Patagonia

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    Destinations: Central and South America, Chile
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Tour Description

Travel on a Patagonia tour in the southern reaches of South America. Patagonia is a region that stands as the very definition of wildness: massive, granite horns thrust from the ground and painted by the sun; fields of ice and glaciers as old as time; and forests and lakes that dwarf those who visit this distant land. International Expeditions’ Patagonia travel tour takes in this land’s most stunning, landscapes, culture and wildlife. Shining as the crowning jewel in this glittering land is Torres del Paine National Park, internationally renowned as one of the most beautiful, unspoiled and remote places on the planet. This gem is like a separate country perched at the edge of a great continent — brimming with wildlife, dazzling landscapes and activities that are uniquely Torres del Paine.

Spot Intriguing Wildlife

A wildlife-enthusiast’s dream journey, IE’s Patagonia cruise puts you in prime position to discover guanacos, foxes and maybe even pumas! Plus, our expert ornithologist guide will help you find intriguing birdlife – Andean condors, Magellanic penguins, Austral parakeets and torrent ducks.

In-Depth Exploration on Our Patagonia Cruise

IE’s exclusive, custom-crafted Patagonia tour brings you the most in-depth and personal exploration of Torres del Paine. Puma searches, exploring glaciers by ship and by foot and daily hiking excursions are the perfect opportunities to spot wildlife, study the vibrant wildflowers and capture extraordinary photographs of the stunning Paine Horns.

Explore With Patagonia Tour Pioneers

Patagonia travel guide Claudio Vidal is a native Chilean who is one of the leading field naturalists and ornithologists in South America. An avid birder since the age of 12, Claudio is among the pioneers of natural history travel to Patagonia, leading Patagonia travel tours for more than 13 years. Claudio has co-authored many books, including Birds of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Antarctic Peninsula and Torres del Paine — Wildlife & Landscapes.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2

U.S. / Santiago / Punta Arenas

Fly independently to Santiago. After arriving in Chile, connect with your flight to Punta Arenas, weather permitting, soaring over the Southern Patagonia Ice Field for great views of the mountains. Spend tonight at the Hotel Diedo de Almagro. (Day 1: Meals Aloft; Day 2: D)

Day 3

Punta Arenas / Eastern Torres del Paine National Park

To begin our Patagonia adventure, travel to Torres del Paine National Park, stopping to watch Andean condors at the Rio Verde condor roosts and visit the Milodon Cave, learning about the prehistoric giant sloths which once roamed the area. Torres del Paine National Park encompasses almost 600,000 acres of arid Patagonian steppe, pre-Andean shrubbery, Andean desert and deciduous forests. The eastern margin of the park receives the least rainfall, and is characterized by low hills and shrub-covered depressions. Spend the next two nights of our Patagonia expedition itinerary at the Hosteria Lago Grey. (B,L,D)

Day 4

Lago Grey / Grey Glacier

From the beaches of Nordenskjöld Lake, we enjoy a magnificent view of sunrise over the “Cuernos del Paine” (the Paine Horns). While dominated by the imposing Paine Massif, a surprising variety of more than 400 plant species dot the Patagonian steppe, forest and Andean desert found in Torres del Paine National Park. Each day of our Patagonia expedition itinerary brings new opportunities to be charmed by the Lady’s slipper, Chilean fire bush, Magellanic raspberry or yellow ground orchid that grow in the Austral summer, and to examine the lichens and mosses that spread like a blanket across Eastern Torres del Paine. We take a ship along the 15-mile long lake, formed by the retreat of the glacier and surrounded by mountains including Paine Grande — at 10,006 feet the park’s highest point. Grey Lake is full of icebergs calved from the Grey Glacier, the final tongue of the 300 mile long Southern Patagonia Ice Field and one of the 48 main basins of this ice field. Often, we see great icebergs floating in the lake and caught along the shores after calving from Grey Glacier. Explore the glacier on foot before enjoying drinks served with 20,000-year-old ice! In the afternoon, we’ll walk to a beech forest and the Ice Beach, where the icebergs from the glacier end their journey. (B,L,D)

