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 tours can be tailor-made to suit your interests and requirements.
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).
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 Trelew, Patagonia you’ll be met at the airport or coach station and driven to your well-located hotel in Puerto Madryn, a coastal town with many sandy beaches and a restaurant-lined promenade, located across the bay from the Peninsula Valdes. Free time to discover the city on your own.
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, also part of the Peninsula Valdes Excursion, takes place in Puerto Pirámides, 100 kms from Puerto Madryn. 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 your well located hotel where you will enjoy a home made dinner.
Day 4: Gaiman to Ushuaia (B/-/-)
After breakfast, take any of the included activities: kayak, bike ride or guided trek. Then transfer to Trelew airport for a 2-hour flight to Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, and the southernmost city in the world. Once there, transfer to a well located hotel and have free time 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. You will be taken on a yacht from Ushuaia to Harberton, 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. This tour includes a trip by zodiac boat to the Martillo Island and some trekking to appreciate the colony of Magallenic penguins. Minibus ride back with some stops on the way, tour ends at Ushuaias pier. Free evening.
Day 6: Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego National Park (B/-/-)
One more early start, this time for a half day 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. Free afternoon and evening back in Ushuaia.
Day 7: Ushuaia (B/-/-)
Today you’ll have a free day to discover Ushuaia and visit its museums, such as Museo Yámana, Museo Marítimo & Museo del Presidio, in your own time. You can also hike up to Glacier Martial where you can enjoy great views over Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel, or just relax and soak up the town's atmosphere.
Day 8: Ushuaia to El Calafate (B/-/D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a 1-hour flight to El Calafate. Transfer to and check-in at a well-located hotel in town. In the afternoon, you will be guided on a horse ride group excursion for 1 hour, 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 - Boat trip on Lake Argentino (B/-/-)
There is an early pick up and transfer to the harbour in Lake Argentino, where you will join a group excursion. Boat ride, 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 (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: Add a mini-trekking over the glacier (under 2 hours). Free evening back in El Calafate.
Day 11: El Calafate to Torres del Paine (B/L/-)
Early shared transfer to the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile (approx. 6 hours, including a few stops to take pictures and lunch). Check-in at a well located cosy refuge inside the park (shared facilities) and enjoy a free evening to walk around and start to get to know 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 guided excursion.
Day 13: Torres del Paine to El Calafate (B/-/-)
Free morning to take an optional: half-day small-group guided trek or boat trip excursions in Torres del Paine National Park. In the afternoon, shared transfer back to El Calafate (approx. 6 hours), where you check in at a well located hotel.
Day 14: El Calafate to Bariloche – Community stay (B/-/D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a 2-hour flight to Bariloche. 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 breakfast, 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, to enjoy a delicious home cooked lunch. In the afternoon, go on a guided trekking excursion to Mallin Redondo in the national park. Dinner will be a traditional asado (Argentine open fire barbecue) of roasted lamb served with organic local produce.
Day 16: Bariloche (B/L/-)
Free morning. After a home cooked lunch, say goodbye to your hosts and transfer to Bariloche town or airport. End of tour.
- Trip duration: 16 days
- Countries visited: Argentina, Chile
- Level of difficulty: Low
- Accommodation: 2 nights in a hotel in Puerto Madryn, 1 night in a hotel in Gaiman, 4 nights in a hotel in Ushuaia, 4 nights in a hotel in El Calafate, 2 nights in a refuge in Torres del Paine (inside the park, shared facilities), 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
You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by a local guide 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. You should expect a cheaper price for bigger groups.
Your passport is required at time of booking. For information on visa requirements and health formalities please visit the FCO Travel Advice Website or the US Travel Advice Website (direct links to Argentina page) and FCO Travel Advice Website or the US Travel Advice Website (direct links to Chile page)
Information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services, will be provided.
This tour of Argentina and Chile, like most of our adventures through Latin America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like.
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 to April
- Extra budget recommended: Around £500 / $600 pp 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.
There is no minimum duration and you can take only the activities or destinations you want. To start creating your ideal, tailor-made tour to Argentina and Torres del Paine (Chile), please complete and send this form. Our Argentinean partner will be in touch shortly: