Travel Guide

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Patagonia (Argentina & Chile) - Best Itinerary in 2024

Located in the southern region of South America, Patagonia is one of the most dramatic and mesmerizing places I’ve adventured to. Spanning across Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is world-famous for its breathtaking landscape and epic hiking, making Patagonia the ultimate adventure travel destination!

Patagonia had been on my travel bucket list for YEARS…so in 2024, my family and I finally pulled the plug and decided to make this trip a reality! With so many incredible places to explore in both Argentina and Chile, we decided to spend 2 weeks in Patagonia from mid-March to early April 2024. From backpacking the famous W-Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park (in Chile) to day hiking to Mount Fitz Roy and ice trekking Perito Moreno Glacier (in Argentina), I got a taste of the best that Patagonia has to offer. 

Although it was overwhelming, we planned this trip to Patagonia ourselves instead of booking it through a travel company. It took us 6 months to plan this trip in its entirety, but we freaking did it! It’s completely doable to plan your own Patagonia trip, but figuring out where to stay, top things to do, and how to get around can be complicated, making it hard to figure out where to even start in your trip planning process.

To help you plan your dream trip to Patagonia, I’m sharing my detailed Argentina and Chile Patagonia itinerary. In this ultimate Patagonia itinerary, you’ll find:

  • The best way to visit Patagonia
  • Must-see places in both Argentina and Chile
  • How long to stay in each destination
  • How to get around and travel inside Patagonia 
  • Accommodations I stayed at during my trip
  • Patagonia travel tips

2024 Patagonia Itinerary: Chile & Argentina

Download my free Patagonia itinerary & packing list!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Itinerary Overview: 2 Weeks in Patagonia Argentina and Chile

Because it depends on how much time you have, what you want to see, and how you want to explore, everyone’s itinerary to Patagonia will be different. But here’s some context on how I created my Patagonia itinerary.

Detailed itinerary for Patagonia -  how to spend 2 weeks

How much time do I need to visit Patagonia?

There are an overwhelming number of breathtaking places to see and epic trails to hike in in the Patagonia region. To make the most of your trip, I recommend a minimum of 7 days to explore the best parts of Patagonia.

As an avid hiker with a long list of trails to hike in Patagonia, I needed 2 weeks to adventure through the best parts of Chile and Argentina. Not only did I want to backpack the famous W-Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, but I also wanted to explore and day hike to the tallest peak in El Chalten, Argentina - Mount Fitz Roy.

But if you don’t plan on doing much hiking but want to experience the Patagonia region in both Chile and Argentina, you can visit the best of Patagonia in 7 days by tailoring this itinerary to your needs!

Is Patagonia better in Chile or Argentina?

Deciding on how much time you need to visit Patagonia will also depend on how much of the region you want to explore. Because Patagonia is a massive region, spanning across Chile and Argentina, there’s so much to do and see. 

Because I wanted to be able to experience the magic of both Chile Patagonia and Argentina Patagonia, I was fortunate enough to plan a longer trip. And let me tell you - the Patagonia experience in Chile is completely different than in Argentina!

As breathtakingly dramatic and mesmerizing as the landscape is in Patagonia in Chile, I preferred visiting Patagonia in Argentina:

  • Chile - although I visited Patagonia in the shoulder season, I found that Patagonia in Chile was still incredibly busy and crowded, especially in Torres del Paine National Park. 
  • Argentina - In contrast, my experience hiking and adventuring in Patagonia in Argentina was much more intimate and quiet. The atmosphere seemed much more relaxed and less commercialized, which is my preferred way to travel

If you only have 7 days to visit Patagonia, pick either Chile or Argentina to travel to that offers the experiences you are looking for. Both countries will be such a dream trip if you’re looking to adventure in the world-famous Patagonia region!

Orange leaves with an amazing view of Mount Fitz Roy and a river in Patagonia
We caught an amazing view of Mount Fitz Roy in the Patagonia region in Argentina as the beatiful fall foliage started coming to life at the end of March 2024.

How expensive is it to travel to Patagonia?

A trip to Patagonia can get expensive, due to the logistical complexity of getting, the different accommodation types, and various tour options…but it doesn’t have to be! As you know, I’m all about balling on a budget!

