This Patagonia Holiday is perfect for anyone looking for a once in a life time adventure holiday. Starting at El Calafate, going all the way down to Ushuaia, visiting Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre (maybe the two most emblematic mountains of Patagonia) as well as Perito Moreno Glacier (only one in the world that shows a closure and rupture process), Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and eventually across the Magellan Strait into Tierra del Fuego to end our tour in the “city of the end of the world”. There will also be the chance to explore this beautiful area on any free days that have been incorporated into this itinerary. During this itinerary there is also the an opportunity to take part in an optional excursion which is boat trip in the picturesque Tempanos Channel. This Patagonia tour offers the very best experience, which you will travel in actively, enjoying the company of fellow travellers.
See the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndDCx2iSf4g
PATAGONIA HOLIDAYS ADVENTURE ITINERARY
Day 1: El Calafate Airport – El Calafate (D)
We welcome you at Calafate airport and we transfer you to town to check in at your hostel. You get the rest of the day to explore and enjoy the town. Later you have your welcome dinner.
Day 2: Bus to El Chalten – Laguna Capri (B,LB,D)
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 & 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 only what is necessary in our packs for this 2 nights and 3 days in which we’ll spend the night in our Full Camp inside the National Park. What we don’t need is left behind at our office and you ill find it back at your accommodation when we arrive back to El Chaltén on day 4.
We hike up a gentle slope on the Fitz Roy trail to gain height over the River de las Vueltas valley up to the first viewpoints over Fitz Roy massif, which will be our first stop after a couple of hours walking. From these first viewpoints, another 2hrs of gentle walking across bogs and forests takes us to our camp, from where we will enjoy a spectacular view of all the Fitz Roy group spires riding from the surrounding glaciers.
Lodging at Laguna Capri Full Camp in double tent (rural area)
Full Camps are pitched up early in the season, so we find the camp ready upon arrival. It offers comfortable 3 person 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 (B,LB,D)
Early in the morning, before the first coffee, we can try to match up the morning Light getting pink in Fitz Roy granite walls. You only need this to feel the trip is worthwhile. But of course the day offers much more.
After breakfast, carrying only day personal items such as our parka, gloves, our camera, water bottle and box lunch, we hike along Fitz Roy trail up to Rio Blanco, climbers basecamp to the east side of the mountain. From here a steep 1 h trail leads us to one of the most spectaculars viewpoints of the National Park: Laguna de los Tres, with its zephyr blue colour, lays at the foot of the massif, offering full close up views of Fitz Roy massif spires and glaciers. Each wall rises something from 600 to 1500 mts above the surrounding glaciers. Fitz Roy, with its 3405 mts 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 5-6hrs.
Lodging at Laguna Capri Full Camp in double tent (rural area)
Day 4: Cerro Torre – El Chalten (B,LB)
Today we make it around Laguna Capri to get to the Lagoons Madre and Hija Valley and we travel down to Fitz Roy river valley, where we meet Cerro Torre trail. The trail runs along beech forest, bogs and shrubland. From the camp, a short hike takes us to Laguna Torre, enclosed by morraines and with the Glacier Grande calving in its west side. It is usual to see icebergs pushed by the wind in the coast of the lagoon. The thin and elegant 3128 mts of Cerro Torre group and the Adela range in the background complete this spectacular view. In the evening we hike back to El Chalten along Cerro Torre trail.
Day 5: El Chalten – Loma Del Pliegue (B,LB)
This mountain, 1500 mts tall, is located immediately south of Cerro Torre valley and offers some of the best views over the different group of mountains, glaciers and lakes that features the area. From the lower terraces to the summit, you can get spectacular views of Fitz Roy, Torre and the spectacular glacier valley in between both. From the summit the bonus is the sight of Paso del Viento and some of the mountains that stick out from the Patagonian Icefield. According to the group capacity, we choose the lower terraces or try the summit, a long but gentle climb in scree. The lower part of the mountain is covered by shrubland and forest. We are back in Chalten by late afternoon.
Day 6: El Chalten – Laguna del Desierto (B)
This day is free. We recommend the optional excursions offered in the town such as Viedma Ice trek. Trekking on glacier, using crampons. This activity is physical demanding, but allow us to enjoy a trek on ice and a boat trip in Viedma Lake. Also, you can discover the town or other optional excursions with less physical effort. In the late afternoon, we return to El Calafate.
Optional excursion recommended: Viedma Ice Trek. (This excursion is not included in the program)
Day 7: El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier (B)
We dedicate this day to one of the World’s Natural Wonder: the Moreno glacier. This ice field- type glacier flows down from the Patagonian Icefield, a big sheet of ice that 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 out of this day a very special and unique experience.
