Classic Patagonia Tour

A 12 day trip to Argentina & Chile 
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Luxury and landscape combine on this majestic custom tailored Patagonia tour, taking you from Santiago to Buenos Aires to experience the natural wonders of South America. Glaciers gracefully float in pristine channels and glow against the backdrop of rugged mountain peaks. The sound of calving icebergs echoes across the water. Condors circle the sky, hovering over the high altitude plains in search of their next meal. Horses graze on the open grassland alongside thundering rivers. Experience the beauty and brilliance of fjords and glaciers, wildlife and ancient forests that cross the borders of Chile and Argentina. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Santiago, Punta Arenas, Torres del Paine, Ainsworth Bay, Marinelli Glacier, Tucker Islet, Pia Glacier, Glacier Alley, Cape Horn, Wulaia Bay, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Buenos Aires

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Santiago del Chile

Santiago is a vibrant capital, with a pristine view of the rolling peaks of the bordering Andes Mountains. The snowcapped summits overtake the city’s skyline. Mercato Central bustles with locals enjoying a meal of fresh seafood inside the center hangers. Vendors overtake the exterior, displaying the bright rinds of local produce, from passion fruit to oranges. Cafes and restaurants add a European quality to the South American city. Businessmen bustle through the financial district. The hill of San Cristobal stands at the center of the city and provides a lavish panorama of the rooftops stretching to the foothills of the Andes.

Your private transfer meets you upon your arrival at the airport and escorts you to the comforts of your hotel located in the city center. La Chascona, home to the celebrated Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, was erected in the 1950s. Neruda loved all things nautical and decorated the entire home with maritime themes. Colored glass shines vivacious light into the rooms. The dining room resembles a ship’s cabin. The living room has a layout akin to a lighthouse. The atmosphere of the ocean comes to Neruda’s home and welcomes you to the city. Consider reading some of our travelers' Patagonia travel reviews to gain further inspiration to refine and perfect your own Patagonia trip of a lifetime.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Entering Torres del Paine

In the morning, locals venture into the underground and crisscross the city on the metro. Marvelous murals decorate the Universidad de Chile metro station, covering 12,916 square feet. The paintings depict a visual history of Chile divided into the past and the present. The remarkable colors brighten the station, telling tales of the Spanish conquest and student protests. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas, Chile’s gateway to Patagonia. Cobalt blue water from the Strait of Magellan brushes against the cold, sandy shores bordering the city.

Historic mansions erected during the wool boom continue to encircle Plaza Munoz Gamero. The Municipal Cemetery contains a mixture of flashy tombs occupied by wealthy barons, alongside humble resting places for historical immigrants. Your guide meets you at Presidente Carlos Ibanez del Camp International Airport. The drive north to your resort ranch located inside Torres del Paine National Park is stunning. The shoreline disappears behind wide plains. Mountains rise out of the horizon. You arrive at your hotel and settle into the tranquil atmosphere of cypress trees lining the foothills. A snowcapped peak looms above the estate, overtaking the panorama from the windows.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 3: Wonders of Torres del Paine

In the morning, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee enhances the immaculate view of the landscape outside your window. Wildflowers blossom with yellow petals against the spreading lush grass of the pampas. Trails of snow meander along the rugged mountaintop. Guanacos, mammals similar to llamas, graze along the high-altitude plain. The national park covers an area of 935 square miles, providing countless opportunities to view Magellanic subpolar forests, spectacular glaciers, and opulent lakes. For a spectacular introduction to the region and the culture of Patagonia, you choose to follow a local guide on horseback along the fascinating landscape.

Your guide is a real-life gaucho, a South American cowboy. He wears leather boots, a shimmering silver belt-buckle, and carries a bota bag filled with wine. You mount your horse and venture through the plain. You trot over the hillside where windswept grass edges the riverbanks. Water rushes over the smooth rocks. You reach Lago Brush, a paradisiacal lake with a view of the Paine Massif rising above the trees. The lush green borders the reflective waters. The beauty of Patagonia’s natural world is unparalleled. You pass rheas, also known as Patagonian ostriches. They can grow to more than eight feet tall and use their wings as sails when they run to help propel them forward. Your guide leads you alongside the rheas as you return from the lake, trotting through the grassland.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Exploring Torres del Paine

In the morning, you delight in the stunning view of the pristine landscape at breakfast. You sip your freshly brewed coffee and linger in the unforgettable panorama before venturing out on a challenging trek for the day. You make your way along the Torres del Paine hiking trails to view the Towers peaks, which soar approximately 6,500 feet above the Patagonian steppe. Hike along the Ascencio River. The water splashes against the rocks and mists along the riverbanks. The altitude brings a crispness to the air. 

The higher you hike, the more sporadic the trees, until you reach a smattering of boulders acting as guards along the upper foothills of the mountains. The boulders are smooth and cool on your palms. The gray rocks lead to barren hills encircling a lagoon filled with indigo water. Snowmelt trickles from the sides of the mountain into the lagoon. The granite pillars climb above the steppe and resemble stone towers. The tallest of the towers reaches a height of 9,462 feet above sea level. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Mountainside to Cruise Cabin

In the morning, the rugged mountaintop outside of your window disrupts the open blue sky. A herd of guanacos linger in the distance and disappear over the hillside. Horses traipse along the grounds. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you in the lobby of your hotel and escorts you on the return journey to Punta Arenas. The opulent mansion of Museo Regional de Magallanes highlights the historical wealth of 19th-century pioneer sheep farmers and maintains the regal ambiance of the original manor house. Wooden inlaid floors and Chinese vases surround French-nouveau furnishings. The summit of Cerro la Cruz overlooks the city and offers an unobstructed view of the neighborhoods and the Strait of Magellan reaching the horizon. You make your way to the harbor and board a luxurious cruise ship that soon weighs anchor, setting sail for Ushuaia, Argentina.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: Penguins on Tucker Islet

Your cruise ship travels along the Almirantazgo Fjord. Lush grassy hills slope into the sea. The air is cool and filled with the salty-sweet aroma of the water. Elephant seals linger on the coastline. They can grow more than six feet long and weigh more than 6,600 pounds. The ship anchors in view of Tucker Islet. You board a Zodiac boat and venture to the shoreline. You can see the Magellanic penguins roaming on the boulder-clad beach before the boat docks. Cormorants fly overhead, and pebbles fill the shore as you reach the sporadic tufts of grass.

Black plumage covers the penguins’ backs and borders their white torsos. A white line encircles their face. They can grow up to 30 inches tall and use their wings to propel forward through the currents underneath the water. The penguins are not bothered by your presence. They continue to waddle on their nesting grounds and dive into the surf in search of food. The penguins tend to swim in pairs and burrow into the softer grounds near the tufts of grass to build their nests. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Exciting View of Glaciers

In the morning, you can look out your window and see the exquisite landscape of Patagonia outside. The water brushes against the cruise ship. The mountains are the perfect complement to the sky. You are traveling through the Beagle Channel, named after the ship carrying Charles Darwin during his South American exploration in the 19th century. The boat weighs anchor once again, and you venture to the shore on a Zodiac boat. The wind becomes cold against your cheeks. The water spritzes into the air. The rugged mountainside changes near the water’s edge to a brilliant blue and white color.

Streaks of black highlight the tips of the ice, showcasing the leftover ash from volcanic activity thousands of years ago. The boat pulls up to the shore where you disembark. You climb along the smooth but rocky trail leading closer to the glacier’s ice wall. Icebergs pepper the water. The closer you come to the glacier the more detailed the ice becomes, forming unique shapes, spikes, valleys, and formations on the surface. A loud crack erupts, and you witness the calving ice, falling away from the glacier and splashing into the channel.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 8: The Features of Cape Horn

The landscape of Patagonia is inspiring, with its blend of rugged mountains and pristine ice, opulent waters and lush forest. Today your ship reaches Cape Horn, the southernmost edge of the South American continent and known as the location where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet. The cliffs of the continent tower above the ocean at 1,394 feet above sea level. A tender monument was erected in tribute to sailors lost to the seas while traveling around the cape. The wind blows strong across the landscape. The greenery brightens the craggy edges of the cliffs. The metal monument was placed at the top of the hillside, crowning a wooden-paved pathway.

