Patagonia Trip

Patagonia Trip

“The Most Beautiful Place in the World”

January 2021



 Led by

Robert S. McElvaine

Ultima Esperanza fjord-2

Join us for an excursion in the Southern Hemisphere summer, almost to the southernmost place on land in the world apart from Antarctica.

Patagonia is a rugged, sparsely populated region with spectacular mountains (the southernmost Andes), glaciers, icebergs, and fiords.

NOTE: I planned an identical trip (without the optional add-on) for January 2019. I was unable to go because I broke my leg at the end of October 2018, but the trip went on without me and the participants raved about it, with some of them who have traveled extensively around the world saying it is the most beautiful place they have ever seen. I definitely want to see Patagonia, so I am scheduling this trip again for the beginning of 2021 (possibly starting at the very end of December 2020).


(to be firmed up when we find out what works best for those who want to go):

Depart U.S. on a date-to-be-determined from December 30, 2020 to January 3, 2021 to arrive in Puerto Natales, Chile, on December 31 to January 4. Departure from Puerto Natales on a date from January 6 to January 9, with arrival in the U.S. on January 7 to 10, 2021.


{An Optional 3-day add-on to Santiago and

the Chilean Wine Country is available.}

{We’ll add an option to visit Antarctica if any participants are interested.}






DAY 1     –        PUERTO NATALES Arrival (D)

Puerto Natales


Upon arrival at Puerto Natales airport, we will be met by our guide and driver and transported to our hotel for the duration of your stay in Patagonia, Costaustralis Hotel.  Dinner tonight is included, at the hotel.




Ultima Esperanza fjord

Breakfast at the hotel.

Full day excursion to the Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers with lunch included. Early in the morning sail from Puerto Natales visiting the beautiful Ultima Esperanza (Final Hope) Fjord and after a 3-hour navigation arrival to the thousand-year-old glacier of Mount Balmaceda, habitat of cormorants and sea lions. At the end of the fjord disembark and walk approximately 1 kilometer (3/4 mile) on a path through the middle of a wonderful native forest to the foot of the Glacier Serrano and from there, admire this huge natural wonder. Lunch is included at a working farm located on the shores of the fjord

In the late afternoon, return to Puerto Natales and overnight.

Barccara Glacier


serrano glacier



Breakfast at the hotel.

Full day excursion with lunch included, visiting Torres del Paine National Park. Departure from Puerto Natales, the first place to visit is the Milodon Cave. The journey continues through steppes and Patagonia scrub, full of abundant wildlife and herds of sheep, up to Torres del Paine National Park. In the park, a large variety of native fauna


especially large herds of guanacos (similar to llamas) can be observed. Visit the Salto Grande of the Pehoe River, with the impressive mountain massif of Torres del Paine in the background. Then visit to Lake Pehoe. Lunch is included at Hosteria Pehoe.

Return to Puerto Natales in the evening and overnight.




DAY 4    –      GREY GLACIER (B,L)


Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure in the morning for a visit at the National Park with more than 242,242 ha (598,593 ac), this nature wonderland was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978. A drive along the park will reveal the impressive Andean massif, with its horned peaks that impact all visitors alike. The area is surrounded by glaciers (Grey), waterfalls, lagoons and lakes that together with the wide-ranging flora and fauna turn this park into one of the wonders of the world for its beauty and natural scenery. Continue to Grey sector to start our navigation. Begin this adventure in which the east and west face of the Gray Glacier will be reached.  We will navigate between floating icebergs (many of them blue) due to the glacial ice landslides and we will appreciate this imposing natural wonder in all its magnitude. After an exquisite toast with millenary ice, we return to hotel. Lunch is included at Hotel Lago Grey.


boat on lake


Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure in the morning from Puerto Natales. Drive for almost 2 hours until Porteria Laguna Amarga from where we will start our trekking*. Its name, Laguna Amarga, is due to the bitter taste of its waters, because they have a high content of salts, which are concentrated by evaporation, leaving a white and soft layer on the shore, which contrasts with the color of the waters and with the flamingo colonies, who live in it during the summer.


