How to Travel to Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica?

Our guide to combining Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica! Here are our activity, hotel, restaurant, and planning recommendations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How to Travel to Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica

Traveling to Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can immerse yourself in the vast and wild nature of these remote destinations. For many travelers, the idea of planning such an epic trip to either of these two places is daunting.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry. You can plan a trip to Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica fairly easily. We have created a quick guide to help you hit these two bucket-list destinations on the same adventure, making the most of your time in Southern Chile.

What will you see in Patagonia & Antarctica? Here’s a quick list of possibilities:

  • Unspoiled wilderness
  • Immense glaciers with crackling ice
  • Mountainous terrain
  • Austral oceans and fjords
  • Million-year-old forests
  • Exotic species of wildlife like the Chilean Puma, penguins, and much more
  • The history of some of the pioneering explorers to Antarctica and Patagonia
  • The gaucho lifestyle that is still present in Patagonia

Here is what we will cover in this guide to combining Patagonia and Antarctica:

Travel to Patagonia

Chilean Patagonia is home to magnificent ice fields, stunning forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and breathtaking landscapes. Kayak through the Strait of Magellan, practice fly fishing, or horseback ride through the vast pampas and estancias. Look overhead for a condor sighting and keep your eyes open for a glimpse of pumas. If you see one of these stealth animals, count yourself lucky.

Hike in Chile’s most famous national park, Torres del Paine, a true Patagonian highlight. You can marvel over its granite towers, which come into view after walking through a magnificent forest and enjoy pure crystal water straight from glacier springs. There are many routes to choose from that range in difficulty and duration, including multi-day hikes like the W or O Treks. If you are short on time, try a day trip to Torres del Paine National Park for park highlights, which is an excellent option as no matter how long or short, this national treasure will still amaze you.

Travel to Antarctica

We explore all facets of this wild continent during an Antarctica expedition. View dolphins, penguins, seals, whales, and a myriad of sea birds. All our Antarctic adventures give you ample time to see the wildlife that makes the White Continent its home.

One of the best Antarctica adventures is gliding through Antarctica’s waters on a sea kayak. With icebergs surrounding you, and wildlife playing inquisitively around your boat, you’ll see the White Continent as you’ve never imagined.

Alternatively, stay on land and hear the crisp white snow crackle as your snowshoes help you glide along untouched terrain. Or grab your walking poles as we hike through to the best vantage points each landing has to offer.

Antarctica is known for its scientific studies and unique ecological environment. You have a chance to get hands-on experience participating in different scientific projects with our Citizen Science Program during your Antarctic expedition. Please review all of our Antarctic Adventures, and then plan your trip the way you want it.

How to Combine Travel to Patagonia and Antarctica?

Travel to Patagonia and Antarctica starts in the same city, Punta Arenas, Chile. Since you have come so far already for your Antarctic trip, checking off two continents and enjoying the seventh wonder of the world – Torres del Paine National Park – makes a lot of sense and is worth the detour.

Getting to Punta Arenas, Chile is a 4.5-hour flight from Santiago, Chile. Alternatively, you can enter by land via Argentina. Depending on how you plan your trip, you can do a pre or post-Patagonia visit.

We fly across the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas and land on the ground in King James Island after a quick two-hour flight to get to Antarctica. From there, you set sail on one of our small expedition ships and enjoy exploring the Antarctic peninsula for the remainder of your time.

Before or after your journey to Antarctica, you can reach Patagonia in the following ways. Many high-end hotels, like Singular Patagonia, offer all-inclusive packages in Patagonia that include the pick-up and drop-off at Punta Arenas. These hotels also include daily meals and adventure excursions in and around Torres del Paine National Park.

The nice drive to Torres del Paine is 4.5 hours from Punta Arenas, with opportunities to stop and even stay in places like Puerto Natales, Chile along the way. If you’re looking for a quicker experience and a more economical option, you can take a bus or private day tour to the park. For more hotel recommendations, see below.

How much time do I need in Antarctica and Patagonia?

We recommend at least 4 days / 3 nights in or around the Torres del Paine National Park to fully take advantage of the stunning landscape and adventure activities it has to offer. In total, travelers can spend 11 days to 3 weeks combining Antarctica and Chilean Patagonia.

Antarctica21 has four air-cruise options and durations to choose from:

  • The shortest and most affordable is the Antarctic Express expedition which is 7 days / 6 nights, combining a visit to Cape Horn and Antarctica.
  • Our most extended expedition is a remarkable experience that takes you through the western Antarctic Peninsula, through Elephant Island to South Georgia for 17 days / 16 nights.
  • Our Classic Antarctica air-cruise is our most popular Antarctica expedition itinerary for 8 days / 7 nights sailing between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • For the most adventurous, our Polar Circle air-cruise for 10 days / 9 nights. The main objective is to try and reach the Antarctic Polar Circle, located approximately 66° south of the equator.

Travelers crossing Lemaire channel, in Antarctica, aboard Magellan Explorer. Photography by Sandra Walser.

How to Plan Your Cruise to Antarctica

If you are interested in planning your trip to Antarctica, you can book a call with us for guidance or review our brochures for more information. Below you will find more helpful information to begin planning your trip.

