Grab your trekking gear because you're off to the great frontier known as Patagonia. This three-week journey will take you across the entire region, starting with circuit treks in Chile's most famous national park, Torres del Paine, followed by hitting the trails in Argentina's Los Glaciares. But it's not all hiking adventures—you'll also take a spin around Santiago and travel to the far south of the continent for an epic five-night cruise around unspoiled Tierra del Fuego back to Chile.


  • Visit dynamic Santiago and colorful Valparaíso, two of Chile's bucket-list cities
  • Tackle a portion of the famous W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Choose your own adventure with self-guided hikes in Los Glaciares National Park
  • Spot penguins and sea lions at the "end of the world" in Ushuaia
  • Traverse the Drake Passage and Cape Horn on a five-night Patagonian cruise 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Afternoon City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Day Trip to Viña del Mar & Valparaíso Santiago
Day 3 Fly to Punta Arenas, Transfer to Torres del Paine via Puerto Natales Torres del Paine
Day 4 Full-Day Hike to Base Torres Torres del Paine
Day 5 W Trek (Day 1): Refugio Torres to Los Cuernos Torres del Paine
Day 6 W Trek (Day 2): Los Cuernos to French Valley Torres del Paine
Day 7 W Trek (Day 3): French Valley to Refugio Grey, Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 8 Free Time in Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 9 Transfer to El Chaltén, Argentina's Trekking Capital El Chaltén
Days 10-11 Self-Guided Hikes in El Chaltén El Chaltén
Day 12 Transfer to El Calafate, Gateway to Glaciers El Calafate
Day 13 Perito Moreno Glacier Tour El Calafate
Day 14 Fly to Ushuaia, the World's Southernmost City Ushuaia
Day 15 Ushuaia Highlights: Tierra del Fuego, Beagle Channel & Penguins Ushuaia
Day 16 Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 1): Cross into Chile Ushuaia
Day 17 Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 2): Cape Horn & Drake Passage Ushuaia
Day 18 Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 3): Pia Fjord & Glaciers Ushuaia
Day 19 Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 4): Agostini Sound & Condor Glacier Ushuaia
Day 20 Arrive in Punta Arenas, Afternoon City Tour Punta Arenas
Day 21 Fly to Santiago, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Afternoon City Tour

The Plaza de Armas is the historic center of Santiago, filled with colonial landmarks

Welcome to Chile! You'll be off to the far south of the continent and Patagonia soon enough—for now, take some time to enjoy the nation's glitzy capital, Santiago. A driver will meet you at the airport for the transfer into the city and your hotel. Then, you can stretch your legs on a walking tour of this historic metropolis, which was founded all the way back in 1541.

Must-visit buildings include La Moneda Presidential Palace and the Plaza de Armas. The latter is the city's main square, filled with historic buildings like the 19th-century Palace of the Royal Court and the Catedral Metropolitana, an impressive neoclassical building that dates to 1753. Afterward, continue on to Mercado Central, a municipal market dating to 1872. Stop in at a small restaurant or food stall to sample some of the freshest fish and seafood in the city.

Day 2: Day Trip to Viña del Mar & Valparaíso

Take a day trip to the coast to see Viña del Mar landmarks like Wulff Castle 

Rise and shine! This morning, you're off to the Chilean coast. The first stop on your private tour is Viña del Mar, an upscale beach resort teeming with shopping boutiques, high-rise apartment blocks, and manicured gardens. These blend with striking landmarks like the Germanic Wulff Castle and the Venetian-Gothic Vergara Palace, where the founder of Viña del Mar once lived. 

Enjoy some of South America's best seafood at an oceanfront restaurant before moving on to the UNESCO-listed seaport of Valparaíso. The city is a throwback to the turn of the 20th century when electric trolleys coasted along the waterfront and wooden funicular elevators carried passengers to the top of the city's hills. Travel on one of these rumbling cable cars between historic squares, Plaza Sotomayor and Plaza Aníbal Pinto

Then, board the Reina Victoria funicular for aerial city views. Amble through hilly neighborhoods like Cerro Alegre, Cerro Concepción, and Cerro Florida, with their brightly-painted houses, old churches, and cobbled squares. In Cerro Florida, you'll visit La Sebastiana, a museum once home to Nobel-Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. At the end of the day, transfer back to Santiago and your hotel.

