Cross a bucket-list trekking destination off your list with this adventure in Chilean Patagonia. Over 15 days, you'll explore the most beautiful parts of this southern region, starting with camping and hiking in Cerro Castillo National Park. Then fly to Punta Arenas, where you'll embark on the famous W Trek around the legendary Torres del Paine National Park.


  • See the highlights of Santiago and tour Chile's famous wine region
  • Hike through Cerro Castillo National Park and camp at the best spots
  • Visit the penguin colony at Isla Magdalena in Punta Arenas 
  • Embark on the famous W Trek in Torres del Paine

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Optional Activities Santiago
Day 2 Wine Tasting in the Casablanca Valley Santiago
Day 3 Santiago City Tour, Fly to Coyhaique Coyhaique
Day 4 Transfer to Cerro Castillo National Park, Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 1) Cerro Castillo 
Day 5 Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 2): Hike to Camping La Tetera Cerro Castillo 
Day 6 Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 3): Hike to Camping New Zealand Cerro Castillo 
Day 7 Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 4): Hike to Villa Cerro Castillo  Coyhaique
Day 8 Fly to Punta Arenas, Optional Activities Punta Arenas
Day 9 Visit Penguin Colony, Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 10 Transfer to Torres del Paine, W Trek (Day 1) Torres del Paine
Day 11 W Trek (Day 2): Lago Nordenskjöld to Refugio Cuernos  Torres del Paine
Day 12 W Trek (Day 3): French Valley to Refugio Paine Grande Torres del Paine
Day 13 W Trek (Day 4): Grey Glacier to Refugio Grey  Torres del Paine
Day 14 W Trek (Day 5), Glacier Tour, Transfer to Puerto Natales  Puerto Natales
Day 15 Depart Puerto Natales  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Optional Activities

There's a lot to see and do in this South American capital nestled in the Andes

Welcome to Chile! This long, narrow country on the western edge of South America spans 2,653 miles (4,300 km) from north to south. Within its great expanse are a variety of ecosystems, from arid northern deserts to fertile central valleys and southern wilderness. For this unforgettable hiking adventure, you'll focus on the south of the country, which makes up one-half of the continent's stunning Patagonia region.

First, though, you'll arrive in the capital of Santiago. A private transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the city, and after checking in, you can stretch your legs on a self-guided tour. One can't-miss landmark is the Palacio de la Moneda. Chile's opulent presidential palace is a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas, the city's main square. It's home to the Palacio de la Real Audiencia (Palace of the Royal Court), built in 1808, which houses the National History Museum of Chile. Also on the plaza is the Catedral Metropolitana, an impressive neoclassical building that dates back to 1753.

For panoramic views, hike (or ride a gondola) up Cerro San Cristóbal, a hill that rises 984 feet (300 m) over the city. For a local experience, head to Mercado Central, a large municipal market with many restaurants and vendors selling fresh fish and seafood. Later, you can grab dinner at one of the cool eateries in Santiago's bohemian Bellavista neighborhood.

Day 2: Wine Tasting in the Casablanca Valley

Go wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley
Go wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley, Chile's premier wine region

In the morning, meet your driver for the transfer an hour west of Santiago to the Casablanca Valley. This fertile region near the Pacific coast is ideal for grape growing, as the sea breezes come in from offshore and provide the perfect weather conditions for the fruit to thrive. The growers here are also known for using all-natural methods to produce their organic wines.

On this day trip, you'll visit two wineries, the first being Casa Marín. Besides producing top-quality wines, Casa Marín is famous for being Chile's first female-founded bodega. The vineyard here sits on rolling hills above the town of Lo Abarca, located a mere mile from the Pacific Ocean. The tour includes a stroll around the vineyards to get a sense of the terroir, a visit to the production facilities, and a sampling of three different wines.

The second winery on the schedule is Viñedo Matetic, a larger, well-known vineyard. A bilingual guide will give you a tour of the vineyards, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the valley surrounding them. After learning about the growing process, the tour culminates with a tasting in the underground cellar, where you can also purchase select bottles. After the tour, you'll return to Santiago.

