Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour
Why would you want to travel to the end of the world? Well, we can think of plenty of reasons. Because what we are talking about here is nothing less than Patagonia, which is big, sweeping, bold, remote, and spectacularly beautiful – a place that is simply like nowhere else. It has always attracted special people, from hardy immigrants through to scientists, explorers and adventurers. Charles Darwin, Butch Cassidy and Bruce Chatwin among others were fascinated by this place. Its long coast lines, remote roads, jagged peaks, beautiful rivers, and massive glaciers, will make an indelible mark on your memory; for some it becomes a deeply spiritual experience.
- See whales, seals and dolphins in the waters of the South Atlantic
- Bird watch among the Magellanic penguins, giant petrels and oystercatchers
- Visit a Welsh tea house in Gaiman and spend the night in a traditional chacra (farm)
- Boat through the Beagle Channel to Estancia Harberton, one of the first settlements on Tierra del Fuego
- See the breathtaking Patagonia ice field and the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Southern Andes
- Go horseback riding through stunning Patagonian landscapes in El Calafate
- Trek in Chile’s spectacular Torres del Paine National Park
- Stay in a traditional wood cabin near Bariloche with a log fire and home-cooked meals
This is a private tour (with some small-group excursions). You will be accompanied by an English-speaking local guide during all excursions and throughout your time in Bariloche (Days 14-16). The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All of our tours can be tailor-made to suit you.
There is so much to see in Patagonia that you’ll be glad to know you have many options, and we can help you tailor-make the perfect itinerary, most suited to what you want to do. Within this Patagonia tour there are various different trekking options during the time you’ll spend in the Torres del Paine national park in Chile. There is also an option to take a road trip on Argentina’s famous Ruta Nacional 40, described as one of the most isolated but beautiful highways in the world (you’ll need to add two days for this). And finally, remember that you can ‘mix and match’ with other tours, such as our Chilean Andes & Chiloé tour, Rural Argentina Experience, Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls & Rural Argentina Tour, the Chile & Argentina Lake Districts tour, The Serene Shores of Uruguay Tour or the Incredible Chile & Argentina Adventure.
The southern tip of Latin America looks like a ‘V’, and on this tour you’ll start on the eastern side, travelling down the Argentina Patagonian coast where it meets the South Atlantic, to reach one of the southernmost points, the city of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego. From here, the point which forms the bottom of the ‘V’, you’ll start heading back up north, this time closer to the western side of South America, broadly following the Andes mountain range along the Chilean – Argentine frontier. At every point as you trace your way down, and then back up the ‘V’, there are incredible things to see.
This is a trip of two ‘stories’. The dominant story, told perhaps in the strongest voice, is the story of nature. Patagonia is vast and seems to have been built on a heroic scale. The whales in the Atlantic or the mammoths which once roamed the steppes sloping up to the foothills of the Andes are, and were, the giants of their time. They are joined by a vast array of animals of the sea, land, and air, from penguins to guanacos, through to Chilean hawks. And then there is the landscape. The southern Andes are a hypnotic combination of mountains, lakes, glaciers and rivers, covered by incredible skies and often by glistening snow. This is one of the few parts of the world where you can see inland icebergs. It really feels as if in a titanic trial of strength Mother Nature has shaken up the land, the horizon, and the sky to present a dramatic picture for us all.
Set against this majestic scale, the second story is smaller and at first, anyway, harder to hear above the crash and thunder of mountain and wind: it is the story of the hardy people who have lived or visited this remote land. They have included the indigenous tehuelches (also known as Patagones) and mapuches, many Spanish conquistadores and adventurers, Welsh immigrants, intrepid natural historians such as Charles Darwin, and even Butch Cassidy, the US outlaw and bank robber who is reputed to have focused his unwanted attentions on local banks in the early 1900s before being shot down a few years later in Bolivia. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear some great tales from them too!
Day 1: Puerto Madryn (-/-/-)
On arrival in Patagonia you’ll be met at the airport or coach station and driven to your well-located hotel in the coastal town of Puerto Madryn.
