Chile and Argentina mountains

3 Epic 1-Month Chile And Argentina Itineraries: Patagonia, The Lake District And The North

The beauty of visiting Chile and Argentina is that travel between the two is relatively easy. You can border hop at multiple points from north to south and visit the highlights of each country with ease. Here are three 1-month itineraries for Chile and Argentina to help you decide which one is best for you.

Contents

What’s The Best Way To Spend A Month In Chile and Argentina?

There are three ways in which you can spend a month in Chile and Argentina, focusing on the north, the middle and the south (Patagonia). 

 

Here are the three regions:

 

  • Patagonia – Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to El Chatlen > Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Lake District – Santiago to Pucon > Bariloche in Argentina
  • North and Middle – Santiago to the Atacama Desert > Salta down to Mendoza

My personal favourite of these one-month itineraries is the Patagonia one

 

This will be the most popular choice for travellers who haven’t been to Chile or Argentina before and want to see the best of the two countries.

 

The other two itineraries will be more suited to travellers who have seen Patagonia before and want to see a different side of the country. 

Chile and Argentina mountains

1-Month Chile And Argentina Itinerary: Patagonia

This will be the standard itinerary that most travellers follow when visiting Patagonia. This itinerary is for competent hikers who have experienced multi-day treks before.

 

Here is a quick breakdown of this one month itinerary:

 

  • Day 1-5 – Buenos Aires
  • Day 6-10 – Ushuaia
  • Day 11-13 – El Calafate
  • Day 14-18 – El Chalten
  • Day 19-20 – Puerto Natales
  • Day 21-25– Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Day 26-27 – Puerto Natales
  • Day 28-30 – Santiago

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Day 1-5 – Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is known as the “Paris of South America,” as it feels like your visiting a European capital. Make sure you stay in Recoleta or Palermo whilst here as these are the two best areas with the most going on. 

 

Here’s how to spend these 5 days:

 

 

  • Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires, settle into your hostel or Airbnb and go out and get your bearings. For a good hostel, I would recommend Milhouse. If you prefer Airbnb, make sure you stay in either Recoleta or Palermo

 

  • Day 2-5: Explore the historic neighbourhoods like San Telmo, visit Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada. Enjoy tango shows, visit La Boca and its colourful Caminito street, explore Palermo’s parks and trendy shops. If 4 full days is too much for in a big city then you can use a couple of days to visit other places close to Buenos Aires such as Iguazu Falls or Mar Del Plata.

Milhouse hostel in Buenos Aires is one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in when travelling South America.  For the full list of my favourite hostels in South America, click the link below:

 

 

Buenos Aires guide

Day 6-10 – Ushuaia

Ushuaia, nestled at the southernmost tip of Argentina, is a captivating destination often referred to as the “End of the World.”

 

This charming city has it all –  snow-capped mountains, pristine waters and a rich history as a gateway to Antarctica.

 

Here’s how you should spend the next 5 days:

 

 

    • Day 6: Take a flight to Ushuaia. A direct flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia takes around 3.5 hours. A one-way flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia can cost anywhere from $150 to $300 USD

 

    • Day 8-10: Visit the End of the World Museum. Take a boat tour of the Beagle Channel, see penguins on Martillo Island, and enjoy stunning views. Go hiking in Tierra Del Fuego National Park.

The beauty of Patagonia is one of the many reasons why this country is well worth visiting. For the full list, check out the post below:

 

 

King Penguins In Ushuaia (Argentina)

Day 11-13 - El Calafate

El Calafate is a small town known as the gateway to Patagonia. The town itself isn’t much and is built to cater to the tourists coming to see the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 

You’ll only need two full days here:

 

 

  • Day 11: Arrive in El Calafate. Aerolineas Argentinas has one flight a day from Ushuaia to El Calafate which takes 1 hour and 20 minutes and costs between $100-200 for a single
  • Day 12-13: Explore the town and its surroundings. Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and witness its awe-inspiring beauty.

