Day 1: El Calafate. We welcome you at El Calafate airport and transfer to town to check in at your hostel. You get the rest of the day to enjoy the town and alter to have your welcome dinner. Lodging in a Hostel room with shared bathroom. Alternative: Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom. Meals provided. Dinner.
Day 2: Bus to El Chalten - Laguna Capri. After breakfast we take our bus for the 220 km long drive to El Chaltén, a small and picturesque village at the foot of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre massif. We make a stop half way to enjoy local pastries and hot coffee. Once in Chaltén, we’ll meet fellow travelers coming from up north (Route 40) and start our trek. We carry in our packs only the necessary items for this 3 nights and 4 days in which we’ll overnight in our Full Camps inside the National Park.
We hike up a gentle slope on Fitz Roy trail to gain height over the River de las Vueltas valley up to the first viewpoints over Fitz Roy massif. Our hike to Laguna Capri will take us no more than 2 hours and a half, in a clear and easy trail. Once on our Laguna Capri Full Camp, we leave our stuff in our tent and we enjoy an afternoon walk to the sightseeing points around the lagoon.
Full Camps are pitched up early in the season, so we find the camp ready upon arrival. It offers comfortable 3 people igloo type tents for each 2 passengers, with mattresses and sleeping bags. An inside cotton sheet is provided as inner clothing for the sleeping bag. The camp also features a spacious dinning tent, a kitchen tent, tables, benches or chairs and a full set of table service and kitchenware. The sanitary services are latrine-type.
Day 3: Cerro Fitz Roy, Laguna de los Tres. Early in the morning, before the first coffee, we can try to catch the morning light pink hues on Fitz Roy granite walls. The breathtaking light show is all you may need to feel that this trip is worth your while. But of course the day offers much more. After breakfast, carrying only day personal items such as our parka, gloves, camera, water bottle and boxed lunch, we will hike along Fitz Roy trail up to Rio Blanco, climbers' base camp ton the east side of the mountain.
From here a steep trail leads us to one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the national park, the turquoise blue colored Laguna de los Tres, offering full close up views of Fitz Roy massif spires and glaciers. Each wall rises anywhere from 600 to 1500 meters above the surrounding glaciers. Mount Fitz Roy, rising 3405 meters above sea level, is considered the "King of Patagonia" and also considered one of the three most beautiful mountains on Earth (together with Alpamayo in Perú and K2 in the Karakoram). We hike back to Laguna Capri in the late afternoon. Walking time is 5 to 6 hrs. Lodging at Laguna Capri Full Camp in double or single tent (rural area). Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 4: Cerro Torre. Today we make it around Laguna Capri to get to the valley of the Lagoons Madre and Hija and down to Fitz Roy river valley, where we meet Cerro Torre trail and we get to Cerro Torre Full Camp. The trail runs along beech forest, bogs and shrub land. From the camp, a short hike takes us to Laguna Torre, enclosed by moraines and with the Glacier Grande carving its west side.
It is not unusual to see icebergs pushed by the wind onto the shore of the lagoon. The thin and elegant Cerro Torre group some 3128 meter high spire and the Adela range in the background complete this spectacular view. Walking time 3 to 4 hours. Lodging at Cerro Torre Full Camp in double or single tent (rural area). Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 5: Lagoon and Glacier Torre. El Chalten. In the morning we visit Laguna Torre again to reach the old Maestro base camp, located on a high side up along the north moraine of the lagoon. For keen hikers, we offer an optional excursion, the so called “Holiday on Ice”: early start, crampons and harnesses, a Tyrolean (horizontal fixed rope attached to both sides of a river) to cross Fitz Roy river, and we visit Glacier Grande, where we will visit crevices, ice caves and we'll practice ice climbing under the guidance of the experienced mountain guides.
Late in the afternoon we walk back to Chaltén along Fitz Roy river valley. Total estimated time of the standard day: 4 to 5 hrs. If you go on the “Holiday on Ice” trek, it is 7 hours plus the trail back to Chalten which is two and a half hours more. Lodging in a Hostel room with shared bathroom.Alternative: Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom. Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner.
