Border information: if you are joining in Santiago, you will most likely enter Chile at Santiago Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA code: SCL). Welcome to Santiago, the cosmopolitan Chilean capital! There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Santiago before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Santiago. In Santiago we will stay in a centrally-located hostel. Hotel for the night: Happy House Hostel
Happy House Hostel
Tel - +56 2 2688 4849
Activity Approximate Cost
Explore and discover the streets of Santiago Free
Chile's capital, Santiago, is a large, modern city with a very European atmosphere. In the centre of the city, wide tree-lined boulevards lead to pleasant plazas and leafy parks, and on a clear day the snow-capped peaks of the Andes provide a magnificent backdrop to the Santiago skyline. Much of the centre is pedestrianised, which together with the wide streets and efficient metro system make Santiago an easy city to explore on foot. There are plenty of interesting museums where you can learn more about Chilean history and culture, from the City of Santiago Museum which chronicles the city’s history, to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. The city's many wonderful parks are also worth a visit, particularly O'Higgins and San Cristóbal which offers great views of the city from Cerro San Lucia.
As you would expect from a capital city of this size, Santiago is full of busy bars and restaurants and has some lively nightlife to offer. For cheap eats full of local flavour, head to the Mercado Central which is packed full of food stalls and simple cafes and restaurants. For a real treat, you might want to head out
to one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods like Bellavista or Providencia, home to some really world-class restaurants and great bars. Barrio Brasil is also worth a look; this old neighbourhood attracts an arty and bohemian crowd and there are often interesting events going on here. If you have the time, there's also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city. Santiago is right in the middle of Chile's wine producing region, so it is relatively straightforward to arrange full day or half day tours out to the local wineries. You may also be interested in visiting the seaside town of Valparaíso, which can be visited as a day trip from Santiago.
Today we have a free day in Santiago to explore.
Activity Approximate Cost
Discover all of Santiago's sights on a hop-on/ hop-off bus around the city CLP 21000
Take in the breathtaking vista of the city skyline backdropped by the mighty Andes, from the viewpoints at Cerro San Cristobal or Cerro San Lucia Free
Learn more about Santiago and its history on a free walking tour of the centre from a knowledgeable local guide Free
Today we leave Santiago for a full day drive south to the beautiful Lake District of Chile and the lakeside town of Pucón. In Pucón we will stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is
essential on any overland trip!).
Southern Chile's lake district boasts some lake and mountain scenery comparable with what the Swiss Alps or New Zealand have to offer! Beautiful deep blue lakes are flanked by majestic forest-clad mountains with snowy peaks to provide picture-postcard views and a perfect spot for walking and camping. The attractive small town of Pucón is located at the heart of the Chilean lakes, a great place to stop for a few days so you can explore the area and get involved in some of the many adventure activities on offer here. At certain times of year it's even possible to do a day climb of the nearby Villarrica volcano - a challenging trek, but one that anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to manage - and you're rewarded with some fantastic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The whole area is great for trekking and there are plenty of options to do some fantastic self-guided walks.
Alternatively Pucón offers great horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain-biking opportunities. For those who would prefer to relax, there are also some great thermal springs nearby - the natural pools at Pozones are located in a beautiful setting and are a great place to go and soak your weary limbs in the evening!
Border information: Exit Chile at Mamuil Malal, enter Argentina at Mamuil Malal. Today we cross the Andes into Argentina and continue our journey to the picturesque town of Bariloche via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route). In Bariloche we stay in dorm beds in a friendly family-run hostel outside of town.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
The Argentinian resort town of Bariloche has a picture-perfect setting on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, flanked by the peaks of the surrounding Andean mountains. The scenery here is truly stunning, so it's a magical place to explore and take in all the amazing views. In winter, the town is a popular centre for skiing and in summer the focus shifts to walking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and kayaking and canoeing on the
lakes - and if all that sounds too much like hard work, you can sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely boat trip across to Victoria Island. Bariloche itself is also an interesting place to wander around. The town is famous for its handmade chocolates, and there are some really spectacular displays in the local chocolate shops. Because of its popularity with Argentinians as well as international tourists, the town has a lively bar and
restaurant scene with some great places to choose from. This is a particularly good place to sample some world-class Argentinian steak, and wild boar and Patagonian lamb is also worth a try here too!
We will have two free days to enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Bariloche and the stunning surrounding lakes, mountains and forests. We have the options to explore the area by foot, mountain bike, kayak or boat!
Activity Approximate Cost
Horse riding and mountain biking around Bariloche ARS 1600
Discover the incredible scenery of the Nauhel Huapi Lake and the Victoria Islands on a boat trip from Bariloche ARS 1200
Hire mountain bikes to explore the forests and hills surrounding Lake Nauhel Huapi and Bariloche ARS 390
Visit the interesting Fenoglio Chocolate Museum in Bariloche, and learn all about the town's tradition of chocolate making ARS 50
Explore the nearby Lago Gutierrez and take in its amazing views from the water on a half-day tandem kayaking trip ARS 550
Explore the best viewpoints around Bariloche and some of the locals' favourite spots, such as the summit of Cerro Campanario, the beautiful beach of Playa Bonita, and the delightful waterfalls of Los Duendes Free
Rio Pinturas/Cueva de las Manos
Today we continue our drive south to the Rio Pinturas area, where we have an included visit to the mysterious Neolithic cave-art site of Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands), some of the most well-preserved ancient art in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tonight we will wild camp near the Cueva de las Manos.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost
Visit the UNESCO site Cueva de las Manos at Río Pinturas Included in Kitty
About Cueva De Las Manos:
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Cueva de las Manos lies in an isolated and remote spot in the valley of Rio Pinturas. The cave takes its name from the hundreds of paintings of hands made by indigenous inhabitants some 13,000-9,000 years ago - possibly by the ancestors of the Tehuelche people. The images of hands are 'negative-painted, meaning that they put their hand on the rock face and sprayed the paint around the outline by blowing it through a bone pipe. As well as the hand impressions, there are also depictions of human beings, guanacos, rheas and other animals, as well as geometric shapes, zigzags, and representations of the sun, moon and hunting scenes.
Today we embark on a full day drive south towards the Patagonia region on the legendary Ruta 40 (Route 40).
Tonight we will wild camp in the Rio Mayo area. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.
About Argentinian Patagonia:
Patagonia is the name of the region in the far south of South America, the southernmost stretch of the Andes and the surrounding plains and plateaus. The area is split down the middle by the Andes, with Chilean Patagonia on the west, and Argentinian Patagonia on the east. Renowned for its desolate landscapes,
unrelenting winds and magnificent lake, mountain and glacial scenery, the name Patagonia comes from the word "Patagon", used by the explorer Magellan to describe the local people who he believed to be giants. Today historians believe that the Patagons were actually Teheulches, with an average height of about 1.8m as opposed to the average height of a Spaniard at the time of 1.55m! Argentinian Patagonia includes the spectacular national parks of Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego, home to the Pe
Today we will drive into the heart of the Patagonia region and reach the tiny town of El Chaltén, situated in Los Glaciares National Park and famous for its incredible mountains, glaciers and world-class trekking opportunities. In El Chaltén we stay in dorm beds in a hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
About El Chaltén:
El Chaltén is small remote Patagonian town nestled under the shadow of the iconic Mt. Fitz Roy. The town itself has an interesting origin - the area was disputed between Argentina and Chile for a number of years, so the Argentinians thought they would settle the argument by hastily building the town of El Chaltén in 1985 to claim the territory! The name of Chaltén comes from the Tehuelche word for 'smoky mountain', so called as the early morning clouds gathering around Fitz Roy look remarkably like volcanic smoke. It is a fantastic base from which to explore the northern sections of the incredible Los Glaciares National Park, and is home to many adventure tour operators offering outdoor activities in the area.
Los Glaciares National Park/ El Chalten
We will have two 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, horse riding, and many other fantastic options.
