10 Days In Patagonia: Patagonia Itinerary & Travel Guide for Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia

10 Days In Patagonia: Patagonia Itinerary & Travel Guide for Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia

Looking for the best Patagonia itinerary? This Patagonia 10 day itinerary shows you the best activities to do in both Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia. This Patagonia itinerary includes the best hikes, how to get around Patagonia, best bus companies and places to stay on both sides of Patagonia.

Planning a trip to Patagonia in South America but not sure where to start? This is how I felt when I first started playing with the idea of hiking in Patagonia for 10 days. I did not even realize that Patagonia is in both Chile and Argentina before I started my Patagonia trip planning.

Patagonia is a large area at the tip of South America that offers so much to travelers. If you enjoy raw unspoiled nature, then Patagonia is heaven for you. There are amazing day hikes and multi-day treks, powerful waterfalls, horseback riding, glacier sighting, secret caves and even penguins!

Given the time constraint (only 10 days), this Patagonia itinerary will allow you to see all the highlights in Patagonia in both Chile and Argentina. This 10 Day Patagonia itinerary involves a lot of hiking as well as rest days and sightseeing, so choose your activities for yourself as you see fit.

This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Patagonia 10 Day Itinerary and Travel Guide Overview

Since Patagonia occupies 2 countries, you can either follow the order of this Patagonia itinerary or do the reverse.

We started off our 10 day Patagonia adventure in Chile and finished in Argentina. You can totally do the reverse of what we did on our Patagonia trip. We did a total of 2 day hikes in Torres del Paine in Chile and 2 days hikes and 1 glacier trekking in Argentina during our 10 days in Patagonia. You can see how I structured this Patagonia 10 day itinerary below:

Day 1: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile
Day 2: Mirador Las Torres Hike in Torres del Panine, Chile
Day 3: Explore Torres del Paine
Day 4: French Valley Hike or Lago Grey (no hiking)
Day 5: Bus to El Calafate, Argentina
Day 6: Perito Moreno Glacier
Day 7: Bus to El Chalten + Day Hikes
Day 8: Cerro Torre Day Hike
Day 9: Fitz Roy Day Hike
Day 10: Departure from Argentinian Patagonia

Due to time constraint and the desire to see both sides of Patagonia, we didn’t get to do the entire W trek, which takes 5 days and involves camping. Instead we rented a car and also had private transfer to Torres del Paine for day hikes and sightseeing.

If you have 2 weeks in Patagonia, then you can adjust the itinerary below and do the 5 day W trek in Torres del Paine in Chile before heading to Patagonia Argentina.

Note that if you are planning to do the W Trek (or the O Trek) in Patagonia in Chile during peak summer time (December that is), you should try to book all the refugios or camp sites 6 months in advance.

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How to get to Patagonia

Patagonia is a region in South America that is partially located in Chile and partially in Argentina. So it depends on which side of Patagonia you want to visit first.

Flying into Chilean Patagonia

If you are visiting Chilean Patagonia first (like with this 10 day Patagonia itinerary), then you need to fly into Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales. Punta Arenas is also the spot for most departure cruises for Antarctica, pretty cool right?

Punta Arenas (PUQ)

There are daily nonstop flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas with airlines such as LATAM, Sky Airline, and JetSMART with LATAM offering the most number of flights. Flights between Santiago and Punta Arenas are generally no more than $200 USD one way.

If you are visiting from internal destinations, you will obviously need to fly into Santiago first before connecting to Punta Arenas.

Once you land in Punta Arenas, you can take a bus to Puerto Natales (the town you will be staying at). More details on that later.

Puerto Natales (Teniente Julio Gallardo Airport) (PNT)

Another option is to fly into Puerto Natales, which is actually closer to the town where you will be staying (If you fly into Punta Arenas, you will need to take a bus to Puerto Natales anyway).

However there is not as many nonstop flights from Santiago to Puerto Natales. You can find flights from Santiago to Puerto Natales with LATAM and Sky Airline.

If Patagonia is your first stop in Chile, you will need to go through immigration in Santiago, pick up your luggage, get scanned at customs and go back into the airport to check in/board your flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales. So you should make sure you have enough time during your layover.

Flying into Argentinian Patagonia

El Calafate (FTE)

If you are going to visit the Argentinian Patagonia first, you will need to fly into El Calafate.

There are many nonstop flights from Buenos Aires to El Calafate on airlines such as Aerolineas Argentinas and JetSMART.

There are 2 airports in Buenos Aires, be sure to check which airport the flight is operating from.

How to Get Around Patagonia

One great thing about Patagonia is the ease of transportation from place to place and even between Chile and Argentina. You do not need a car to be able to get around Patagonia!

There are 3 main ways to get around Patagonia: bus, private transfer or tour, and driving.

wild lives in Patagonia

Getting Around Patagonia by Bus

Unless you are going to some off the beaten path place in Patagonia, buses can generally get you to the main attraction and hiking trails in Patagonia.

