Day 1: Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine. Night Estancia. This trip starts in Puerto Natales where you will be collected from your hotel or at an agreed meeting point. After meeting your photographer guide and the rest of the group, we will be setting off into the Torres del Paine National Park. Our destination is Lake Sarmiento where we will be packing our day packs and setting off on a beautiful walk around the shores of this deep blue lake. This area is normally home to large breeding groups of guanaco which we will spend some time photographing and observing.
We will then walk for a further couple of hours across the Patagonian scrub with its unusual plantlife towards the salty shores of Laguna Amarga (bitter lake). Often frequented by Chilean flamingos, this is another good area for photographing wildlife. Reunited with our transfer vehicle, our next destination is the aptly named Laguna Azul. This is one of the prettiest areas in the park with far reaching views of the Towers across the blue waters of the lake.
Inhabitied by a variety of geese, ducks and grebes we can relax and enjoy the scenery before driving the short distance to Estancia Tercera which will be our base for the night. Situated on the eastern perimeters of the Park this authentic estancia property has some of the most spectacular views in the Park. Country-style accommodation in the pretty, wooden guest house with all the comforts of home including hot baths, comfortable sofas and fireside relaxation. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (wine/drinks available at extra cost).
Day 2: Short hikes and photography. Night Host Grey. After a breakfast of home baked bread and cakes we will be meeting our driver to start our drive west towards the heart of the Park where we will have a chance to hike to waterfalls and glacier lookouts while photographing the incredible landscape and wildlife in front of us.
One of these lookouts 'Mirador Condor' will hopefully give us a glimpse of the huge Andean Condor that nests high up in the rocky outcrops and hills of the area. With a huge wing span this member of the vulture family is as imposing when seen on the ground as when soaring high in the air.
Our destination is the 4* Hosteria Lago Grey situated on the shores of Grey Lake with spectacular views of Grey Glacier and the iceberg choked lake of the same name. With comfortable en suite rooms, a fireside bar and restaurant serving a variety of local and international dishes we can relax and enjoy pre-dinner drinks before meeting for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (wine/drinks available at extra cost).
Day 3: Hike Mt Ferrier. Grey Boat. Night Serrano River. After breakfast in the hotel we will be hiking up to Mt Ferrier which affords spectacular views across the western side of Torres del Paine and its immense glaciers stretching off the Patagonian ice field like fingers on a hand. Depending on the weather, we will enjoy a picnic lunch in this incredible location before descending to the hotel for tea.
Those who would like to can join an optional boat trip to the face of the glacier (Grey II launch). The cost of this is around US$80 and it is strongly recommended. Otherwise, you can stroll down to the lake beach and admire the toothpaste like chunks of ice floating in the relatively dull grey waters of the lake. The nearby southern beech forest is home to Magellanic woodpeckers among others so a late afternoon stroll through the trees could make for a good photographic opportunity.
When everybody is ready, we will transfer to the nearby Serrano River for our night in the comfortable 4* Hotel Rio Serrano. Situated close to the emerald green, salmon stocked waters of the Serrano River with views of the Paine Massif, this hotel is fairly new offering comfortable accommodation, a large living/dining area with log fires and a comfortable bar and good restaurant. The nearby river is an excellent place for fishing and there are good walks in the vicinity of the hotel. For early risers amongst you, this area offers some of the most spectacular sunrises in all of Patagonia. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (wine/drinks available at extra cost).
Day 4: Zodiac/boat trip back to Puerto Natales. Today, we will be walking over to the river and boarding Zodiacs for our exciting ride down the Serrano River. Our journey takes us through the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park (the largest in the country) past Tyndall and Geike Glaciers finishing at the mouth of the river where it spills into Last Hope Sound.
Time permitting we will take a short walk to the Serrano Glacier before boarding a boat which will take us across Last Hope Sound and back to Puerto Natales. Stopping en route for lunch at the traditional Estancia Perales, we will arrive at the quayside in Puerto Natales at about 1800 hours. Taxi to hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
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