Group - Classic

Lapwing: Patagonian Odyssey

14 days from £4,161pp

Chile / Argentina / Patagonia

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Overview & Highlights

This group holiday to Patagonia in Chile and Argentina features superior accommodation in one of the continent’s most remote regions. Travel to Torres del Paine National Park; enter Argentina to visit the Perito Moreno glacier, Tierra del Fuego and the Beagle Channel.

  • Santiago: Walking tour
  • Torres del Paine: boat trip on Lago Grey
  • Torres del Paine: Salto Grande Falls
  • El Calafate: Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Ushuaia: Tierra del Fuego National Park
  • Ushuaia: Beagle Channel boat trip
  • Buenos Aires: City tour

Patagonia is a region of stark, haunting beauty in the southern reaches of Chile and Argentina just across the water from Antarctica. Ice fields, glacial lakes, narrow fjords and towering mountain massifs compile an astonishing display of natural attractions. This upmarket escorted group holiday takes you from Chile's capital to the wilderness landscapes of Torres del Paine.

Continue into Argentina to view the dynamic Perito Moreno glacier and on to Tierra del Fuego, where the mountainous interior is still in part unexplored. The island lies at the southernmost extreme of the Andes, the 'uttermost end of the earth'. 

Finally let your hair down among the bright lights and Latin rhythms of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. You'll stay in comfortable hotels and enjoy this exceptional region at a gentle pace. If you like to explore on foot there are some excellent hiking trails in the national parks.


UK clients depart, arriving Santiago the following morning.

Day 1

Walking tour of Chile’s capital city.

Those arriving on an international flight will be met at the airport by the tour leader or a local representative. There will be time to relax before exploring the city and visiting a few of the many museums, markets and parks of this cosmopolitan capital. Santiago is laid out in a broad valley below the snow-capped Andes.

For a panoramic view over the city, visit Cerro Santa Lucía, a central, rather romantic park. For even more panoramic vistas, a cable car leads to the summit of San Cristóbal, where you can join Chilean families wandering along the leafy paths. Afterwards, have a beer at one of the pavement cafés in Bellavista. This is an Italian quarter of narrow streets peppered with bars and shops selling local lapis lazuli (only Chile and Afghanistan produce the stones in commercial quantities).

The museum and house of Chilean poet laureate Pablo Neruda is close by, and its unusual interior with an eclectic collection of paintings and bric-a-brac is well worth a visit.

Day 2

Optional visit to a vineyard, or the Pacific port town Valparaíso.

Today there is an optional visit to Chile's second city, Valparaíso (2 hours by bus). This lively seaport is built on a series of hills which form a backdrop to the wide bay, with views over the seaside resort of Viña del Mar. You can wander through the steep, winding streets and among the brightly-coloured colonial homes built for 19th century British and German merchants, or take a ride in one of the creaky wooden funiculars which link the cliff-top communities.

Time permitting, you may wish to visit one of the vineyards close to Santiago, to sample some highly respected Chilean wine.



Day 3

Fly to Punta Arenas, southern Patagonia.

A 4 hour flight takes you south to Punta Arenas. On a clear day you have views of the southern icecap, its fjords, volcanoes and glaciers. Approaching the city you see the rust brown Patagonian steppes, pitted with small lagoons, stretching out towards the Straits of Magellan. On the other side of the water rise the mountains of the windswept island of Tierra del Fuego.

Punta Arenas was an important, British-influenced trading centre before the opening of the Panama Canal turned it into a backwater; the region's fortunes were only briefly revived during a short-lived gold rush. To add to its woes, the sheep-rearing business has never recovered from the catastrophic collapse of the price of meat and wool. No pure-blooded indigenous people are left alive here; having survived for centuries the rigours of the Antarctic climate they were annihilated by the diseases brought in by sailors and missionaries at the turn of the 20th century. Overnight in the city.


Day 4

By road to Torres del Paine National Park.

An early morning departure in a private vehicle bound for the Torres del Paine National Park (3.5 hours), with stops to visit the Milodon Cave made famous by explorer Bruce Chatwin. The scenery is overwhelming; the granite massif of the Cuernos, milky lakes dotted with icebergs and, soaring above, condors riding against perpetual fierce winds.

Stay in one of the cosiest and best located lodges within the park. There are views of the towering granite massif from the property. Your time here allows you to explore extensively, on foot and by boat, and to enjoy the peace and beauty of this national park, deservedly one of South America's most acclaimed attractions.

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Day 5-6

Opportunities for walking and a boat trip on Lago Grey.

We include the famous boat trip that navigates towards the wall of giant Glacier Grey. The boat will set a course through the vivid blue icebergs that crowd Lago Grey before taking you right up to the face of the enormous glacier. This is a monumental ice field extending almost as far as the eye can see and fronted by a cracking, calving wall of azure pinnacles.

