- Discover the best of Chilean & Argentine Patagonia
- Hike through the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park
- Admire the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier
- Experience the majesty of Mount Fitz Roy
- Complete sections of the famous "W" trek
|Day 1||Fly to Punta Arenas (Chile), Transfer to Puerto Natales||Puerto Natales|
|Day 2||Enter Torres del Paine & Begin W Trek (Day 1)||Torres del Paine|
|Day 3||Hike Along Lago Nordenskjöld to Refugio Cuernos (Day 2)||Torres del Paine|
|Day 4||Visit the French Valley & Continue to Refugio Paine Grande (Day 3)||Torres del Paine|
|Day 5||See Grey Glacier, Trek to Refugio Grey (Day 4), Return to Puerto Natales||Puerto Natales|
|Day 6||Bus to El Calafate (Argentina)||El Calafate|
|Day 7||Experience the Perito Moreno Glacier, Bus to El Chaltén||El Chaltén|
|Day 8||El Chaltén Day Hike to Laguna de los Tres||El Chaltén|
|Day 9||Hike to Mirador Cerro Torre||El Chaltén|
|Day 10||Fly to Buenos Aires, Depart|
Day 1: Fly to Punta Arenas (Chile), Transfer to Puerto Natales
Starting at the Santiago airport, you'll catch a flight to the city of Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, you'll hop on a bus for a three-hour trip north to Puerto Natales. When you arrive, transfer to your hotel and take the rest of the evening to relax and explore the town.
This small port city is the main base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. It's far less touristic than many other Patagonian hubs and thus retains its air of small-town tranquility. Enjoy the town's simple pleasures, like strolling its waterfront promenade, which sits on the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Facing north from here, you'll see the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro, and the view is phenomenal at sunset. After your walk, check out one of the numerous restaurant options in town for dinner.
Day 2: Enter Torres del Paine & Begin W Trek (Day 1)
In the morning, you'll transfer from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park via a bus. The total distance is 70 miles (112 km), and the drive takes about two hours, with a short stop at Cerro Castillo Village. The scenery along the way will be incredible, as you'll get your first glimpses of Torres del Paine's massive peaks as well as some of the local fauna, like guanacos.
Arrive at the Laguna Amarga main entrance and register yourself with the park office. Then it's a quick shuttle ride to the Las Torres sector. From here, you'll hike up Mount Almirante Nieto, which features stunning views of the Asencio Valley below and Lago Nordenskjöld. After two hours of hiking, you'll reach Refugio Chileno, where you'll overnight. Leave your heavier bags here and, after a brief rest, continue trekking up the mountain.
It's another hour of hiking past ancient lenga forests until you arrive at a moraine. The next part is a challenging steep ascent for 45 minutes until you reach the top, which is known as Mirador Base Torres. Mirador in English means "viewpoint," and this little section of the mountain, with the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Paine) looming over a green lagoon, is the best view in the park. From here, you can also marvel at the towering peaks of nearby Torre Sur, Torre Central, North Tower, Condor's Nest, and Glacier Torre, all set amid the sweeping backdrop of the Patagonian highlands.
After spending some time enjoying the views at Base Torres, you'll then hike back to Refugio el Chileno to rest up for the evening. Today's hike takes about eight hours in total.
Day 3: Hike Along Lago Nordenskjöld to Refugio Cuernos (Day 2)
After a hearty breakfast, get ready for your second day of hiking. You'll leave Refugio Torre Central and walk for four hours toward Refugio Cuernos, located on the shores of Lago Nordenskjöld and at the foot of the Cuernos peaks. Along the way, you'll follow the skirt of Almirante Nieto and hop across rivers, surrounded by a towering backdrop of glaciers and mountaintops. Spend the night at the foot of the iconic granite peaks at the beautiful Refugio Cuernos.
Day 4: Visit the French Valley & Continue to Refugio Paine Grande (Day 3)
Shortly after breakfast, you'll set off toward Campamento Italiano, reaching the camp after 2.5 hours of trekking across a windy beach and entering a sheltered valley. Here you can leave your large pack and continue into the French Valley with just a small daypack.
