The Best Patagonia Itinerary: 7 to 10 Days in Patagonia [Or More]

Patagonia is a fascinating place. With its wild weather, beautiful hiking trails, and picturesque glaciers, it’s an adventure playground.

I loved every minute of my trip to the region. But before I arrived, I had hundreds of questions (which you probably do too)!

“How many days in Patagonia?”

“Which is better: Chile or Argentina Patagonia”

“Can I visit Patagonia without a tour?”

Now that I’ve been there and spent over a month exploring the Chilean and Argentinian side, I’ve crafted this perfect 10 day itinerary for Patagonia.

It’s easily customizable to a 7 day itinerary but also includes other places to visit if you have 2 weeks in Patagonia.

people walking on a glacier during their 10 day patagonia itinerary
The Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate (Argentinia Patagonia) is one of the most beautiful places I visited in Patagonia

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10 Day Patagonia itinerary overview

  • Day 1-3: El Chalten (2 nights)
  • Day 4-5: El Calafate (2 nights)
  • Day 6-10: Torres Del Paine (5 nights)

My Patagonia highlights

My overall favorite place in Patagonia: It’s an easy one! I loved the charming town of El Chalten in Argentinan Patagonia.

Most beautiful place: I still can’t get over how stunning Perito Moreno Glacier is! I did this Mini Trekking glacier tour from El Calafate, and it was one of my Patagonia highlights.

Best multi-day hike in Patagonia: The W Trek in Torres Del Paine, Chile. This hike allowed me to experience the real Patagonia. I had all four seasons in one day and saw landscapes I never knew existed.

Patagonia trip itinerary
Day 4 of the W Trek in Torres Del Paine (Chilean Patagonia)

Day 1: Buenos Aires to El Chalten: Hike to Mirador Condores

Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, El Chalten is a small hiking town home to some of the best trails, which I’ve detailed in my El Chalten hiking guide.

It’s my favorite place in all of Patagonia. And if there’s one destination you cannot miss, it’s El Chalten.

If you’re coming from Buenos Aires, you’ll be traveling for most of the day. When you arrive in El Chalten, drop off your bags and put on your hiking shoes!

Mirador de los Condores is a quick and easy hike that’s perfect for day 1 of your Patagonia itinerary. It offers the best views of El Chalten and takes roughly 2 hours to complete.

Top tip: The sun sets after 9 pm in Patagonia during the summer, so you’ll have more than enough time for this hike, so long as you arrive before 6 pm.

How to get to El Chalten

There is no airport in El Chalten. The closest airport is in El Calafate, which services flights from Buenos Aires, Bariloche, and Mendoza in Argentina.

You’ll then need to take a 3.5-hour bus from El Calafate to El Chalten. I booked my bus through Bus Bud. You can check prices and availability here.

Best things to do in Patagonia
The short hike to Mirador de los Condores in El Chalten, Patagonia

Where to stay in El Chalten

Patagonia is generally a lot more expensive than the other destinations in Argentina.

If you leave it too late, the more affordable options will be taken, and you’ll have to settle for something a bit further from town or out of your budget.

Apart Guillaumet is a basic accommodation option that ticks all the boxes, including an affordable price.

If you’re looking for something more luxurious, you can’t go wrong with Chalten Suites Hotel. There’s an onsite restaurant, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the trails.

Day 2: Laguna de Los Tres hike (El Chalten)

Laguna De Los Tres is the crown jewel of El Chalten. It’s a turquoise blue lake at the base of the famous Fitz Roy mountain and offers picture-perfect views.

It’s a challenging 9-hour return hike to get from El Chalten to Laguna de los Tres. You’ll need to be prepared with food, water, and a lot of energy.

It was the hardest day hike I did in Patagonia (but so worth it).

You don’t need a guide for this hike or any others in El Chalten, as the routes are easy to follow and clearly marked. Read my guide on getting to Laguna de Los Tres for more details.

Argentina or Chile Patagonia
Laguna de Los Tres is one of the most popular day hikes in all of Patagonia

Day 3: Laguna Torre (El Chalten)

Laguna Torre is a vast glacier lake filled with small icebergs. The Cerro Torre Mountain range forms the backdrop and looks like something from a postcard.

The Laguna Torre hike is equally impressive as Laguna de los Tres. The difference? It’s a lot easier! It takes around 6 hours to complete, but most is a flat trail.

Try to start your hike before sunrise to beat the crowds. This will also ensure you’re back in El Chalten by lunchtime.