Day 3: Fly to Punta Arenas, Transfer to Torres del Paine via Puerto Natales

You're going to embark on the most famous hikes in Torres del Paine in the coming days

Today, you're off to Patagonia. After breakfast, a driver will take you back to the airport, where you'll catch a 3.5-hour flight to the city of Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia. Upon arrival, hop on a bus for a three-hour trip north to Puerto Natales. This port town on the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound) is the base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park, a legendary protected area that covers 700 square miles (1,810 sq km). It's renowned for its long-distance circuit hikes, particularly the W Trek, which you'll embark on in short order.

From Puerto Natales, hop in a shuttle for the two-hour drive north to the park. Then, settle into your hotel, located adjacent to Torres del Paine. Enjoy dinner at the hotel and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour—your first hike begins early the next morning.

Day 4: Full-Day Hike to Base Torres

When you reach Base Torres, you can take the famous selfie

Lace up your hiking boots because early this morning, you're off on to Base Torres, one of the most famous day hikes in the park. The route covers a strenuous 11 miles (18 km) and lasts about nine hours, requiring a decent level of physical fitness. That said, every step of the way, you'll enjoy views of beautiful scenery comprised of rivers, native forests, mountain peaks, and narrow valleys. You'll likely even spot some impressive local avian varieties, like condors and black eagles.

The first part of the route 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.

Day 5: W Trek (Day 1): Refugio Torres to Los Cuernos

The waterfront at Lake Nordenskjöld
Today's hike will take you to the turquoise waters of 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 6: W Trek (Day 2): Los Cuernos to French Valley

Lake Pehoé
The day's trek will take you along Lago Pehoé, another highlight 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 7: W Trek (Day 3): French Valley to Refugio Grey, Transfer to Puerto Natales

Grey Glacier is one of the stars of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field

After a fortifying breakfast, you'll begin the final day of the W Trek. 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. From here, hop on a boat for the 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. After checking into a hotel in town, you can enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and toast the completion of your grand trekking adventure.

Day 8: Free Time in Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is a great place to relax and recharge after hiking in Torres del Paine

The day is yours to relax and recharge your batteries after your Torres del Paine adventures. If you like, you can head out and explore this charming, tranquil 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 any budding birders are sure to be entranced by sightings of Andean condors, swans, or flamingoes. 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 off in the distance. 

Day 9: Transfer to El Chaltén, Argentina's Trekking Capital

The drive into El Chaltén offers some of the best views in Patagonia
Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Say goodbye to Chile (for now) because this morning, you'll board a bus headed north across the border into Argentine Patagonia. It's a four-hour ride to the town of El Calafate, and there will be stops along the way at customs and for breaks. From El Calafate, the drive continues north to El Chaltén.

Nicknamed "the trekking capital of Argentina," this town sits on the banks of the Río Las Vueltas. Like El Calafate, it's a gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, with towering peaks rising 10,000 feet (3,048 m) above the windswept landscape. If the skies are clear during the drive, you'll have incredible views of the granite massif of Mount Fitz Roy. You'll arrive at your hotel or cabin later in the afternoon and will have the evening free to relax. If you like, take a walk around town and pop in at one of El Chaltén's many cafés and craft beer bars. 

Days 10-11: Self-Guided Hikes in El Chaltén

Sunrise at Laguna de los Tres
The early bird catches the sunrise at Laguna de los Tres

The next two days are free for you to choose your own adventure in the Patagonian 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, where you can enjoy views of the Río Las Vueltas, lenga beech forests, and plentiful birdlife. You can also extend the hike to other viewpoints around Mount Fitz Roy and the emerald waters of Laguna de los Tres. 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.

Beginners can try an easy, 2-3 mile (3-5 km) round-trip trek to Mirador de los Cóndores or a one-hour hike to the Chorrillo del Salto waterfall. A more challenging option is trekking up to the Huemul Glacier, located about an hour outside of El Chaltén and named after the elusive south Andean deer. 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 12: Transfer to El Calafate, Gateway to Glaciers

El Calafate will be your base to explore more of Los Glaciares National Park

After breakfast, a driver will pick you up for the return trip to El Calafate. Sitting on the shores of Lago Argentino, this town is the main base for trips into the famous Los Glaciares National Park and one of its star attractions, Perito Moreno Glacier. When you arrive, you'll check into your hotel and have the rest of the day free.

Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and enjoy a free day relaxing in town. Browse the local shops for souvenirs or sequester yourself in a charming patio café with a good book. Be sure to sample the local cuisine, like roast Patagonian lamb, and Argentine staples like ojo de bife (rib-eye steak) and empanadas. Wash it down with a glass or two of malbec from the Mendoza wine region.

Day 13: Perito Moreno Glacier Tour

Take a boat ride across the lake to see Perito Moreno's massive ice walls up close

Composed of over 96 square miles (249 sq km) of solid ice, Perito Moreno is one of the world's most impressive glaciers. As your driver takes you into Los Glaciares National Park this morning, you'll catch your first glimpse of this awe-inspiring natural formation. Extending out from the Andes, the massive floe ends in a shimmering wall of blue ice that curves around Lake Argentino.

Three miles (4.8 km) 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 take a boat cruise across the lake for an even closer view. The boat will take you right up alongside Perito Moreno's massive ice wall, which reaches heights of 240 feet (73 m). Later, you'll transfer back to your hotel.

Day 14: Fly to Ushuaia, the World's Southernmost City

Welcome to Ushuaia, the city at "the end of the world"

Travel even deeper into Patagonia this morning as you transfer to the airport in El Calafate for the 1.5-hour flight to Ushuaia. This famous port city on the southern Tierra del Fuego archipelago occupies an idyllic location. It's nestled between the Martial Mountains and sits on the Beagle Channel, the same waterway that Charles Darwin sailed through nearly 200 years ago. Today, people come for nature excursions, wildlife tours, and boat trips.

Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel in the center. Then, you can walk around this remote city with a small-town vibe. Perhaps go shopping in the city center and stop at a restaurant to try Ushuaia's famous seafood like centolla (king crab). You can also visit the Maritime Museum, housed in a former prison that once held convicts banished from Buenos Aires. For more culture, tour the Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Museum), which has exhibits on the region's natural and Indigenous history.

Day 15: Ushuaia Highlights: Tierra del Fuego, Beagle Channel & Penguins

Gentoo penguins on Isla Martillo
See gentoo and Magellanic penguins at Isla Martillo

Take the day to enjoy the highlights in and around Ushuaia on your own. If you like, embark on a half-day hike on one of the nature trails in Tierra del Fuego National Park. Located just outside the city, this vast protected area encompasses 155,000 acres (62,726 ha) of subantarctic forests. You can also take a ride on the famous Tren del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Train). This historic steam train originally served the local prison back in the 19th century but now runs scenic tours in the national park. It's a quick trip, too—just 4.3 miles (7 km) one way.

You'll definitely want to follow in the footsteps of Darwin on a boat tour up the Beagle Channel. One popular day trip is an excursion to do some penguin spotting. The trip starts at the Ushuaia pier, where you'll board a boat and get underway. As you travel along the channel, you'll enjoy epic views of Ushuaia and the coast. Be on the lookout for wildlife, such as cormorants and sea lions, especially near the Lobo and De Los Pajaros islands. One of the tour highlights is passing by the famous Les Eclaireurs, the so-called "Lighthouse at the End of the World.

Then, sail east to Isla Martillo, an island home to thousands of Magellanic penguins and even some gentoo penguins. On a walking tour, you'll get up close and personal with these penguins as an expert guide reveals insight into their characteristics and behavior. Expect plenty of great photo opportunities.

Day 16: Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 1): Cross into Chile

Wave goodbye to Ushuaia from the deck of your cruise ship

The last leg of your epic Patagonian adventure involves a cruise around the waterways of Tierra del Fuego back to Punta Arenas in Chile. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, after which you can spend the rest of the day enjoying Ushuaia however you like. In the early evening, you'll head to the port and board an Australis cruise ship, kicking off an all-inclusive five-day cruise.

After boarding, there will be a welcome toast and introduction from the captain and crew. Then, as the ship gets underway, the lights of Ushuaia disappear as you turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands. Following dinner on board, you'll retire to your spacious cabin. As you sleep, the ship will traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentina into Chilean territorial waters.