Bus in Chilean Patagonia

Bus Sur is one of the most popular bus companies on the Chilean side of Patagonia. It offers routes between Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales and to Torres del Paine (where you will hike), Rio Grande, Ushuaia (Argentina), Villa Tehuelches, and El Calafate (Argentina).

It also offers bus service between Puerto Natales (Chile) and El Calafate (Argentina). You will need to have your passport in order to board this bus between countries.

Bus Fernandez is another option if you are just looking for transportation between Punta Arenas Airport to Puerto Natales.

Be sure to buy your bus tickets online ahead of time and print them out. At least when I went there was no mobile boarding so you need to show your paper tickets.

You cannot buy tickets in person from the airport so purchase your tickets in advance!

Bus in Argentinian Patagonia

Chalten Travel is the most popular bus company in Argentinian Patagonia. They are clean and reliable. We used Chalten Travel from El Calafate to El Chalten.

The bus can either pick you up from your hotel in El Calafate or you have to go to the El Calafate bus station. When you book the ticket online, generally it’s expected that you go to the El Calafate bus station yourself. However we found the Chalten Travel office on the main street in El Calafate and they said they can pick us up from the hotel.

Marga TAQSA is another popular bus company in Argentinian Patagonia. They have many routes in Patagonia.

The best way to book bus tickets in Patagonia is to use busbud so you can compare prices and timetables between the different bus companies in both Argentina and Chile.

Renting a car in Patagonia

If you want more flexibility in your Patagonia itinerary, then renting a car may be a good option for you.

Renting a car in Patagonia is also great if you want to do a lot of day hikes (instead of doing the W trek) in Torres del Paine or if you are a slow hiker. Since buses in Patagonia have set schedule, if you are a slow hiker you may actually miss the last bus to leave the park.

I will say this first, rental cars (especially the ones with automatic transmission) are not easy to come by in Patagonia, and this has gotten even worse since the pandemic. If you are planning to rent a car in Patagonia, be sure to book way ahead of time.

Renting a car in Chilean Patagonia

If you are planning to drive around Chilean Patagonia the entire time, it may be best to pick up a car when you land in Punta Arenas.

There are more cars available for rent there and you can use Expedia to search for rental cars from Punta Arenas.

If you are trying to rent a car from Puerto Natales, that will be more challenging.

There are some local car rental agencies in Puerto Natales, such as EuropCar, Punta Alta Rent Car, and Magallanes Rent a Car. You can also ask your hotel if they know any car rental agencies that they recommend.

Renting a car in Patagonia costs about $100-$200 a day depending on car availability, type, and date.

Renting a car in Argentinian Patagonia

It is a lot easier to rent a car in Argentinian Patagonia from El Calafate (this is where you can fly in or bus in from the Chile side).

You can find relatively abundant and cheaper rental cars on Expedia for about $80 a day (manual transmission). Automatic transmission is also hard to come by and can be very expensive (like $300 a day).

Again, you can also ask your hotel in El Calafate if they have any car rental agency recommendations.

Private Transfer and Tours in Patagonia

If you do not want to take a bus in Patagonia and do not feel comfortable driving in Patagonia, your last option to get around Patagonia is to book tours and even private transfers.

There are many amazing tours (even hiking tours) in both Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia on Viator and Get Your Guide.

horseback riding in PAtagonia

Best Patagonia Tours For Those Without a Car

If you want to do everything mentioned in this itinerary but don’t have a car (and don’t want to take a bus), I would recommend the following tours to make your life easier:

  • Puerto Natales: Base of the Towers Day Hike. While you can totally hike Mirador Las Torres without a guide, but it is annoying to get to by bus. This tour will take pick you up from the hotel in Puerto Natales, take you to the hike, and drive you back. There is a guide but you can hike at your own pace. Book here.
  • Torres del Paine Full Day Tour with Transfer. This tour is perfect for your 3rd day in Patagonia to relax and see some of the best natural sights in Torres del Paine without driving. Book here.
  • French Valley Hike: Again, this is a hiking tour that can pick you up from Puerto Natales and take care of the logistics of the catamaran ride (you do have to pay for tickets). Book here.
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Trekking & Tour (Argentina): You have the opportunity to trek on the famous Perito Moreno Glacier with a guide (and transfer), see the glacier from a boat and from the boardwalks. I did this and it was pretty amazing. Book Here. If you do not want to hike, there is a different tour to see the glacier without trekking.

10 day Patagonia Itinerary In Detail

Below is my super detailed Patagonia itinerary that shows you everything you need to know!

Day 1 of 10 Days in Patagonia – Arrival in Patagonia, Chile

As mentioned above, this 10 day Patagonia itinerary starts in Chile. The Patagonia Chile airport to fly into is Punta Arenas. This is also the spot for most departure cruises for Antarctica.

We took LATAM airlines from New York, with a short layover in Santiago. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to leave the airport in Santiago but if you have more time, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore Santiago.

