This two-week South American family adventure is perfect for kids of all ages, introducing you to captivating culture and wildlife as you explore renowned natural wonders at a relaxed pace. Start in Chile to sample street food in Santiago, sail to penguin-filled islands in Punta Arenas, and take gentle hikes to the lakes and lookouts of Torres del Paine National Park. Hop over to Argentina to cruise past Perito Moreno Glacier, spend a day playing gaúchos at a Patagonian ranch, and end in Buenos Aires.


  • Sail to Isla Magdalena and walk alongside Magellanic penguins
  • Hike to waterfalls and see fuzzy guanacos in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Spot dolphins by Zodiac boat in Agua Fresca Bay
  • Witness "calving" as ice breaks off from the vast Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Introduce the kids to the tango in Buenos Aires

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago (Chile), Visit Bicentenario Park Santiago
Day 2 Family-Friendly Tour of Santiago Santiago
Day 3 Fly to Punta Arenas, Guided City Tour  Punta Arenas
Day 4 Isla Magdalena Penguin Encounter  Punta Arenas
Day 5 Dolphin Spotting on Agua Fresca Bay  Punta Arenas
Day 6 Fly to Puerto Natales, Explore Puerto Natales
Day 7 Family Tour of Torres del Paine National Park Puerto Natales
Day 8 Full-Day Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers Puerto Natales
Day 9 Transfer to El Calafate (Argentina), 4WD Nature & Culture Tour El Calafate
Day 10 Los Glaciares National Park & Perito Moreno Glacier Excursion El Calafate
Day 11 Ranch Day & Gaucho Experience El Calafate
Day 12 Fly to Buenos Aires, San Telmo Tango Show & Dinner Buenos Aires
Day 13 Visit the Recoleta Cultural Center, Traditional Argentine Dinner  Buenos Aires
Day 14 Buenos Aires Neighborhoods Tour & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago (Chile), Visit Bicentenario Park

Relax with the kids in Bicentenario Park
Santiago's glorious green city parks are perfect for families

Welcome to Santiago! Chile's vibrant and relaxed capital teems with culture, history, and family-friendly activities. Nestled against the picturesque backdrop of the Andes mountains, you'll find enchanting parks and plazas, world-class museums, and a laid-back pace perfect for kids of all ages. Meet your driver at the airport and make the short journey to your hotel. 

After settling in, head out for some fresh air and a stretch of the legs in the city's Bicentenario Park. In one of Santiago's many green spaces, you'll find over 67 acres (27 ha) for the kids to run and play in. Feed the park's wildlife, including ducks, flamingoes, and koi carp, from one of the approved vending stations and catch a breather as the little ones play in one of the multiple playgrounds or the child-friendly gardens. 

Once you're done at the park, either return to your hotel for some downtime or head out to eat. The Casacostanera shopping mall is a good first-night option. An elegant complex with a boutique feel, you'll find a range of excellent local and international family-friendly restaurants and all the major brands for any last-minute purchases for your trip.

Day 2: Family-Friendly Tour of Santiago

Castillo Hildago
The kids can run and play on the grounds of Castillo Hidalgo

Enjoy a relaxed tour of Santiago today with an English-speaking guide who'll make sure the kids are as enthused as the adults about Chilean culture and the city's rich heritage. Start with a walk through the Civic District to the presidential palace of La Moneda and the Plaza de Armas—Santiago's main square and the city's beating heart. Sample the local street food, including kid-favorite sopaipillas (fried pumpkin dough with honey), and soak up the atmosphere while the kids watch the street entertainers and live musicians. 

Afterward, make your way to the hills of Cerro Santa Lucía (where you'll find the beautiful grounds of Castillo Hidalgo) and San Cristóbal, home to a 46-foot (14 m) statue of the Virgin Mary. The panoramic views here are the perfect setting for a family selfie, and there's plenty of green space for the kids to let loose for a bit. Next, either take the kids swimming in the municipal pool or stop by the Santiago Zoo before rounding your tour off with a visit to Araucano Park. Here you can break for refreshments, relax with a helado (ice cream), or stroll the lovely rose gardens. 