My goal for this trip was to travel cheaper in Patagonia without compromising my experience. This is why this itinerary incorporates:

  • affordable Patagonia accommodations (like hostels and campsites)
  • public transportation
  • self-guided Patagonia adventures

Do I need a car to get around in Patagonia?

You do not need to have a car to get around in Patagonia. We traveled through Patagonia in Chile and Argentina by bus, which was easy and affordable (more bus information below)!

However, if you prefer to travel by car or road trip the famous Carretera Austral in Chile, you can rent a car in Patagonia. I’ve seen a few car rental companies in the major Patagonia towns I stayed in (Puerto Natales and El Calafate). Below are a few car rental companies in Patagonia (this is not an extensive list). 

Where to rent a car in Patagonia:

Renting a car in Patagonia may be cheaper than riding the bus if you have a group of 4 people or more, want to do a road trip, or travel on your own timetable. 

What do I need to pack for Patagonia?

Here is a detailed packing list of everything you need to bring for Patagonia, including clothing, footwear, hiking and camping gear, and travel supplies. This Patagonia packing list is based on what I packed for my trip to Patagonia in March 2024. Since I was traveling with just my 45-liter backpack, I brought just the essentials! Your packing list may look different depending on the time of year you will be visiting Patagonia!

Patagonia Map: Chile and Argentina Itinerary

A map of Patagonia that shows the cities we visited on our Patagonia itinerary
A map of my Patagonia itinerary, starting and ending the trip in Santiago, Chile

Day 1-2: Puerto Natales, Chile (2 nights)

If visiting and hiking the famous Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is on your bucket list, you’ll need to make your way to Puerto Natales, Chile. 

Only a 2-hour bus ride away, Puerto Natales is the closest town to the Torres del Paine and the major gateway city to this iconic national park in Patagonia. This super cute, tiny tourist town is where you’ll be able to stock up on supplies and rent outdoor gear before you head into Torres del Paine National Park.

Day 1: Travel to Puerto Natales

Getting to Puerto Natales will depend on where you are coming from. To start my trip, I flew into Santiago, the capital of Chile. 

The fastest and easiest way to get to Puerto Natales is to fly. The flight from Santiago to Puerto Natales is 3 hours 30 minutes, with two airlines that operate this trip (Sky Airlines and LATAM Airlines). Since there are not many flights offered each day, I recommend booking flights in advance. 

To get from Santiago to Puerto Natales, I booked a flight with Sky Airlines for $107 (one-way with a checked bag). 

How do you get from the Puerto Natales Airport to town?

Once you land in Puerto Natales, it’s easy to get from the airport to the main part of town in Puerto Natales. The cheapest way to get from the airport to Puerto Natales is to book a shared shuttle once you land. You’ll share this shuttle with other travelers and the shuttle will drop off passengers at their specific hostel or destination. Located by the baggage carousel and airport exit are kiosks where you can book your shared shuttle. One kiosk charges $5 per person (or 4,000 CLP per person) for a shuttle ride while the other charges 8,000 CLP for a shuttle ride for your entire group (regardless of group size).  

Flights from Santiago, Chile to Puerto Natales:

  • Origin: Santiago, Chile (airport code: SCL)
  • Destination: Puerto Natales, Chile (airport code: PNT)
  • Flight duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Airlines: Sky Airlines, LATAM Airlines

Day 2: Day in Puerto Natales

I spent the day exploring this cute town by walking through the different shops and cafes, trying all the different types of alfajores, empanadas, and desserts I could get my hands on! 

I also used this rest day to get all of the camping food and backpacking supplies I needed to hike the W-Trek over the next 5 days in Torres del Paine National Park. There are several grocery stores with various snacks, food, and supplies for your visit to Torres del Paine. 

If you’re looking for a beautiful view at sunset, head towards the waterfront for beautiful views of the mountains! 

Places to Stay in Puerto Natales

In Puerto Natales, we stayed at Hostel El Patagonico for $62/night for a double room. I don’t have enough words to describe how much I loved my stay here. The centralized location was perfect, with just a 10-minute walk to the bus station and close to a variety of restaurants and grocery stores. But what made this hostel worth the value was how incredible the staff was in helping with booking taxis, storing our luggage while we backpacked in Torres del Paine, and creating a relaxed environment.

a beautiful orange and blue sunset with Patagonian mountains in the background by the waterfront in Puerto Natales
Sunset was poppin' by the waterfront in Puerto Natales, Chile!

