South America

Top 5 Group Tours in Patagonia

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  29 May 2018

The best small group tours in Patagonia

Contemplating flipping a coin to decide which of our amazing Patagonia small group tours you’ll join our upcoming southern travel season? Don’t! Make your choice in a more sensible way and learn about the amazing highlights our Top 5 Group Tours in Patagonia. We outline the duration, inclusions and give you some background on the exciting destinations you’ll cover with each one.

Visiting Patagonia on small group tours has never been easier nor more rewarding. So come discover this exceptional South American region and see why the southernmost tip of the continent is regarded as one of the most magnificent travel destinations on earth.

 

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1.    Southern Explorer

How long – 13 days

Start/End – El Chalten to Ushuaia (or vice versa)

Los Glaciares National Park, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia

Overview & Highlights – An exciting and action-packed itinerary will see you soak up the most popular highlights in Patagonia in just two weeks. Trekking, cruising, glacier hiking and stellar wildlife-watching are just a few of the exciting activities that await you on The Southern Explorer, a tour that’s very much designed for delivering the most WOWing experiences in the shortest time.

 

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The startling peaks of Torres del Paine and the spectacular landscapes of the national parks can be enjoyed on an overnight hike, perhaps the most unforgettable experience of the entire tour. However, a ‘softer’ option is offered for those who want a much more sedate yet equally rewarding experience. You’ll also get to hike on Viedma Glacier, set your sights on spellbinding Perito Moreno Glacier and visit the King-Emperor penguin colony on the way to Tierra del Fuego. Overall, a short but intense trip that delivers exceptional experiences. Moreover, concentrating on just one region of Patagonia means that the tour can be chock-full of fun stuff but not feel rushed in any way.  

A wonderful introduction to Patagonia, our Southern Explorer Tour is perfect for first-time visitors to the region. Get the main highlights out of the way and then make plans to explore the more hidden treasures of this spellbinding region of South America.

 

Explore the outstanding Tierra del Fuego

 

 

2.    Wild Patagonia

How long – 27 days

Start/End – Santiago to Ushuaia (or vice versa)

Colchagua Valley, Lakes District, Nahuel Huapi National Park, Carretera Austral, Queulat National Park, Route 40, Los Glaciares National Park, Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra del Fuego

Overview & Highlights – With time up your sleeve, your Patagonia group tour options are outstanding. Just look how much we can fit in just 27 days! On our longer Wild Patagonia tour, we don’t just fit in more activities, we also ensure you have plenty of chances to stop, smell the Patagonian roses, and enjoy the scenery. This much more comprehensive tour can include a few regional highlights which are most often missed, like wine-tasting in Chile’s Colchagua Valley and climbing stunning Villarica Volcano in Pucon.

 

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You’ll enjoy a fantastic road-trip meandering through the Lakes District to Bariloche, where a wealth of activities awaits you, like hikes, kayaking, mountain biking or, perhaps, sundowner-sipping on a glorious scenic spot overlooking the Nahuel-Huapi National Park.

Our road-tripping’ continues south as we tackle the mighty Carretera Austral and its astonishing wilderness, as well as an unforgettable stretch of the legendary Route 40, one of the longest highways in the world. ALL of this before you’ve even reached the half-way point of your journey at El Chalten! From there, you’ll follow the route of our Southern Explorer tour detailed above, doubling the fun, doubling the sightseeing and doubling the memories!

Our Wild Patagonia Tour page details how a magical month of your life can be spent exploring and discovering one of the world’s most incredible destinations.

 

 

 

3.    Route 40 & the Carretera Austral

How long – 7 days

Start/End – Bariloche to El Chalten (or vice versa)

Futaleufu Valley, Queulat NP, Route 40, Cave of Hands, Los Glaciares NP

Overview & Highlights – Road trip enthusiasts short on time and big on wishes are gonna luuurve this one! One of the top 5 group tours of Patagonia takes you way off the beaten path, where you can soak up the splendours of some of the most remote, uninhabited and sensational corners of the region aboard our custom-built overland truck.

 

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Vast uninterrupted landscapes of every colour under the sun, steep mountain peaks, startling lakes and dreamy glacial waterfalls are very much the calling card of this tour so if you’re craving to be immersed in pristine and dramatic nature than you’ll be right in your element.

Explore the edges of the breathtaking Chilean Fjords as you meet local villagers still living the way they have been for centuries, and hike to the startling hanging glacier and enchanted forests of Queulat with barely a few fellow visitors for company.

