trekking patagonian andes

Trekking down the most famous Andes: Fitz Roy, Torres del Paine, Calafate’s Glaciers and Tierra del Fuego

Itinerary idea for a trip to Argentina and Chile in 18 days.

Embrace the spirit of Patagonia’s most adventurous climbers and hikers in this accessible iconic route. Start with the blue iced glaciers of El Calafate before inhaling the pure air of the Fitz Roy mountains: the Southern Ice Fields are close.

 

Cross the border to Chile to walk in the world-famous Torres del Paine national park, then head south until reaching Tierra del Fuego. Be prepared for some serious winds, spectacular views, pristine waters and a sense of true wilderness as your footsteps trace the first expeditions teams’.

Length of stay: 18 days

Kind: Treks

Fix: Easy Trek: Sunday sportsmen, welcome!

Countries visited: Argentina, Chile

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Day 1 : International Aiport Ezeiza

Meet your driver at Ezeiza International Airport – transfer to Buenos Aires in a private vehicle. Transfer with an English-speaking guide. Visit Buenos Aires (half day, walking tour).

Today, discover the political and historical centre of the capital . Start with the 9 de Julio Avenue , the widest in the world, dominated by the Obelisk , a symbol of Buenos Aires. You will pass the Colon Theatre , one of the jewels of the Argentine architecture, before arriving on the Capital main square, P laza de Mayo.

Your visit then takes you to San Telmo : this historical neighbourhood is a dynamic mix of tourists and locals: picturesque alleyways, old typical cafés, antique shops … This lively barrio is animated day and night – a famous flea market takes place every sunday around Dorrego square.

End your visit with the picturesque neighborhood of La Boca , with its small alley of El Caminito : painters, tango dancers and singers meet between the ancient colourful wooden houses.

Return to your hotel after the visit.

Excursion carried out with an English-speaking guide. Night at the Tango de Mayo Hotel in standard room.

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Day 2 : Buenos Aires

Transfer from your hotel to Buenos Aires Domestic Airport in a private vehicle. Domestic flight Buenos Aires* – Calafate.

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Transfer from El Calafate Airport to your hotel in a private vehicle. An English speaking guide will acompany you during your transfer. Free day in El Calafate.

Enjoy your free time to try one of the following activities:

– Visit the Laguna Nimez Natural Reserve to enjoy the wilderness and observe the flamingos and the 80 other species of birds living there. This is an easy, 20-minute walk from the city center – duration of the visit: 2 hours.

– Visit the Interpretive Center which covers various themes such as paleontology, geology, anthropology and history.

– Rent an electric bike to explore the city.

– Have a drink downtown at the ice bar. The Rancho Aparte experience offers the opportunity to savour a home-cooked meal in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The Chef opens the doors to his home, a small house overviewing El Calafate.

What Gabo says: Travel through the encounters you make – and what best way to get to know us than sharing a meal, listening to some nice music, making new friends while living a different experience. I will make yourself feel at home, come meet me in Rancho Aparte

3-course meal, 1 non-alcoholic drink and 1/2 bottle of wine per person included. Night at the Cauquenes de Nimez in standard room.

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Day 3 : Perito Moreno Glacier

Glacier Hike – 2 hours – Low Intensity

This excursion will allow you to set foot in an exceptional natural environment.

We pick you up at your hotel and start a 75km drive to Los Glaciares National Park.

From the harbour of Bahia Bajo de la Sombra, embark on a 20 minute navigation to cross Brazo Rico and dock at the foot of the refuge.

Start a small walk amidst exuberant vegetation. Pause on a beach near the glacier, where the guides will give a few explanations about glaciology. Continue the walk to reach the foot of the glacier where you don the crampons before starting the trek.

2 hour trek on the ice accompanied by mountain guides.

Return to El Calafate in the afternoon.

Note: This tour, due to the physical requirement and the difficulty of the terrain, is only open to those who have a good physical condition to walk on the ice and stone, and is limited to people aged between 10 and 65.

We recommend you bring sunglasses, sunscreen, waterproof clothing, gloves, trekking boots, and a backpack of 40 litres. Entrance to Los Glaciares National Park included. Lunch box gourmet included. Night at the Cauquenes de Nimez in standard room.

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Day 4 : El Calafate

Departure from your hotel in regular service, to Los Pioneros port, located in Los Glaciares Park.

You sail for 1 hour then continue with a small trekking of 2 km to Lago Frías. Cross the lake aboard zodiacs and start the 2nd trekking of 4.5 km. You walk through a forest of centennial lengas, then an old glacial valley to finally reach the Frías Superior Lake. From here you can admire the Dickson, Cubo and Grande glaciers.

After lunch, return to El Calafate.

Note 1: Aprox 6 hours trek (14 km)

Note 2: Moderate difficulty

Note 3: Groups of 12 people maximum Night at the Cauquenes de Nimez in standard room.

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Day 5 : El Calafate

Transfer in pool service from the hotel in El Calafate to the hotel in El Chalten.

Departures at 7:30 am and 7:30 pm.

