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Patagonian Highlights

from $5,199.00

Discover the spectacular wilderness of southern Chile and Argentina

  • Reviews 10 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 20/09/2019
5/5

Amazing sights in Patagonia

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the granite horns in the Torres Del Paine National Park, for as long as i can remember I’ve looked in awe at the mountains in magazines but to see them face to face was a dream realised.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier, was good in lots of ways, friendly and as helpful as he could be, often going out of his way to ensure others enjoyed their holidays.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take hundreds of pictures and soak in that amazing scenery.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

A brilliant holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to choose one but high up on the list of memorable things: * walking in spectacular mountain scenery - Mount Fitzroy, Torre, Torres del Paine (great weather helped no doubt); * standing close to the Perito Merino glacier listening to the cracks and groans of the ice as lumps fell away; * seeing the local wild life - many birds, guanaco, fox, hare armadillo, penguins, seals and even a puma!; * experiencing the Patagonian wind en route to Torres del Paine. For location certainly one of the most memorable hotels we have stayed. * the coach drives which gave a clear picture of the vastness of the grasslands in this part of the world.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was a star! His local knowledge of all aspects of Argentina and Chile is extensive. He shared this willingly with the group at large or with individuals. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he went out of his way to make sure that things went well and that the group was having a good time. He was always ready with recommendations for an optional visit, for somewhere to eat, for what we would need for any part of our trip. He also wanted to know about us as individuals and told us about himself (not always the case with Exodus leaders in my experience)
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a couple of things: * layers of clothes are the order of he day. The weather is changeable (we had snow, rain and sunshine all in one day!) and it can be very cold. * "water for the coach drives as well as something to nibble on@ was helpful advice we were given. * for photographers don't forget a spare battery and extra cards - the scenery is spectacular. * for those who are not used to eating red meat, don't worry. We had plenty of options when it came to choosing what to eat. On the other hand don't miss out on the steaks - they are seriously large but delicious.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

AAA - Patagonian Highlights

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one moment comes to mind.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier Espil is passionate and friendly . He gave detailed information at all times but left us to make our own decisions with that info. i.e. suggested places to eat , when to change money , restaurant pricing and food selection .
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that ATMs are very temperamental with UK chip & Pin cards. sometimes they work , mostly they dont . This might be obvious at start of transaction or you might get taken all through security , down to cash amount selection and then a message appears saying transaction disallowed. Everyone in group ( British cards ) had issues in several locations. Only Bank of Patagonia in El Calafte and Ushuaia allowed cash withdrawals without any issue whatsoever . There is only 1 ATM in El Chalten , at tourist office and it spent most of its time out of service / rejecting cards ( British / French / Australian ) . Current - Nov 2017 - restaurant exchange rate was 17 or 18 Argentine dollars to USD. So you could pay for things in USD cash at that unofficial exchange rate and receive any change in Argentine money . Some restaurants do not take USD in denominations below 20 USD and apparently high denomination notes 50 USD / 100 USD are the preferred denomination when changing money at bank / exchange office.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Apparently Xavier is a fan of Colmans mustard , so if you have bit of luggage space spare I am sure a jar would be appreciated ! Be aware for internal Argentina flights hold luggage is 15KG and this is enforced . Its worth double checking on web site of Aerolineas Argentina , but dont get caught out having to pay excess luggage fees - they are not cheap .

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

Patagonia at its best

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountain days, the included glacier visit and the guided walk in Tierra del Fuego were all equally inspiring, and the tango show made a great finale.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was the best tour guide we have been on holiday with. He was permanently cheerful, enthusiastic, responsive to the whole group’s and individual needs and great fun to be with. Xavier also had excellent relationships with the local guides, who were all equally enthusiastic about their specialisms.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    These are the things which are described very accurately in the trip notes. We did experience four seasons in a day: snow, sun, torrential rain, high winds, calm etc, so you need lots of adaptable clothing and waterproofs. The two day walks and the additional day walk the group did were long with step sections over rocky paths (all the walks were 20km long). The travel days by bus were very long. Everything on the whole trip, except wine, was on a par with London prices (this is not a cheap destination). Add about 10% to the guide prices given in the trip notes. You can complete the trip with dollars, with no problems then with non-functioning ATMs or restaurants which won’t take credit cards. The downside of this means travelling with large amounts of cash. (There is no need to take Chilean pesos.) We travelled out a day earlier to enjoy Buenos Aires; we wished we had taken two extra days because there is so much to do in Buenos Aires.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Remember that this is South America. You need a patient and relaxed attitude to everything to enjoy this holiday.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

Amazing Patagonia

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The three hikes: Torres del Paine Laguna de los Tres Lomo del Pliegue Seeing the Milky Way from the hotel in Torres del Paine. The glacier boat trip.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was great. Dependable and knowledgable.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some long driving days as per trip notes. Also the hikes are not gentle. Most are uphill most of the way and moderately difficult in areas. If you’re keen on ice climbing on the glacier book we’ll in advance. Currency: a mix of US dollars and pesos is best as not all places accept dollars. Get pesos out of cash machine but there is a charge. A few of us did a scenic flight in Ushuaia as the weather was so good. Reasonably priced and worthwhile. Book ahead. Suggest having a few days in Buenos Aires at the end to unwind and see the city in a relaxed pace. Even better - Xavier can organise kayaking trips in the Tigre delta which is a great way to get away from the hussle and bustle. When you arrive in Pueto Natales you’ll be wiped out and won’t want a fancy meal... ask about the pizza bar/restaurant along the road. Pizzas were amazing - and big. The beer is good too. Left overs served a great mid-morning snack the next day.

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