Optional excursion: Holiday on Ice.
Day 6: El Chalten - El Calafate. Morning at your own to visit the picturesque village or to make optional excursions such as Lago del Desierto. In spite of its name, it is a beautiful lake, surrounded by a beech forest, with hanging glaciers on its west side. By 5:00 pm we take a bus to our next destination, El Calafate, gateway for the glaciers area of the Park. Arrival time is scheduled for 9:00 pm. Driving distance: 220 km. Lodging in a Hostel room with shared bathroom. Alternative: Hosteria, double or single room with private bathroom. Meals we provide: Breakfast.
Day 7: El Calafate - Perito Moreno Glacier. We dedicate this day to one of the World's Natural Wonders: the Moreno Glacier. This ice field- type glacier flows down from the Patagonian Ice Field, which with its 22.000 square kilometers is the third largest glacier area in the world, after Antarctica (14 M sq km) and Greenland (1 M sq km). Because unusual favorable local conditions, this glacier is the only one in the world that shows a closure and rupture process. The road leads to the very front of the glacier, which will be only meters away from your eyes.
A beautiful short trail will lead us from the shores of the lake to the upper viewpoints. The roar of the chunks of ice falling inside the glacier or from the glacier into the lake, the frequent collapse of the front seracs into the turquoise water, makes this day a very special and unique experience. We will drive 80 km (1 and a half hour) to get to and come back from the glacier across the steppe, watching a wide variety of birds. Lodging in a Hostel double or triple room with private bathroom. Meals we provide: Breakfast.
Day 8: El Calafate - Torres del Paine National Park. Early start for a 6 am drive to our camp in Paine. We drive across the steppe, still following in some parts the legendary route 40 to get around Sierra de los Baguales, an impressive range between Calafate and Paine. We cross the Argentinean - Chilean border at Cancha Carrera/Cerro Castillo. After the border crossing, we start our final sprint to Paine National Park, declared World Heritage by the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization).
Approaching the Park, we start to see the different mountains that characterize the area: Paine Grande, the Horns, Admiral Nieto and the Towers. We enter the Park by Porteria Sarmiento. A rich wildlife abounds here: guanacos, lesser rheas, condors and all types of wetland and buzzard birds will be available for our eyes and cameras. We'll stop in the Lake Nordenskjöld and in Salto Grande viewpoints for short walks.
In the afternoon we continue to visit the westernmost side of the National Park, Lake Grey area, where a short and easy hike along the south shore of the lake allows us to enjoy the blue icebergs which after breaking off the glacier in the northern side of the lake are pushed by the wind to this side. Lake Pehoe Full Camp keeps the style of Laguna Capri and Cerro Torre Full Camps, but adds the first class facilities such as good and clean bathrooms and hot water showers, water and electricity in each camping site. Lodging at Camping Pehoe Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services). Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 9: Paine Towers - Aascenso River Valley. We drive to get to Estancia Cerro Paine, trailhead for the world famous Paine towers. We "warm up" hiking a steep slope for one hour to get inside the Ascensio river valley, a narrow “V” shape alpine valley coming from inside the Paine massif. A gentle downhill leads us to Refugio Chileno, a cozy and comfortable mountain lodge, which can be a good turnaround point for those not willing to make a full day hike. We then walk up a gentle slope along the river side and inside beech forest.
A final climb on moraine take us to the Towers viewpoint: a lagoon of glacier origin and the three towers rising vertically 1000 meters from the glacier. The lack of breath you might experience will be either because of the climb or because of the sight! We go back to our camp the same way we came up. Walking time: 7 to 8 hours. Lodging at Camping Pehoe Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services). Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 10: Crossing Lake Pehoe - French Valley. Early in the morning a short drive takes us to Port Pudeto to board the catamaran which crosses Lake Pehoe twice a day. We carry only the necessary belongings to stay two days and one night away from our Camping Pehoe Full Camp, where the rest of our luggage will stay. Once in the far side of the lake, we leave unnecessary items in our tents and we set out to the French Valley trail.
