Central and South America

PATAGONIA ITINERARY MADE SIMPLE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Patagonia is one of those locations where most people say “I didn’t even know that was a real place, I thought it was just a brand.” But, it is actually a real place in South America and I had the opportunity to visit it! 

This is now number 1 on my list of most favorite and beautiful places I’ve ever visited in the world. So, I wanted to share my Patagonia itinerary with you.

South America sunrise in Patagonia

I also want to make a disclaimer that I went to Patagonia on a group trip hosted by Brooke Wilson and this entire itinerary was created by Trova Trip. However, you could take this Patagonia itinerary and tweak it or rent your own car and book your own transportation. 

You can find my thoughts on Trova Trip and what it is like to go on a group trip at the end of this article!

In this Patagonia itinerary, I will also give you some fun stories about my time and adventure getting to Patagonia itself. 

I visited Patagonia from February 29th-March 8th! This Patagonia itinerary is going to be packed full so that you can see the iconic places in one trip. 

So, let’s get started! 

Where is Patagonia?

As previously stated, most people don’t even know Patagonia is an actual place. I figured a little geography lesson would help prior to going over the Patagonia itinerary. 

Did you know that Patagonia covers over 400,00 square miles and actually is located in two different countries? Patagonia is actually located in both Argentina and Chile.  That is insane to me!  

Patagonia is all about the outdoors, so prior to reading this article, do know that it is heavily weighted on hiking and exploring the beautiful landscape. 

Make sure to check out my article on visiting Patagonia for detailed information on when the best time to visit is, what to pack, and how long to visit for. 

Day 1 and part of Day 2: Travel Day

This is going to be your travel day. Most likely, wherever you are coming from you will have to take a long flight with some layovers to get to Patagonia. 

Let’s talk about how to get there! 

Travel day to Patagonia
Packing guide to Patagonia

It is possible to get to this region by bus from the main airport areas like Chile or Argentina, but this would take a while. So, I recommend that you actually book your flight to El Calafate, Argentina. 

Here is what my Patagonia flight itinerary looked like: 

I left Los Angeles airport on February 29th

Had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia

From Atlanta I flew to Buenos Aires 

From Buenos Aires to El Calafate 

Arrived in El Calafate on March 1st

Wanna hear about my experience flying to Patagonia? Check out how insane this story is! 

*Be aware that when you book your flight to El Calafate there is sometimes an airport change in El Calafate. Yes, a complete change of airports. So, make sure to check your itinerary when booking your flight. 

I had to change airports on the way home unexpectedly and it was very stressful, confusing, and expensive. 

Day 2: Arrive in El Calafate

You have just arrived.

You probably are going to need a little bit of a time to acclimate to the time change, so this day will be relaxed and easy-going.

Transfer from the airport to the Koi Aiken Inn El Calafate. This transfer was arranged for us because of the group trip. 

Driving in El Calafate

You can use this link to set up a transfer from the airport to El Calafate.

After you settle into your room (maybe take a little nap) plan to head out on a little walk.

Our group did the Laguna Nimez Walk. It is an easy walk and takes about 1-2 hours. 

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    If you are looking to do something slightly different than a walk some other options would be renting a bike and cycling to Punta Walichu which is a cave or check out Glaciarium. 

    The Glaciarium even has an ice bar in the downstairs area. 

    After you enjoy a nice afternoon in the cute down of El Calafate head back and get ready for some dinner. 

    Our group ate at the Casimiro Bigua on the first night. Some other recommend options for dinner are Pura Vida, Parilla Don Pichan, and La Zorra Taproom.

    Time to head to bed! The next days will be long but fun 🙂

    *Disclaimer I actually missed the first day of this trip due to my flight problems, but I saw photos from other group members and everything looked beautiful. Plus we stayed in El Calafate our last night as well! 

    Day 3: Transfer to El Chalten

    Wake up and eat a continental breakfast from the Koi Aiken, pack your stuff up and head out on a 3-hour bus ride to El Chalten. 

    Once you arrive in El Chalten, you can check-in at your hotel or hostel. We stayed at the Pudu Lodge. 

    Once you settle your stuff in you should do one of the more popular hikes in El Chalten called the Condores y Aguilas Trek. It is an easy hike that is about 3.5 miles long and takes about 2-3 hours. 

    Patagonia Itinerary for 10 days

    Enjoy the rest of your night in El Chalten relaxing, grabbing a good meal, and fueling up for tomorrow’s big hike. Lamb is super popular in Patagonia. 

    Popular spots to eat at are the La Ruca Mahuida, La Cerveceria, and B&B beers and burgers. 

    Day 4: Lagunas De Los Tres Trek 

    This is one of your big hiking days and one of the most popular hikes and “Instagram worthy” photo spots in Patagonia. 

    Wake up and enjoy some breakfast! Fuel up for a long day! Make sure to pack a lunch and snacks as well for the day if you are not going with a tour company that provides this for you. 

    Trek to Mount Fitz Roy
    The top of Fitz Roy

    Head to the trailhead of the Laguna De Los Tres trek. It is about a 20-minute drive from where we stayed. Plan to hike to Mount Fitz Roy. This is a difficult hike-especially for the last two miles. It is 14 miles long and takes around 7-9 hours. 

    *Tip: Make sure to check the weather prior to heading out. Patagonia’s weather is always changing! 