Day 17: Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 2): Cape Horn & Drake Passage

The monument at Cape Horn commemorates one of the most popular landmarks in seafaring history

Wake up surrounded by epic Patagonian views as the ship crosses Nassau Bay and enters Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you can go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). This sheer, 1,394-foot (425 m) high promontory was discovered in 1616 by the Dutch and overlooks the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. Taking pictures here means capturing a prominent chapter of maritime history. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. 

Sailing back across Nassau, you'll anchor at Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where human history is just as compelling as the dramatic topography. Originally the site of one of the region's largest Yámana Indigenous settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on HMS Beagle. While here, you'll visit the museum, which focuses on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area.

Afterward, you can choose between three hikes of varying difficulty that ascend the wooded mountain behind the bay. On all of these, you'll stroll through an enchanted subantarctic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, and ferns to reach panoramic viewpoints overlooking the bay. After some to relax and take pictures, you'll return to the ship.

Day 18: Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 3): Pia Fjord & Glaciers

If you thought Perito Moreno was something, wait until you see Pia Glacier

During the night, you'll cruise by glaciers at the western end of Tierra del Fuego, passing through the narrow Gabrial, Magdalena, and Cockburn channels. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the ship will continue eastward and once again enter the Beagle Channel.

By morning you'll reach Pia Fjord, where you'll board a smaller boat for an excursion to the Pia Glacier. After disembarking, take a short hike to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the towering glacier, which extends from the mountains to the sea. For a more challenging hike, you can trek up a lateral moraine of the glacier. 

Afterward, return to the ship and continue west to a fjord home to Garibaldi Glacier. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia that's actually gaining mass rather than staying the same or slowly shrinking. During a trip to shore, you'll hike through the virgin Magellanic forest to a glacial waterfall featuring spectacular viewpoints overlooking the glacier. If you prefer to stay onboard, you can admire the Garibaldi Glacier from the upper decks.

Day 19: Australis Patagonia Cruise (Day 4): Agostini Sound & Condor Glacier

Look for Andean condors along today's route
Look for Andean condors along today's route

Early this morning, the ship will sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From here, it's possible to see glaciers descending from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range, some reaching down to the icy water.

The ship will dock, and you'll head ashore for a leisurely and scenic walk around a topaz lagoon behind which lies the gigantic Águila Glacier. In the afternoon, you'll arrive at another massive ice floe, the Condor Glacier—keep an eye out for the abundant Andean condors swooping across the sky. Back on the ship, enjoy the sunset from the deck and relish a farewell dinner celebrating your last night on the cruise. 

Day 20: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Afternoon City Tour

View of the Strait of Magellan from the main plaza in Punta Arenas

After an overnight cruise through the Magdalena Channel, the ship will anchor near Isla Magdalena, about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland. Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island was once an essential supply stop for Explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins.

Around dawn, you'll step ashore and hike a path that leads through a thriving penguin colony to a small museum inside the lighthouse, which dates to 1902. If you're visiting when the penguins have migrated elsewhere, you'll stop at Isla Marta instead to observe South American sea lions. Afterward, savor the final stretch of your cruise and disembark at Punta Arenas in the late morning. Founded in 1848 on the eastern shore of the Brunswick Peninsula, in its heyday, this city on the Strait of Magellan was home to the crème de la crème of Patagonian society.

Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and will have time for one more activity: a guided tour of Punta Arenas. It begins at Plaza Muñoz Gamero, a leafy square lined with French street lamps and surrounded by impressive architecture. Many of these grand neoclassical mansions were once owned by wealthy sheep-ranching families. Tour the Palacio Sara Braun to see just how much wealth the sheep trade generated in the 19th century. Later, explore the waterfront and watch the sun go down at Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. This viewpoint overlooks the city out to the Strait of Magellan.

Day 21: Fly to Santiago, Depart

Farewell, Patagonia!
It may be the end of the adventure (for now), but you can rest easy knowing you conquered many of Patagonia's highlights. In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport in Punta Arenas, where you'll board a plane to Santiago and catch your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Patagonia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Patagonia? Check out these other Patagonia itineraries, explore different ways to spend three weeks in Patagonia, or discover the best time to visit Patagonia.


Map of Ultimate Patagonia Trekking & Fjords Cruise - 21 Days
Map of Ultimate Patagonia Trekking & Fjords Cruise - 21 Days