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Private Journeys

Signature Patagonia: Glaciers of Chile and Argentina

17 days from £7,980pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Argentina / Chile / Patagonia


map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to hotel in the chic Recoleta district.

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel in the chic Recoleta residential district by one of our local representatives. Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills. The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel.

The bohemian quarter of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and classy restaurants. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French influence, where Evita Perón was laid to rest.

Argentine Tourist Board ©

Stay at - Loi Suites Recoleta

Day 2

City tour including a visit to Recoleta Cemetery. Evening tango show.

Your guided city tour takes you along Avenida 9 de Julio, one of the widest boulevards in the world and studded by the Obelisk, an emblematic symbol of the city. On to the Plaza de Mayo, enclosed on three sides by the Metropolitan cathedral, the Town Hall and the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace. The tour continues to bohemian, arty La Boca, which was settled and built by Italian immigrants and has streets lined with brightly painted corrugated iron-clad houses. Visit the district of Recoleta where the elegant architecture of its tree-lined streets feels distinctly Parisian. Recoleta’s vast cemetery is the resting place of generations of the Argentinean elite including Evita as well as an array of presidents, artists, scientists, writers and athletes.

This evening you’ll head out to one of the city’s tango venues. The passage of time has given respectability to a dance once confined to the seedy underworld bars of the red-light La Boca district. Nowadays, a number of ‘tango houses’ cater to visitors and a visit is a must. San Telmo’s tango venues occupy elegant, atmospheric buildings where you can observe a polished performance of this sensual, often melancholy art form of which the porteños are justificably proud – all whilst enjoying a sit-down dinner of, typically, steak and Malbec.

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Stay at - Loi Suites Recoleta

Day 3

At leisure in Buenos Aires.

At leisure in Buenos Aires.  Stroll round Puerto Madero, the refurbished port district where former dock installations and features have been preserved alongside a string of excellent restaurants and loft conversions. Beyond the city limits, consider a trip across the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Travel along a forest-fringed estuary, dotted with upmarket residences, to this peaceful little port, where you can wander among cobbled streets lined by colonial houses, or have a meal or drink in the yacht club.

Alternatively, venture into the watery delta to the small town of Tigre, set on the banks of the Luján river. Have lunch at one of the restaurants on the shores of the Río Paraná, while watching fishermen at work and river-craft gliding by.


Puerto Madero

Stay at - Loi Suites Recoleta

Day 4

Transfer to airport and fly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Beagle Channel cruise.

Transfer to the airport and fly to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, on the island of Tierra de Fuego. The city has grown rapidly in recent years, partly as a result of government incentives to settlers, and its establishment as a Free Port, and partly a tourist centre – most Antarctic cruises leave from the port here. The setting is spectacular; jagged mountains hem in the town down to the shore of the Beagle Channel. Transfer to your hotel.

In the afternoon, board a catamaran at the pier and sail along the Beagle Channel, past some of Ushuaia’s important buildings – the Maritime Museum and Museum of the End of the World, and its industrial suburbs. Beyond, the scenery is more spectacular, with fine views of the mountains that form a backdrop to the world’s southernmost city.

The catamaran then sails to mid-Channel, southwest towards the lighthouse on the Les Eclaireurs archipelago. On one of these islands, you can see remains of the Monte Cervantes, shipwrecked in 1930. Continue to Sea Lion Island, which is circumnavigated for about 20mins to see the eponymous habitat, and Bird Island to see cormorants, giant albatrosses, petrels, and skuas. Return through Paso Chico, which frames the Martial glacier beyond the city of Ushuaia.


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Stay at - Hotel Albatros

Day 5

Guided excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Guided tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park. 12km west of Ushuaia, the Pan-American highway reaches the end of the road as the Andes disappear into the sea at the southernmost tip of the American continent. 17848km from Alaska, where the highway begins, the Tierra del Fuego National Park mirrors the scenery which the road passes through when it starts its long journey south: mountains, lakes, rivers and deep valleys. Flora includes Patagonian birches, calafates (bush with red berries), notros (dwarf cherry), orchids and violets. It is common to see the majestic caracara, the very epitome of a bird of prey.

The tour usually stops first at the Fuegian Southern Railway station where you’ll have the option (at extra cost) to take a 7km ride on the narrow gauge Tierra del Fuego railway. Although these days it is strictly a tourist train, it was originally built a century ago by convicts to give access to the logging of beech forests to the west of Ushuaia.  The excursion continues to Bahia Ensenada, Lago Roca and, finally, Lapataia Bay. There’s usually time for a short, guided walk. Some paths scramble over gnarled roots and greenish schist rocks, following the lakeshores, or alternatively, an easier walk winds its ways past beaver dams.

