taste some of Mendoza’s best Cabernet and Malbec wines while savoring insights from your wine expert.
Return to your hotel in the late afternoon with time to enjoy its pool and grounds, or simply relax. Later, venture out for dinner at a celebrated restaurant in the city of Mendoza.
Day 3 - Horcones Valley (4-5 hours, Moderate with a 400-ft. elevation gain and loss; walks are at an elevation of over 9,000 ft.)
Today you set out early for a two- to three-hour scenic drive of the snowcapped Andes Mountains, the starting point for a full day’s invigorating walk. The day’s destination is the Horcones Valley at the base of Mount Aconcagua which, at 22,944 feet, is the highest mountain in South America and, as one of the famed “Seven Summits,” a magnet for dedicated mountain climbers worldwide. The drive follows the Rio Mendoza river through the small town of Potrerillos, into the Uspallata Valley, past Mount Penitentes (a local ski area) and over the famous bridge of the Incas, a geological and historical site where Incans soaked in the curative hot spring waters. The walk is a moderate route into the Horcones Valley, which eventually leads to Mount Aconcagua. Your extremely accomplished mountain guide—who has summited Mount Aconcagua 32 times!—accompanies you through rolling terrain at over 9,000 feet. Wildflowers flank the path, which leads toward the south face of Aconcagua and provides incomparable views of the snowcapped peak. A picnic lunch is unpacked in the fresh air, in full view of Mount Aconcagua.
Returning to your hotel later in the day, you may enjoy your final evening in Mendoza as you wish, either by opting to stay at your hotel and enjoying a gourmet meal in the hotel’s dining room or following your guide’s suggestions for a nearby restaurant within walking distance.
Day 4 - Transfer to Bariloche / Cerro Llao-Llao (3 hours, Easy to Moderate with a 650-ft. elevation gain and loss)
Today you fly to northern Patagonia, not far from the border with Chile. Better known as the Lakes Region of Argentina, it is a landscape of peaks, lakes and unique forest. Upon arrival at the airport, proceed to your hotel, a lakeside property located on the San Pedro Peninsula, just 25 minutes outside the city of Bariloche. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery featuring forested hills and crystalline lakes, the hotel is perfectly situated for your explorations of the region. Its ten exclusive rooms overlooking Nahuel Huapi Lake feature individual balconies and access to the deck. The incredible views are sure to inspire you to stretch your legs after your journey.
After settling in, venture out to the scenic Llao-Llao Municipal Park. A sustained ascent brings you to a mirador, or lookout; you will want to have your camera ready! The wooded path leads past giant Coihue trees, which may be up to 500 or 600 years old; the colorful Arrayán trees, a variety of myrtle with twisted branches and smooth, red peeling bark; and the ever-present cypress with thick hanging moss. The walk culminates at the edge of Nahuel Huapi Lake, where glacial waters tempt the hardy for a brisk swim. Later in the afternoon, return to the hotel with time to relax before a fine dinner in the hotel’s intimate restaurant, which serves locally produced Argentinean meat and local organic vegetables prepared on the grill or in its clay oven.
Accommodation: Hotel Aldebaran - 4 nights
Day 5 - Isla Victoria (4 hours, Easy to Moderate)
Today’s excursion begins by navigating across the sparkling waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake and up to Victoria Island, rich in natural beauty and part of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, one of Argentina’s oldest and largest parks. The island itself was originally called Nahuel Huapi, meaning Tiger Island in the aboriginal Mapuche language; this name was later applied to the entire lake. The 12-mile-long island is full of centennial cypress, native trees and exotic fauna. Set off on a trail leading past isolated beaches and among a network of unique trees such as the ancient Arrayán with its ever-cold cinnamon-colored bark and white flowers. A natural wildlife reserve, Victoria Island is home to an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. If you are quiet and a little lucky, you might spot deer or pheasant. Enjoy a delightful picnic lunch on the island during this full-day visit. Returning to your hotel in the late afternoon, you may choose to unwind in its spa facilities. Dinner this evening is at a favorite pub-style restaurant not far from the hotel.
Day 6 - Patagonian Steppe (4 hours, Easy to Moderate with a 700-ft elevation gain and loss)
Today is dedicated to exploring the Patagonian steppe. The area is immense, rugged and harsh in places, and a unique habitat characterized by a vastness of land and horizon with evidence of human history dating back over 12,000 years. Extending from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, the landscape is made up of high plateaus, long ridges and deep valleys with a geological composition of sand, rocks and volcanic ash. The low, bushy and thorny vegetation that is typical of the region is home to a variety of fauna such as guanaco, foxes, maras (the Patagonian rabbit) and condors. The day starts at Laguna de Los Juncos with its unusual rock formations featuring condor nests and spectacular views looking over the Pichi-Leufu River Valley. At the highest point of the walk, your guide prepares a typical Patagonian lunch. A sustained descent leads to the walk’s conclusion after which you return to the hotel in the later afternoon. The evening is free. Perhaps head to a nearby restaurant or stay in and enjoy the hotel’s restaurant, which also specializes in homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas.
Day 7 - Brazo Tristeza Balcony (4 hours, Easy to Moderate with a 650-ft elevation gain and loss)** / Optional Afternoon of Easy Kayaking
Early risers this morning may wish to take a short walk, following the path down from the hotel to the lakeside dock. Following breakfast, depart for Bahia Lopez, the start of the day’s walk. The route begins near the rocky beach of Nahuel Huapi Lake along a wide, wooded trail with a gradual but steady ascent flanked by purple mutisia wildflowers. After a short, steep rocky section (**a section that could be uncomfortable for those who have concerns about vertigo**), you are rewarded with outstanding views of the surrounding mountains, including the 12,000-foot, glacier-capped Mount Tronador, an extinct volcano that constitutes the border between Argentina and Chile. Upon arrival at a natural balcony carved out of the granite cliffs by glaciers, you can relax and enjoy a gourmet lunch prepared high in the mountains—food for the body and spirit. With luck, we may spot giant condors soaring in the wind. Condors are among the largest flying birds in the world and to see them on the wing is truly a breathtaking sight.
After descending from the loop walk and returning to the hotel, a kayaking option is available this afternoon for those who wish to enjoy the scenery from another vantage point. This easy, guided paddle on Nahuel Huapi Lake is a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon in Bariloche. The waters are generally calm and the lake is edged with lush vegetation and diverse wildlife. Others may wish to relax at the hotel or perhaps enjoy its spa. Another option is to take a taxi to downtown Bariloche for shopping opportunities. Tonight, we celebrate our final evening together in true Argentine style at an exclusive private restaurant featuring local organic gourmet cuisine and fine Argentine wines.
**Please note: A short section of this walk requires crossing a wooden bridge with a steep drop-off on one side. If you have any concerns about vertigo, contact your AAA Travel Counselor.
Day 8 - Depart
Following breakfast this morning, say adios to your newfound friends. Airport transfers are provided for departures, either to Buenos Aires for additional time exploring the city or connecting to an international flight home.
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
CST #1003968-80. Registration as seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.