Day 1 - Santiago
Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL).
Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Santiago before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Santiago.
In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel.
Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel
Happy House Hostel
Tel - +56 2 2688 4849
Freely explore the streets and plazas of Santiago, visit some of its fascinating museums, and discover its incredible culture, music, and art : Free
Learn more about Santiago and its history on a free walking tour of the centre from a knowledgeable local guide : Free
Take in the breathtaking vista of the city skyline backdropped by the mighty Andes, from the viewpoints at Cerro San Cristobal or Cerro San Lucia : Free
Discover all of Santiago's sights on a hop-on/ hop-off bus around the city : CLP 21000
Chile's capital, Santiago, is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city, wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks, and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline. Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There are plenty of interesting museums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s history, to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristóbal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia. As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want to head out to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brazil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here. If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city. Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it is relatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valparaíso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.
Day 2 - Pucon
Today we leave Santiago for a full day drive south to the beautiful Lake District of Chile and the lakeside town of Pucón.
In Pucón we will stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alps or New Zealand have to offer! Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and camping. The attractive small town of Pucón is located at the heart of the Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano - a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some fantastic self guided walks. Alternatively Pucón offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain-biking opportunities. For those who would prefer to relax, there are also some great thermal springs nearby - the natural pools at Pozones have a beautiful setting and are a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening!
Day 3-4 - Pucon
We will have two free days in Pucón to enjoy a range of optional activities, including a sunrise expedition to climb the Villarica volcano which looms over Pucón, heading out horse riding through the surrounding forests, or an evening visit to the nearby natural hot springs.
Trek up to the summit of the snowcapped volcano Villarica to witness the incredible sunrise views over Pucón and the Chilean Lake District : CLP 50000
Discover the beautiful lakes and forests of Pucón on a horse riding trip : CLP 20000
Relax in the soothing waters of the Pozones natural hot springs : CLP 10000
Explore the stunning views and hiking trails of the nearby Huerquehue National Park : CLP 22000
Learn all about Pucón and the history of its people on a free walking tour of the town : Free
Explore the spectacular Lake District near Pucón by mountain bike : CLP 8000
Head on an exciting white-water rafting trip on the rapids of the Trancura River near Pucón : USD 45
Take part in a fantastic canyoning expedition through the gorges of the Chilean Lake District near Pucón : CLP 20000
Day 5 - Bariloche
Border information: Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal.
Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route).
In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a friendly family-run hostel outside of town.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding Andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a magical place to explore and take in all the amazing views. In winter, the town is a popular centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat trip across to Victoria Island. Bariloche itself is also an interesting place to wander around. The town is famous for its handmade chocolates, and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops. Because of it's popularity with Argentinians as well as international tourists, the town has a lively bar and restaurant scene with some great places to choose from. This is a particularly good place to sample some world-class Argentinian steak, and wild boar and Patagonian lamb is also worth a try here too!
Day 6 - Bariloche
Today will be a free day to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak, boat, or even a historic steam train!
Explore the beautiful scenery of Bariloche by horseback on a riding trip through the area : ARS 450
Discover the incredible scenery of the Nauhel Huapi Lake and the Victoria Islands on a boat trip from Bariloche : ARS 150
Hire mountain bikes to explore the forests and hills surrounding Lake Nauhel Huapi and Bariloche : ARS 180
Visit the interesting Fenoglio Chocolate Museum in Bariloche, and learn all about the town's tradition of chocolate making : ARS 50
Explore the nearby Lago Gutierrez and take in its amazing views from the water on a half-day tandem kayaking trip : ARS 200
Freely explore the best viewpoints around Bariloche and some of the locals' favourite spots, such as the summit of Cerro Campanario, the beautiful beach of Playa Bonita, and the delightful waterfalls of Los Duendes : Free
Take a stunning journey on the historic steam train between Bariloche and Perito Moreno Los Juncos, taking in the amazing scenery of the Patagonian steppe : USD 50
Day 7 - Futaleufu
Border Information: Exit Argentina at Rio Futaleufú, enter Chile at Rio Futaleufú.
Today we cross back into Chile and drive to the rafting mecca of Futaleufú. From this point we will join the famous Carretera Austral, probably one of the most stunning roads in South America, surrounded in gorgeous mountain and forest scenery. Please note that the road from here to El Chaltén is rough and mostly unpaved meaning that the going is slow.