Overnight Lodge. Optional Excursion Recommended: Safari Nautico – Boat trip in The Tempanos channel. (This excursion is not included in the program)
Day 8: El Calafate – Torres del Paine National Park (B,LB,D)
We have an early start as we start a 6 hour drive to our camp in Paine. We drive across the steppe, still following by parts the legendary route 40, to get around Sierra de los Baguales, an impressive range in 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, World Heritage by the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization). Approaching the Park, we start to see the different mountains that feature the area: Paine Grande, the Horns, Admiral Nieto and the Towers. Once we entered the Park, we go for a short 1 to 2hrs walk to get familiar with the landscape, the wind and the rich wildlife: guanacos, lesser rheas, condors and all types of wetland and buzzard birds, will be available for our eyes and cameras. There are also plenty of flowers to appreciate and photograph. Back in the bus, we reach our camp at the foot of Paine massif.
Overnight at a full camp
Day 9: Paine Towers– Ascensio river valley (B,LB,D)
Day 10: Lake Pehoee Crossing – French Valley (B,LB,D)
We start the morning with an early 1hr drive to Port Pudeto to board the catamarán that crosses lake Pehoe twice a day. Once at 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 2 and a half hours of continuous ups and downs, to the hanging bridge upon the French River. This breathtaking location is at the foot of both the 2700m South East face of Paine Grande (to the west) and the Horns, with its characteristic black sedimentary topping, to the east. We continue walking 1 h further by Italian camp to reach breathtaking viewpoints over the area. After lunch and photos we retrace our steps back to Paine Grande Full Camp. Walking time: 5 to 6 hs.
Full Camp Refugio Pehoe in double or single tent (area with sanitary services)
Day 11: Grey Glacier Viewpoint and Lake Grey Shore (B,LB)
Lake Grey trail leads from Pehoe valley across ridges to reach Grey valley. This magnificent valley flows down 60 km from the Patagonian Icefield, featuring the huge glacier calving down in the grey colour lake. Our trail skirts the lake, going up and down the westerns 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. We reach the main viewpoint, a rocky point somewhat 2 hs away from Pehoe, with views over the Lake and Glacier Grey and the surrounding glaciers and mountains. We come back along the same trail, crossing bogs, shrublands and forest. By noon we take the boat to cross lake Pehoe back and then we go to our accommodation in Puerto Natales, a picturesque fishermen town located in the shores of the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) fiord.
Day 12: Puerto Natalesz – Rio Grande (B,LB,D)
Long drive today, though quite worthwhile. We continue south to reach the legendary Magellan Strait, which we will keep on sight up to Primera Angostura, where we board the Ferry in which we will cross the Strait. This Pass, discovered by Hernando de Magallanes in 1520, was the natural and logical way to all vessels until de Panama Channel was open at the beginning of the XXth century. You will find yourselves wondering how those brave men dare to sail those waters in such fragile caravels!!!
Once in Tierra del Fuego (literally, Land of Fire, due to the fires seen by the first white sailors in the coast, done by the local Indians to cook and heat) we enter back Argentina through Paso San Sebastián. A couple more of 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.
Overnight bed in refuge
Day 13: Rio Grande – Ushuaia (B,LB)
After breakfast we visit the estancia and by mid-morning we continu south to visit Lake Fagnano in the middle of the Andres Mountains, to continue to our last destination: Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the World. In the afternoon we continue to Tierra del Fuego National Park. This National Park is in the south west corner of the Argentinean side of the Island, thus in the border with Chile. The main attraction of the Park and the whole Island actually are the mountains coming down to the sea.
Day 14: Ushuaia – Beagle Channel Boat Trip (B)
After breakfast we transfer to the touristic pier and get on board to our boat trip in the legendary Beagle Channel. We visit Alicia Island where we will watch a colony of Sea Lions, the Island of Birds where we can see Cormorants and the Light House Les Eclaireurs built by 1919. We get back to the port while we watch the Darwin range to the West and the Andes above Ushuaia.
The afternoon is at leisure.
Optional Excursion Recommended: Estancia Harberton with Penguin colony. (This excursion is not included in the program)
Day 15: Ushuaia – Ushuaia Airport (B)
You will have the morning on your own to discover the town of Ushuaia, which is located in the north coast of the Beagle channel. Then town features interesting museums and its typical architecture. In the afternoon we are transferred to Ushauaia airport to take our flight to Buenos Aires. Our services end at the airport.
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Overall the holiday was excellent with a group of 8 people including me, all singles - 2 x German girls, 1 x Dutch guy, 1 x USA guy (who booked through you) 1 x Spanish girl and 2 x Argentinian girls- so group size and make up was great. The highlights were Fitzroy, the view of Fitzroy from the campsite, Torres Del Paine, kayaking in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, the sheep farm bbq near Rio Grande and seeing the penguins in the beagle channel. The included food was excellent and campsites were better than I was expecting which was a pleasant surprise. The tour leader Tomas was excellent as was the Argentinian guide Paulo. Transport was good and driver was excellent - no concerns at all with driving.
Overall I thought it was a fantastic adventure and I made some great friends.
Really wonderful - Hiking and camping in the magnificent landscape of Patagonia