Day 3: Santiago City Tour, Fly to Coyhaique

The Plaza de Armas is the historic core of the city
The Catedral Metropolitana overlooks the Plaza de Armas in the historic center of the city

After a hearty breakfast, you'll meet a local guide at your hotel and embark on a brisk three-hour tour to experience the pulse of this Latin American Metropolis. It starts in the Downtown area, where you'll visit famous landmarks like La Moneda Palace, the Plaza de Armas, and Catedral Metropolitana.

Continue up Cerro Santa Lucia, a lovely park and remnant of an ancient volcano. It was here that Pedro de Valdivia officially founded Santiago in 1541. The tour ends in Barrio Lastarria, a historic neighborhood where you can try some delicious Chilean empanadas. There will also be time to visit colonial churches and relax in expansive public green spaces like Parque Bicentenario or Parque Araucano.

Afterward, you'll transfer to the airport and catch a 2.5-hour flight south to Coyhaique. Located in Chile's unspoiled Aysén region, this city nestled in the wilderness is considered the gateway to Chile's legendary Patagonia region.

Day 4: Transfer to Cerro Castillo National Park, Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 1)

The massive peak of Cerro Castillo looms large over the national park

Wake up early for the 1.5-hour transfer south to Cerro Castillo National Park. Covering 276 square miles (716 sq km) of pristine Aysén wilderness, the park was named after the imposing Cerro Castillo mountain, which dominates the skyline. Needless to say, this is a trekker's paradise, and you'll take full advantage of this on a four-day guided circuit hike.

You'll arrive at the town of Las Horquetas Grandes, where the trailhead is located. After getting all your equipment in order, you'll follow your guide on an old logging road for about two hours before catching your first glimpse of Patagonia's famous crystalline lakes and rushing rivers. The route passes through old gaucho (cowboy) camps, which are used to take livestock to the mountains during the summer (don't be surprised if you see a few cattle along the way).

After about 9 miles (15 km) of hiking, you'll reach the official entrance of Cerro Castillo National Park. Here, you'll register at the park ranger station and then continue for another 1.2 miles (2 km) before setting up camp for the night at the Río Turbio zone. 

Day 5: Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 2): Hike to Camping La Tetera 

The Paso Peñon mountain pass may be rough, but the views are incredible

After a camp breakfast, you'll hit the trail, following it southwest as the terrain steepens and the forest turns to scrub. Continue the ascent until you reach Paso Peñon, a long and narrow gap situated 4,842 feet (1,476 m) above sea level. The shattered rocks here are typically covered by accumulated snow, but you'll enjoy incredible views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and glaciers.

About two hours later, you'll begin a cautious descent on the scree-scattered slopes, eventually following a stream to the forest banks. After a slight uphill hike, you'll reach Campamento El Bosque. From there, it's another 1.5 hours to Camping La Tetera, where you'll spend the night.

Day 6: Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 3): Hike to Camping New Zealand

The hike from Laguna Cerro Castillo will take you to great viewpoints

Begin the day with a short hike to Laguna Cerro Castillo, a stunning glacial lake that lies at 4,183 feet (1,274 m) above sea level. Keep an eye on the hanging glaciers above the lake, which periodically calve and drop ice blocks onto the waters below. From there, cross the lake's outlet stream and begin a hike up a moraine until you reach a flat saddle. Here you'll enjoy prime views of Cerro Castillo, so keep your camera ready.

Continue to another viewpoint, which offers incredible views of Valle Ibañez village and Lago General Carrera, a massive lake that straddles Chile and Argentina. From there, you'll descend again over loose scree, ultimately arriving valley and the Camping New Zealand zone, where you'll overnight.