Cross moraine and forests to reach a clearing that offers breathtaking views of Lago Nordenskjöld, Skottsberg, Pehoe, and French Glacier. After leaving the lookout, return to gather your large pack and continue another 2.5 hours to Refugio Paine Grande on the shore of the beautiful Lake Pehoe. The total hiking time for today is about seven hours.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: See Grey Glacier, Trek to Refugio Grey (Day 4), Return to Puerto Natales
After a restful sleep and an energizing breakfast, begin the day with a four-hour hike through the dense forest along Lake Grey. Be prepared for Patagonia's famously high winds—this section of the park is particularly open. After about two hours of hiking, you'll be rewarded with your first glimpse of the magnificent Grey Glacier before continuing to the Refugio Grey campsite.
In the afternoon, a change of pace takes you aboard the Grey III as you set sail for a tour of the glacier. After crossing the lake, you'll reach the towering ice walls and admire the glacier's vastness from a perfect vantage point. Disembark and take a short hike across the windswept beach and through the forest before heading to the nearby hotel, where you'll catch a transfer and then a bus back to Puerto Natales.
Day 6: Bus to El Calafate (Argentina)
In the morning, hop on a bus bound for El Calafate in Argentina and check into a cozy bed-and-breakfast near the center of town. The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy as you please. After all your trekking and excursions of the previous days, you'll likely prefer an evening stroll about town and a quiet dinner before hitting the hay and recharging those batteries.
Day 7: Experience the Perito Moreno Glacier, Bus to El Chaltén
Today is devoted to an exciting all-day excursion. Start with a pick-up from your hotel in El Calafate, followed by a one-hour transfer to Los Glaciares National Park. As you enter the park, you'll catch your first glimpse of the majestic Perito Moreno. This expansive ice mass flows down from the Andes out over the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino, ending abruptly in a great wall that curves around the lake. Wait a bit, and you'll witness "calving," the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and crashing into the tranquil waters below.
While not the only glacier in the area, Perito Moreno is definitely the star of the show. It's also unique in that it is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, a factor that results in the calving mentioned above. Upon arrival, you'll be able to admire Perito Moreno from several different vantage points via the network of wooden walkways strategically situated in front of the glacier. Even better, you'll also get up close and personal with its massive ice wall on a boat tour.
After a day spent discovering the glacier and wandering the numerous trails, you'll head back to El Calafate, where you will catch your onward transfer to El Chaltén.
Day 8: El Chaltén Day Hike to Laguna de los Tres
This morning you'll embark on a full-day excursion into Los Glaciares National Park. With several trailheads just outside of town, El Chaltén is the perfect starting point for treks into the Fitz Roy range and offers fantastic opportunities for day hikes.
Many of these full-day treks can take up to 11 hours, depending on which route you take. The hike you'll be embarking on this morning is to Laguna de los Tres. The trail leads through an alpine forest, complete with views of Piedras Blancas Glacier all the way up to the lake. Laguna de los Tres earned its name because its shores offer panoramic views of three peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre.
At the end of the day's hike, you'll descend the mountain and return to your hotel in El Chaltén.
Day 9: Hike to Mirador Cerro Torre
After breakfast, head out of town on foot for a memorable hike to Laguna Torre. Traverse a glacial valley that has fascinated geologists due to its perfect "U" shape, the result of the area once being covered by large swaths of ice.
The hike will take you about six hours through bright green lenga forests and around lagoons until you reach the day's final destination: Laguna Torre. This glacial lake sits at the foot of the sharp granite peak of Cerro Torre, and here you'll find the glacier that feeds the lake as well. After spending some time at the lake and admiring the views, you'll return to El Chaltén along the same path.
Day 10: Fly to Buenos Aires, Depart
Make sure to take a moment or two to reflect on all the exciting memories you've made over the previous week before saying your farewells to Patagonia today.
At the scheduled time, a driver will pick you up and transfer you El Calafate Airport, where you'll hop a flight back to Buenos Aires and meet your connecting flight home. Upon takeoff, be sure to look out the window and enjoy one final glimpse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field from your window. Take a mental photo and savor it as a little keepsake until you decide to return.
More Great Patagonia Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Patagonia? Check out these other Patagonia itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Patagonia, or discover the best time to visit Patagonia.