See the best of Patagonia on the most comprehensive tour available
Nature really outdoes herself in this corner of the world: golden pampas beneath a boundless sky, forests of gnarled trees akin to oversized bonsai, towering fjords and glaciers forgotten by the last ice age. The sheer amount and variety of Patagonia’s beauty is staggering—but we have over 40 years of experience in the region, and we’ve crafted the ultimate itinerary to show you the very best of it. On this 12-day exploration, you’ll see where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans merge on a cruise through the indescribable—and otherwise inaccessible—fjords and inlets of Chilean Patagonia, home to a rich bounty of wildlife like elephant seals and Magellanic penguins. Later, take day hikes around the ice-clad peaks and granite needles of the Torres del Paine, 8,000 feet of near-vertical granite rising from rolling grasslands and beautiful lakes, and see the renowned Perito Moreno Glacier on a full-day excursion. Earth and ice, sea and sky, activity and luxury—this is the ultimate Patagonia experience!
6 days easy to moderate hiking (options for longer, more strenuous hikes), 5 days cruising.
- Reap the benefits of our 40+ years of experience in Patagonia—our guides are the best of the best, and know the region inside and out
- Enjoy a flexible but comprehensive itinerary that maximizes hiking time while minimizing driving time
- Cruise the scenic Chilean fjords—mountains, glaciers, extraordinary wildlife—all the way to Cape Horn!
- Choose from a variety of options (from easy to more challenging) for day hikes in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park
- See the renowned Perito Moreno Glacier!
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Punta Arenas End Location: Punta ArenasDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas where you will be met and brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel. Welcome Dinner
Day 2 : Punta Arenas – board the Via Australis
Tour of Punta Arenas, situated on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan. Afternoon transfer to the port for luggage check-in. Board the 132-passenger Via Australis at 6:00 p.m. After enjoying a welcome cocktail, the ship will depart for the Strait of Magellan and our cruise adventure!
Day 3 : Ainsworth Bay – Tucker Islet
At dawn, we will continue navigating through Almirantazgo Sound, arriving at Ainsworth Bay, within Alberto De Agostini National Park. From the distance we will see Marinelli Glacier descending from Darwin Mountain Range, and appreciate how the land comes back to life after ice retreat. We will also take a walk to discover a beaver dam in the stunning sub-polar Magellan forest. On the beach, we might enjoy the view of Southern Elephant Seals, although sighting cannot be guaranteed due to colony’s unpredictable location.
Later, we will be sailing to Tuckers Islets, and after lunch, onboard Zodiac boats, we will be sailing to get close to a colony of Magellan Penguins (endemic to the Southern Hemisphere) and Cormorants.
Day 4 : Pia Glacier – Glacier Avenue
We'll continue our voyage, winding around various fjords and coming very near the ocean before heading into the inner fjords again. We’ll disembark at Pia Glacier on the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel and walk to an observation point that offers an excellent view of the Darwin Range, where the glacier originates. Here we'll be able to trace the glacier's progress as it travels down and into the waters of Pia Bay. We'll listen to the thunderous noise as the glacier "calves," dropping enormous masses of ice into the bay—a truly awesome sight (and sound!). Next we’ll navigate through the Beagle Channel and into the spectacular “Glacier Avenue,” with its impressive array of glaciers lined up one after another.
Day 5 : Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay
Today we'll navigate through the Beagle and Murray Channels and disembark at Cape Horn National Park, weather permitting. Cape Horn, an island featuring 1,500-foot-high cliffs, was discovered on January 30, 1616, by a Dutch commercial expedition organized by Isaac LeMaire and under the command of Captain Wilhem Schouten. The Cape owes its name to the Port of Hoorn, Netherlands, the starting point for the expedition. We will visit Horn Island to get a panoramic view of the famous and mythical Cape Horn, the place where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans merge and the last promontory of South America. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005.
In the afternoon, we'll go ashore in historic Wulaia Bay, once the site of one of the region’s largest aboriginal settlements. This area is also renowned for the mesmerizing beauty of its vegetation and geography, and we’ll walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a lookout point.
Day 6 : Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego National Park
Today we'll cruise to Ushuaia, Argentina, a small bustling town located in a dramatic setting at the base of several snowcapped mountains. We'll disembark and transfer to Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa. It is located at one of the most exotic places in the world at the shore of Beagle Channel and with a beautiful view of the snow-covered peaks of the imposing Andes Mountain Range. Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa has direct beach access and spectacular views in all areas. We will take a hike in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, known for its rich plant species and abundant birdlife, including numerous shorebirds (cormorants, grebes, steamer ducks, kelp geese, and more) as well as less common Andean condors and black-browed albatross.
