Day 1 Arrive El Calafate | Private Transfer to El Chalten
A morning flight takes you to the lively town of El Calafate to begin your Argentina travels. Upon arrival, you'll begin the four hour drive across the rugged landscape toward Chalten. Along the way, enjoy the magnificent geography of the region as you drive through the mountains, passing stunning lakes and winding rivers. This evening, settle in to your comfortable room in your hotel in Chalten.
Day 2 Patagonia Trekking | Laguna de los Tres
Your four day trekking adventure begins today as you hike through an ancient, subantarctic beech forest to the Piedras Blancas Glacier. Your route runs parallel with the Rio Blanco until you begin the toughest part of your trek - a fifty minute climb that zigzags up a 45º slope. Your efforts are more than rewarded when you arrive at the eerily still glacial Laguna de Los Tres with one of Patagonia's, and possibly the world's, best panoramic vistas! Enjoy lunch and take in the view of Mount Fitz Roy, which hovers above you amidst the clouds. Continue on to your campsite at Poincenot.
Distance: 9 miles (14 km)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
Highest point: 3871ft (1180m)
Approximate Elevation gain: 2395ft (730m)
Day 3 Patagonia Trekking | Laguna Torres
After breakfast, you will start the trek to Camp Torre and pass two lagoons appropriately named Madre and Hija (Mother and Daughter). You'll be passing through a living natural history lesson on glaciation and learn about the history that created this stunning landscape. Keep your eyes out for Andean condors, Magellenic woodpeckers and other Patagonian wildlife along the way. This segment lasts four hours to get to the camp. There is an optional extra hike from Lago Torre to Mirador Maestri for an extra two hour hike to the old base camp for climbers who explored the Torre Massif in the early 1970's.
Distance: 7 miles (10 km)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Highest point: 2460ft (750m)
Approximate Elevation gain: -328ft (-100m)
Day 4 Return to El Chalten
After an early breakfast, today's hike takes you through dense southern beech forest to descend toward the valley of the De las Vueltas River, being rewarded with the most stunning views on either side of great mountain ranges before returning to El Chalten. The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the scenery from this quaint mountain village.
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) hiking
Hiking time: 5.5 hours
Highest point: 1968ft (600m)
Approximate Elevation gain: -656ft (-200m)
Day 5 Choose Your El Chalten Adventure
After an early breakfast, today's hike takes you through dense southern beech forest to descend toward the valley of the De las Vueltas River, being rewarded with the most stunning views on either side of great mountain ranges before returning to El Chalten. A vehicle will then take you to Bahia Tunel, a small harbor on Lago Viedma at the mouth of the Tunel Rio, to embark for a one hour boat trip across Lago Viedma en route to Viedma Glacier, one of Argentina's largest glaciers. Today, travelers have a choice between three amazing adventures! Here are the options:
1. Lago del Desierto & Vespignani Glacier Excursion (Box lunch included)
This unforgettable experience combines navigation and trekking with a visit to the northern area of Los Glaciares National Park and the provincial reserve of Lago del Desierto. Depart by bus from El Chalten towards Punta Sur dock at Lago del Desierto. From there, sail for about 50 minutes spotting glaciers along the way and disembarking for a while in Punta Norte. Arrive to the Vespignani Glacier area where an expert guide will lead you to the trailheads of three different hikes and give you more information. All of the hikes are self-guided and require different levels of difficulty and effort. You will be given time to enjoy your preferred trekking activity. After hiking, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, and a snack will be awaiting you before boating back on the Lago del Desierto towards Punta Sur. From the dock, your bus will to take you back for another evening in El Chalten.