Patagonia is often the reason why people come to Argentina. If you feel like you need more days here, have a look at some of the other example itineraries in the post below:

 

 

Perito Moreno Glacier Boardwalks (Argentina)

Day 15-19 - El Chalten

El Chalten is known as the “Trekking Capital of Argentina”.

 

One of the most iconic single day hikes is the Laguna de los Tres hike, popular for the sublime panoramic views it offers of Glaciar de Los Tres and Mount Fitz Roy. 

 

 

  • Day 14: Arrive in El Chalten and take it easy. I recommend eating at Mathilda’s and trying the alfajores from Chaltenos.

 

  • Day 15-18: Explore the many hiking trails throughout El Chaltén. Hike to Laguna de los Tres for iconic views of Mount Fitz Roy.
How To Get To El Chalten From El Calafate

The bus from El Calafate to El Chalten takes 3 hours.

 

There are 3 bus companies in town and leave at multiple times during the day. It’s worth noting that these buses are in high demand in summer.  During the peak season (December-February), they often sell out. To secure your spot, it’s advisable to book your tickets well in advance.

 

I used Bus Bud when travelling by bus in Argentina. It’s the best way to book bus tickets in advance and they have a loyalty programme so you get your 6th booking for free!

Day 19-20 - Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is the closest town to Torres Del Paine National Park.

 

There isn’t much going on here so use this time to rest and prepare for the next 5 days. I recommend staying at the  Singing Lamb Hostel. They have a huge lounge area with sofas and tables, and the shared dorms had comfortable beds.

 

 

  • Day 19: Arrive in Puerto Natales. First you will have to travel from El Chalten back to El Calafate.
  • Day 20: Rest up, explore the town a little and prepare for your adventure in Torres del Paine with some last minute shopping. 
How To Get To Puerto Natales (Chile) From El Calafate

The journey between El Calafate, Argentina, and Puerto Natales, Chile, takes around 5 to 6 hours by bus.

 

You can book this on Bus Bud.

 

To undertake this journey, follow these steps:

 

  • Bus: Begin by taking a bus from El Calafate to the Chilean border town of Cerro Castillo. This leg of the trip takes around 4 to 5 hours, depending on road conditions and border crossing procedures.
  • Border Crossing: At the Cerro Castillo border crossing, you’ll need to go through customs and immigration. Make sure you have your passport and any necessary documents for entering Chile.
  • Bus to Puerto Natales: Once you’re through the border, you can catch another bus from Cerro Castillo to Puerto Natales. This final leg of the journey takes about 1 to 2 hours.
South America Backpacking Itineraries - Torres Del Paine National Park

Day 21-25- Torres Del Paine National Park

Time to embark on one of the best multi-day treks in the world – the W-trek in Torres Del Paine National Park.

 

This 5-day self-guided trek takes you in the shape of a W – in, out, and around the beautiful Cordillera Paine mountain range.

 

The trek is relatively easy with the first two days taking you on an easy 3–4-hour hike past Lago Grey up to the stunning Grey Glacier. Then on the final day, the challenge ramps up with more distance and more elevation as you get closer and closer to the famous towers of Torres Del Paine.

 

On the final day, some die-hard harkers wake up at 3:00 AM to start trekking to the towers. It’s a 3-4 hour uphill slog but this means you reach the towers for sunrise. If the weather is good then it is definitely worth it, as the three towers are lit up perfectly by the morning sun.

For more on this incredible place and why it’s a must-visit, head to the post below:

 

 

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Day 26-27 - Puerto Natales

Time for some rest and recovery in Puerto Natales after your once in a lifetime trekking experience.

 

On day 26, you’ll travel back from the park. Check back in to your hostel, go out and grab some food and then get an early night. You’ll still be shattered from 5 days of camping – trust me!

 

For day 26, I would still recommend another rest day. With a whole month in Chile and Argentina, there’s no need to rush.

Joe From 'Shall We Go Home Travel' looking out over the lakes in Torres Del Paine

Day 28-30 - Santiago

This is the final leg of this one-month Patagonia itinerary, and all you need to do is head to Chile’s capital – Santiago. From here you can fly home.