Bus From Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales

Once you land in Punta Arenas (~3 hours flying from Santiago), board the bus for Puerto Natales (if you decide to stay in that town). Puerto Natales is the town most people stay in when they first arrive in Patagonia, Chile.

The bus ride to Puerto Natales from Punta Arenas is another 3 hours and Puerto Natales is 2 hours away from Torres Del Paine. We took Bus Sur from the airport to Puerto Natales. You can book your tickets here.

One thing to note is that these buses are not very on time… they tend to be 15-30 min late, so adjust your expectations and don’t freak out if the bus doesn’t come on time.

Why stay in Puerto Natales?

Puerto Natales is one of the biggest towns near Torres del Paine and it has a lot of restaurants, hotels, hostels, rental car services and super markets there. You can stock up for camping in Puerto Natales too before heading to Torres del Paine, where all the hikes are.

Patagonia Airport Punta Arenas

After arriving in Puerto Natales, it would be a good idea to check out the local super market and stock up on food for your upcoming hike tomorrow. We mostly bought bread, sliced ham, apple, fruit juice, water, cookies, and chips and packed our own lunch.

Where to Stay in Puerto Natales

There are many types of accommodation in Puerto Natales.

If you are a backpacker and looking for budget accommodation in Puerto Natales, I recommend hostels such as Red Point Patagonia, El Patagonico, and Corner Hostel.

If you have more budget and are looking for a more luxurious accommodation in Puerto Natales, then I would recommend Hotel Vendaval (where we stayed), and Natalino Hotel Patagonia.

Where to Eat in Puerto Natales

We stayed a few nights in Puerto Natales and tried several different restaurants. Some of our favorites are Pampa Restobar, Cafe Artimana, and Santolla.

Puerto Natales Restaurants
Cafe Artimana

Cafe Artimana only takes cash and the menu is only in Spanish. I really liked their sandwiches, skewers and lomo chicken chorizos. There are also many pizza places in Puerto Natales as well as bars.

Day 2 in Patagonia – Mirador Las Torres Hike In Torres Del Paine, Chile

Mirador Los Torres hike in Patagonia

Get up bright and early to catch your bus/private transfer/drive to Torres Del Paine for your day hike to Mirador Las Torres (2 hours away).

The Mirador Las Torres hike takes about 8-9 hours round trip and mostly uphill. The view along the way is incredible and the view of Las Torres at the lake is even more amazing.

The Torres hike is a strenuous hike to say the least and it gets even more challenging when the wind is 40-50km/h, but the view at the summit is well worth the effort. It’s also a perfect spot to propose in Patagonia if you are planning to propose there.

Mirador Los Torres hike in Patagonia

For more detailed information on the Torres hike and how to get to Torres del Paine, check out my post on the Towers Hike.

You will need to buy an entrance ticket to Torres del Paine when you arrive at the administration office. For foreigners that are 18 year old +, the entrance fee is USD 31.2 (cheaper for non-adults and children under 12 year old is free) for up to 3 days.

If you are planning to stay for more than 3 days, then the price is USD 44.5 for everyone except children under 12.

There are discounts for Chilean resident, adults with disabilities, children, etc. There is no ATM in Torres del Paine, so make sure to get money from Puerto Natales. You can also reserve your tickets online at the official website. You need to register first, then purchase tickets.

If you are driving to Torres del Paine yourself, after you buy your entrance ticket at the administration office, head towards the direction of “Laguna Amarga” towards Hotel Las Torres. The hiking trail to Mirador Las Torres starts at Hotel Las Torres.

If you are taking the bus yourself and want to catch the bus back to Puerto Natales, make sure to watch out for time so you don’t miss the last bus out.

The weather can be extremely windy and unpredictable in Patagonia so dress in layers and bring plenty of water, food and toilet paper. Also bring a trash bag so you can take your garbage back to town.

I highly recommend bringing hiking sticks for this hike as well as a wide angle lens. Read this wonderful post on how to pack for Torres del Paine for a more detailed packing list.

Patagonia hiking Las Torres del Paine

Day 3 of 10 Days in Patagonia – Explore Torres del Paine by Car (or Tour)

Torres del Paine

If you are not doing the W trek in Torres del Paine, you have a lot of time to explore the park and just take photos or do short mini hikes.

Many people choose to do day tours in Torres del Paine to the different view points and lakes or rent a car to explore Torres del Paine by themselves.

We ended up renting a car from Puerto Natales and drove 2 hours to Torres del Paine since we wanted the flexibility.

View Points in Torres Del Paine

There are many view points along the drive to Torres del Paine, many with amazing views of the towers. The great thing about driving is that you can pretty much stop anytime you see a pretty spot.

Many of the best view points in Torres del Paine are marked with parking lots so you don’t have to randomly park on the road. There are also a lot of signs on the road pointing to Patagonia so you should not be able to get lost.

Torres del Paine Lakes Landscape Patagonia
Lakes in Patagonia (Torres del Paine)
Torres del Paine view point

Once you get past the administration office to buy your ticket into Torres del Paine, don’t take the path down to Laguna Amarga as that goes towards Mirador Las Torres (from the previous day).

