Tierra del Fuego and the Mountain Splendor of Chile and Argentina


Patagonia’s epic landscapes—the granite-and-glacier realms of Paine and Fitzroy and remote Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago at the “uttermost ends of the earth”—are like no other in the world. On this insider’s adventure, exhilarating day hikes—many of them starting right from our lodges—grant spectacular panoramas of the great shark fin of Fitzroy and the needle-like spire of Cerro Torre, the crown jewels of Argentina’s Glacier National Park, and the soaring rock towers of Chile’s Paine National Park, while explorations in Tierra del Fuego reveal penguin colonies, secluded islands, and sweeping views of the Beagle Channel. Throughout our journey, you’ll enjoy the good life, Patagonia-style, at fine hotels and inns, some of them exclusive to our group, including historic Estancia Helsingfors, a former sheep ranch on the shores of glacier-fed Lago Viedma.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Buenos Aires / Ushuaia / Tierra del Fuego

Our lively exploration of Buenos Aires includes a visit to La Boca, a haven for artists. Heading to Ushuaia, set on the Beagle Channel and surrounded by snowy peaks, our hikes lead along the secluded bays of Tierra del Fuego, with great birding along the way. Tierra del Fuego is known for its abundant birdlife, including the austral parakeet, the thorn-tailed rayadito, the Magellanic woodpecker (the largest woodpecker species in South America), and the regal Andean condor. On the Beagle Channel, a Zodiac ride takes you to a remote island for a hike and lunch at a shepherd’s hut (complete with a locally produced red wine!) and a visit to a Magellanic and Adélie penguin colony.

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Days 4-7
Glacier National Park

Up-close perspectives of Fitzroy (11,703') and the slender granite pinnacle of Cerro Torre (10,280') are the thrill of our hikes in this famed park. The Fitzroy Massif and the surrounding peaks rise at spectacular and seemingly impossible angles, sculpted from solid granite into fantastic spires and towers by the tremendous force of the region’s glaciers. One hike brings us through a valley of native lenga trees to Laguna Torre, a serene glacial lake with the spire of Cerro Torre soaring directly above it. We also journey across deep Lago Viedma by boat, navigating amid floating icebergs, then make an exciting hike right on the vast Viedma Glacier for a chance to peer into its fantastic ice caverns.

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Days 8-9
Estancia Helsingfors

From renowned Estancia Helsingfors, a former sheep ranch with an outrageously scenic location on the shores of glacier-fed Lago Viedma, our trails bring you through beech forests to stunning Lago Azul, a pristine lake with magnificent Fitzroy views. On our hikes, keep an eye out for Patagonia’s exotic creatures, including guanacos and rheas.

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Day 10
Moreno Glacier / Lago Argentino / Calafate

Crossing rolling Patagonian steppes to turquoise Lago Argentino, we walk along a boardwalk with phenomenal views of the spectacular 20-story-high icewall of the Moreno Glacier, where the sounds are as amazing as the views.

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Days 11-16
Paine National Park, Chile

With its granite spires, azure lakes, and massive glaciers, Chile’s Paine National Park is one of the natural masterpieces of the planet. We stay in three different lodges here, giving us great access to the best areas of the park. Our hikes start right from the door of our lodges, including the trail through the Ascencio Valley to the base of the three giant monoliths of the Paine Towers, a landmark of the park, and to the face of the Grey Glacier, with its icebergs calving into Lago Grey. From Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan, we depart on Day 16.

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See the best of Patagonia, from Tierra del Fuego to its greatest national parks
Amazing views of Fitzroy and Paine; choice of hiking options on many days
Remote islands of Tierra del Fuego
Comfortable inns, including Estancia Helsingfors, a landmark Patagonian estate


Length: 16 days
Cost From: $8195  
Arrive: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Depart: Punta Arenas, Chile
Lodging: 15 nights hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

10 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 5-7 hours a day, altitudes below 5,000 feet