Adventure through the breathtaking wilderness of Patagonia

Become an adventurer in the Patagonian wilderness – one of the most remote and beautiful environments in the world. Visit the best of nature's attractions in Argentina before heading to Chile to marvel at Patagonia. From the tango bars and heaving streets of Buenos Aires, head to the striking mountain scenery, vast open plains, dramatic ice fields and advancing glaciers of Patagonia. Trek to the spectacular Laguna Torre and iconic Torres del Paine, hike glaciers and visit the quirky towns at the end of the world. Experience a South American adventure through this spectacular region of Argentina and Chile.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016/2017:

The itinerary of this trip will change from 1 October 2016.

In order to improve our trips we regularly review feedback from past travellers and our local operations team. As a result of that process, we have made a decision to switch the order of the itinerary and visit El Chalten before El Calafate. The activities and other inclusions listed in the current trip notes are unchanged.

The new itinerary will operate as follows:

Day 1 Buenos Aires
Days 2-4 El Chalten / Glacier National Park
Days 5-6 El Calafate / Perito Moreno Glacier
Day 7-9 Torres del Paine National Park
Day 10 Punta Arenas
Days 11-13 Ushuaia
Days 14-15 Buenos Aires

Start
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Finish
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Countries
Argentina,
Chile
Themes
Walking & Trekking
Code
GPTU
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
1 082kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Discover Buenos Aires, Argentina's sensational and sultry capital. Tour its best sights, then explore its many corners at your leisure, from the star-studded Recoleta cemetery to the tucked-away milongas (tango halls)
  • Argentina's Perito Moreno Glacier must be seen to be believed. This mind-boggling natural wonder is one of Patagonia's true crown jewels
  • Explore the Patagonian wilderness around El Chalten, with guided day-hikes along two of its best trails
  • Adventure through the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park on a three-day camping trip, with all your meals taken care of
  • Visit the world's southernmost city and spot wildlife on a boat cruise across the legendary Beagle Channel

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Argentina. With Latin passion, European elegance and a distinctive style, Buenos Aires is a truly cosmopolitan city. Your adventure begins with an important group meeting at 3 pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this meeting will take place. It's best to have lunch before the meeting, as you'll be heading out straight afterwards for a two-hour orientation walk. This introduces you to Buenos Aires' main attractions. In the evening there's an optional group dinner. Later on, perhaps head to a milonga and delve into BA's famous tango culture.

Notes: ATM access in Patagonia is limited, so it's recommended you visit an ATM today to withdraw some cash. A good amount is ARS 3000 (approx USD 250), which should cover the cost of your meals and personal expenses for the duration of the trip. If you wish to join any optional activities on this trip, please refer to the costs listed in these trip notes and budget accordingly. If you are intending to hire a sleeping bag for your nights in the Torres del Paine National Park, let your leader know at the welcome meeting.
Fly south from Buenos Aires to the town of El Calafate (approximately 3 hours). This is your gateway to the Glacier National Park. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Being a major hub for adventurers headed for the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate has undergone a lot of development in recent decades but retains plenty of charm. Perhaps sample some chocolate at one of the shops along Libertador, the main strip. In the evening, why not try some world-famous Argentinean steak or fresh-caught local trout.
Head into the realm of the Perito Moreno Glacier (about 80 kilometres away from town). It's one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, and at three kilometres wide and 35 kilomtetres long, it's spectacular sight. Watch and listen to the crack of the ice as it plunges into the waters below. Interestingly, massive ruptures occur every four to five years as part of cyclical ice bridge formations. You'll have plenty of time to explore the icescape in depth and snap a few photos. You might like to take the option of a glacier cruise (approximately 45 minutes) or a trek on the glacier. Return to Calafate and relax for the evening. 

Notes: There are no ATMs available in Perito Moreno Glacier and El Chalten. Your group leader will give you an indication of how much cash you'll need in each destination.
Travel by bus to the frontier town of El Chalten, north of Glacier National Park (approximately 3.5 hours). Hikers and climbers from all around the world congregate here, and the atmosphere is laid back and very outdoors-oriented. From the village you can see the splendour of Glacier National Park's north side. Take the time to stroll around the village or, if there's time, perhaps venture further afield to some of the beautiful walking trails nearby.
Over the next two days you will take on (at least) two of the most popular day treks in the area: Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Las Torres. The hikes are moderate to difficult, and you can expect to walk on clearly marked and well maintained paths (approximately 6–9 hours per day). The terrain itself is not difficult. Instead, wind and rain may be the main challenges you face on these walks. The hikes you trek, and the order in which you trek them, may change depending on weather conditions. Day 6 is a long day as you travel back to El Calafate after a day's hiking.
Enjoy some breakfast and prepare for a travel day. Rise early and take a local bus Cerro Castillo in Chile (approximately 5 hours). Here you'll have time to get some lunch, then board your connecting bus to Torres del Paine (approximately 1.5 hours). Upon arriving in the park you might be greeted by a herd of guanacos, relatives of alpacas (just don't get too close, as they're known to spit at strangers!). Using your campsite as a base for the next three days (sharing a tent with a fellow traveller), you'll be struck by the sight of sparkling lakes, gushing waterfalls, glaciers and icy white mountains while you trek (approximately 5–8 hours per day). Depending on weather, you might hike the popular Base Las Torres (Tower's Base), or the long but beautiful Refugio Los Cuernos (Horns' Lodge). The terrain is moderate to difficult, and trails are clearly marked.

