Patagonia Travel - some example Itineraries
We get lots of questions along the lines of "I've got 2 weeks to see Patagonia - what should I do?"
As a rule of thumb we tend to recommend that you allow 1 week to explore each area and get in and out. This is because each of these areas has so much to offer and Patagonia is a vast place in which the Andes mountain range, an international border and the Magellan Straits make travelling from A to B challenging.
You can see more info on which areas to visit on our page about Places to Go in Patagonia, but here we'll make some suggestions for what you might do with 2, 3 or 4 weeks, dpending on the kind of thing you are in to. If you'd like help planning your trip to Patagonia then please check out our Itinerary Planning service.
2 weeks in Patagonia
For hard-core trekkers and adventure lovers
1. Paine Circuit + Kayaking
Tackling the Full Circuit of Torres del Paine normally takes around 8 days and takes you into the more remote northern part of this incredible National Park. Top off this wonderful experience with a 2-3 day kayaking trip out of the park to join the Last Hope Sound (while everyone else takes the bus back!).
or 2. Trekking on the Patagonian IceCap
If you're fit and have some experience of multi day trekking in the mountains (and ideally snow and ice) then the IceCap represents the ultimate Patagonian Experience. Expeditions last from 10 days, with at least 3 days spent on the ice. This is the 3rd largest mass of ice on the planet and a true wilderness experience. You'll have time to celebrate with some great Argentinian steak and wine in El Chalten afterwards.
For photographers and glacier hunters
Torres del Paine, Perito Moreno Glacier and Mount FitzRoy
In 2 weeks you'll have time to visit 3 of Patagonia's most dramatic landscapes: on the W Circuit you'll witness the 1,000m granite towers of Torres del Paine, and some of its unique wildlife, then across the Argentine border Perito Moreno is one of the world's most dramatic glaciers (and one of the few that is still advancing), and Cerro FitzRoy and Cerro Torre are iconic peaks on the edge of the Patagonian IceCap.
For World Travellers
Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra del Fuego
For some the mystical lure of Tierra del Fuego is too much to miss. In 2 weeks you could fly into Argentina to visit the Perito Moreno glacier, cross the border to Chile's Torres del Paine National Park and then cruise down the Magellan Straits and glacier filled fjords to Cape Horn, finishing your trip in the Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city.
For Off the Beaten Track Explorers
The Aisen Region or Chubut Valley, and Torres del Paine
It would a real shame to miss the incredible spectacle that is the Torres del Paine National Park, but if you want to combine this with something a bit different and, in your 2nd week, visit parts of Patagonia that few others have visited then you should consider the Aisen region of Chile or the Chubut valley of Argentina.
Longer trips to Patagonia
3 weeks in Patagonia
In 3 weeks you'll be able to spend decent time in 3 different areas, and probably combine some extended trekking or kayaking/horseriding with something more relaxing.
For example you might spend some time in the Lake District of the North (on either the Chilean or Argentinian side), perhaps basing yourself out of an authentic Estancia or Wilderness Lodge. Here you could enjoy some hiking, kayaking, horseriding or even white-water rafting. Then you could head down to visit Torres del Paine for either the W Circuit (4-5 days) or the Full Circuit (8-9 days), and then head further south to Tierra del Fuego.
Or maybe you're looking for the big adventure: 3 weeks allows enough time for mountaineers to acclimatise for an ascent of Aconcauga, one of the '7 summits'; or to set out on a major expedition onto the Patagonian IceCap, perhaps scaling one of its peaks.
For example see this map of a 3 week Patagonia Holiday itinerary prepared for one of our clients.
4 weeks in Patagonia
So you've managed to find 4 weeks to get away - you're very lucky. In this time you'll be able to explore the huge variety of landscapes and environments that Patagonia has to offer: glaciers and fjords of the south, its verdant lakes and volcanoes of the north, its welsh heritage, its varied wildlife, and the arid steppe and canyon country of the west. In addition to the spectacular hiking we'd also recommend a few days in an authentic estancia and some time aboard a boat amongst Pataonia's fjords and waterways. A road trip down the Carretera Austral or Ruta 40 might be a good way to move between regions.
But I've only got a week!
OK, if you've only got a week, and you're into your hiking, then I think Torres del Paine is the one for you. The W Circuit takes 4 whole days and you'll need a day either side to travel across the wilds of Pataognia to get there. 7 days in/out from the nearest airport at Punta Arenas is definitely do-able.
Not into your hiking, but still want to see iconic Patagonia? Then how about a cruise down the Magellan Straits to Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego, or drive down the infamous Carretera Austral or Ruta 40.
How can we help you?
We are Patagonian specialists, and have helped all sorts of different people arrange their perfect adventure holiday in Patagonia. Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure we're here to help you.
- Join a group trek or tour
- Plan an independent day by day itinerary
- Organise your group's trek, expedition or multi-sport adventure
- Tailor-made luxury holidays
Find out how we can help you >>
When are you
thinking of going?
See Patagonia at the height of the season, when you'll have 18 hours of daylight and feel Patagonia's infamous wind at its strongest. There are just so many options open to you in addition to hiking, why not try glacier trekking, mountain biking and white water rafting on the rapids of the Futaleufu River?
If you want to visit last minute, the key is moving quickly and booking your flights. Availability in Chalten shouldn't be too difficult but in Torres del Paine it's likely that refugios will be fully booked. Don't worry though, it's warm enough to camp under the stars. If you're still in the planning stages of your trip but hope to go this season, it's a good idea to get flights booked as early as possible and make the most of Patagonia's summer before autumn sets in April.