In the evening, grab a bite to eat at a neighborhood restaurant in either trendy Bellavista or the revitalized historic neighborhoods of Yungay and Italia. Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination in recent years, and you'll find an excellent selection of authentic local and international cuisine

Day 3: Fly to Punta Arenas, Guided City Tour 

Don't miss the Magellan monument in Punta Arenas' Plaza de Armas
Don't miss the Magellan monument in Punta Arenas' Plaza de Armas

After breakfast, get ready for the next leg of your adventure with a four-hour flight to Punta Arenas, the launching point for adventures into one of the country's most beautiful regions—Chilean Patagonia. The town's location on the Strait of Magellan, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, makes it the perfect base for explorers heading into the surrounding wilderness. You'll see several of the area's most impressive natural attractions on your trip, including the Torres del Paine Natural Park

Once you've settled in at your hotel, see the city's sights and landmarks with a guided tour, a great way to get the kids excited about Patagonia with tales of adventure and expeditions. Start with a stroll around the Plaza de Armas, the town's central square, lined with quaint French street lamps and a statue of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Next up is a visit to the revitalized waterfront, where you'll see more sculptures dedicated to Magellan and the ocean, before finishing your tour with terrific views from the Mirador Cerro de la Cruz

Day 4: Isla Magdalena Penguin Encounter 

See the adorable penguins on today's excursion
Make friends with the penguins on Isla Magdalena

Today, you'll meet your guide at the pier and set sail for a trip dedicated to the area's wildlife with a 1.5-hour catamaran cruise to Isla Magdalena. This small island serves as a sanctuary to a large colony of Magellanic penguins as well as a host of other wildlife. After a briefing on safe interactions with the furry creatures, you and the kids will take a one-hour walk across the island. Capture the little ones' faces as they see the adorable penguins, who are so used to visitors they'll often waddle alongside you!

It's not just penguins that Magdalena is famous for—during your walk, keep your eyes peeled for black-browed albatrosses, skuas, terns, and Dominican gulls that are native to the area. When it's time, sail back to Punta Arenas, where there's still time for one last wildlife spot with the Commerson's dolphins and sei whales that often frequent the waters. Spend the evening dining out at one of the town's cozy restaurants and let a day full of fresh sea air do its work at the kids' bedtime.

Day 5: Dolphin Spotting on Agua Fresca Bay 

Spot Peale's dolphins on today's excursion
Peale's dolphins are known for jumping into the air and landing with a loud splash!

Continue yesterday's wildlife theme with a fun day out dedicated to dolphin spotting. After breakfast, you and the kids will transfer 16 miles (25 km) south of Punta Arenas to the beautiful shores of Agua Fresca Bay. Meet your guides at the beach and board a Zodiac boat, setting off along the coast in search of the small Peale's dolphin, endemic to the southern coastal waters around South America and known to swim in pods of between five and twenty. 

Always curious, the dolphins tend to reveal themselves quickly, interested in the sounds and movement of approaching boats. Spend time observing the dolphins in their natural habitat, and the kids will be delighted at their playful jumping and frolicking. Your guides will share information about the dolphin's behaviors, and you're also likely to see plenty of seabirds and playful sea lions along the way.

Day 6: Fly to Puerto Natales, Explore

Transfer to scenic Puerto Natales
See the historic Muelle Historico wooden jetty in Puerto Natales

Wave goodbye to Punta Arenas this morning, pack snacks for the kids, and meet your driver at the hotel for a door-to-door transfer to Puerto Natales—the gateway to the Bernard O'Higgins and Torres del Paine National Parks. It's a four-hour drive with refreshment stops along the way, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the Patagonian scenery. You'll be delivered straight to your hotel, where you can get settled, grab ad a bite to eat, and then head out to meet your guide. 

Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Once a small fishing village, Puerto Natales has evolved into a friendly, picturesque hub thanks to its proximity to the area's key sights. Get a sense of the town's past with a visit to the Muelle Historico, an old jetty whose wooden stumps stumble into the waters of the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). It's an iconic spot for a family photo. You'll also see the Monumento al Viento, a sculptural monument to the strong winds that can occur here. End your tour by sampling plenty of the local delicacies, including the kid favorite of hot chocolate and banana milk. 

Day 7: Family Tour of Torres del Paine National Park

Hike with the kids in the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park
Hike with the family to Mirador Cuernos in the Torres del Paine National Park

Lace up your hiking boots and spend the day touring the soaring granite peaks, turquoise lakes, and golden grasslands of the vast Torres del Paine National Park. With over 700 square miles (1,800 sq km) to discover, your guide will lead you to the most scenic and family-friendly spots. Start with a hike to the aqua-hued Paine Waterfall, whose waters flow from the Río Paine, and then continue on to the impressive Mirador Cuernos, named for the surrounding horn-shaped mountains. 

