Go on a trekker's paradise and explore some of the best landscapes in Argentina and Chile. Flexible and suitable for all experience levels, this itinerary will take you across two national parks and one of the most famous mountain ranges in all of South America.

Highlights

  • Boat around Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world's only advancing glaciers
  • Hike and ride a horse across the scenery of Mount Fitz Roy and El Chalten
  • See the stunning lakes, mountains, and waterfalls of Torres del Paine
  • Trek to the Torres Base through lenga forests for the region's most spectacular mountain views

Overview

This classic tour is a great way to explore Patagonia's iconic destinations. The itinerary will cover Los Glaciares National Park and Torres del Paine National Park, providing an in-depth experience of across both southern Argentina and Chile. With snow-capped peaks, enormous glaciers, and hiking trails for all levels, this is a great adventure for everyone, from extreme trekkers to casual travelers. 

On your free days, you can choose where and when to go on hikes and what pace you want to progress. Since the paths are very well marked and maintained, you will have no problem setting off on a variety of treks. Additionally, complete information on park grounds will be provided on a daily basis, so you will be able to plan your preferred activities each day. Despite the accessibility and flexibility of the tours, those who have more hiking experience will have additional options available. 

Brief Itinerary

Day Destination Overnight
Day 1 El Calafate (Arrival) El Calafate
Day 2 Perito Moreno Glacier El Calafate
Day 3 El Calafate (Free Day) El Calafate
Day 4 El Calafate - El Chalten El Chalten
Day 5 El Chalten (Free Day) El Chalten
Day 6 El Chalten - El Calafate El Calafate
Day 7 El Calafate - Torres del Paine Puerto Natales
Day 8 Torres del Paine (Free Day) Puerto Natales
Day 9 Torres del Paine - El Calafate (Departure)  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in El Calafate

The shores of El Calafate.

Welcome to Argentina! Begin your adventure in El Calafate, located within the harsh frontier of the Patagonian steppe. Bordering Lago Argentino, the country's largest lake, El Calafate is considered the gateway to the glaciers of Southern Argentina. One of the only continuously-advancing glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno Glacier, is right nearby. Take some time to settle into your new surroundings and explore, then get some rest and prepare for your first local tour tomorrow.

Day 2: Perito Moreno Glacier tour

Perito Moreno Tour Boat.

Head out for a full-day excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciers National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981, Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the region's most stunning sights. A guided tour is available as you pass the massive sheets of ice towering overhead.

Walking trails and viewing platforms offer great views, but there's more to come. Later in the afternoon, hop aboard a tour boat and cruise right up to the 260 ft (80 m) tall edges of the glacier. In the early evening, you will return to your hotel in El Calafate.

Day 3: El Calafate

Horseback Riding near El Calafate

Today, take your pick out of the many optional tours around El Calafate. Visit the Estancia Cristina ranch for a traditional Patagonian experience, rent a bike and go for a ride to Lago Argentino, or venture out on another boat cruise to the glaciers.

Day 4: From El Calafate to El Chalten

Houses in El Chalten

In the morning, ride a public bus across the deserts of Southern Patagonia along the famous Route 40. The three-hour drive is full of scenic views, passing through La Leona River that connects Lake Argentino and Lake Viedma. Be on the lookout for the La Leona Road House, the former hideout spot of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid after their notorious bank robbery.

Once you arrive in El Chalten, the bus will stop for 15 minutes at the park ranger office, where you will be given an introduction to the park. One of the top-rated trekking destinations in all of Argentina, El Chalten is a quaint village located at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy, surrounded by glaciers, lakes, rivers, and forests. Here you can set off on a variety of trails in the region.
Take some time to explore your surroundings, go for a stroll to a nearby waterfall, or just wind down in the local brewery.

Day 5: Explore El Chalten

Hiking in El Chalten.

Get ready to embark on the trekking adventure of your dreams! El Chalten offers a range of options for different levels, from beginners to experienced hikers. You can go for a short 1.9 mile (3 km) walk through the lenga forests to get spectacular views of Las Vueltas River and go birdwatching (there are plenty of woodpeckers here). Alternatively, if you seek something a little more rigorous, set off on a 1.5-hour hike to the Cerro Torre viewpoint for some terrific mountain scenery.

For those who seek a truly challenging trek, the full hike to the Torre Base lasts for 8 hours through multiple ascents and descents. After the difficult last stretch, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Mount Fitz Roy and the whole massif adjacent to the Laguna de Los Tres path. 

Day 6: El Chalten and Return to El Calafate

View of Mt. Fitz Roy from El Chalten

For the first half of the day, complete your El Chalten experience with some of the shorter activities you didn't get to yesterday. Whether it's another hike or a more relaxing activity, make sure to get the most out of your last hours in the picturesque national park. Then it's time to head out on a three-hour drive to your next destination. Rest, enjoy the views out the window, and return to El Calafate in the evening.

Day 7: El Calafate, Torres del Paine, and Puerto Natales

The road into Torres del Paine

Wake up early and drive along a road that cuts into the natural habitat of various endemic species, including rheas, guanacos, Patagonian hares, and condors. Observe these beautiful creatures as they roam the windy steppes or soar across the skies.

Your full-day excursion begins once you are deep in Torres Del Paine National Park. See the Salto Grande waterfall, the azure lakes of Laguna Amarga and Lago Pehoe, the mountains of the Cuernos del Paine and of course, the namesake Torres del Paine.

After a long day of trekking amid some of the most distinctive landscapes in all of South America, you'll be dropped off at El Ovejero Coffeeshop. Fully caffeinated, continue by bus to Puerto Natales, a small city that serves as the central hub of the Torres del Paine. Your hotel will be only a few blocks from bus station, making it easy for you to get there on your own. Take the rest of the day to walk along the fjords, appreciate the mountain views, or visit some of the local cafés. 

Day 8: Torres del Paine Free Day

A small town near Torres del Paine.

On your last day in Torres del Paine, you can conveniently board the bus back to the park and go for a self-guided trek to explore more of the fascinating mountain terrain and its flora and fauna. With multiple lakes, glaciers, and mountains at your fingertips, this is your chance to venture somewhere new.

Day 9: Return to El Calafate

Glaciers around El Calafate.

Return to El Calafate by bus and continue your travels elsewhere in Patagonia, Santiago, or Buenos Aires through additional tours. Otherwise, say goodbye to Patagonia and head home with unforgettable memories!

Map

Map of Best of Patagonia - 9 Days
Map of Best of Patagonia - 9 Days