The Road to Patagonia: Road Trip Argentina and Chile
Itinerary idea for a trip to Argentina and Chile in 21 days.
Explore Southern Patagonia, from Calafate’s glaciers until the remote port of Ushuaia, crossing Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Along the road, you can expect the arid steppe, snowy peaks of the Andes, some guanacos, condors and choikes running along the infinite horizon… Adventures may happen in this itinerary where rivers are crossed by boat, on the footsteps of the first peoples and settlers of Patagonia. A piece of history amid wilderness, unraveling over 1000 kilometers, for a sometimes rough (dirt and stony tracks) but always spectacular experience.
Length of stay: 21 days
Kind: Our Favourites
Countries visited: Argentina, Chile
- Day 1 : International Aiport Ezeiza
- Day 2 : Buenos Aires
- Day 3 : Encantado Valley
- Day 4 : San Martin de los Andes
- Day 5 : El Bolson
- Day 6 : Esquel - Puyuhuapi
- Day 7 : Puyuhuapi
- Day 8 : Coyhaique
- Day 9 : Puerto Tranquilo
- Day 10 : Los Antiguos
- Day 11 : Estancia La Angostura
- Day 12 : Trekking Laguna de Los Tres - El Chalten
- Day 13 : El Calafate
- Day 14 : El Calafate
- Day 15 : Torres del Paine National Park
- Day 16 : Torres del Paine National Park
- Day 17 : Puerto Natales
- Day 18 : Punta Arenas
- Day 19 : National Tierra del Fuego Park
- Day 20 : Ushuaia
- Day 21 : Buenos Aires
International Aiport Ezeiza
San Martin de los Andes
Estancia La Angostura
Laguna de los Tres, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
Hosteria Lago Grey
Torres del Paine National Park
National Tierra del Fuego Park
Your customized trip
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Day 1 : International Aiport Ezeiza
Meet your driver at Ezeiza International Airport – transfer to Buenos Aires in a private vehicle. Transfer with an English-speaking guide. Visit Buenos Aires (half day, walking tour).
Today, discover the political and historical centre of the capital . Start with the 9 de Julio Avenue , the widest in the world, dominated by the Obelisk , a symbol of Buenos Aires. You will pass the Colon Theatre , one of the jewels of the Argentine architecture, before arriving on the Capital main square, P laza de Mayo.
Your visit then takes you to San Telmo : this historical neighbourhood is a dynamic mix of tourists and locals: picturesque alleyways, old typical cafés, antique shops … This lively barrio is animated day and night – a famous flea market takes place every sunday around Dorrego square.
End your visit with the picturesque neighborhood of La Boca , with its small alley of El Caminito : painters, tango dancers and singers meet between the ancient colourful wooden houses.
Return to your hotel after the visit.
Excursion carried out with an English-speaking guide. Night at the Two Hotel in a standard room.
Day 2 : Buenos Aires
Transfer from your hotel to Buenos Aires Domestic Airport in a private vehicle. Domestic flight Buenos Aires*- Bariloche.
*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Rental Car at your disposal, 4×4 category such as Amarok (Wolkswagen) or similar. GPS included Canvas cover included Pick up you rental car at the airport Cross-border authorization to be presented at the Argentina – Chile border included Suggested itinerary : explore the natural surroundings.
This 65km route skirts the Nahuel Huapi Lake and drives through important landmarks, such as El Trebol Lagoon, Moreno West and East Lake… Stop along several panoramic points along the road to watch the wonderful views. In front of Pañuelo Port, the luxurious Hotel Llao Llao and San Eduardo Chapel benefit from an incredible location. Stop by Cerro Campanario : take a chairlift to the top to admire one of Bariloche’s best view over the lakes and summits. End your excursion with a nice walk in the woods of the Municipal Llao Llao Reserve – and try to spot the intense red crest of the local woodpeckers! Night at the Peninsula Petit Hotel in a standard room .
Day 3 : Encantado Valley
You are off to a great day across the Lake District and the Patagonian Steppe.
Skirt the Nahuel Huapi Lake and cross the Limay River: the landscapes become drier, the green and blue are now scattered among the yellow and ocre tones. Stop by the Anfiteatro , overviewing the Limay river – its emerald waters are a highspot for flyfishers. Keep driving – you now enter the Enchanted Valley, characterized by its rosy, weirdly-shaped stones eroded by thousands of years in the wind, rain and ice…
At Confluencia, take a winding track of 67 km through Cordoba Pass – follow the river until Meliquina (we recommend to lunch there).
The road crosses sculpted mountains with extraordinary shapes, inside the immensity of the Patagonian Steppe – you reach your final destination in the afternoon: San Martin de Los Andes, small town by the Lacar Lake. Have a walk and relax after your busy day.
Note: 160 km/ 3-4 hours drive. Night at Le Chatelet Hotel in standard room.
Day 4 : San Martin de los Andes
Leave San Martin and the Lacar Lake following the mythical Road 40 from lake to lake: Meliquina, Hermoso, Falkner, Villarino… The blue and green waters contrast sharply against the dry peaks.