The first section is a simple and perfectly marked trail that takes height moderately.

Nature surprises with the overwhelming landscape, unique and incredible area together with the diversity of fauna that can be seen, condors, woodpeckers etc. Arrival at the Chilean refuge.

Our return is in the afternoon to Porteria Laguna Amarga where our vehicle will be waiting for us. Box lunch is included during our tour.

Arrival at Puerto Natales.

Dinner and Overnight at hotel.

* – NOTE: From the experience of those who went in January 2019, this “trek” is long  and difficult and we have asked for alternatives to the full trek as well as horseback riding trips (easy and medium trips) that guests may want to do.  The day can be skipped altogether and the tour price discounted if guests wish to stay in Puerto Natales.  Although the area of the hike is beautiful, there is nothing to do while waiting for the trekkers or riders to return and one must wait until everyone is down off the mountainside.



Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure transfer to Puerto Natales airport (or to Punta Arenas airport – 3 hrs. Approx. – if anyone will be departing from there.)


Torres del Paine-sunset


(Not including airfare)

(NOTE: These are prices that were quoted for January 2020; we anticipate that they will be the same or very similar for 2021.)

City View Room                $2900 per person double/twin accommodation 

Sea View Room                $2975 per person double/twin accommodation

 Supplement for single room:  City View Room: + $600

                                                        Sea View Room: + $675





Additional Cost: $1195 per person


Day 1: Arrive Santiago and Tour the City (L)


Arrival reception at Santiago and transfer to your hotel (ECI not included)

Tour around Santiago, visiting the city’s most outstanding attractions, including a walking tour downtown visiting the “Plaza de Armas”, the Cathedral, Ahumada Boulevard and the Government Palace “La Moneda” (outside). Then, by vehicle, visit the main avenues of old Santiago, crossing the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista and drive up the San Cristobal Hill by funicular (Cable car) for a magnificent panoramic view of the city and the Andes Mountain Range. After this, the tour will take you to the modern part of Santiago, including its chic neighborhoods, shopping and financial centers.

Pre-Columbian Museum (Closed on Mondays) and lunch at a local restaurant are included. Return to the hotel.

Overnight at Atton El Bosque Hotel.



Day 2: Viña del Mar and Valparaiso (B,L)

Vina del Mar_2

Breakfast at the hotel.

Driving towards the central coast crossing the beautiful and fertile valleys of Curacaví and Casablanca. Stop in a local winery for a tour and wine tasting before continuing your trip to the coast.

Visit to the picturesque port of Valparaíso, founded in the XVI century. The oldest part of town was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003. The town is built on many hills which are accessed by narrow streets, long stairways and a series of lifts which were built towards the end of the XIX Century. We will pass beautiful neighborhoods such as Gran Bretaña which still maintains its lordly European style, Sotomayor square and monument to “Los Heroes de Iquique”, a memorial for those killed during the War of the Pacific, and Muelle Prat (dock). Then a panoramic visit to Viña del Mar to admire its beaches and modern buildings, the well-kept parks and gardens which give to this city the pseudonymous of “Garden City”. Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

Return to Santiago.

Overnight at Atton El Bosque Hotel.

Vina del Mar_1


Day 3: Maipo Valley and Santa Rita Winery (B, L)


Breakfast at the hotel.

Drive to the east side of the city to visit the historical Santa Rita Winery.

Visit the soul of the winery: The Centenario Park, where you will find the very best of European garden design, as well as a chapel built in the Neo-Gothic style during the 19th century, and Roman baths that also date back to the late 1800s. Continue to the historic cellars, where the rousing tale of the courageous Chilean patriots awaits you. Enjoy a tasting of three Ultra-Premium wines, paired with selected cheeses, crackers, and nuts. Visit the interesting Andino Museum where you will discover the Pre-Columbian world, Rapa Nui Culture as well as other samples of indigenous pieces of Art.

Lunch will be at Doña Paula Restaurant.


Day 4: Santiago Departure