Hike Through The Untouched Landscape Of Patagonia With This Ultimate Tour Guide
There is probably no other place in the world that can top Patagonia for natural splendor. You won't even doubt this statement once you see it for yourself! The scenery down here is truly a photographer's dream come true: massive glaciers, incredible volcanic landscapes, sprawling steppe-like plains stretching to the horizon... this is definitely just an another world in itself. A heaven for adventure-lovers, this place is absolutely terrific for experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime kind of hiking to Read More
There is probably no other place in the world that can top Patagonia for natural splendor. You won’t even doubt this statement once you see it for yourself! The scenery down here is truly a photographer’s dream come true: massive glaciers, incredible volcanic landscapes, sprawling steppe-like plains stretching to the horizon… this is definitely just another world in itself. Add to this, rich cultural traditions, thriving nightlife of the big cities, and world-class food and wine, and you’ll wish to buy a one-way ticket for the place. A heaven for adventure-lovers, this place is absolutely terrific for experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime kind of hiking tour!
Hike the famous “W” trail inside sensational Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Witness the stunning edges of Perito Moreno Glacier inside Glaciers National Park, Argentina
Trek the marvelous Torres Trail that takes you to the base of the staggering peaks of Torres del Paine massif
Venture alongside the emerald shores of Lake Nordenskjold
View the hanging glaciers looming over the lush French Valley
Journey to the Piedras Blancas Glacier to see the ice field embellishing the foothills
Enjoy the unique lunar landscape of the ancient site of La Leona Petrified Forest
Explore the shores, ice cliffs, and icebergs of Grey Glacier on a magnificent cruise of Grey Lake
Spend time on an urban trek discovering the endless vitality of Buenos Aires’s enchanting neighborhoods
TRIP AT A GLANCE
(Day 1): Punta Arenas – Arrive in the Southern Chilean Seaside City of Punta Arenas
(Day 2): Torres del Paine – Visit the Milodon Cave and Enter Torres del Paine Park
(Day 3): Torres del Paine – Cruise along Grey Lake and Trek to Pehoé Lake
(Day 4): Torres del Paine – Trek along Stunning French Valley to See Cerro Paine
(Day 5): Torres del Paine – Follow the Trail along Los Cuernos Peaks to the Base of the Torres Mountains
(Day 6): Torres del Paine – Full Day Hike to the Granite Walls of Torres del Paine
(Day 7): El Calafate – Transfer from Chile to Argentina to the Town of El Calafate
(Day 8): El Calafate – Visit Stunning Perito Moreno Glacier in Glaciers National Park
(Day 9): El Chalten – Explore Remarkable Landscapes at La Leona Petrified Forest
(Day 10): Glaciers National Park – Trek to Pristine Glacial Lakes near Mount Fitz Roy
(Day 11): Glaciers National Park – Hike to the Edges of Piedras Blancas Glacier
(Day 12): Glaciers National Park –Half-Day Hike before Returning to El Chalten
(Day 13): Buenos Aires – Travel to El Calafate and Fly to Vibrant Buenos Aires
(Day 14): Buenos Aires – Depart for Home
Historical Sites / Landmarks / Local Food / Trekking / Leisure / Parks / Photography / Small Towns / Villages / Walking Tours / Outdoors & Sports / Hiking / National Park / Reserve / Outdoor Adventures
Leisure / Photography / Wellness & Retreat / Outdoors & Sports / Outdoor Adventures
Leisure / Outdoors & Sports / Spectacular Scenery / Unique Accommodations
PLACES TO VISIT
Torres del Paine National Park, Paso Los Cuernos, French Valley, Grey Glacier, Grey Lake, Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas, Milodon Cave, Glaciers National Park, El Calafate, Buenos Aires, La Leona Petrified Forest, El Chalten, Perito Moreno Glacier
Day 1: Door to Patagonia
Punta Arenas sits on the shores of the Magellan Strait. The water shimmers cobalt blue alongside the colorful buildings of the city. Mountains tower over the edges of the water along Otway Sound, located more than 40 miles to the north. Penguins waddle along the shoreline and dive into the sea to cool off. They burrow their nests into the undulating beaches that border the channel. In Punta Arenas, you take a series of steps leading from Plaza Muñoz Gamero to Mirador Cerro la Cruz, a lookout that provides an unparalleled panorama of the city and the water. Wide avenues glide you through historic buildings. You can see the towering mountains of Tierra del Fuego in the distance, looming over the tranquil waters of the Magellan Strait.