Day 3-7: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile (4 nights)

Torres del Paine Overview

  • Entrance fee: $32 - $47
  • Season: open year-round
  • Activities: hiking, backpacking, camping, glamping, boating, sightseeing
  • Amenities: campsites, refugios, hotels, restaurants, bars, markets, bathrooms
  • Closest town: Puerto Natales, Chile
  • How to get there: driving (rental car, bus, taxi)

Torres del Paine National Park in Chile packs a massive punch when it comes to seeing the best of Patagonia and should not be missed! Famous for its dramatic and diverse landscape, adventurers from all over the world come to Torres del Paine. As Chile’s most famous national park, Torres del Paine covers almost 700 square miles (1,810 square kilometers) and has massive granite spires towering nearly 9,200 feet, some of the bluest glacial lakes, and giant, captivating glaciers. There’s so much to do and see in this part of Patagonia. 

Although it’s open year-round, the best time to visit and hike in Torres del Paine is during Patagonia’s summer and fall months (November - March). We visited at the end of the season (end of March to early April) where the daytime temperature was perfect for hiking (40𝇈F - 55𝇈F) and nighttime temperatures were comfortable for camping (mid to high 30𝇈F). The winds were incredibly strong during some days with overcast weather, but we got extremely lucky and didn’t even have a single day of rain! Even though we visited at the end of the Torres del Paine season, I felt like the trails and refugios were still quite crowded…I can’t even imagine how packed the park can get during the high-travel season!

*Note: If you only have 5-7 days to visit Patagonia, I highly recommend spending your time adventuring in Torres del Paine for a life-changing experience. You can use this section of the itinerary to help you plan your trip.

A woman hiker backpacking in Patagonia's Torres del Paine national park with beautiful granite spires in the background
Backpacking the W-Trek in Torres del Paine in March (Patagonia's end of fall season) means being able to hike through beautiful fall foliage!

How to get to Torres del Paine National Park from Puerto Natales

To get from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine, the easiest and cheapest way is by bus. 

  • How long does it take to get from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine? 2 hours by bus
  • Where is the bus station in Puerto Natales? All buses in Puerto Natales leave from Terminal Rodoviario bus station (Av. España 1455, Puerto Natales, Natales, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena, Chile)
  • What bus stop do I get off at in Torres del Paine? The Torres del Paine visitor center bus stop is “Terminal Laguna Amarga”. However, if you are hiking the W-Trek (from west to east), you’ll want to continue riding the bus to “Terminal Pudeto” to get to your starting point. 
  • How much are bus tickets to Torres del Paine? $13 (12,000 CLP)
  • Where can I book bus tickets to Torres del Paine? I used to book all of my bus tickets online in Patagonia. It was easy for me to see all bus operators and bus times on a centralized website. You can also buy a bus ticket in person at the bus station.

Buses From Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park:

4 buses run daily from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine at 6:45 am, 7:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:30 pm (this last one is only available during peak season from November - March). The bus ride from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine Visitor Center (“Terminal Laguna Amarga” bus stop) is 2 hours. 

Bus From Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales:

There are a couple of buses available from the Torres del Paine Visitor Center back to Puerto Natales, scheduled for 3:00 pm, 8:15 pm, and 8:20 pm

I recommend booking bus tickets to Torres del Paine in advance, especially during peak travel season!

Top Things to Do in Torres del Paine

No matter how you adventure or travel, there are so many things to do in Torres del Paine National Park!

1. Hiking in Torres del Paine

If you’re a hiking lover like me, you probably already know that Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is home to some of the most epic hiking trails and incredible landscapes in the world! Hikers from all around the world come to day hike or backpack either the W-Trek or the O-Trek. 

Patagonia’s best backpacking trails in Torres del Paine National Park:

  • W-Trek (“W-Circuit”): distance - 75 kilometers / 47 miles; takes hikers 4-5 days to complete
  • O-Trek (“O-Circuit”): distance - 120 kilometers / 75 miles; takes hikers 7-8 days to complete

We spent our time in Torres del Paine backpacking the W-Trek (from west to east), which took us 5 days to complete! Below outlines the detailed 5-day W-Trek itinerary we followed.

If you prefer to do day hikes (instead of multi-day backpacking) in Torres del Paine, you can still see the best parts of the W-Trek along these day hikes!