The metal frame holds the outline of an albatross in constant flight against the wind. You can see the differences in the converging oceans beyond the monuments. The colder and darker waters of the Pacific push against the warmer, brighter waters of the Atlantic. The ship continues its exploration of the southern shores of the continent in Wulaia Bay, historically home to one of the largest aboriginal settlements in Patagonia. Magellanic forests and lenga trees tower over the beaches. The semi-sweet aroma of the leaves filters through the air and blends with the scent of fern trees. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Settling Down in Ushuaia

In the morning, the cruise ship docks in Ushuaia, Argentina. It is known as the southernmost city in the world and the starting point for ships traveling to Antarctica. The magnificent peaks of the Andes Mountains border Ushuaia and dramatically drop into the Beagle Channel. The streets maintain an alpine ambiance nestled between the mountain range and the shore. In the spring and summer, lupines and wildflowers blossom on the edges of the manicured streets. The city was founded in the late 19th century and was established around the region’s prison. The Museo Yamana provides insight into the aboriginal civilization that once called the region home. Exhibits depict ways in which the locals survived harsh winters without clothing and how the Yamana maintained campfires in their moving canoes. The natural and contemporary worlds mix in Ushuaia, blending unforgettable scenery with indulgent luxury.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: Discovering the Land of Fire

In the morning, a thin layer of sea mist spreads over the Beagle Channel before evaporating in the sweeping sunlight. After breakfast, the day is yours to explore the wonders of surrounding Ushuaia. Choose between traveling to Harberton Ranch, an estancia filled with remarkable trails, and connections to Martillo Island, to visit the penguin colonies. Or you could venture out to the exciting reaches of Tierra del Fuego, named by Spanish explorers in the 16th century after witnessing the various campfires controlled by the local Yamana peoples. Your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you into Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Your guide leads you along a trail surrounded by beech and cherry trees. Their sweet aroma drifts across the landscape. You can hear the Pipo River rushing through the forest. The trail ascends upwards more than three miles until you reach the Pampa Alta, a lookout offering a breathtaking view of the Beagle Channel. The water glows against the backdrop of craggy mountains. The forest canopy frames the channel and the foothills of mountains on the horizon. It is the view by which you will always remember Patagonia.

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 11: The Vibrant Life of Buenos Aires

Evergreen forests sweep across the hills of Puerto Williams. Glacier capped mountains glint against the spreading morning light. The bustling city of Ushuaia returns to life as fishing boats set out along the Beagle Channel in search of a perfect daily catch. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to Ushuaia-Malvinas Argentinas International Airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. The city moves to a particular beat, connected to the tango. The 47 distinct neighborhoods maintain their personal character and charm. Your private transfer greets you at the airport and leads you to a luxurious hotel located in the lavish district of Recoleta.

Trees line the wide avenues. Locals linger on the grass of Plaza Francia. The metropolis feels gigantic compared to the smaller cities and tranquil estancias from which you came. The pink façade of Casa Rosada, the Presidential Mansion, brightens the main square of Plaza de Mayo. The neoclassical structure of the Metropolitan Cathedral stands opposite the Casa Rosada. The cathedral’s foundations were built in the 16th century during the Spanish conquest, but the building’s façade was erected in the 19th century. The 3,500-pipe Walcker organ is considered the finest musical instruments of its kind and decorates the walls of the cathedral. The city is sure to captivate you, with the remainder of the day at your leisure to relish Buenos Aires at your preferred pace.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 12: Departing Buenos Aires

The aroma of rich coffee fills the Libreria El Ateneo Grand Splendid. The former theater turned bookstore/café maintains its integral structure and was once able to hold more than 1,050 audience members. Tables fill the old stage and stacks of books wrap around the former balcony. Artists set out easels on the streets of La Boca, a neighborhood known for its brightly painted corrugated homes and tango dancers performing on various street corners. The painters capture the life of the neighborhood, from the movement of visitors to the still life of a flowerpot decorating a wrought iron balcony. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to Ministro Pistarini International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Patagonia tour packagesexcluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $350 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $300 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $250 per person per day

The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers and other transportation within Chile and Argentina, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.