Day 1: Transfer to Puerto Natales via Penguins. Late morning collection from Punta Arenas airport. Drive to see the cute burrowing Magellanic Penguins at their colony in Otway Sound. There will be plenty of time to observe and photograph these fascinating creatures before rejoining our transfer vehicle for our drive north.
We will be driving out across the Patagonian Steppe where you will have your first opportunity to see some of the unusual plant and animal life that exists in this area. After about three hours driving we will reach our destination for the night, the cute waterside town of Puerto Natales. Located on the shores of the picturesque Last Hope sound we will get a chance to walk along the waterfront and stroll around the shops before dinner.
Night at the newly built Hotel Weskar. Situated a short walk outside town, this wooden built hotel has lovely views of Last Hope Sound and the Serrano Glacier in the distance. Rooms are light, airy and comfortable and there is laundry and Internet available.
Day 2: Trek the Sierra del Toro and on to Serrano River. After breakfast we will be joining our comfortable transfer vehicle for the drive out towards the granite peaks of Torres del Paine. After passing the small outpost town of Cerro Castillo and heading north, our route takes us west for a spectacular drive alongside the turquoise waters of Sarmiento Lake before arriving onto the land belonging to Estancia Lazo. This beautiful estancia situated on the shores of Laguna Verde is the trail-head for today's beautiful hike.
We will be packing our day packs and heading out along the shores of the lake through ancient southern beech forests and through grassy valleys towards the Sierra del Toro. This is a great introductory hike with fairly flat terrain, soft grassy trails and incredible mountain and lake views at every turn. After a few hours hiking we will reach the Mirador del Toro where we will enjoy far reaching views across this dramatic southern landscape crammed with more than its fair share of fast flowing rivers, snow capped peaks and iceberg-choked lakes.
After some time spent enjoying the views, we will start the steep descent of this scree slope to the pampas below. Lunch will be taken in the valley before a visit to the national park headquarters and visitors centre where our guide will further explain the park's history and show the relief maps that illustrate the following days hiking.
From here it is a short distance to our pretty riverside campsite at the Serrano River. The views of the Paine Massif are magnificent from here and the campsite offers full facilities including fire pits, showers, bathrooms and some shelter. For early risers, this area offers some of the most spectacular sunrises in all of Patagonia. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (with wine at dinner).
Day 3: Kayak in the ice choked waters of Grey Lake. After breakfast, we will be driving out across the pampas to the immense Grey Glacier, the largest in the Park. The initial sighting of the grey waters of the lake with its contrastingly bright turquoise chunks of ice floating within is almost surreal and is a highlight for every visitor. We will be crossing a footbridge and walking through a pretty forest and onto the lake-shores where we will meet our kayak guide.
There follows a safety briefing and short instruction session before we put our kayaks into the lake and start paddling out towards the glacier in the distance. Following the instructions of our experienced guide, we will paddle up close to icebergs while enjoying this incredible and unforgettable setting. Lunch will be taken back at the lake beach or in the nearby forest or glacier lookout depending on the weather.
Those with some energy left can opt for a late afternoon hike up to a stunning viewpoint of the entire western side of the park with their guide. Alternatively we can take the van back to our campsite for a chance to relax and enjoy some river chilled wine before dinner is served. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (with wine at dinner).
Day 4: Don your crampons for a walk onto the ice. Today we will be heading back to Grey Lake where we will be boarding the Grey II launch and setting off once again into the iceberg choked lake towards the walls of this spectacular Glacier. The short boat trip will give us up close and personal views of this spectacle as well as stunning views of Paine Grande and surrounding mountains. After getting fairly close to the glacier, we will disembark and continue up the shores of Grey Lake on foot to a lookout close to the glacier.
It is here that we will meet our ice hiking guide who will brief us on safety before providing us with crampons and the equipment we need for a walk out onto the ice. This is a truly memorable experience as we explore the ice floes and caverns that form the glacier itself. Plenty of time to take photos and enjoy the unique landscape before heading back to terra firma for the walk south to Lake Pehoe. One of the classic Torres del Paine hikes, this climb up and out of the valley enjoys views of Grey glacier, the Patagonian icecap and innumerable mountains.
We continue towards the stunning blue waters of Lake Pehoe to our destination and camp for the night. Organized campsite with hot showers, small shop, bar and restaurant. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (with wine at dinner).
Day 5: Trek to Refugio Cuernos. Today we will head out towards the French Valley walking along the foothills of the Horns of Paine with the tranquil shores of Lake Nordenskjold on our right. A full day's hike we will enjoy fantastic views of the amphitheater of granite peaks that make up this enclosed valley as well as the waters-capes below including lakes Pehoe, Skottsberg, Toro and Nordenskjold.
Our destination is the lively refugio Cuernos located in a beautiful position set below the imposing horns of Paine. Night in bunk bed accommodation with shared facilities. Bathrooms and hot showers available. Meals taken in the refugio's dining room. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (wine/drinks available at extra cost).
Day 6: Trek to Camping Las Torres. After breakfast we set off once again along the shores of Lake Nordenskjold and for the brave a chance to swim in the frigid waters of this spectacular lake. Another one of the parks classic hikes today we will be just below the towering Horns of Paine all day until crossing the Ascending Valley and arriving at our camp at Las Torres.
This is an organized campsite situated in a pretty, forested location with fire pits, bathrooms, hot showers and the benefit of a nearby hotel with bar that serves great pisco sours and even has a spa available. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (with wine at dinner).
Day 7: Walk to the base of the Towers. Today's hiking is our most arduous but worthwhile as we climb to the Towers themselves. A roundtrip hike we will climb up into the Ascending Valley and through beautiful old growth beech forests to a rock moraine just under the towers. A steep climb over the moraine will reward us with one of the most spectacular views in the park and weather permitting we will enjoy our last trail lunch at this amazing vantage point. Return to camp for our last night under canvas enjoying a fireside dinner. Includes: (B), (L), (D) (with wine at dinner).
Day 8: Transfer back to Punta Arenas. After breakfast, we will be joining our comfortable transfer vehicle for the drive back to Punta Arenas. We can make a short stop in Puerto Natales for souvenirs and a snack before continuing on to either the airport or onward travel. Breakfast only.
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