This is a wonderful self drive trip through Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego: it starts in Calafate and the hiking paradise of El Chaltén nearby the world famous granite Summit of the Roy and his neighbors.
Then invites the impressive world of glaciers in Calafate on Lake Argentino. Afterwards it leads through the vastness towards Tierra del Fuego, along roads lined by the so called and wind marked “flag trees”. After a stay at the end of the world, characterized by the lonely forest regions of untouched southern beech forests, we return to the continent until Punta Arenas, the capital of the Magellan region.
From here, the journey continues to the beautiful Torres del Paine National Park, a landscape of countless lakes, rivers, granite cliffs, wild animals birds. Finally we cross the Chilean-Argentine border, where we depart from Calafate airport but with the feeling of a return.
Arrival at Buenos Aires international airport and private transfer to the hotel. 1 overnight stays at city hotel.
Guided City Tour (4 hours) which is the best way to discover this huge metropolis. You will visit the most emblematic neighbourhoods, as Plaza de Mayo, Government House, Caminito Street in la Boca, The Colon theatre, 9 of July Avenue, The Obelisk, The Mayo Avenue, San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Retiro, Palermo, the cemetery and quarter of Recoleta.
Calafate – Chalten - Calafate (200 km paved)
Transfer to the domestic airport and flight to Calafate, in Southern Patagonia. Reception of a hired car at your arrival at the airport and drive along legendary Ruta 40, northwards through the vastness of the Patagonian steppes, then along Viedma lake towards the mountains up to El Chaltén. This brand new site is the starting point of all expeditions to the renowned peaks of Fitz Roy and Torre. 3 overnight stays at hotel.
Hike on your own to Laguna de los Tres, at the foot of Cerro Fitz Roy, the most famous peak of the southern -patagonian Andes. For three hours we wander through wonderful forest and mountain landscapes until we reach the base camp Rio Blanco, with Cerro Fitz Roy and neighboring granite peaks always in sight. We then set out on a continuous and steep one-hour climb up the moraine until we reach Laguna de los Tres, directly in front of Cerro Fitz Roy, a grandiose observation point of the impressive Fitz Roy.
Easy 6-7 hour hiking, which may also be interrupted after a maximum of 2 hours hiking, especially considering that from this point on hikers will be feasted with incredible panoramas of the mountains. Overnight stay same as previous day.
Hiking to Laguna Torre, at the foot of legendary Cerro Torre, one of the most demanding mountaineering targets worldwide. Its 1400m high steep walls of flat granite are proof of this, the climate being the main factor, which is why mountaineers must often wait for months before the final assault can be made. The suggested hike extends only to Laguna Torre which lies directly at the foot of the mountain. From here one has breathtaking views of a series of windswept granite needles and huge glaciers.
Easy 5-6 hour hike. This stretch may also be interrupted after 1,5 hours at a first viewing spot.
El Chaltén – Calafate (220 km paved)
In the morning, we recommend a drive along the valley of the beautiful Río de las Vueltas to the Lago del Desierto, a glacial lake on the border to Chile, there a short hike is possible along the Eastern lake shore, or a boat ride to the north end of the lake, with wonderful views on a number of hanging glaciers, which flow directly from the southern Ice Field of Patagonia into the valley.
In the afternoon drive back to Calafate. 3 overnights stay at hotel.
Calafate / Moreno Glacier
Excursion on your own to the Perito Moreno Glacier, 90 Km from Calafate. This world famous glacier is one of the great attractions of South Patagonia can offer. From terrace vantage points directly opposite the glacier face, one can observe the thundering breaking off of ice blocks crashing down into the waters of the vast Lago Argentino below. This glacier has a width of 5 km and its front is more than 60 meters high, surrounded by a forest of Lenga and Coihue (southern beech), flowers of the local fire bushes (proteaceae) and Calafate (Barberry).
El Calafate – Argentino lake
Optional: drive to the port of Puerto Bandera. Here starts a boat trip to the Upsala & Spegazzini glaciers (locally reserve upon arrival, about U$D 120/person).
El Calafate - Cerro Sombrero (450km asphalt - 7 hours including border cross)
Drive from Calafate to Río Gallegos, here south to Punta Delgada, where you take the ferry (not included in the trip rate) to Bahia Azul. The journey now leads you on the island of Tierra del Fuego continuing southwards to Cerro Sombrero. Overnight stay at hotel.
