Patagonia Hike and Explore
Experience the jagged peaks of the Andes, discover penguin colonies and trek in famed Torres del Paine National Park
Experience the best of the northern and southern Patagonia. Explore the Lake District, mingle with penguins on Magdalena Island, and gaze upon majestic glaciers in Torres del Paine. You’ll feel like you’re a Chilean gaucho horseback riding in the Andean steppe. Most trekking elevation is under 5,000 feet. Shorter hikes (up to 5 miles) are scheduled among other activities like penguin viewing via boat, horseback riding and drinking local wines. This trip is for any adventurous outdoor traveler.
DAY 1: Arrive at Puerto Montt, the gateway to the Andes mountains and the Patagonian fjords in the afternoon. Meet your guides and group mates and discover why they call this area the Lake District. Settle in to your new accommodations in Puerto Varas and rest from your travels. Dinner will be on your own in the hotel.
DAY 2: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before spending the day exploring the Andes. Hike around Llanquihue Lake on the way to an active volcano complete with glaciers and gaze at the mouth of Fish River. Enjoy lunch amongst some of the most spectacular scenery. Stop at villages and small towns as you trek toward waterfalls and dramatic scenes culminating at the Lake of All Saints. Explore downtown Puerto Varas and choose a dinner on your own.
DAY 3: Cross the Chacao Channel via ferry to the island of Chiloe. Discover its quaint palafitos – colorful houses built on stilts above the water. Explore the sixteen wooden churches, which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Venture to the beach of Puñihuil and boat to one of the only islets where both the Magellanic and the Humboldt penguins meet.
DAY 4: After breakfast at your hotel, set off for a full day exploring Alerce Andino National Park. Hike through forests aged at more than four thousand years. With more than fifty lakes and endless hiking trails, you'll be sure to spot some local wildlife.
DAY 5: Transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Punta Arenas, the southernmost tip of Patagonia. Settle in to your local accommodations and take in the magnificent surroundings.
DAY 6: After breakfast discover the true Patagonia. From the Estancia Fitz Roy you will live the traditions of the Magellan gaucho, witness wool baths and sheep shearing, and experience a true Chilean barbecue.
DAY 7: Take a boat tour across the Strait of Magellan to a nature reserve and marvel at the thousands of Magellanic penguins milling about on the pebbly terrain. Circumnavigate Marta Island to see countless sea lions in their natural habitat.
DAY 8: Spend the day exploring the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Torres del Paine National Park. Hike the famed W trail to see some of the top sights in the park. Gaze upon soaring mountains, view sparkling glacial lakes, and hike alongside glaciers. If you’re lucky, find a local guanaco amidst an unmatched backdrop.
DAY 9: Take the morning to discover Patagonia as the guachos did via horseback. Share a typical Chilean lunch together before embarking on a half day guided bike tour.
DAY 10: Experience one of the park’s most incredible views from Mirador Gray. Board a catamaran for a half-hour crossing of Lake Pehoé. Set off on a trail along the east side of Lago Grey beneath the towering bulk of Mount Paine Grande. The path undulates through rocky areas, mixed native forests and woodlands.
DAY 11: Say goodbye to the jaw dropping backdrops of southern Patagonia and your travel companions before embarking on your journey home.
What To Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE: Enjoy exploring the Andes and the Lake District. We will hike a few miles of uneven trail most days above sea level.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: You will travel mostly by foot as you explore the wonders of northern and southern Patagonia. Transportation to and from accommodations will be provided by van. Domestic flights are necessary to explore both regions.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: No previous experience is necessary, however the elevation and uneven terrain make this trip a bit more difficult. We'll take it easy and let you acclimate.
WEATHER: Temperatures in November (summer) can range from 40°F at night to 72°F during the during the day. Rainfall varies - you should expect some rain throughout your trip.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 8 to 12 participants, plus one Wilderness Inquiry staff, and one local guide while in Chile. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Throughout the trip we will be staying in local hotels and lodges. The accommodations are very comfortable. Typically there are 2 people per room, matched by gender or requests to room together. In most rooms, solo travelers have single beds and couples share beds. We make every effort to ensure privacy and cleanliness.
SINGLE TRAVELERS: If you are traveling alone you will feel at home with a welcoming group. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip you may purchase a single supplement for an additional fee. Please email or call us if you would like this option.
MEALS: Enjoy typical Chilean fare, including fresh fish, barbecue, lamb, chicken, and fresh produce. Bottled water is recommended and readily available. We'll enjoy happy hours, but the purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: You will need to provide your personal clothing and gear which is outlined in the packing list. We recommend layers as the weather can change quickly.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
Do I need international travel insurance if my health insurance doesn’t cover me on an international trip?
Can I pay more to have my own room on a lodge-based trip?
Yes, most times a single supplement is available on a lodge-based trip. Exact cost and availability depends on the trip.
Which immunizations do you recommend when traveling to an international destination?
Prior to departure, we recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor is in the best position to recommend specific vaccinations to specific destinations.
Some of the trip information on your website is different than the trip catalog. Why?
While it does not happen very often, sometimes dates, fees, or activities change after we print our trip schedule. We also add new trips all the time. Our website is the most up to date source of information and always supersedes trip catalog information.
Does this trip have electricity for my CPAP machine, phone, camera or other electronic device?
Yes, this trip has electricity. Please indicate on your registration form that you need electricity and we will be sure to accommodate your need to the best of our abilities. If this is an international trip please check if you need an international adapter for your electronics. You can find more information on international plug ins here: https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/
Is this trip wheelchair accessible for hiking?
We do not recommend this trip for persons who use wheelchairs. Several of the hikes and activities are not wheelchair accessible. If you use a wheelchair and are interested in going, please call to discuss the trip with us.
How difficult are the hikes?
Most trekking elevation is under 5,000 ft, but some do go as high as 9,000 feet. Shorter hikes (up to 5 miles) are scattered among other activities like penguin viewing via boat, horseback riding and drinking local wines. If you can walk 5-miles you'll be fine.
For more information, visit these links:
Single Room Supplement
You can elect to guarantee a single room for the duration of the trip for $1295 during the registration process.
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Puerto Montt El Tepual Airport (PMC) at 2:00 PM (local time)
End: Punta Arenas Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport at 4:00 PM (local time)
To make your travel arrangements for this trip we recommend that you consult with a travel agency. The agency we work with frequently, Travel One, can be reached at (800) 247-1311. They are typically familiar with our trips and can help you make the best flight connections and hotel transfers at the best prices. Most people will fly to Santiago, Chile, and then connect to our meeting area of Puerto Montt, Chile. That is a 2 hour flight and about $50. At the end of the trip you will be transported to the airport in Punta Arenas and fly home (or anywhere else you might be headed) from there. Most people will fly back to Santiago and then home from there. It is a 2 hour flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago (about $110). Except where made explicit, WI will provide for all trip-specific transportation in Chile between the two flights. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.