Some of the best day hikes in Torres del Paine National Park are:

  • Hotel Las Torres to Mirador Las Torres: difficult, 13 miles roundtrip 8-10 hours to complete
  • Paine Grande to Mirador Grey: moderate; 6.8 miles roundtrip, 3.5 hours to complete
  • Refugio Grey to Glacier Grey: moderate; to first suspension bridge: 3.1 miles roundtrip, 2 hours to complete; to second suspension bridge: 6.2 miles roundtrip, 4 hours to complete
Hikers sitting next to the turquoise Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park
We hiked to the Grey Glacier viewpoint (past the second bridge) on our second day in Torres del Paine. This is a great option for a day hike from Refugio Grey!

2. Ride the ferry to Grey Glacier

Want to get up close and personal to the stunning Grey Glacier without all of the hiking? My mom and her friend booked a 3-hour boat ride from Hotel Lago to Grey Glacier through Navegacion Glacier Grey while we were out backpacking the W-Trek! Their favorite part was the one complimentary pisco sour that was included in their ticket, which seemed to have truly elevated their experience (based on the pictures of my mom passed out on the boat ahahah!)

Round trip tickets for adults cost $100, with 4 ferries that run daily at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 7:00 pm

3. Kayak to Grey Glacier

For a unique adventure in Torres del Paine, kayak to Grey Glacier with Bigfoot Patagonia Adventure! Rated as a “medium” difficulty level, this kayaking excursion will last 2.5 hours and cost $155 per person.

4. Ice hiking on Grey Glacier

Why just hike to viewpoints of Grey Glacier when you can hike ON it?!

Strap on your crampons, because Bigfoot Patagonia Adventure offers ice hiking on Grey Glacier for anybody looking for an adventurous experience in Torres del Paine. Rated as a “difficult” activity level, you will need to be in good physical condition for this 5-hour excursion. Ice hiking on Grey Glacier costs $220 per person.

5. Horse riding in Torres del Paine

If you want to see as much as possible but don’t prefer to hike, you can go horseback riding in Torres del Paine! Hotel Las Torres offers several full-day and half-day horseback riding excursions in Torres del Paine, starting at $147 per person (140,000 CLP) for half-day trips and $215 (205,000 CLP) for full-day trips.

Did you know that you can even shorten the hike from Hotel Las Torres to the base of Las Torres, the park’s must-see spot, by riding horses?

hikers in torres del paine hiking by a group of horses in the meadow
One of the coolest things to do in Torres del Paine is to horseback ride in this epic national park!

6. Camping in Torres del Paine

One of the coolest things I realized after my trip to Torres del Paine is that there are so many kinds of camping accommodations that ANYBODY can camp in the park. You don’t even have to own any camping gear to be able to camp in Torres del Paine!

Places to Stay in Torres del Paine National Park

There are a variety of accommodation types in Torres del Paine, it depends on your travel style and budget. The main types of places to stay in Torres del Paine are:

  1. Refugios - these are essentially hostels, where each room is equipped with 4-8 bunk beds. Bedding is provided for guests, which includes either a sleeping bed or duvet. Here’s an example of a refugio in Torres del Paine
  2. Domos - permanent camp domes constructed from metallic frames and durable plastic sheets or cloth. Domos are equipped with bunk beds or cots and bedding is provided for guests, including a sleeping bed or duvet. Ecocamp Patagonia is an example of what a  domo is in Torres del Paine.
  3. Campsites - there are even different types of campsites in Torres del Paine that cater to all types of people and travel styles. If you prefer to backpack and bring your own camping gear, you can camp at traditional campgrounds run by refugios, with access to cooking areas, bathrooms, and showers. You can even just bring your tent and rent sleeping bags and sleeping pads (my husband did this when his pad got a leak!). However, if you want to camp but don’t want to bring any camping gear, consider premium camping in Torres del Paine! You can reserve a fully setup tent, furnished with a sleeping bag, pillow, and sleeping pad.  
  4. Hotels - there are a handful of hotels to stay at  inside of Torres del Paine National Park, for all budgets. If you’re a big day hiker, book a hotel located along the W-Circuit.

Is it possible to stay in Puerto Natales and travel to Torres del Paine every day?

