10-Day Best of Patagonia Trip Itinerary

This 10-day Patagonia trip itinerary focuses on highlights for first-timers, including Argentina’s Glaciar Perito Moreno, Chile’s Torres del Paine, and one of South America’s largest penguin colonies.

Day 1

Plan a morning arrival in Buenos Aires, leaving the afternoon free for sightseeing and the evening for a tango floor show.

the icy glacier of Perito Moreno in Patagonia's Parque Nactional Los Glaciares
Glaciar Perito Moreno is one of South America’s greatest sights and sounds. Photo © Renan Greinert/Dreamstime.

Days 2-3

After breakfast, fly to El Calafate (3 hours) and take an afternoon excursion to a nearby estancia for a traditional asado (barbecue). The following morning, take a full-day excursion to the groaning, deep blue Glaciar Perito Moreno.

Days 4-5

Take a scenic morning bus trip or drive to El Chaltén (3 hours), the trekking mecca of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. With an early arrival and good weather, it’ll be a swift hike to view the glaciated needle of Cerro Torre. Spend the next morning on a full-day hike to Laguna de los Tres, with stupendous views of Cerro Fitz Roy, followed by an evening return to El Calafate.

waterfalls on rocks with Mount Fitz Roy in the background of Argentinean Patagonia
Monte Fitz Roy at dusk. Photo © OST/iStock.

Days 6-8

Bus to bustling Puerto Natales (5 hours), gateway to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. Stay overnight in Natales. The next day, plan on a scenic day hike in the vicinity or in the park (2 hours north), with afternoon options for short hikes or a horseback ride. The next morning, hike the short but strenuous trail to the tarns beneath the Torres themselves. In the evening, return to Puerto Natales.

Day 9

Travel across the Magellanic steppe to Punta Arenas (3 hours), with a short detour to the Magellanic penguin colony at Pingüinera Seno Otway, or, if the timing is right, ride the afternoon ferry to the larger colony on Isla Magdalena, in the Strait of Magellan. There are also quicker Zodiac trips to Isla Magdalena.

a group of penguins on the shore of Seno Otway in Patagonia
Magellanic penguins at Pingüinera Seno Otway. Photo © vale_t/iStock.

Day 10

From Punta Arenas, a morning flight to Chile’s underrated capital, Santiago (3 hours), leaves the afternoon free for sightseeing and a seafood lunch at the Mercado Central, followed by a nighttime departure. A later departure from Punta Arenas could mean time to visit that city’s exceptional Museo Regional Salesiano and then transfer directly to the international flight home.

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