Revel in a voyage jam-packed with glacier exploration as you spend 10 days in Patagonia. Base yourself in the Chilean town of Puntas Arenas, where you'll discover the Magellan Strait by Zodiac and mingle with penguins on Isla Magdalena. Observe glaciers and wildlife at Torres del Paine, then spend four full days of exploration in Los Glaciares National Park, where you'll encounter ancient glaciers at every turn as you make your way into Argentina.


  • Navigate your way around the Magellan Strait to see its local wildlife
  • Be greeted by a penguin welcome committee at Los Pingüinos Natural Monument
  • Explore the remote Bernardo O'Higgins National Park by Zodiac boat
  • Observe and learn about the endemic species of Torres del Paine National Park
  • Skip over to Argentina to discover the glaciers of Los Glaciares National Park 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Punta Arenas Punta Arenas
Day 2 Discover the Strait of Magellan's Wildlife Punta Arenas
Day 3 Visit the Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony, Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 4 Cruise Seno Última Esperanza Fjord & Río Serrano to Torres del Paine Torres del Paine
Day 5 Torres del Paine Wildlife Tour Torres del Paine
Day 6 Grey Glacier Boat Tour, Return to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 7 Transfer to El Calafate, Explore El Calafate
Day 8 Gourmet Glacier Cruise to Perito Moreno & Spegazinni El Calafate
Day 9 Perito Moreno Boat & Walking Tour El Calafate
Day 10 Depart El Calafate  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas

The charming coastal town of Punta Arenas
Land in the charming coastal town of Punta Arenas

Welcome to Punta Arenas! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to take you on the short drive to your hotel in the city center. You're now in the major transport hub in one of the most beautiful regions of Chile. Founded in 1848 on the eastern shore of the Brunswick Peninsula, Punta Arenas was home to the wealthiest of Patagonian society. Today, it's a popular tourist destination that provides easy access to some of the most impressive natural attractions in Patagonia, like Torres del Paine National Park and Isla Magdalena. There are also several sites in and around town to visit.

Stroll the Plaza Muñoz Guerrero, the perfect starting point for a walk around the city. Not only is this leafy central plaza a gem but it's also surrounded by impressive architecture, like grand neoclassical mansions once owned by the monied sheep-ranching families of the 19th century. Tour the Palacio Sara Braun, one of the imposing mansions fronting the plaza. Take a seaside walk along the town's revitalized waterfront area, and watch the sun go down at Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. This viewpoint overlooks the city all the way out to the Strait of Magellan

Day 2: Discover the Strait of Magellan's Wildlife

Explore the Wildlife of the Magellan Strait
Spot sea lions and dolphins in the Strait of Magellan

Leave early from Punta Arenas this morning, as a one-hour transfer takes you to the launch point for today's adventure—navigating the Strait of Magellan in a Zodiac. After enjoying breakfast and gearing up in a semi-dry suit, you'll journey to the San Isidro area in search of the beautiful Peale's dolphin, a species native to the waters around southern Chile that is known for its unusual black and gray coloring.

It's common to find groups of up to 12 adults and see them swim alongside the boat or soar in their acrobatic jumps. Keep an eye out for sea lion colonies, as well as a variety of sea birds, such as albatrosses, petrels, and penguins, as you hold tight and navigate the choppy seas on this exhilarating excursion. You'll break for lunch (including some good Chilean wine) before heading back to Punta Arenas in the afternoon.

Day 3: Visit the Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony, Transfer to Puerto Natales

Visit a penguin colony on Magdalena Island
Be greeted by the welcome committee on Magdalena Island

Today's half-day tour begins bright and early with a transfer to a pier on the Strait of Magellan, where you'll board a boat and set off 18 miles (30 km) northeast, stopping en route at Isla Marta to spot its large colony of Patagonian sea lions and resident seabirds like cormorants, skuas, and arctic pigeons. Then it's on to today's highlight, the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument on Isla Magdalena. Here you'll step ashore and spend an hour visiting the protected home of Chile's largest colony of penguins.

Follow a 2,624-foot (800 m) path to an old lighthouse that offers sweeping views over the Strait of Magellan. On your way, be sure to enjoy the company of the island's residents: a Magellanic penguin colony that can reach up to 170,000 in number. There's no experience on earth quite like hiking alongside penguins near waters first mapped by Magellan and made famous by Charles Darwin. Afterward, return to the vessel and make the journey back, reaching Punta Arenas by midday.

Soon after, you'll take a three-hour bus ride to the small port city of Puerto Natales, the main base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. Far less touristed than many other Patagonian hubs, Puerto Natales 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. 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 4: Cruise Seno Última Esperanza Fjord & Río Serrano to Torres del Paine

Ultima Esperanza Fjord & Rio Serrano Boating Adventure to Torres del Paine
Get close to the Seno Última Esperanza Fjord with another boat tour

After breakfast, it's time for another boat tour, this time on the stunning Seno Última Esperanza, a fjord adjacent to Puerto Natales. During the voyage, there will be opportunities to stop at many viewpoints for a chance to see glaciers, waterfalls, and cliffs. If you keep an eye skyward, you'll likely spot condors, too. Eventually, you'll arrive at Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, Chile's largest national park, where you'll disembark for a short walk through the native forest of Coigues, Ñirres, and Ciruelillos until reaching the impressive Serrano Glacier.