In Futaleufú we stay in a local campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Futaleufú is a serene frontier town in the northern part of Chilean Patagonia - its name comes from the swirling river that passes by the town, which means "Big River" in the Mapuche language. The town is becoming increasingly popular with travellers through Patagonia due to its wonderful scenery and outdoor activities in the area.
Day 8 - Puyuhuapi
Today we will leave Futaleufú and drive through the Chilean fjords to Queluat National Park. If time allows there is an optional walk to see the incredible hanging Colgante Glacier.
Tonight we will camp at a basic campsite near Puyuhuapi.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Visit the stunning Queulat National Park, and take a trek through the 'Enchanted Forest' to view the magnificent Colgante Hanging Glacier : Included in Kitty.
About Carretera Austral:
The Carretera Austral (meaning Southern Highway) is a fantastic route that passes between Puerto Montt and Coyhaique, through vast tracts of untouched wilderness, past soaring snow-capped mountains, glaciers, glass-green fjords and staggering, beautiful valleys. This is Chile at its best and is a perfect area to explore by overland vehicle, driving through magnificent scenery in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
About Puyuhuapi and Queulat National Park:
Puyuhuapi is a small village in Chilean Patagonia along the Carretera Austral, and is the gateway to the Queulat National Park. The National Park is dominated by the Patagonian Andes, and it covers a large section of the Puyuhuapi Volcanic Group south of Lake Risopatrón. There are two small ice fields in the National Park with glaciers of up to 12kms long, including the centrepiece Queulat Hanging Glacier, which spills out over the edge of a cliff and has a waterfall of melt water pouring from its base. The park is also full of temperate rain forest comprising mainly of coihue and tepa trees, and has a large variety of birds such as the Magellanic woodpecker.
Day 9 - Cerro Castillo National Reserve
Today is another drive day south through the magnificent Chilean scenery to the beautiful area of Cerro Castillo National Reserve.
In Cerro Castillo we will camp in a lovely family-run campsite with basic facilities.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
About Cerro Castillo National Reserve:
The Cerro Castillo National Reserve is a nature reserve near the southern section of the Carretera Austral, famous for its rugged landscapes centred around the photogenic rocky mountain of Cerro Castillo. There are abundant lenga tree forests and several mammals in the area such as South Andean deers and guanacos, and birds including Austral parakeets and Andean condors.
Day 10 - Bajo Caracoles
Border Information: Exit Chile at Huemules, enter Argentina at Huemules.
Today we will cross into Argentina's Patagonia region and continue our journey south along the famous Ruta 40 (Route 40).
Tonight we will wild camp somewhere in the Rio Pinturas area.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
About Argentinian Patagonia:
Patagonia is the name of the region in the far south of South America, the southernmost stretch of the Andes and the surrounding plains and plateaus. The area is split down the middle by the Andes, with Chilean Patagonia on the west, and Argentinian Patagonia on the east. Renowned for its desolate landscapes, unrelenting winds and magnificent lake, mountain and glacial scenery, the name Patagonia comes from the word "Patagon", used by the explorer Magellan to describe the local people who he believed to be giants. Today historians believe that the Patagons were actually Teheulches, with an average height of about 1.8m as opposed to the average height of a Spaniard at the time of 1.55m! Argentinian Patagonia includes the spectacular national parks of Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego, home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Argentinian Lake District and the Fitz Roy range.
Day 11-13 - El Chalten
Today we will drive into the heart of the Patagonia region and reach the tiny town of El Chaltén, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities.
In El Chaltén we stay in dorm beds in a hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
About El Chaltén:
El Chaltén is small remote Patagonian town nestled under the shadow of the iconic Mt. Fitz Roy. The town itself has an interesting origin - the area was disputed between Argentina and Chile for a number of years, so the Argentinians thought they would settle the argument by hastily building the town of El Chaltén in 1985 to claim the territory! The name of Chaltén comes from the Tehuelche word for 'smoky mountain', so called as the early morning clouds gathering around Fitz Roy look remarkably like volcanic smoke. However, the town has grown immensely in recent years and decades, becoming a major centre for adventure tourism in Argentina. It is a fantastic base from which to explore the northern sections of the incredible Los Glaciares National Park, and is home to many adventure tour operators offering outdoor activities in the area.
Day 14 - El Calafate
Today we have a short drive to El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier.
In El Calafate we stay in dorm beds in a lovely hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.
