Natural Wonders of South America

Iguazu Falls & Patagonia

February 23–March 6, 2024

Join us in early 2024 as we visit some of the most stunning sites in South America. We’ll explore the unmatched power of Iguazu Falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides before heading south to the “End of the World” in Tierra del Fuego. We’ll witness Patagonia’s untamed beauty in the mountains of El Chalten, Argentina and Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. No trip to Patagonia is complete with a visit to the biggest, bluest beauty there is, Perito Moreno Glacier!

We’d love to have you on this triple-carbon offset, small-group journey to visit the natural wonders of South America!

Trip Highlights

  • February 23–March 6, 2024
  • This journey is triple carbon offset
  • Escorted by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours
  • Wander the wonder of Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world
  • Enjoy close encounters with penguins along the Beagle Channel
  • Discover Tierra del Fuego National Park at the “End of the World”
  • Explore the wilderness of El Chaltén, trekking capital of Argentina
  • Enjoy the rugged blue beauty of Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate, Argentina
  • Spot wildlife & stunning vistas in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile
  • Maximum of 13 guests
  • $7799 per person (based on double occupancy). Please see the full list of inclusions and single supplement price in the “Price & What is Included” toggle below.

How to Register 

  • Review this entire webpage for details
  • Complete Registration Questions and Contract
  • Lauren will email you with options to pay the deposit

Iguazu Falls

Tierra del Fuego

El Chalten

El Calafate

Torres del Paine

Santiago, Chile

Sao Paulo

South America is a continent bursting with natural beauty, running the gamut from lush rainforest to pristine glaciers, from pumas to penguins. Which end of the spectrum to start with? Why not both?

Patagonia is a grand, vast region that covers the windswept southern tip of South America, occupying a third of Argentina’s total land and almost half of Chile. It is home to the striking landscapes of the Andes Mountains, the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, and Tierra del Fuego. The name itself, “Patagonia,” comes from the word patagón, a term meaning “giant” that Magellan used in 1520 to describe the natives of this region. That sentiment is fitting, as this environment is best-suited for those with giant imaginations, giant spirits, and a giant sense of wonder.

On a similar scale, Iguazu Falls showcases raw beauty and power on a scale rarely seen. Let the largest waterfall system on the planet take your breath away at every turn, as it cuts dramatically between the rainforests of Argentina and Brazil. It is a true joy to witness the elements come together here in such spectacular, powerful fashion.

 Itinerary at a Glance

February 23   This morning we’ll fly to Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world. We’ll explore the Brazilian side before heading to Argentina to relax in our gorgeous hotel with a view of the falls (overnight at Melia Iguazu)

February 24   Today we’ll explore the Argentinian side of the falls and discover a whole new perspective on these 275 cascades (overnight at Melia Iguazu)

February 25  Let’s head south–as south as you can get on the continent! We’ll fly to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego today, the “End of the World” (overnight at Alto Andino, Ushuaia)

February 26  Let’s head to the End of the World–or the end of the Pan-American Highway, at least! We’ll visit Tierra del Fuego National Park, the land of rugged landscapes and pristine forests. This afternoon we’ll enjoy a navigation on the Beagle Channel.  (overnight at Alto Andino)

February 27   Walk among Magellanic and Gentoo penguins on a very special tour of Martillo island in the Beagle Channel (overnight at Alto Andino)

February 28   This morning we’ll fly to El Calafate, Argentina, and head north to the cozy town of El Chaltén, the hiking capital of Argentina (overnight at Chlaten Suites in El Chaltén)

February 29, March 1  There are plenty of hiking and exploration opportunities in El Chaltén, for every level of activity and desire. There are also tons of cute cafes and restaurants (along with great beer & wine!) in this tiny mountain town (overnight at Chalten Suites)

March 2  Today we’ll take a scenic drive back to the charming Patagonian town of El Calafate on the shores of Lago Argentino (overnight at Sierra Nevada in El Calafate)

March 3  Today is all about Perito Moreno Glacier–be ready to have your breath taken away by this giant blue beauty of a glacier, one of the only ones in the world not receding (overnight at Sierra Nevada)

March 4  This morning set off for Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and a whole new set of peaks and lakes to blow you away (overnight at Hosteria Pehoe in Torres del Paine)

March 5  We’ll sightsee around Torres del Paine—around every curve awaits an awe-inspiring vista and a chance to spot wildlife (overnight at Hosteria Pehoe)

March 6  Today we’ll head to Puerto Natales, Chile to explore before an evening flight to Santiago, Chile where our journey comes to an end. 