210 km. 3 hours. Hiking – 6 hours – Elevation +536m / -132m- Moderate Intensity

Trek by yourself up to Laguna Torre.

Maps are available at the entrance of the Park and trails are well marked.

You are off to a beautiful walk to reach the nearest viewpoint on the range of the legendary Cerro Torre. It lasts about three hours on a trail without great difficulty, passing through the viewpoint of Torre.

Before reaching the lake, walk by the De Agostini camp and after a ten minutes walk through the last glacial moraines, access one of the most famous sights of the park: the spectacular Cerro Torre, Egger and Standhardt, the snowy range of the Adelas… Night at the Patagonia Travellers Hostel in standard room.

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Day 6 : Estancia Los Huemules

From the estancia, follow the 7km path through the Devil’s River valley – 2-3 hour walk. You reach the Puesto Cagliero Refuge, with a privileged view of the Devil’s Lagoon and the Cagliero glacier, located in the Estancia los Huemules, to the north of the Glaciares National Park.

From the Refuge, you can either hike by yourself or hire a local mountain guide to guide you through some paths.

Walks available: Lagunas Escondidas, Cumbre Loma del Diablo, hike among the hills, or the Ice Trek Cagliero excursion to hike on the glacier after a vía ferrata trail.

Night in Puesto Cagliero with full board (except drink) in standard room.

Note: a hike by yourself to the glaciers requires crampons and minimum technical equipment – please consult with us prior to your trip. Private transfer from El Chalten to Estancia los Huemules.

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Day 7 : Puesto Cagliero

After your breakfast, leave El puesto Cagliero to return to El Chalten. Private transfer from the estancia Huemules to Chalten. Night at the Patagonia Travellers Hostel in standard room.

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Day 8 : El Chalten

Transfer from the hotel in El Chalten to Hosteria El Pilar, starting point of treks, in pool service. Departs at 8h. Hiking – 6 hours – Elevation +926m / -948m- Moderate Intensity

Trek up to the Laguna de los Tres.

You are walking by yourself (maps are available at the entrance of the Park and trails are well marked).

The walk starts along a beautiful trail in the forest, on the West slope of the Polo mount, to get to a slight ascent to the Poincenot basecamp. Amazing views throughout the hike over the Blanco River valley, the Piedras Blancas glacier and its lagoon…

The climb to the Laguna de los Tres starts at Poincenot and is hard, but the reward is well worth it: you are as close as one can get to the mountains.

Lunch in front of the Fitz Roy by the spectacular Sucia lagoon.

You return through the beautiful Capri lagoon. Transfer in pool service from the hotel in El Chalten to the hotel in El Calafate.

210 km. 3 hours. Night at the Cauquenes de Nimez in standard room.

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Day 9 : Puerto Natales

Transfer with a private vehicule from the hotel to the bus station in El Calafate.

You leave from the bus terminal in El Calafate at 8:30 a.m. to Puerto Natales (Chile). This township is located 360 km South of El Calafate and 260 km North of Punta Arenas. During the trip, you admire the typical Chilean Patagonian landscape. As we reach Puerto Natales, you enjoy the view onto the many snow-capped mountain tops and glaciers belonging to the Andes Mountain Chain. Arrival is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Puerto Natales is a small town located at sea-level on the shores of the Senoret Channel.
Note: a 362 km. 5 hours (subject to the border crossing). Leaving everyday since September 1st.

En English-speaking guide welcomes you at Puerto Natales bus station and drives you to Puerto Natales.

Night at the If Patagonia hotel ***.

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Day 10 : Puerto Natales

Your driver picks you up at Puerto Natales and drives you to Torres del Paine National Park .

Lunch box included.

Entrance to the Torres del Paine National Park included.

Today you will dedicate this day to make the most famous walk of the Park: t he trek to the base of the towers of the Paine . Departure advised between 7 am and 8 am or, if you feel the brave enough and you are equipped (headlamp), at 3:30 in the morning to arrive at the base of the towers for the sunrise. Amazing sunrise if the weather conditions are favorable.

You start directly with a climb of about two hours to reach the El Chileno hut. On this path, you enjoy a 180 degree view of the park and its many lakes. Then you go up to the campsite Torres on a path with no difficulty, then you continue on the most difficult part of the trek: the moraine, about a kilometer. Then follow an hour of a climb of moderate level to finally arrive at the most known and most astonishing landscape of all the park: the watchtower Las Torres . It is a natural amphitheater 2,800 meters high at the foot of the towers. There you can rest from your effort and enjoy this fabulous show.

You then return by the same way.

Level: Difficult

Walking time: 07h00 / 08h00 (20 km)

Altitude difference: +/- 990 meters

 

Night at the Refugio Torre Central (made-up bed and full-board).

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Day 11 : Puerto Pudeto

Embark on a boat to cross Lake Pehoe. (35min).

The view on the Paine moountain range is stunning.

Note: ticket to buy directly at the ferry, impossible to book in advance, 26.000 CLP /person.