Day 7: Cerro Castillo Trek (Day 4): Hike to Villa Cerro Castillo 

The hike down from Cerro Castillo will take you through virgin forests
Get ready to enjoy the easiest day on this circuit hike. After breakfast, you'll descend into a lenga forest and arrive at the banks of a stream in the wide-open Ibañez Valley. Take a stroll through grasslands dotted with grazing cattle as you pass local estancias (ranch houses) before reaching a road leading to the town of Villa Cerro Castillo. There, you'll hop in a vehicle for the ride back to Coyhaique, where a bed and celebratory meal will be waiting for you.

Day 8: Fly to Punta Arenas, Optional Activities

The charming coastal town of Punta Arenas
The colorful coastal town of Punta Arenas lies in the far south of Patagonia
Plan your trip to Patagonia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

In the morning, a driver will pick you up for the ride about an hour south from Coyhaique to the airport in the town of Balmaceda. There, you'll catch a plane deeper into Patagonia and the coastal city of Punta Arenas. Founded in 1848 on the shores of the Strait of Magellan, in its heyday Punta Arenas was home to the creme de la creme of Patagonian society. Today it's a tourist destination, and from here, you can easily access some of Patagonia's most impressive natural attractions, like Torres del Paine National Park.

Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel. Then, if you like, you can spend the rest of the day exploring. The perfect starting point for a walk around town is the Plaza Muñoz Guerrero. Not only is this leafy central plaza a gem (the pathways are lined with French street lamps, and a statue of Magellan sits in the center), it's surrounded by grand neoclassical mansions once owned by the monied sheep-ranching families of the 19th century.

If you like, 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. It's a great place to see your first Patagonian sunset. Later, enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants in town. Seafood is a staple, so sample some local specialties, like chupe de centolla (souffle of king crab), as well as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish.

Day 9: Visit Penguin Colony, Transfer to Puerto Natales

There are thousands of penguins on Isla Magdalena, and you can walk alongside them

This half-day tour begins bright and early. You'll transfer by vehicle to a pier on the Strait of Magellan, then board a boat for the 18-mile (30 km) ride northeast to Isla Magdalena. On this island is Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, a protected area home to Chile's largest colony of Magellanic penguins (over 100,000 of them). Before arriving there, you'll stop at Isla Marta, home to a large colony of Patagonian sea lions whose numbers top a thousand. These aren't the only residents on this rocky outpost—you'll also find several seabirds, which include cormorants, skuas, arctic pigeons, and more.

Eventually, you'll arrive at Isla Magdalena, where you'll disembark and spend one hour onshore. During this time, you'll follow a 2,624-foot (800 m) path to an old lighthouse that offers sweeping views of the Strait of Magellan. On your way, enjoy the company of the island's penguin residents. There's no experience on earth like hiking alongside these waddling birds amid Patagonian waters that Magellan first mapped and later made famous by Charles Darwin. 

After making friends with penguins on Isla Magdalena, you'll return to Punta Arenas and the bus station. There, you'll hop on a bus for the three-hour ride north to Puerto Natales. This small port city is famous as the base for excursions into the legendary Torres del Paine National Park. It's less touristic than other Patagonian hubs and has an air of small-town tranquility. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel.

Day 10: Transfer to Torres del Paine, W Trek (Day 1)

The spectacular view from Mirador Base Torres
The spectacular view from Mirador Base Torres

Wake up early and hop on a bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park. The total distance is 70 miles (112 km), and the drive takes about two hours, with a short stop at the village of Cerro Castillo. The scenery along the way is incredible, as you'll get your first glimpse of Torres del Paine's massive peaks, plus some exotic local wildlife like guanacos.

You'll arrive at the Laguna Amarga main entrance and register at the park office. Then it's a quick shuttle ride to check in at the Las Torres sector inside the park. From here, you'll embark on a 9.6-mile (15.5 km) hike, which takes all day to complete. You'll start by following a trail up Mount Almirante Nieto, which features stunning views of Lago Nordenskjöld and the Asencio Valley below. After two hours of hiking, you'll reach Refugio & Camping Chileno, where you'll break for lunch.

