- Visit the Casablanca Valley wine region near Valparaíso
- Enjoy a boat tour in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park
- See the unforgettable scenery of Torres del Paine
- Tour Perito Moreno Glacier
- Ride along Argentina's famous Route 40, one of the world's longest highways
|Arrive in Santiago, Explore
|Day Trip to Valparaíso via Casablanca Valley Wine Tour
|Day Trip to San José Volcano & Andes Mountains
|Fly to Puerto Natales, Explore
|Day Hike from Sarmiento Lake to Amarga Lagoon
|Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
|Hike in Torres del Paine National Park
|Full-Day Tour of Torres del Paine National Park & Surroundings
|Transfer to El Calafate & Perito Moreno Glacier Tour
|Free Day in El Calafate
|Guided Tour from El Calafate to El Chaltén
|Self-Guided Hike in El Chaltén
|El Chaltén Free Hiking
|Return to Santiago
|Day of Leisure in Santiago & Depart Chile
Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Explore
Welcome to Chile's vibrant capital, Santiago! A driver will transfer you from the airport to your hotel, where you can settle in before heading out to explore. You'll have the chance to experience the pulse of this lively Latin American metropolis on a guided tour. Start by wandering the aisles of Santiago's labyrinthine Mercado Central or Mercado La Vega. These markets are the beating heart of the city, overflowing with vendors and locals eager to get their hands on the day's fresh produce. With the help of your guide, engage with vendors and shoppers, sampling delicious tidbits along the way.
Afterward, visit the Plaza de Armas, located in Santiago's historic center. Founded in 1541, it's home to the impressive Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church whose twin bell towers dominate the western side of the plaza. Finally, enjoy panoramic vistas from Santa Lucía Hill or San Cristóbal Hill. Take in the sprawling cityscape and spot landmarks like the Gran Torre Santiago (also known as the Costanera Center), the tallest building in Latin America. When the tour is finished, head back to your hotel, or spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own.
Day 2: Day Trip to Valparaíso via Casablanca Valley Wine Tour
Today you'll head to the Chilean coastal city of Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the country's most romantic and artistic city. En route, stop at an organic winery in the Casablanca Valley for a guided tour and tasting session, where you'll try four different wines paired with Chilean cheeses and chocolates. Later, delve into the colorful, well-preserved seaport of Valparaíso. The city is a throwback to the turn of the 20th century when electric trolleys coasted along the waterfront, and funicular elevators carried passengers to the city's highest points.
Travel by trolley between Plaza Sotomayor and Plaza Aníbal Pinto, then board the Reina Victoria Funicular for aerial views. Ramble through hilly neighborhoods like Cerro Alegre, Cerro Concepción, and Cerro Florida, with their brightly-painted houses, old churches, and cobbled squares. To finish, you have the option of dining on some of the best seafood in South America. Then, hop back in the minivan for the return to Santiago.
Day 3: Day Trip to San José Volcano & Andes Mountains
Today, explore the Cajón del Maipo (Maipo Canyon), a picturesque place near the city of Santiago. Here, you can enjoy outdoor activities and immerse yourself in the nature of the Andes Mountains. On the way, make a stop for a 25-minute walk to a majestic waterfall. Continue following the Maipo River until you arrive at El Cabrerio, where you'll begin your trek into the heart of the mountain range.
During the three-hour roundtrip trek, discover the 19,213-foot (5,856-m) high San José Volcano. Learn about the area's environment, natural history, flora, and fauna, as you take in the breathtaking landscape of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The hike will lead you to La Engorda Valley, where you'll be treated to a panoramic view. Take a moment to relax, enjoy a sandwich, snap some photos, and connect with nature. Then start your walk back to the van and return to Santiago, recharged by the energy of the mountains.
Day 4: Fly to Puerto Natales, Explore
Your driver will pick you up from your hotel in Santiago and drive you to the airport for your flight to Puerto Natales. Upon arrival in this small Patagonian town, a transfer will bring you to your hotel. Or, if there are no direct flights, fly to Punta Arenas, farther south in Patagonia, and take a three-hour bus ride to Puerto Natales instead.
Once you arrive, settle into your accommodation and relax. If you have time, head out to get your first look at the town. Puerto Natales is a scenic spot nestled on the edge of the Señoret Channel. It's the perfect base to visit Patagonia's natural wonders, like Torres del Paine National Park, which is known for its majestic mountains and glaciers. You can use today to have a walk along the waterfront and visit the Municipal Historical Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of this region.