The road now reaches coihues woods. From Portezuelo, you can watch the Correntoso (Thunderous) and Espejo (Mirror) lakes.
You reach Villa La Angostura – visit this nice little village, its wooden cafés, white sandy beaches… Excellent icecreams and cakes are found in the teahouses.
Skirt the Nahuel Huapi Lake again – after 20km, you will see Bariloche across the lake.
200 km, about 3h40 drive. Night at the Hosteria Costas Del Nahuel in a lake view room.
Day 5 : El Bolson
You leave this morning for Esquel, heading South, skirting Gutierrez and Mascardi lakes.
You cross the small town El Bolson. This village was the refuge of the hippies in the 1960s and was declared an ecological municipality and non-nuclear area.
You continue South and then through Route 71 to reach the Los Alerces National Park, certainly one of the most famous in Patagonia, which will enchant you with its landscapes and its ancient trees.
You reach mid- afternoon the city of Esquel, which was founded by Welsh people, located between the Andes and the Patagonian Steppe. Night at the Hosteria Futalaufquen in a standard room.
Day 6 : Esquel - Puyuhuapi
Cross the border to Chile and start driving on the famous Carretera Austral (Southern Road).
Before the border, you will drive across the small town of Trevelin, Argentina’s first Welsh colony.
On the Chilean side, you leave Futaleufu to follow the road
unwinding through the Andes valleys.
The thick forest along the road is almost tropical. Head south until you reach Puyuhuapi.
270 km – aprox. 5h30 drive.
Night at the Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa ****
Day 7 : Puyuhuapi
Suggested itinerary: Keep driving further south through Queulat Park, Padre Garcia and the National Reserve Lago Las Torres. The Carretera Austral turns east to enter the green valley of Coyhaique, one of the mayor agriculture centers in Chile, renowned for its gastronomy and, of course, its wines. Night in Coyhaique. Night at the Nomades Hotel Boutique ****
Day 8 : Coyhaique
Suggested itinerary :
Arrival at Coyhaique airport, the capital of the region where you pick up your car rental. You’re now in the region of the Carretera Austral . You are surrounded by national parks and reserves, fjords and mountains. Head south to cross the Cerro Castillo National Reserve. Then you will reach the Laguna Verde and Laguna Cofré before arriving at the lake General Carrera, one of the largest in South America. Suggested itinerary: Possibility in the afternoon to reach Puerto Tranquilo. Boat-trip (optional) to visit the Marble Chapel (Capillas de marmol), marble blocks that fell from the cliff. Boat-trip to discover those marble tunnel under the cliff, on a turquoise water. Note: possibility to replace the boat-trip by a very easy kayak trip. Check with us for schedules. Night at El Puesto Hostel ***.
Day 9 : Puerto Tranquilo
Suggested itinerary: Drive along Lake General Carrera for a while before reaching Puerto Guadal, a small, isolated village by the lake. On the other side is Argentinia and the lake has a different name: Lake Buenos Aires. Arrival on the banks of the lake. Enjoy the place and the amazing view on Lake and Mount San Valentin. Suggestion:
You leave from Chile Chico to join Los Antiguos at the Argentina border.
Day 10 : Los Antiguos
Discover the Cuevas de las Manos along the Pinturas River: this archeological site was declared world heritage by the Unesco. Pre-Tehuelche cultures have pictured hunting and immortalized their handprints on its walls. A free guided tour can be joined everyday (ask your hotel for availability).
After the visit, continue your journey until Estancia La Angostura where you spend the night. Night at the Estancia La Angostura in a standard room.
Day 11 : Estancia La Angostura
As you drive through the endless horizon of the steppe, keep an eye open for the ñandus and guanacos running and feeding in the grass.
Skirt the Viedma lake until granite peaks appear in front of you: the famous Mount Fitz Roy and Torre are unveiled. Hiking – 1 hour – Elevation +100m – Low Intensity
Trek up to Los Condores and Las Aguilas viewing points.
This is the shortest hike from El Chaltén, that enables you to reach a viewpoint with exceptional panoramic views over the Adela, Torre and Fitz Roy, and the Río de las Vueltas valley.
Leaving El Chaltén, cross the town access bridge over the Fitz Roy River and continue along the road until you reach the National Park Visitors’ Centre where the trail begins. From there, this well signed trail ascends until you get to a viewpoint where condors are regularly spotted in their frequent glide to and from the Río Fitz Roy valley.
The trail to Las Águilas viewpoint begins at a bifurcation situated a few minutes before reaching Los Cóndores viewpoint. A 15-minutes walk takes you to the natural balcony with panoramic views over the steppe. Night at the Hosteria Confin Patagonico in a standard room.
Day 12 : Trekking Laguna de Los Tres - El Chalten
Hiking – 6 hours – Elevation +926m / -948m- Moderate Intensity
Trek up to the Laguna de los Tres.
You are walking by yourself (maps are available at the entrance of the Park and trails are well marked).