ARG USH FD hike to Cerro Rebert (trek Vuelta a USH)

Stay at - Hotel Albatros

Day 6

Transfer to airport and fly to El Calafate.

Transfer to airport and fly to El Calafate in Southern Patagonia, a small tourist resort situated on the banks of milky turquoise Lago Argentino.  Argentina’s Patagonia is a remote land of endless grassy plains, granite mountain peaks tipped with eternal snows, turquoise lakes dotted with icebergs and immense blue-tinged glaciers. Transfer to your hotel in the town.

Tourism in the last twenty years has transformed El Calafate into a bustling entrepôt for access to the nearby scenery of glaciers, lakes and impossibly steep peaks.  It still has a bit of a frontier feel, though it is very busy in summer.


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Stay at - Esplendor El Calafate

Day 7

Visit Perito Moreno glacier; boat cruise on the lake.

Guided excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. It’s an early morning departure from El Calafate to Los Glaciares National Park, a 90min drive to the walkways and viewing platform overlooking the glacier. The thundering shards of falling ice are a breath-taking spectacle as you pass at a safe distance along the walkway in front of the Canal de los Tempanos, which separates Brazo Rico from the main part of the lake. The glacier is a staggering 5km wide and stands 60m above the surface of the lake. Its ice mass is fed by the southern continental ice field from the west, and from other smaller glaciers in the vicinity.

In the afternoon, board the Safari Nautico or Moreno Fiesta for an hour-long cruise on the lake beneath the glacier, with a commentary. Alternatively, you can just walk and contemplate, away from the other visitors.

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Stay at - Esplendor El Calafate

Day 8

Day trip to Estancia Cristina and the Upsala Glacier viewpoint

This epic full-day trip, a Patagonian highlight, explores the iceberg-strewn fingers of Lago Argentino by comfortable motor cruiser en route to one of the region’s most far-flung historic estancias, established in 1914 by English pioneer Joseph Masters and named after his daughter. The scenery is wonderful throughout the day and you may even spot condors along the way.

A Patagonian lunch is included at the estancia and there’s time to visit the museum before you head out on a short but bumpy drive by all-terrain vehicle into the mountains to an utterly remote refuge. From there, it’s a walk of around half an hour to a viewpoint, offering – weather permitting – a fabulous panorama of the eastern side of the Upsala glacier, the Southern Patagonian ice cap, Lago Guillermo and – of course – the Andes. The Upsala Glacier is one of the largest in Los Glaciares National Park. If you are lucky and get a clear day, this is one of Patagonia’s most spectacular viewpoints. Even if you do not, you’ll get a true sense today of just how remote the pioneers who settled here must have felt. Return by boat and road to El Calafate, arriving in time for dinner.

Estancia Cristina

Stay at - Esplendor El Calafate

Day 9

Scenic drive to Torres del Paine National Park.

It’s a wonderful scenic drive along a lonely road across the border to Chile and Torres del Paine National Park. The drive to the border crossing at Cancha Carrera takes about 4hrs across the vast Patagonian grasslands, remote and sparsely populated. Wildlife to look out for includes guanaco and the ostrich-like rhea. Pass immigration and drive into Chile. Continue to majestic Torres del Paine National Park, a further 2hrs along an unpaved road.

The park is dominated by a granite massif of smooth rock towers and icy pinnacles. Milky blue and gem-sharp emerald lakes, sinuous rivers, glaciers and wind-scoured steppes have created a remarkable and unique environment. Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the area is a natural habitat of over 150 species of birds (including flamingos, condors, eagles and ostriches) and 25 species of mammal (including guanacos, armadillos, silver foxes and pumas).

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Stay at - Hotel Las Torres

Days 10-11

Guided outdoor activities in Torres del Paine National Park.

You have a choice of guided excursions to explore this wonderful wilderness environment from the hotel. Some are more energetic than others, but all are immensely rewarding. You might choose to walk uphill to the base of the dizzying perpendicular torres or towers, which form the backdrop to the hotel; hike to the jade green Laguna Verde or to one of a number of scenic look-out points.  You might visit the beach at Lago Grey and survey the steep walls of the Grey glacier at a distance, from which blue-tinged icebergs the size of motor launches break off and drift around the icy waters. There are horse-riding options and tours by 4WD vehicle across the park’s lonely, dusty roads.

torres hike

Stay at - Hotel Las Torres

Day 12

Transfer to Punta Arenas airport, fly to Puerto Montt, and drive to Puerto Varas.

