This 8-day Chile and Argentina Patagonia adventure tour incorporates the highlights of Santiago de Chile with a self-drive adventure from Punta Arenas south to Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park and beyond to El Calafate through the jaw dropping scenery of Patagonia. Whilst all your excursions and transfers in Santiago are on a private basis with a private guide, your road trip is not, allowing you to create your own adventure at your own pace and schedule for a unique Patagonia experience.
Santiago de Chile
Your adventure begins with a tour of the historical and modern sights of Santiago de Chile. Start at the main avenue, the Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, and head to La Moneda, the Government Palace. Walk through the pedestrian streets of Huérfanos and Ahumada, and visit the famous main square of the city, the Plaza de Armas, and the Metropolitan Cathedral.
From there, continue to Santa Lucia hill, which is a great vantage point for viewing the city. Stroll around the cultural and artistic neighborhood of Bellavista, and take the aerial tramway to San Cristóbal Hill for panoramic views of the city. Finally, visit Providencia with its top restaurants, elegant shops, and modern high-rise buildings.
Fly south and explore the cultural and natural wonders of Punta Arenas, one of the most southerly cities on the continent. Before beginning your road trip, why not stay a while and see a variety of monuments and points of interest including the main square, the navy and maritime museum, the famous Roca Street, the Nao Victoria Museum, the Patagonian Institute, and of course the city’s coastline.
Torres del Paine National Park
Your main destination is Torres del Paine National Park. Located right in the south of Patagonia near the town of Puerto Natales, it delivers stunning scenery characterized by rushing rivers, ancient forests and glaciers, jagged peaks, freezing glacial lakes, waterfalls and wild windswept scrublands.
Along the way, be sure to stop at the Mylodon Cave, a large, impressive cave system where the well-preserved fossils of a giant 12,000-year-old ground sloth were discovered. Relax at the Pampa Lodge on the shores of the picturesque Serrano River, which marks the entrance to the Park. The hiking trails in Torres del Paine are without a doubt the most famous in Patagonia.
Cross the border into the Argentinian Pampa, stopping along the way for anything that takes your interest. Then indulge in some pampering at the Imago Hotel and Spa, which overlooks Argentino Lake, close to the glistening (and moving!) Perito Moreno Glacier.
Upon returning to Puerto Natales in Chile, spend your last night at the award-winning NOI Indigo Patagonia to take in the neighboring Ultima Esperanza waterways and glacial lakes of the region, before heading back to the airport at Punta Arenas past the unforgettable peaks of Torres del Paine for one last time.
Itinerary & Prices
Arrival & City Tour
Upon arrival in Chile, you will be picked up at the airport and taken on today’s excursion, we explore the historical and modern sights of Santiago de Chile. We start our trip at the main avenue, the Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, and head to La Moneda, the Government Palace, where we will learn about the historical and contemporary role it plays in Chilean life.
From there we take a walk through the pedestrian streets of Huérfanos and Ahumada, where the main commercial activity of the city is concentrated. Afterward, we visit the famous main square of the city, the Plaza de Armas, around which are several important historical buildings, including the Metropolitan Cathedral. From there we continue our trip on to Santa Lucia hill, the mount upon which the Spanish founded Santiago in 1541. It is a lone steep rock, covered in vegetation and a great vantage point for viewing the city.
Moving on, we cross the Mapocho River to get to Bellavista, the cultural and artistic neighborhood of Santiago and home to many artists, actors, and young bohemian people. Bellavista lies at the foot of the San Cristóbal Hill, the highest in town, and is situated in the middle of the Metropolitan Park. We venture up the hill to explore the surrounding areas all the while enjoying beautiful panoramic views of the city. Finally, we visit Providencia with its top restaurants, elegant shops, and modern high-rise buildings. After this amazing tour, we will call it a day and return to the hotel.
Drive to Puerto Natales
Today you are picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for a flight to Punta Arenas.
Upon arrival, you pick up your 4 X 4 Toyota 4 Runner or similar (SUV urban 4×4) at the airport or downtown to begin your epic cross-country journey through Chile. One of the most unique and adventurous ways to see the country, travel at your own pace and schedule, stopping whenever you want when you see something that takes your fancy or piques your interest. We provide a roadmap that highlights all the best things to see, prepare all your permissions in advance for entry into Argentina and cover all airport charges for the seven days.
You’ll begin in Punta Arenas and today drive on to Puerto Natales, a distance of some 250km or 155 miles.
Take some time to explore the cultural and natural wonders of this region, known as the entrance to the Antarctic continent. On your trip, you may learn about the history of Punta Arenas and visit a variety of monuments and points of interest including the main square, the navy and maritime museum, the famous Roca Street, the Nao Victoria Museum, the Patagonian Institute, and of course the city’s coastline. Located on the edge of the Strait of Magellan this metropolis is full of quaint charm and offers visitors a different perspective of life in Chile.
A Drive Through Patagonia
Today you will head to the Torres del Paine National Park, a distance of 150km or just under a hundred miles. Torres del Paine is an official National Park of Chile and the area encompasses mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The Cordillera del Paine, a range of rugged mountain peaks that stretch out into the crisp cool air is the centerpiece of the park. It lies in a transition area between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steppes and is located 112 km (70 mi) north of Puerto Natales.
Along the way, be sure to visit the Mylodon Cave, home to a giant ground sloth some 12,000 years ago and an incredibly impressive cave which since then has acted as home to Mylodon until about 5,000 years ago subsequently other animals, such as the “Dwarf Horse” Hippidion, the saber-toothed cat Smilodon and the litoptern Macrauchenia. Human remains have also been found there confirming that humans also used it as a house as well. Afterwards, continue on to the Torres del Paine National Park where you will be welcomed by the spectacular sights of gigantic granite towers and impressive mountain peaks.
Today you take a rest from driving and settle in at the Pampa lodge. Located near Rio Serrano, one of the smallest “towns” in the world – it consists of the lodge and a few small houses – we find ourselves right on the shores of the picturesque Serrano river which marks the entrance to the park. Pampa Lodge is a simple and yet cozy alternative for people wanting to enjoy amazing views of the Paine Horns and it offers unrivaled locations for those wanting to get the best views of the Torres del Paine National Park. From the lodge, you have access to the park trails and some of the most striking scenery for many a mile.
We recommend spending the evening in this beautiful and wondrous area, relaxing after a meal and enjoying the sparkling clean air and dead silence you can only find in such parts of the world.
Towards El Calafate, Argentina
Today you’ll head towards the border with Argentina and embark upon a drive from Torres del Paine to El Calafate, a distance of 287 km or 178 miles. This drive via the border crossing at Cerro Castillo should take you around four and a half hours without hurrying.
The process is quite straightforward on both sides of the border as all the paperwork you need in terms of the car is pre-prepared for you and the crossing takes only a few moments. Once you clear customs on both sides, you are free to drive into the Argentinian Pampa to your final destination of the Imago Hotel and Spa, stopping along the way for anything that takes your interest.
Glaciers and Spas
Spend the day in and around the Imago Hotel and Spa for a bit of relaxing and pampering. The Imago Hotel and Spa offers fantastic gourmet food and all the luxurious areas you would expect in a top-of-the-range spa, in fact, the spa even offers a seven-day program of spa treatments so you won’t be short of things to choose from.
The rooms overlook the lake and are a short distance from the Perito Moreno Glacier, a glacier which is considered something of a phenomenon, in which its great mass of ice continuously advances, causing the accumulation, rupture, and detachment of gigantic blocks of ice on its 5 km wide front. The glacier is located on the Canal de Los Témpanos; where the numerous ice fragments of the glacier sail and the wall of ice reaches as high as 60 meters above the water.
Return to Puerto Natales
Today you’ll make the return drive from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. Once again you’ll cross the border, and have all of this prepared for you so this is a painless procedure. Traffic at the border crossing is at a peak during the high season from October to March, but this shouldn’t delay you on your journey at all.
We arrive at the beautiful Noi Indigo hotel located at the “end of the world”, but more specifically between the wonderful Patagonian landscapes on one side and the great sea of Puerto Natales on the other. NOI Indigo Patagonia combines the warmth and personal service of a lodge with the facilities of a modern hotel. With an award-winning design inspired by the natural beauty of Patagonia, this hotel is an ideal place for exploring Torres del Paine National Park, the Ultima Esperanza waterways, and glacial lakes in the region.
Punta Arenas & Home
Today you bid farewell to this beautiful part of the world and make the scenic return journey between Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.
Once you arrive at the airport, make sure you leave the vehicle, and all of the documentation of your car at the appropriate desk. Airlines require 1 ½ hours arrival prior to flight departing time for checking in and baggage drop.