If you don’t want to stay inside of Torres del Paine, you can stay in Puerto Natales. However, I don’t recommend this if you want to make the most of your time in the park. The bus ride is at least 2 hours each way, which means a lot of time in the car.

a tent at a campsite by the mountains in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia
When we visited Torres del Paine, we hiked the W-Trek and stayed at campsites along the trail. This is our camp setup at Paine Grande! Look at those views though...

Day 8-11: El Chalten, Argentina (4 nights)

If you have more than 7 days in Patagonia, I recommend leaving Chile to explore the Patagonia region in Argentina! Continue below to see my itinerary and how I spent 7 days in the Patagonia region in Argentina.

Known as the “National Capital of Trekking in Argentina”, El Chaltén is a charming and small tourist village for hikers and destination travelers looking for the best adventures in Patagonia in Argentina. Located in Los Glaciares National Park, El Chaltén is known for Mount Fitz Roy, the area's highest and most magical mountain…there’s a good reason it’s the logo for the amazing Patagonia outdoor brand!

*Note: Since the weather in Patagonia can quickly change, I’d recommend building in 1-2 buffer days for the weather if hiking to Mount Fitz Roy with a clear view is a priority. We built in some time so we had some wiggle room when it came to getting our day hikes to Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in!

Day 8: Travel from Puerto Natales, Chile to El Chaltén, Argentina

To get from the Patagonia region in Chile to the Patagonia region in Argentina, you can rent a car and drive or take a bus.

Here’s how we got from Puerto Natales to El Chaltén by bus:

  1. Take a 6-hour bus ride from Puerto Natales to El Calafate, Argentina 
  2. At the El Calafate bus station, transfer buses
  3. Ride the bus for another 2.5-3 hours from El Calafate to El Chaltén 

From Puerto Natales, we caught a 7:30 am bus to El Calafate with Bus-Sur for $33 per person. Since you will be crossing the border from Chile to Argentina, make sure to show up at the bus station in Puerto Natales at least 30 minutes early to complete the check-in process. 

On your bus ride, expect 2 bus stops for border control: the first is the Chilean border control and the second (a 15-minute drive away) is the Argentinian border control.

After clearing both border control stations, the bus will make one more stop at Hotel Esperanza for a quick 30-minute break. You will be able to get off the bus to use the restroom and buy empanadas (which are quite delicious!).

Once you reach the El Calafate bus station, head inside to buy your bus ticket to El Chaltén if you didn’t book one in advance (like me). There are a handful of bus operators to buy tickets from with various departure times. If you are buying a bus ticket in person, make sure to have some Argentinian pesos to pay the 2,000 ARS municipal tax charged per bus ticket. I made the mistake of not having any Argentinian pesos on me, but the sales guy was super nice and let me go (thank you!!). 

Ride the bus from El Calafate to El Chaltén. Once you arrive in El Chaltén, head to your accommodation and enjoy a relaxing night!

Day 9: Day hike to Laguna de Los Tres (Trail: Sendero Monte Fitz Roy)

Hiking the Laguna de Los Tres trail to the base of Mount Fitz Roy, the highest peak in El Chaltén, is THE best day hike to do while in El Chaltén. Honestly, it was my favorite trail of my entire Patagonia trip (I liked it more than the hikes in Torres del Paine)! If you have to pick one trail to hike in El Chaltén, Laguna de Los Tres cannot be missed.

This trail is extremely popular and one of the most iconic hikes in Patagonia. On a clear day, you’ll have front-row views of Mount Fitz Roy as you make your way to the final viewpoint, where you’ll be amongst majestic glaciers and the bluest lagoons (Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Sucia). 

Laguna de Los Tres Trail Overview

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 13.7 miles / 22 kilometers roundtrip (out and back trail)
  • Elevation gain: 3,503 feet / 1,068 meters
  • Time to complete: 8 - 10 hours
  • Entrance fee: $0
  • Permits needed: None

What are you waiting for? Grab some empanadas from the local bakery for lunch and hit the trail!

A clear sunrise view of tall peaks (Mount Fitz Roy) next to two aquamarine glacier lakes in Argentina Patagonia
My brother caught this incredible sunrise view of Mount Fitz Roy at the Laguna de los Tres viewpoint on the Argentina side of Patagonia!