After your hike, hop on a Zodiac and journey up the Río Serrano, enjoying the natural beauty of the region as you go. You'll reach Pueblo Serrano, a village known as the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park, where a delicious meal and your luggage will be waiting for you. Head into the park and check into your lodging for the night.

Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Torres del Paine Wildlife Tour

Sunbathing guanacos
Catch sunbathing guanacos in Torres del Paine National Park

Be sure to have a hearty breakfast this morning, as you'll be picked up by your guide for a full-day private wildlife tour of Torres del Paine National Park. Throughout the day, you'll be transported to different areas that boast the best viewing of guanacos (the native camelid), as well as flamingoes, rabbits, ñandus, condors, foxes, and owls. You'll also have the chance to explore the park's unrivaled flora and fauna at your own pace. When the tour has wrapped, you'll be dropped off at your hotel to relax a bit before dinner.

Day 6: Grey Glacier Boat Tour, Return to Puerto Natales

The stunning ice formations of Glacier Grey
The stunning ice formations of Glacier Grey

Board the Grey III Catamaran for a tour of Grey Glacier, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field that feeds the lake of the same name, Lago Grey. The boat travels across the lake and stops close to the glacier, which will give you a prime vantage point to snap photos of its massive ice walls. Upon return, you'll take a short hike across the windswept beach and through the forest before returning to your hotel.

You will have the afternoon to either relax or hike the nearby Mirador Ferrier, which boasts unbelievable views of the park's many colored lakes. Later in the day, a private transfer will take you on a two-hour ride back to Puerto Natales. This stunning drive takes you along Lago Toro most of the way, which promises splendid vistas and ever-changing scenery.

Day 7: Transfer to El Calafate, Explore

Perito Moreno Glacier
You'll see stunning views at every turn in Los Glaciares National Park

In the morning, take a bus bound for El Calafate, crossing the border into Argentina and checking into your hotel near the center of town. The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy. This small town is the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. A base for Argentina's glaciers, its sits on the tranquil shores of Lago Argentina, the country's largest freshwater lake. Spend the evening strolling through town, checking out the Laguna Nimez Nature Preserve, visiting the Glaciarium Museum, or simply resting up for tomorrow's adventure.

Aside from relaxing, you could also venture out and enjoy the quaint cafés and shops around town. Maybe prime yourself with information on the nearby glaciers by visiting the Glaciarium. This multimedia center has an ice museum, various interactive displays, and educational information regarding glaciers. For fun, it even has a bar made totally of ice!

Day 8: Gourmet Glacier Cruise to Perito Moreno & Spegazinni

Sail under the towering ice walls of Perito Moreno Glacier.
Sail under the towering ice walls of Perito Moreno Glacier.

Venture deep into the Patagonian Ice Field today, home to the largest concentration of ice on the planet after Antarctica. In Los Glaciares National Park, you'll discover a magnificent combination of forests, lakes, mountains, ice, and steppes with over 200 glaciers. The most well-known among these ice giants are Spegazzini, rising 442 feet (135 m) above sea level, and Upsala, covering an entire valley. Perito Moreno continuously advances and causes spectacular ruptures of its frozen walls.

A full-day cruise takes you into the heart of these magnificent glaciers as you travel in comfort and enjoy gourmet meals aboard the María Turquesa cruiser. Begin by transferring to the port, where you'll cruise northwest to Punta Avellaneda and Boca del Diablo. Disembark near the Spegazzini Glacier at Las Vacas Station in the Spegazzini Canal Bay, where you'll enjoy a lovely guided trek to learn more about the local history, flora, and fauna.

Afterward, you'll head toward the Upsala Canal and navigate to the Herminita Peninsula, the absolute limit for boat navigation in this area. In the afternoon, cruise along the Tempanos Canal for an alternative view of the ever-famous Perito Moreno Glacier. After admiring its dramatic north face, return to the port and head back to El Calafate, where you can relax and spend the evening as you wish.

Day 9: Perito Moreno Boat & Walking Tour

Discover dramatic views of Perito Moreno from the surrounding walkways

An exciting all-day excursion takes you back into Los Glaciares National Park today. As you enter the park, you'll enjoy another glacier viewing and learn more about the majestic Perito Moreno. This expansive glacier 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 unique in that it is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, which 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 to its massive ice wall on the boat tour. After a day spent discovering the glacier and wandering the numerous trails, you'll head back to El Calafate.

Day 10: Depart El Calafate

Farewell Patagonia
Farewell Patagonia!
It's time to say goodbye to Patagonia this morning. After breakfast, you'll pack up and take the 30-minute transfer to the airport, where you'll catch your return flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Patagonia's Glaciers & Wildlife - 10 Days
Map of Patagonia's Glaciers & Wildlife - 10 Days