Explore Patagonia's outdoor wonderland in two national parks—Torres del Paine in Chile and Los Glaciares in Argentina—on this active 12-day trip. You'll begin on the Chilean side, hiking the W Trek and sleeping in shelters along the trail. Then, cross the border to El Calafate and El Chaltén to hike through mountainous landscapes, kayak on remote glacial lakes, and boat to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier.


  • Hike the four-day W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Boat near the edge of the famous Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Go on day hikes while basing yourself in Argentina's trekking capital
  • Kayak on the wind-swept Lago del Desierto

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago (Chile), Explore Santiago
Day 2 Fly to Puerto Natales, Get Oriented Puerto Natales
Day 3 Enter Torres del Paine, Begin W Trek (Day 1) Torres del Paine
Day 4 Hike Along Lago Nordenskjöld to Refugio Cuernos (Day 2) Torres del Paine
Day 5 Visit the French Valley & Continue to Refugio Paine Grande (Day 3) Torres del Paine
Day 6 See Grey Glacier, Trek to Refugio Grey (Day 4), Return to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 7 Transfer to El Calafate (Argentina), Visit the Glaciarium El Calafate
Day 8 Experience the Perito Moreno Glacier & Bus to El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 9 El Chaltén Day Hike El Chaltén
Day 10 Explore Mountain Trails Around El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 11 Kayak Lago del Desierto El Chaltén
Day 12 Depart El Chaltén  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago (Chile), Explore

Twilight in Plaza de Armas, Santiago

Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city. Snap photos in front of the Palacio de la Moneda, Chile's opulent presidential palace, a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas. Next, stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista to see colorful houses, vibrant street art, and an eclectic array of eateries and bars that are great for people-watching.

For dinner, enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years, Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination as Chilean chefs reinvent traditional dishes, like empanadas and cazuelas (stews), with ingredients sourced from the Atacama Desert and the southern Patagonian region. You'll find great restaurants and wine bars in the Bellavista neighborhood and the revitalized historic districts of Yungay and Italia. Head back to your hotel to get some rest.

Day 2: Fly to Puerto Natales, Get Oriented

Puerto Natales' colorful waterfront
Puerto Natales' colorful waterfront

Today you'll fly to the small port city of Puerto Natales, formerly a fishing port and now the main base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. The town is set on the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound), offering scenic views across the water to the mountains beyond. Facing north from here, you'll see the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro, and the sight is especially phenomenal at sunset.

Depending on your arrival time, you might take a stroll around town and stop for a drink at one of the town's many bars and cafés. Try a traditional seafood stew in a family-run restaurant before you get some rest at your hotel. Adventures in Patagonia's landscapes await tomorrow!

Day 3: Enter Torres del Paine & Begin W Trek (Day 1)

Guanacos in Torres del Paine National Park

Transfer from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park this morning. The drive takes about two hours, and you'll get your first glimpses of Torres del Paine's massive peaks as you approach the park. You'll arrive at the Laguna Amarga main entrance and register with the park office, then take a quick shuttle ride to the Las Torres sector. From here, you'll begin the W Trek, hiking up Mount Almirante Nieto with views of the Asencio Valley and Lago Nordenskjöld. After two hours of hiking, you'll reach Refugio & Camping Chileno and have lunch.

It's another hour of hiking past ancient forests until you arrive at a moraine. The next part is a challenging steep ascent for 45 minutes until you reach the top, known as Mirador Base Torres. This section of the mountain, with the Torres del Paine (torre is "tower" in Spanish) looming over a green lagoon, is the best view in the park. You can also marvel at the towering peaks of nearby Torre Sur, Torre Central, Torre Norte, Condor's Nest, and Glacier Torre, all set amid the sweeping backdrop of the Patagonian highlands. Hike to Refugio & Camping el Central to rest for the evening. Today's hike takes about eight hours in total.

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Day 4: Hike Along Lago Nordenskjöld to Refugio Cuernos (Day 2)

Blue skies over Lake Nordenskjöld
Blue skies over Lago Nordenskjöld
This morning, you'll have breakfast and prepare to continue hiking along the W Trek. You'll walk for about four hours toward Refugio Cuernos, located on the shore of Lago Nordenskjöld and at the foot of the Cuernos. Along the way, you'll walk along the skirt of Mount Almirante Nieto and the lake, crossing over rivers as you go. See glimpses of glaciers and the mountaintops before you arrive at the Refugio to relax for the evening. 

Day 5: Visit the French Valley & Continue to Refugio Paine Grande (Day 3)

The French Glacier
The cliffs of the French Glacier

Your third day of hiking the W Trek begins just after breakfast. Hit the trail toward Campamento Italiano, a camp about 2.5 hours away. You'll walk across a windy beach and into the valley, where the wind is slightly calmer. Once you arrive at Campamento Italiano, leave your large pack and continue into the French Valley with a small daypack.

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 Pehoe. 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 Pehoe. The total hiking time for today is about seven hours.

