This ultimate three-week adventure through Patagonia kicks off with a day of city fun in Buenos Aires, followed by a trip to the Atlantic coast for whale watching in the marine menagerie that is Puerto Madryn. Continue south to trek across vast glaciers and embark on mountain hikes in Los Glaciares National Park before crossing into Chile for the most epic excursion of all: the famed multiday W Trek in Torres del Paine.


  • Snap photos of European-inspired architecture on the avenues of Buenos Aires
  • Go whale watching at Puerto Madryn, a biodiversity hotspot for marine animals
  • Marvel at Perito Moreno Glacier and hike the trails around famed Mount Fitz Roy
  • Embark on the famed W Trek, a multiday circuit hike in Chile's Torres del Paine park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Buenos Aires (Argentina), City Walking Tour Buenos Aires
Day 2 Fly to Puerto Madryn, Optional Activities Puerto Madryn
Day 3 Day Trip to Peninsula Valdés & Whale Watching Puerto Madryn
Day 4 Day Trip to Gaiman, Patagonia's Welsh Village Puerto Madryn
Day 5 Fly to El Calafate, Gateway to Los Glaciares National Park El Calafate
Day 6 Full-Day Glacier Trekking Excursion El Calafate
Day 7 Transfer to El Chaltén, Argentina's Trekking Capital El Chaltén
Day 8 Full-Day Hike to Laguna de Los Tres El Chaltén
Day 9 Free Time & Self-Guided Hikes in El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 10 Full-Day Hike to Laguna & Cerro Torre El Chaltén
Day 11 Transfer to Puerto Natales (Chile), Optional Activities Puerto Natales
Day 12 Explore Puerto Natales' Museums & Culture Puerto Natales
Day 13 Transfer to Torres del Paine, Base Torres Hike Torres del Paine
Day 14 W Trek (Day 1): Refugio Torres to Los Cuernos Torres del Paine
Day 15 W Trek (Day 2): Los Cuernos to French Valley Torres del Paine
Day 16 W Trek (Day 3): French Valley to Refugio Grey Torres del Paine
Day 17 Grey Glacier Ice Hiking Adventure Torres del Paine
Day 18 Hike to Lago Pehoé, Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 19 Free Time in Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 20 Transfer to El Calafate (Argentina) El Calafate
Day 21 Fly to Buenos Aires, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires (Argentina), City Walking Tour

The Obelisco monument sits on the world's widest street, 9 de Julio

Welcome to Argentina! Epic hikes and memorable wildlife trips await you in Patagonia—but first, you'll enjoy some city fun in the capital of Buenos Aires. Renowned as the "Paris of South America" and the "Queen of El Plata," Argentina's capital is defined by passion—for food, futból (soccer), nightlife, and music. When you arrive at the airport, your driver will be waiting to take you in a private car to your hotel, where you can relax after a long flight.

Then, after a quick recharge, meet a local guide and venture out into the welcoming arms of Buenos Aires on a city tour. This half-day excursion begins downtown, where you'll stroll down 9 de Julio (the widest avenue in the world). It's home to the soaring Obelisco monument and the Teatro Colón, the latter of which has consistently been ranked one of the great opera houses in the world since its opening in 1908.

Nearby is the upscale waterfront area of Puerto Madero and the historic Plaza de Mayo, home to the iconic Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace). Farther south, you'll arrive at the cobbled streets of San Telmo, the oldest neighborhood in the city. Continue on to adjacent La Boca, an old port area known for its zinc houses and colorful Caminito Street. It's home to La Bombonera, the country's most famous fútbol stadium. Later in the evening, you can enjoy dinner at one of the city's famous parrillas (steakhouses).

Day 2: Fly to Puerto Madryn, Optional Activities

Puerto Madryn is the gateway to the most exciting marine adventures in Patagonia

And you're off! This morning you'll transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight south to Puerto Madryn. This town on the Atlantic coast sits at the northeastern tip of the rugged Patagonia region, the wild frontier comprising South America's southern cone. Puerto Madryn is also adjacent to Peninsula Valdés, one of the best places in the world to view marine life. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's home to seals, sea lions, penguins, southern right whales, orcas, and much more.

Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your hotel. If you have the energy, stretch your legs on a stroll around this tranquil city, starting at the main plaza, General San Martín Square. You can also make a short trip to nearby Gaiman for a spot of tea. This historic town was founded by Welsh settlers in 1875 and has preserved many of its Welsh traditions with tea shops, chapels, and gardens.

Day 3: Day Trip to Peninsula Valdés & Whale Watching

A southern right whale breaches the ocean's surface near Puerto Madryn

After breakfast in Puerto Madryn, a driver will pick you up at the hotel for a full-day tour by land and sea, starting in Península Valdés. The first stop will be the Istmo Ameghino Interpretation Center, which offers a useful primer for your foray into this marine ecosystem. Through various educational exhibits, you'll gain insight into the different types of animal and plant life that call the peninsula home. There's even a lookout tower featuring epic views of the Atlantic coast.