Please play the video below for a 60-second preview of this amazing journey!

Who is this journey for?

This trip is for lovers of nature–those who know that the breath is sweeter by a waterfall, the eyes see more clearly in the mountains, and the spirit is more restful in the woods.

You do not need to be an avid hiker to join this journey. There are many levels of activity to choose from when admiring your surroundings, be it admiring from a bench, strolling for awhile, or taking an invigorating full-day hike.

Please see our detailed “Suggested Fitness Requirements” section below for more information.

Narrative Daily Itinerary

We’ll begin our journey together in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a convenient and easy city to fly into from almost anywhere. We’ll fly together on the morning of February 23 to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls. Your hotel night on February 22nd is not included on this journey to allow you more flexibility in where you stay in Sao Paulo, although we are happy to make recommendations!

Iguazu Falls, Brazil & Argentina

Nestled between the borders of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls stands as the largest waterfall system on the planet. While other falls may boast greater heights or higher annual flow rates, the sheer magnitude of Iguazu is simply awe-inspiring. With a staggering 275 distinct falls, it forms a breathtaking panorama of cascading water that stretches as far as the eye can see. Exploring both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of Iguazu Falls offers two distinct experiences and we’re thrilled to offer both. 

We’ll land at Foz do Iguaçu airport mid-morning on the 23rd and take a short drive to the Brazilian side of the falls. There are lovely walkways that will take us further and further upstream, with otherworldly views emerging from the mist. After a thorough exploration, we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch before heading across the border to Argentina. Here we are staying in the only hotel in Argentina with a view of the falls, and a magnificent view it is! 

Legend has it that upon seeing Iguazu, the United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed, “My poor Niagara!”

 

On the morning of the 24th we’ll explore the Argentinian side of the falls, and you’ll quickly find that being immersed within that landscape lends a whole new perspective. The Argentina side is expansive and offers everything from a dizzyingly beautiful look directly down Devil’s Throat to winding tree-covered paths through the upper and lower part of the falls. 

Iguazu isn’t all about the waterfalls, either! Both the Brazilian and Argentinian National Parks are home to some amazing creatures; have you ever seen a coati before? What about a toucan that wasn’t on a box of Froot Loops?

The rest of the day is yours to lounge in the picture-perfect pool with a view of the falls, or perhaps you’d like to revisit some of the trails to see the falls come alive with rainbows in the afternoon sun.

 

On February 25th, we’re going to change our surroundings in a big way. From the Amazonian rainforest to the sub-antarctic forest of Tierra del Fuego–welcome to Patagonia!

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southern tip of South America, split between Chile and Argentina. The name Tierra del Fuego, “Land of Fire,” was given in 1520 by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, a name inspired by the bonfires of the Yaghan people that he was seeing from his ship. Today we’ll be flying into Ushuaia (pronounced Oos-WHY-uh), the capital of Argentinian Tierra del Fuego and the world’s southernmost city.

Nestled between the majestic Martial mountain range and the captivating Beagle Channel, Ushuaia is a charming little city. The Beagle Channel was named after the HMS Beagle, the ship that carried Charles Darwin around the world in the 1830s. Darwin also has a mountain–and a mountain range!–named after him in Tierra del Fuego.

On the 26th, we’ll drive up the coast and take a short boat ride (10 minutes) to Martillo Island for the opportunity to walk with penguins! This tiny island in the Beagle Channel is home to Magellanic penguins and a small colony of Gentoo penguins, but King penguins have been known to ‘vacation’ there, as well. It is a privilege and a joy to be so close to these beautiful birds who nest on this island in the summertime.

Tomorrow we’ll head into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, with no lack of dramatic landscapes. The park is home to one end of the Pan-American Highway, with the other end almost 19,000 miles (30,000km) away in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska! According to the Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world’s longest motorable road. The park is also home to the “End of the World Post Office,” the southernmost post office in the world. This tiny bay-front tin shack is often closed but still a quirky site to behold among the windswept waves and jagged peaks.

