Of earth’s 37 billion acres, very few are as stunning as those we savor on this trip into Patagonia, where the Andes explode upward into one of the world’s most spectacular mountain clusters. We start in Santiago, getting a taste of its wine region, then fly south to the iconic mountain playground of Torres del Paine. After a couple splendid days of hiking among the Torres’ icy lakes and jaw-dropping peaks, we cross the border and enjoy a day in the company of the mammoth Perito Moreno Glacier, watching it slowly calve into the turquoise Lago Argentino.
Next it’s onward by boat to Estancia Cristina, a famous old ranch found for us long ago by Patagonian sage Yvon Chouinard. Isolated, unreachable by road, a wilderness within a wilderness, the estancia is a glorious place to wander, fish, ride horses, and revel in views of the massive peaks guarding the Patagonian Ice Cap and its runaway glaciers. We wrap up our journey in the bustling Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
If you can’t imagine leaving Patagonia without seeing the remarkable, spiky Fitz Roy range, don’t miss our five-day extension. Based from El Chaltén, a charmingly scruffy town, we hike among these stupendous mountains, returning in the evening for showers and festive dinners.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1:
arrive in Santiago, drive to Casablanca Valley
- Day 2:
fly to Punta Arenas, drive to Torres del Paine
- Days 3 & 4:
Torres del Paine hiking
- Day 5:
drive to El Calafate, Perito Moreno glacier
- Days 6 & 7:
boat to Estancia Cristina, hiking and horsebacking
- Day 8:
return to El Calafate
- Day 9:
fly to Buenos Aires, depart.
Extension to El Chaltén:
- Day 8:
morning at Estancia, drive to El Chaltén and the Fitz Roys
- Days 9 & 10:
hiking among the Fitz Roys
- Day 11:
Viedma Glacier excursion, fly to Buenos Aires
- Day 12:
Buenos Aires city tour, late flights home.