Explore Patagonia

From Santiago to El Calafate
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Patagonia
  • Small Group Tours
  • Walking and Active
View Similar Tours

Tour Description

Our 17 day small group tour explores iconic Torres Del Paine National Park, the huge Perito Moreno Glacier & the awe-inspiring Mount Fitzroy.

From the gateway city of Santiago, great for its food, wine and the colourful port city of Valparaiso, head south to begin a guided tour exploring Patagonia. Arriving in Puerto Varas, Chile, discover the lakeside town, and relax and enjoy afternoon tea, Chilean style. Spend time with a  Huilliche-Mapuche indigenous community who call the Lakes District their ancestral home, learning about their history, music, medicine and cuisine. Discover Chiloe Island and its quaint palafitos – colourful houses built on stilts above the water – and enjoy the wit and warmth of the local people whose traditions give this unique archipelago its rich character. 

Then in the deep south, Patagonia’s rugged beauty takes your breath away.  This remote region with its icy landscapes and towering mountains hewn from granite, glacial lakes and endless views is one of nature’s true treasures.  We will explore the famous Torres Del Paine National Park. Hike among the rocky peaks, soak in majestic views, spot soaring condors, and search for elusive Puma. Visit Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park,  where we listen and watch ice calving from Perito Moreno Glacier and hike to get fantastic views of Cerro Torre (Mt Fitzroy) from El Chalten.

Learn about life in and around these wild mountains, turquoise lakes and windswept steeps along the way. Visit a working estancia or ranch, to witness rural life, and savour a typical Patagonia BBQ. Explore the lands Tehuelche people, entering caves where thousands of years ago they left marks on the rocks in forms of rock paintings

Patagonia will leave you feeling in awe!

If you are coming from Buenos Aires, then check out our 18 day version of this tour,  Wild Patagonia.

Viva's Best Bits...

"Great tour for those that love nature and the outdoors. Experience some of the best day hikes in South America including: Laguna Torre in El Chalten, and Las Torres in Torres del Paine National Park!" Tara, Team Viva

Opportunities to engage with the locals, learn about guacho life, spend time with a local Huilliche-Mapuche community, enjoy local cuisine, and explore caves where the Tehuelche people once roamed.

Each day is a new adventure, from hiking the forest and mountains, to photographing landscapes, looking out for condor and other wildlife, or over indulging in the local seafood, barbeque or Calafate ice cream!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Santiago

Welcome to Santiago! On arrival into Santiago you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, lies in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range. Founded in 1541, Santiago has been Chile’s capital since colonial times. It is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city and although it features many colonial buildings, it has grown into a modern metropolis and the cultural centre of the country.

Santiago is a gateway city to join our Explore Patagonia small group tour. Please note your arrangements in Santiago will be with a local guide for the day tours, the small group guided tour will commence in Puerta Varas on day 3.

Upon arrival you will receive a special welcome experience box with some snacks and local gifts.

Evening at leisure.

Meals included: none

Overnight at SOLACE HOTEL, superior room with breakfast

Day 2
Santiago - Valparaiso Santiago

Today we head to the Pacific Ocean. Our first stop will be in the Casablanca Valley, famous for its many wineries and towns full of Chilean traditions. Stop at a world-class winery to enjoy a premium wine tasting before continuing on to Valparaiso.

Valparaiso was declared a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO. It is known as the cultural capital of Chile. Its charming and picturesque colorful houses hang from the hills that surround the city and create a natural amphitheater where the historic port life blends with the cultural life on the hills. Our walk along the hills will invite us to discover the hidden treasures of the city such as art galleries, little cafes, breweries, fun street art, beautiful old houses, bars, and local restaurants. We will stop at one for lunch, before exploring more and making our way back to Santiago for the evening.

Evening at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch

Overnight at SOLACE HOTEL, superior room with breakfast

Day 3
Santiago - Puerto Montt Puerto Varas

Enjoy a panoramic Santiago city tour visiting both the old and new areas of the city. Explore Plaza de Armas, the city's central square, home to the beautiful 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral, and the early 19th century Royal Court Palace that houses the Natural History Museum and the Central Post Office completed in 1882. Continue along the Government Palace and walk through some of the more traditional streets and neighborhoods. Visit Cerro Santa Lucia, the hill on which Santiago was founded in 1541, now a park with fountains and stairs leading to a fort and panoramic viewpoint across the city. Also visit San Cristobal Hill, rising 880mts / 2640ft over the city for panoramic views of all over the city, as go to the top of the hill by cable car (teleférico), Funicular or bus.

Transfer to Santiago airport for your flight to Puerto Montt, where you will be meet at the airport and taken to your hotel to settle in at charming lakeside town of Puerto Varas.

