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The Best of Patagonia: 8 Days
Small Group Travel Dates in 2023 - March 18-25, March 25-April 1, November 18-25, December 2-9
Short custom 5-day trips can be organized on request.
This trip is carefully crafted with attention to the quality of the overall program. We have curated and selected well organized and meaningful activities designed to offer you the opportunity to explore and experience the true essence of the Patagonia region. Licensed and knowledgeable guides and drivers accompany you for all activities. We want your trip to be authentic and meaningful.
We ask you to keep in mind that infrastructure is limited to small pockets of civilization connected by an expansive system of paved and dirt roads. We do our best to work around glitches and changes to the scheduled activities, but we reserve the right to make last minute substitutions in case some activities are cancelled, or we are unable to provide the level of attention needed to ensure your safety. We cannot offer refunds for changes or activities not completed.
Your satisfaction matters and in cases where we do make last minute changes, we endeavor to make substitutions that maintain the flow of the trip with the least amount of disruption.
LEVEL Of DIFFICULTY: (Easy) Walk for short periods of time on mostly flat terrain/ board boats with steps / Suitable for all ages and abilities
Summer travel season is November - March.
Day 1: Arrive Santiago, Chile
Welcome to Chile! Our driver will be waiting at the airport. Flights usually arrive in the morning / Transfer to hotel / Lunch / Short Tour of City Center - Hotel
Day 2: Fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas / Short City Tour
Pickup from Santiago hotel and transfer to Santiago (SCL) airport for flight to Punta Arenas where your local guide will be waiting. Transfer to hotel, lunch on your own, Your tour guide will take you on a tour of the city to learn more about life on the tip of the South American continent. Return to Punta Arenas – Hotel
Day 3: Punta Arenas / Penguin Colony Navigation / Drive to Puerto Natales
5AM. This tour will take us out into the legendary Straits of Magellan to visit the amazing bird life on Magdalena Island. There are reportedly between 30,000 and 40,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins on this island. Undoubtedly the best option in Patagonia to cross the mythical Strait of Magellan to admire and interact with these funny birds. 45 minutes navigation. Disembark for one hour in the island with and easy walk around with opportunity to take pictures of the penguins. The path that leads to the lighthouse goes through hundreds of caves and allows you to see these flightless birds up close. Also, you will see a lot of amazing birds like Albatross, Skuas, Cormorants and more. Then navigate to Marta Island (if the weather allows) with Sealions encounters. Possible encounters (less common) with: Austral dolphins, and Sei Whales.
The trip starts very early in order to avoid windy conditions. Return time in Punta Arenas is around 12:00.
Lunch at recommended restaurant or hotel
Depart by car to drive 3 hours to Puerto Natales. Opportunity to take pictures on the way. A stop in Puerto Natales with nice views of the fjords and have an optional tea break. Then continue driving to hotel.
Day 4: Torres del Paine National Park Road Trip
Road trip around part of the park with short hikes and Pehoe Lake Navigation. Return to National Park. Road trip through beautiful landscapes with amazing lookouts and short hikes. You will be able to stop to take pictures. Potential encounters with wild fauna including Llamas. Some of the attractions of this trip are:
Paine Horns Lookout hike: A stunning route that starts at beautiful turquoise Pehoé lake and impressive waterfall Salto Grande. About an hour to the finish at Nordenskjold Lake – one of the most beautiful and easy to access viewpoints in the park. (2.6 miles - 2 hours in flat terrain round trip.)
Navigation along Pehoe lake, 30 minutes from Pudeto to Paine Grande with gorgeous views.
Optional hike to Skottsberg Lookout: 3 miles round trip, 1,5 hours. The path goes first through the burnt forest and then along Skottsberg lake, when walking next to the lake check from time-to-time reflections of the mountains in the water.
Return to hotel.
Day 5: Torres del Paine National Park / Blue Lagoon Lookout to Granite Towers
(Rated Easy) Trip to Laguna Azul and a lookout to the famous “towers” from a different perspective.
The adventure starts with a 30-minute drive through the rugged terrain of the national park’s far eastern region, Laguna Amarga, where we observe cyanobacteria with stromatolites and sometimes flamingos, before continuing our journey to the Blue Lagoon. From the parking area, we strike off on a short (half hour) walk that includes wildlife observations and views of the Paine Massif. Wildlife is abundant in this part of the park, especially guanaco and birds. The avian community around Laguna Azul includes water birds, as well as condors and raptors. Gazing from the east, the perspective of Torres towers is much different than elsewhere in the park, and in some respects even more awe-inspiring. Laguna Azul is also the spot where Lady Florence Dixie, the intrepid Victorian-era British traveler, and author, first spotted the Torres del Paine mountains. In her 1880 book Across Patagonia, she called the three towers “Cleopatra’s Needles” because the stone monoliths resembled the obelisks of ancient Egypt. Return to hotel.