Day 2: Glimpse of Nature’s Past
In the morning, the sunlight washes over the 19th-century Sara Braun Palace, which adorns the north side of Plaza Muñoz Gamero. The neoclassical design and elegant interior showcase the lavish history of the city and its inhabitants during the wool and lumber boom. At breakfast, you wake up to the aromas of rejuvenating coffee and a strong herbal tea known as yerba mate, a favorite of gauchos (South American cowboys) roaming across the border of Chile and Argentina. After your meal, your guide meets you in the hotel lobby and leads you to Puerto Natales, a port town on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park. Consider learning more about your travel agents in Chile, and see how they're able to best customize your itinerary so it remains highly personalized to your interests and desires.
Milodon Cave is a magnificent cavern located nearby with a depth of more than 656 feet and a width of 262 feet. The cave was once a rock face adorning the shores of a glacial lake. Wind and water eventually hollowed out the sandstone. You can hear your footsteps echo off the sandstone walls. In the late 19th century, a German explorer discovered the preserved bones of extinct animals, including a giant sloth nearly 10 feet tall. A model Milodon sloth stands on its hind legs alongside the boulders. You can stand next to the model to gauge the height of the prehistoric animal in the ancient cave. After your visit to the cave, your guide escorts you into Torres del Paine National Park, where you settle into your luxury accommodation.
Day 3: More than Grey Waters
At breakfast, you have a panoramic view of Grey Lake and the dramatic Paine massif along the opposing shores. Snow glimmers on the mountain peaks. Lush beech trees flourish alongside the water’s banks. The aroma of yerba mate adds a herbaceous layer to the day. After breakfast, you venture to the pier and board a cruise ship, eager to explore the vast reach of Grey Lake with its surface area of 12.5 square miles. The magnificent scale of the mountains comes to pass with their rugged foothills looming alongside the lakeshore.
A cold breeze rushes over the bow of the boat. Icebergs glisten an opulent blue as they float through the water with an assortment of shapes and sizes. You disembark the boat at the foot of Grey Glacier. The ice field expands to 100 square miles and has a stunning cliff-like edge rising from the lake. You begin to hike the trail, following the paths alongside the shores of Pehoé Lake. As you ascend higher and higher, you can look back for a view of the pristine surface of Grey Glacier.
Day 4: Beneath the Horns
Your accommodation is located along the shores of Pehoé Lake. The sunlight drapes over the tranquil indigo surface. The windswept grasses lead into surrounding hills. At breakfast, the snowcapped peak of the nearby Cerro Paine Grande towers over the edges of the dell. Your guide meets you after your meal. When you begin your trek towards the French Valley, you can hear distant thundering. Your guide explains that the sound is actually glaciers calving. When the trees clear up, you have a stunning vista of the ice cascading down the cliffs in the distance. It is a natural show that you can relish during your journey.
The pathway leads to the ascent of the rugged mountain pass. You can see the hanging swirl of ice wrapping around the side of the mountain known as the hanging glacier on Cerro Paine Grande. When you look back, you have a view of the peaks and rocks shaped like an amphitheater around the forest, streams, and waterfalls. You marvel at the scenery. The air is crisp and has a hint of sweetness from the beech forest below. You reach your accommodation located at the base of Los Cuernos del Paine with a view of the stunning mountaintops peeking over the surrounding greenery.
Day 5: Between a Lake and a Hard Place
In the morning, you wake up to a spectacular view of the alpine grass reaching the lower reaches of the craggy base of Los Cuernos peaks. After breakfast, you make your way along the trail, wedged between the glowing sapphire shores of Lake Nordenskjold and the impressive peaks of the Cuernos del Paine massif. The granite towers of Los Cuernos resemble two powerful horns piercing the sky. You can hear the torrent of Salto Grande waterfall feeding into the lake. The riverbanks wedge tighter, as the cliff forces the water to propel with more force through the narrow passage before cascading over 50 feet into the basin below.
The beech trees have waxy leaves with a semi-sweet scent. Nostros flowers blossom with thin, spindly petals shining bright red. The landscape undulates from the tranquil shores of the lake to the powerful peaks of the massif. You arrive at your luxury accommodation located at the base of the Torres Mountains. Horses graze on the distant plains. Wildflowers bloom bright yellow against the sweeping green landscape. The mountains punctuate the scenery, framing your hotel in the secluded reaches of Patagonia.
Day 6: Sacred View
You can see gauchos parading across the plain in the morning. Their horses’ manes flow in the breeze. Foxes hide in the underbrush of the beech forest. At breakfast, the scents of fresh coffee and yerba mate refresh your senses. Your guide meets you in the lobby of your luxurious hotel. You follow your guide along the trail leading into the nearby mountains of Los Torres. Granite shapes the sheer walls. The aroma of beech trees has become familiar and comforting. You make your way up the eastern face of the Tower. Small rivers pass through the trees.
Portions of the mountainside are dry and barren. You reach the steep boulders strewn alongside the foothills. The challenging terrain is welcomed. You reach the viewpoint and are rewarded with an unparalleled panorama of the Torres del Paine, the Blue Towers, reaching 9,400 feet above sea level. Three magnificent monoliths create a unique skyline. The sun drifts over the granite peaks and changes the colors of the landscape, passing from orange to blue in the shifting light. You now understand why the summits were named the Blue Towers.
Day 7: Crossing Over
The sunlight washes over the plain, and the windswept grasses shine a perfect emerald. You have heard stories of jaguars lounging in the warm light against the backdrop of the craggy mountains. Gauchos sip mate tea and watch the horses gallop along the prairie and the wildflowers. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you over the border between Chile and Argentina to the town of El Calafate, known as the “Gateway to Glaciers National Park.” The town has an alpine ambiance and relaxed atmosphere. Cedarwood doorways frame stone buildings. Chocolate shops provide a luscious aroma to the main street of Libertador.
The shores of Lake Argentino, the largest freshwater lake in Argentina, lap against the edges of town. Flamingos perch in the shallow banks of the lake. Their pink plumage reflects on the water’s surface. Pioneer houses of rock and adobe line the antique streets with remarkable preservation. Details of indigenous life are visible in the nearby Walichu Caves. The Glaciarium is a unique museum that takes you on an illuminating excursion along the ice fields of Patagonia, showcasing glacial forms and exhilarating ice expeditions. You put on a furry jacket, step into the Bar de Hielo, and enjoy an ice bar bathed in blue light. The entire establishment is made of ice, including the glassware from which you sip your drink.
Day 8: Marvels of the Glacier
Nimes Lagoon is located less than one mile outside of El Calafate. Flamingos stand in the water and use their webbed feet to churn the soil in search of food. Black-necked swans swim along the water’s surface with an air of grace. After breakfast, your guide takes you to Glaciers National Park. A network of elevated walkways connects to the visitor center and provides spectacular views of the edge of Perito Moreno Glacier. The ice cliff rises out of Lake Argentino and averages a height of 240 feet above the water’s surface. The glacier glows a tremendous bright blue.
When the ice calves away from the edge, you can see shavings fall from the bluff before you hear the thunderous sound. A large chunk breaks away from the façade of the glacier and falls into the canal known as Iceberg Channel. The water splashes and ripples outward, leaving a new iceberg in the settling lake. The glacier is three miles wide and 19 miles long but continues to expand. The water has carved caves into the northern edge of the mass, tunneling beneath the undulating surface that makes the façade resemble a castle.
Day 9: Finding Your Way in the Trees
The morning fills with the herbaceous aroma of yerba mate tea. Chocolate shops on Libertador display pristine chocolate arrangements in their windows. Cafes set out freshly baked empanadas filled with juicy chicken and perfectly seasoned beef. After breakfast, your private transfer leads you away from the city and takes you to La Leona Petrified Forest en route to the village of El Chalten. The forest takes you into prehistoric Patagonia, providing insight into the millions of years of the region’s evolution.
The trees are relics of the warm and wet climate that once spread across the region. The smooth hills dip into valleys. The lunar landscape is captivating. Your guide points at ancient fallen trees that have blended into the rocks. You find tree fossils imprinted in the landscape, along with petrified tree trunks with diameters of more than four feet. The dry weather makes you feel as though you have reached a desert far from the towering snowcapped mountains and glaciers of Patagonia.