Please note: you will be joining the escorted tour here this evening (other travellers doing the Wild Patagonia tour, will be journeying from Bariloche, and joining together here)

Evening at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at CABANAS DEL LAGO HOTEL, superior room including breakfast

Day 4
Huilliche Territory Puerto Varas

Today we head out on a truly unique adventure that will take you to some of the most unknown corners of the Lakes District, and also learn about the indigenous communities in this area.

Enjoy an easy hike of 1.5 hours through temperate rainforest looking for native flora and birds. Later, we drive to the area of Pargua, where you will have a meaningful experience with the local Huilliche community. The Huilliche (or Huilliche-Mapuche) are one of several groups that call the Lakes District their ancestral home, Huilliche meaning “southerners”. Spend time with the community, learning about their history, music, medicine and cuisine. We will enjoy a traditional lunch with fresh products from their local orchards.
Later, we will explore a little more of Puerto Varas, and we’ll take part in a classic Chilean “once” gastronomy experience.
"The Once" is the Chilean version of "tea time", influenced by British and German immigrants to the region. Typically enjoyed around 5pm, with sweet pies, scones, jams and cakes (or kuchens as they are known in German). Keeping with tradition, you can accompany these with a variety of tea infusions or choose to pair them with a strong cup of coffee.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon tea

Overnight at CABANAS DEL LAGO HOTEL, superior room including breakfast

Day 5
Chiloe Island

Departing Puerto Varas, take a ferry across Chacao Channel to Chiloe Island. Be sure to keep an eye out for sealions, pelicans and sea birds. Chiloe archipelago is known within Chile for its distinctive folklore, mythology, potatoes, cuisine and unique architecture.

Stop in Chacao, to visit its plaza and local crafts. Visit Ancud, the fortress city that was the last stronghold for Spanish royalist during Chile’s struggle for independence in the early 1800. We’ll visit San Antonio fort before driving further south within the heart of the island, seeing rural life. We will also visit the small coastal fishing community from where it is possible to visit the colonies of Humboldt and Magellan penguins between October and March each year.

We will continue to Dalcahue, to visit an interesting Palafito (slilt house) market. These colourful, wooden based buildings are constructed over the water with stilted legs to avoid the ebb and flow of the tide and allow for a spectacular sea view. We also take in the local markets and walk to the local World Heritage listed church, before heading to the famous Rilan Peninsula where we will stay for the night.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at QUILQUICO HOTEL in a standard room

Day 6
Chiloe Island

Today we will follow the route of the naturalist Charles Darwin, when he visited Lakes Huillinco and Cucao. At the lake town of Huillinco you will be able to appreciate a cemetery of houses very characteristic of Chiloé. Visit the Chiloé National Park, including a tour of the Visitor Center, and a walk along the “El Tepual” path where you can see the typical Chiloé forest. Later enjoy the shores of the Pacific Ocean with a walk on the beach.

Explore city of Chonchi, known as the “City of Three Floors.” We will also take time today to appreciate the famous Palifitos of Castro, these colourful stilt houses built along the waters edge are an an eye-catching sight, whether at high tide when the colourful wooden houses are reflected in the water, or at low tide, when the metres-high stilts that act as a platform for the homes are exposed.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at QUILQUICO HOTEL in a standard room

Day 7
Back to the mainland Puerto Varas

Our route today will explore more of the architecture; agricultural fields, wetlands and forests; artisans, shipyards and fishermen; that make Chiloé a unique and different place. For lunch you will experience the community concept of "minga” a word that embodies the heart of island life and means “an exchange of help for benefit,” . For our meal we might be lucky enough to sample Chiloé’s most typical and delicious dish , Curanto en Hoyo, prepared using ancestral traditions and cooking methods. Its name derives from the hot rocks used in its preparation, in which a variety of meats, shellfish, and potatoes are cooked over heated stones in an earthen pit.

After lunch we will cross to the "Island of the Navigating Souls", before following the coastal route between Quemchi and Chacao by ferry back to mainland where will will enjoy our last night in this beautiful region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at CABANAS DEL LAGO HOTEL, superior room including breakfast

Day 8
Off to the Deep South Punta Arenas

Today we head to the airport in time for our flight south to the depths of Patagonia.

Flying into Punta Arenas allows us a birds eye view of the famous Magallen Straits. This historically important port town boomed during the late 1800s and early 1900s due to its strategic location on the sailing route for ships going from the east coast to the west coast of USA during the gold rush years. Many British and European immigrants made their fortunes with the introduction of sheep to the region. Starting with a humble 300 sheep brought in from the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Island) within in 20 years there were more than 2 million head of sheep.

There is plenty to explore in your free time, including a walk along the costenera of the famous Straits of Magellan. Feeling the heavy sea air and blustery wind all around, you can gaze out in the waters and try to imagine how Magellan and his crew might have felt finding this passage of water, but not knowing where it would lead them. You might also spot dolphins or penguins and definitely plenty of sea bird life along the way.

A short way out of town is the Noa Victoria museum. A local cartographer took on the personal challenge to build a life size replica of Magellan’s ship, paying homage to the explorer’s achievements. You will also find within the outdoor museum life sized replicas of the Ancud, (a Chilean schooner ship that sailed south through the southern fjords) and the James Caird, (the lifeboat used by Shackleton) and a replica of the Beagle, made famous by Charles Darwin. (A city tour with the Nao Victoria museum is included)

Within the centre of the Punta Arenas there are various museums and commemorative statues dedicated to various people who have influenced the development of the city and region.

**Please note depending on flight times our Punta Arenas tour may be done on the following morning**

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at CABO DEL HORNOS HOTEL, standard room with breakfast

Day 9
Torres Del Paine National Park

Today we head towards Torres Del Paine, South America’s finest National Park and a hiker’s paradise. In this area are the colossal towers and horns of granite that have given the park worldwide fame. The park preserves numerous animals like guanacos, condors, ñandues (South American ostrich), foxes and the elusive puma.

We stay at Hotel Las Torres, with its fantastic location inside Torres del Paine National Park, strategically placed at the entrance to the world famous trekking circuits, the W and the O. Each day you will be able to choose between an active excursion such as hiking one of the many great trails inside the park, or a lighter option opting to enjoy the park on foot or by horse or vehicle. The choice is yours! Note: These activities are hosted by the experience local guides, and you may be joined by other lodge guests during your day activities. There may be a navigation on offer, weather dependent, additional charge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at HOTEL LAS TORRES, standard all inclusive

Day 10-12
Torres Del Paine National Park

Over the following days you will enjoy meals at our accommodation (or picnic lunches if out and about) and partake in your selected half day or full day activities that you have chosen locally.

Enjoy short hikes to see its attractions such as the Nordenskjöld, Salto Grande Waterfalls, Pehoe Lake, and Lake Grey. Or spend time riding with Patagonian cowboys and girls, or take a van to visit local sights. With luck you will also be able to wildlife such as guanacos, Darwin Rheas and condors who call the park their home. During your stay admire the mighty Towers of Paine and Horns of Paine mountains which dominate horizon. Experience the grandeur and beauty for yourself and see why this national park is considered the crowning jewel of Patagonia. For those that love hiking there are some wonderful full day hikes including the famous Las Torres Hike on offer.

Las Torres Hike (Difficult) *sample activity

Hiking to view the iconic Las Torres (the Towers) is a challenging yet immensely satisfying hike, a highlight for all confident trekkers. The Towers are the three massive granite columns that encircle the smaller Torres Glacier.

Starting from Estancia Cerro Paine we set off toward the valley crossing on an old suspension bridge over the Ascencio River. You will begin heading up a zigzag of marked slope and sparse vegetation for an hour or so along the side of one of the mountains. The path then then flattens out as you scale the side of the valley with a great river underneath you.

Arriving at the refugio Chileno you can buy snacks and rest for a while and use the facilities. Leaving the refugio you start climbing again for about 1 hour crossing rivers and passing through a beautiful forest until you reach the foot of the moraine. The final 45 minutes are quite challenging as you scramble up rough paths between boulders to the base of the towers from where you have a wonderful view of the 3 granite pillars, draped with glaciers and the majestic emerald lake that shines below.

After resting and having lunch in this extraordinary and unique place, we begin our return journey back down the mountain.

Full walk takes approximately 8 - 9 hours return including time for lunch and depending on your ability/physical strength. 20Kms (12,5 Miles) - Elevation Gain: +/- 680m - Hiking Time: 8-9 Hrs Level: Moderate – Advanced

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at HOTEL LAS TORRES, standard all inclusive

Day 13
Torres del Paine El Calafate

Leaving early in the morning it is time to continue on with our adventure, as we head over the border.

We will enter into the Steppe, this is Argentina biggest desert and the 8th biggest desert in the world. The landscape varies with tablelands and massifs dissected by rivers, valleys and canyons. The soil is filled with rich minerals that paint the layered land with colours of red, pink orange and yellow.

As we drive across the plateau there are few small towns that pop up and will leave you wondering how people can live in this environment. In fact it is not uncommon for strong winds or even light snow to be present in this stretch of the drive if the region has a cold front coming through.

