It makes sense that Argentina and the southern tip of Chile would give the feeling of the end of the world. Patagonia is sparsely populated and in some places even more inhospitable due to the desert and the Andes, and is best known for its mixed peaks of the Torres del Paine Mountains and the glaciers that reach the sea. But there’s a different side to Patagonia, too, with fertile grasslands and pampas that stretch for miles. But as a result, the logistics of traveling in the area and getting to your destination can be overwhelming, which is why organized tours can take care of these details for you.
Many Patagonia walking tours are concentrated in the mountains south of the Chilean border. For many, Patagonia is a place to hike, and most tours support this, with hikes for all skill levels. The best tours, and often the longest, are for those with some experience, although we’ve put a good range on this list that should suit people with varying levels of hiking and hiking proficiency. Here are five of the best tours.
W-TREK, Torres del Paine, scenic area
One of the most iconic hiking trails in South America is called the W-TREK, a 43-mile (69 km) route that winds in and out of the towering granite towers, or Torres del Paine. If 43 miles sounds like a good old trail, it’s worth noting that the hike is a four-day stretch along a well-traveled route over the course of the six-day trip, so it’s still manageable for the inexperienced hiker. For lodging, there are B&Bs along the way, as well as camping in tents arranged by the tour group. All meals are provided by the guide.
From US$ 1,825/person
There are worthwhile attractions on both sides of the Chilean-Argentine border, and this focused tour tries to present them all. Over the course of ten days, the tour begins in Punta Arenas and ends in El Chalten, with many great natural wonders and guided tours over the course of ten days. These sites include the Penguin Colony, the stunning Torres del Paine, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Patagonian city of El Calafate, Los Glaciares National Park, and the Perito Moreno Glacier Tour. Accommodation is in hotels, hostels, and three nights of camping, with breakfast provided daily.
From: US$ 4,250/person
If there’s one thing Patagonia is known for, it’s its breathtaking natural beauty. This is one of the least populated regions on the planet, with the exception of the permafrost region, where the wilderness tends to be a thrill to behold. This two-week trip was designed to get up close and personal with this wilderness. It starts in Buenos Aires, where you’ll see a tango show on the first night and get a taste of the city’s culture on the last before flying south to El Calafate and Glacier National Park. Here, you will begin a two-day hike, followed by a visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier, right up to the giant ice tongue. Other highlights include a boat ride from Ushuaia to the Beagle Channel. Hotel accommodation is available most nights.
Highlights of Patagonia
Another highlight of the Patagonia trip, however, this particular experience is first and foremost the duration of the trip. Another thing to note is that while there are two highlight tours on this list, they don’t all follow the same route. In fact, in addition to undeniable must-see destinations such as El Chalten, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego, there are some differences, such as hiking to the Cerro Fitzroy Domain and Laguna de los Tres in Los Glaciares National Park. This extra depth of experience is ideal for anyone looking for a more in-depth Patagonian experience. All breakfast and some lunch and dinner will be served. Most evenings were spent in the hotel’s suite rooms.
Multinational Sports Association of Argentina and Chile
From 4,900 RMB/person
This 20-day trip is the most comprehensive if you want to see as much of Argentina and Patagonias in Chile as you can while you travel. Highlights include white water rafting and/or skiing (depending on the season), guided glacier hikes around San Carlos de Bariloche, and the famous W-trek in Torres del Paine.There are other activities such as mountain biking, horseback riding, and glacier cruises at some attractions for an additional fee. With the exception of three nights camping on the W-trek, hotels are available most nights.