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South America - Southern Explorer

This fantastic, privately guided trip takes you through stunning Southern Patagonia, staying in comfortable hotels along the way. You'll visit all the spectacular, iconic sights while hiking through Torres del Paine National Park, getting up close to the immense Perito Moreno Glacier, and trekking near Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in Los Glaciares National Park.

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South America - Southern Explorer

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Trip type


Trip length

10 Days




South America - Southern Explorer - 10 Days

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas

Day 2: Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine

Days 3-5: Torres del Paine

Day 6: Torres del Paine to El Calafate

Day 7: Perito Moreno Glacier

Day 8: El Chaltén

Day 9: Laguna Torre hike

Day 10: Depart from El Chaltén

Start from Punta Arenas and end at El Chaltén

Landmarks visited on South America - Southern Explorer

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas

Flying into Punta Arenas allows you a birds eye view of the famous Magellan Straits. This historically important port town boomed during the late 1800s and early 1900s due to its strategic location on the sailing route for ships navigating from the east to west coasts of the USA during the gold rush years. Many British and European immigrants made their fortunes after the introduction of sheep to the region. Starting with just 300 sheep brought in from the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), within in 20 years there were more than two million of them.

There is plenty to explore in the town in your free time, including a walk along the costenera of the famous Straits of Magellan.

A short way out of town is the Nao Victoria Musuem where a local cartographer took on the personal challenge to build a life size replica of Magellan’s ship, paying homage to the explorer’s achievements. At the outdoor museum you'll also find life sized replicas of the Ancud, (a Chilean schooner ship that sailed south through the southern fjords) and the James Caird, (the lifeboat used by Shackleton) and a replica of the Beagle, made famous by Charles Darwin.

A city tour with the Nao Victoria Museum is included.

Within the centre of the Punta Arenas there are various museums and commemorative statues dedicated to various people who have influenced the development of the city and region.

Note: Depending on flight times your Punta Arenas tour may be taken on the following morning.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Accommodation: Cabo del Hornos Hotel, or equivalent

Day 2: Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine

Today you'll head to Torres Del Paine, South America’s finest National Park and a paradise for hikers. In this area are the colossal towers and horns of granite that have given the park worldwide fame. The park is home to numerous animals, such as guanacos, condors, ñandus (South American ostrich), foxes and the elusive puma.

You'll stay at Hotel Las Torres, fantastically located inside Torres del Paine National Park and strategically placed at the entrance to world famous trekking circuits.

Each day you'll be able to choose between an active excursion, such as hiking one of the many great trails inside the park, or a lighter option opting to enjoy the park on foot, by horse or by vehicle.

Note: These activities are led by experienced local guides. There may be a boat trip on offer, weather dependent, for an additional charge.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Las Torres, or equivalent

Days 3-5: Torres del Paine

On days 3, 4 and 5 you will enjoy meals at your accommodation (or box lunches if out and about) and go out on half- or full-day excursions that you have chosen locally.

Enjoy short hikes to see its attractions such as Lake Nordenskjöld, Salto Grande waterfall, Lake Pehoé and Lake Grey. Or spend time riding with Patagonian cowboys and girls, or take a van to visit local sights.

You should also be able to see wildlife such as guanacos, Darwin rheas and condors while out and about.

For those that enjoy hiking there are some wonderful full-day hikes including the famous Las Torres (Towers) hike. This is a challenging yet immensely satisfying hike and a highlight for all confident trekkers. The Towers are the three enormous granite columns that encircle the smaller Torres Glacier.

Starting from Estancia Cerro Paine you set off toward the valley crossing on an old suspension bridge over the Ascencio River. You will begin heading up a zigzag of marked slope and sparse vegetation for an hour or so along the side of one of the mountains. The path then then flattens out as you scale the side of the valley with a great river underneath you.

Arriving at the Refugio Chileno you can buy snacks and rest for a while and use the facilities. Leaving the refugio you start climbing again for about an hour, crossing rivers and passing through a beautiful forest until you reach the foot of the moraine. The final 45 minutes are challenging as you scramble up rough paths between boulders to the base of the towers from where you have a wonderful view of the three granite pillars and the stunning emerald lake that shines below.