 

It’s worth spending a few days here though. Here’s a few options:

 

 

  • Day 28: Arrive in Santiago. a direct flight from Puerto Natales 
  • Day 29: explore the city’s landmarks like Plaza de Armas, La Moneda Palace, and Santa Lucía Hill. Take a day trip to the Maipo Valley or explore Santiago’s cultural and culinary scene.
  • Day 30: Depart from Santiago, marking the end of your incredible 1-month Patagonian adventure.
How To Get To Santiago From Puerto Natales

Flights from Puerto Natales to Santiago takes around 3.5 hours.

 

A one-way flight from Puerto Natales to Santiago can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 USD.

 

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Santiago, Chile - Sky Costerna

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1-Month Chile And Argentina Itinerary: Lake District

The lake district in Chile and Argentina still counts as Patagonia. But if you look at a map, you’ll see it’s much further north. This itinerary is perfect for nature lovers who want to see the beauty of Patagonia but aren’t as keen on the challenging, multi-day hikes.

 

Here’s a breakdown of this month-long Chile and Argentina itinerary that covers the lake district region:

 

  • Day 1-3 – Santiago
  • Day 4 – Puerto Montt
  • Day 5-6 – Castro / Chiloe National Park
  • Day 7-9 – Puerto Varas
  • Day 10-14 – Pucon
  • Day 15-18 – Ruta De Los Siete Lagos
  • Day 19-20 – Villa Agonstura
  • Day 21-26 – Bariloche
  • Day 27-30 – Buenos Aires

Day 1-3 - Santiago

Santiago, the vibrant capital of Chile, captivates visitors with its striking blend of modernity and history.

 

This bustling metropolis is nestled against the backdrop of the majestic Andes Mountains, offering a dynamic cultural scene, delicious cuisine, and numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures, making it a compelling destination for travelers seeking a diverse and immersive experience.

 

  • Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, explore the city’s main attractions including Plaza de Armas, La Moneda Palace, and Santa Lucía Hill.
  • Day 2-3: Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, or explore more of Santiago’s neighbourhoods and cultural spots. Head to the top of the Sky Costerna for incredible views of the city

Day 4 - Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt, located in southern Chile, is a picturesque coastal city known for its stunning fjords, seafood cuisine, and access to the Chilean Patagonia region.

 

To reach Puerto Montt from Santiago, travelers can take a domestic flight from Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) to El Tepual Airport (PMC) in Puerto Montt, with flight durations typically lasting around 2 to 2.5 hours.

 

From here you can start exploring Chile’s lake district region.

a kayak on Chile's Lake District

Day 5-6 - Castro / Chiloe National Park

Chiloé Island, situated off the coast of southern Chile, is known for its  charming fishing villages, and the beautiful landscapes of Chiloé National Park perfect for exploration.

 

 

  • Day 5: Take a ferry to Chiloe Island, visit the colourful palafitos in Castro.
  • Day 6: Explore Chiloe National Park, its forests, and beautiful landscapes.
Best Backpack For South America (Osprey Farpoint)
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It’s reasonably priced and perfect for first timers visiting South America.

 

Read more here about why it’s so great or head to the official site below:

Day 7-9 - Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas, nestled on the shores of Lake Llanquihue in southern Chile, is a picturesque town known for its stunning views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes.

 

  • Day 7: Travel to Puerto Varas, enjoy the stunning views of Lake Llanquihue and Osorno Volcano.
  • Day 8-9: Explore the German-influenced architecture, take a boat trip on Lake Todos los Santos, and relax in thermal baths.

Day 10-14 - Pucon

Pucón, nestled in the Chilean Lake District, is a thrilling adventure hub set against the backdrop of the majestic Villarrica Volcano.