There's plenty of wildlife to be spotted, too, with potential sightings of the resident guanacos, condors, sheep, and sometimes even pumas. Stop at the Lago Nordenskjöld viewpoint and Laguna Amarga, a spotless lagoon and mirror to the mountainous backdrop, where you'll often see flocks of flamingoes resting in the waters. Break for lunch at Hosteria Pehoé, a small inn that offers spectacular views of Lago Pehoé. If the kids are keen on more adventure, take the optional trek to Mirador Condor, a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) out-and-back hike with panoramic views of the lake. 

Day 8: Full-Day Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers

Set sail to the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers
Pack mittens and set sail to the glaciers of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park

Swap hiking boots for sea legs this morning with a boat trip through the Señoret Channel to the towering glaciers of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Keep your cameras close and get the kids to spot the sea lions you'll likely see along the route and admire the panoramic views of native forests lined with coihue, canelo, and lenga beech trees. After a while, you'll sail past the Condor Waterfall and cliffs before reaching the towering 6,676-foot (2,035 m) high Mount Balmaceda and glacier.

Disembark at Puerto Toro, where you'll be able to enjoy the enormous ice structures from the land. The kids will have a great time romping through the forest along the shore of the Témpanos Lagoon as your guide leads you toward the Serrano Glacier. Back on the boat, you'll be served refreshments and sail on toward Estancia Perales, a ranch where you and your family will get to relax and enjoy a traditional Patagonian lunch. You'll return to Puerto Natales in the early evening, where you can settle in somewhere cozy for your last night in the town. 

Day 9: Transfer to El Calafate (Argentina), 4WD Nature & Culture Tour

Welcome to El Calafate, gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park
Welcome to El Calafate, gateway to Los Glaciares National Park

This morning, you and the kids will cross over into Argentina for the next leg of your South American adventure in El Calafate. Sitting at the edge of the Los Glaciares National Park, the town is the gateway to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier and the vast Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Enjoy the scenery as you transfer four hours south to El Calafate, and upon arrival at your hotel, take time to get the kids settled and grab a bite to eat.

In the afternoon, you'll meet your guide and discover the scenery around the turquoise Lago Argentino with a 4WD tour. Alongside the Patagonian landscape and ever-present peaks of the Andes, you'll also uncover the rich history, culture, and geology of the area. Make stops along the shore where the kids can run and play, and then hop back in the car as you continue your off-road adventure and hear stories of the region's Indigenous people and Patagonia's ancient past.

The highlight of the tour is a stop at a series of caves and rocky eaves at the Punta Walichu archaeological site, where you and the kids will discover Paleolithic rock paintings left behind by the Tehuelche people over 4,000 years ago. You'll finish your cultural adventure with a delicious dinner inside the caves accompanied by local Chilean wines (or juice for the younger ones) and an impressive view of the lake and mountains. 

Day 10: Los Glaciares National Park & Perito Moreno Glacier Excursion

See the vast Petito Moreno glacier
Don't forget your camera! Stroll the boardwalks opposite the Perito Moreno Glacier

Today's outing to the Los Glaciares National Park more than makes up for the early start as you and the kids set out on a nine-hour boat safari that takes in the region's biggest draw—the vast Perito Moreno Glacier. As you sail into the park, you and the kids will see your first glimpse of the glacier. It's a catch-your-breath moment witnessing the great ice wall that abruptly curves its way around the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino. The kids will be thrilled to see the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and the thundering crash when it hits the waters below.

Disembark at the entrance to the park, and you'll have a couple of hours to explore the expansive 2.5 miles (4 km) of kid-friendly boardwalks and the viewing platforms that offer sweeping views of the glacier. Stop for lunch and admire the pristine landscapes, mountains, and waterfalls on your way back to El Calafate. In the evening, hunker down for dinner and recount your favorite moments from the day.

Day 11: Ranch Day & Gaucho Experience

The kids will make plenty of furry friends on today's visit to a traditional Estancia
The kids will make plenty of furry friends on today's visit to a traditional estancia

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then rally the kids for an enjoyable day in Patagonia's forested hills with a visit to a local estancia (ranch). You'll depart El Calafate in the morning and head to the historic ranch, where you'll be welcomed with coffee and snacks. Then it's time for a lesson in sheep herding, where you and the kids will get to see the gaúchos showcase their skills and work their flock, an art that has been perfected over the last 150 years.