Day 6: See Grey Glacier, Trek to Refugio Grey (Day 4), Return to Puerto Natales

Admire Glacier Grey, Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey [W Trek Day 4]
Admire Grey Glacier from the trail 

After a restful night and an energizing breakfast, begin a four-hour hike through a small forest along Lago Grey. This is the fourth and final day of the W Trek. This park section is usually very windy due to the open landscapes around Lago Grey, Grey Glacier, and the Southern Ice Field.

After two hours of hiking, you'll get your first glimpse of Grey Glacier. You'll continue hiking for two more hours until you arrive at Refugio & Camping Grey. From here, it is a boat ride across Lago Grey, followed by a short hike through the forest to the bus stop, where you'll make your connection back to Puerto Natales. Check into a hotel in town and relax for the evening. 

Day 7: Transfer to El Calafate (Argentina), Visit the Glaciarium

Watch the sunset over the town of El Calafate

In the morning, transfer to El Calafate, the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park—Welcome to Argentina! El Calafate is also known for its location on Lago Argentino, Argentina's largest freshwater lake. After checking in at your hotel and getting settled, you'll have the afternoon and evening free to stroll around town and do some sightseeing.

Get ready for tomorrow's visit to the nearby glaciers by visiting the Glaciarium. This interactive museum offers hands-on displays and an ice bar where you can take a break for drinks. If you'd rather explore the outdoors, check out the birds at the Laguna Nimez Nature Preserve just outside of town. Stop in the quaint cafés and shops around El Calafate, then have dinner in a local parrilla (steakhouse) before getting some rest at your hotel.

Day 8: Experience the Perito Moreno Glacier & Bus to El Chaltén

Admire the Famous Perito Moreno Glacier [Mayo Trek - Alternative Excursion]
Admire Perito Moreno Glacier from the park's viewing platforms

Today's adventure takes you to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. Transfer from your hotel to the port, where you'll board a boat and start your day sailing along the Témpano Canal. The journey takes you past stunning landscapes, glaciers, and mountains, and you'll disembark several times for short hikes. Walk through some of the oldest forests in the area, admire pristine waterfalls, and take in impressive panoramic views.

As you enter the park by boat, you'll catch your first glimpse of the majestic Perito Moreno. This extensive ice mass flows down from the Andes out over Lago Argentino. Witness "calving," the awe-inspiring sight of ice breaking off the facade and crashing into the tranquil waters below. The boat will drop you near the visitor's center, where you'll have time to explore the boardwalks and viewing platforms offering sweeping views of the glacier. Then you'll board a bus for the incredibly scenic three-hour ride to El Chaltén.

Day 9: El Chaltén Day Hike

View of Mt. Fitz Roy over El Chalten
View of Mount Fitz Roy over El Chaltén

The small Patagonian village of El Chaltén, nicknamed "the trekking capital of Argentina," sits on the shores of Lago Argentino. Like El Calafate, it's a gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, with towering peaks rising 10,000 feet (3,048 m) above the wind-swept landscape, including Mount Fitz Roy. This morning you'll embark on a full-day excursion into the national park. Today's hike through an alpine forest will take about eight to nine hours and cover over 12 miles (20 km).

Your destination is Laguna de los Tres, a gorgeous lagoon facing panoramic views of three peaks: Fitz Roy, Poincenot, and Torre. Along the trek, you'll also take in views of Piedras Blancas Glacier. Break for lunch at the lagoon, then descend toward El Chaltén via the photogenic Laguna Capri. Relax in one of El Chaltén's many restaurants and craft beer bars—sample local dishes like roast Patagonian lamb, rib-eye steak, and empanadas for dinner. 

Day 10: Explore Mountain Trails Around El Chaltén

So many trails to choose from
Go on a self-guided hike in the mountains around the village
Spend today discovering the numerous hiking trails of El Chaltén at your own pace. One popular option is the hike to Laguna Torre, which leads through a glacial valley to a scenic lagoon. This trek takes about six hours. Another possibility is the hike to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, which takes between six and seven hours and features excellent views over the park. If the weather is clear, you might enjoy the vistas of Lago Viedma. In the evening, return to El Chaltén.

Day 11: Kayak Lago del Desierto

Kayak around the calm waters of Lago del Desierto.
Kayak around the calm waters of Lago del Desierto

Get ready to hit the water today! Your guide will pick you up at your hotel; then, you'll set out along the scenic route toward one of the region's highlights, Lago del Desierto. Its name means "lake of the desert," and the trip takes about two hours each way. On arrival, your guide will teach you some of the basics of kayaking in the area and get you properly outfitted with the necessary equipment.

Then you'll push off onto the lake's calm, glassy water and begin your paddling adventure, enjoying views of beautiful forests and impressive peaks in the distance. Take a break at Bahía Tranquila, a section of the lake protected from the wind. Since the water is shallow here, it's a nice place to hop off the kayak and enjoy your surroundings. After a 2.5-hour trip around the lake, return to shore. Take some free time to explore the nearby trails or visit the viewpoint of the nearby Huemul Glacier before returning to town for the evening.

Day 12: Depart El Chaltén

Observing Perito Moreno from the viewing platforms

The adventure has come to an end. After breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Trek Torres del Paine & Explore Los Glaciares National Parks - 12 Days
Map of Trek Torres del Paine & Explore Los Glaciares National Parks - 12 Days