Our Patagonia Discovery Trek will take you to the wilderness of Chile and Argentina, home to world-famous national parks, pale blue glacial lakes, curious wildlife and mesmerising glaciers. In small groups, and accompanied by our naturalist and expert guide, you will experience the best of Patagonia: eagles and condors will put on a show gliding above soaring ice-tipped peaks, native orchids and songbirds will complement your walks through pristine beech forests, you will get up-close with iceberg-calving glaciers and peaceful grazing guanacos will welcome you as you walk through the pampas. Welcome to Patagonia!
LEVEL 2 – Moderate Hiking Style
Some difficult terrain. Multiple consecutive +5 hour hiking days. May be impacted by high altitude. Good fitness, health and hiking experience necessary.
- Beech forests, native orchids & glacial lakes
- Day treks through Chile’s Torres del Paine
- Condors, eagles and guanacos
- Trek to ice-tipped Cerro Torre & Fitz Roy
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Day 1 Arrival El Calafate
On arrival into El Calafate, please make your own way to the group hotel (details will be provided in your final documents). This township, founded in 1927, is best known as the ‘national capital of the glaciers’ and is the gateway to the Patagonian Los Glaciares National Park, including the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore the town or walk down to Lake Argentino to watch the waterbirds. You will have a briefing in the afternoon to meet your guide and learn about your upcoming adventure, before having the first dinner with your group.
Suggestions of activities in El Calafate:
• Reserva Natural Laguna Nimes: ideal for spending a morning or an afternoon bird watching, just a 10 minute walk from downtown.
• Glaciarium: Amazing and extremely interested Museum of Ice. Very close from town with free transfer. http://glaciarium.com/en
Overnight El Calafate - Hotel Boutique La Cantera or similar (D)
Day 2 Drive to El Chaltén
This morning we depart very early to the breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier to watch and listen to the frequent ice calving. Later, we drive across the arid Estepa Patagónica to El Chaltén (approx 4 hours).
The village of El Chaltén is in the north of Los Glaciares National Park and it’s from here that we make our day trips. We enjoy dinner together this evening.
Overnight El Chaltén – Hosteria El Puma or similar (B,D)
Day 3 -4 Day walks in Los Glaciares National Park
Over the next two days we enjoy day walks to the base camp of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. Mount Fitz Roy is found at the northern end of the park and is part of a range of bizarre peaks including the needle like rock pinnacle of Cerro Torre. For a climber it looks to be one of the most unclimbed peaks in the world – in fact it was only scaled for the first time in 1974. To the south runs a great chain of massive glaciers that basically follows the line of the Chile/Argentina border.
The dramatic rock spires beckon and our days here will be a highlight of the trip. The beautiful valleys hold crystal clear streams and are home to a multitude of bird life. During the short summer the beech trees and the flowers bloom profusely and we are here at the best time to enjoy it.
Overnight El Chaltén – Hosteria El Puma or similar (B,L,D)
KEY TREKKING HIGHLIGHTS
FITZ ROY BASE CAMP / LAGUNA DE LOS TRES (Los Glaciares National Park)
Description: Short drive to Hostería El Pilar next to Río Blanco 18 kilometres (11 miles) north of El Chaltén. The trail follows Río Blanco, pass Piedras Blancas glacier and up to Río Blanco base camp. Piedras Blancas glacier is a hanging glacier that descends from the base of Fitz Roy. Lunch stop will be in the vicinity of Río Blanco or Poicenot base camp. To return to town the group will follow the trail and pass Laguna Capri to enjoy even more views of Mount Fitz Roy.
Duration: 8 hours Distance to cover: Approx 20 km (12.5 miles) Elevation gain: Approx 700 metres (2,297 feet)
CERRO TORRE LAGUN & GLACIER (Los Glaciares National Park)
Description: Hike along the Río Fitz Roy valley to reach the Laguna Torre at the end of the valley. Get as close as non-climbers can get to the mystical Cerro Torre. You will also visit the base camp where climbers wait for the good weather to attempt the climb.
Duration: 7 hours Distance to cover: Approx 22 km (13.7 miles) Elevation gain: Approx 250 metres (820 feet)
Day 5 Drive across the pampas to Puerto Natales
Today, we leave El Chaltén and Argentina as we cross the border into Chile, driving across the pampas to Puerto Natales. Set on the shores of Seno Última Esperanza, this city is the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. The afternoon is at leisure and this evening you may like to sample King Crab in one of the seafood restaurants.
Overnight Puerto Natales – Hotel Weskar or similar (B)
Day 6 To Torres del Paine
This morning we leave Puerto Natales and journey towards Torres del Paine National Park and its fabulous scenery. We board a boat and travel down the fjord, pausing at the Balmaceda Glacier en-route. We then change onto Zodiacs and continue along the Serrano River before reaching Torres del Paine.
Overnight Villa Serrano – Hotel Rio Serrano or similar (B,L,D)
Days 7-8 Day walks in Torres del Paine
Over the next two days we plan to view the highlights of the park on foot. The first day we explore the park on a bus to reach the most remote areas, with stops for short treks. On the second day we will do a long and amazing trek to reach the base of Las Torres peaks.
The next two nights are spent in Torres del Paine National Park – Hotel Las Torres or similar (B,L,D)
NOTE: The trekking level will depend on the group’s level of fitness, bearing in mind that many of the highlights of these parks require a 7-8 hour walk (round trip). There are other walks we can choose which are easier and provide excellent views of the parks, however as with any trek, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the day. The whole experience of trekking in Patagonia will spoil you!
KEY TREKKING HIGHLIGHTS
LAS TORRES BASE (Torres del Paine National Park)
Description: You will explore the Ascencio Valley, walking through a beautiful Lenga forest and getting up close to the astounding Torres del Paine viewpoint. Throughout the trek you will walk through bushes, streams and glacier moraines.
Duration: 7 hours Distance to cover: Approx 20 km (12.5 miles) Elevation gain: Approx 900 metres (2,953 feet)
Day 9 Drive to Punta Arenas
We drive for approximately 3-4 hours across the steppes following the face of the Andes. The scenery is breathtaking, with great rolling hills dotted with stunted beech trees. We plan to arrive in Punta Arenas in the late afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure, with time for last minute shopping or indulging the ‘dulce de leche’ a dessert you will by now be familiar with!
Overnight in Punta Arenas – Hotel Cabo de Hornos or similar (B,D)
Day 10 Punta Arenas
Today your trek will end in Punta Arenas, where you can continue your adventure at your own arrangement. (B)
- 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 8 dinners
- Standard to Superior hotel and lodge accommodation throughout
- Private transport
- All guide fees and National Park entrance costs
- English-speaking local guides
- Trip accompanied by Aurora Expeditions trek leader
- Complimentary Aurora Expeditions stainless steel water bottle (received at the start of the trek)
- International or domestic flights,unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity fees and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges.
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