 

This enchanting town beckons travellers with its array of outdoor activities, including volcano hikes, white-water rafting, and hot springs, making it an ideal destination for adrenaline seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

 

  • Day 10: Travel to Pucón, nestled beside the Villarrica Volcano.
  • Day 11-13: Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and visiting hot springs.
  • Day 14: Explore Villarrica National Park.
Villarrica Volcano, Pucon (Chile)

Day 15-18 - Ruta De Los Siete Lagos

On day 15, cross the border into Argentina and start your journey along the Ruta de los Siete Lagos.

 

The first town to aim for for an overnight stay will be San Martin de los Andes.

 

Then from day 16-18, work your way south through the stunning landscapes of Argentina’s lake district. It’s up to you to decide where to stop but make sure you visit all 7 lakes along the way such as Lácar, Machónico, and Hermoso.

I recommend renting a car for this part of the itinerary. Driving down Route 40 from San Martin to Bariloche is one of the best road trips in the world and we’ll worth doing at your own pace.

How To Get From Pucon (Chile) To San Martin De Los Andes (Argentina)

To travel from Pucón, Chile, to San Martín de los Andes, Argentina, you can book a single bus.

 

  • Bus or Private Transportation from Pucón to the Border: Start by taking a bus from Pucón to the Chile-Argentina border crossing at Hua Hum. The distance to the border is approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles), and the trip can take around 2 to 3 hours.
  • Crossing the Border: At the Hua Hum border crossing, you will need to go through the customs and immigration procedures for both Chile and Argentina.
  • Continue from the Border to San Martín de los Andes: Once you have completed the border crossing, the bus will continue to San Martín de los Andes. The journey from the border to San Martín de los Andes is approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) and can take about an hour,
the highway in Bariloche

Day 19-20 - Villa La Angostura

Villa La Angostura is a beautiful mountain village surrounded by the stunning Andes and set along the picturesque Nahuel Huapi Lake.

 

Stop here for a couple of days and enjoy the peaceful town before heading across the lake to Bariloche.

 

  • Day 19: Travel to Villa La Angostura, enjoy the town’s charming atmosphere.
  • Day 20: Explore the Nahuel Huapi National Park, visit Los Arrayanes Forest.

Day 21-26 - Bariloche

Nestled amidst the picturesque Andes Mountains, Bariloche is the perfect town for adventure lovers.

 

Surrounding the town are several must-visit spots that provide panoramic views of the region’s mountains, lake and forests, making it a favourite among photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

 

  • Day 21: Travel to Bariloche, explore the town. 
  • Day 22-25: Explore the surroundings, take the Cerro Campanario cable car, visit the Circuito Chico, and enjoy a boat tour of Lake Nahuel Huapi.

For more on why this is such a fantastic place to visit and spend time in, head to the post below:

 

 

Day 27-30 - Buenos Aires

Take 3 days in the capital to end this one-month adventure that covered the entirety of the lake district region in Chile and Argentina. 

 

  • Day 26: Depart for Buenos Aires. A direct flight from San Carlos de Bariloche to Buenos Aires typically takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 for a one-way.
  • Day 27-30: Arrive in Buenos Aires, revisit any favorite spots or explore new neighbourhoods, enjoy tango shows, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the city.

See how you can do all the amazing things Buenos Aires has to offer with these expertly curated 3, 5 and 7 day itineraries:

 

 

lakes in Bariloche

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1-Month Chile And Argentina Itinerary: The North

This itinerary is for travellers who love wine and want to follow the wine route in the north of Argentina. This is a much less travelled region of Argentina so it’s also perfect if you are on a budget or simply want to get off the beaten path.

 

Here is a breakdown of this month-long Chile and Argentina itinerary that covers the north of both countries:

 

    • Day 1-5 – Santiago, Vina Del Mar
    • Day 6-9 – Atacama Desert
    • Day 10-12 – Salta
    • Day 13-18 – Route 9
    • Day 19 – Salta
    • Day 20-22 – El Calafate
    • Day 23-27 – Mendoza
    • Day 28-30 – Santiago

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This itinerary has been covered extensively in a couple of other posts.

 

Head to the links below to see how to combine Santiago, Atacama and the north-west of Argentina into one big loop:

 

Licancabur Volcano - Atacama Desert

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