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Patagonian Highlights

from $5,579.00

Discover the spectacular wilderness of southern Chile and Argentina

  • Reviews 28 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 18
All about the Patagonian Highlights.

Rugged, snow-capped mountains stand imposingly amid the wild south of Argentina and Chile, fringed by huge icy lakes and windswept grasslands. In the distance shy guanacos roam and a few hardy gauchos tend their many sheep. We discover the sheer-sided peak of Mount Fitzroy and the immense Perito Moreno Glacier, where chunks of ice are often seen cracking into the water. Our journey culminates in Ushuaia – the most southerly city in the world. Renowned for world class trekking and outdoor activities, the raw natural beauty of Patagonia never fails to astound.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* 12 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Internal flights for all bookings

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Airport transfers are not included on this tour

Highlights

  • Torres del Paine National Park, including a hike to the base of the Towers of Paine
  • Amazing glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park with an optional boat trip at the Moreno Glacier
  • The stunning granite peaks of Fitzroy Massif and Cerro Torre
  • Travel to the world’s southernmost city – Ushuaia
  • The vast, wind-blown expanses of the Patagonian Steppe
  • Free time to explore Buenos Aires, Argentina’s beautiful and cosmopolitan capital
  • Travel by minibus, private coaches and 2 internal flights
  • 3 daywalks of up to 8 hours duration
  • Group normally 6‐18, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • 10 nights standard hotels and 2 nights comfortable hotels
  1. Day 1 Start Buenos Aires; walking tour.

    Clients should make their own way to the start hotel this afternoon. Our local leader will meet us today for a briefing and take us on a short walking tour of the city, discovering its wealth of history and culture. The evening is free for you to choose one of the many excellent restaurants, most serving the legendary Argentine steaks!Accommodation: Cyan Recoleta or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Fly to El Calafate; to El Chalten.

    This morning we fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate and transfer (approx. 3-4 hours) to the small mountain town of El Chaltén. The town enjoys a beautiful location in Los Glaciares National Park with breathtaking views of Mount Fitzroy and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.Accommodation: Hosteria Los Nires or similar*Standard Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Los Glaciares N.P.; daywalk to Cerro Fitzroy Base Camp.

    We set off amidst incredible mountains and valleys for a day walk. First we hike to Cerro Fitzroy Base Camp with amazing views of the striking massif ahead. In the afternoon we continue to the picturesque Laguna de los Tres, a glacial lake whose still waters reflect the three main peaks of the range. This is a full day of walking over fairly rough terrain, but with impressive, rugged scenery along the way.Accommodation: Hosteria Los Nires or similar*Standard Hotel*

  4. Day 4 Optional activities; to El Calafate.

    Today has been left free to enjoy an additional trek or an optional boat trip to another highlight of this area: the Viedma Glacier. In the late afternoon we transfer (approx. 3-4 hours) back to El Calafate.Accommodation: Hotel Cyan Calafate or similar*Standard Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Visit Perito Moreno Glacier; optional boat trip.

    Today we visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. This immense jagged sheet of ice stretches over 3 miles across Lago Argentino and rises 200ft out if its cold waters. It is the fastest moving glacier on the planet and the eerie creaks and thunderous groans add a certain atmosphere of anticipation. Every so often an office block sized chunk of ice calves from its face into the water below before slowly floating down the lake as a giant iceberg. An optional boat trip gives an even greater appreciation of the immense scale of this wonder.Accommodation: Hotel Cyan Calafate or similar*Standard Hotel*

  6. Day 6 Free day in El Calafate.

    We will spend a second day here to allow exploration of the town’s surroundings. It is possible to take a gentle walk along Lago Argentina to see birdlife (including flamingos), or a slightly more demanding hike for some fantastic views stretching over the Patagonian Steppe and towards the mountainous border with Chile. Alternatively you can join an optional excursion to a local Estancia or to Todo Glaciares – this navigation includes Upsala Glacier, Bahia Onelli (where pieces of glacier are floating in the water) and the Spegazzinni Glacier. Please ask your tour leader and they will help you to arrange it.Accommodation: Hotel Cyan Calafate or similar*Standard Hotel*

