Day 1: Arrival & Introductions
Arrive in Santiago and connect to Puerto Montt. In Puerto Montt you board your 40-minute flight to Chaitén, a flight back in time. We will meet you at the airport where we start our drive across the Andes: volcanoes, fjord-like lakes, hanging glaciers, and the turquoise rapids of the Futaleufu River. We arrive at our Adventure Lodge in Futaleufu, surrounded by majestic mountains. You'll unwind from your trip with a hearty welcome dinner.
Day 2: Las Escalas Valley
After breakfast and a morning orientation, you will start your trek mid morning, walking downstream through green rolling hills and ranch land. Within several miles you will enter a deep black rock gorge. Our trail is cut into the side of the canyon, giving a bird’s eye view of the agitated, radiant turquoise Futaleufu River below. Several miles later the gorge opens into the remote Las Escalas Valley. We cross this open area and enter a old growth, temperate forest where we find a remote ranch where we pitch our tents, and eat dinner as the sun sets on the peaks above us.
Day 3: Throne Room & Rio Azul
We awake in a remote setting. We take breakfast in our host’s kitchen. We learn how life is lived without roads, electricity, or phones. The Futaleufu Valley trail continues downstream, rejoining the Futaleufu River. You will be able to hike to an overlook of the powerful Class 5 “Throne Room” rapid. This Class 5 + rapid is a whitewater powerstorm blasting through a narrowing in the canyon walls. After viewing this maelstrom from a cliff above, we have lunch on a gravel beach on the side of a huge calm pool below. This is a fishing opportunity.
The trail continues with beautiful green meadows and spectacular vistas of the rugged mountains. We arrive at perhaps the climax of beauty when we reach the confluence of the Rio Azul and Rio Futaleufu under the gaze of the Tres Monjas peak. There are several white sand beaches. We cross the Azul in two canoes tied together, and we will spend the night in tents at this eco-camp complete with sauna and hot showers and sit-down dining.
Day 4: Climb to the Tres Monjas Spires
An early morning start allows one to climb as high as one wants to the base of Tres Monjas Peak. This offers a truly spectacular view of the Azul and Futaleufu River Valleys. Near the base is the unusual enchanted forest of the rare Lenga trees. The peak itself defines the border of Chile with Argentina. Carefully hiking down, you return to a sauna, a hot shower, and a great meal at Campo Tres Monjas.
Day 5: Trek to the Terminator Rapid
Today you can choose how far you want to hike. You walk downstream through open meadows looking down on the Futaleufu River. Our destination is the Terminator Rapid and a lunch spot on smooth rapids, one of the best waves on the river. The power and beauty of this river is awe inspiring and will take your breath away. After a relaxing picnic, you will trek back to Campo Tres Monjas.
Day 6: Azul Valley & Lago Loncanao
After a hearty breakfast, we cross the Azul in our canoes and walk on a trail up the glacier-ringed Rio Azul Valley. Entering a forest, we wind around the backside of Lake Lonconao. We pitch our tents at a small homestead and experience the local culture. If we are into hiking a 10 mile day, we can reach a improved cabin at the end of Espolon Lake.
Day 7: Lago & Rio Espolon
After breakfast we depart towards another mountain lake, Lago Espolon. Here the Espolon drains it and plunges over a huge and violent cascade. After viewing this at the overlook, we ride down the side of the Espolon River where white sandy beaches wait for us and where we can swim in the transparent waters of the Espolon. We return to the little village of Futaleufu and our Adventure Center accomodations.
Day 8: Travel to Puerto Natales
Wake up for an early breakfast and drive back to Chaitén. From Chaiten fly back to Puerto Montt and the onward to Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales. Overnight in Puerto Natales.
Day 9: Arrival in Puerto Natales to El Calafate
Starting at Puerto Natales we drive onwards to the Cerro Castillo border crossing where we meet the regular bus to El Calafate in Argentina (287 kms/180 miles). Arriving in El Calafate we transfer to our hotel. Calafate is a small village set on the edge of Los Glaciares National Park amid dramatic scenery. At the evening (around 3PM) we take part in a guided excursion to the Perito Moreno glacier, a very active glacier on the south arm of Lago Argentino.
The Perito Moreno Glacier, a 60m-high relic of the Ice Age, creates a unique geographic event approximately every three or four years. As it advances, it pushes out across the surface of the lake, cutting the lake into two separate sections. As water pressure builds up on one side over the years, the glacier eventually explodes open with a torrent of water and a fury of calving icebergs. Although this spectacular event no longer occurs as cyclically as it did during the past 50 years, the Moreno Glacier is constantly moving, calving, crackling an incredible sight and sound at any time. Later we return to Calafate for overnight in the Hotel Libertador, Lar Aike or similar.
Day 10: Calafate to El Chalten and Fitzroy
Early breakfast and continue with the regular bus from Calafate to Chalten (220 kms/138 miles). We drive on isolated dirt roads across the pampas and along the northern end of Lago Viedma and reach the settlement of El Chalten, a tiny outpost beside Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and on foot of the impressive mount Fitzroy. Time permitting, we will do a walk by river Electrico along a side trail with some of the most beautiful Lenga forest of Patagonia. Overnight at Hosteria in Chalten. (B, L, D).
Day 11-12: Trekking in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
We will have the next two and one half days to explore the park. We shall undertake two main treks into the nearby mountains. One trek will take us to the Fitzroy Base Camp (about 6-7 hours) and the other trek in the direction of Cerro Torre (6-7 hours), but this will depend on weather conditions at the time. Most of these treks are on well established trails so that shorter options are often available. While trekking in the park, the trails will take us to places such as Laguna Torre, the base camp of Cerro Torre climbs; Laguna Capri and Laguna Madre, Laguna de los Tres and directly to the front of Fitzroy and Piedras Blancas. The scale of the scenery, with it's jagged peaks and glimpses of glaciers suspended between them makes these treks extremely rewarding. (B, L, D).
Day 13: Trekking & Travel: Fitzroy to Calafate
You are free this morning to relax at the hotel or trek on your own in the Fitzroy area. Lunch at the hotel. Around 5PM you are transferred to Chalten's bus terminal on time to board the regular bus back to Calafate. Overnight in Calafate at Hostal Libertador, Lar Aike or similar. (B, L).
Day 14: Calafate to Puerto Natales
We take the early morning regular bus to Puerto Natales (5 hours). Arrive around 1PM with enough time to visit the town. Overnight in hotel Aquaterra, Francis Drake or similar.
Day 15: Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas
Transfer from your hotel in Puerto Natales to the bus station and board the regular bus that will leave you at Punta Arenas' airport on time for your departure flight. (B).
Included: Futaleufu: Round trip airfare between Puerto Montt and Chaiten. All local transportation, food and lodging while in Futaleufu. All equipment and guides for the week of activities. Fitzroy: Five nights in hosteria in Calafate and Chalten w/private bathroom, 1 night in hotel in Puerto Natales w/private bathroom, all local domestic transportation, all meals at Chalten, park fee, one English speaking trekking guide each for 8 persons.
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South America Chile Argentina Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking