Head from Chile to Argentina via beautiful Patagonia

Travel overland from Santiago to Ushuaia, taking in spectacular scenery and enjoying outdoor adventures along the way. Beginning in Santiago, Chile's buzzing capital, this trip journeys through the volcanic landscape surrounding Pucon, along the Chilean Fjord Coast, stopping in the wilds of the Torres del Paine National Park and finally ending in the world's southernmost city, Ushuaia. Discover the isolation, beauty and majesty of Patagonia on this action-packed adventure through one of the most incredible places on earth.

Start
Santiago, Chile
Finish
Ushuaia, Argentina
Countries
Argentina,
Chile
Themes
Overland
Code
GDOI
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4 Max 22
Carbon offset
664kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Discover the spirit of cosmopolitan Santiago
  • Travel through the heart of Chile's wine country
  • Enjoy action-packed fun in Pucon
  • Camp in the wilds of the Chilean Fjord Coast
  • Hear the creaking ice of the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Hike through the Torres del Paine National Park
  • Visit Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city

Itinerary

Border information:
If you are starting in Santiago, enter Chile at Santiago Airport.
Today there will be a trip meeting at 18:00 hrs. There are no activities planned so you can arrive at any time before the meeting. The trip will leave Santiago tomorrow morning, so you might wish to arrive to Santiago a day earlier if you want to visit any sites in the city. In Santiago we stay in a good quality hostel in the centre. Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel

Happy House Hostel
Moneda 1829
Santiago
+56 2 2688 4849

About Santiago:
Bisected by the Mapocho River, Chile's capital is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline. Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and
efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There areplenty of interesting useums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s history to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristobal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia.
As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats, full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central (central market) which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want to head out to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or
Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brasil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here. If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city.
Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it is relatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valapariso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.
Today we leave Santiago for a full day's drive south to Pucon and the Lake District of Chile.
In Pucon we stay in dorm accommodation in a hostel. Drive time - 11-12 hours

(please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road
conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
About Pucon:
Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alos or New Zealand have to offer. Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and
camping. The attractive small town of Pucon is located at the heart of the northern Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano, a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit
should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of the surrounding area from the summit. In fact the whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some great self-guided walks. Alternatively Pucon offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and
mountain-biking opportunities. And if all this talk of activity just sounds a little too much, there are also some great thermal springs to relax in nearby, the natural pools at Pozones have a beautiful setting and is a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening
We have two free days in Pucon, with a range of activities available from hiking to hot springs.

Activity

Discover the Chilean Lake District Included in Kitty

Trek up the snowcapped volcano Mt Villarica USD 100

Horseriding, white-water rafting or hikes around Pucon USD 50
Border information:
Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal.

Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route).

In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a hostel outside of town. Drive time - 10 hours.

Activity
Overland through the stunning Argentinian Lake District Included in Kitty

About Bariloche:
The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Hapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a must to get out and explore and take in all the amazing views. In winter, the town is a popular
centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat trip across to Victoria Island. Bariloche itself is also an interesting place to wander around. The town is famous for it's handmade chocolates and there are some really spectacular
displays in the local chocolate shops. Because of it's popularity with Argentinians as well as international tourists, the town has a lively bar and restaurant scene, with some great places to choose from. This is a particularly good place to sample some world class Argentinian steak, and wild boar and
Patagonian lamb is also worth a try here too.
Day: 6

Today is a free day to enjoy this beautiful mountain town. Perhaps explore on a mountain bike, take a trip along the river in a kayak or enjoy the delights on a chocolate factory tour!
Activity

Horse riding and mountain biking around Bariloche USD 80
Border Information:
Exit Argentina at Rio Futaleufu, enter Chile at Rio Futaleufu.

Today we cross back into Chile and drive to Futaleufu. From this point we will join the famous Carretera Austral, probably one of the most stunning roads in South America.
Please note that the road from here to El Chalten is rough and mostly unpaved meaning that the going is slow.

In Futaleufu we stay in a local campsite.

Drive time - 7 hours.
Today we leave Futalefu and drive through the Chilean Fjords to Queluat National Park. If time allows there is an optional walk to see the hanging Colgante Glacier. Tonight we camp near Puyuhuapi.
Drive time - 5 hours.

Activity
Visit Quelat National Park Included in Kitty

About Carretera Austral:
The Carretera Austral or Southern Highway is a fantastic route that passes between Puerto Monte and Coyhaique, through vast tracts of untouched wilderness, past soaring snow capped mountains, glaciers, glass-green fjords and staggering, beautiful valleys. This is Chile at its best and is a perfect area to explore by overland vehicle. You need to have a flexible itinerary and to be able to camp in the wild, as settlements are few and far between. The attraction of this are are the wide-open spaces and the national parks. We spend our time driving through magnificent scenery, hiking, visiting glaciers and
generally exploring this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Today is another drive day through magnificient scenery.
In Cerro Castillo NR we stay the night in a lovely family run campsite.
Drive time - 7 hours.
Border Information: Exit Chile at Huemules, enter Argentina at Huemules. Today we cross into Argentina and continue our journey south on the famous Ruta 40 (Route 40)

Tonight we bush camp.
Drive time - 8 hours.

Activity
Journey across the wild plains of Patagonia Included in Kitty

About Argentinian Patagonia:
Patagonia is the name of the region in the far south of South America, the southernmost stretch of the Andes and the surrounding plains and plateau. The area is split down the middle, with Chilean Patagonia on the east, and Argentinian Patagonia on the west. Renowned for its desolate landscape,
unrelenting winds and magnificent lake, mountain and glacial scenery, the name Patagonia comes from the word "Patagon", used by the explorer Magellan to describe the local people who he believed to be giants. Today historians believe that the Patagons were actually Teheulches, with an average height of about 1.8m (or 5' 11) as oppose to 1.55m (5' 1) which was the average height of a Spaniard at the time. Argentinian Patagonia includes the spectacular national parks of Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego, home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Argentinian Lake District and the Fitzroy Range.
Drive day to El Chalten, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its world class trekking opportunities. In El Chalten we stay in dorm accommodation in a hostel.
Drive time - 6 hours.

About El Chalten:
The clouds that form around the summit of the surrounding mountains were mistaken for smoke, which gave the name "Chalten" which means volcano. The picturesque landscape is a perfect place for hiking, as there is so much to explore and the rewards of constant beautiful sights gives a perfect reason to hike.
Two days to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and Fitzroy National Park where lots of treks are available. There is also a wide range of activities available from horse riding to glacier trekking and a boat trip on Viedma Lake.

Activity
Glacier trek, hikes and horseriding in Los Glaciares National Park USD 50

About Los Glaciares National Park:
Los Glaciares National Park is probably home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Argentina, if not South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest. By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot. There are plenty of well established trails through the park and maps can be picked up locally, so you can plan a short walk that will just take you a couple of hours, or the more adventurous might choose to hike out for a whole day or even overnight. Los Glaciares covers a massive area and there are two main gateways to the park;
to the south, El Calafate provides access to Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier and surrounding area, then in the North, the small town of El Chalten can be used as a base to explore the Fitzroy Mountains and Lake Viedma and it's glacier.
In the morning we drive through incredible scenery to El Calafate. In El Calafate we stay in dorm accommodation in a lovely hostel. Drive time - 4 hours.

About El Calafate:
El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling small town atmosphere thanks to a growing tourist trade. Most people base themselves here whilst visiting the nearby Perito Moreno
Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are guaranteed to return to Patagonia.
Today we go on a full day's guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the more pectacular sights in Patagonia.

Activity
Guided full day trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier Included in Kitty

Boat trip beneath the Perito Moreno Glacier ARS 180

About Perito Moreno Glacier:
If Patagonia is synonymous with jaw-droppingly beautiful mountain scenery, then the Perito Moreno Glacier certainly doesn't disappoint. This incredible glacier is the highlight of the southern region of Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, a spectacular wall of ice over 60m tall above the water and 5km wide. One of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating, you can stand on one of the many catwalks and marvel at the glacier, listening to it creak and watching as enormous chunks crash into the water. It's also possible to take a short boat trip out onto the lake in order to get up even closer to the face of the glacier itself.
Border information:

Exit Argentina at Cerro Castillo and enter Chile at Cerro Castillo. Today we drive across the border and into Chile to Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of beauty in hile and the highlight of the trip for many passengers. We stop en route in Puerto Natales to pick up ur local guides and cook as all meals will be catered for while in Torres del Paine NP. Tonight we camp or the night at a stunning lakeside campsite with facilities. Drive time - 9 hours.
Activity

4 days to explore and trek the rugged Torres del Paine National Park Included in Kitty

About Torres Del Paine National Park:
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular cenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe re the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park it's name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it's also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as lamingoes, condors and other birds. The best way to explore is definitely to get out there on foot or perhaps on horse-back. The park is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes, or by doing a circular hike like the W-walk, taking a few days and stopping off at the parks refugios or camping along the way. Horse-riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoe in season.
During the next few days you will get to walk part of the famous W-walk circuit with a local guide. You can also complete the full trek if you have pre-booked this option.
Today we take the catamaran across Lake Pehoe to the Paine Grande Campsite.
From here the group splits into 2 groups (base package group and W-walk extension group) and we walk with our respective local guides to view Glacier Grey. We then walk back down to Paine Grande where we will spend the night camping. Approximate distance: 22 km, estimated duration: 8 hrs.
Base package group: If you have not opted for the optional 2 day W-walk extension package, this orning will be free time around Paine Grande. You Dragoman, Camp Green, Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 6LA, United Kingdom UK Reg. Number: 2732524, VAT number 571 4356 40

Activity

Base package
Guided base package to trek part of the famous W-walk. Included in Kitty
The package includes camping with facilities in Paine Grande, food during the trekking days and the service of an expert English speaking local guide.