Day 10: Day hike to Cerro Torre (Trail: Laguna Torre)

Another epic Patagonia day hike from El Chaltén is the hike to the Cerro Torre viewpoint along the Laguna Torre trail. As you hike to Laguna Torre, you’ll experience a variety of landscapes, including forests and glaciers. At the viewpoint, enjoy the panoramic views of the mountains, glaciers, and glacial lakes. And if it’s a clear day, make sure to see if Mount Fitz Roy makes an appearance!

Although this trail is long, the hike is flat and on easy terrain, making it much easier than the Laguna de Los Tres hike. 

Cerro Torre Trail Overview

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 10.9 miles / 17.5 kilometers roundtrip (out and back trail)
  • Elevation gain: 1,643 feet / 500 meters
  • Time to complete: 6-8 hours
  • Entrance fee: $0
  • Permits needed: None
day hikers sitting in front of a lake filled with glacial ice in front of a glacier in Patagonia (argentina)
The beautiful viewpoint at Cerro Torre, which is an amazing day hike if you are visiting El Chalten, a city in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

Day 11: Relax in El Chaltén

After so much hiking, my knees welcomed this rest day with open arms! It was so refreshing to have a slower day where I didn’t need to set an alarm or rush breakfast to make sure we hit the trails early. 

Although it was rainy, I used this day to walk through the bakeries and souvenir shops in town. I got some great sourdough bread and pastries in Banneton and ate a great steak dinner with my family in the El Chalten Suites restaurant!

Here’s a list of other top things to do in El Chaltén to help you plan your day. 

Places to Stay in El Chaltén

El Chaltén is a very small town, so you don’t need a car. There are a lot of hostels and hotels to stay at and restaurants to enjoy that are easily walkable. Anywhere you decide to stay, you’ll be in a good, central location. 

In  El Chaltén, we stayed at two different hostels, both of which I highly recommend: 

  • Hostel Rancho Grande - a bed in a dorm will cost $20 per night while a private double bed ensuite goes for $80 per night. The rooms were clean and had everything you needed for a comfortable stay. But what I loved most was the chilled atmosphere in both the living quarters and the restaurant. I loved being able to cook my meals at all times of the day and relax in the loft after a hike. The breakfast that was included in our reservation was not only extremely delicious but very filling! I chose the Americano breakfast, which included scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice, and a drink of my choice (I got the cappuccino). This was key for fueling up before my day hikes!
  • Patagonia Travellers’ Hostel - a super cute and cozy hostel, with spacious rooms and hot showers! While my husband and I stayed in a private double room for $62 USD per night, the rest of the group stayed in one of the apartment rooms for $88 USD per night. Although breakfast was not included for those in the apartment rooms, their apartment was furnished with a kitchen for cooking!

Below are other great places to stay in  El Chaltén:

An affordable place to stay in El Chalten below a beautiful Patagonian sunrise
I LOVED staying at Rancho Grande hostel in El Chalten during my trip to Patagonia. Relaxed environment, tons of amenities, and affordable.

Day 12-13: El Calafate, Argentina (2 nights)

On the last leg of our Patagonia tour, we made a final stop at El Calafate to explore the unworldly Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. Perito Moreno Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most famous glaciers in Patagonia, is one of the most easily accessible glaciers in Patagonia. Besides my trip to Antarctica, this is the closest to a glacier I have ever been!

Day 12: Travel from El Chaltén to El Calafate

The easiest way to get to El Calafate from El Chaltén is by bus or rental car. Since the bus ride to El Calafate is only 2.5-3 hours, we spent the morning in El Chaltén relaxing and taste-testing empanadas from one last spot before catching a 2:30 pm bus. 

Once we arrived in El Calafate at 5:10 pm, we settled into our hostel before walking downtown for dinner. I was shocked by the amount of hustle and bustle of the downtown area, which was filled with markets, restaurants, and souvenir shops. It was a great way to spend the evening!

Day 13: Visit Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier Overview

  • Entrance fee: $14 USD (12,000 ARS)
  • Season: open year-round
  • Activities: ice trekking, boating, sightseeing 
  • Amenities: bathrooms, shops
  • Closest town: El Calafate, Argentina
  • How to get there: driving (rental car, bus, taxi)

The views of Perito Moreno Glacier are pretty overwhelming…so majestic and gigantic and vivid…it was so surreal to see in person! It’s worth visiting Perito Moreno Glacier if you have a day to spare in Patagonia.