The trail skirts Paine Grande south slopes and Lake Skottberg, to take us after two and a half hours of continuous ups and downs, to the hanging bridge over the French River. This breathtaking location is at the foot of both the 2700 meters southeast face of Paine Grande (to the west) and the Horns, with its characteristic black sedimentary topping, to the east.
Keen hikers can go on and reach the upper viewpoints of the valley, from where you see the whole group of spires that feature the high valley: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (The Fortress). Walking time for those who reach the upper viewpoints is 8 to 9 hours. For those reaching the lower viewpoints it is 5 to 6. We retrace our steps back to Refugio Pehoe Full Camp. Lodging at Refugio Pehoe Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services). Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 11: Glacier Grey Viewpoints - Puerto Natales. Lake Grey trail leads from Pehoe Valley across ridges to reach Grey Valley. This magnificent valley flows down some 60 km from the Patagonian Ice field, featuring the huge glacier calving down into the grey color lake. Our trail skirts the lake, going up and down the western slopes of Paine Grande, offering some of the most impressive sights of the Park. From the high sections of the trail, many different viewpoints allow us to see the south end of the lake where the blue icebergs gather, the mountains rising far in the distance above glaciers Grey and Tyndall, and of course Lake and Glacier Grey.
The trail reaches a close up point to the front of the glacier. We come back along the same trail, crossing bogs, shrub lands and forest. In the evening we take the boat to cross Lake Pehoe back and then we go to our accommodation in Puerto Natales, a picturesque fishermen town located on the shores of the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) fjord. Lodging in a Hostel room with shared bathroom. Alternative: Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom. Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch.
Day 12: Puerto Natales - Rio Grande. Long drive today, though quite beautiful. We continue south to reach the legendary Magellan Strait, which we will keep in sight up to Primera Angostura, where we board the ferry on which we will cross the strait. This passage, discovered by Hernando de Magallanes in 1520, was the natural and logical way for all the vessels until de Panama Channel was opened at the beginning of the 20th century. You will find yourself wondering how those brave men dare to sail those waters in such fragile ships!
Once in Tierra del Fuego which means literally, Land of Fire, we enter back to Argentina through Paso San Sebastian. It takes a couple more hours to reach Estancia Las Hijas, where our Full Camp will be waiting for us, as well as a lamb cooked in the classical Patagonian barbecue style. A dinning saloon, toilettes and showers are available tonight. Lodging at Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services). Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 13: Rio Grande - Tierra Mayor valley. In the morning we learn about the ranch activities and how dogs deal with the sheep. By mid morning we continue south to Solar del Bosque, a small and cozy mountain refuge located in the Tierra Mayor Valley, where we will spend the rest of the day. After lunch, those who wish can visit Laguna Esmeralda on their own, a beautiful lagoon with Glacier Ojos del Albino in the background (a quite easy trail). On the way back to our lodge we cross terrain that has been modified by the beavers, which were introduced to the area from Canada by the middle of the last century. Lodging in Mountain Lodge with shared bedrooms and bathrooms
Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner.
Day 14: Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego National Park - Beagle Channel. We leave behind the valley and a half an hour drive takes us to Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the World. We leave our luggage in our hostel or hotel (we will not check in, as it is still early in the morning) and continue to Tierra del Fuego National Park. This National Park is in the southwest corner of the Argentinean side of the Island, thus on the border with Chile. The main attraction of the Park and the whole Island actually are the mountains coming down to the sea. We make a short hike in this area. In the afternoon, a boat trip in the Beagle channel allows us to see the different species of sea birds and mammals that live in this corner of the Earth. Lodging in a Hostel room with shared bathroom. Alternative: Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom. Meals we provide: Breakfast and box lunch.
Day 15: Ushuaia Airport. Morning at your own to visit the town, which is located on the north coast of the Beagle Channel. Then town features interesting museums and its typical architecture. In the afternoon we are transferred to Ushuaia airport to take our flight to Buenos Aire . Our services end at the airport.
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South America Argentina Chile Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking National Parks
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