Then it's another hour of hiking past ancient lenga forests until you arrive at a moraine. The next part is a 45-minute hard scramble to the top and Mirador Base Torres. In this spot, three granite pillars jut out of the ground over a silver lagoon and make for the best view in the park. You'll also see the towering peaks of nearby Torre Sur, Central Tower, North Tower, Condor's Nest, and Glacier Torre. After some time enjoying the views, you'll hike back to Refugio Chileno, where you'll overnight.

Day 11: W Trek (Day 2): Lago Nordenskjöld to Refugio Cuernos 

Blue skies over Lake Nordenskjöld
Enjoy the blue skies and turquoise waters of Lago Nordenskjöld
After a hearty breakfast, you'll hit the trail again, this time on a 6.8-mile (11 km) trek to Refugio Cuernos, which takes about four hours. Located on the shore of Lago Nordenskjöld, the refuge sits at the foot of two jagged peaks known as the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Paine). Along the way, you'll skirt the Almirante Nieto group of mountains and cross a few rivers. Throughout the hike, you'll be treated to views of glaciers and soaring peaks. When you finally see the awe-inspiring sight of the Horns of Paine, you'll have reached Refugio Cuernos, where you'll overnight.

Day 12: W Trek (Day 3): French Valley to Refugio Paine Grande 

The French Glacier
The French Glacier, an incredible hanging glacier in Torres del Paine National Park

This morning, you'll head out on one of the W Circuit's most challenging hikes: the trail to French Valley. This 10.7-mile (17.3 k) route starts with two hours of ascents and descents near Lago Nordenskjöld into a valley. Due to the intense inclines, it's best to start an hour early and bring only the bare necessities in a daypack. Next, a one-hour ascent will take you up to a viewpoint where you can look out to the incredible French Glacier.

The trail continues for 20 minutes until you reach another campground, Campamento Británico. Here you'll be rewarded with a final lookout point offering some of the most jaw-dropping views of the entire circuit. Admire the peaks and glaciers of Paine Grande, Cerro Hoja, Cerro Máscara, Cerro Catedral, and Cuerno Norte before returning to Campamento Italiano. There, you'll gather your things and continue to the shores of Lago Pehoé and Refugio Paine Grande to spend the night.

Day 13: W Trek (Day 4): Grey Glacier to Refugio Grey 

Admire Glacier Grey, Refugio Paine Grande to Refugio Grey [W Trek Day 4]
Continue the trek to Lago Grey, a major landmark in Torres del Paine
After an energizing breakfast, you'll embark on a 6.8-mile (11 km) hike. It's a four-hour excursion that will take you through a small forest and along the shores of Lago Grey, a massive lake famous for the majestic glacier that terminates on its shores. After about two hours of hiking (in windy weather), you'll get your first glimpse of the marvel of Mother Nature known as Grey Glacier. Then continue hiking for two more hours until arriving at Refugio & Camping Grey, where you'll spend the night.

Day 14: W Trek (Day 5), Glacier Tour, Transfer to Puerto Natales

The stunning ice formations of Glacier Grey
Get up close to the towering ice walls of Grey Glacier on a boat tour

Start the day with a hike along the park's famous suspension bridges. Later in the afternoon, you'll board the Grey III catamaran for a tour of Grey Glacier, which feeds the lake of the same name. You'll cruise across the waters to the face of the glacier, which towers over the shore. Grey Glacier is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, and at its peak, its walls are 98 feet (30 m). Of course, you'll have ample time to snap photos.

After the boat tour, you'll have a short hike across the windswept beach and through the forest before heading to a nearby hotel, where you'll catch a transfer and then a bus back to Puerto Natales. There, you'll check into your hotel.

Day 15: Depart Puerto Natales

You came, you saw, you conquered
With the hardest treks now behind you, it's time to bask in the glory of your accomplishments. At the appropriate time, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport in Puerto Natales, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Patagonia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Chile? Check out these other Patagonia itineraries, explore different ways to spend 15 days in Patagonia, or discover the best time to visit Patagonia.


Map of Ultimate Trekking Adventure in Chilean Patagonia - 15 Days
Map of Ultimate Trekking Adventure in Chilean Patagonia - 15 Days