We’ll also have time to stroll the streets of Ushuaia, quite a happening town for the “End of the World!” From mouthwatering empanadas to world-famous King crabs, Ushuaia’s food scene is not to be missed (as well as Patagonian craft beer!)

El Chaltén, Argentina

On February 28th we’ll say goodbye to Tierra del Fuego and fly to El Calafate, Argentina. We’ll return to this lakeside Patagonian town soon, but for now, we’ll head directly up to El Chaltén (~3-hour drive) on the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. We’ll spend February 29th and March 1st here–look at you, getting a whole extra leap day in Patagonia!

El Chaltén is a cozy frontier town that was founded in 1985 to solidify Argentina’s claim to the land. Today, it has evolved as a charming home base for nature lovers wishing to spend time in these breathtaking mountains. In 2015, El Chaltén was #2 on Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 Cities to Visit.”

The main attraction is Mount Fitz Roy, named after the captain of the HMS Beagle. The indigenous Tehuelche name of Fitzroy is El Chaltén, meaning “smoking mountain”; it’s a fitting description for the often cloud-enshrouded peak. We’ll hope the clouds part and allow us a view of this stunner!

There are plenty of walks and hikes geared toward every level of activity and desire, and there’s plenty of time to explore over the next two days. Your time in El Chalten is mostly independent, to allow for differences in interests and abilities on the trail.

There are outfitters in town that offer horseback rides if you’d prefer to experience El Chalten from a saddle! The town is packed full of truly wonderful restaurants, which is a fantastic treat given how remote we are. And although hiking is not a prerequisite, it makes the hot chocolate, Argentinian wine, and local locro stew go down all the better.

El Calafate & Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

On March 2nd, we’ll say goodbye to El Chaltén and take a scenic drive back to El Calafate along the shore of Lakes Viedma and Argentino. Perched on the shores of Lago Argentino, El Calafate is named after a yellow-flowered berry-producing bush native to the area. You can try calafate berry ice cream and calafate liqueur throughout the town; it’s said if you try calafate berries, you’re sure to visit El Calafate again (hey, it worked for us!)

Once again, the quality of restaurants in this town must be mentioned; beyond the ever-present grilled Patagonian lamb, some of our favorites included pulled guanaco sandwiches and local lavender ice cream. After all of this delicious Patagonian cuisine, perhaps a stroll to the lake is advisable, where you can often spot the local population of Chilean flamingos at Reserva Laguna Nimez. Flamingos and snow-capped mountains in the same snapshot, it’s wild!

We clearly have a sweet spot for the town of El Calafate, especially its well-cared-for and affectionate street dog population. As much as we love the town itself, the star of the show lies a 90-minutes drive west of here–Perito Moreno Glacier.

Perito Moreno Glacier is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Los Glaciares National Park. It is one of the 48 glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which is the third largest reserve of fresh water in the entire world (surpassed only by the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets). The scale of the Perito Moreno glacier is staggering, covering 100 square miles (250 km²). The terminus of the glacier (or, the edge we will be looking at) is 3 miles across and rises over 250 feet above the lake’s surface.

Perito Moreno Glacier is around 18,000 years old, but it’s still growing! Despite climate change putting almost every other glacier on Earth on the run, Perito Moreno is actually advancing around 6 feet (2m) per day. Because of this, you’ll get to witness the glacier calving—giant chunks of blue ice breaking off the glacier’s front wall and splashing dramatically into Lago Argentino. Scanning the glacier for perceived “loose bits” and listening for that tell-tale “crack” is simply addictive.

We’ll spend the morning enjoying the glacier from the boardwalks and viewpoints facing Perito Moreno. Before we head back to El Calafate, we’ll get one more special view of the glacier from a boat! Admiring the glacier from the water level really drives home the size of this blue beauty.

You can view the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina from many accessible walkways.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Ready for a new country? On March 4th, we’ll say goodbye to El Calafate and drive (~3.5 hours) to Torres del Paine National Park across the border in Chile. Paine means “blue” in the native Tehuelche language, and Torres is “towers” in Spanish–and towers they are.

These majestic obelisk-like towers were also given the nickname “Cleopatra’s Needles” in 1880 by one of the first foreign tourists to the park. The peaks here are arresting, and you’ll have a fantastic view from our very own hotel, perched on an island within Lake Pehoé.

This massive park (700 square miles/1800 square km) is as gorgeous as it is diverse, from the icebergs of Lago Grey, to lakes and waterfalls every shade of turquoise, cobalt, and green, to rugged peaks that look as old as time itself.

We’ll have the entirety of the day on March 5th to explore; we recommend covering more ground by vehicle, with frequent stops for short walks, wildlife spotting, and photography. However, if you’re keen to take a long hike into the mountains, we can help arrange that.

Torres del Paine is rich in wildlife; you’ll fall in love with the fuzzy families of graceful guanacos, relatives of the llama. You may see foxes, and if you’re really lucky, a puma or an endangered Huemul (south Andean deer). There are many gorgeous bird species within the park, including the Andean condor, the ostrich-like Darwin’s rhea, black-necked swans, the well-coiffed southern crested caracara falcon, and yes, more flamingos!

On March 6th, we’ll begin our journey to Santiago, Chile. First we’ll drive to the quaint town of Puerto Natales, 90 minutes south of Torres del Paine. We’ll explore this tiny town waterfront town before boarding our flight to the capital this evening. You may wish to extend your time in Santiago or use it as a jumping-off point to visit other parts of South America. Easter Island is just a 5-hour flight from Santiago and we can give you itinerary tips if you wish to make a visit!

How to Register

  • Review this entire webpage for details
  • Complete Registration Questions and Contract
  • Lauren will email you with options to pay the deposit

Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.

Price & What is Included

There is a minimum of 6 guests required for this journey and a maximum of 13. When we have reached our minimum, we will let you know, at which time you can buy airfare and your travel insurance.

  • This journey is $7799 USD per person, based on sharing a room with someone.
  • The non-refundable deposit is $1000 and holds your space
  • The 2nd installment of $3500 is due on September 1, 2023
  • The balance is due October 31, 2023
  • The private room supplement is $1499. (Please note: if you request a roommate but there is no one else looking for a roommate, you are responsible for the private room supplement)

Price Includes: 

  • Hotel accommodation, beginning on the night of February 23rd and ending on March 5.
  • All ground transportation starting in Iguazu Falls
  • 4 flights (Sao Paulo to Iguazu Falls; Iguazu Falls to Ushuaia; Ushuaia to El Calafate; Puerto Natales to Santiago)
  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • All National Park entrance fees
  • All tips at hotels and restaurants
  • All tips to local guides
  • Online photo album after the trip
  • Triple carbon offsetting for the entire journey

Price does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Hotel night in Sao Paulo, Brazil on February 22nd
  • 8 lunches and 9 dinners. Please see more details about this in the “Food in Patagonia” blue box below. 
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Alcohol
  • Laundry services
  • Extra activities, such as horseback riding in El Chalten
  • If you wish to have a private hiking guide in El Chalten, we can help arrange and their fees are typically $300/day
Payments

Please refer to the Price tabs for specific information about price & what is included in your journey.

The non-refundable $1000 deposit guarantees your space. The 2nd installment of $3500 is due on September 1, 2023 and the balance on October 31st, 2023. The private room supplement of $1499 will be added to the final balance.

For our American guests, we accept payments via check, credit, or debit card (via PayPal), Zelle, or Venmo. Lauren will send you these details after receiving your registration form.

For our guests outside the U.S., Lauren will connect with you about the best ways to transfer money.

Cancellation Policy

We do everything in our power to do right by our guests. We are proud to say that in the wake of our COVID-related trip cancellations through 2020 and 2021, we were able to offer each of our guests the choice of a 100% credit, if not a full refund.

We’ve re-examined each trip and done our best to reduce the deposit amounts as much as possible. Upon your registration, your deposit immediately goes toward reserving your space for flights, hotels, and excursions that must be booked months in advance and are often non-refundable.

Cancellation by our guests

The cancellation charges are as follows unless otherwise indicated on the detailed itinerary for each trip. All cancellations must be received via e-mail or US mail.

  • Cancellations prior to 120 days to departure, money will be refunded minus the non-refundable deposit.
  • Cancellations received 61 to 119 days prior to departure are subject to a penalty of 50% of the total cost of the trip.
  • Cancellations received 60 days or less prior to trip departure will forfeit the entire cost of the trip.

If a trip is cancelled by RetreaTours

When a tour is cancelled in the case of force majeure, the Tour Participant will receive a refund minus any funds that we are unable to recover from any supplier.

You can see the full cancellation policy in our contract here. 

Our Carbon Negative commitment

RetreaTours is Climate Positive!

We purchase triple carbon offsets for your travels with us—that’s from your home, through the entire tour, and back to your home again, times three

RetreaTours is officially a Carbonfree® Partner with Carbonfund.org, as well as a partner with Cool Effect.

You may have heard the term “carbon neutral,” which means that a company offsets as much carbon as it produces. With this 300% offset, RetreaTours is actually offsetting more carbon than we produce each year, making us “carbon negative” (or “climate positive,” which has a nicer ring to it!)

Since 2012 we’ve focused on making travel safe and easy for our guests; with our triple carbon offset tours, we’re pleased to make our trips as sustainable as they are memorable.

Please see more at RetreaTours.com/CarbonNegative

Suggested Fitness Requirements

There are no strict fitness requirements required for this trip because in almost every destination you can choose your preferred level of activity. However, here are some details to consider when deciding whether or not this trip is physically right for you!

Iguazu Falls

For the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls you have two options:

  1. You can get out of our vehicle at the first stop and walk on the path along the falls 850 meters (0.53 miles) to the main viewpoint area, with many smaller viewpoints along the way. This path gives you a wonderful, suspense-building introduction to the falls, and you can see many of the small cascades in the system on the Argentina side from here.
  2. You can stay on the bus for a few more minutes and get dropped off at the main viewing point and cafe with seating. From here there are accessible walkways and ramps, as well as an elevator so you can see upper and lower viewpoints. We will eat lunch near this spot so all of the group will end up here.

The Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls has many several walking paths with lots of viewing options. We will have a guided tour to Devil’s Throat, Upper Trail, and Lower Trail, or you can choose to explore independently at your leisure.  Here is a map of the paths on the Argentinian side:

The Upper Trail leads you along the river and the top of the waterfalls, for viewpoints like the one below. The roundtrip circuit is 1750 meters (1.09 miles) and is 100% wheelchair accessible.

The Lower Path winds you through the forest and gets closer to the cascades as they fall, like the view below. The lower circuit is 1700 meters (1.06 miles) and is 70% wheelchair accessible.

You take a train to get to Devil’s Throat, the main fall at Iguazu. From our hotel, it is a 20-minute walk to the train station (and we recommend being on the very first train at 9 AM!)  From the train’s endpoint to the actual viewpoint, it is a 2.2 km (1.37 miles) roundtrip walk on a metal-slatted walkway, over the Iguazu River, part of which you can see below:

 

Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego National Park

You’ll need to transfer from a dock to a covered zodiac boat for a 10-minute boat ride from Estancia Haberton to Martillo Island to see the penguins. We spend one hour with the penguins; we only cover 100-200 meters at most, mostly on gravel and grass.

In Tierra del Fuego National Park you can choose to enjoy the scenery from the National Park Office and cafe, or to go on a short hike (~1 hour and ~3-hour options).  There will even be a nice 30-minute option for those wanting to get into the woods but don’t want to commit to a longer option!

El Chaltén

Due to the numerous hiking options depending on your level of interest, El Chaltén is truly the “Choose Your Own Adventure” portion of this journey! This website is a good overview. We have also prepared notes about many of these hikes which we will provide before the tour.

We have specifically chosen the hotel with the best view in town so you can enjoy a view without trekking, as well.

We’ll help you choose the best option for you, whether it’s a 9-hour trek to Laguna de los Tres or it’s relaxing over a Patagonian beer and local locro stew (or both!)

El Calafate

Perito Moreno Glacier has many walkways (map below) with upper and lower viewpoints–similar to Argentinian Iguazu but on a smaller scale. The white line on the map below is completely wheelchair accessible and provides stunning sweeping views of the glacier. The other paths do contain stairs to varying degrees.  We’ll suggest routes for you depending on your interest level; the yellow and blue paths below are recommended because we will see the southern face from the boat ride, making the very steep red trail unnecessary.