  7. Day 7 To Torres del Paine N.P.

    After breakfast we have a long drive (approx. 8-9 hours) across the border into Chile today before we arrive in one of the world’s most beautiful national parks, Torres del Paine (please note that due to local regulations we must change buses at the border). From here we will meet our Chilean guide and drive around some of the park. We may have time after we check-in for a short walk next to Laguna Amarga or Laguna Azul, which offer great panoramic views of the Paine Massif and the striking granite Horns of Paine.Accommodation: Hosteria Pehoe or similar*Standard Hotel*

  8. Day 8 Day walk to the Torres del Paine.

    Without a doubt, one of the biggest highlights of the park is to hike up to the base of the Towers of Paine. The walk itself is beautiful, trekking through forests and offering some fantastic views across the park. This is a reasonably difficult and long trek, and the last section is steep with rocky terrain, so you need a reasonably good level of fitness and confidence. The reward on reaching the small lake at the base of these sheer granite peaks however, makes the long walk well worthwhile. Note that adverse weather conditions can make this walk much harder – your group leader will give a briefing the night before and answer any questions you may have on the route. Once we finish the trek we will take the transfer (approx. 2 hrs) to Puerto Natales.  Accommodation: Hotel Baquedano or similar*Standard Hotel*

  9. Day 9 To Tierra del Fuego.

    After breakfast we will have some free time before a fairly long transfer in the afternoon, through dramatic scenery to Cerro Sombrero. This journey involves a short ferry crossing over the Magellan Straits. We advise you to take plenty of water and some snacks for the journey (approx. 7-8 hours). In the evening we’ll have dinner together at the hotel in the small town of Cerro Sombrero.Accommodation: Hosteria Tunkelen or similar*Standard Hotel*

  10. Day 10 To Ushuaia, the end of the world!

    Tierra del Fuego (The Land of Fire) is named after the original inhabitants who used to light bonfires to ward off the winter chill. Crossing the island we’ll have views of the most southerly part of the Andes before catching our first glimpses of Ushuaia at the end of the world! This is a long driving day (approx. 7-8 hours) but we use a private bus to make the journey more comfortable. We should arrive at our hotel mid-afternoon depending on weather conditions and traffic.Accommodation: Hosteria Linares or similar*Standard Hotel*

  11. Day 11 Walk in Tierra del Fuego N.P.; optional visit to penguin colony.

    We’ll spend this morning in the stark wilderness of Tierra del Fuego National Park, walking amongst the varied terrain, flora and fauna. In the afternoon there is an optional boat ride along the Beagle Channel to see marine wildlife including penguins, sea lions and many species of water bird including a flightless duck! We are also afforded fantastic views of Ushuaia and its backdrop of often snow-capped peaks as we head out on the boat. Please ask your tour leader and they will help you to arrange it.For those wanting more adventure or not wishing to trek, an optional full-day 4WD excursion will be on offer which will take us deep into the wilds of Tierra del Fuego where any more conventional transport would fail to reach, including the remote Lakes Fagnano and Escondido (please note it is not possible to see penguins on this tour).Accommodation: Hosteria Linares or similar*Standard Hotel*

  12. Day 12 Fly to Buenos Aires.

    Depending upon the flight time, we may have some free time this morning in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. There are great views from the hills leading up to the Martial Glacier and some small shops to pick up souvenirs. Ushuaia has just one museum, housed in the former prison, which is definitely worth a visit. We fly back to Buenos Aires and usually arrive in time to visit one of the excellent tango shows in the old quarter of San Telmo (optional) and enjoy a last group meal together.Accommodation: Hotel Cyan Recoleta or similar*Comfortable Hotel*

  13. Day 13 End Buenos Aires.

    Depending on the time of your flight home you may have another chance to see more of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. After last night’s tango show we might be tempted to learn a few steps, or watch it in the streets and plazas – particularly in the old quarter of San Telmo. A visit to the grave of Evita in the remarkable Recoleta Cemetery, said to be the most expensive real estate in the world, is possible.

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Where you stay

Hotels & Lodges

Hotel Las Torres, Torres del Paine N.P.