Day 5: Day Hike from Sarmiento Lake to Amarga Lagoon
Today's excursion will take you through the lesser-known parts of Torres del Paine National Park. Enter the park near Sarmiento Lake, then hike for an hour to see a series of 6,000-year-old cave paintings made by the first settlers of Patagonia. Continue toward Blanquillos Lagoon, a nesting and feeding place for different species of endemic birds, such as caiquénes (upland geese) and black-necked swans.
Walk for another two hours to reach Amarga Lagoon gate, the main access to the park. Rest up before driving to a quiet area known as the Paine Waterfall for a tranquil lunch, with a full view of the three granite towers that give the park its name. Continue your journey by heading toward the Cañadón Macho (Macho Ravine), where it's possible to see guanacos, gray foxes, condors, black-chested eagles, and other animal species. As the sun starts to come down, head back to Puerto Natales for the night.
Day 6: Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
This morning, head to the dock near Puerto Natales and hop on a boat bound for Balmaceda Glacier, located at the southern end of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. The park is only accessible by foot or by boat, and this 7-hour day tour follows the Última Esperanza Sound from Puerto Natales to the glacier.Keep your camera close during this scenic boat ride, where you'll be treated to vast, panoramic views of native forests composed of coihue, canelo, and lenga beech trees. You're also likely to spot sea lions as you head north toward the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers. Disembark and take the opportunity to enjoy views of these enormous ice structures from the land. After a short hike, you'll reach a ranch where you can enjoy a traditional Patagonian barbecue. In the afternoon, return by boat to Puerto Natales.
Day 7: Hike in Torres del Paine National Park
Get ready for an early morning out in Torres del Paine National Park. After breakfast, head off on a hike to the base of the Torres del Paine mountain range, known as Base Torres. This is one of the most popular hiking routes in the park. It can be done in less than a day but requires a good level of physical fitness. You'll cover 11 miles (18 km) in about nine hours.
Every step of the way, enjoy views of beautiful scenery composed of rivers, native forests, mountain peaks, and narrow valleys. Keep an eye out for local bird species, like condors and black-chested eagles. The route is strenuous, particularly the last stretch right before arriving at the lagoon at the base of the Paine Massif. But once you're staring up at the nearby Cuernos del Paine (Paine Horns) formation jutting into the sky, it'll all be worth it.
Day 8: Full-Day Tour of Torres del Paine National Park & Surroundings
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Begin today's adventure at the Cueva del Milodón, located 15 miles (24 km) north of Puerto Natales. Cueva del Milodón is the largest of a network of caves and houses a life-size replica of a mylodon, a giant prehistoric sloth. German explorer Hermann Eberhard discovered the well-preserved remains of a mylodon here in 1895, giving the cave its name. En route, pass by the Silla del Diablo (Devil's Chair), a rock formation shaped like a seat that is the subject of numerous local legends. Afterward, continue north along the road to Torres del Paine National Park.
Soon, you'll see the Cuernos del Paine and reach a fork in the road which leads to Grey Lake. Once you arrive at the lake, take a pleasant walk along its shores, stopping at the Grey Lake Viewpoint if the weather is favorable. When you've finished with this nature trek, enjoy a break and picnic lunch in the park. Later, head to the Salto Grande Waterfall and the dazzling Lake Nordenskjöld Viewpoint. Continue to enjoy scenic views on a winding route that gradually brings you closer to the Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lagoon). Then return to Puerto Natales, passing by the Lake Sarmiento Viewpoint on the way back.
Day 9: Transfer to El Calafate & Perito Moreno Glacier Tour
In the morning, meet your driver for a transfer to El Calafate, across the border in Argentine Patagonia. On the way, stop for a tour of the Perito Moreno Glacier, composed of over 96 square miles (249 km²) of solid ice. As you enter Los Glaciares National Park, you'll catch your first glimpse of this majestic natural formation. Extending out from the Andes, the formation ends in a shimmering wall of blue ice that curves around Lake Argentino.
Three miles of wooden walkways carry visitors all around the glacier and feature many lookout points. As you stand at one of these viewing areas, you're likely to witness "calving," an event where great chunks of ice break off from the glacier wall and crash into the waters below. You can also join a short cruise across the lake to get an even closer view of the glacier. The boat will take you right up alongside Perito Moreno's massive ice wall, which reaches heights of 240 feet (73 m) in places. In the evening, head onward to your hotel in El Calafate to enjoy a relaxing dinner.