Head towards”Pudeto” to explore other parts of Torres del Paine.

Salto Grande is a short “hike” to see the best waterfall in Torres del Paine. It’s supposed to take about 15 minutes but due to the wind it took me 30 minutes one way to reach the waterfall.

After Salto Grande you can continue to hike to the Mirador de Los Cuernos for about an hour, which gives you amazing views of the peaks in Torres del Paine. We didn’t get to go because the wind was about 60kmph that day so it was a struggle to even walk to Salto Grande.

Salto Grande Patagonia waterfall
Salto Grande Hike
Patagonia Torres del Paine view point
It was SO windy at Salto Grande
Torres del Paine Patagonia hike

Day 4 of 10 Days in Patagonia – French Valley (Mirador Valle del Frances) Hike or Lago Grey

Option 1. French Valley Hike

Another day hike in Torres del Paine that you can put on your 10 day Patagonia itinerary is the French Valley Hike. To do that, you need to get the first Catamaran inside the Torres del Paine at 9am (or take a tour but still need to ride the Catamaran)

French Valley hike in Patagonia

The cost of the Catamaran (one way) is 40 USD. For more information on the Catamaran, check the official website here. You board the Catamaran from Pudeto to Refugio Paine Grande.

After getting off the Catamaran, you have to walk 2.5 hours to Italian Camp, which is the entry point of the French Valley. This hike is highly dependent on weather and the upper part of the valley is closed when it’s really windy for safety reasons.

If you are not planning to stay at a refugio there, then you need to catch the last catamaran back to Pudeto, so time your hike wisely.

You probably will not be able to finish the hike (get to the best view point) in time, so expect to only go half way. One thing to note is that it’s not possible to finish the hike and then catch the bus back, the timing just doesn’t work so a day tour might be the best.

If you want to do this as a day trip, I would suggest either rent a car, go with a tour, or get private transfer. Again, we used Todo Ushuaia’s private driver this day (you may need to find another private driver as the company we used may have closed).

Option 2. Visiting Lago Grey

On the other hand, if you decide not to hike the French Valley (or if the weather is so bad that they either shut down the hike or shut down the Catamaran, which is what happened to me), then you can visit Lago Grey instead.

Patagonia Lago Grey Hike

There is a boat tour of Lago Grey from Hotel Lago Grey, you can find more information on their website.  We did not do this but we did do a short “hike” from Hotel Lago Grey to the shoreline and up an island for a nice view point of Glacier Grey.

Patagonia Torres del Paine Glacier

From the beach to the view point on the island is about a 20-30 minute walk, on the way back you can either go back down the same way you came up or go around the island for another 30-40 minutes.

Lago Grey Lake

Patagonia Lago Grey hike

Day 5 in Patagonia – Bus to El Calafate, Argentina

After 3 full days in Torres del Paine, it’s now time to travel to El Calafate, Argentina. There are daily buses from Puerto Natales to El Calafate. We took a 7:30am bus from Terminal Rodoviario Puerto Natales to cross the boarder into Argentina to El Calafate.

We used Bus Sur and there are 2 daily buses on Bus Sur. You can find the ticket here. The bus leaves at 7:30am from Puerto Natales and arrives around 2:15pm in El Calafate and the other bus leaves from Puerto Natales at 2:30pm and arrives in El Calafate around 8:30pm.

One reason the bus takes such a long time is because you have to stop by the Chile/ Argentina border.You first need to exit from Chile (and get a stamp) and then you have to wait at the Argentina border to get into the country.

Bus Sur to El Calafate

Make sure to have your passport with you at all times as you will not even be able to board the bus without your passport.

All the buses in Patagonia give you an assigned seat so make sure to hold onto your ticket so you know which seat you get.

Chile Argentina Patagonia Border

Where to Stay in El Calafate

El Calafate is a pretty big town so there are plenty of accommodation options in El Calafate.

We stayed in Hotel Kosten Aike which was really central and spacious. They provide breakfast everyday and you can pay for packed lunch to take with you for your day trip to Perito Moreno.

patagonia argentina Kaisen Aike hotel

Once you get off the bus at the bus station, you can either walk to your hostel or take a taxi. We decided to not walk and took a taxi and it was only a 5 minute taxi ride to our hotel. Many backpackers just walked to their hotel/hostel near by.

This luxury hotel is located about a 30 minute drive from El Calafate but the view from the rooms are amazing. The hotel also has spa facilities, free airbus shuttle, amazing restaurant and bar.

Where to Eat in El Calafate

There are many restaurants in El Calafate, some are traditional Argentinian food whereas others are pizzas and pastas and pubs.

Some of our favorite places include Isabel – Cocina al Disco (traditional Argentinian place serving large portions meat stew with ravioli (optional)) and they take credit card.

Another amazing restaurant we liked was Mi Rancho (Argentinian food, REALLY good!) You definitely need to make a reservation for Mi Rancho and they only take cash. I really liked the meat and filled pasta at Mi Rancho.