Day 6: Grey Lake Navigation to Grey Glacier + Short Hike
(Rated Easy) Grey Lake hike plus roundtrip navigation by catamaran to the ice wall of Grey Glacier with opportunities to see icefall 2:45 H. We will start with a short, flat hike over the Grey Lake Beach with the possibility of sighting icebergs on the sand with the Grey Glacier in the skyline. Then continue the hike for 15 minutes to the Grey Lake Peninsula Lookout, with a breathtaking view of the entire lake and native forest. Return to the beach and board the catamaran to start the navigation to the glacier. Expect possible ice falls from an ice wall around 80 meters, while you enjoy a drink inside the comfort of the main cabin. Navigate through glacial greywater (where the glacier name came from) surrounded by Lenga Forest is a stunning experience. Return to Hotel.
Day 7: Torres del Paine National Park / Puerto Natales & Milodon Cave
(Rated-Easy) Easy wake up. Transport back to Puerto Natales Town (1:30 m). On the way stop at Milodon Cave, a huge cavern more than 200 meters deep, 80 wide, and 30 high. More than 15,000 years ago the cave was inhabited by what are now large, extinct animals such as the Mylodon (a type of bear) and Jaguar and was probably a popular hunting site for the native inhabitants. The Milodon Cave became known to the world a little over 100 years ago in 1895 when the settler Eberhard Hermann visited the cave and found a strange skin with thick hairs. It was determined to be the fur of a large extinct sloth, known as a Milodon. This led to numerous scientific expeditions and looters looking for remains to sell to collectors and museums, mainly in Europe. In 1968 this area was declared a Historic Monument by the Ministry of Education, and in 1993 became the Milodon Cave Natural Monument (Monumento Natural Cueva del Milodón), joining the System of Protected Areas of the State. Optional hike at Cerro Benitez with possible condor encounters. Optional Lunch in Puerto Natales at recommended restaurant.
Day 8: Fly Puerto Natales - Santiago
Transport from Hotel to Airport. Flight Punta Arenas – Santiago
Conclusion of service (Return flight to US can be booked anytime after 6PM)
Day 9 Optional: Valpairaiso Tour and Lunch / Return to airport for departure
After breakfast in the hotel, we begin drive to Valparaiso (1.5 hour) followed by a tour of Valparaiso city and Viña del Mar. See cable cars, Pablo Neruda's house, seafood restaurants and sightsee the beaches architecture and history. Return to hotel to pick-up luggage and transfer to airport for evening departure. (Schedule afternoon - or evening flights after 7pm if you want to do the Valpo tour. No refund for early departures).
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Patagonia?
Schedule your International flights to arrive and depart from Santiago, (SCL) Chile. We take care of the rest.
Do I need to prepare for high elevation?
No. Elevations in this trip are no higher than Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains. Up to 3000-4000 feet at most.
Do I need a visa to enter Chile?
US passport holders do not need a visa to enter Chile. Citizens from other countries should check with their home embassy to determine their status for entry to Chile.
Why is the cost to travel in Chile higher than some other countries in South America?
The answer to this question has several components:
1. Chile is a member of OECD organization that promotes economic cooperation and development among other OECD countries. These countries are considered high-income destinations.
2. Other countries in South America are "developing" and their economies have different standards for wages and living standards.
3. Patagonia is isolated from major development and infrastructure. Everything is farther away and the effort to provide basic comfort and safety costs more.
This Adventure Includes
- All accommodations with private bath and breakfast including Santiago
- Roundtrip flights between Santiago and Punta Arenas
- Airport transfers
- English-speaking guide service
- All ground transportation for all scheduled activities
- Entry fees to everything listed except where noted
- International flights to Santiago, Chile
- Lunches / dinners / drinking water (except where noted B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
- Gratuities at your discretion
- Travel Insurance
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sturdy shoes and warm clothing
- Day packs with rain covers
- Deadline to confirm is short, so we have time to reserve hotels in Patagonia where there is limited supply
- 50% deposit and copy of passport required at time of booking. (Passport must not expire within 6 months of your travel dates)
- Itinerary subject to change
- Suitable for most ages
- Allow 1 additional travel day to get to Chile and 1 added day to arrive home
- Easter Island Extension can be added on at the end or before the trip to Patagonia
- Dining in Patagonia region may be limited to hotel restaurants due to isolation.