W-walk extension - 2 days
The package includes 2 nights camping with facilities, food for the duration of the trek and the service of an expert English speaking local guide. GBP 140

Please note that
this package must be pre booked through your sales agent. Please book as early as possible to ensure availability. For further information on the W-walk please refer to the trip notes. then board the atamaran back to Pudeto, where the truck will meet you and drive you to our campsite for the night.
W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional 2 day W-walk extension, you will leave Paine Grande and trek up the French Valley with your local guide. From here you will continue trekking to Campsite Cuernos where you will spend the night camping. Approximate distance: 27 km, estimated duration: 11 hrs.
Base package group: Today is free for those that have not booked the W-walk optional 2 day extension package. There are many other optional activities available near our campsite, or maybe take a day to relax and just enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite.
W-walk extension group: For those of you that continue on the W-walk, your local guide will direct you along Lago Nordenskjold to Las Torres Campsite where you will spend the night camping. Approximate distance: 11 km, estimated time: 5 hrs.

Activity

Zodiac boat trips, horse rides and trekking in Torres del USD 90
Paine National Park
Today is our last full day in this beautiful National Park.

Base package group: The truck will take us to the base of the famous three peaks which give the name to the park. From there we will walk up the Torres with our local guide before we make our way back to the truck and onto our campsite for the night.
Approximate distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.

W-walk extension group: This morning we will hike up to see the Torres and come back down to Las Torres Campsite where the Dragoman truck will be Dragoman, Camp Green, Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 6LA, United Kingdom UK Reg. Number: 2732524, VAT number 571 4356 40 waiting to return the whole group to the campsite for the night. Approximate distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.
Today is a full day's drive including a ferry crossing of the infamous Magellan Straits to the island of Tierra del Fuego.

Tonight we bush camp for the night.

Drive time - 10 hours.

Activity

Follow in Darwin's footsteps across the Strait of Magellan Included in Kitty

About Strait of Magellan:
Separatyng Tierra del Fuego from mainland Argeninta are the infamous Strait of Magellan. This reacherous stretch of water is about 500km long and takes it's name from the explorer Magellan who first navigated these waters in 1520. It was the only ship out of a total of 17 attempting the passage that sucessfully managed to reach the Pacific. Before the Panama Canal was built, the Strait provided a useful route between Chile, Peru and Europe, and though they are less important as a major shipping route today, they still see a fair amount of traffic.

About Tierra Del Fuego:
Tierra del Fuego ("Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits. Most of the island belongs to Chile, but 30% of the archipelago is in Argentina, including Argentina's southernmost town, Ushuaia. This is Patagonia at its most remote,with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to Rheas, Condors, Buzzard Eagles, Seals and Sea Lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. Originally the home of the Yamana and Ona Indians, sadly there are not any indigenous communities left here. The people who inhabit Tierra del Fuego today are the descendants of the colonial settlers who came here from Europe in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mostly from Britain, Spain and Yugoslavia.
Today we drive to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world.
In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a hostel.
Drive time - 10 hours.

Activity

Overland to the end of the world Included in Kitty

About Ushuaia:
Ushuaia lies at the southernmost tip of the Americas, the most southerly city on the island of Tierra del Fuego and often referred to as "the city at the end of the world". The town itself is low-lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel. Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a British- funded
mission in the late 1800's and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a sleepy small town has grown rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here.
There's plenty to do in Ushuaia and the surrounding area. The town itself is home to an interesting museum where you can learn more about the history of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and the indigenous people who originally lived here. The surrounding scenery is also impressive, so it's worth getting out on a boat- trip into the Beagle Channel, which will give you some great views of town with
the Martial range in the background. You can also explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, another beautiful spot with some spectacular lake and mountain scenery.
The area is famous for its biting winds, so remember to pack your thermal undies if you're heading here, whatever time of year you're going to be visiting!
The trip ends this morning. No accommodation is provided for tonight.
Border information:

If you are leaving in Ushuaia, exit Argentina at Ushuaia Airport.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Ferry, Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (4 nights), Camping (with facilities) (6 nights), Hostel (12 nights)

Dates

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Important notes

1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
3.W-walk extension - 2 days
The package includes 2 nights camping with facilities, food for the duration of the trek and the service of an expert English speaking local guide. Should you wish to book the W-walk the cost is approximately GBP 140pp. Please confirm this with your agent at time of booking.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Santiago to Ushuaia trips score an average of 4.33 out of 5 based on 3 reviews in the last year.

Santiago to Ushuaia , January 2016

Santiago to Ushuaia , January 2016