Cerro Sombrero – Onaisin – Estancia Rolito (30 km gravel, 240 km paved, about 8 hours)
Drive to Estancia Onaisín, located on Inútil Bay. Here is the only colony of king penguins outside of Antarctica. The animals can be observed at close range. Then continue across the border in San Sebastian to Argentina and on to Ruta 3 to Estancia Rolito. 1 overnight stay with half board. In the afternoon it is worth a trip to the nearby sea to cabo San Pablo, where all sorts of beach birds and marine animals can be observed.
Estancia Rolito - Ushuaia (150 km asphalt, 15 km of gravel, about 3 hours)
In the morning drive across the nice Garibaldi Pass to Ushuaia. 2 overnights stay at hotel.
Afternoon free at leisure. Take an excursion to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, where several hiking options can be made.
Optional: Boat trip along Beagle Channel to the islands of Isla de los Pájaros (cormorants) and Isla de Lobos (sea lions). On Martillo island a colony of Magellan-penguins can be seen.
Ushuaia - Tolhuin - Lago Blanco / Chile (235 km paved 175 km gravel, about 7 hours with border crossing)
Drive through secluded forest regions and pristine southern beech forests of Tierra del Fuego back to Río Grande, then westwards over the Bellavista Pass to Chile until reaching Lago Blanco. 2 overnight stays at the idyllically located but simple Hostería Las Lengas.
Free day at leisure. Several hiking options at Lake Blanco or Karukinka park, wildlife watching, or even fly fishing.
Lago Blanco - Porvenir (270 km of gravel, about 4 h)
Continue northwest on Tierra del Fuego to Camerón, here along the Strait of Magellan to Porvenir. 1 overnight at hotel.
Porvenir - Puerto Natales (140 km of gravel, 320 km of asphalt, about 7 h)
Following the Strait of Magellan again you reach Bahía Azul. Ferry ride of 20 min. to Punta Delgada. Continue along the same Magellan strait to Puerto Natales. 1 overnight stay at hotel with fjord view.
Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine (80 km paved, 90 km gravel, about 3 h)
Drive the recently opened and directly to the south entrance leading gravel road to Torres del Payne National Park. This area is the absolute culmination of what Patagonia has to offer mountain loving visitors. Beautiful mountain massifs, huge glaciers, innumerable glacier lakes in a wide variety of colors and a very rich fauna will leave one with deep impressions. Fauna: guanacos (of the llama family), foxes, ñandúes (small ostrich), black-necked swans, armadillos, skunks and throughout the mountains various bird types, e.g. condors and eagles. 2 overnights stay at hotel in the Río Serrano area, with stunning views of the entire massif.
Torres del Paine
Tour in the park to the Lago Grey. Here we recommend a 2-hour hike on the hotel upstream peninsula to the viewpoint of the Grey Glacier. Hundreds of ice bergs flow in the bay in front of the hotel.
Torres del Paine
Excursion on your own to Lago Pehoe & Salto Grande where the visitor gets the best view of Los Cuernos, then a walk along the beautiful Rio Paine to the Laguna Azul (best views of the Torres). Guanaco herds along the entire route.
Or longer hike to the base of the “Torres”, following the valley of the Ascencio river until the base camp, then a last section upwards until the lagoon located on the foot of the towers. 6-8 hours walk of intermediate level, on well marked and frequented footpaths. 1 overnight stay in the north of the park.
Torres del Paine - Calafate (50 km gravel, 280 km paved, about 7 h)
Drive crossing the border at Cerro Castillo – Cancha Carreras to Argentina, Calafate. In the afternoon car returnee at the airport and flight back to Buenos Aires. Transfer into city and 1 last overnight.
Transfer to the international airport and departure flight.
- Private transfers & city-tour in Buenos Aires with English driver-guide.
- Accommodation in mid-range hotels in double room incl. Breakfast. Half board at Estancia Rolito.
- 18 days Ford Ecosport 4×2 or similar, free mileage, permit to cross Chile, full insurance with excess in minor damage or accident up to U$D 750 or rollover up to U$D 2000, second driver.
- Gasoline, highway and parking fees, cautionary fines.
- Optional excursions, entrance fees, park fees.
- Ferry rides across the Magellan Strait.