Patagonia Adventure Vacation: El Calafate & Puerto Natales

A 9 day trip to Argentina & Chile 
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You set the pace and choose the adventures on your custom-tailored vacation in El Calafate and Puerto Natales. Gaze upon wild guanacos as they stroll across the plains. Granite summits that resemble towers create a unique skyline. Ice fields spread across the landscape, glinting with white and blue hues underneath the drifting sunlight. Whether relaxing on the shores of a glacial lake or trekking to the base of a magnificent mountaintop, the possibilities are endless, and the scenery is filled with unparalleled allure.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

El Calafate, El Chalten, Los Glaciares National Park, Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Argentina’s Capital of Glaciers

El Calafate is enchanting. Hardwood doorframes adorn stone buildings on the main street of Avenida Libertador. The shores of Lago Argentino, the largest freshwater lake in Argentina, brush against the southern edge of town. Chocolate shops offer a sweet aroma to the air. Locals have a friendly and jovial demeanor. The main avenue resembles an alpine village in the Swiss Alps. Open pastures stretch across the landscape on the outskirts of town. Your private transfer waits for your arrival at Comandante Armando Tola International Airport. You easily settle into your comfortable hotel located near the heart of El Calafate.

The chocolate displays in the windows are enticing. The scent of pine sweeps down the streets. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the town and its surroundings. The Glaciarium is a distinctive museum that enlightens visitors to the surprisingly fascinating world of glaciers. Documentaries in English and Spanish show continental ice expeditions. The Glaciobar is a unique restaurant decorated with walls of ice. To enter the restaurant, you must first don a heavy fuzzy coat. You can see your breath when you enter the facility. Cushions spread across benches carved from ice. Bartenders serve cocktails in glasses that can also serve to chill the drinks. The atmosphere is unforgettable and a wonderful allusion to Argentina’s famous Patagonian glaciers.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: The Wonders of Glaciers

The waters of Lago Argentino shimmer with glossy turquoise hues in the morning light. The lake encompasses 566 square miles. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you onto the celebrated grounds of Los Glaciares National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage site contains the inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier. The walking trails from across Lago Argentino offer a wonderful viewing platform to take in the expanse of the glacier. The ice stretches to three miles wide and covers an area of more than 96 square miles. Rugged snowcapped mountains border the ice field. The image looks like a frozen sea nestled between powerful summits.

Your view of the glacier becomes even better when you board a cruise ship. The water of Lago Argentino is calm. The air becomes chilled from the breeze sweeping off of the ice. From the boat, you experience the true magnitude of the glacier, with an ice wall that rises to 240 feet at its highest point over the water. When a piece of ice breaks from the glacier, it tumbles into the water known as the Canal de los Témpanos, which means the Canal of Icebergs. You can see the bright blue of pure ice peeking above the water’s surface from chunks of ice having broken off of the Perito Moreno Glacier in the past.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, guided tour, accommodation

Day 3: Beyond the Glacier’s Reach

In the morning, the sunlight washes over the plains surrounding El Calafate. The chocolate from the numerous chocolate shops overtakes the pine scent emanating from the trees. After breakfast, the day is yours to enjoy the town and the beautiful landscape at your leisure. Reserva Natural Laguna Nimez is a relaxing environment away from the dramatic landscape of snowcapped peaks and sprawling glaciers. The reserve is less than one mile outside of town and contains a variety of avifauna drifting across the water’s surface. Upland geese and black-necked swans groom themselves on the shores of Lake Nimez.

In the water, you can see the pink plumage of flamingos standing out against the blue reflective color of the lake. The flamingos can grow to nearly five feet tall with a wingspan of equal length. Mountains roll along the horizon providing a perfect frame to the lake. The tranquil ambiance and a magnificent landscape combine for a serene experience. The flamingos dig into the mud with their bills in search of food. They use their webbed feet to stir the sediment of the lake. You can follow the trail back to town and relax in a cozy café sipping on fresh yerba mate tea, enjoying the calm ambiance of the afternoon.  

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 4: Alpine Villages and Mountaintops

The water of Lago Argentino laps at the shores at the southern edge of town. The immensity of Perito Moreno Glacier remains at the forefront of your mind. The beauty and raw power of nature have an unparalleled allure. The wonders of the landscape continue with your transfer to the alpine town of El Chalten, located on the banks of the Rio de las Vueltas. From town, you can see the peaks of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains soaring into the sky on the horizon.

The village sits in the valley nestled in the foothills of the surrounding rugged mountains. The streets are quiet, and you can hear the current of the river brushing against the grassy riverbanks. The northern edges of the Los Glaciares National Park border town. Sporadic clouds drift across the sky. In the distance, the clouds pass over the mountaintop of Mount Fitz Roy, making the peak look as though it were smoldering. It is easy to understand why the Tehuelche’s original name for the summit means “Smoking Mountain.”

A moderate hike up to Lake Capri is one of the most popular Argentina tours to explore in the region. The path ascends moderately outside of town and into the mountains. The river rushes alongside the trail providing an energetic sound to the air. The rail narrows inside a dense and lush forest. The lenga trees grow to a height of 100 feet with sharp toothy leaves. When the vegetation clears, the crystal waters of Lake Capri open with the massive peak of Fitz Roy in the background.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: Choosing Your Adventure

In the morning, the sun peeks over the summits of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, casting a shadow over El Chalten. You can bask in the fresh flavors of breakfast with a view out to the marvelous peaks overtaking the skyline. After your meal, the day is yours to explore the surrounding scenery at your leisure, whether it’s venturing to the viewpoints of Los Cóndores and Las Águilas or trekking across the private natural reserve of Estancia los Huemules. A full day trek takes you to Piedra del Fraile and Pollone Glacier, the campgrounds used as a departure point for trekkers who wish to traverse the Southern Ice Field. The trail takes you through the dense leaves of lenga forests. The herbaceous aroma emanates from the trees.

The trail meanders through the trees. The grass is thin and moist from the early morning mist that has now dissipated. You easily reach the campgrounds of Piedra del Fraile Refuge and continue onward. The valley floor stretches to the Continental Ice Field. The scenery changes from lush trees and dew soaked grass to rugged rock and pure ice. The northern face of Mount Fitz Roy stares down at you. A hidden lagoon provides a perfect spot to view the granite peaks of the mountain. The water mirrors the surrounding landscape. You enjoy the rare look at unadulterated nature. 

What’s Included: breakfast, guided tour, accommodation

Day 6: Discovering Choices

In the morning, locals begin to chop vegetables and prepare potatoes to let the savory flavors of carbonada, a hardy stew, simmer until it’s dinnertime. After breakfast, the day is once again yours to decide how to enjoy El Chalten and the surrounding scenery. The whitewater rapids of Rio de los Vueltas are an exciting and unique way to discover the different topographies the river have created over time. You could also indulge in another hike, taking in the endless grandeur of the hiking trails. In the morning, you can set out on the path to Huemul Glacier. The trail is named after the huemul deer, a small, cunning, and endangered animal with impressive speed.

The landscape is flat at first but soon undulates with bridges crossing rapid creeks and fallen trees. The sunlight fades behind dense forest canopies climbing upwards on the foothills. After an hour, you reach stunning indigo waters Lago del Desierto. Melting snow and rushing water have smoothed the rocks around the lake. The opulent blue color of Huemul Glacier shines underneath the spreading sunlight. The glacial like has a mirror image of the snowcapped mountains. Standing at the edge of the water allows you to take in the vastness of the glacier. When you return to El Chalten, you meet your transfer and return to the alpine streets of El Calafate for the evening. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 7: Underneath the Granite Towers

The morning in El Calafate feels familiar and comfortable. The steam rises from your yerba mate and brings a herbaceous aroma to breakfast. After your meal, your guide meets you at the hotel, ready to take you out into the wilderness of Patagonia. Embark on a 4x4 excursion to Puerto Natales, taking you through the stunning landscape of Torres del Paine National Park. You eagerly settle into the adventurous drive making your way across the Patagonian steppe that takes you from north to south.

You cross the border into Chile and continue on the grounds of the national park. Guanacos graze on the windswept plains exposing their long graceful necks to the breeze. Their fur moves with the rush of the air like the grass. The national park, established in the late 1950s, encompasses 935 square miles. Your guide leads you out of the 4x4 and along the various trails. You can hear the thunderous waters of Salto Grande waterfall.

The river wedges through a narrow passage and cascades more than 49 feet into the water below. The turquoise water reminds you of the glaciers spreading across Patagonia. You can see the peak of Paine Grande towering over the landscape at 9,461 feet above sea level. The powerful sounds of the waterfall linger in the air. The summit of Paine Grande embodies the strength of the landscape. The tranquil water of Lake Nordenskjold sits in the foreground between the various robust landmarks on either side of the shores showing the diversity of nature.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, guided tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Leisure of Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales, Chile is a bustling city with its roots set as a charming fishing village. Brightly painted corrugated homes look out over the Señoret Channel. The water quietly laps at the shores and adds another layer of brightness to the various charms of the cityscape. After breakfast, you have the entire day to enjoy the richness of life inside the town and continue to discover the lavish landscape creating the celebrated region of Patagonia. The Riesco Mountain Range rolls along the horizon pointing to the rift of the Paine Massif.

The Southern Ice Field Glaciers shimmer in the spreading morning light. A guard stands at the entrance to Mirador Cerro Dorotea. He offers you a walking stick to help with the trek ascending upwards to an atmosphere of nearly 2,000 feet. From the edge of the craggy lookout, you can see the plain stretching to turquoise shores. Mountains stretch across the horizon. The breeze sweeps over the edges of the peak with force. The trail provides a secluded setting for you to enjoy a private moment in the beauty of Patagonia.

What’s Included: breakfast, guided tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: Exhilarating Adventures

In the morning, fishing boats set out along the channel and disappear behind the bend. The cold waters of the Pacific feed the waterway. The breeze carries the scent of the sea through the town. After breakfast, you meet your transfer and make your way over the border into Argentina to return to the town of El Calafate. You have some time to enjoy the soothing aroma of chocolate shops. You can sit in a café and sip on a decadent hot chocolate or herbaceous yerba mate tea. Soon you will continue to the Comandante Armando Tola International Airport for your flight home, but for now, you can relax with the enticing scent of chocolate with the memories of your adventures in Patagonia fresh in your mind.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

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