After the interpretation center, you'll continue to Puerto Pirámides. This is the embarking point for today's oceanic safari. Once aboard the ship, you'll cruise along the coastal waters, which offer myriad wildlife-spotting opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled for sea lions and (if you're lucky) right whales and orcas. You'll even pass a vintage lighthouse that epitomizes all the seafaring splendor and rugged coastal beauty for which Patagonia is deservedly famous.

Even after the boat ride, the wildlife tour continues. On the way back to Puerto Madryn, you'll pass some salt flats as well as Isla de Pájaros, an island abounding with avian species like cormorants, egrets, rheas, and flamingoes. In the late afternoon, you'll return to the hotel.

Day 4: Day Trip to Gaiman, Patagonia's Welsh Village

A river running through the town of Gaiman, Patagonia
A river running through the scenic town of Gaiman, in Patagonia
This morning, you'll meet your driver and transfer about an hour south of Puerto Madryn to spend the day in Gaiman. This charming village is steeped in Welsh history, as this is where the first settlers arrived in the late 19th century, and their culture endures today. There's a small museum in Gaiman that recounts its regional history, but the main attractions are the town's traditional tea houses—one of which was visited by Princess Diana. During a visit, you can enjoy afternoon tea paired with various goodies like scones and Welsh cakes. Afterward, you'll return to Puerto Madryn.

Day 5: Fly to El Calafate, Gateway to Los Glaciares National Park

Reserva Laguna Nimez
If you've got the energy, embark on a nature hike around Reserva Laguna Nimez

Your driver will transfer you to the airport this morning, where you'll catch a connecting flight deeper into Patagonia and El Calafate. Sitting on the shores of Lago Argentino, this town is the gateway to the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, home to Los Glaciares National Park. Within this protected area is the region's star, Perito Moreno, a 96-square-mile (250 sq km) ice formation that is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will transfer you to your hotel, and you'll have the rest of the day free.

If you like, unwind after the flight with a rejuvenating spa treatment. Or, if you're feeling restless, embark on an active adventure like horseback riding at a nearby ranch or a kayaking trip on the lake. You could also tour Reserva Laguna Nimez, a protected area 15 minutes walking distance from town and which is home to exotic birds like the Chilean flamingo. Or spend the day hanging out in the patio cafés around town.

Day 6: Full-Day Glacier Trekking Excursion

The best views of Perito Moreno are on its surface

Get ready for a hiking experience unlike any other, as today, you'll be trekking across the surface of Perito Moreno, perhaps the most famous glacier in the world. It begins after breakfast when you hop in a car and transfer west along the lake into Los Glaciares National Park. You'll arrive at a pier, then board a boat for a 20-minute ride to the opposite side of the lake. Greeting you will be awe-inspiring views of the glacier and surrounding forest. 

Next, you'll receive your ice ax, crampons, and other gear. Then, after a safety briefing, it's time to ascend the glacier on a three-hour hike. Not to worry, as this is a perfectly safe activity. More than that, this is the best way to experience the glacier up close, as you'll be treated to views and vantage points regular tourists don't get to see. Plus, it's the thrill of a lifetime traversing deep blue ice crevices and hiking over meltwater streams.

After your expedition, you'll return to the boat for the return journey to the pier. On the way, the boat will cruise near the southern face of Perito Moreno, offering a great vantage point to marvel at its massive ice walls. Upon returning to the pier, you'll hop in a vehicle and transfer back to your hotel in El Calafate.

Day 7: Transfer to El Chaltén, Argentina's Trekking Capital

The views of Mount Fitz Roy from the road are as spectacular as those on the trails
In the morning, you and your driver will head three hours north to El Chaltén. This town lies above Lago Viedma and is a major hub for mountain hikes (it's actually known as the "trekking capital of Argentina"). If the skies are clear on the drive in, you'll have incredible views of the iconic massif of Mount Fitz Roy. Once in town, your driver will drop you off at your hotel, and you'll have the rest of the day free. You can embark on a short hike or spend time relaxing at one of El Chaltén's many cafés and craft beer bars. 

Day 8: Full-Day Hike to Laguna de Los Tres

Get ready for more epic views of Fitz Roy as you hike to Laguna de los Tres
Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

After an early breakfast at the hotel, you'll meet your guide and head out on one of the most famous day hikes in El Chaltén: the trail up to Laguna de los Tres. Starting in town, the route covers 14 miles (23 km) and takes 8-9 hours to complete. During the trek, you'll pass through native lenga forests and stop at incredible viewpoints looking out to the Fitz Roy Valley and Piedras Blancas Glacier

Then, cross a suspension bridge to reach Río Blanco Basecamp, a major hub for rock climbers. From there, it's a final push to Mirador Laguna de los Tres, which looks out to the gorgeous lagoon and affords panoramic views of three surrounding peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre. After a break for lunch, you'll have some time to relax and enjoy the scenery before descending back to El Chaltén.