As we descend down from the plateau the electric blue waters of the Lake Argentina can be seen from far away. On a crystal clear day you can even make our the silhouette of Mt Fitzroy, Cerro Torre and the entire southern Andes mountain peaks on the horizon.

As we arrive into El Calafate you can feel the mix of and old farm frontier town with the a modern tourism centre that delivers one of the biggest attractions in the region; Perito Moreno glacier.

Tonight we enjoy dinner at a lovely Argentine steak house.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at LOS LIBERTADORES HOTEL, standard room including breakfast

Day 14
El Calafate

The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the earth’s most dynamic and accessible ice fields. We leave early to have the area for just ourselves to enjoy, with no rush and plenty of time for bird and animal spotting, every time you want to stop for pictures you'll be able to. Along the way, we will learn about the guachos (cowboys) and life on the estancias before stopping at one of them for a coffee.

Visiting Perito Moreno glacier, we will have time to enjoy the glacier from a series of platforms and will then take a short boat trip along the south wall of the glacier. This is a wonderful way to get close to the glacier and appreciate its daunting size and power - a true highlight of Patagonia. If we are lucky we may witness huge chunks of ice breaking free crashing with a mighty roar into the water.

After this amazing encounter we will visit Estancia Nibepo Aike which retains the essence of the old Patagonian ranches. It covers over 12,000 hectares at the foot of the Patagonian Andes and is dedicated to the production of cattle and sheep. It is an ideal place to dip into authentic Patagonian life through farm demonstrations and participating in ranch activities as well as optional hikes or horse riding. Before returning to El Calafate, we enjoy a typical Patagonian barbeque.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at LOS LIBERTADORES HOTEL, standard room including breakfast

Day 15
El Calafate El Chalten

On our way to El Chalten today we will stop to discover some of the anthropology of the region, rediscovering the stories of the first expeditions and daring explorers that ventured into the unknown. We will explore the coast of the Argentino lake by jeep, to explore the lands and caves of the Tehuelche people. Discover caves where thousands of years ago the Tehuelche culture left its marks on the rocks in forms of rock paintings, which today we seek to interpret. Finally, the excursion culminates in another cave where lunch is served, a meal that will transport us to those times gone by.

In the afternoon we will arrive in El Chalten, a small town nestled quietly under the imposing peak of Chalten (Mount Fitzroy).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at LUNAJUIM HOTEL, standard room including breakfast

Day 16
El Chalten

El Chalten is known as the hiking capital of Argentina, so today we lace up our boots and to enjoy a guided hike, our plan is to do the famous Laguna Torre trek. We enter the Fitzroy River Valley and continue upstream – heading for its source. Here we encounter the first viewpoint located at the gorge of the Fitzroy River called Casacada Margarita. On a clear day, this panoramic view displays Mt Fitzroy, Cerro Torre, Cerro Solo and the Adela range. We continue along an undulating trail until we reach the Cerro Torre viewpoint, another opportunity to take in the Adela range and other granite needles. Then we head down into a plateau section, through a southern beech tree forest and along a trail to the glacier Lagune at the base of Cerro Torre. Often, we will find icebergs floating in the lagoon. (approx 7-8 hour return).

Meals included: Breakfast, Boxed lunch

Overnight at LUNAJUIM HOTEL, standard room including breakfast

Day 17
El Chalten Depart from El Calafate airport

Today we depart El Chalten with wonderful memories, and a new respect of our wonderful planet courtesy of Patagonia.
Meals included: Breakfast

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary and hotels described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations.

If you would like to explore more ask us about our:
 El Chalten Hiking extension
 Ushuaia – the Most Southerly City in the World
 Antarctica

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 16 nights accommodation with ensuite
  • Included Copy 31 Willing to share rooms, or single supplement options
  • Included Copy 20 Breakfast daily & meals as per the tour itinerary
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All National Park Entrance fees
  • Included Copy 20 All sightseeing and tours mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Included Copy 20 Fully guided by a professional English speaking guide (minimum of 6 people )
  • Included Copy 20 Flights Santiago - Puerto Montt - Puerto Varas
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuities, Laundry, Drinks, International flights and other flights not listed
Land, Air, Ship, Train ...


  • Included Learn about life on Chiloe Island
  • Included Be wowed by Perito Moreno Glacier including a boat trip up close
  • Included Learn about local culture, visit a local Huilliche Mapuche community
  • Included Chose how you spend your day hiking and exploring in Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Included Explore Punta Arenas, including a visit to the wonder Noa Victoria musuem of replica ships
  • Included Sample local Patagonia cuisine
  • Included Spend time hiking in El Chalten
  • Included Explore caves with ancient rock paintings made by the Tehuelche people
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17 days

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$11,338 USD

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