2. El Chalten Rafting Excursion
The experience begins with a warm welcome and informative presentation about the area - Glacier National Park. Travelers will be provided with the required technical equipment: thermal suit, dry suit, helmet, life jacket and neoprene boots. Once you are equipped, you will be taken to the entrance area of the Rio de las Vueltas, a scenic Class III river. Your guide will give a technique & safety talk before your exciting time on the water! The first area will be 2.5 miles calm and meandering waters with Fitz Roy behind, giving you time to practice techniques and paddling. Then, your raft will enter the canyon with a series of fun and exciting rapids for the next 5 miles! Finish the excursion with a short area of calm waters to take in your surroundings. A vehicle will meet you to take you back to El Chalten.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Minimum age: 12 years old, travelers between 12-18 must be accompanied by an adult
Duration: 4 hours (duration of rafting: 2 hours)
3. Ice Trekking Cagliero Glacier (Box lunch included)
This circuit starts at Estancia Los Huemules visitors center. It is a two-hour walk along Rio Diablo and across a thick lengas forest up to Laguna del Diablo, from where you can take in the view of Cagliero refuge. From this point, the path gets more demanding for about one mile. Nevertheless, this part of the trek has been adapted to be doable and safe. After an hour hike you will reach the glacier lookout point with views to Cerro Treinta Aniversario and its attendants - Diente del Diablo standing out among the rest.
At this point, the guides will prepare the equipment to begin the last part of the trek on the glacier itself! If weather conditions are favorable, you can even enjoy lunch in the glacier! Typically, groups will spend 2 hours on the glacier. Your return path is the same, ending at the visitors center.
Difficulty Level: Extreme activity for very fit travelers
Duration: 10 hours total, including transfers to/from Estancia Los Huemules visitors center
Gear: Warm & waterproof clothing, gloves, hat, sunglasses, and appropriate trekking boots required
*This excursion requires a supplemental fee. Please contact us for details.
Day 6 Trekking Free Day | Return to El Calafate
Today will be free to explore and hike on your own! By now, you will be comfortable and familiar enough with the area to head out for an independent adventure. A map will be provided to travelers to help navigate trails without a guide. May we suggest Loma del Pliegue Tumbado? This hike offers great vantage points of the area you have hiked over the past days with Lake Capri, Torre Glacier, and Mount Fitz Roy as well as of Mount Huemul and Lago Viedma to the south.
Return to El Chalten area and transfer back to El Calafate in the evening.
Pliegue Tumbado information:
Distance: 13 miles (21 km)
Hiking time: 8 hours
Highest point: 3937ft (1200m)
Approximate Elevation gain: -2624ft (-800m)
Day 7 Perito Moreno Glacier
Today you drive into Parque Nacional Los Glaciares for views of the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier
. This huge advancing glacier is more than 3 miles wide at its front and over 20 stories high - a highlight of your Patagonia travels! You'll take a boat across Lago Argentino and pass the massive front wall of blue ice, all the while watching for icebergs. After landing on a small beach you'll start hiking through the beech forest to the icepack of the glacier and have the opportunity to walk on the glacier with crampons (This Glacier trek has a minimum age of 10 and a maximum age of 65. Alternate excursions are available for those under 10 or over 65 years of age)
. You'll eat your lunch sitting on the lateral moraine of the glacier, where you can absorb the magnificence of the glacier's anatomy and listen to its thunderous concerto of groaning and cracking ice dropping into the lake below. Overnight in El Calafate.
Contact us if you are interested in the Big Ice Adventure, a more active excursion that spends more time on the ice. Click here
for more details.
Day 8 Torres Del Paine National Park
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take the bus to Puerto Natales (5.5 hour bus trip on a comfortable bus) before setting off for your drive to Torres del Paine National Park (two hours in a private vehicle). You'll arrive to the EcoCamp, a deluxe tent camp of large igloo-shaped tents built to minimize environmental impact while providing a comfortable setting. You'll find no noisy diesel generators or destructive septic systems. Instead, EcoCamp provides candlelight, feather comforters, composting toilets, and plenty of quiet to enjoy your spectacular surroundings.