After the hike, hop on a bus back to El Calafate and spend the night here. It’s time to check out the most incredible glacier in the world!

Other things to do in El Chalten

If one hike in El Chalten is enough for you, or if you have more than 7 days in Patagonia, here are a few other amazing things to do around El Chalten.

White river rafting: I went river rafting in El Chalten and loved it. The rapids aren’t too intense, but they offer a nice break from all the hiking.

Rent a car and make a day trip to Lago del Desierto: Lago del Desierto is a beautiful lake surrounded by forests with picturesque mountain views. Check out Glacier Huemul on the way.

Best day hikes in Patagonia
Laguna Torre is equally as impressive as Laguna de los Tres, but a lot easier

Day 4: Perito Moreno Glacier (El Calafate)

Today, you’ll wake up in El Calafate and make an exciting day trip to one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen, Perito Moreno Glacier.

It’s an iconic Patagonia attraction, and its beauty completely blew me away.

Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park, about an hour’s drive west of El Calafate. There are a few ways to experience the glacier.

How to visit Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno walkways: If you’re on a budget, you can book a bus to the park and visit the walkways only. These comprise of 4 km of interconnected paths that offer panoramic views of the glacier.

Glacier trekking tour: I did this Minitrekking tour, which was well worth the money. Not only do you get to walk on the actual glacier, but it also includes a short boat trip. You’ll have some time to explore the walkways.

Ferry around Perito Moreno: The Minitrekking tour sells out fast, so a good backup option is this boat cruise, which allows you to get closer to the glacier.

Regardless of what tour you do, visiting Perito Moreno Glacier will be expensive! But it’s worth every cent.

Book your spot here, as there is limited availability.

A man walking on a glacier in Patagonia
We did the Perito Moreano Minitrekking tour and it was one of our Patagonia highlights

Where to stay in El Calafate

El Calafate is a bigger town than El Chalten, so your accommodation options are greater. It also means that some are closer to the main road than others.

I stayed at Folk Hostel, and it’s a great choice for backpackers. It’s close to the bus terminal, but you’re going to have to walk a bit further to get to the main town center.

Mirador del Lago Hotel has gorgeous large rooms with beautiful views. The breakfasts are exceptional, and it’s perfect for those looking for a more comfortable and luxurious stay.

Day 5 Patagonia itinerary: Puerto Natales

For the second half of your itinerary for Patagonia, there are a few places to visit.

I recommend crossing the border and checking out the Chilean side. You can then fly out of Santiago in Chile rather than crossing the border back into Argentina.

But depending on your time and interests, you may want to visit Bariloche or Ushuaia on the Argentinian side instead.

Where would I go? It’s an easy one! Torres Del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. This park is home to the famous O and W Treks.

Itinerary for Patagonia
Mirador Las Torres, or The Towers, is one of the main attractions of the W Trek

How to get from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile)

Puerto Natales is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia.

Getting here involves an easy border crossing, which you’ll need to do via a bus from El Calafate in Argentina to Puerto Natales in Chile.

The bus drive takes 5 hours but allow for an extra hour at immigration. The buses are extremely comfortable, with large reclining seats. Check prices and availability here.

However, the town of Puerto Natales isn’t as charming as some other towns in Patagonia. So rather spend your first night in Puerto Natales and the rest in the national park.

Where to stay in Puerto Natales

I stayed at El Patagonico Hostel, a fantastic hostel in the heart of Puerto Natales. They offer private and dorm rooms and a big kitchen and lounge area. The price is hard to beat, and they’ll store your bags for free while you do the W Trek.

If you’re looking for a hotel with lake views, you can’t go wrong with The Singular Patagonia Hotel. The elegant rooms are some of the best you’ll find in Puerto Natales, and the staff are outstanding.

Day 6 – 10: W Trek (Torres Del Paine)

The W Trek is a 4-night/5-day trek through Torres Del Paine. It’s not as challenging as you think and can be done independently.

But the notorious Patagonia weather will affect your experience. During my W Trek (which you can read about here), I experienced the most intense weather conditions.

Sunshine, rain, snow!

I was blown over numerous times while walking through French Valley and had to get down on my haunches to catch my breath. It rained heavily one day. The next, it was sunny and hot.

But despite not having perfect conditions and spectacular views throughout, braving this weather was one of my highlights. I got to experience Patagonia at its finest – the raw and harsh conditions were unlike anything I’d experienced before.

