This 7 day self-drive itinerary explores two of the most stunning National Parks of Patagonia: Torres del Paine in Chile, And Los Glaciares in Argentina. Discover the majestic, sweeping landscape of mountains, glaciers and pampa at your own pace with your rental car and pre-booked hotels.
Pick up your car at the airport or downtown rental office. Punta Arenas is the largest and most important city of Chilean Patagonia. It is located on the western side of the Strait of Magellan and its inhabitants come from a mix of cultural backgrounds, English sheep ranchers as well as Portuguese sailors settled here. Overnight in Punta Arenas.
It will be a rather long drive to Torres del Paine National Park, with many interesting stops on the way. You will be able to visit the Penguin Colony on the Otway Sound, for example. The main road to Puerto Natales is paved and in good condition, sheep farms are scattered along the way. Torres del Paine National Park will greet you from afar with its gigantic granite towers. Overnight in Torres del Paine National Park. (B)
The National Park Torres del Paine is one of the most impressive parks in Chile because of its unique wildlife and dramatic scenery. The park is best known for its steep granite towers (torres), the unique horns (cuernos) and the Big Paine Mountain. The massif is crowned by glaciers and surrounded by cascading rivers and beautiful emerald lakes. The park was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1978. There are many hiking trails to choose from to explore this gorgeous park. Overnight in Torres del Paine National Park. (B)
Passing through Cerro Castillo, a village and estancia near the border, you will cross into Argentina. From the border onwards, you will mainly drive through the vast and desolate Argentinean Pampa to El Calafate. You may spot a sheep farm or occasionally encounter wild animals along the way. Your destination, El Calafate, is located on the shores of Lago Argentino, which is surrounded by impressive, snow-capped peaks. Overnight in El Calafate. (B)
The 'Los Glaciares National Park' is outstandingly beautiful and you will be able to explore the park on one of the numerous hiking trails. The primary attraction is the Perito Moreno Glacier, which extends over 200 km/124 mi with an imposing front wall of 60 m/197 ft height and 4 km/2.5 mi length. Enormous ice chunks occasionally fall off the front wall and drop into Lake Argentino with a thundering sound. Overnight in El Calafate. (B)
Start your return trip on the legendary Argentinean Route 40 to Puerto Natales in Chile. After crossing the border, you will be able to visit Puerto Natales or sites in the region like the Milodón Cave, where scientists discovered the remains of a gigantic sloth. Overnight in Puerto Natales. (B)
From Puerto Natales it will take 3 hours to return to Punta Arenas. Drop off you car at the airport or downtown rental office. (B)