About El Calafate:
El Calafate is a small town on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in Patagonia. Originally a sheep station and trading outpost, today the town has developed a bustling atmosphere and an ever-growing tourist trade. Interestingly the town takes its name from the Calafate berry, and locals claim that if you eat one of these and make a wish, you are guaranteed to return to Patagonia. Most people base themselves here to visit the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, located a short distance away at the southern reaches of the Los Glaciares National Park - the glacier is one of the most famous and spectacular glaciers to be seen anywhere in the world. The Perito Moreno Glacier is approximately 30kms long from where it spills out of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, and 5kms wide at its terminus, where it has a ice face that is on average 170m high (with about 70m of which is above the surface of the lake). Visitors can view the glacier from an incredible viewpoint only a few hundred metres away from its face, where if you're lucky you'll see some of the ice face carve off into the lake under the pressure of all the ice behind it! It is also possible to take a boat trip to get extremely close, or embark on a challenging ice-climbing expedition on the glacier itself.
Day 15 - El Calafate / Perito Moreno Glacier
Today we will head out on an included full day guided visit to view the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia.
See the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier from the most breathtaking and photogenic viewpoints on a guided day tour from El Calafate : Included in Kitty
Get even closer to the impressive glacier of Perito Moreno with a boat trip in front of its mighty face : ARS 200
Learn all about glaciers at the fantastic modern Glaciarium Museum in El Calafate, and visit its cool ice bar in the basement! : ARS 200
Explore the Perito Moreno glacier on an incredible full day expedition, trekking through the forests and onto the glacier itself using crampons (please note that this is an alternative to the regular tour as there will not be enough time for both - however you will stop at the main viewpoint on your way back to El Calafate at the end of the excursion) : ARS 1200
Day 16 - Torres del Paine National Park
Border information: Exit Argentina at Cerro Castillo and enter Chile at Cerro Castillo.
Today we will drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and the main highlight of the trip for many of our passengers and leaders! We will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up our local guides and cook who will accompany us during our time in the National Park.
Tonight we will camp at Las Torres Campsite, a stunning campsite inside the National Park with incredible views of the eastern side of the main mountain ranges which we will refer to as our 'base campsite'.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
Entrance into the phenomenal Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile, an area of some of the most outstanding natural beauty, breathtaking mountain vistas, and idyllic trekking opportunities in the world : Included in Kitty
About Torres Del Paine National Park:
Torres del Paine National Park contains what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. Rising up high above the Patagonian steppe are the three impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by high plateaus and towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande. The park is a magical natural wonderland full of deep lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it is also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including guanacos, pumas, flamingos and condors. The best way to explore the National Park is definitely to get out on foot - the region is criss-crossed by a good network of trails, making it possible for you to see all the main sights either by doing a series of day hikes or embarking on a multi-day walk such as the famous W-walk, stopping off at the park's Refugios or camping along the way. Horse riding and kayaking can also be arranged locally, and boats and catamarans offer trips across Lago Grey and Lago Pehoé in season.
Day 17 - Torres Del Paine National Park
Dragoman offers two options for your time in Torres Del Paine National Park:
- Option 1 - Base Package - included on all trips our trips as standard is a guided trek on our first day to the stunning three peaks viewpoint, followed by three free days to enjoy the National Park and take part in optional activities.
- Option 2 - Full W-Walk - optional upgrade to embark on the full W-Walk with a local guide. Places at the campsites are limited by the National Park, so it is important to pre-book this option with your sales agent before your trip as it is not possible to book on arrival.
Today we will all have an included guided trek from our base campsite to the breathtaking viewpoint of the famous three peaks which give the National Park its name. After taking in this incredible view, we will trek back to our base campsite for the night.
Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.
Base package Guided 'base package' to trek part of the famous W-walk - included is the trek to the towers of Torres del Paine with an expert local guide, and accommodation, food and a cook at Las Torres Campsite : Included in Kitty.
W-walk extension The extension package is to include the entire of the famous W-walk in Torres del Paine - included are two extra nights camping on the trail with facilities, food for the duration of the trek, and the service of an expert English speaking local guide : GBP 160.
Please note that this package must be prebooked in advance through your sales agent. Please book as early as possible to ensure availability and avoid disappointment! For further information on the W-walk please refer to the detailed trip notes.
Day 18 - Torres Del Paine National Park
Base package group: Today is a free day for those that have not booked the optional W-walk extension package. There are many short walks and other fantastic optional activities available near our base campsite, or alternatively it's a great day simply relax and enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite.
W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional W-walk extension, you will leave our base campsite today to continue your guided trek along the edge of Lago Nordenskjöld to Los Cuernos Campsite where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 11 km, estimated time: 5 hrs.