The best ways to explore Perito Moreno Glacier are to:

  1. Walk the Perito Moreno Glacier catwalk/boardwalk: admire the glacier up close…so close that you can see every crevice and detail that makes Perito Moreno Glacier spectacular. Take your time as you walk on the boardwalk…you may be lucky enough to hear and see the glacier calving! Walking the Perito Moreno Glacier boardwalk takes about 45 minutes - 1 hour and is free to do (it’s included in the entrance fee you pay to get into the park).
  2. Book a boat tour to Perito Moreno Glacier: there are several vendors that you can book a glacier boat tour with once you’re inside the park. Tickets for a Perito Moreno boat tour start at $50 per person for a 1-hour boat ride. I didn’t do this when I visited, so I don’t have a recommendation or review for a particular vendor.   
  3. Hike on Perito Moreno Glacier: ice trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier gives you a whole new perspective of how incredible and expansive the glacier is! I loved being able to see the crystal blue pools, deep crevasses, and unique geology. I booked a full-day Perito Moreno hiking excursion (the “Big Ice Trek”) for $407 per person (440,000 ARS) through Hielo y Aventura and thought it was worth the incredible experience. They also offer a less challenging excursion, called the Mini Ice Trekking tour, which starts at $243 per person (210,000 ARS). Here’s my full review and experience doing the Big Ice Trek at Perito Moreno Glacier (is it worth it?). 

How to get to Perito Moreno Glacier

If you don’t have a car, you can get to Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate by bus! It takes 1.5 hours to get to Perito Moreno Glacier by bus from El Calafate. 

I may be missing some bus operators, but Chalten Travel, Caltur, and Tuqsa Marga offer daily buses to Perito Moreno Glacier, each with a morning service and an afternoon service. A one-way bus ticket from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier costs about $47 per person (ARS 40,000).

  • Morning bus from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier: depart El Calafate at 9:00 am, arrive at park at 10:30 am; return bus departs park at 1:00 pm and arrives in El Calafate at 2:30 pm
  • Afternoon bus from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier; depart El Calafate at 1:00 pm, arrive at park at 2:30 pm; return bus departs park at 4:00pm and arrive sin El Calafate at 5:30 pm

Places to Stay in El Calafate

El Calafate has a very cute and lively downtown area with tons of shops, grocery stores, and restaurants, and is quite touristy. However, it is about a 25-minute walk from the bus station. Since we did not want to haul all of our backpacking gear, we decided to stay close to the El Calafate bus station, at Matices Hostel for $70 per person per night in the mixed dorm room. 

a boat in front of a massive, turquoise glacier called Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia
You can ride a boat tour to get close to the must-see Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia!

Day 14: Travel from El Calafate, Argentina to Puerto Natales, Chile (1 night)

Once we finished adventuring in Perito Moreno Glacier, it was time for us to start making our way back home. Depending on where you need to catch your flight back home, this part of the itinerary may be different for you. 

Below is the itinerary I used to catch my flight back to the United States from the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile.

We caught an 8:30 am bus with Bus-Sur from El Calafate to Puerto Natales, which is a 6-hour bus ride. Bus tickets cost $74 per person. 

Because you’ll be crossing the border from Argentina into Chile, I highly recommend arriving at the bus station early to complete the customs declaration process and check-in. We arrived 30 minutes early, which still wasn’t enough time. We had difficulty completing the Chilean customs declaration process (which requires Wifi), and even though we didn’t complete check-in until 8:45 am, our amazing bus driver waited for us (THANK YOU!).  

Once you arrive in Puerto Natales, check into your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day relaxing. Of course, I had to go back to my favorite Puerto Natales restaurant, Entre Pampas y Mar, for one final meal!

Places to Stay in Puerto Natales

Day 15: Travel from Puerto Natales to Santiago, Chile (1 night)

To get back to Santiago from Puerto Natales, we booked a flight with SKY Airlines for an afternoon flight for $109 per person (which includes a checked bag). The Puerto Natales airport is incredibly small. We arrived at the airport 1.5 hours early with plenty of time to spare.

How to get from town to the airport in Puerto Natales

So we caught a taxi from our hostel (Hostel El Patagonico), to the Puerto Natales airport (PNT) for about $10 (8,000 ARS). The taxi ride from Puerto Natales to the Puerto Natales airport is a quick, 15-minute drive. 