Break for a delicious lunch of traditional Patagonian cuisine and take a tour of the organic vegetable garden and a walk along a glacial stream. You'll hear all about the area's pioneer families and the history of the ranch from your hosts. The kids will have a great time making friends with the local farm animals and playing in the forest-backed pastures. You'll return to El Calafate in the afternoon, where the evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 12: Fly to Buenos Aires, San Telmo Tango Show & Dinner

San Telmo, the birthplace of Tango
Get to know San Telmo—the birthplace of tango

It's a change of pace this morning as you pack your bags and head to the airport in time for your flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina's dynamic capital. Described as the "Paris of South America," the city's blend of old-world charm and modern, vibrant spirit mixed with its gardens, parks, and museums make it great for families. After checking in at your hotel, grab some street food and relax post-flight with a picnic in one of the city's many green spaces. 

Introduce the kids to one of the country's oldest pastimes this evening with an authentic tango show in the bohemian barrio (neighborhood) of San Telmo, often considered the birthplace of this legendary dance. You'll be picked up from your hotel and transferred to La Ventana, a historic theater where you'll enjoy a world-class tango performance while you dine on traditional Argentine fare. 

Day 13: Visit the Recoleta Cultural Center, Traditional Argentine Dinner 

Stroll Buenos Aires' colorful cobbled streets before tonight's Argentine dinner experience
Stroll Buenos Aires' cobbled streets before tonight's Argentine dinner experience

After breakfast, spend a relaxed morning strolling the Recoleta neighborhood and spend a few hours in the Recoleta Cultural Center. While the center features several permanent and touring arts-themed exhibits, it's the Museo Participativo de Ciencias (Science Participation Museum) that will really wow the kids. Full of interactive displays and activities for all ages, the little ones won't realize they're learning as they wander the different showrooms, including the fun visual perception room with plenty of experiments to engage curious minds. 

When you're done, drop in next door to the famous Recoleta Cemetry, where Eva Perón was laid to rest alongside thousands of other notable Chilean figures, including former presidents and Nobel Prize winners. Known for its wide assortment of architectural styles, you'll find everything from Greek temples to miniature Baroque cathedrals that hold the intriguing stories of some 6,000 graves. Afterward, either recharge back at your hotel or spend the afternoon in one of the neighborhood's many parks and green spaces.

In the evening, spend your last night in Argentina dining out in style with a memorable experience at the Fogón Steakhouse. You and your family will be seated at the center of the action amid an open kitchen where you'll watch your chef at work. Feast on a six-course menu featuring an array of delicious Argentine specialties, including empanadas, provoleta cheese, and freshly grilled meats cooked on a custom-made parrilla (grill). It's a great night for the kids, too, as they interact with the chefs and even get to mix their own chimichurri sauce!

Day 14: Buenos Aires Neighborhoods Tour & Depart

See the tango dancers in the Caminito neighborhood
See the tango dancers in the Caminito neighborhood

Spend your last morning discovering Buenos Aires' city sights on a walking tour. Starting with Plaza de Mayo, the city's political center, your English-speaking guide will take you through the city's most distinctive barrios. San Telmo is worth a second visit, and its artistic, vibrant atmosphere makes it great for kids. If you're there on a Sunday, don't miss the Plaza Dorrego market.

Next up, spend some time watching tango dancers on El Boca's Caminito, and if you have any soccer fans in the family, be sure to stop by the Boca Juniors Football Club, where Diego Maradona made his name. From here, head to Puerto Madero, the city's newest neighborhood. Stop at one of the elegant eateries here, or keep an eye out for some of the city's specialty food trucks serving fresh empanadas and quality ice cream for a pick-me-up.

Afterward, head to the elegant Palermo, with its trendy bars and boutiques, as well as 350 acres (142 ha) of parks and woods, which makes a peaceful escape from the city bustle. You'll also visit Recoleta, Buenos Aires' most aristocratic quarter, and a great spot for a preflight lunch. At the appointed hour, a driver will transfer to the airport for your departure. Buen Viaje!

More Great Patagonia Itineraries

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Map of Gentle Family Tour of Chilean & Argentine Patagonia - 14 Days
Map of Gentle Family Tour of Chilean & Argentine Patagonia - 14 Days