You can also choose to go trekking on the glacier itself if you are under 65. This activity is not included but we can help you arrange this excursion with a local operator. There are two options: a mini-trek and the “Big Ice” trek and we can tell you more about both if you are interested. The Big Ice trek is limited to those age 50 and under (we know, we know–that’s insane) and the mini-trekking to those under 65. While these excursions do provide an up-close and personal look at the glacier, we don’t believe they are necessary to fully appreciate the beauty of Perito Moreno.

Torres del Paine

While Torres del Paine does offer many trekking options, its beauty can be appreciated from viewpoints and with short walks. To that end, with our one full day in Torres del Paine National Park, we are choosing to show you the highlights of this massive park via vehicle and short walks. If you would prefer to spend this day on a longer trek in one area, we can help you arrange such an excursion.

 

Travel Insurance

Required Coverage

RetreaTours requires that each guest carries travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation and repatriation. Please send Lauren your policy information as soon as you have it.

Suggested Coverage

We suggest trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly.

Please familiarize yourself with RetreaTours’ guest cancellation policy in your journey’s contract. Please read this article to understand a bit more about trip cancellation insurance and what it may or may not cover. “Cancel For Any Reason” policies do exist, as well, although do check to see what percentage of the trip cost they actually reimburse.

When to purchase your policy

Please purchase this insurance as soon as we tell you the trip has reached its minimum. Please do not wait until the last minute, should you need to use your (optional) cancellation coverage before then.

Where to search for policies

Below you will find some options to start your search for trip insurance. However, we ask that you carefully consider your choice in travel insurance. What works for some people may not work for others, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Please do take the time to consider the best policy for your individual needs.

Squaremouth.com and InsureMyTrip.com are two sites where you can see and compare many policies at once, and you can refine the options by what coverage you would like. Squaremouth’s interface is very easy and intuitive to use, and you can easily opt out of trip cancellation coverage.

World Nomads provides policies for guests under 70 that includes trip cancellation options. Use the link above and pop in your info to get an immediate quote.

It may also be a good idea to check with your credit card companies, especially American Express, to see if they offer any medical coverage for travel.

Passport & Visas

Your passport must have at least 4 blank pages and be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the trip (that is September 3, 2024).

As of May 2023, there is no charge for visas to Argentina, Brazil, or Chile for Americans. If you have questions about your national, please drop us a line.

Vaccines & Staying Healthy Abroad

    Vaccines

    RetreaTours requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccine and booster for this journey.

    No vaccines are required to enter our destinations, but we highly encourage you to work with your local travel clinic or the travel department of your local health department (often a much cheaper option).

    Please see the CDC’s general advice for:

    Please see the NHS’s general advice for:

    As you can see in the CDC and NHS recommendations above, the Yellow Fever vaccine is recommended for Iguazu Falls (although proof of vaccination is not required to enter any country on this itinerary).

    • What about malaria?

    Both the CDC and NHS sites indicate malaria is no to low risk on this itinerary (the only “low risk” area being Iguazu Falls).

    Altitude Sickness

    Patagonia surely sounds like a place that is high altitude, but since we’re not scaling the mountains, we’re in good shape! Altitude sickness is something to be aware of over 8,000 feet. Our highest point is ~1350 feet in El Chalten. You can see the rest of our altitudes below:

    • Iguazu: 640′
    • Ushuaia: sea level
    • El Calafate: 645′
    • El Chalten: 1345′
    • Torres del Paine (Lake Pehoe): 115′

    Staying Healthy on Tour

    Please visit our comprehensive article, “How to Stay Healthy While Traveling…Naturally,” which addresses all of the most common travel ailments.

    Temperatures & Suggested Packing List

    This journey between the rainforest and Tierra del Fuego understandably runs the gamut of weather conditions, with highs in the 90s at Iguazu Falls and lows in the 40s in Patagonia, with humid conditions in Iguazu Falls and characteristic wind in Patagonia.

    We’ll provide a packing list well before the journey, but the gist of it is “layers, layers, layers!”

    Please note that this journey requires soft-sided luggage in order to fit inside the vehicles in Patagonia.

    Temperature by location

    These temperatures are based on historical averages and actual February and March 2022 temperatures. Keep in mind that these lows are for the middle of the night/before sunrise, and you can expect it to feel warm in the sun most days. 