Day 2: Puerto Madryn - Peninsula Valdes (B/-/-)
Today you’ll have an early pick up for a 10-hour small-group excursion to Peninsula Valdes, a coastal and marine nature reserve declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. This area is a unique paradise for seabirds with over 180 species present, while the coastline is home to a wide range of marine mammals, including sea lions, elephant seals and fur seals. Between June and December Southern Right whales swim into the quiet waters of this gulf, so that the females can give birth. You’ll be accompanied by specialised guides throughout the day as you explore the coastline of the peninsula which serves as a unique habitat and breeding-ground for the region’s very diverse fauna. Your whale-watching adventure takes place in Puerto Pirámides, 100 kms from Puerto Madryn, as part of the Peninsula Valdes Excursion. Your captain and specialised bilingual crew will show and describe the coastal and marine ecosystem, as you travel through the area. They’ll be explaining the natural and biological life cycle of the whales, including birth and the care of the whale-calf. Transfer back to Puerto Madryn for a free evening.
Day 3: Puerto Madryn – Punta Tombo & Gaiman (B/-/D)
There will be an early pick-up for a small-group guided excursion visiting the Magellan Penguin Reservation, the most important of its kind in Latin America. In the morning we’ll also stop at Puerto Rawson for an optional boat trip to see Toninas (the smallest dolphin in the world). We’ll continue on to Punta Tombo, a nature reserve, which between September and April plays host to around 150,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins who come here to incubate their eggs. You are also likely to see typical land mammals of the Patagonian steppes, including guanacos, rhea, maras (a relative of the guinea pig) and grey foxes. Next, we will go to Gaiman, a small Welsh settlement that dates back to 1874. Here you can visit the village and taste local specialities in one of the tea houses. Transfer to Marta & Ariel’s chacra (small farm) near Trelew where you’ll stay the night in a private guesthouse. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with your hosts who speak Welsh, and make an excellent Welsh Tea!
Day 4: Trelew to Ushuaia (B/-/-)
After breakfast, go on a guided morning visit of the rural area or take part in the farming activities of your hosts. Then transfer to Trelew airport for a short flight (under three hours) to Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego. Once there the afternoon and evening are free for you to explore the town and relax.
Day 5: Ushuaia - Estancia Harberton Excursion (B/-/-)
Today there will be an early pick-up for a full-day small-group guided excursion to the amazing Estancia Harberton, including a boat trip in the Beagle Channel. Harberton is the oldest estancia (ranch) in the Argentine sector of Tierra del Fuego, originally established by a nineteenth century Anglican missionary. Enjoy the majestic scenery of this former glacier valley and the extraordinary marine fauna and birdlife of the area.
Day 6: Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego National Park (B/-/-)
Another early pick-up, this time for a small-group guided excursion to the breathtaking Tierra del Fuego National Park, with its dramatic scenery, waterfalls, forests, mountains and glaciers. The park’s 630 square kms include parts of the Fagnano and Roca lakes. The Senda Costera (Coastal Path), connecting Ensenada Bay to Lapataia Bay on Lago Roca, is a popular hiking trail within the park.
Day 7: Ushuaia (B/-/-)
Today you’ll have a free day to discover Ushuaia and visit its museums in your own time.
Day 8: Ushuaia to El Calafate (B/-/D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to El Calafate (under two hours). Check-in at your well-located hotel. In the afternoon, you will take a 1-hour guided horse riding excursion through striking Patagonian landscapes to visit a traditional estancia, where you’ll enjoy a typical dinner before returning to your hotel in El Calafate.
Day 9: El Calafate - Navigation on Lake Argentino (B/-/-)
There is an early pick up and transfer to the harbour in Lake Argentino, where you will take a boat, motoring among the icebergs, and approaching the glaciers. Los Glaciares National Park is a very special place, and this is why UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1980. It occupies an area of about 700,000 hectares, including 47 large glaciers and around 200 smaller ones. Together they form the Patagonian Continental Ice Field, which is one of the biggest sources of drinking water in the world. Free evening in El Calafate.
Day 10: El Calafate - Perito Moreno Glacier (B/-/-)
You'll have an early start today for a 80km drive across the Patagonian steppe to the Glacier National Park (small-group excursion). The Perito Moreno Glacier is an enormous ice mass covering a 250 square km area and is one of the most wonderful glaciers in the world. It is easy to approach the front of the glacier both by walking along the footbridges or taking an optional short boat ride. Optional: Mini-trekking over the glacier.
Day 11: El Calafate to Torres del Paine (B/-/-)
Transfer to the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile (around 3 hours). Check-in at a cosy hotel well located in the park. There will be a free evening to walk around this amazing place. Torres del Paine is a spectacular national park, packed with mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers. The Cordillera del Paine (Paine mountain range) is the spectacular centrepiece of the park.