Since we arrived in the afternoon, we just had lunch in Isabel-Cocina al Disco and walked around El Calafate.

Where to Exchange Money in El Calafate

You can exchange money both in banks and at Western Union in El Calafate.

Since we arrived on a weekend, the banks, located on the main street in El Calafate, were closed. We tried our luck at the Western Union and they did money exchange for us.

There are also ATM machines at the bank in El Calafate but apparently some machines have lower limits than other machines, so you will need to try several different ATMs in El Calafate to get the amount you need.

We didn’t have time to explore the whole city of El Calafate since it’s pretty big but we did spend a couple of hours just walking around the main street of the town. There are many souvenir shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, banks, and a post office.

El Calafate Patagonia Argentina

Day 6 of 10 Days in Patagonia – Perito Moreno Glacier Trekking

The reason we decided to spend time in El Calafate is to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier located in the Los Glaciares National Park. I have heard about the glacier in Patagonia so I was really excited to visit.

Some of the best things to do at Perito Moreno Glacier are listed here:

Big Ice Glacier Trekking

Big Ice is one of the most popular activities in Perito Moreno.

You trek for about 4 hours on the Glacier itself. The excursion runs from mid September to end of April, weather permitting. From what I read it’s very physically demanding and tiring but you really get to see a lot of the glacier. It is a full day tour.

Mini Trekking

Mini Trekking as the name implies, this is a mini version of Big Ice during which you trek for 1.5 hours on the Glacier instead of 3 hours. You can book here.

Perito Moreno Mini Trekking

They pick you up from your hotel around 7:30am in the morning. After about 1.5 hour drive you arrive at the port to take a ferry. The ferry ride is amazing because you get to see the glacier up close.

After about a 20 minute ferry ride you get off to walk around and eventually walk up the Glacier with crampon on.

It’s pretty tiring to walk on crampons on Perito Moreno so if you are not 100% sure you want to spend 3.5 hours walking on the glacier, this is a great alternative option. You also end the day walking on the Perito Moreno footbridge to get an amazing view of the glacier.

See Perito Moreno by Boat

If you wish not to do any of the trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier, then you can always take a boat tour! This full day experience takes you to see the most impressive glaciers not just Perito Moreno but also Upsala Glacier and hanging glaciers such as Dry Glacier.

Kayaking at Perito Moreno

Kayaking at Perito Moreno in Argentinian Patagonia

One thrilling activity you can do at Perito Moreno is to kayak near it! You will be able to explore the majestic icebergs floating in the water and enjoy the breathtaking view of this natural wonder.

See Perito Moreno from the footbridge

Patagonia Glacier Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia

You can either take a tour or do it yourself to get to the footbridge, which gives you the best view of Perito Moreno.

The Mini trekking included a visit to the Footbridge. However if you are on a budget, you can take a bus from the bus terminal in El Calafate to “Glaciar Perito Moreno” either at 8:30am or 9:30am.

After a 90 minute ride, you will get off at the entrance of national park (and pay a entrance fee). The bus ride costs about USD$30 round trip and the entrance fee to the park is another USD$30ish. Bring cash to pay for your tickets! After you get off the bus you can either do a boat tour or walk up to the footbridge.

Day 7 of 10 Days in Patagonia – Bus from El Calafate to El Chalten & Day Hikes

After the adventure to Glaciar Perito Moreno, it is time to move onto El Chalten to start your Patagonia Argentina hikes on your 10 day Patagonia itinerary.

Why Visit El Chalten?

El Chalten is a very small town located in the middle of El Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. It is located about 3 hours away from El Calafate. Unlike El Calafate, you can literally walk from one end of El Chalten to the other end in less than 30 minutes.

The most famous hikes in Argentinian Patagonia is located near El Chalten, that is why this town is extremely popular and a must-do in Patagonia.

Most of the hiking trails in El Chalten start at the end of the town (away from the visitor’s center) so book your hotels wisely. Some hiking trails start at the beginning of town and the Cerro Torre trail head starts in the middle of town.

Unless you have a car, most people take a bus from El Calafate to El Chalten. There are a few bus operators in Patagonia Argentina but the one we used was Chalten Travel.

As with all the bus companies in Patagonia, your ticket have assigned seats and I highly recommend reserving your tickets online.

There are 2 daily buses departing from El Calafate on Chalten Travel, one at 8am and the other at 6pm. We decided to do 8am so we have the rest of the day in El Chalten for some short day hikes.

Route 40 (Ruta 40)

One note on Route 40, which is the route that the bus travels from El Calfate to El Chalten. The road is the longest route in Argentina and one of the longest routes in the world.

What’s so famous about Route 40 in Patagnoia?

Route 40 got its fame from the view you encounter when you are close to El Chalten. Unfortunately we could not get off the bus to take photos, but fortunately we got front row seats on the upper deck of the bus (yay for purchasing tickets months in advance), we got some pretty nice shots along the way.