How to get to downtown Santiago from the airport?

The cheapest way to get from the Santiago airport to downtown (where our hostel was) is to book a shared shuttle at the Santiago airport once you land. You’ll be able to get dropped off at your exact destination, but you will be sharing the shuttle with other passengers getting dropped off in the same area. 

Located after the luggage carousel before the airport exit are kiosks for TransVIP and WeTransfer, the two shared shuttle services out of Santiago Airport. We booked with TransVIP without any issues for $10 per person (20,000 CLP per person) and got dropped off directly at our hostel. 

Places to Stay in Santiago

After doing some research about safe places to stay in Santiago, I wanted to book a place to stay in the Providencia area. We stayed at Eco-Hostal Tambo Verdo, a super cute, quiet, and perfectly located hostel in downtown Santiago, located in the artsy district of Barrio Bellavista. I paid $65 per night for a private double room. Our stay included a filling breakfast and was comfortable for the night.

Another area in the Providencia area of Santiago that seemed like a tranquil and safe place to stay based on my time exploring during the day is Barrio Italia. 

Looking to stay close to the Santiago airport? We stayed in Courtyard by Marriott Santiago Airport at the start of our trip. I recommend this spot if you’re needing a clean, comfortable, and quiet place to stay near the Santiago airport.

One of my favorite things to do in Santiago, Chile was to ride the cable car! A one-way cable car ticket is only $3 per adult, which is a cheap way to explore Santiago.

Day 16: Santiago, Chile / Fly Home 🙁

Our final destination of this trip before we caught our flight back home to end a dream of a trip in Patagonia! We spent our final day exploring these beautiful parks, walking through the different boroughs, and taste-testing more Chilean food and desserts! Below is how we spent 1 day in Santiago, Chile.

How to Spend 1 Day in Santiago, Chile

Since our hostel was located in Barrio Bellavista in Santiago, it was very easy for us to explore some of the highlights that make Santiago so lively without a car. Here’s how we spent our day exploring Santiago:

  • Explore and hike Parque Metropolitano de Santiago - this park is HUGE and filled with really great amenities, including hiking trails, little shops and cafes, and a botanical garden!
  • Ride the Cerro San Cristobal Cable Cars - located in the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, we rode the aerial cable cars for awesome panoramic views of the city! One-way cable car tickets cost about $3 per adult or $2 per child. I highly recommend this one…it was so fun and a cheap and unique way to explore Santiago!
  • Explore and souvenir shop at Patio Bellavista - this is a lively shopping area with tons of places to eat and places to buy souvenirs.
  • Explore Barrio Italia - a cute Italian-inspired neighborhood with cute shops, restaurants, and bakeries!

How to get from downtown Santiago to the airport

Our hostel in Providencia helped us book a taxi to the airport earlier that morning in time for our 11:00 pm flight out of Santiago. It took about 30 minutes to get to the airport from downtown Santiago and the taxi ride cost about $21 (20,000 CLP). This may have been special pricing that is set between our hostel and the taxi service.


If you're looking for the best way to spend your time in Patagonia, this is the best itinerary to use to see the best of what the Patagonia region has to offer! This itinerary is your step-by-step guide with information on where to stay, what to do, and how to get around so that you can plan your dream trip to Patagonia.

A hiker sitting in front of the famous granite spires in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia
Is Patagonia on your travel bucket list?

*This post contains affiliate links for products that I have used myself and genuinely love. All opinions expressed are honest and mine. If you make a purchase through any of these affiliate links, I receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. Since The Adventure Diet is reader-supported, any purchases you make will support running this blog at now cost to you! As always, thank you for your never-ending support.

Pin it for later!

join the conversation

about the author
Molly Chhiv
What's up, my dudes! I'm a weekend adventurer and blogger based in the U.S. that found my self-confidence, independence, and limitless potential through the outdoors. So much so that I quit my engineering job to do more fulfilling work in the outdoor industry!

But real talk: the outdoors can be intimidating. So I'm on a mission to empower you to find your confidence to adventure more. From beginner hiking tips to learning how to travel on a budget, I've got you. Whatever your adventure and whatever your skill level, I'm here to HYPE YOU UP!

So what're you waiting for? Let's get out there and do this sh*t!

I know you're craving more...

Let's Adventure Together on Instagram