After resting and having lunch in this extraordinary place, you'll begin your return journey back down the mountain.

Length of hike: 8-9hrs; 20km/12.5 miles

Elevation gain: +/- 680m

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Las Torres, or equivalent

Day 6: Torres del Paine to El Calafate

Early in the morning you'll head for the border crossing and through the steppe - Argentina's biggest desert and the 8th largest desert in the world. The landscape varies with tablelands and massifs dissected by rivers, valleys and canyons. The soil is filled with rich minerals that paint the layered land with colours of red, pink orange and yellow.

As you drive across the plateau you'll pass a few small towns and will be left wondering how people can live in this environment. As you descend from the plateau, the electric blue waters of Lake Argentina can be seen in the distance. On a crystal clear day you can even make out the silhouette of Mt Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and the entire southern Andes mountain peaks on the horizon.

Arriving in El Calafate, you can feel the mix of old farm frontier town with the a modern tourism centre that delivers one of the biggest attractions in the region - Perito Moreno Glacier.

Tonight you'll enjoy dinner at a lovely Argentine steak house.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Accommodation: Los Libertadores Hotel, or equivalent

Day 7: Perito Moreno Glacier

The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of earth’s most dynamic and accessible ice fields. You'll leave early to have the area to yourselves, with plenty of time for bird and animal spotting along the way. You'll also stop at an estancia for coffee.

At Perito Moreno Glacier, you'll have time to enjoy the glacier from a series of platforms and will then take a short boat trip along the south wall of the glacier. This is a wonderful way to get close to the glacier and appreciate its daunting size and power - a true highlight of Patagonia. If you are lucky you may witness huge chunks of ice breaking free and crashing with a mighty roar into the water.

After this amazing encounter you'll visit Estancia Nibepo Aike which retains the essence of the old Patagonian ranches. It covers over 12,000 hectares at the foot of the Patagonian Andes and is dedicated to the production of cattle and sheep. It's an ideal place to learn about Patagonian life through farm demonstrations and participating in ranch activities. There is also an optional hike or horse riding on offer and before returning to El Calafate, you'll enjoy an authentic Patagonian BBQ.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Accommodation: Los Libertadores Hotel, or equivalent

Day 8: El Chaltén

On your way to El Chaltén you'll stop to discover some of the anthropology of the region. You'll explore the coast of Lake Argentino by jeep and discover caves where thousands of years ago people from the Tehuelche culture created rock paintings.

The excursion finishes at a cave where lunch is served, before you head to El Chaltén, a small town nestled quietly under the imposing peak of Mt Fitz Roy.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Accommodation: Lunajuim Hotel, or equivalent

Day 9: Laguna Torre hike

El Chaltén is known as the hiking capital of Argentina and the plan is to do the famous Laguna Torre hike. You'll enter the Fitz Roy River Valley and continue upstream – heading for its source. Here you encounter the first viewpoint - Casacada Margarita.

On a clear day, there are fantastic views of Mt Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, Cerro Solo and the Adela range. You'll continue along an undulating trail until you reach the Cerro Torre viewpoint, another opportunity to take in the Adela range and other granite spires.

You then head down to a plateau section, through a southern beech tree forest and along a trail to the glacier lagoon at the base of Cerro Torre. There are often icebergs floating in the lagoon.

Length of hike: 7-8 hours

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

Accommodation: Lunajuim Hotel, or equivalent

Day 10: Depart from El Chaltén

Today you'll depart from El Chaltén with wonderful memories and a new respect for our wonderful planet.

Meals: Breakfast

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South America - Southern Explorer trips scored 5/5 from 2 reviews

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Please get in touch to discuss your preferred departure dates and request a quote. 

Additional Notes

Single supplement: Solo travellers not wishing to share a room are charged an extra USD $1,726.


  • Meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 box lunches, 5 dinners
  • Accommodation: 9 nights in standard hotels with en suite room
  • Experienced tour guide
  • All National Park entrance fees
  • Perito Moreno glacier day trip
  • Day hikes/excursions in Torres del Paine National Park


  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

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