Route 40 Argentina

Once you reach El Chalten, the bus will take you to the visitor center to understand the history of El Chalten and Mount Fitz Roy, safety information, park information, regulation, etc.

Where to Stay in El Chalten

Even though El Chalten is a small town, there are plenty of accommodation options such as hotels, hostels, and apartments. I even saw someone camping next to the road on the sidewalk.

We stayed at Los Cerros Boutique Hotel & Spa which was super convenient since it was in the middle of town.

The front desk of the hotel displayed daily weather information and breakfast was included. The view from the restaurant at the hotel was amazing and the rooms were bright and spacious. The perk of staying at this hotel is that it’s actually on the way to the Cerro Torre trail head.

Internet was pretty spotty when I was in El Chalten; it actually didn’t really work in the town half of the time when we were there. However it seems like the wifi works a lot better now in El Chalten so I guess technology has improved!

If you want to know the weather in El Chalten specifically, this useful weather forecast website is the one you need. It shows you the weather, precipitation, wind speed and wind gust every 3 hours which is incredibly useful to plan your hikes around the area.

Where to Eat in El Chalten

Since El Chalten is a small town in the middle of no where, there aren’t as many restaurants as in El Calafate or Puerto Natales.

Our favorite restaurant in El Chalten was La Tapera and we went back there every night. You should go when they open because the restaurant gets full and I saw them turning away many people every night. But I’m sure there are more restaurants now in El Chalten and Tripadvisor would be helpful in this case.

Since we went to La Tapera every night we pretty much tried all their dishes and they were all really good. I especially loved their homemade bread with dips as well as their vegetable soup and their pastas. Not only is their food delicious but the service was very fast as well, unlike some of the other places we tried in El Chalten! They also take credit card which was a major plus.

La Tapera El Chalten

La Tapera El Chalten

Short Hikes Near El Chalten

We arrived around 11am to El Chalten, and after checking into the hotel and getting lunch, we had an entire afternoon to explore the area.

There are a few short day hikes around El Chalten. One hike we did was 2 hour round trip waterfall hike called Chorrillo del Salto. To get to the trail head, just walk towards the end of the town (opposite direction of where the tourist office is).

The trail head is the same trail head as Fitz Roy but you will see signs pointing to Chorrillo del Salto. You can pretty much walk on the main road (where cars go). The road is pretty flat and boring. After about an hour, you will come to a pretty cool waterfall.

Chorrillo del Salto El Chalten Hike

El Chalten Waterfall

Another famous short hike in El Chalten is the Los Condores and Las Aguilas Viewpoints. This hike is near the tourist administrative office. It’s a short uphill hike and offers really nice views.

There are small markets in El Chalten that you should go to stock up on food/ make lunch for your longer day hikes to Cerro Torre or Mt Fitz Roy.

Day 8 in Patagonia – Cerro Torre (Laguna Torre) Day Hike From El Chalten

If you look at the Patagonia Argentina mountain outline, there are 2 major peaks that stand out. The taller and bigger mountain is Mount Fitz Roy and to its left there is a skinnier and shorter peak, that is the Cerro Torre.

On Route 40, you can see both peaks but once you start hiking, you can only hike towards one peak at a time (and the other one wouldn’t be visible).

The Cerro Torre hike is a relatively easy hike because it’s not really steep and it’s much shorter than the Fitz Roy hike. Cerro Torre hike is about 18km round trip, takes about 6 hours.

The hike is really flat except the first 10 minutes of the hike where you are hiking from the middle of El Chalten up to the official Cerro Torre trail head. Note there is no drones allowed in Cerro Torre.

Laguna Torre Hike El Chalten Argentina

Cerro Torre Hike Patagonia Argentina

Laguna Torre hike 10 days in Patagonia

Day 9 of 10 Days in Patagonia – Fitz Roy (Laguna de Los Tres) Hike From El Chalten

Monte Fitz Roy patagonia hike

The Fitz Roy hike is perhaps one of the most iconic hikes in the El Chalten region in Patagonia Argentina. The Fitz Roy mountain range is the logo of the clothing brand Patagonia. It is no wonder that this hike is the most beautiful in the region.

If you can only do one hike in Patagonia Argentina then the Fitz Roy hike is the one you must do.I have previously written extensively on the Fitz Roy Day Hike, otherwise known as Laguna de Los Tres.

It is a much longer and harder hike compare to the Cerro Torre hike, with a crazy steep climb in the end.

The difficulty is comparable (if not more difficult) to the Mirador Las Torres hike in Torres del Paine, Chile. What makes the Fitz Roy hike better than the Torres hike? It’s the view along the way. For most part of the Fitz Roy hike, you can see the Fitz Roy mountain and the ground is relatively flat (except the first 3km and the last hour, which is a killer).

The Fitz Roy hike is about 20.4km (12.7 miles) round trip, 8-9 hours. You should definitely bring packed lunch, a lot of water, hiking pole, and layers as weather changes rapidly in Patagonia.

Fitz Roy Patagonia Hike

I’m very glad we decided to do this hike last because there is no way we would be motivated to hike Cerro Torre after this long and strenuous hike.

