DAYS 1 – 36: ARGENTINA & CHILE
Your epic South America overland tour starts in the southernmost town in the world, Ushuaia.
Your tour includes one night in Ushuaia so it is well worth considering arriving in a few days early to give yourself time to explore the town and the local area including the Tierra del Fuego National Park and the Beagle Channel.
From Ushuaia your overland journey starts to head north with a full day’s drive across to the Chilean side of the island of Tierra del Fuego, and a ferry crossing to the mainland, wild camping for the night at an abandoned estancia.
You will then drive to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in the world and the main highlight of the trip for many of group members and crew! You will stop en route in Puerto Natales to stock up on supplies and pick up your local guides and cook who will accompany you during your time in the National Park. Your first night in the national park will be at a stunning lakeside camp inside the National Park with incredible views of the main mountain range.
You will have a total of 5 nights in the National Park, during which you will get to walk part of the famous W-walk circuit with a local guide (referred to below as the “base package”). Note if you wish to complete the full W-trek (referred to below as the “W-walk extension”) this needs to be pre-booked so please Contact Us for more information
On your first full day in the park, you will take the catamaran across a lake to the Paine Grande campsite. From here, your group will split into two – the base package group and the W-walk extension group. Each group will then walk with their respective local guides to a viewpoint over the spectacular Grey Glacier. Both groups will then walk back down to Paine Grande, where you will spend the night camping. Approximate walking distance: 22km, estimated duration: 8 hours
If you have not opted for the optional W-walk extension package, you will have free time around Paine Grande the next morning to freely explore. You will then board the catamaran back across the lake, where the truck will meet you and drive you to back to your base campsite for the night. If you have chosen the optional W-walk extension, you will leave Paine Grande and trek up the French Valley with your local guide. From here you will continue trekking to Campsite Cuernos where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 27 km, estimated duration: 11 hrs.
For those not doing the W-walk extension, the next day is a free day to enjoy the many short walks and other fantastic optional activities available near the campsite, or alternatively it’s a great day to simply relax and enjoy the spectacular views from the campsite. For those doing the W-walk extension you will continue your trek with your local guide along the Lago Nordenskjold to Las Torres Campsite where you will camp for the night. Approximate walking distance: 11 km, estimated time: 5 hrs.
On your last full day in the park, those not doing the W-walk extension will travel with the overland truck to the base of the famous three peaks which give the National Park its name. From there you will walk up to the breathtaking viewpoint of the Torres with the base package guide, before making your way back to the truck, reuniting with the W-walkers and heading back to the base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.
Those doing the W-walk extension will instead trek up to the incredible viewpoint of the Torres with their W-walk guide and then come back down to Las Torres Campsite where they will meet up with the overland truck and group and then return to the base campsite for the night. Approximate walking distance: 20 km, estimated time: 8 hrs.
Leaving Torres del Paine behind you will head across the border into Argentina to the town of El Calafate, the gateway to the Perito Mereno Glacier. You will have an included full day guided visit to view this stunning glacier, one of the most spectacular sights in Patagonia.
A short drive across the Patagonian steppe takes you to the tiny town of El Chalten, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities. You will have three free days to enjoy the stunning Los Glaciares National Park and the incredible scenery of the nearby Mt. Fitz Roy. There are lots of trekking and walking opportunities here, as well as boat trips, ice climbing on the Viedma Glacier, horse riding, and many other fantastic options.
From El Chalten you will drive north along the famous Ruta 40 (Route 40). Please note that the road from here all the way to Futaleufú is rough and mostly unpaved meaning that the going is slow.
Crossing the border once again into Chile you will reach the magnificent scenery of the Chilean Carretera Austral, probably one of the most stunning roads in South America. If time and weather conditions allow you will have the opportunity to go on a boat trip to see the stunning Capillas de Marmol (Marble Chapels).
Continuing north on the Carretera Austral you will have a short drive to the beautiful mountains of the Cerro Castillo National Reserve.
The following day you will drive through the Chilean fjords to Queluat National Park. If time allows there is an optional walk to see the incredible hanging Colgante Glacier.
Your overland tour will then continue to the rafting mecca of Futaleufu.
From Futaleufu you will cross the border once again into Argentina and continue your overland journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche in Argentina’s Lake District. You will have a free day to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. You have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak, boat, or even a historic steam train!
Driving via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route) you will reach the beautiful Lake District of Chile and the lakeside town of Pucon. In Pucon you will have a free day to enjoy a range of optional activities including a sunrise expedition to climb the Villarica volcano which looms over Pucón, heading out horse riding through the surrounding forests, or an evening visit to the nearby natural hot springs.
A full day’s drive north will take you to the cosmopolitan Chilean capital of Santiago. You will have a day here to explore the city’s sights before crossing the border into Argentina for the last time. You will drive over the stunning Cristo Redentor pass in the high Andes, passing Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere) and reach Mendoza, nestled in the dry flats underneath the shadows of the largest mountains of the Andes. Mendoza is the centre of Argentine wine production, and one of the nine ‘Wine Capitals of the World’ – it is especially famous for its Malbec, grown at some of the highest-altitude vineyards to be found in the world. You will have a free day here to explore the incredible region, head out on various adventure activities such as rock climbing, rafting or mountain biking, or of course take a tasting tour of the incredible wineries in the region.
From Mendoza you will start your journey through the beautiful San Juan and Cordoba provinces, wild camping en route. Your next stop is a trip highlight, a 3-night stay at a unique Anglo-Argentina Estancia. During your time at the Estancia, you will head out horseback riding, taste the excellent wines produced by their vineyards, be entertained by a local musician, learn some of the skills of the gauchos, and enjoy a traditional asado (Argentine BBQ). This is a magical experience in a beautiful and atmospheric location, and many people’s highlight of the trip!
Please note that some of these activities are subject to weather conditions. Please also note that there is a strict weight limit of 15 stone (210lbs) or 95kg to partake in the horse riding – if you should weigh more than this, then unfortunately you will not be able to participate in the horseback riding.
Leaving the ranch behind you will drive north across the lush flat pampas and start climbing into the drier mountains, camping for the night in the town of Tafi del Valle before continuing your journey to Cafayate. En route you will visit the ancient ruins of the indigenous city of Quilmes.
Cafeyate is a small unassuming town which also happens to be the centre of one of Argentina’s principal wine producing regions, famous for the quality of its Torrentes and Tannat wines! You will have the opportunity to go to a few of the vineyards nearby to see how the wine is made, and of course to try them!
From Salta you will head up to the small village of Purmamarca, at the base of the aptly named Hill of the Seven Colours, where you will stay for the night before crossing the border into Chile for the final time the next day, heading for the town of San Pedro de Atacama. You will have a full day here to explore the incredible highlights of the Atacama Desert surrounding San Pedro. In the evening you will take an included trip out to the extraordinary Moon Valley, where you will hopefully see an incredible sunset. At night you will also have the chance to go stargazing, in one of the world’s premier regions for astronomy (please note that this is only possible when there is not a full moon).