As the world adapts to new circumstances and limitations on travel, many people are seeking far-flung places to explore, with fewer people around and lots of open space. Patagonia, the great wilderness on the southern tip of South America, is an ideal choice in many ways. This remote region of extraordinary natural beauty affords many opportunities to get away from the beaten path. Furthermore, in a small group setting you can enjoy a social environment while staying safe and hygienic. In this article we select some of the best small group tours in Patagonia for your next big adventure.

To find out the optimal times of year to see the region’s wonders while avoiding the crowds, read our guide to the best times to visit Patagonia. If you’re planning a bigger trip, also read our guide to small group tours in South America.

This article contains links to tours we recommend, which we may make commission from at no extra cost to you.

Why take small group tours in Patagonia?

Many of Patagonia’s greatest natural attractions, like Torres Del Paine and Mount Fitz Roy, are set in remote places that take a lot of effort and organisation to reach. With this in mind, travelling in a small, guided group helps to ensure safety in various ways.

Of course, travelling independently in the region is possible, and can be extremely rewarding. Our guide to backpacking in Patagonia and recommended Patagonia itineraries will help you to do this. But if you are unsure, especially in post-pandemic circumstances, then going guided may be a better option.

These are some of the main benefits of taking a small group tour in Patagonia:

  • When trekking in remote places, or participating in adventure activities, help and medical assistance is always immediately available if needed.
  • Small group settings allow for safe distancing and effective hygiene measures with minimum disruption to the experience.
  • Travelling with a knowledgeable local guide brings insights that improve the experience.
  • Accommodation, meals and transport are looked after with safety measures in place.
  • Small groups create a great dynamic for meeting people, sharing travel experiences and making lasting friendships.

We can attest from experience that having logistical arrangements covered in Patagonia is a big deal. Especially for classic hikes like the W Trek, booking individual campsites and bus transfers can be complex and tedious. Taking an organised small group tour removes the hassle.

Our recommended operator for small group tours in Patagonia

The decision of which small group tour company to use is an important one, as not all have the same standards in safety, hygiene and quality of guides. After travelling with many operators in South America, we recommend G Adventures for small group tours in Patagonia.

We have been impressed by their response to the new travel circumstances. The team at G has worked hard behind the scenes to implement new measures as part of a ‘travel with confidence’ policy. You can read the details here.

G Adventures has decades of experience organising small group tours around the world. They work with carefully selected local guides, and have an ethical approach to supporting local staff and community projects. This was the reason we first chose them for our Inca Trail in Peru, and we weren’t disappointed.

Group sizes on G Adventures tours are capped at 16, and actually average a bit lower at 10–12. We find this to be just right for fostering a great team dynamic while not feeling at all crowded.

Small group tour discounts for May–July 2021

Some of the G Adventures tours we highlight below include a 15% discount when booking for August and September 2021. Check the details on the individual tour information pages, and quote the code G20GAA015ADV02 at checkout. We’ll keep this page updated with new offers, so check back later for more.

View all G Adventures tours in Patagonia

Small group tours in Patagonia: the classic hikes

1.  Torres Del Paine W Trek

Small group tours in Patagonia Paine Grande

At a glance:

  • Length: 6 days
  • Starts and ends: Puerto Natales
  • Highlights: the famous three-pronged hike navigating Las Torres, the French Valley and Grey Glacier
  • Physical difficulty level: demanding
  • Prices: view and book

The W Trek is one of the world’s greatest multi-day hikes. Named due to its three-pronged route, it traverses between the dramatic natural landmarks of Las Torres, the French Valley and Grey Glacier in Torres Del Paine National Park. This guided group tour follows the classic trail with all arrangements taken care of. Find out more and see the full itinerary.

2.  Torres Del Paine O Trek

Alex in Torres Del Paine National Park

At a glance:

  • Length: 11 days
  • Starts and ends: Puerto Natales
  • Highlights: the extended hiking route encircling a full circuit of Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Physical difficulty level: challenging
  • Prices: view and book

The full circuit trek in Torres Del Paine, often called the ‘O Trek’, incorporates the W Trek and extends into a full loop around the north of the park. It is a challenging trail suitable for more experience hikers. The rewards for completing it are some of the most breathtaking scenery in the remotest sections of the park. Find out more and see the full itinerary.

Small group tours in Patagonia: multi-stop routes

3.  Discover Patagonia

Puerto Varas Osorno

At a glance:

  • Length: 14 days
  • Starts and ends: Buenos Aires
  • Highlights: varied hiking, Andean Lakes crossing, Perito Moreno Glacier, Beagle Channel exploration
  • Physical difficulty level: average
  • Prices: view and book

This is the most varied of G Adventures’ Patagonia tours. Starting in the north of the region, it explores the lake districts, featuring the stunning boat border crossing from Bariloche to Puerto Varas. Travelling south, the itinerary includes Torres Del Paine, El Calafate and Tierra Del Fuego, and ends with a day in Buenos Aires. Find out more and see the full itinerary.

4.  Patagonia Hiking

At a glance:

  • Length: 9 days
  • Starts and ends: Buenos Aires
  • Highlights: Los Glaciares National Park rafting, Cerro Torre hiking and Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Physical difficulty level: average
  • Prices: view and book

This itinerary focuses on the Argentina side of the region, pivoting around Los Glaciares National Park. From the base of El Chaltén, it incorporates a rafting trip and classic day hikes to see Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, before journeying south to the colossal Perito Moreno Glacier and the mountain town of El Calafate. Find out more and see the full itinerary.

5.  Hike Patagonia in Depth

At a glance:

  • Length: 14 days
  • Starts and ends: Buenos Aires
  • Highlights: combination of top hikes including the Torres Del Paine W Trek and Laguna de los Tres
  • Physical difficulty level: demanding
  • Prices: view and book

An extensive outdoors experience, this tour combines everything featured in the Patagonia Hiking package with the addition of the Torres Del Paine W Trek. Thus, in the space of two weeks, it brings together the most celebrated hiking trails and iconic natural landmarks of Patagonia into one itinerary. Find out more and see the full itinerary.

6.  End of the Earth

Ushuaia Beagle Channel Cruise

At a glance:

  • Length: 14 days
  • Starts and ends: Buenos Aires
  • Highlights: classic route of El Chaltén, Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres Del Paine and Ushuaia
  • Physical difficulty level: demanding
  • Prices: view and book

This two-week tour is similar to Hike Patagonia in Depth, but features shorter day hikes in Torres Del Paine National Park rather than the full W Trek. With the extra time this allows, the route culminates with a journey down to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and the gateway to Tierra Del Fuego National Park. Find out more and see the full itinerary.

Several the small group tours in Patagonia we have highlighted include some free time in the region’s towns and cities. Take a look at our ideas on things to do in Ushuaia, El Calafate and Bariloche for ideas on how to spend your time.

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We select some of the best small group tours in Patagonia to explore the beauty of this remote wilderness in a safe and fun setting. #patagonia #patagoniatours #patagoniahiking #patagoniatrekking #smallgrouptours

 

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