The trail is at the end of El Chalten and is also accessible by car (there is a car park at the trail head). I would recommend bringing a wide angle lens to the Fitz Roy hike because the mountain and the lake is just so massive (even more grand than Las Torres in Torres del Paine). Note that drones are not allowed on the Fitz Roy hike.

2 Day Cerro Torre & Fitz Roy Hike

There is an option for hikes to combine the Cerro Torre hike with the Fitz Roy hike. This hike requires you to camp overnight but the combined distance will be shorter than doing each hike individually. Camping is free in Patagonia Argentina so this may be an option for backpackers or those on a tight budget.

There are a number of other day hikes from El Chalten that look amazing. We simply did not have the time to do any more day hikes when we were there.

But if you still have time, do consider the Piedra del Fraile hike, the hike to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, or even the multi day trek Huemul Circuit which takes you to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. I did read this multi-day hike is crazy difficult and you need a GPS to help you navigate.

Last Day of 10 Days in Patagonia – Departure from Patagonia, Argentina

After a perfect and action packed 9 days of your 10 day Patagonia itinerary, it’s time to say goodbye.

To fly out of Patagonia Argentina you have to go back to El Calafate from El Chalten. We used Chalten Travel again and got on the 7:30am bus (there are 3 buses from El Chalten to El Calafate everyday, the times are 7:30am, 1pm and 6pm).

If you are going directly to El Calafate airport, the bus actually stops at the airport first before making its way to El Calafate. You can just get off the bus at the airport (even if your ticket says you are going to El Calafate).

Short Layover in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Generally you will have to layover in Buenos Aires before getting on another flight home (or somewhere else in South America). We ended up having one night in Buenos Aires during the layover so we used uber to get around the city.

There are 2 airports in Buenos Aires. Aeroparque Jorge Newbery is located closer to city center (about 15-20 min Uber ride) and serves mostly domestic and regional flights. Your flight from El Calafate will be landing in this airport.

Ministro Pistarini International Airport (known as Ezeiza) is the international airport in Buenos Aires and is about an hour away from city center. If you are leaving Buenos Aires to go home, then most likely you will be flying out from Ezeiza. So when you book your flights, make sure to pay attention to which airport you are flying into/out of in Buenos Aires.

Where to Eat in Buenos Aires

If you only have a short layover in Buenos Aires I would recommend going to Don Julio to eat steak since Argentina is famous for steak and wine. Don Julio (Guatemala 4699, 1425 CABA, Argentina) is one of the best steakhouses in Buenos Aries so you simply cannot miss it.

There is always a long line at Don Julio but you can make reservation ahead of time. When you wait to be seated the restaurant will give you a glass of champagne which is nice. Don Julio has really good steak (we got T bones) as well as lamb sausage and blood sausage. The portions of steak is really big and well seasoned.

Where to Stay in Buenos Aires

Since we only had one night in Buenos Aires and we wanted to eat at Don Julio, we decided to stay closer to the restaurant without spending a lot of money. We stayed in a private room at Malevo Murana Hostel (Russel 5050, Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Even though it’s a hostel, our room was extremely clean and had a private bathroom, AC, and wifi. I would definitely stay there again if I visit Buenos Aires again. It’s also located in a really nice part of town and about 10 minute walk to Don Julio.

Unfortunately I only had a short layover in Buenos Aires but if you have more time to spend there, check out this awesome itinerary of 3 days in Buenos Aires.

Hope you enjoy your Patagonia trip based on my 10 Day Patagonia itinerary. If you only have 1 week in Patagonia, you may want to consider cutting out some of the day trips to Torres del Paine. Similarly if you have 2 weeks or longer in Patagonia, then consider doing the W trek in Torres del Paine as well as the hikes in El Chalten.

Practical Information For Your 10 Day Patagonia Itinerary

Where is Patagonia? 

Patagonia is located in the Southern part of South America. Patagonia is a region in the southern part of Chile and Argentina. It’s about a 3 hour flight from Santiago in Chile or Buenos Aires in Argentina. Patagonia Chile is known for Torres del Paine and Patagonia Argentina is known for the Perito Moreno Glacier as well as hiking near El Chalten (Mt Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, etc)

Marble Cave in Patagonia

When is the best time to travel to Patagonia? 

The best time to visit Patagonia is December to March (summer in the Southern Hemisphere). The weather is warmer and trails are dry. It’s much windier in the summer time in Patagonia than the winter time however.  Patagonia weather in November is probably the windiest time of the year and it can rain/snow all in the same day.

How Much Time Do I need For Patagonia? 

It really depends on how much time you have and what you want to see in Patagonia. Patagonia is a big region covering both Chile and Argentina.

In Patagonia Chile alone you can spend as little as 3 days and as much as weeks and the same for Patagonia Argentina. The 10 day Patagonia itinerary covers some of the highlights of Patagonia but you can always stay for much longer to see everything else.