Take in the stunning views of Torres del Paine on a horse riding trip through the National Park : CLP 30000
Head out on a fantastic boat trip on the Grey Lake to get up close to the colossal Grey Glacier : CLP 55000
Day 19 - Torres Del Paine National Park
Base package group: Today is another free day for optional activities for those that have not booked the optional W-walk extension package.
W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional W-walk extension, you will leave Los Cuernos and trek up the French Valley with your local guide. From here you will continue trekking to Paine Grande Campsite where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 27 km, estimated duration: 11 hrs.
Day 20 - Torres Del Paine National Park
Today is our last full day in this beautiful National Park.
Base package group: Today is another free day for those that have not booked the optional W-walk extension package.
W-walk extension group: If you have chosen the optional W-walk extension, today will be the last day of the W-walk. You will trek with your local guide along the edge of Lago Grey to an excellent viewpoint over the spectacular Grey Glacier. You will then trek back to Paine Grande and board the catamaran across the Lago Pehoé, where you'll be met by our Dragoman truck and driven back to our base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 22 km, estimated duration: 8 hrs.
Day 21 - San Sebastian
Today we will have a full day drive south to cross the Magellan Straits over to the island of Tierra del Fuego.
Tonight we will wild camp somewhere on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
About Tierra Del Fuego:
Tierra del Fuego (meaning "Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Strait. The island gets its name from the fires of the Selknam tribe that originally lived here, which Magellan and his sailors observed from their boats on their first travels through the area - unfortunately the Selknam and Yaghan tribes that originally inhabited the island are all but extinct after conflict with European settlers that arrived in the 19th Century. The island is split in half with a straight north-south line between Argentina and Chile, with the Argentinian half containing the island's largest settlement, Ushuaia. The island of Tierra del Fuego is Patagonia at its most remote and desolate, with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. On the Chilean half of the island lies Inútil Bay, a remote bay that is home to the only colony of King Penguins that exists outside of Antarctica!
Day 22 - Ushuaia
Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San Sebastian.
Today we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world!
In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Ushuaia is a port town that lies at the south of Tierra del Fuego on the Argentinian side - it is often known as "the city at the end of the world", as it is the world's most southern city (the Chilean town of Puerto Williams is slightly further south but is much smaller than Ushuaia). Ushuaia itself is low lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel. Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a British-funded mission in the late 1800s and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a small sleepy town has grown rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here. There's plenty to do in Ushuaia and the surrounding area. The town itself is home to an interesting museum where you can learn more about the history of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and the indigenous people who originally lived here. The surrounding scenery is also impressive, so it's worth getting out on a boat-trip into the Beagle Channel, which will give you some great views of town with the Martial mountain range in the background. You can also explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, another beautiful spot with some spectacular lake and mountain scenery.
Day 23 - Ushuaia / Tierra Del Fuego
Border information: if you are finishing in Ushuaia, you will most likely exit Argentina at Ushuaia Malvinas Argentinas International Airport (IATA code: USH).
Today is a free day in the wonderful remote town of Ushuaia, with options such as a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park, boat trips to see the scenery and wildlife of the Beagle Channel, or heading out horse riding along the coast for those with more time here.
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ushuaia. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales Team if you would like to arrange some extra nights of accommodation here after your trip.
Take a boat trip out on the famous Beagle Channel to view the native sea lions and birds : ARS 650
Explore the haunting beauty of Tierra del Fuego National Park and wander its atmospheric walking trails on a day tour from Ushuaia : ARS 500
Head out to the impressive Martial Glacier near Ushuaia, taking in the beautiful scenery of the Darwin Mountains and the Beagle Channel : USD 25
Delve into Ushuaia's past and learn about its maritime tradition and former prison colony at the Maritime Museum : ARS 150
Take a journey along the Rio Pipo on the 'Train to the End of the World', once built by prisoners at Ushuaia's old penal colony : USD 30
Explore the excellent trails around the hills and forests of Ushuaia by hiring a mountain bike : ARS 150
Discover the beautiful scenery of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel on a horse riding trip to the nearby Susana's Mountain viewpoint : ARS 1100
Enjoy an active day out in Tierra del Fuego National Park with a 7-kilometre trek to the scenic Lago Roca followed by a canoeing trip down the Lapataia River : ARS 1500
Learn all about Tierra del Fuego's history and nature at the 'Museum of the End of the World' in Ushuaia : ARS 90
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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