Activity Approximate Cost
Horse riding and trekking around El Chalten ARS 1600
Freely explore and trek around the walking trails of Los Glaciares National Park, taking in the marvellous vistas of the Fitz Roy mountain range Free
Take a boat out onto the stunning Viedma Lake, and get up close to the Viedma Glacier to see its impressive facade. USD 55
Enjoy a spectacular kayaking trip down the Río de las Vueltas, taking in some incredible views of the surrounding mountains USD 125
Head on a rock-climbing course in the magnificent landscapes surrounding El Chaltén USD 90
About Los Glaciares National Park:
Los Glaciares National Park is the largest protected area in Argentina, covering a huge area of Argentinian Patagonia along the southern tail of the Andes range. The National Park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of South America. This is classic picture-book Patagonia, and wherever you turn you're surrounded by wide open skies, magnificent mountains, incredible glaciers, glistening lakes and thick verdant forest. By far the best way to explore is to get out on foot - there are plenty of wellestablished
trails through the mountains and forests of the National Park that are easy to explore independently with a map, so you can plan many treks around the area from around two hours to an entire challenging day out. As well as the phenomenal needle-like Cerro Torre, the iconic mountain of Fitz Roy looms over our base of El Chaltén, an impossibly-picturesque and steep mountain (which is also the logo for the 'Patagonia' clothing brand!) which can be viewed from many angles on treks in the area.
Other activities can include boat trips and ice climbing on the incredible Videma Glacier, a visit to the serene Lago del Desierto, and horse-riding excursions through the incredible landscapes.
Today we will leave El Chaltén and head south, overlanding across the Patagonian steppe and heading towards the southern island of Tierra del Fuego. Tonight we will wild camp at a stunning ancient crater called Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon). Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
Tierra Del Fuego
Border information: Exit Argentina at Integracion Austral, enter Chile at Integracion Austral Continuing south, we head back into Chile to cross the Magellan Straits over to the island of Tierra del Fuego. Here we will visit the small King Penguin colony that have recently set up home at the remote Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay). Tonight we will wild camp near Bahia Inutil. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost
Head out to the remote corner of Chilean Tierra del Fuego to view the King Penguin colony at Bahia Inutil, the only colony of these type of penguins outside of Antarctica Included in Kitty
About Tierra Del Fuego:
Tierra del Fuego (meaning "Land of Fire") is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Strait. The island gets its name from the fires of the Selknam tribe that originally lived here, which Magellan and his sailors observed from their boats on their first travels through the area - unfortunately the Selknam and Yaghan tribes that originally inhabited the island are all but extinct due to illnesses brought in by European settlers that arrived in the 19th Century. The island is split in half with a straight north south line between Argentina and Chile, with the Argentinian half containing the island's largest settlement, Ushuaia.
The island of Tierra del Fuego is Patagonia at its most remote and desolate, with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions. On the Chilean half of the island lies Inútil Bay, a remote bay that is home to the only colony of King Penguins that exists outside of Antarctica!
Border information: Exit Chile at San Sebastian, enter Argentina at San Sebastian. Today we cross over to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego and drive to the incredible port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world! In Ushuaia we stay in dorm beds in a friendly local hostel. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Ushuaia is a port town that lies at the south of Tierra del Fuego on the Argentinian side - it is often known as "the city at the end of the world", as it is the world's most southern city (the Chilean town of Puerto Williams is slightly further south but is much smaller than Ushuaia). Ushuaia itself is low-lying and unassuming, centred around one main street and a waterfront that overlooks the Beagle Channel.
Originally Ushuaia was little more than a remote outpost, first colonised by a British-funded mission in the late 1800s and subsequently used by the Argentinian government as a penal colony. What was once a small sleepy town has grown rapidly in recent years, much of which is due to tourist development and particularly to the increasing number of Antarctica trips calling to port here.
There's plenty to do in Ushuaia and the surrounding area. The town itself is home to an interesting museum where you can learn more about the history of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and the indigenous people who originally lived here. The surrounding scenery is also impressive, so it's worth getting out on a boattrip into the Beagle Channel, which will give you some great views of town with the Martial mountain range in the background. You can also explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, another beautiful spot with some spectacular lake and mountain scenery.