The walk starts along a beautiful trail in the forest, on the West slope of the Polo mount, to get to a slight ascent to the Poincenot basecamp. Amazing views throughout the hike over the Blanco River valley, the Piedras Blancas glacier and its lagoon…
The climb to the Laguna de los Tres starts at Poincenot and is hard, but the reward is well worth it: you are as close as one can get to the mountains.
Lunch in front of the Fitz Roy by the spectacular Sucia lagoon.
You return through the beautiful Capri lagoon. Night at the Hosteria Confin Patagonico in a standard room.
Day 13 : El Calafate
Follow the mythical Road 40 from El Chalten to El Calafate. Suggested itinerary
Visit the Perito Moreno glacier.
Drive to the Perito Moreno Glacier located 80 km from El Calafate. In this exceptional natural environment, many gateways offer panoramic views of the glacier dominating the surrounding lenga beech forest. Walk on the foot bridges and try to spot the ice blocks detaching from the glacier. Short navigations can be booked (aprox 45 to 1 hour) to get closer to the iced walls.
Drive back to El Calafate. Night at the Los Canelos hotel in a standard room.
Day 14 : El Calafate
Around 7:30 am, undertake the 40km journey to Punta Bandera, where you will embark for a day-long navigation. The boat takes you to the northern arm of Lake Argentino, watching the Spegazzini and Upsala glaciers, entering the bays and navigating between the icebergs floating about 20 km from the Upsala glacier.
Return to Punta Banderas and then to El Calafate.
Duration of the navigation: 5 hours on 250 passengers boats.
Cruise not included. Night at the Los Canelos hotel in a standard room.
Day 15 : Torres del Paine National Park
This morning, leave El Calafate to travel to Puerto Natales in Chile.
You cross the Patagonian steppe and estancias.
After a two and a half hour drive, you reach Cancha Carrera – fill inthe border crossing paperworks and controls.
Enjoy the Andean mountain range with the snow capped peaks and glaciers as you enter Torres del Paine National Park.
Night at the Hosteria Lago Grey 4* in upgrade room lake view.
Day 16 : Torres del Paine National Park
Suggested Itinerary :
Today you explore the legendary Torres del Paine national Park.
From East to West, the park offers an astonoshing diversity of natural landscapes and surprising colours: deep green plains, multiple lakes going from light turquoise to dark blue, and of course the unreachable pikes of the Paine mountain range . Wild animals are at home here, it is not rare to meet guanacos, huemuls or condors along the way. Suggested itinerary: Drive from Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales. Night at the hotel Martin Gusinde **** in standard room.
Day 17 : Puerto Natales
Suggested itinerary : You will drive to Punta Arenas crossing the Patagonian Pampa. On the way, you may see the local fauna (ñandus, guanacos…). Night in the hotel Carpa Manzano **, Superior room.
Day 18 : Punta Arenas
A long day awaits you to reach the very end of the continent and Ushuaïa in Argentina. On the way, you can make a few stops to observe the wildlife: guanacos, nandous, hares, wild geese, ibis, condors and numerous birds. You leave the glacier region to reach the Strait of Magellan driving through the Patagonian immensity. Gradually, you will see the softened reliefs of the Andes appear again. You’re leaving the fjords region: the steppe is drier and drier as you approach the Strait’s area. Before reaching your accommodation, stop in a semi-abandoned estancia (the first estancia, established in 1876). You will discover ship wrecks on the edge of the Strait. A half-hour ferry ride is necessary to cross the Strait of Magellan, before reaching Tierra del Fuego (boats are often delayed). Night in a hostel after crossing the Argentinian border.
Day 19 : National Tierra del Fuego Park
Full day in the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Located only 11 km away from Ushuaia, and next to the border with Chile, its 63.000 hectares are filled with numerous lakes, lagoons and rivers. Leave the city passing by the slope of the Susana Mount, where you can find the Southern Fuegian Railway.
Continue through the Pipo River Valley until Ensenada Bay, where you will contemplate the Redonda and Estorbo Islands, and the snow-white Mountains of the Sampaio Chain (Chile) across the Beagle Channel, .
Continue to the Roca Lake and Lapataia River, before reaching the other the other side of the Park where Road 3 ends, at Lapataia Bay. You can admire the views over the Green Lagoon and the Black Lagoon. Pass the beaver dams, whose footpath will lead to Lapataia Bay.
Drive back to Ushuaia.
Note: entrance to be paid on site.
Wear warm and windproof clothing for this outdoors excursion. Night at the Hosteria Patagonia Jarke in a standard room.
Day 20 : Ushuaia
2 hours before your flight, check out and transfer to Ushuaia Airport. Domestic flight Ushuaia – Buenos Aires*.
*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Transfer from Buenos Aires domestic airport to your hotel in a private vehicle. Tango Dinner Show
In El Querandí , enjoy an authentic and traditional tango show accompanied by a delicious dinner, in the intimate and exclusive atmosphere of the early twentieth century (1920s building entirely renovated). Round trip to the restaurant. Night at the Two Hotel in a standard room.