Where to Start Planning Your Antarctic Trip?

Fly & Cruise to Antarctica

How to Choose the Best Antarctic Expedition Cruise?

Get Inspired

Other Things to Consider

Recommended Hotels in Punta Arenas, Chile

Cabo de hornos hotel in Punta Arenas, Chile. Photography by Tom Arban.

Hotel Cabo de Hornos
An icon in Punta Arenas, centrally located between the Strait of Magellan and the city’s main square.
Hotel Rey Don Felipe
Four-star hotel in a modern building with an architectural design inspired by the traditions and history of the Province of Magallanes.
Hotel José Nogueira
In 1982 it was declared a national monument, the Sara Braun Palace is the most characteristic building in Punta Arenas, and part of it is now a hotel.
Hotel Ilaia
An 8-room boutique hotel with a simple and minimalistic design that honors the Patagonian ancestry and roots.

Recommended Hotels in Puerto Natales, Chile

The singular hotel Patagonia

The Singular Patagonia
Classic elegance with a privileged surrounding of natural beauty and history. Now a luxury hotel and museum that has a history as the cold storage Frigorífico Bories.
Remota Patagonia Lodge
A world-class refuge designed to live and feel Patagonia where nature is always the main stage. The hotel is inspired by the old Patagonian shearing sheds tilted by the wind.
This historical house began as a cafe and small hostel and transformed into a sophisticated hostel with a vintage atmosphere.
Kau Lodge
A cozy 1980s hotel that was renovated in 2011. Styled with rustic lenga wood and natural fabrics on the banks of a fjord.

Recommended Hotels in Torres del Paine National Park

Tierra Patagonia
Nestled between mountains, pampas, and Lake Sarmiento, the hotel has a subtle style that blends seamlessly into the magnificence and untamed Torres del Paine National Park.
Explora Patagonia
Perfect for outdoor travelers wishing to fully explore the geography and wildlife of Patagonia in an ideal location inside Torres del Paine National Park.
Awasi Patagonia
Outside of Torres del Paine National Park in a private reserve, it has 14 villas and the main lodge. Each villa includes a private guide and vehicle for a tailor-made adventure experience.
Patagonia Camp
Upholding sustainable principles, the hotel comprises beautifully-designed yurts using eco-friendly methods sprawled across native forests overlooking Toro Lake and the Torres del Paine Massif.

Restaurants in Puerto Natales

  • The Singular Hotel Restaurant – Fine Dining ($$$$) – Patagonia-sourced ingredients such a guanaco, lamb, king crab, rhubarb, and austral hake, prepared with classic techniques.
  • Lenga Restaurant – Fine Dining ($$$) – Traditional Chilean food with a fresh and contemporary twist using locally-sourced products.
  • Last Hope – Gin Distillery, Local Favorites ($$-$$$) – Cocktails, snacks, shared platters, and an array of gins and whiskies.
  • Patagonia Dulce – Desserts & Café, Local Favorites ($-$$) – Desserts, chocolate, 18+ types of hot chocolate, artisan bread, and more all made in-house!
  • Gelateria Aluen – Ice Cream, Local Favorites ($-$$) – Gelato with Chilean and Patagonian flavors like calafate, murta, and toasted flour from Chiloé!
  • Café Kaiken – Chilean Restaurant, Cheap Eats ($-$$) – Typical Chilean food, pasta, hamburgers, fish, and seafood.

Restaurants in Punta Arenas

  • La Marmita – Chilean Cuisine, Local Favorites ($$) – Signature food taking traditional recipes and transforming them using local ingredients from land and sea.
  • La Luna – Typical Local Chilean Cuisine & Seafood, Local Favorites ($$) – Typical regional dishes like king crab, lamb, and other Magellanic food.
  • La Cuisine – French Food, Local Favorites ($$) – A French and Patagonian food mix.
  • Mercado Municipal de Punta Arenas – Craft & Food Market, Cheap Eats ($-$$) – Fish and chips, fish and seafood empanadas, and other tasty traditional Chilean food.
  • Kiosko Roca – Typical Local Chilean Food, Cheap Eats ($) – Sandwiches, shakes, coffee, tea, and snacks. A local institution and tradition since 1932 best known for its choripan and banana milkshake combo!

Start Planning Your Trip

Whether you plan to combine Patagonia and Antarctica in one trip or only Antarctica, we can assist you with your Antarctic fly and cruise expedition. We can also help with arrangements in Punta Arenas, your first stop before arriving at the White Continent. Book a call with us or view our brochures for more information on our upcoming travel seasons.

Decoration A21
The Antarctic Flight Guide, Antarctica21

Download the Ultimate Guide

This essential guide includes:

  • Insider information on flights to Antarctica
  • The pros and cons of sailing and flying to Antarctica
  • Weather information and detailed flight statistics
  • Expert tips to consider before booking

Doing research for your trip? You can’t miss this guide!

Ready to Start Planning?

Antarctica is like no other place on Earth and we invite you to explore it with us. Complete this short form to receive a customized quote from our team and start planning your Antarctic air-cruise today!