Patagonia travel guide
The W Trek brought with it all kinds of weather

Accommodation on W Trek

If you’re doing the W Trek without a guide, you’ll need to organize your own accommodation. You can choose mountain huts or campsites, but the prices differ substantially.

Bookings open in July every year, and it’s a scramble to get a spot.

Two companies manage the accommodation along the W Trek: Vertice and Fantastico Sur (also known as Las Torres).

Booking your accommodation for the W Trek is a serious mission and highly time-consuming. But it’s the only downside of doing the W Trek independently.

Alternative option: Day trips to Torres Del Paine

Because of limited availability at campsites, your timing, or simply the fact that multi-day hikes are not everyone’s cup of tea, you can also visit Torres Del Paine on day trips from Puerto Natales.

If you’re choosing this option, it’s best to hire a car or take a day tour like this one.

Here are some day trip options:

how many days in Patagonia
Our campsite at Chileno on the W Trek in Patagonia

1. Mirador Las Torres (The Towers)

Mirador las Torres is an iconic site in Torres Del Paine. It’s the most popular section of the W Trek and gets busy with day trippers.

Getting to The Towers is a 9-hour return hike that starts challenging and does not get easier. The views are magnificent, though.

This is one of the best day tours from Puerto Natales to The Towers. Check price and availability here.

Top tip: If you’re following my Patagonia 10 day itinerary and struggled with the hike to Laguna de los Tres in El Chalten, skip Mirador Las Torres and opt for one of the below day hikes in Torres Del Paine instead.

2. French Valley

French Valley is the most picturesque day hike in Torres Del Paine National Park.

You’ll need to get on the first bus from Puerto Natales to the park and take the ferry to Refugio Paine Grande. From there, it’s a 2.5-hour hike to Refugio Italiano, which sits at the heart of French Valley.

3. Glacier Grey

Glacier Grey is the biggest glacier in Torres Del Paine and forms part of the western section of the W Trek.

You’ll need to catch the same catamaran as you would if you’re doing the French Valley day hike. But instead of following the trail that leads to French Valley on the right, you’ll go north to Refugio Grey.

Visiting Grey Glacier on a day trip is an ambitious yet achievable goal if you’re a fast hiker. It’s best to rather spend the night at Refugio Grey and head back to town the next day.

Top tip: If you’re planning a 7 day Patagonia itinerary and can only do 2 day hikes in Torres Del Paine, I suggest doing French Valley and Mirador Las Torres (The Towers).

Walking to Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine, Patagonia
Walking to Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Other places to visit in Patagonia

Some travelers may want to avoid the border crossing from Argentina to Chile.

If this is the case for you, there’s the option to stay on the Argentinian side and explore more of Patagonia from there.

Bariloche

Bariloche is the lake district of Argentinian Patagonia. It’s strikingly different from all other places on this Patagonia trip itinerary.

Bariloche is ideal for travelers who want a break from hiking and prefer a mix of nature and comfort.

It’s best to spend 3 days in Bariloche and possibly even a night in San Martin de los Andes.

Day 1 in Bariloche

Try to arrive in Bariloche by lunchtime, so you have the afternoon to explore the town. The streets are lined with alpine-styled buildings, and the Centro Civico (the town square) is incredibly picturesque.

The Bariloche lakefront is a great place to hang out. It overlooks Nahuel Huapi Lake and is calming and serene.

A beautiful walking path leads from the Bariloche sign along the water’s edge. It passes a skate park and other sites, leading to an iconic Cathedral.

Bariloche vs El Chalten Patagonia
Cerro Campanario is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Bariloche

How to get to Bariloche

If you’re skipping the Chilean Patagonia side, or if you have more time in Patagonia and want to add Bariloche to your itinerary, you’ll need to get to Bariloche from El Calafate.

The easiest way is via a quick 2 hour flight between the towns.

Where to stay in Bariloche

Bariloche is a lot bigger than most Patagonia towns. There are lots of different areas to base yourself in. Unless you stay in the town center, you’ll need to use public buses or rent a car to get around.

I stayed at Trip Select Bariloche, just a short walk from the main road in Bariloche. The private rooms are simple yet comfortable and are great value for money.

Llao Llao Resort is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Bariloche. The location is everything, surrounded by mountain peaks with incredible views from every window. But you’ll need a car to get here.

Day 2 in Bariloche: Llao Llao National Park & Cerro Campanario

Llao Llao National Park

An hour west of Bariloche lies Parque Municipal Llao Llao. It’s home to gorgeous hiking trails and spectacular views.