Day 12: Torres del Paine (B/-/-)
Free day to walk in the park and discover the incredible geological formations, unique fauna and stunning landscapes. Enjoy yourself in this amazing national park, full of trails that lead to crazy rock formations or ancient woodland. Some will take you to the slopes leading up to the imposing ice fields themselves. Full details on the different options will be provided before departure, so you can plan ahead which trails you’d most like to follow. You could also choose one of our guided excursions.
Day 13: Torres del Paine to El Calafate (B/-/-)
Enjoy a half-day, small-group guided trekking or navigation excursion in Torres del Paine National Park. Later, transfer back to El Calafate and the evening is free.
Day 14: El Calafate to Bariloche – Community stay (B/-/D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Bariloche (approx 2h). This beautiful city is situated close to Nahuel Huapi National Park, on the shores of a lake. Reception at the airport and transfer to Ñirihuau (small rural town in the mountains, 30km from Bariloche). You will be the guests of a family from the Patagonian Rural Tourism Network. The accommodation is a traditional private cabin with firewood heating and a view over the valley. This is secret Patagonia, the part that most tourists don’t get to see, and you’ll be experiencing everyday life along with the locals. Depending on arrival time, you'll take a walk in the surrounding countryside before dinner.
Day 15: Bariloche – Community stay (B/L/D)
After a leisurely morning and a delicious home cooked lunch you will go on a 2-hour horse riding guided excursion. Admire the beautiful landscapes and the impressive Andes Mountain Range as you ride winding pathways through mountain forests and fields. You will then visit a river and a small local farm (including a wool handicraft workshop) where you’ll try local specialities. Back to the cabin by foot or by horse. Dinner will be a traditional asado (Argentine open fire barbecue) of roasted lamb served with organic local produce.
Day 16: Bariloche (B/L/-)
After breakfast, go on a guided trekking excursion to Mallin Redondo in the national park. There will be a stop for a tasty home-cooked lunch included in the excursion. Later, head back to the cabin, say goodbye to your hosts and transfer to Bariloche town. End of tour.
- Trip duration: 16 days
- Countries visited: Argentina, Chile
- Comfort level: Medium Accommodation in B&Bs or 2-star family-run hotels (always in a private room) Note: this is a guideline, please refer to the trip detailed description for what is and is not included.
- Level of difficulty: Low
- Accommodation: 2 nights in a hotel in Puerto Madryn, 1 night in a traditional chacra (farm) near Trelew, 4 nights in a hotel in Ushuaia, 4 nights in a hotel in El Calafate, 2 nights in a hotel in Torres del Paine (inside the park), 2 nights in a traditional wood cabin with a rural community near Bariloche.
- Transport: Internal flights, mini-van, private car
- Meals included: 15 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners
- Percentage of cost going to local communities: At least 15%
- Bilingual guide: Available in English, French or Spanish
- Extra services:
You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by our local team who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly.
No minimum number of passengers required and you will not be travelling with a group of people you do not know.
Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling. For our standard tours, the maximum number of passengers who can travel together is 6. If you are travelling alone, or if your group is bigger than 6 people, please send us an enquiry and we will get back to you with your best options (do also ask about our discounts for groups). Furthermore our tailor-made tours are flexible and can combine several countries, levels of comfort and destinations so do not hesitate to let us know exactly what you are looking for.
Your passport is required at time of booking. For information on visa requirements and health formalities please visit the FCO Travel Advice Website.
Return flights from London to Buenos Aires start at £586pp. We can assist you to find and/or book the best flights.
We will assist you with information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services.
This tour of Argentina and Chile, like most of our adventures through South America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like. If you have any concerns or require special arrangements please call or email us to discuss.
What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries, wind and waterproof jacket, warm clothes to layer, warm socks, fleece, hat, gloves, scarf.
- Best time to travel: September - April
- Extra budget recommended: Around £500pp to cover meals and all other expenses not included in the itinerary.
- What is included: Welcome reception at the airport. Transfers (some may be shared) and internal flights. Overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary. Guided activities and excursions with English speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the social projects visited. Donation to help in preserving the Amazon rainforest through agro-forestry and education.
- What is not included: Flights from your country of origin. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Travel within and around each town. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs.
Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour
Discover the diverse and unforgettable Patagonia on this tour through Argentina and Chile. From whales and penguins to mighty glaciers, towering Andean peaks and epic landscapes, you’ll experience the sheer wonder and scale of one of the wildest places left on our planet.