Notes: Bathroom facilities are available in the campsite, with communal showers and bathroom separated by sex. Three meals a day are provided while you're camping (simple dishes of pasta, rice, chicken) and are served in a common dinning area. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit and sometimes a chocolate bar. Soft and alcoholic drinks are not provided, though there is a limited selection for you to choose from at the general store. If you'd like fruit, nuts, wine or spirits, these can be bought in BA or Calafate and brought with you. Sleeping bags are not provided but can be hired in advance for around USD30 for the three nights. A thermarest / inflatable camping mattress is provided on this trip. For the duration of the hike, all your belongings will be left at the campsite, inside your tent. While Intrepid can't take responsibility for belongings, the campsite dedicates one person to mind the site, and this system has worked well so far.

Travel by local bus to Puerto Natales, then continue to Punta Arenas (approximately 12 hours). Arrive, settle in and get acquainted with this rambling metropolis. Set among windswept plains and looking across the Straits of Magellan to Porvenir and Tierra del Fuego, Punta Arenas feels close to the end of the world, and this isn't too far from the truth. Chile's southernmost city has a history of explorers, ranchers and fortune-seekers, being a once-important stop along the Californian gold rush route. Today adventure tourism is contributing to rapid development. Don't miss the chance to sample the local seafood, as it's some of the finest in the country.
Hit the road for one last time. A local bus takes you back to Argentina and to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia (approximately 12 hours). Needless to say it's a good idea to arm yourself with your favourite book, your music player, and some drinks and snacks for the journey. Ushuaia is the gateway to Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, Argentina's beautiful (and only) coastal park.
This morning you will take a boat cruise across the legendary Beagle Channel. Observe the marine wildlife among the small islands and inlets along the waterway (which is named after Charles Darwin's expedition ship). The area is known for its colonies of sea lions and cormorants, and you might be lucky enough to spot a dolphin on your travels. Keep an eye to the sky for an albatross or a petrel too. The view of Ushuaia is often excellent from out on the water, not to mention the mountain scenery.
Enjoy free time to explore Ushuaia before heading back to Buenos Aires. Hiking to the Martial Glacier is a great option if you are feeling active – you'll be treated to some excellent views, and it's nice and easy to get to. Alternatively, stay in town and visit some museums. For a fantastic insight into the native Yaghan people, check out Museo Yamana. The old Ushuaia penitentiary, which housed some of Argentina's most dangerous criminals, is also well worth a visit.
Fly back to Buenos Aires and enjoy a final night out, or simply relax at the hotel. If you find yourself with some free time in the afternoon, perhaps see some of BA that you missed the first time. On the east side of the Plaza de Mayo you will find the Casa Rosada, the pink presidential palace where Eva Peron appeared on the balcony in front of adoring fans in the 1940s. There is also Museo Evita, dedicated to the life (and gowns) of this famed figure. MALBA is an incredible art gallery showcasing a private collection, including works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Notes: If everything goes to plan, you'll arrive in the early afternoon, but keep in mind that airline schedules in Argentina are known for changing without much notice. This means you could arrive in BA as late as 11 pm.
Your adventure comes to an end today, with no further activities planned. You are free to depart at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
Transport
Plane, Local bus, Private minibus, Boat
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (11 nights)
Included activities
  • Buenos Aires - Orientation tour
  • Entrance to Los Glaciares National Park
  • Perito Moreno Glacier visit
  • Day hike to Laguna de los Tres
  • Day hike to Laguna Las Torres
  • 3 nights camping in Torres del Paine NP
  • Beagle Channel cruise

Dates

There are currently no departures for this trip.

{{departure_day.departure_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}} {{departure_day.arrival_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}}

Style: {{departure.style}}

Boat/Ship: {{departure.vehicle_name}}
On sale Hot deal Departure guaranteed On request
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.base_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.discount_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
Fully booked Bookings closed

Total price per person {{room.room_type | lowercase}}
Includes {{departure.kitty_currency_code}} {{departure.kitty | noFractionCurrency:departure.kitty_currency_symbol}} kitty
Includes {{extra.extras_code}} {{extra.extras_symbol}}{{extra.extras_value}} in local payments Single supplement available from {{product.currency_code}} {{departure.single_supp | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}

Contact us to arrange an alternative departure for you

Book {{departure.places_left}} spaces left! space left!


Important notes

1. Name and passport number are required at time of booking in order to issue domestic airfares. Delays to provide this information or changes may result in third party booking fees or domestic flights cancellations.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip. There are no exclusion nights.
3. Bookings within 45 days from departure may incur in late booking airline fees. If applicable, this will be informed at the 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 Patagonia Wilderness trips score an average of 4.81 out of 5 based on 53 reviews in the last year.

Patagonia Wilderness , March 2016

Patagonia Wilderness , March 2016