Day 10: Village Edges and Glacial Lakes
The morning sun brings the colors of El Chalten to light. In the distance, you can see the peak of Mount Fitz Roy. Sparse clouds pass by the mountain peak, which alludes to its indigenous name that means “Smoking Mountain.” Your hotel has an alpine atmosphere with stone pillars and a cedar façade. At breakfast, you feel refreshed in the cozy décor, surrounded by the aroma of rich coffee. Your guide meets you in the lobby and escorts you to Glaciers National Park to explore the trails winding through forests and over mountain passes.
You find the trailhead at the edge of El Chalten leading you to Lake Capri. The trees outside of town are lush and fragrant. The mountains rise above the canopy in the distance. You can hear the water of De las Vueltas River rushing alongside the trail. When the trees clear, you have a spectacular view of the mountains and peaks decorated with fresh snow. Woodpeckers tap on the surrounding trees. From the edges of Lake Capri, you can see the summit of Fitz Roy towering over the massif. The peak reaches an altitude of more than 11,000 feet.
Day 11: Finding the White Glacier
Your tranquil surroundings provide ample excitement during the day and rejuvenating rest during the evening. After breakfast, your guide leads you into the mountains once more in search of Piedras Blancas Glacier. You follow the De las Vueltas River, inching towards the Chilean border. The mountains abruptly rise out of the flatland. The tall grass and lush trees border the pathway at the beginning of your trek. You spot the glacier from the trail and continue on the right bank of the lagoon.
You have a perfect view of the glacier sliding down the hillside to the edge of the water. You can see the glacier of Fitz Roy on the horizon. A large iceberg sits in the placid lake beneath the frozen deluge of the glacier. The icy surface rises and falls in the bordering mountains. The sunlight casts a sapphire hue over the lagoon. The ice field is a unique contrast to the barren pebbled shores around the water.
Day 12: Witnessing Falls
In the morning, you set out on one last adventure through the beautiful landscape of Glaciers National Park. De las Vueltas River winds along the basin with pristine views of the multi-colored foothills layered with red and white soil. Wildflowers and daisies blossom along the plain, adding yellow petals to the vibrant green leaves around the valley. You can hear the water splashing down in the distance before you reach El Chorrillo Falls. The water rushes down from the snowcapped mountains, meandering between the steep walls and deep depressions shaped by time before spilling over the cliff around 65 feet down. Granite rock faces frame the waterfall. The whitewater cascades onto the smooth rock below. You can feel the cold mist touch your skin. You can follow the stream up from the falls for another view of the Fitz Roy Massive. The natural scenery from the mountaintops to waterfalls is breathtaking.
Day 13: Urban Trekking
The rich aroma of coffee and chocolate overtake El Calafate in the morning. Locals set out their handmade goods on display, from blankets to hand-carved wooden statues. After your meal, your private transfer escorts you to Comandante Armando Tola International Airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. You arrive in the city, where your private transfer greets you at baggage claim. The metropolis is an unending collection of energetic neighborhoods. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the fabulous streets of the city, from the wide avenues of Recoleta with walkways shaded by marvelous oak trees to the colorfully painted corrugated homes of La Boca that rise above couples tangoing on the sidewalks. Locals sip wine in the historic cafes of San Telmo and watch passersby stroll to antique stores.
South American passion meets European architecture. Your exploration of the city is strikingly different than your time discovering the challenges of the rivers, mountaintops, and glaciers of Patagonia. The urban landscape of Buenos Aires is captivating in a different way, filled with remarkable culture and artistic sensibilities. Plaza de Mayo, which was established in 1580, was the heart of the revolution for independence in the 19th century. The vibrant pink color of Casa Rosada, the Presidential Palace, crowns the square. The May Pyramid stands at the center of the plaza and commemorates Argentina’s independence. It stands 61.5 feet tall and is adorned with a sculpture of Liberty.
Day 14: Happy Trails
When morning rises over the city, the aroma of freshly baked empanadas wafts throughout the city streets. Cafes serve coffee with sugar alongside medialunas, breakfast pastries similar to croissants. Locals, known as portenos, wander along Avenida Florida where elegant stores open their doors and have stunning window displays to allure shoppers and those strolling by. Plaza Dorrego is the city’s second-oldest square, erected in the 18th century. Caravans once stopped for supplies before venturing out to the far reaches of the countryside. Now, colonial buildings encircle the plaza and the Sunday street market sprawls from the open space in the surrounding streets. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to Ministro Pistarini International Airport for your flight home.
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