We use a good standard of hotels throughout the trip. In El Chalten we stay in a simple but clean lodge with en-suite twin rooms. Laundry facilities are available in El Calafate and Ushuaia.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet-style and are included. The accommodation in Torres del Paine will arrange packed lunches for days when we are trekking. There is a variety of good, quality food on offer in local restaurants and cafes usually for relatively low prices (although the refuge that we stay in for the standard itinerary in Torres del Paine is the exception as facilities here are limited). Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, but please ensure that you advise us before you travel so that we can make the necessary arrangements on your behalf.

While this trip is graded Moderate, we recommend you have a reasonably good level of fitness to really enjoy the hiking opportunities available.

All of these are non-compulsory day walks and do not exceed 20km. We have two internal flights on this trip to reduce driving but there are still some long drives. The longest drive is when we cross the border from El Calafate to Torres del Paine and when travelling south from Cerro Sombrero to Ushuaia.

In terms of altitude ‐ the highest point reached on the tour is on day 9 on the walk to the Towers of Paine. The lookout point situated at 886 metres above sea level. This day walk can take up to 9/10 hours depending on weather conditions and speed of the group.

There are 2 internal flights included in the itinerary, normally using the services of Aerolineas Argentinas. Please be aware that the timings of the internal flights can be quite erratic and there can often be last minute schedule changes. Depending on the availability of these flights, there may be a supplement to pay.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

PATAGONIAN HIGHLIGHTS

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without doubt both Claire and I felt that reaching the viewpoint at Torres del Paine was wonderful.  We were lucky with the weather that day and, although the wind did blow, the sky was clear and the views were better than any photograph because we were there!  It was a longish day with the last hour being a stiff climb up across a boulder slope but that made the achievement even more worthwhile.  
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was an exceptional guide.  Nothing was too much trouble and he had a great range of knowledge.  He was also an expert in recovering lost items that some of us left in buses, aeroplanes and hotels.  He allowed us to be completely relaxed because despite his easy going nature, his organisational skills were exceptional and this meant we always left on time and had no problems with any leg of the travels.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared.  Have proper footwear and clothing for ALL weathers.  We had sushine in Buenos Aires and snow in Ushaia.  Temeratures ranging from 28C to freezing.  And did I mention the wind?
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overall this is a fantastic trip and I hate to gripe but we thought that the food in the Refugio at Torres del Paine was poor although the accommodation there was OK.  Good job we brought plenty of wine.  Otherwise this trip can be highly recommended, especially if you are as lucky as us in having such a fantastic group of people to travel with.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

PATAGONIAN HIGHLIGHTS (Nov 2013)

