Day 1: El Calafate - El Chalten. Upon arrival at the El Calafate Airport, you will be met and transferred the bus station. You will travel by public bus approximately 217 km (135 miles) north to the small outpost village of El Chalten. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your El Chalten hotel. Overnight accommodations at La Aldea Lodge, in a superior room. Includes: (B).
Days 2 & 3: El Chalten - Fitzroy Massif. Using El Chalten as your base, you can explore a myriad of hiking trails that weave throughout the Fitzroy massif. Popular with outdoor enthusiasts worldwide, some of these trails are particularly recommended. In addition to outstanding outdoor activity and scenery, equally exciting in the flora and fauna. In particular, the Andean Condor and the Austral parakeet are widely spotted. The following are two of the most popular hikes from El Chalten: depart El Chalten for a full-day hike to the Cerro Torre base camp at Laguna Capri.
You will have spectacular views of Cerro Solo and the Fitzroy Massif along the way. The spires of Cerro Torre and Cerro Egger rise directly across the lake. Fitzroy Basecamp-Laguna de los Tres, from El Chalten, you'll hike through beech forests to the Poincenot base camp of Mt. Fitzroy. Along the way, you will have constantly changing views of Piedras Blancas glacier and the N.E. face of Fitzroy. From base camp, you may attempt the strenuous 1-hour climb to Laguna de los Tres. Here, three glaciers drain into the green lagoon with majestic Mt. Fitzroy towering above. Return to base camp, the Rio Blanco and El Chalten. Includes: (B).
Day 4: El Chalten - El Calafate. Transfer by public bus approximately 3 hours from El Chalten to El Calafate. You will be picked up at El Calafate's Bus Station and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations at Hotel Kau Yatun, superior room with breakfast included. The hotel is located a few blocks from downtown El Calafate, on almost 4 hectares of land. The hotel features a bar and restaurant offering typical Patagonia BBQ and local specialties. 3 nights. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Perito Moreno Glacier. From El Calafate, the journey continues across the last portion of the plateau, a landscape of glaciers and enormous snowfields stretched out across the mountains. Los Glaciares National Park, in the sub-Antarctic Continental Ice-cap, is known as the "Third Pole" and extends over 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq miles), giving birth to several major glaciers along the Patagonian Andes. Pay the Los Glaciares National Park entrance fee (8 USD paid in pesos). Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, and statistics are mind-boggling.
The main wall is over 200 feet tall and almost 3 miles wide. Every now and then enormous pieces of ice break down and fall with thunderous noise into the lake. This area was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The wildlife of the area includes Andean condors, buff-necked ibis, black-chested buzzard eagles, ashy-headed geese, etc. You'll land on an uninhabited beach and hike onto the glacier. Return to your overnight accommodations in the afternoon. A box-lunch may be purchased ahead of time at your hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Estancia Cristina & Upsala Glacier Explorer. An early start takes you to the tiny port of Puerto Bandera. You board a comfortable modern catamaran for a cruise on Lago Argentino. The navigation first stops in front of the Upsala Glacier for wonderful views and then enters the channel leading to Estancia Cristina, surrounded by towering ice-capped mountains and glowing ice-blue bergs floating in the lake. Once at the Estancia you can choose between 2 different programs: a lamb barbeque and relaxed afternoon around the Estancia or a beautiful hike to panoramic Cerro Carnero (description below), from where you can admire the Andes and its glaciers.
The hike departs the estancia upon arrival and includes a box-lunch. For those staying at the estancia, you will enjoy a delicious and traditional Patagonic lamb barbeque lunch at the restaurant, which has been built on the base of an old wool drying spot and has a fabulous 360 degree view. Afterward, you will visit the main house, the chapel and the museum. You will discover the lifestyle of the first settlers of the Estancia and their relation with legendary explorers of the last century. This afternoon, you will return by catamaran to Puerto Bandera pier and from there to your hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 7: El Calafate. Hotel pickup and transfer to the El Calafate Airport. Includes: (B).
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