Day 5

Western Torres Del Paine National Park

Join our naturalist guide walking through the Nothofagus forest, where we scan for Magellanic woodpecker, Chilean flickers, Austral parakeets, foxes and unique flora. Continuing across the park, we visit the impressive Salto Grande and Salto Chico waterfalls. Both this evening and tomorrow on our Patagonia adventure we search for pumas, in an area that boasts the world’s highest concentration. Spend the next two nights at Hosteria Las Torres. (B,L,D)

Day 6

Torres Del Paine National Park

Sunrise paints the park’s renowned granite towers red — a great start to a day of nature hikes in this secluded area of Torres del Paine. The granite towers soar up to 9,350 feet. We may find torrent ducks swimming in the rapids, or Chilean flamingos and grebes on the lakes. Spend the morning hiking around breathtaking Blue Lake for a spectacular view of the Towers. This afternoon on our Patagonia expedition itinerary is at leisure at Hosteria Las Torres so that you may hike the many trails or even treat yourself to the spa. (B,L,D)

Day 7

Gaucho Farm / Otway Sound / Punta Arenas

Leave for Punta Arenas, stopping at a private gaucho farm to enjoy a traditional asado al palo barbecue lunch. It’s a great chance to learn about the way of life of people who have lived in Patagonia for generations. The hardy people of Patagonia have etched out a life centered around the farms and pampas of this solitary region. Learn how our host Gerardo and other gauchos have fared for generations in the unforgiving landscape, still tending to sheep and cattle, and chasing off the occasional puma. Our afternoon will also include an opportunity to watch Gerardo’s dogs demonstrate their herding abilities. We continue to the Otway Magellanic penguin colony, arriving when penguins typically return to the colony after a day of fishing. Spend the last full-night of our Patagonia tour itinerary at the Hotel Rey Don Felipe in Punta Arenas. (B,L,D)

Days 8 & 9

Punta Arenas / Santiago / U.S.

After a short tour of Punta Arenas, fly back to Santiago and connect with flights home. (Day 8: B, Meals Aloft; Day 9: Meals Aloft)

Departures

Pricing Information

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

What is included in the price of IE’s Patagonia travel packages?

  • Puma searches
  • Lunch with a Patagonian gaucho
  • Field study of wildflowers & flora
  • Explore glaciers on foot & by ship
  • Daily hiking excursions
  • Excursion to Otway Magellanic Penguin colony
  • Sunrise visits to photograph Paine Towers
  • Tour Punta Arenas
  • Daily birding, including Rio Verde condor roosts
  • Nightly briefings & recap of wildlife sightings by experienced native expedition leader
  • Accommodations in well-located lodges
  • 17 meals
  • All entrance fees
  • Enjoy drinks made with glacial ice
  • Transfers for group arrival & departure flights

Are visas required for travel to Patagonia? No visas are required for U.S. or Canadian citizens to enter Chile. A reciprocity tax must be paid for U.S. citizens to enter Chile, currently $131 USD to be paid in U.S. dollars or credit card at the airport in Santiago, Chile. A Tourist Card will be issued for a stay of up to 90 days upon payment of the reciprocity tax.

What vaccinations are required for Patagonia travel?

No immunizations are required for entry into Chile from the U.S. or for re-entry into the U.S.

How active is IE’s Patagonia travel package?

While you should be in general good health and physical condition, the trails we hike on in Patagonia are well maintained and walks are leisurely paced.

What climate can you expect during your Patagonia expedition?

Our expedition takes place in the summer season, so we can expect long hours of light. Temperatures in Santiago generally range from the mid-70s to the upper 80s. Summer weather should be delightful, with sunny days and minimal chance of rain. As you proceed south, the climate becomes cooler, windier, and wetter. At Torres del Paine and on the optional extension you can expect to experience the capricious spirit of the local weather. Lows are in the low to mid-40s, and highs range from upper-50s to the upper-60s F. Conditions can change quickly and often from windy and cool to sunny and clear to overcast with rain.

How much luggage can you bring on the Patagonia expedition?

Lan Chile allows two pieces of checked luggage weighing no more than 50 lbs. on the international flight. However, the baggage allowance for the internal flights (Chilean domestic air) is restricted to 44 lbs. for the checked luggage (two pieces allowed) and 17 lbs. for your carry-on (one piece allowed). Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are your responsibility. Please limit your baggage to one medium-sized bag (large-sized if also going on extension) and one carry-on bag for a total of 50 pounds. Water-resistant luggage is recommended.