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoyed all - the treks to the base of Fitzroy (especially back to Laguna de los Tres which is very like the Cairngorm area of Scotland) and to base of Torres del Paine (in a snowstorm); the short walk in Tierra del Fuego, the 3pm cruise on the Beagle Channel to Penguin Island. But if I had to choose then the two best moments were: - *Trekking on the Viedma Glacier on a gloriously sunny but cold day with an excellent guide team who provided and fixed crampons on everyone and helped you see into crevasses –complemented nicely the following day in Los Glaciares National Park walking around the boardwalks surrounding the Moreno Glacier. * The panorama from the top of Cerro de los Cristales (1282M), Lago Roca on a beautifully sunny clear day seeing Lago Argentina, Glacier Perito Moreno, and Torres del Paine without any cloud in a brilliantly blue sky.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was a really nice, helpful guy who was passionate about his country and very conscientious in ensuring we enjoyed the holiday. He readily engaged in conversation and was very informative in that context. He was particularly great helping us to sort transport etc re climbing Cerro Cristales on our own. Could possibly have been more forthcoming with general information about Argentina and Chile to the group as a whole especially when on the long bus trips.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take dollars – can exchange readily. We got some Argentinean and Chilean currency from M&S before we left at a good exchange rate. In Chile 19% tax is added if you pay for a meal in pesos rather than dollars. Safe airport taxi system –Taxi Ezeiza – in the middle of the airport lobby. You pay at the desk (can pay in dollars) and then wait till escorted outside to your taxi. We also used this system back to airport- our group leader booked for us, told us the price and we paid the driver (try to have right amount or round up). Be aware of pickpocket scam in Buenos Aires – walking up Belgrano we were sprayed by something that looked like birdshit from behind. A nice middle aged lady offered me paper/water to clean up. She had some mates. As you clean up however your gear is stolen. Fortunately my husband was wise to the scam (I’d forgotten about it) and shouted to me to walk on. We cleaned up at the Hotel Dazzler where they told us a client had had his wallet stolen by this method the previous week. It’s not an urban myth. Pack for Scottish winter walking in the Cairngorm using a layered system (so if its warmer than what we experienced you’re covered). We had beautiful weather in general (plus one snowstorm that was actually fun) but were grateful for warm gear. Buenos Aires was variable (windy and wet when arrived, sunny and warm when left). Trekking poles are really useful. Wi-Fi was available at the hotels we stayed at throughout the trip but was slow. If you don’t already use What’s App get it for texts and photos (free under wifi). Most of the museums in Buenos Aires only have Spanish captions. Subway system good and cheap though told to wear backpack to front on it. If you have extra time in Buenos Aires, a day trip to Colonia in Uruguay by ferry is enjoyable. We went by Busquebus, booking on a Sat for a day trip on the Sunday. We also went a day trip to the Tigre Delta which was interesting. Train from Retiro Station then commuter bus to Tres Bocas. Some short walks there and two restaurants. Tigre has an Art Museum housed in a beautiful French Style Building – worth seeing. At El Calafate Laguna Nimez Bird Reserve is worth visiting. However if you are into walking try to do the Cerro de los Cristales climb at Lago Roca (CalTur bus at 8.30 am returns at 6pm 200 pesos). Quite hard going but worth it for the views if weather kind to you. From Lago Roca private campsite walk up to junction turn left, walk by path to Rock Paintings on right then just before a road leading off on the left to the lake there are two posts (minus the signboard) on the right that mark the start of the route. About 40 yds from these into the walk you’ll see another marked signpost. Route is obvious till near top where there can be snow. Scree at top but it is ok especially if you have poles. Allow 7 hrs round trip. Watch the weather especially winds at the top. Foodwise: difficult for vegetarians but if you can eat fish its fantastic. Really enjoyed Ayres Patagonicos El Chalten (informal, good food good music), La Tablita, el Calafate and Hotel Las Torres in Torres del Paine.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were lucky and had great weather overall. Recommendations are very much weather dependant.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Patagonian Highlights (AAA) Jan 2015

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Mt Fitzroy and the Torres del Paine for the first time. The boat trip on Beagle Channel. Petito Moreno glacier calving ice. Also the group we had was fantastic and clicked very well. They were very supportive of everyone on the more challenging portions of the treks. The group made the trip even more special.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was great! Arrangements were flawless, needs were met, and he always was available for issues. One member of our group become ill and had to go home and Xavier took care of everything. If you get Xavier as your leader, you will be very happy.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for changeable weather. Parts of the hikes (treks) are moderate so make sure you are prepared physically for them. If those parts are too challenging, you can always stop and go back down and wait for the group to continue the hike (trek). Taking it slow is no problem. Local currency and US dollars are taken almost everywhere for optional trips and food. For taxis in Buenos Aires, use local currency. When leaving Argentina, if you depart from Ezeiza International Airport, arrive earlier than normal at home as check in can be a bit slow.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Patagonia Highlights 2015

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being among the Southern Andes in good weather. or Standing on the water front in Ushuaia watching the sun go down - without being cold...
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Never seemed to be in any trouble or under stress and even seemed to be enjoying himself most of the time.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The two day walks which are part of the itinerary of the trip (Mount Fitzroy and Torres Del Paine) both involve significant climbs, but are well worth the effort. Very limited time in Buenos Aires if you use the group flight
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The latest edition of the trip noes (2015) received about 2 weeks prior to departure appears to be in need of a serious review - in particular the optional trips offered were significantly different.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Spectacular and worth the distances travelled

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Clear blue skies at the top of Torres del Paine, stunning.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Luciano was great, right balance of sorting things, getting involved, and standing back when other guides were leading.

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