Day 7 : To Calafate - Perito Moreno Glacier
After an early breakfast we'll explore Ushuaia town and drive to the airport for flight to El Calafate.
transfer to El Calafate. We'll enjoy a full day excursion to renowned Perito Moreno Glacier, a very active glacier on the southern arm of Lago Argentino. We’ll watch in awe as its imposing 100-foot-high headwall continually calves massive blocks of ice into the lake with a thunderous roar. Depending on the weather, we can also take an optional walk on the glacier itself, an outstanding but easy glacier hike among the great ice peaks and towers. After a picnic lunch we'll return to Calafate. Dinner tonight will be on your own.
Day 8 : En route to Torres del Paine National Park
Today we'll drive across the border into Chile and on to Torres del Paine National Park, enjoying a picnic lunch en route. (Note: There may be some delays while border formalities are attended to.)
NOTE—As there is no reliable air service between Argentina and Chile in the Patagonia region, we must drive from Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, across the steppes to Paine National Park in Chile. While this is a long day of driving (about eight hours), there is always something to see! Condors careening overhead, jackrabbits skittering away as we approach, the flightless rhea, sheep grazing, flamingos, and a variety of other wildlife. The scenery resembles the open range of Wyoming, with buttes, bluffs, and other interesting rock formations. It’s a road trip you won’t soon forget!
Days 9 - 11 : Torres del Paine National Park
Day hikes among the ice-clad peaks and granite needles of the Torres del Paine (10,000')—5,000 feet of near-vertical granite rising from rolling grasslands and beautiful lakes. We plan to walk along a trail by Laguna Verde that sports native beech forest and wonderful views of the Paine massif, ultimately reaching one of the best lookouts of Lago Toro and the mountain range beyond. We will then do a short walk to see the Salto Grande waterfall, beautifully located in front of the Horns (Los Cuernos) of Paine. On day 11, you will have the choice of hiking to the base of Las Torres, the famous “towers of Paine”, a strenuous 8 to 10-hour hike, or to hike on a nature trail to watch llama-like guanacos and view cave paintings drawn by the original inhabitants. Hikes are dependent on the weather, abilities, and interests of the group.
Day 12 : Punta Arenas & Fly Home
We'll drive six to seven hours to Punta Arenas, stopping along the way at the fishing and mining town of Puerto Natales, situated on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Here we will enjoy lunch. Then we'll continue to Punta Arenas and board your "afternoon" flight to Santiago.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, November - December Departures: Nov 23, 2014 - Dec 4, 2014 Dec 21, 2014 - Jan 1, 2015 Feb 15 - 26, 2015 Mar 15 - 26, 2015
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 PRICES
$7,995 per person (7-16 members)
$350 internal airfare (Ushuaia/El Calafate, subject to change)
Hotel Las TorresPaine National Park
Surrounded by towering mountains, this hostería sits in a grassy field at a considerable distance from nearby towns. Simple, comfortable rooms come equipped with all the welcome essentials but in elegant harmony with the awe-inspiring surroundings.
Xelena HotelEl Calafate
Quiet and majestic, Lago Argentino (Argentine Lake) grants Xelena Suites & Spa Hotel that peculiar elegance and beauty conveyed by the Patagonian spirit. A high caliber proposal designed for guests to enjoy the best landscapes of Argentine Patagonia, at all times of the year.
Comfort and warmth define the Hotel’s personality and make the perfect match with the personalized attention and services that it offers its guests. The hotel counts on a Spa, boutique, gourmet areas and function rooms for social and business events.
Magic and natural, the Xelena Hotel, on the banks of the Argentine Lake (Lago Argentino), captures unforgettable images that will allow you to experience a personal fusion with a unique natural environment.
he hotel is located 4.3 miles from Ushuaia and 9.3 miles to Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Sergio "TC" Bahamondez
Sergio was born in Puntarenas, Chile, and grew up in Tierra del Fuego, where he developed his love for the outdoors. He studied psychology at La Plata University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has a degree in Patagonia Biodiversity from Magallanes University. Sergio has more than 10 years of experience as a tour leader, and his explorer’s spirit has taken him to nearly every continent. He is an excellent ambassador of his country and its culture—his enthusiasm and sense of adventure are absolutely contagious! Sergio is best known in Patagonia by his nickname, “TC,” and we know you’ll be captivated by his engaging smile.
André Labarca, a mountaineering and scuba instructor, fell in love with Patagonia at first sight and has made it his home for the last 10 years. He has participated in more than ten mountain expeditions in the region, accomplishing many first ascents, including the summits of the North and South Towers of the Torres del Paine. André has a great interest in the development of sustainable tourism and is always looking for other regions to explore within Patagonia. A very enthusiastic guide, André’s love for nature and respect for the mountains is infectious to all who travel with him.