Keen walkers can take the option to hike (8 hours return) to Glacier Grey, or to the base of the monumental vertical slabs the Torres (towers). There are more leisurely trails through the forest to see other ice and wind-carved glacial formations. For a different perspective, you might take an optional horse riding trip. Canter amidst beautiful scenery under the watchful eye of local horsemen.



Day 7

Drive to El Calafate in Argentina.

Drive via the waterfall of Salto Grande and Laguna Amarga as you exit the park and then head towards Argentina across the Patagonian steppe, a bleak and scantily-populated landscape. Keep a look out for guanacos, rheas, and flamingos, as well as for the wonderful views over Lago Argentino, the largest in the country.

It is on these shores that El Calafate, your next port of call, is situated. This is a small town, but it is growing fast, brimming with hotels, cafés, tour agencies, delicatessens, sweet-shops and roaming travellers. There's not a huge amount to do in town, but it's a nice place to unwind and a convenient base for excursions into the area.


Day 8

Visit Perito Moreno Glacier.

The town is a stopping off point for visitors to the Perito Moreno Glacier, still one of the most dynamic in the world. Driving out towards the glacier (2 hours) the road follows the lake before turning up a wooded valley, dense with beech and birch trees, and continues alongside shimmering lagoons bordered with bright crimson and heather lichens.

The park authorities have been sensitive about keeping the site as natural as possible, and there are no shops or cafés within close proximity of the wooden viewing platforms, which are landscaped into the cliff. Just looking at the cliff-edge of the glacier, which towers 60m above the water surface and is an extraordinary 5km wide, is awe-inspiring in itself. But after a time you hear the unforgettable sound of the glacier calving a vast wedge of ice the size of a tower block and sending it smashing down into the lake, where it divides and floats away as an iceberg.

There is an optional mini-trek on the glacier (local regulations enforce a maximum 65 yrs of age policy). Walking out on the ice is an extraordinary experience; atop this immense ice sheet you feel exposed to the elements, and you can explore the craggy, desolate landscape, peering into crevasses and deep water pools, squinting against the incredible blue of the ice. It is a 1-2 hour walk on the ice led by a local guide, and crampons are provided.

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Day 9

Optional trip to the ice fields or visit a local estancia.

A day to relax or there is an optional full-day trip to further explore the ice fields, where you pass the still waters of Lago Onelli, dotted with icebergs and with a backdrop of dense forest giving onto impressive snow-capped mountains. Other alternatives include taking a tour of a local estancia, horse riding or even driving for 3.5 hours down the road to El Chaltén, in the shadow of the Fitzroy range, a mecca for hikers and climbers.

Day 10

Fly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.

From El Calafate fly to Ushuaia (some domestic flights have a free baggage limit of 15kg, the excess charge is minimal though).

The world's southernmost city, Ushuaia sits at the foot of a hand of jagged peaks. Thus isolated, it was a penal colony at the turn of the 20th century and a sleepy frontier town until the late 1970s when it was turned into a tax haven to encourage settlers. Immigration has slackened off nowadays as this status is being rescinded but effects of the boom are nonetheless evident, with chalet-style residences, modern hi- tech factories, shopping malls and duty free shops.

During your stay there is a boat trip along the Beagle Channel, named after the ship carrying Charles Darwin’s scientific expedition which travelled these waters. The vessel heads out of Ushuaia Bay to explore the bays and islets of the channel, and there are brief stops for you to get a closer look at some of the fauna, which includes cormorants, sea-lions and penguins. If you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of an albatross gliding over the water.

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Day 11

Visit Tierra del Fuego National Park; boat trip along the Beagle Channel.

Today there is a half-day trip to nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and Lapataia Bay with its bright green deciduous beech forests, and silvery lakes and fjords populated by water birds and beavers. Walk along winding, narrow hillside paths to discover views over the Beagle Channel, and learn about the evolution of the natural and human landscapes.

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Day 12

Fly to Buenos Aires.

Those interested in the region’s history will enjoy a visit Harberton Ranch (a half-day excursion, November to February only). You set off on a beautiful 85km journey through Tierra del Fuego's mountainous interior to arrive at the ranch, the first on the island, established by English missionaries. Their descendants still operate this scenic, wind-tussled sheep farm. It's worth reading Lucas Bridge's evocative book 'The Uttermost Part of the Earth' which details the history of the estancia, founded by his father, and the daily life of the now-extinct Yamana and Ona people. The ranch earns more from visitors than sheep-rearing these days. (Please note that this excursion is dependent on the time of the flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires as schedules change frequently).

Fly to the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, an elegant and cosmopolitan city famed for the fascinating port district of La Boca with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses. It was here that the tango was born, and Diego Maradona honed his footballing skills.