    • Iguazu Falls: 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C), with high humidity
    • Ushuaia: 40°F to 60°F (4.5°C to 15°C), with potential for strong winds
    • El Chaltén: 40°F to 60°F (4.5°C to 15°C)
    • El Calafate: 40°F to 65°F (4.5°C to 18°C)
    • Torres del Paine: 40°F to 60°F (4.5°C to 15°C) with strong winds
    Food in Patagonia: Included Meals & Dietary Preferences

    Almost all dietary needs can be met on this trip, but we request that you email us if you have any severe allergies so that we can discuss your options.

    What Meals Are Included on This Journey

    • Every breakfast is included from February 24 (beginning at Melia Hotel in Iguazu Falls, Argentina)
    • 5 lunches are included (which includes 1 boxed lunch at Perito Moreno Glacier)
    • 4 dinners are included

    Unlike most of our journeys, all meals are not included on this trip. This is because there is a wide range of variety and prices available for all meals, and we did not want to dictate your budget or your tastes. We wanted to allow greater variety to account for allergies, preferences, and appetites.

    Eating out in Iguazu and Patagonia is very easy; every restaurant takes credit cards and we will always be able to change money for you. We will always have restaurant and dish recommendations for you!

    Count on lunches being between $5-15 and dinners between $10-25+. However, if you wish to partake in the famous King crab in Ushuaia, bank on $50/person on average. The exception for these prices is one dinner and one lunch in Torres del Paine, Chile inside the park, where lunch will be ~$20 and dinner is $40 at the hotel (and includes a glass of wine).

     

    Vegetarianism, Veganism, and Celiac in Patagonia

    Argentina is famous for its steaks and Patagonia for its lamb, and the South Americans’ love of meat cannot be overstated. However, it is possible to eat vegetarian on this journey, but know that most vegetarian dishes do include wheat and/or cheese (think: empanadas, pizza, pasta, sandwiches). Because of that, this journey may be difficult for vegans who are also gluten intolerant. Celiacs who eat meat will find plenty to eat.

    Please know that all soup bases and beans will most likely be cooked with some animal products (stock, lard, etc), unless you are at a dedicated vegetarian restaurant.

    We’d be happy to field any specific questions you have about your dietary needs on this journey.

     

    About our Hotels

    Each of these hotels was carefully chosen for their comfort, location, and amenities. They each have their own private bathrooms, heat (or air conditioning at Iguazu Falls), and hotels have wifi access, although it may be stronger in common areas (lobby, restaurants, etc). In more remote places such as El Chalten and Torres del Paine, please expect the wifi to be very slow.

    Here is a list of all of our reserved hotels:

    About your International Flights (Arrival and Departure Timing)

    We are more than happy to recommend international flights, but ultimately you will make the purchase yourself. Here is some important information if you would like to research flights yourself.

    ARRIVAL

    We’ll take a flight together to Iguazu Falls on the morning of February 23rd from GRU airport, so it is recommended you arrive in Sao Paulo by the night of February 22nd. Your hotel night on the 22nd is not included in order to allow you flexibility, but we will make recommendations.

    DEPARTURE

    The trip comes to an end on March 6th when we fly from Puerto Natales, Chile to Santiago, Chile in the evening. This is the only available flight and arrives in Santiago close to midnight on the 6th. You may wish to spend the night at the Holiday Inn at the Santiago Airport before your flight home.

    Contact RetreaTours

    Please write to Lauren for any questions you may have about this journey.  If you have not received a reply within 48 hours, please do check your spam folder.

    About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours

    BJ Graf and Lauren Rathvon at Torres del Paine. We love our tours to Patagonia! 

    You’ll be joined on this journey by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours–and we are so excited to show you the natural beauty of South America! 

    Husband-and-wife team BJ Graf and Lauren Rathvon have traveled the globe year-round since January 2013, researching, designing, and leading impactful journeys. 

    We are committed not only to our guests but to our host destinations and the planet at large. We engage with local businesses and guides to keep money within the community, and we triple-carbon offset each of our tours.

    We invite you to visit our Testimonials page to see what other people have to say about us!  You can head to our About Us page to learn more about our story.

    Photo Album

    Please click a photo to see an enlarged version; you can use your arrow keys or mouse to navigate within the album.

    ALL photos in this album were taken by BJ & Lauren in the same areas we’ll be visiting!

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