We also include a spectacular boat trip up to the face of Grey Glacier itself and enjoy a whiskey served up with glacial ice. We overnight in beautiful authentic working estancias that see very little tourism, spending two nights at the lovely converted Estancia Rio Verde, two nights on the spectacularly situated estancia Tercera Barranca and two nights at the Estancia Nibepo Aike in one of Argentina's loveliest valleys. All are situated in open countryside with great views and plenty of opportunity for short walks in the evening and morning. The Serrano river lodge is situated beside the emerald green waters of the Serrano River offering world class trout fishing a few steps from your room.
Day 1: Arrive Santiago. Arrival and transfer from the airport to Santiago Hotel. Afternoon guided city tour. Overnight at Presidente Hotel.
Day 2: Santiago-Rio Verde. Morning transfer to airport for flight to Punta Arenas. Reception and introduction to guide that will accompany the group for the rest of the trip. Drive from the airport to the Magellanic penguin colony located on Ottway Sound. We will get a chance to walk around and photograph these curious birds in their natural habitat. Evening orientation around the fire. Dinner with the family in the Estancia dining room and overnight in the comfy en suite rooms. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Rio Verde-Puerto Natales-Rio Serrano. After a homemade country breakfast drive across the Patagonian steppe towards the lovely town of Puerto Natales. A quick stop here to stretch our legs, drink a cup of coffee or perhaps some last minute shopping before continuing on to the beautiful Torres del Paine National Park. Our route will take us around the shores of Lake Sarmiento with the towering peaks of the Paine Horns to our right. We will begin our introductory hike along the shores of Laguna Verde through ancient southern beech forests towards the Sierra del Toro. After a few hours of hiking we will ascend to the fabulous Mirador del Toro to enjoy the spectacular views of the peaks of Paine and the lakes and waterways that flow through the pampas below.
After stopping to take some photographs and enjoy the marvelous view we will start our steep descent of the Sierra del Toro. After hiking we will visit the Park HQ and the Visitor's Center where we will see park maps, a small museum and history. From here we will be collected in our vehicle and driven a short distance to our lodge on the peaceful Serrano River. Our home for 2 nights this cozy lodge is set away from the mountains giving a full view of the entire Paine Massif across the river. Great opportunities for fishing, walks or horseback riding here make this the perfect two-night stop. Dinner in the cozy restaurant with fabulous views of the Paine Horns. For the early risers amongst us, this hotel is said to offer the most spectacular sunrises in Patagonia! Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Torres Del Paine-Rio Serrano. After breakfast, we will transfer across the pampas for the short walk to the amazing Lago Grey Beach. We will walk along the shores of these grey waters and admire the miracles of nature as seemingly turquoise icebergs are seen floating in the lake. The huge mass of white behind the icebergs is Grey Glacier, the largest in the park. After our walk we will board the new Grey to launch and set off 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 our return to the dock those still with energy can opt for a hike up to a stunning viewpoint of the entire western side of the park with your guide or to take our van back to the Serrano river lodge. Those returning to the river can enjoy a leisurely afternoon walking around the hills here enjoying the fantastic afternoon sunlight or optional fishing or horseback riding can be arranged with the lodge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Torres Del Paine-Estancia Tercera Barranca. Today we will rise early, pack our lunches, and prepare for our "up and over" route across the heart of the park. This is a beautiful walk that sees very few hikers. We will hike through verdant green valleys and southern beech forests passing turquoise lakes and crossing hills dotted with eerie windswept trees. With luck we will see magnificent condors hovering high above mountain peaks whilst down on the plains, herds of guanaco scatter as we approach. The route today crosses amazing scenery dominated by the French Valley, Paine Horns and eventually the Towers after which the park is named. As the trail is so long we will hop in the van for the last section taking us to estancia Tercera Barranca for a lovely home style Patagonia experience.for the next two nights. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Torres Del Paine-Estancia Tercera Barranca. Today after breakfast we will begin our most challenging hike to the base of the Towers themselves. A steep climb crossing mountain trails, rivers and valleys and finally a clamber up glacial moraine, the rewards today are truly spectacular. Lunch (for those who make it to the top) can be enjoyed in the shadow of these enormous granite peaks whilst watching the icebergs drift across a glacial pool of water. A memorable lunch spot and a highlight of every visitor's itinerary. Optional shorter walks around Laguna Azul and the Xamora Falls can also be arranged for those wanting an easier day. Tonight were back at the comfy estancia where Pisco sours and a roaring fire await. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Torres Del Paine-Calafate-Moreno Glacier. After a breakfast of home-baked bread, preserves and cake we will be transferring out of the park and across the border into Argentina and on to the Perito Moreno Glacier for late afternoon visit of this amazing glacier. As we arrive fairly late most regular tours have departed and we should see the glacier with few visitors. After spending time walking the trails and listening to its cracking and calving of icebergs we will transfer to our accommodation for the night at the lovely estancia Nibepo Aike. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Estancia Nibepo Aike. An easy day relaxing here with opportunity for short walks and taking in the scenery here on the estancia and surrounds. Options for hiking, horseback riding, or even a glacier walk for the more intrepid. Overnight Nibepo Aike. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Estancia Nibepo Aike-Rio Verde. Today we will transfer back across the border into Chile and spend our final Patagonian night back at estancia Rio Verde stopping en route at the Milodon Cave (made famous by Bruce Chatwin). A farewell dinner and pisco sour awaits in one of the great seafood restaurants in town. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Rio Verde–Santiago. Today we will transfer back to the Punta Arenas airports for flights to Santiago and a final night in the capital. Includes: (B).
Day 11: Santiago–Home. Free day in the capital with plenty of time to visit the central market and do some last minute shopping at Los Dominicos followed by an afternoon transfer to the airport for onward flights.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Chile Argentina Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking National Parks
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