The most popular trail leads to Cerro Llao Llao, a panoramic viewpoint. You’ll walk up a steep zig-zag trail for 30 minutes to get here.

You can combine this with the Sendero de los Arrayanes trail. This loop track meanders through Parque Municipal Llao Llao, passing lush walkways and the picturesque Lake Moreno. It’s a flat trail and an excellent option for kids.

A man sitting on a bench overlooking a lake at one of the most beautiful places in Patagonia
Llao Llao Park has many easy walking trails with stunning views

Cerro Campanario

After visiting Llao Llao National Park, make your way to Cerro Campanario. Here, you’ll find the most impressive viewpoint in Bariloche.

The best part? There’s no strenuous hike involved (unless you opt to walk instead of taking the chair lift to the top).

There are numerous viewpoints at the peak, and you’ll have 360-degree views overlooking the lake district. There’s also a small cafe and bar.

Day 8 in Bariloche: 7 Lakes drive or Refugio Frey hike

For the final day of your itinerary for Patagonia, you have two options. You can either explore the iconic 7 Lakes route or do the popular full-day hike to Refugio Frey.

7 Lakes Drive

The 7 Lakes route is one of the most scenic drives in all of Patagonia.

It starts in a lake-side town outside Bariloche called Villa la Angostura and goes north to San Martin de Los Andes.

Throughout the 7 Lakes Drive, you’ll pass seven stunning glacial lakes, dense forests, and picturesque mountain landscapes.

If you have the time, spend a night in San Martin de Los Andes. It will break up the long drive and is a quaint town to explore.

But if you only have a few days in Bariloche, you’ll need to squeeze this into one day, although two days are preferable.

This full-day tour from Bariloche stops at all the lakes. It’s an excellent option for solo travelers or those who would prefer not to rent a car.

Bariloche Patagonia
Exploring Bariloche

Hike to Refugio Frey

I highly recommend the Refugio Frey trek if you’d rather spend your day hiking around Bariloche as opposed to enjoying the views from a car.

It starts at Cerro Cathedral, which is Argentina’s largest ski resort. The trail ends at Refugio Frey, which sits in front of Laguna Toncek and is surrounded by craggy peaks.

The 22 km return hike takes 8 hours and is more challenging than the other hikes around Bariloche.

Best time to visit Patagonia

The best time to visit Patagonia is from October to April. The days are warmer and longer, providing ideal conditions for hiking and exploring.

Keep in mind that October and November will still be cold, and the glacier lakes may be iced up.

December through February are the best months to visit. But they’re also the busiest.

For less crowds and great weather, March is the ideal month to plan your Patagonia travel itinerary.

best time to visit Patagonia
Even though I visited Patagonia in January, which is the best time, I had wild, unpredictable weather

How many days should I spend in Patagonia?

You’ll need at least 7 days in Patagonia. But if you want to travel slower and visit all the attractions, you’ll need 2 weeks.

Which is better: Chilean or Argentina Patagonia

I loved Argentinian Patagonia! It’s home to my favorite places in Patagonia and has incredible hiking trails. It’s also a lot cheaper than the Chilean side.

Which is the best month to visit Patagonia?

If I could choose any month, it would be March. This is the end of high season, so the crowds are fewer. But the weather is still optimal, and you can expect long, sunny days.

Where do you fly into for Patagonia?

You can either fly into Buenos Aires in Argentina or Santiago in Chile. To get to the Patagonia region from there, you must fly to El Calafate or Bariloche in Argentina. Or Puerto Natales in Chile.

How to visit Patagonia
The walkways in Los Glaciares National Park overlooking Perito Moreno Glacier

Final thoughts on my itinerary for Patagonia

I spent 7 months backpacking South America, and some of my best memories are from Patagonia.

But remember one thing about the region.

You can do all the planning and preparation for your trip, but unfortunately, you can’t prepare for the weather. It can be unforgiving, even during the summer months, which are said to be the best times to visit.

But no matter what Patagonia brings, embrace it. Enjoy the stunning scenery and take in the power of Mother Nature.

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Patagonia travel itinerary Argentina Chile

Planning your Patagonia itinerary and have any questions? Drop me a message in the comments section below.

Looking for more Patagonia travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!

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About Carryn

Hi, I'm Carryn. I’m an adventure travel blogger trying to figure out my way through life by traveling and exploring. Join me as I share my travel guides and tips for life abroad. Find out more about me here.

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