Transfer to Punta Arenas airport, another bleakly beautiful journey where ostriches and guanacos race across the steppes. Fly to Puerto Montt in the lake district, northern Patagonia (2hrs). It seems that each of the royal blue lakes in this region of chocolate-box prettiness is overlooked by its own snow-dipped volcano. On the lake shores are resort towns with an Alpine flavour and traditional villages of neat wooden cottages. The region is carpeted with pine forests and studded with youthful streams.

Short drive to Puerto Varas on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. The town was colonised by Germans at the turn of the 20th century and its architecture and sedate style reflects this, but it is now a fast-growing tourist resort. Its main attraction is an alpine green lake framed by tree-clad hills and beyond, one of the most perfectly shaped snow-capped volcanoes in the world – Osorno. If you’re lucky enough to be in Puerto Varas on a clear and still evening, the sunsets over Osorno’s snowy mantle are magical.

Puerto Varas

Stay at - Hotel Cabana del Lago

Day 13

At leisure in Puerto Varas, lake district. Optional activities.

At leisure in Puerto Varas. You can cycle along the shoreline or visit other lakeshore villages, pausing for tea and cake in one of the many cafés.

However, we recommend an optional excursion to Chiloé Island. Drive via Puerto Montt (1hr) for the ferry ride through the Chacao Channel to the emerald isle of Chiloé. Ancud is a lively fishing port which was the Spanish Crown’s last possession in South America. Here you visit the fortress of San Antonio, where the treaty was signed, for the withdrawal of the Spanish from Latin America. From Huaihuén Hill there are sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Drive inland, through a landscape of valleys and rolling green pastures towards the island’s rugged west coast with its deserted beaches, quiet farmlands and coastal forest. Visit the penguin colony of Puñihuíl, the only place in the world where Humbolt and Magallanic penguins nest side by side. Stops are also made at the sweepingly beautiful bay at Mar Brava, on the extreme north of the island and Caulin, a small village of colourful fishermen’s houses which is known for its oysters.



Stay at - Hotel Cabana del Lago

Day 14

Lake crossing through the Andes to Bariloche, Argentina.

Travel through the most scenic Andean pass of them all to Argentina’s lake district. It’s a stunning 12hr journey with plenty of variety and stops to transfer between forms of transport. Travel along the southern shore of Lake Llanquihue until you reach the Petrohue river. Visit the spectacular Petrohue Falls, before taking the 2hr ferry journey to Peulla. Lago Todos los Santos, also known as the Emerald Lake, lives up to its name with its almost preternatural colour contrasting with darker hues of the tree clad hills. Marking the horizon is the snow-capped peak of the Osorno volcano and the Puntiagudo and Tronador mountains.

From Peulla, continue by bus to Puerto Frias. Cross the border and continue by boat. A comfortable catamaran makes the final crossing to Puerto Pañuelo, a 30min drive along the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi to Bariloche.



Stay at - Hotel Cacique Inacayal

Day 15

At leisure in Argentina's Lake District.

San Carlos de Bariloche is the main town in Argentina’s lake district, on the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The town is a centre for skiing in winter (July and August), and walking in summer – set against a stunning backdrop of glacial green-blue lakes framed by the mountains of the Andes.

Today is at leisure, and there is a choice of optional excursions we can arrange in advance, including scenic drives along the winding highways which connect the region’s serene lakes and dusky Valdivian forests. A popular choice is Tronador National Park which straddles the highest mountain in the Argentina lake district and is the site of small glacier. If staying in town, for easy access to epic views you can head for the viewpoint at Cerro Campanario where a 7-minute chair ride takes you to the top to reveal a necklace of lakes, forests and mountains. Bariloche being large working city, there are also plenty of good restaurants and chocolate artisan shops to enjoy.


Stay at - Hotel Cacique Inacayal

Day 16

Transfer to the airport and fly to Buenos Aires

A final night to enjoy Argentina’s non-stop capital city. Perhaps head for the villagey neighbourhood of Palermo to enjoy its excellent restaurants and lively atmosphere.

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Stay at - Loi Suites Recoleta

Day 17

Transfer to airport for your international flight home.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.


Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration
Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Charlotte
    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Hannah
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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