Patagonia's vast unpopulated areas, impassable ice fields and history of exploration make it one of the most fascinating, legendary, and beautiful regions of Argentina. On this two-week long trip, you can discover all of the region's incredible landscapes at your own pace, making it an unforgettable experience for true pioneers.

Highlights

  • Explore Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the only advancing glaciers in the world
  • Trek through classic Patagonia landscapes in Torres del Paine National Park 
  • Discover wildlife around Ushuaia, once visited by Charles Darwin
  • Encounter a penguin colony off the coast of Estancia Harberton

Overview

Southern Patagonia contains some of Argentina's best natural wonders, and it's no surprise that it is the country's most popular area for outdoor activities. This tour starts in El Calafate, the region's hub for seeing the glaciers of Patagonia, and then goes north to El Chaltén before heading back south to Torres del Paine National Park and ending around Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city. By covering four distinct parts of Patagonia, this itinerary allows you to see all types of landscapes, ranging from Magellanic subpolar forests and mountains to ice fields and coastlines. 

Keep in mind that seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so it is best to visit Patagonia in the summer between November and March. Much of the itinerary is also spent on the road or crossing bodies of water, since extensive travel is required to see the disparate regions of Patagonia. Many parts of the tour also include treks and other physically demanding activities, making it best suited for those who are in good physical condition and have previous experience with trekking or high-intensity exercise. If you are an intrepid adventurer who wants a truly unique and stimulating trip, come to Patagonia.

Brief Itinerary

Day Destination Overnight
Day 1 El Calafate (Arrival) El Calafate
Day 2 El Calafate, Glaciar Perito Moreno El Calafate
Day 3 El Calafate - El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 4 El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 5 El Chalten El Chaltén
Day 6 El Chaltén - El Calafate El Calafate
Day 7 El Calafate - Puerto Natales- Parque Nacional Torres del Paine Torres del Paine
Day 8 Trekking Mirador “Base Torres” Torres del Paine
Day 9 Trekking Refugio El Chileno- Refugio Los Cuernos Cuernos Refugio
Day 10 Trekking to the French Valley Pehoe Lake Refugio
Day 11 Trekking to the Grey Glacier - Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 12 Puerto Natales – Ushuaia Ushuaia
Day 13 Trekking and Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego National Park Ushuaia
Day 14 Penguins on Isla Martillo & Estancia Harberton Ushuaia
Day 15 Ushuaia – Buenos Aires (Departure) N/A

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in El Calafate

Glaciers near El Calafate

Fly into El Calafate from Buenos Aires and explore the city known for being the gateway to Argentina's glaciers. Upon arrival, you will be taken to the hotel and have the rest of the day free to relax or check out local points of interest. Watch the Patagonian sunset over the Laguna Nimez Nature Preserve, the Glaciarium Museum, or simply rest up for tomorrow's adventure.

Day 2: El Calafate - Glaciar Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno Glacier

After breakfast, you will embark on your full-day excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier, one of Argentina's only advancing glaciers. Within Los Glacieres National Park, you will travel along Lake Argentino out from El Calafate until the glacier's towering walls of ice come into view. Three miles of walkways will take you in and out of the glacier, offering both stunning views and soundtracks of the glacier's natural motions. The tour also includes a short boat trip past the glacier, where you can marvel at the glacier's features up-close. Return to your hotel in the evening after a long day of sightseeing.

Day 3: El Calafate - El Chaltén

El Chaltén at night

Ride in a minivan to El Chalten after breakfast, and after three hours of driving, arrive by noon. Before heading to your hotel, stop by the ranger's office to collect information about the various trails and attractions in the area. Spend the rest of the day acclimating to your new surrounding and go for a few quick hikes before calling it a night.

Days 4 and 5: El Chaltén

Hiking at El Chalten

Spend the next two days discovering the numerous hiking trails of El Chalten at your own pace. If you're up for the challenge, hiking to the foot of Cerro Fitz Roy and Laguna Los Tres is highly recommended. For this trek, you can transfer to Estancia El Pilar as your starting point, allowing for a more convenient hike through a variety of picturesque landscapes before looping back to El Chalten. Otherwise, plenty of beginner-friendly trails are available as well.

Day 6: El Chaltén - El Calafate

Cerro Torre

Get one last chance to explore the El Chalten area, including the path that leads to the foot of Cerro Torre complete with amazing views of the namesake lake and glacier. In the afternoon, you will be picked up from your hotel by a minivan and travel to El Calafate. Arrive in the evening and check into your local hotel.

Day 7: El Calafate - Puerto Natales - Parque Nacional Torres del Paine

Guanacos in Torres del Paine

Take the 2:30 PM bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park, a two and a half hour journey with a short stop in the frontier town of Cerro Castillo. After entering the park through the Laguna Amarga entrance, you will entrance fee and ride a shuttle to your refugio, a comfortable lodge right next to the Torres del Paine. Check in and rest up for your big day ahead.

