- Hike the famed W circuit in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, trekking amid twisting peaks to the base of Las Torres’ sheer granite walls.
- Trek through Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, following trails to serene lakes at the foot of spectacular Cerro Torre and the Fitz Roy massif.
- Experience the power and magnificence of the Perito Moreno Glacier on a cruise to the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.
- Unwind in hotels and lodges tucked amid some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world.
Experience Patagonia’s pristine beauty in two national parks: the Torres del Paine in Chile and Argentina’s Los Glaciares. Set out to explore the wonders of both on foot—from the black-tipped “horns” of Cuernos del Paine to the ice-clad pinnacles of Mount Fitz Roy. Hike along sapphire-colored lakes strewn with incandescent icebergs in Torres del Paine; and in Los Glaciares, part of the third-largest ice cap in the world, walk among active glaciers that calve ice into milky lakes. Spot wildlife, from Andean condors to guanacos and eagles, and venture across the sweeping Patagonian steppe.
Arrive in Punta Arenas and transfer to your hotel in the quaint town of Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. Meet your trip leader and gather for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
Drive north into Torres del Paine National Park, where we’ll set out on a short walk across the valley. Step into Milodón Cave, where scientists have found evidence of the extinct Mylodon—an animal described as a giant ground sloth. Travel to Grey Lake in time for lunch, and settle into our lakeside hotel, ideally situated within Torres del Paine National Park.
Cross Grey Lake by boat to the foot of Grey Glacier. Trek along the lakeshore, and take in spectacular views of the unique ice formations, flanked by the dramatic Paine massif. Settle into our lodge overlooking Lake Pehoé. (7–8 miles hiking, 4 hours)
Today’s hike traverses the magnificent French Valley, a natural basin overshadowed by the black slate “horns” of the Cuernos del Paine and a highlight of the famed W circuit. Walk beneath the ice-covered slopes of Cerro Paine Grande, the highest summit in the range, and take in panoramic vistas of this extraordinary sweep of mountains. Stay in cabins tucked in beside a waterfall this evening. (14 miles hiking, 10 hours, or 7 miles hiking, 6 hours)
Follow the Paso Los Cuernos trail along the north shore of Nordenskjöld Lake, hiking at a relaxed pace between the soaring Cuernos del Paine massif and the lake’s sapphire waters. Continue to the base of the mountains and check in to our hotel. (7 miles hiking, 4–5 hours)
Rise early for an all-day hike to the base of Las Torres, where sheer walls of massive granite soar towards the sky. Trek along a path that cuts through beech forests and up the barren slopes below the towers, arriving at one of the most magnificent viewpoints in the world. Here, the towers rise majestically, and far below, the glacial lake shines a brilliant shade of blue. (11 miles hiking, 8–10 hours)
Cross the Argentine border to arrive at El Chaltén—our base camp for exploring Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and part of the third largest ice cap in the world. The next morning, walk through the Diablo River valley, on the lookout for torrent ducks, pumas, and deer. Stop at a mountain hut at the foot of the pristine Cagliero Glacier, and linger over a cup of hot soup while soaking up the dramatic view. After lunch, return along a different trail that passes the stunning Blue and Green Lagoons. (Day 7: 7 hours driving; Day 8: 10 miles hiking, 7–8 hours)
Explore the fabled Monte Fitz Roy (11,073') from a variety of angles. On the drive to the trailhead, stop at a scenic overlook for your first glimpse; then hike through a beech forest along the Blanco River. Pause at a lookout to view the Piedras Blancas Glacier, and continue to a climbing base camp where a stunning vista of the massif and its lagoon and glaciers awaits. Take your return route past the sparkling Capri Lagoon. (14 miles hiking, 8-9 hours)
Spend today tackling spectacular Cerro Torre. Ascend the trail along the Fitz Roy River canyon, and see stunning waterfalls along the way. Reach the mountain’s base camp, popular among elite climbers. Continue to Torre Lagoon, a serene glacial lake flanked by needle-like granite peaks. (11 miles hiking, 6–7 hours)
This morning, head out on foot to the Madsen House Museum—the restored historic home of the region’s Danish pioneer. Afterward we depart El Chaltén, and spend the remainder of the day exploring Argentina’s gaucho culture. Travel south across the steppe, stopping for lunch at a local estancia, or ranch, on our way to El Calafate. This evening, experience life on a working ranch at Estancia Bon Accord, where we’ll savor a private dinner complete with regional specialties and a behind-the-scenes tour led by the owner.
Embark on an unforgettable full-day cruise aboard the María Turquesa to discover the majesty of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field from the water. Step ashore for a walk with a naturalist to learn about local flora and fauna. Continue on through the Upsala Canal and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the towering Spegazzini Glacier. Take in the scenery from the ship’s upper deck as it navigates to the famed Perito Moreno Glacier, an active glacier on the southern arm of Lake Argentino. Watch the glacier calve great chunks of ice into the lake. Return to the hotel for a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.