The centre of town is home to the historic heartland, government buildings and churches as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic, Parisian feel. The bohemian district of San Telmo is full of quaint old houses interspersed with antiques shops, tango bars and expensive restaurants. Slightly further out of town is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of belle époque French and Italianate architecture. During the winter months, wealthy female residents parade the streets in their fur coats and improbable, towering hairstyles, and take afternoon tea in the city's ornate cafés.


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Day 13

Guided city tour.

Explore the lanes and boulevards on your guided city tour, then make the most of some free time to shop, have a drink and a pastry in a tea-room or peruse the items on display in one of the many markets. It’s fun to promenade up and down the quay in the city’s splendidly renovated port district, Puerto Madero, which has trendy loft apartments, a string of open air restaurants and a small marina.

To take a break from the city’s frenzy, you can travel by motor catamaran across the River Plate border to Colonia in Uruguay (don't forget your passport) where you can wander cobbled streets and admire the squat colonial houses from the top of the lighthouse, and have a glass of wine or lunch in the yacht club.

Wherever you are on your last day, if you are an enthusiastic carnivore make sure you have a juicy steak, usually up to a quarter of the price of its UK equivalent. Finally you could catch a tango show for a fantastic farewell to the city. 

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Day 14

Depart for international flight or extension.

UK clients arrive home the following day.


Tour info

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Tour Leader

On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.


3 flights (longest 4 hours), 2 land journeys (longest 6 hours).


On this tour we use mid-range and upper mid-range hotels and lodges.

Examples of hotels include:
• Santiago: Cumbres Lastarria
• Punta Arenas: Cabo de Hornos
• Torres del Paine: Hotel Las Torres (January, February and early March 2022 departures will stay at Cerro Guido)
• El Calafate: Hotel Kosten Aike
• Ushuaia: Altos Ushuaia
• Buenos Aires: Hotel Recoleta Grand

On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.


Breakfast daily.

Summary Of Nights

14 days, 13 nights: Santiago 2; Punta Arenas 1; Torres del Paine National Park 3; El Calafate 3; Ushuaia 2; Buenos Aires 2.

Optional Excursions

There is a range of optional excursions available which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $550USD should cover participation the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:

• Santiago: day trip to the Pacific port of Valparaiso; stop at a vineyard
• Torres del Paine: options for various hikes with in the park
• El Calafate: glacier trekking or day trip to a working estancia
• Buenos Aires: evening tango show with dinner


A budget of around $45 USD per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir for most of the tour. In Argentina this might be more like $50-60 USD. Although economic instability in Argentina means that prices can change frequently. Please also bear in mind that prices in Torres del Paine are higher due to the remote location and lack of available options.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by visitors who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).

For our latest currency advice for Argentina please see our FAQs section.


The unit of currency in Chile is the peso chileno, and in Argentina the peso argentino.


Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.


Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport Taxes

Departure tax is normally included in the price of the ticket.

Journey Grade

In Torres del Paine all walks are optional. Hikes vary in length (2-8 hrs) and difficulty (some are easy and flat, others steeper and more challenging). All walks are linear and along good paths, so you can follow them as far as you feel comfortable. Your tour leader can advise about which of the trails would be most suited to you. In Tierra del Fuego walks are also optional, and trails are undulating but not strenuous. Throughout the Journey, there is time to relax and explore on your own if you wish. Be prepared for some early mornings, and for possibly extreme weather conditions in Patagonia.


In Santiago and Buenos Aires, October, November, March and April see temperatures between 15 and 25°C and a good deal of sunshine, although in Buenos Aires tropical rain showers can occur. January and February are hot, around 30°C. The weather in the south is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. During the southern hemisphere summer (October to March) there may be everything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time and it can get extremely cold.

Clothing And Special Equipment

A daypack is essential for carrying rainwear, snacks, books and a water bottle. Those who feel the cold should take thermal underwear. To ensure your comfort while walking in Patagonia, you should bring good waterproof walking boots (tried and tested so you don’t get blisters) as well as a good water/windproof (not just shower-proof) jacket and trousers, a warm hat and a scarf.

The sun can be strong so take a hat with a visor, sunglasses and sunblock. Some walkers find hiking poles helpful, and binoculars are useful for bird and wildlife spotting.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.


Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP. You can also find helpful information on Masta Travel Health website.

Travelling Alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.


Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • All land and domestic air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Santiago: Walking tour
  • Torres del Paine: boat trip on Lago Grey
  • Torres del Paine: Salto Grande Falls
  • El Calafate: Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Ushuaia: Tierra del Fuego National Park
  • Ushuaia: Beagle Channel boat trip
  • Buenos Aires: City tour

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and insurance
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions

Real Latin America Experts

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

Meet the team