Patagonian Panorama - 12 Days
From 2022-11-15 to 2023-12-05
11 breakfasts and 3 lunches.
Airport arrival and departure transfers on day 1 and day 12.
9 nights 3 star and 2 nights 4 star hotels.
Escorted by an experienced tour leader with services of local English-speaking specialist guides.
Transportation in private vehicles, with a public bus from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales.
3 economy class flights: Santiago - Puerto Montt, Puerto Montt - Punta Arenas, El Calafate - Buenos Aires.
Guided tour of Santiago and Buenos Aires.
Full day boat excursion to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers in Torres del Paine National Park.
Full day excursion to Chiloe Island.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Santiago Tuesday. Upon arrival at Santiago Airport you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. After some free time to check-in and freshen up we then meet the rest of the group before embarking on a walking tour of the capital. This clean, modern city is home to many fountains and parks, and is well-renowned for its markets such as the famous Mercado Central, one of the best seafood markets in the world. In the Plaza Constitucion at the Palacio de la Moneda you can see the changing of the guard on most days. For the best views of the city, take a funicular railway to the top of San Cristobal where the Statue of the Virgin overlooks the capital and the distant Andes.
Day 2 - Santiago Today is free for you to independently explore Santiago at your own pace or join an optional excursion to Valaparaiso, which is a lively seaport built on a series of hills, overlooking the seaside resort of Vina del Mar. In Chile’s second city you can explore the steep, winding streets and see the brightly coloured colonial homes or take a ride in one of the wooden funiculars to one of the cliff-top communities.
Time permitting you may wish to visit one of the local vineyards situated just outside of Santiago to learn about the process of making wine and sample some Chilean favourites.
Day 3 - Puerto Varas Santiago – Puerto Varas. This morning we travel to the lakeside town of Puerto Varas in the Chilean Lake District. After a short 2-hour flight we arrive at the ‘City of Roses’ where we marvel at the two snow-capped volcanoes overlooking this picturesque town. We have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to wander along the lakeside promenade and appreciate the Chilean-German architecture and traditions that still run deep through the town or take a trip to Coastal Street to sample some amazing local delicacies.
Day 4 - Chiloe Today we visit the mystical island of Chiloe which is just a short ferry ride from the mainland but feels worlds apart. We take the ferry across to Chacao where we meet our local guide to explore the island. We visit the plaza in Chacao, taking in the traditional architecture, which includes the famous stilted houses and wooden churches the island is famous for. We then continue to the Bay of Caulin which boasts a huge array of birdlife and here we taste oysters before continuing to Ancud for lunch.
After lunch we travel through the ‘campo’ until we reach the desolate beaches on the Pacific Coast of the island, the only place in the world where Humboldt and Magallanic penguins live together. In the late afternoon we make our way back to Puerto Varas after stopping at a family farmhouse in Ancud for a traditional curanto, a local pitbake and uniquely authentic Chilote experience.
Day 5 - Puerto Natales Puerto Varas - Puerto Natales. We return to Puerto Montt for a flight to the port city of Punta Arenas, Chile’s most southerly town. The city is rich in history and culture and was once an important British-influenced trading port before the Panama Canal turned it to a back water. From here we continue by bus to Puerto Natales, the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine National Park and home to pelicans, black-necked swans and cormorants. We have the rest of the evening to walk around the town at our own leisure.
Day 6 - Torres del Paine Today we have our first of 2 full-day visits to the Torres del Paine National Park, but rather than taking the road we embark on an adventure by boat. An early morning start sees us hop aboard a ship and begin our journey cruising through the fjord of Last Hope, passing by the redundant meatpacking factories and colonies of cormorants and sea lions.
Further up the fjord we can view the vast Balmaceda glacier, before the ship docks for the walk to the Serrano glacier and the ice-carved lake below it. After the walk we continue our journey up river, this time in zodiacs. This final leg of the journey takes around 3 hours, as we zip through untouched areas of staggering beauty, past further glaciers (Tyndall, Geike) to arrive at Rio Serrano. From here we will be met by our private vehicle to explore some of the magnificent views and scenery of the park.
Day 7 - Torres del Paine Today we head back into Torres del Paine National Park for another included full day of exploration. You can spend the day following various walking trails alongside the glacial lakes and rivers, with spectacular views of tortured rock towers and 3000m needles. Aside from hiking, there is a wide variety of excursions available - including horse riding and tours of the national park by road.
Day 8 - El Calafate Puerto Natales - El Calafate (Argentina). Today we travel by coach into Argentina, across the Patagonian steppe. Keep an eye out for the spectacular views of Lago Argentino, the largest lake in the country and for guanacos, rheas and flamingos. This afternoon we reach the town of El Calafate, which is situated on the shores of the lake. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the town and there should be time to visit the Glaciarium Museum to get an insight into all things glacial or opt to sit back and relax in the ice bar on the premises.
Day 9 - El Calafate Today we visit the world famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Our morning begins with a drive through Los Glaciers National Park, along the shores of Lake Argentino until we reach Patagonia’s most famous attraction. We then have some time to walk across the wooden walk ways which lead to perfect sightseeing spots to see the front edge of the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier which is 5kms wide and towers 60 meters above the water surface.
Day 10-11 - Buenos Aires El Calafate - Buenos Aires. On day 10 we fly to the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, known as the "Paris of South America" due to its lovely green parks, plazas and wide boulevards. After checking into our hotel, we have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to do with as we wish.
The following morning we explore the lanes and boulevards on a guided city tour, taking in the quirky neighbourhoods of the city, where European and Latin American influences have blended to create a city like no other. Whether you're a culture lover, bargain hunter or night owl, Argentina's capital city has plenty to keep you entertained. Buenos Aires is the birthplace of tango and during our stay there will be an optional evening visit to one of the many nightly Tango shows.
Day 12 - Buenos Aires Saturday. Our tour comes to an end today. Transfer to the airport for your onward flight or we can book post tour accommodation if you'd like to extend your stay.
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