Day 9: Free Time & Self-Guided Hikes in El Chaltén

Set off on a self-guided hike or stick around El Chaltén and rest up for tomorrow's trek

Today is a choose-your-own adventure in the Patagonia wilderness. The area surrounding El Chaltén offers a wide range of hiking paths with varying levels of difficulty, all of which are maintained and well-marked. One easy option from town includes a 1.9-mile (3 km) walk to Cerro Torre viewpoint, which takes about an hour. Here, you can enjoy views of the Río Las Vueltas and lenga beech forests. This area is also home to many types of birds, including woodpeckers.

Day 10: Full-Day Hike to Laguna & Cerro Torre

Another full-day hike takes you into the wilderness of Los Glaciares

It's an early start again as you set off from town on a guided hike to yet another Patagonian gem, Laguna Torre. This lake sits at the foot of the granite peak of Cerro Torre and is fed by glacial meltwater. The 11-mile (18 km) trail you'll follow will take you through expansive valleys, bright green forests, and around blue lagoons until you reach the shores of the lake. After spending some time admiring the views, you'll return to El Chaltén along the same path. Cap the day with a leisurely dinner in town before retiring to your hotel.

Day 11: Transfer to Puerto Natales (Chile), Optional Activities

Puerto Natales has a colorful waterfront
Welcome to Puerto Natales, the gateway to Chile's famous Torres del Paine National Park

In the morning, you'll return to El Calafate and board a bus for the 5-6-hour ride south out of Argentina into Chile and Puerto Natales. Upon arrival, another driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel. After checking in, you'll have the rest of the day to explore.

This small port city is famous as the base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. It's less touristic than other Patagonian hubs and has an air of small-town tranquility. Here, you can enjoy simple pleasures like strolling the promenade fronting the silver waters of the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). In the distance, you'll see the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro, and the sunset views are phenomenal.

Day 12: Explore Puerto Natales' Museums & Culture

Warm up for the W Trek with a walk around Puerto Natales

The day is yours to relax and prepare for the epic hikes ahead. If you like, you can head out and explore this colorful town. Perhaps start with a stroll along the waterfront, where you'll be treated to gorgeous views of the Seno Última Esperanza. Puerto Natales is also home to several species of birds, and sightings of Andean condors, swans, and flamingoes are common.

You can also visit the Museum of Patagonia and see exhibits on the region's geology, flora and fauna, and Indigenous people. Or head just outside town to Puerto Bories, a cultural center that showcases the town's history and heritage. Return to the waterfront by sunset and marvel at the last rays of light gilding the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro. 

Day 13: Transfer to Torres del Paine, Base Torres Hike

At the base of Torres del Paine
It's a hard ascent up to Base Torres—but the rewards are well worth the effort 

Wake up with the sun and lace up your hiking boots because early this morning, your driver will pick you up for the two-hour ride north into Torres del Paine National Park. This legendary protected area covers 700 square miles (1,810 sq km) and is renowned for its long-distance circuit hikes, particularly the W Trek, which you'll conquer in short order. Today, however, you'll embark on the most famous single-day hike in the park—the ascent up to Base Torres. The route covers a strenuous 11 miles (18 km) and lasts about nine hours, requiring a decent level of physical fitness.

The first part is a relaxed, scenic hike along the Río Ascencio. Then, you'll ascend about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) to a lookout featuring panoramic views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains. Continue through sections of lenga forest until the remaining 45-minute stretch, which is a steep ascent that involves a hard scramble over a moraine to the final path leading up to the viewpoint.

This is the hardest portion of the hike; however, once you arrive at the lagoon at the base of the Paine massif and stare up at the granite Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Paine) jutting into the sky, exhaustion will cease to exist. At the viewpoint, you'll have ample time to rest by the lagoon and marvel at the amazing rock formations as you enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. Afterward, you'll begin the return trip back down the trail, which lasts approximately four hours, and return to your hotel/lodge near the park.

Day 14: W Trek (Day 1): Refugio Torres to Los Cuernos

The waterfront at Lake Nordenskjöld
The first day is an easy excursion to the waterfront at Lago Nordenskjöld

The W Trek is a world-renowned hiking route that winds through Torres del Paine in a "W" shape (hence the name), passing towering granite peaks, glaciers, and turquoise lakes. The start of this three-day hike begins with a pleasant walk on the Cuernos Trail, which runs alongside Lago Nordenskjöld. This section is more of a warm-up, and its easy pace allows you to admire Patagonia's remarkable flora and fauna while being surrounded by the park's central lakes and the peaks of the Paine massif.