Day 8: Trekking Mirador “Base Torres”

Lake in Torres del Paine

Today, you will start your first trekking experience in Torres del Paine National Park. Start off your morning around 9 AM with a one and a half hour ascent complete with stunning views of the hanging glacier at Mount Almirante Nieto (2,670 m) as well as nearby lakes. Once you reach Refugio Chileno, you can drop off your bags and take a quick break to refuel.

Next, hike for another hour past ancient lenga forests until you reach the moraine base. Brace the steeper, more challenging climb for 45 minutes, and once you get to the top, reward yourself with some of the park's best views from the Mirador Base Torres. Here, you can marvel at the towering peaks of Torre Sur, Central Tower, North Tower, Condor's Nest, and Glacier Torre, all set across the sweeping backdrop of the Patagonian Highlands.

Day 9: Trekking Refugio El Chileno - Refugio Los Cuernos

Waterfall near Lake Nordenskjöld

In today's more moderate trek, you will cross around the Paine Massif past the base of Mount Almirante Nieto. Setting out from Refugio El Chileno, you will hike for half an hour you reach the "shortcut" path towards Refugio Los Cuernos. Then, hike for another 4-5 hours past views of Lake Nordenskjöld's emerald waters, impressive hanging glaciers, and fascinating local flora. In December, the red flowers of Ciruelillo trees come into full bloom, making for a truly special sight if you choose to hike in the summer. Eventually, you will reach the Cuernos sector and spend the night in one of the circuit's most welcoming refugios.

Day 10: Trekking to the French Valley

Hiking in French Valley

Prepare for the longest, most arduous, but also most rewarding day of trekking of the circuit! Start off your morning with a smooth, two-hour hike overlooking Lake Nordenskjöld. Once you reach the Campamento Italiano sector, leave your bags at the camp and carry on with a small day pack containing the day's necessary food, water, and extra clothing.

The next 1.5 hour climb starts at the French River Valley, crosses the French Glacier, then finishes at the British Camp. Head slightly off-trail to discover the "British Mirador", which provides one of the most amazing panoramic views in the park. Cerros, Paine Grande, Catedral, Hoja, Máscara, Espada, Aleta de Tiburón and Cuerno Norte Horn can all be seen from this viewpoint. Afterwards, return on the same path to "Campamento Italiano" and then onto the sector where the Pehoe Lake Refugio is located.

Day 11: Trekking to the Grey Glacier - Puerto Natales

The Grey Glacier Viewpoint

Trek to and from the Grey Glacier viewpoint, which begins with a 1.5-hour hike to the first lookout point. Then, follow the western shore of Lake Grey, and arrive at the main viewpoint after 2 hours. Here, admire a spectacular view of Grey Glacier, Olguin Cordon and the surrounding icebergs in the distance. Return along the same path until you arrive at the Pehoe sector, and head to the dock at Lake Pehoe. Board a catamaran (departure time at 6:30 PM) that will take you to the Pudeto sector, where you will then be transported back to Puerto Natales by 9:00 PM. Check into your hotel in Puerto Natales and rest after a long day.

Day 12: Puerto Natales – Ushuaia

Ushuaia's Waterfront

Eat breakfast early in the morning and start your journey to Ushuaia at the far southern end of the continent. Start by boarding a bus, which will make a connection in Punta Arenas. Then, continue by ferry to the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego through the fabled Strait of Magellan. The total trip takes around 14 hours, and after arriving at Ushuaia, make your way to your hotel and get ready for tomorrow's adventure.

Day 13: Trekking and Canoeing in Tierra del Fuego National Park

Canoeing in the Lapataia River

You will be picked up at your hotel via shared service and drive into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, one of Patagonia's most important natural regions. Once in Ensenada Bay, you will have time to enjoy the view over the Beagle Channel before walking along a 3.7 mile (6 km) trail along the coast. Over the next 3 hours, you will observe local flora and fauna, discover historic traces of the area’s indigenous Yamana people, and arrive at Lake Roca for a picnic. After lunch, take a canoe out to the Lapataia River and paddle downstream until you reach the scenic endpoint of the Pan-American Highway and National Highway No. 3.

Day 14: Penguins on Isla Martillo & Estancia Harberton

Penguin Colony off of Estancia Harberton

Today's tour starts at the pier of the Ushuaia, where a convoy of buses will take visitors to Estancia Harberton via Route 3. After merging into Route J, the road continues through rugged Fuegian forests until reaching the docking point. Embark on a semi-rigid rubber boat for a special, up-close experience on an island featuring a Magellanic penguin colony. A guided tour will take you on a hike, where you will learn about the penguins' characteristics and natural habitat. The tour lasts about 90 minutes and allows for plenty of great photo opportunities.

Day 15: Ushuaia – Buenos Aires

Transfer to the airport at the appropriate time for your departing flight and say goodbye to Patagonia!

Map

Map of Adventure in Patagonia - 15 Days
Map of Adventure in Patagonia - 15 Days