February is a great time to trek Patagonia's national parks, in particular Torres del Paine quietens down as Chilean visitors head back to their cities. In Feb you can expect temperatures of between 5 and 19 degrees in Torres del Paine, and this could be a good time to trek the W Circuit independently if you want to save some money to go kayaking for example.
If you want to go in February but you've left it last minute, you may be able to find a late deal on our Exclusive Deals page. Your best bet is finding a Patagonia Tours which tend to have lots of departure dates to join during February.
If you're considering visiting next season, (starting in October), why not getting your flights booked good and early? If you're lucky you may be able to get flights from London to Punta Arenas for £850.
March is the tail end of the season for adventure in Patagonia so the infamous Patagonian wind will be on its way out, there'll be fewer people in the national parks so generally quieter on the trails. This is great as you may find prices come down slightly as the locals and tourists leave, but it's more difficult to get a group together, so could be harder if you're travelling alone (although we'll strive to pair you up with someone). However, most longer, multi-location trips run by our global operator partners still run in March and they tend to have bigger groups, but prepare for rain if your trip visits the lake district!
In April the season is coming to an end, so try to get there in the first half of the month for more availability and better weather conditions. If you're hoping to stay in the Eco Camp in Torres del Paine or do an adventure cruise round Cape Horn, they finish for the season in early April, so get going! Luckily it's about this time that skiing in Bariloche becomes available in the Argentinian Lake District. Remember that many mountain lodges and estancias close around this time making it hard to do the W or Full Circuit for example. Plus certain services become unavailable such as the catamaran across Lago Pehoe in Torres del Paine and glacier hiking, so it may be a good idea to go earlier in the season if these are on your list of things to do.
Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>
Winter is getting into full swing now so you may want to try out volcano skiing in the Patagonian Lake District or tailor made tours that take into account the potentially difficult weather conditions. As many operators and lodges wind down for the winter, fewer travellers visit the trails and parks so private departures on most trips are likely. The weather will be a bit like trekking in wales in Dec, are you up for that challenge?
Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>
At this time of year, the snow is starting to settle in Torres del Paine National Park and the trees are brown and orange, a very beautiful time to see the highlights. June is also when operators launch their Winter W Circuit and Fitz Roy trips, which vary from the usual itineraries as many refugios are closed and van transfers are required because the catamaran across Lago Pehoe stops. Although days are short and weather temperamental, if you can see Patagonia in winter, it will be serene and picturesque.
Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>
Mid winter, July is equivalent to our January in terms of weather. This is a great time to take advantage of the skiing Patagonia has to offer, particularly in the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts. Araucania offers off piste skiing, whereas Bariloche is home to the popular Cerro Catedral Resort but also caters for off piste skiing. For adrenaline junkies, you can ski down the slopes of several volcanoes on certain trips. If you're planning a trip for next season, start looking at flights as the sooner you book them, the cheaper they are.
If you hope to visit Torres del Paine this month, find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>
This is a great time for snow shoeing in Bariloche, or skiing in the Patagonian Lake District. There are also some winter trips in the Torres del Paine & Fitz Roy areas. Come prepared - cold temperatures, snow and short days means that your trip may not go 100% according to plan, Chalten is known for snow blocking the roads for a day or 2. Alternatively, August is a great time to plan and book trips for the early part of the season ahead, at this time operators will be starting to release availability and rates to help with that.
August is the last month to take advantage of specially designed winter trips in Torres del Paine. If you're keen to see the park covered in snow, find out more about hiking in Torres del Paine in winter >>
In September, it's still pretty chilly in Patagonia, with snow and temperatures of 5 degrees in El Calafate for example. If you're hoping to trek the main national parks, you may find that operators don't have any groups heading out, so you may have to go on a private trip with just your guide. The season really kicks off at the end of September/beginning of October with W Circuit and Full Circuit trips as well as estancias and lodges opening their doors to clients.
However, winter trips are still running in Torres del Paine. Find out more here >>
Get in before the crowds - you won't see many people on the W Circuit and you'll have the northern part of the park pretty much to yourself on the Full Circuit (you may even come face to face with the endangered Huemul deer). It's still a bit too early for horse riding and rafting trips, you're best off doing these from November onwards. So if you're thinking about visiting Patagonia this season, get your flights and trips booked, as availability really starts to tighten up over October/November.
November is a good time to visit: late spring/early summer. Not too busy but a full range of trips and itineraries to choose from. If you want to visit this month, you need to move fast. Refugios are getting booked up until January, but the operator will work hard to fit you in. Don't forget it takes at least a week to organise a tour, so don't leave it too late!
Mid summer, 18 hours of daylight and there will probably be days when you're hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Many Chileans and Argentinians will come down to Patagonia for their Christmas break so availability may be tight and you should expect the National Parks to be busier.
It's essential that you get your flights and tours booked asap, as flight prices are also increasing.
Guide to Patagonia
Patagonia spans over 1,000 miles north to south and landscapes ranging from forests, to glaciers, to volcanoes and deserts. Read our Patagonia Guide to find out: how to get there, when to go, what to see and how to find the best trip. Or find out about:
We help people organise adventure travel holidays in Patagonia, just Patagonia. Our exclusive focus on this incredible corner of world means that we've got the knowledge and the relationships to find just the right trip for everyone that we speak to. Patagonia is a vast region with all sorts of possibilities and we take real pleasure in helping people find the best adventure for their experience, dates, budget and appetite for adventure.