The hike takes about 4-5 hours and covers 6.8 miles (11 km). It ends at Refugio Los Cuernos, a cozy mountain refuge located on the shores of Nordenskjöld. Once here, you'll have the rest of the day to stroll around the lake and admire its turquoise waters. The evening is free to relax and enjoy dinner.

Day 15: W Trek (Day 2): Los Cuernos to French Valley

Lake Pehoé
Lago Pehoé is one of the star glacial lakes of Torres del Paine

The first destination of today's 10.7-mile (17.2 km) hike is Campamento Italiano, a campsite located 2.5 hours away from Refugio Cuernos. To arrive there involves trekking along the windy shores of Lago Nordenskjöld. Once at the campsite, drop off your large bag and continue with a daypack to the French Valley, a rocky section of flatland cradled at the base of granite peaks.

You'll hike across a moraine and through a forest until you come to a clearing, where you'll be blown away by both the wind and the spectacular views of three lakes: Nordenskjöld, Skottsberg, and Pehoé. You'll see the hanging French Glacier just ahead of you, plus several other peaks. After leaving the lookout, return to gather your larger backpack and continue another 2.5 hours to Refugio Paine Grande on the shore of the beautiful Lago Pehoé. The total hiking time for today is about seven hours.

Day 16: W Trek (Day 3): French Valley to Refugio Grey

Spend a couple of days exploring the Grey Glacier, both near it and on it
Following a hearty camp breakfast, you'll begin what's officially the final day of the W Trek—though the trekking is far from over. It starts with a four-hour hike through a small forest along Lago Grey. This section is often quite windy due to the open landscapes around the lake, which include the famous Grey Glacier. At 104 square miles (269 sq km), this glacial mass comprises a sizable portion of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. After two hours of hiking, you'll get your first glimpse of Grey Glacier. Continue another two hours until you arrive at Refugio & Camping Grey, where you'll overnight. 

Day 17: Grey Glacier Ice Hiking Adventure

Time for another hike across a massive glacier
The W Trek portion of the trip may be over, but there's still more epic outdoor adventures in store today. Make your way to the BigFoot Basecamp this morning for an ice hiking excursion. First, take a boat to Isla Islatak, where you'll start a one-hour hike up the glacial moraine. When you arrive at the ice, gear up and receive a safety demonstration. Prepared with an ice ax, crampons, helmet, and harness, you'll begin the adventure, hiking for around 2.5 hours on the surface of Grey Glacier, passing its crevices, streams, and tunnels. Afterward, return to camp for lunch and dinner. 

Day 18: Hike to Lago Pehoé, Transfer to Puerto Natales

Enjoy the scenery as you cruise across Lago Pehoé 
Time to make your way back to civilization. In the morning, you'll leave Refugio Grey on a four-hour hike along Lago Grey, then pass through a small forest. In the afternoon, you'll arrive at Camping Paine Grande on the shore of Lago Pehoé. Cap your Torres del Paine adventure by hopping aboard a catamaran and cruising across the lake to the Pudeto sector of the park. There, a bus will be waiting to return you to Puerto Natales, where you'll check into your hotel for some well-deserved rest. 

Day 19: Free Time in Puerto Natales

Relax by the waterfront in Puerto Natales as you recover from your trekking adventures
No doubt you're feeling exhausted after completing one of the world's most famous hikes. Take the day to rest, recuperate, and recharge your batteries. If you like, spend time by the waterfront, admiring the views overlooking the sound out to the peaks in the distance, or stop by the town's Last Hope Distillery, where you can sample unique dry gins distilled with local botanicals. Make sure to sample some of the region's famously fresh seafood tonight as you toast your final night in Chile at a local restaurant.

Day 20: Transfer to El Calafate (Argentina)

In the evening, head out to dinner at one of El Calafate's fine restaurants
Board a bus this morning for the four-hour drive north back to El Calafate. When you arrive, you'll check into your hotel and have the rest of the day free. If you like, you can return to Perito Moreno one last time on an optional day trip. In the evening, you can dine at one of El Calafate's fine restaurants to celebrate your grand adventures in Patagonia. Try the roast lamb—it's a regional specialty. 

Day 21: Fly to Buenos Aires, Depart

Sun setting over the Seno Última Esperanza in Puerto Natales

And that's a wrap! You've conquered Patagonia, now it's time to continue onward to the next adventure. In the morning, your driver will take you to the airport for the flight to Buenos Aires, where your connecting flight home awaits. Safe travels!

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Map of Patagonia Nature & Trekking Adventure: Puerto Madryn, Los Glaciares & Torres del Paine - 21 Days
Map of Patagonia Nature & Trekking Adventure: Puerto Madryn, Los Glaciares & Torres del Paine - 21 Days