Heading east this morning, you climb a short and easy slope, bordering Lake Skottsberg, named after the explorer who travelled the area in 1908. Then, you reach the Río Francés, which marks the beginning of the French Valley. You arrive at Camp Italiano after 2 hours walk. After taking time to rest and have lunch, you continue to go up north to the British Camp. It takes 3 hours from the Italian camp to the British camp. Back at the Italian Camp, you continue east, bordering Lake Nordenskjöld this time, facing the Cuernos del Paine, all the way to the Lodge Paine Grande where you will enjoy a well-deserved rest. Distance: 25 km. Walking Time: 9h. Slope: + 650m / – 650m. Night at the Paine Grande Refuge (made up bed and full board).

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Day 12 : Lodge Paine Grande

Today you will be able to relax a little. You will walk 3/4 hours to get to the Grey Glacier. The trail offers panoramic views over the Grey Glacier and icebergs floating. The second part of the path will take you closer to the glacier. Once in the area of refuge Grey, you can walk 10 minutes to the Mirador and have a stunning view on the ice field. The terrible fire that destroyed in 2011 over 17,000 hectares in this area left some traces. You may realise how fragile this environment is. Distance: 11km. Walking Time: 4h. Slope: + 365m / – 395m. At 12:00 you board a comfortable boat (capacity 50 passengers) to cross the Lake Grey and see the very impressive Grey Glacier. It is part of the southern ice field, third ice sheet in the world after Antarctica and Greenland. Return to the Lago Grey Hotel. Night at the If Patagonia hotel ***.

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Day 13 : Puerto Natales

Your driver picks you up at Puerto Natales and drives you to Puerto Natales bus station.

Regular bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas (approx. 3 hours).

Regular bus from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia (approx. 11h).

Transportation from the Bus Terminal to your hotel in Ushuaia in a private vehicle.

An English speaking guide will acompany you during your transfer.

Night at the Hosteria Patagonia Jarke in a standard room.

 

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Day 14 : National Tierra del Fuego Park

Kayak and Hiking – 4 hours hike and 1h kayak – Low Intensity

The Tierra del Fuego National Park, located only 11 km from Ushuaia, displays 63.000 hectares full of lakes, lagoons and rivers rich with a unique fauna and flora.

Start hiking along the valley of the Pipo River and follow the trail that leads you to Ensenada Bay with a very scenic view over the Redonda and Estorbo Islands and the snowcaps of the Sampaio Chain (Chile) on the opposite shore of Beagle Channel.

On the shores of Lapataia River, take your kayak to row over the cold waters. On the way back, pass by the Verde and Negra Lagoons – the excursion ends near a beaver dam, a common feature of Tierra del Fuego.

Return trip to Ushuaia in the afternoon.

Note 1: lunch in a shelter included.

Note 2: 8 hour excursion (4 hours walk and 1 hour kayak tour). Entrance fee to Tierra del Fuego National Park included. Night at the Hosteria Patagonia Jarke in a standard room.

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Day 15 : Puerto Almanza

At 8:00 am, leave Ushuaia in 4×4, to take a road that passes through a dense forest. You will see the Victoria Lagoon on the way, passing later the Estancia Harberton by the banks of the Lasifashaj River.

Your final destination: Puerto Almanza, Argentina’s southernmost fishing village.

Board a small boat to navigate on the Beagle Channel where you will be able to observe sea lions resting on the islands, and sail to Martillo Island, home to a colony of Magellanic penguins.

Return to Puerto Almanza to enjoy a lunch including the famous local king crab (centolla) fresh from the daily catch in Puerto Almanza.

Return to Ushuaia around 16:30.

Small group of maximum 6 people. Night at the Hosteria Patagonia Jarke in a standard room.

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Day 16 : Ushuaia

2 hours before your flight, check out and transfer to Ushuaia Airport. Domestic flight Ushuaia – Buenos Aires*.

*National o international airport depending on time schedule and availability. Transfer from Buenos Aires domestic airport to your hotel in a private vehicle. Night at the Palo Santo Hotel in Premium room (STD).

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Day 17 : City Tour Buenos Aires

Visit Buenos Aires (half day, walking tour)

Guided tour of the Recoleta neighbourhood, characterized by many colonial houses, currently inhabited by powerful Argentine families. Enter the luxurious Pacifico Shopping Center with its typical 1889 French architecture with vaulted ceilings. This stunning place is a locals’ favourite.

Visit the Recoleta Cemetery , where many celebrities, writers and politicians rest. The most famous and revered even today is the tomb of Evita Peron , the legendary wife of President Peron .

Continue your visit in the Palermo neighbourhood, with leafy streets, small eateries and little shops, and take a stroll in the Tres de Febrero park inaugurated in 1875, the largest green area of the city.

Return to your hotel. Tonight, you are invited to discover the Argentinian cuisine in a closed-doors restaurant.

You will spend the next 2h enjoying dinner and cooking the traditional empanadas, learning how to order steak your way in Spanish, and preparing your own mate drink, the national beverage that goes hand in hand with any gathering and conversation.

Dinner guided in english and spanish. Night at the Palo Santo Hotel in Premium room (STD).

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Day 18 : Buenos Aires

Transfer from the hotel to Ezeiza International Airport in a private vehicle.

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