Day 9 Los Cuernos Pass
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Look out for Andean condors as you begin a relaxed hike along the shores of Lake Nordenskjold this morning. Your path follows the Paso Los Cuernos trail under the Paine Massif, and your day is spent hiking between the turquoise lake to the south and the imposing mountains and vertical rock walls to the north and below the Cuernos (horns) of black slate that sit atop the gray granite of the massif. Pass the entrance to Bader Valley (a paradise for climbers and one of the more hidden corners in the park), and finally cross a wooden footbridge over a little stream near the Refugio Los Cuernos at the base of Cuernos del Paine (2,600m/8528ft) in a zone protected by the wind and close to a stream. The refugio provides clean dormitory style accommodations and deluxe camping facilities where you can swap stories with travelers from around the world. Alternatively, the trek ends at the nearby Domo El Frances with an amazing view of Nordenskjold Lake. Accommodations this evening are based on availability in dormitories or deluxe camping at Los Cuernos or Domo El Frances.
Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Hiking time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Low - Moderate
Highest point: 800ft (244m)
Approximate Elevation gain: 225ft
Day 10 French Valley
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, begin a challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley) along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far into the Valley you go depends on your group's hiking pace. A brisk pace leads to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south-eastern face of the Massif, where there are some truly wonderful views. Continue up the trail until reaching the upper section of the valley and admire the valley's entire group of geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Mascara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburon (Shark's Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). Here picnic and rest for a while. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well, if the group isn't keen on resting. Then descend through a rippling terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until reaching Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. Here organize your luggage, relax and enjoy a replenishing dinner.
Distance: 16 miles (26 km)
Hiking time: 10 hours
Highest point: 2250ft (686m)
Approximate Elevation gain: 2100ft
Day 11 Grey Glacier
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin today's hike through a dense forest to Mirador Grey along the shores of Lake Pehoe. Here you're rewarded with views of the towering walls of Grey Glacier and floating icebergs below. This huge glacier represents the end of the Southern ice field. Your pathway leads you through a rainforest very different from the equatorial Amazon and more akin to North America's Pacific Northwest ecosystem. Along the way spot some of the 115 species of birds and learn a bit about this unique southern forest. After a picnic lunch, embark on the ferry and set off across the Lago Grey, passing amongst icebergs of fantastic colors and shapes. From the decks of the boat, you can appreciate the vastness of the glacier. Occasionally there are times when such large chunks of ice have fallen from the glacier that it is impossible to navigate the ferry too close. Disembark on the banks of Lago Grey and transfer back to the EcoCamp where dinner and drinks are waiting for you.
Distance: 7 miles (11km)
Hiking time: 4 hours
Highest point: 800ft (244m)
Approximate Elevation gain: 675ft
Day 12-13 Torres Del Paine Excursions
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
On either day depending on the best weather conditions you hike to the foot of the gigantic spires of El Paine. If the weather cooperates, witness the most famous sight of the Torres del Paine - the three granite monoliths reaching 9,400 feet - a testament to the massive glacial forces that carved them out of the earth. The other day is saved to walk to the Mirador Laguna Azul and then to the eastern side of Sarmiento Lake, a good spot to observe guanaco. Back at EcoCamp, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the experiences of the past week and say your goodbyes to your wonderful hosts.
Las Torres Trail Day
Distance: 14 miles (22km)
Hiking time: 9 hours
Highest point: 3000ft (914m)
Approximate Elevation gain: 2825ft
Eastern Lakes Day
Distance: 4 miles (6km)
Hiking time: 3 hours
Highest point: 590ft (180m)
Approximate Elevation gain: 420ft
Day 14 Punta Arenas
Early this morning, you'll transfer to Punta Arenas for the late afternoon flight to Santiago (must be a flight departing after 3:00 pm from Punta Arenas).
With a few more days, you can add extensions to the Atacama Desert, Isla Chiloe, a cruise around Tierra del Fuego to Argentina, or rafting in the Lakes District to continue your Patagonia travel adventures.