Day 10: Free Day in El Calafate
Take today to enjoy El Calafate however you choose. You can book a luxurious spa treatment, go horseback riding on a nearby ranch, or embark on a kayaking trip on Lake Argentino. You could also tour the Reserva Laguna Nimez, a protected area 15 minutes walking distance from town. The reserve is home to many native species of birds, such as black-necked swans, upland geese, and Chilean flamingoes. Otherwise, simply while away the day shopping, hanging out in a café, or trying some local treats, like artisanal chocolates and products made with El Calafate berries.
Day 11: Guided Tour from El Calafate to El Chaltén
Early this morning, meet your guide in your hotel lobby. After traveling about 19 miles (30 km) to the east, head north on Argentina's famous Route 40, the longest highway in the country. Skirt the eastern shore of Lake Argentino and the Santa Cruz River until you reach La Estela Ranch, located near the La Leóna River. Make a stop here to learn about the history of the La Leóna Hotel, and enjoy a snack of tea and cakes. Continue on to El Chaltén, bordering Lake Viedma. On the way, stop to enjoy the Andean landscape and panoramic views of the Viedma Glacier and the Chaltén (Fitz Roy) and Torre peaks.
At around 11 am, park rangers from Los Glaciares National Park will welcome you and provide an informative talk about El Chaltén, the "National Capital of Trekking." Soon after, prepare to start the day's outdoor activities, including an optional hike to the Laguna Capri. Let the forest embrace you on this moderate 4-mile (7 km) trek, which takes approximately two hours. Once arrived, take a lunch break as you enjoy the magnificent views of the Torre, Chaltén, and Guillaumet hills, as well as the Madre and Hija lagoons. Later, return to El Chaltén, where a bus will be waiting to bring you back to El Calafate.
Day 12: Self-Guided Hike in El Chaltén
Today is your chance to choose your own exciting adventure in the 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 El Chaltén includes a 1.9-mile (3 km) walk to Cerro Torre Viewpoint, which will take you about an hour. Here, you can enjoy views of the Las Vueltas River and lenga beech forests. This area is home to many types of birds, including woodpeckers.
If you aren't ready to turn around just yet, continue all the way to Base Torre. This eight-hour hike will take you to an impressive view of Mount Fitz Roy and the emerald waters of Laguna de los Tres. Though this hike becomes challenging near the end, it's more than worth it. A local secret: seize the day by waking up early to watch the sunrise at Laguna de los Tres, where the peaks often turn bright red—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for nature lovers.
Day 13: El Chaltén Free HikingUse today to discover additional hiking trails around El Chaltén at your own pace. Beginner hikers could try an easy, 2-3 mile (3-5 km) roundtrip trek to Mirador de los Cóndores, or a one-hour hike to the Chorrillo del Salto Waterfall. A more challenging option is to hike to the Huemul Glacier, located about an hour outside of El Chaltén and named after a local deer species. This moderately strenuous journey will take you through some of the most gorgeous scenery in the area, including rivers, streams, and pristine forests. A nice reward is the view of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy from the top.
Day 14: Return to SantiagoAfter an early breakfast, check out of your hotel and hop on a bus for the three-hour ride back to El Calafate. Once arrived, board a southbound bus headed for Puerto Natales. This journey typically takes five hours or more, depending on the traffic conditions at the Argentina-Chile border. Later in the day, prepare for your return to Santiago. Based on flight schedules, a driver will bring you either to the bus terminal for a ride to the airport in Punta Arenas or to the local Puerto Natales airport if there is a direct flight available.
Day 15: Day of Leisure in Santiago & Depart Chile
Spend the last day of your trip exploring Santiago at your leisure. You could stroll the cobblestone streets of trendy Barrio Bellavista, wander into the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, or visit the Palacio de la Moneda, Chile's opulent presidential palace. For lunch or dinner, be sure to enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years, Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination. You can find great restaurants and wine bars not only in Bellavista but also in the revitalized historic neighborhoods of Yungay and Italia.
When your flight time arrives, it's time to say goodbye to beautiful Chile. Return to your hotel and meet your driver, who will bring you to Santiago's international airport for your flight back home.