 

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This is the lesser visited region of Patagonia and the one that offers some of the most awe-inspiring experiences. Explore the wild steppe of Patagonia long the mighty Route 40 and delve into its ancient history as you cast your eyes on the mystical Cave of Hands. Time to join civilization and the modern world at El Chalten and finish a trip to the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier. An all-encompassing road journey for true adventurers that’s short on time but HUGE on unique rewards.

Visit our Route 40 & Carretera Austral Tour page to discover how we easily include all the best highlights of this extensive region in a week-long itinerary.

 

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4.    Discover the Carretera Austral

How long – 15 days

Start/End – El Chalten to Puerto Varas

Puerto Bertrand, Lago General Carrera & Marble Caves, Queulat National Park, Chilean Fjords, Parque Pumalin National Park, Chiloe Island & its stilt-village, Osorno Volcano

Overview & Highlights – this wonderful expedition for active travellers offers an even more remote road-trip experience, visiting some of the most revered yet lesser visited national parks in Patagonia, as well as out-there destinations most tours simply can’t reach. But on our specially-equipped overland truck, we’ll take you there in superb comfort and show you a side of Patagonia most travellers never get to see.

 

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The tour starts in El Chalten but we’ll hit the road immediately, so include a few days here prior to the tour start-date and you can include some hikes in Los Glaciares National Park. Once we leave, we’ll guide you along the Carretera Austral, or Chile Route 7, which starts at Chile’s Lakes District and meanders south for more than 1200km, traversing some of the most arresting wilderness in all of Patagonia.

Considered one of the most challenging yet rewarding roads in the world, the Carretera Austral is framed by luscious forests, raging rivers, sparkling lakes and snow-capped peaks that reach up to the heavens. It is beyond beautiful, out here, and once you see it you’ll understand the hype.

Take a boat to see the ethereal Marble Caves of General Carrera Lake, hike to the hanging glacier in Queulat NP, skirt the arresting Chilean Fjords and trek in Pumalin, an expansive reserve and legacy of North American philanthropist Doug Tompkins, of North Face fame.

 

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Take a boat trip to Chiloe to visit the stilted village of Castro with its iconic wooden churches dating back to the era of Jesuit missionaries in southern Chile. On your last drive-day, soak up the views on your round-trip of Llanquihue Lake and its magnificent volcanoes, where a chair-lift ride and unforgettable 360-degree views await your arrival. Two weeks to soak up THIS much of Patagonia’s best-hidden secrets? You’ve gotta be crazy to miss it!

Visit our Discover the Carretera Austral Tour page to see how much time we include in each spot and which activities are on offer daily.

 

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5.    Explore Patagonia, Pumalin & Chiloe

How long – 27 days

Start/End – Ushuaia to Puerto Varas

Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, Tierra del Fuego, Los Glaciares National Park, Puerto Bertrand, Lago General Carrera & Marble Caves, Queulat National Park, Chilean Fjords, Parque Pumalin National Park, Chiloe Island & its stilt-village, Osorno Volcano

Overview & Highlights – Love the sound of our Carretera Austral AND Southern Explore tours and have enough time to combine them? GREAT! We’ve done all the hard work for you and created this combined itinerary that includes the BEST sides of Patagonia – the most famous and most secret – and created a sensational 27-day jaunt that is, by far, one of the most popular tours in our entire collection. And why would that surprise you?

 

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Indulge in this exhilarating road trip and you’ll go from the most crowded town in Patagonia and most famous highlights, to some of the least visited. For the discerning explorer who wants to see and do it all, our Explore Patagonia, Pumalin and Chiloe is an absolute dream and overs an astonishing 2, 500km in just under a month.

Visit our Explore Patagonia, Pumalin & Chiloe Tour page for details on how we seamlessly blend two tours to create one truly phenomenal Patagonian adventure.

 

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Group tours of Patagonia run from November to April, during the milder Austral summer. This is the perfect season for extensive explorations of this remote and at-times inhospitable land. Although all our tours offer active travellers plenty of exhilarating activities, there are also plenty of softer options for those who may not wish to be so active. A certain level of fitness and mobility is beneficial, naturally, but don’t fear you need to be an athlete to thoroughly enjoy any of our tours! Solo travellers would also do well to read our guide to solotravelling on group tours.

Historical highlights are included alongside Patagonia’s best national parks, as well as plenty of culinary delights and a host of cultural experiences.

 

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At VivaExpeditions, we offer the most comprehensive tours of Patagonia, both on and way off the beaten path. We’re experienced, professional and, above all else, we love what we do. So come discover Patagonia with us and we bet you’ll fall head over heels in love with the place as well.

**NEWSFLASH – SMALL GROUP TOURS ARE NOW ON SALE so check out the HUGE SAVINGS you can bag and discover more of Patagonia for less!

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