If you plan to do the W trek in Torres del Paine, then you will need a minimum of 4-5 days in Patagonia Chile. I will suggest to spend no less than 1 week in Patagonia.

Can I go to Patagonia in the winter (June – August?)

You can definitely visit Patagonia in the winter in southern hemisphere, however, you will need a guide to do the hikes because snow will have covered the hiking trails. The snow will also make it harder to hike to many places so plan accordingly.

What’s the weather like in Patagonia?

Weather in Patagonia - Windy Patagonia

Weather in Patagonia is extremely unpredictable. Due to its location, it can be extremely windy especially in early summer (end of November/early December) and the temperature is high 70 and low 40s.

To give you an example, when I went to Patagonia the end of November, I had to wear 1 sweat shirt and 1 sports jacket during the hike. Of course it gets warm during the hikes in Patagonia but you should have enough layers so you won’t be cold.

You may also experience all four seasons in one day (sun, rain, hail, snow, wind, etc. The wind speed in Patagonia can be as much as 80 mile per hour, it is not safe to hike during those times.

The catamaran also gets shut down when it’s that windy. If the windy speed is 30-40mph you can still try to hike, but use caution as the gusts can be quite sudden and powerful and can knock you down to the ground.

What is a good website for Patagonia Weather Forecast? 

We used mountain-forecast.com for all the forecast and it was great.
Torres del Painehttps://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Paine-Grande/forecasts/500
El Chaltenhttps://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Cerro-Fitzroy/forecasts/500
The website tells you wind speed by the hour so you can see if you should go hike on a certain day.

Patagonia Torres del Paine

What to see in Patagonia without hiking? Is Patagonia worth going without hiking? 

You don’t need to hike to enjoy the beauty of Patagonia and I highly recommend adding some non-hiking days to your Patagonia itinerary. There are plenty of activities you can do in Patagonia without hiking.

In Torres del Paine you can rent a car and drive around the park and walk to see waterfalls and Lago Gray.

In El Calafate Argentina, you can take a boat to get close to the Perito Moreno Glacier to go to the observation deck to see the glacier up close.

Many luxury hotels in Patagonia also offer full day tours to certain view points or to places where you can just walk and enjoy the scenery with no hiking required.

If you are interested in penguins, you can see them when you are in Chile. You can see king penguin on this nice tour.

Penguins tours in Patagonia

Another fun activity you can do in Patagonia is whale watching, where you could potentially see Humpback Whales, Sei Whales, Southern Dolphins, Oyster Dolphins, etc.

How much money should I budget for Patagonia?

Patagonia can be done cheaply or extremely expensively, depending on your budget and travel style. If you want to do a budget travel trip to Patagonia then plan to camp and cook your own food, It would be $5-$20 a night for Patagonia budget trips; private rooms in guest houses can be between $20-$60 and hotels can range from $200 – $500 a night.

Similarly if you want to take buses around, it will be pretty cheap but renting a car can cost about 100 USD a day or taking a private tour can cost between $150 – $200 a person a day.

Is Patagonia Safe for Solo Traveling especially for women?

Since Patagonia is so remote, people are mostly locals who work in the tourism industry or tourists/backpackers. I felt pretty safe in Patagonia so if you don’t mind hiking alone, then you can totally solo trip it.

The most danger you will experience is probably getting lost or fall although the trails are very well marked so I’m not sure how anyone can get lost.

Hikers on the trail are also very friendly and encouraging, so it’s pretty nice for solo travel. There are also many refugios (hostels) on the hiking trails in Patagonia so you can always make new friends hiking Patagonia.

What Camera lens should I bring to Patagonia?

I highly recommend bringing both zoom lens as well as a wide angle lens to Patagonia.

I didn’t bring a wide angle lens and it was difficult to take photos at Mirador Las Torres (Torres del Paine) and the Fitz Roy (Argentina) because the mountains were so big.

Iphones are generally pretty wide angle but if you plan to use a camera with interchangeable lens, then I highly recommend an ultra wide angle lens for your Patagonia trip.

Can I use credit cards in Patagonia?

Many restaurants and hotels in Patagonia accept credit cards. However, I would recommend getting cash from ATMs/Cash Machines at the airports if possible because not all places accept cash. There is no ATM in Torres del Paine or El Chalten, so plan accordingly.

Can I use drones in Patagonia?

From what I read, Chile requires a permit to fly drones and the process is quite long. Also, it may not be a good idea to fly a drone in Patagonia since it’s very windy and the wind speed is between 20mph to 80mph depending on the season and the day.

Your drone will probably crash in such turbulent weather. In Patagonia Argentina there are specific signs saying no drones are allowed, so please don’t be a jerk and disturb the peace and quietness for other hikers. Nobody wants to have a drone in their photo when they’ve hiked hours for the view!

Additional Reading To Help Plan Your Patagonia Itinerary

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10 days in patagonia itinerary and travel guide argentina and chile #patagonia #itinerary #southAmerica
10 days in patagonia itinerary and travel guide argentina and chile #patagonia #itinerary #southAmerica
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