    Views from my day hike to Fitz ROy

    You can do this hike on your own, go on a group trip like I did or book a guided tour as well. Whatever you prefer! There is an option for you!

    We got back late this night after the hike. Our feet and bodies were exhausted. To be honest, I can’t remember what we got for food that night, but I want to say we got pizza. 

    Day 5: Head to Puerto Natales 

    This is a day to relax and re-coop from your long day. You will be crossing the border from Argentina into Chile and heading to Puerto Natales. Your ride will take about 6-7 hours. So, plan to sleep, eat, get some work done, edit photos. Whatever you need to do this travel day. 

    Also, this morning a few of us woke up for sunrise and grabbed some coffee from the cutest little coffee stand called Primos. 

    The best coffee in El Calafate

    Puerto Natales is a cute little town located on the water and is the closest hub to visiting the Torres Del Paine National Park. 

    Once you arrive, enjoy your afternoon visiting the cute shops Puerto Natales has to offer. Also, make sure to take a stroll along the water. Watching the sunset from the water is a beautiful scene. 

    We stayed overnight at the cutest hostel called Hostal Don Guillermo. I would highly recommend staying here! It is right in the middle of the town and is in easy walking distance to everything. 

    Puerto Natales hostel in South America

    Popular spots to eat at include: El Asador Patagonico, Lenga, and La Mesita Grande. 

    *Puerto Natales is an expensive town FYI. Also, if you did not bring trekking poles and plan to trek then there are plenty of spots in town that will rent out poles. 

    Day 6: Hike the Base De Las Torres Trek 

    This is the most famous day hike in Torres Del Paine, also otherwise known as Mirador Las Torres. Check out this article for a full detailed guide on how to do this hike on your own.

    There is a popular trek that people do in Patagonia called the W that takes a few days, but for this Patagonia itinerary, we will only be doing this one day hike. 

    If you are coming from Puerto Natales, plan for it to take around two hours to drive to the Torres Del Paine National Park. You will have to pay an entrance fee to get into the park once you arrive. 

    Day Hike to Mirador Las Torres
    trek up to the peak

    This is another long hiking day! So, again fuel up and make sure to bring lunch and snacks! The hike is around 13 miles roundtrip, it is considered to be a moderate hike, but I personally thought it was difficult. Plan for it to take 6-8 hours. 

    You will feel exhausted after this day as it is a long hike, so grab some grub and have another relaxing night in Puerto Natales. 

    Day 7: Explore Torres Del Paine National Park 

    This day is another travel day with a stop through the Torres Del Paine National Park. Check out of your hotel and start to say goodbye to Chile as you head back towards El Calafate.

    Torres Del Paine national park waterfall

    We had a complete guided tour for this day, which I would highly recommend; however, you can also do a self-guided tour. Here is a great guided tour option.

    There are soooo many beautiful places to see and visit in the National Park itself. Here is a guide on the 12 best days hikes within the park

    But honestly, just driving through this park you will be stunned. One of my favorite stops we made was to see the Salto Grande Waterfall. 

    After you make your way through the National Park you will finish your drive back to El Calafate. We stayed at the Koi Aiken Inn again. 

    Day 8: Perito Moreno Glacier 

    This is another breathtaking day. If you are going to visit Patagonia then I highly recommend you take a day to see this glacier. It is about a one hour drive from El Calafate. 

    You can book a guided tour to see the Perito Moreno Glacier! There are a few ways to see it.

    Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia

    You can view it from the viewing area, take a boat tour, or walk on the glacier itself.

    We hiked on the glacier and then went to the viewing area and I highly recommend doing both. Unfortunately, the weather did not work in our favor this day and it rained and was freezing while we were hiking the glacier, but it was still worth it!

    Day 9 and Day 10: Head Home

    Wow! You have just had a whirlwind of a week and now it is time to head home. Make sure to plan your travels accordingly and beware of the two different airports in El Calafate. 

    Have a safe and restful trip home!

    Thoughts on going on a group trip

    Planning a trip to Patagonia seemed very daunting and overwhelming to me, and that says a lot because I am a HUGE trip planner. I even love planning trips for other people. Most of the time I usually recommend doing a self-guided trip/vacation, but for this scenario, I honestly recommend going through a company.

    I have only used a company one other time, in Peru, and that was because it was required to use a tour guide company in order to hike the trail to Machu Picchu

    Ultimate Patagonia itinerary

    I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with 20 other people I would never have known before. I did not go with my husband, but instead, I went as a solo traveler and met up with everyone in Patagonia. Now I have 20 new friends from all over the world!

    I would say there were two downfalls to going with a group organization. The group did seem a little large which made it difficult to connect with everyone. 12-15 people would have been better. 

    Secondly, there was a lot of travel time. I think the trip maybe could have been organized differently to create less time in the bus, but overall that created for a great time to bond. 

    Finally, I wish the trip was longer for the sake of being able to see more for how far I traveled. However, I could not get that much time off work anyway, so it fit what I needed. 

    Final Thoughts from your outdoor loving girl 

    Alright guys! I hope this article helped! This is just a sample Patagonia itinerary to help get you started with your trip. As always, let me know if you have any questions on any part of this itinerary! 

    Hike on!

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    PATAGONIA ITINERARY MADE SIMPLE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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