Glaciers and Peaks of Patagonia


Glaciers and Peaks of Patagonia

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●●○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●○○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●●○○

Tour Pace

Moderate/Busy

Tour Highlights

  • An adventure through some of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet
  • Take walks in amongst incredible mountain vistas
  • The awe-inspiring sight of the Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Cross the Magellan Strait to Tierra del Fuego  
  • Experience the wilds of Torres del Paine National Park

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Hotels and lodges with some shaared rooms (option for some camping as well if preferred)
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum 14 - Clients may be from other tour operators and be from different nationalities. The tour may be English speaking and also 1 other language
Start Point: El Calafate
End Point: Ushuaia
Transport: Minibus or similar
Countries: Argentina & Chile

Argentina and Chile – Glaciers and Peaks of Patagonia

This is an epic adventure from El Calafate to the tip of the South American continent at Ushuaia – the world’s southernmost city.  Marvel at the towering peaks of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, maybe the two most emblematic mountains of Patagonia.  Admire the truly spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier and cross the Magellan Strait into Tierra del Fuego to the end of the world. Enjoy walks in some of the most awe-inspiring scenery on the planet.

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.


Day 1 – El Calafate
Arrive at El Calafate airport and transfer into town to your accommodation. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight Hosteria Hainen or similar

Day 2 – El Chaltén – Laguna Capri
After breakfast travel 220 km to El Chaltén, a small and picturesque village at the foot of Fitz Roy and the Cerro Torre Massif. En route stop to enjoy some local pastries and hot coffee. Once at El Chaltén, embark on the magnificent Fitz Roy Trail gaining height over the River de las Vueltas valley up to the first viewpoint, with panoramic views over the Fitz Roy Massif. Continue to Laguna Capri where we spend some time admiring its incredible views. Overnight Hosteria Pudu Lodge or similar (BL)

Hike to Laguna Capri. 3.5 miles
Altitude El Chalten: 404 metres above sea level
Altitude Laguna Capri: 700 metres above sea level
Elevation change: 300 metres
Walking time is approximately: 3 hours.

Day 3 – Cerro Fitz Roy, Laguna de Los Tres
After breakfast we hike along Fitz Roy Trail. Today we will see one of the most spectacular viewpoints of the National Park: Laguna de los Tres, with its zephyr blue colour, lying at the foot of the massif, offering full close up views of the Fitz Roy Massif spires and glaciers. Fitz Roy, at 3405m above sea level, is considered the “King of Patagonia” and also widely considered one of the three most beautiful mountains on Earth (together with Alpamayo in Perú and K2 in the Karakoram). We hike back to our accommodation at El Chalten later this afternoon. Overnight Hosteria Pudu Lodge or similar (BL)

Hike Fitz Roy Trail to Laguna de Los Tres: 11 miles roundtrip
Altitude Laguna de Los Tres: 1170 metres above sea level
Elevation change: 1070 metres from Camp Poincenot
Approximate Walking time: 5 to 6 hours.

Day 4 – Cerro Torre – El Chalten
Today we hike the Torre Trail. The trail runs alongside a landscape of beech forest, bogs and shrubland eventually leading to Laguna Torre, enclosed by moraines and with Glacier Grande calving in to its western side. It is quite common to see icebergs pushed into the lagoon by the wind. The thin and elegant 3128 metre peak of the Cerro Torre group and the Adela range in the background complete the spectacular scene. This afternoon we hike back to El Chalten along the Cerro Torre Trail. Overnight Hosteria Pudu Lodge or similar (BL)

Hike Camp Poincenot – Laguna Torre – El Chalten: 13 miles round trip
Altitude Laguna Torre: 634 metres above sea level
Elevation change: 234 metres
Approximate Walking time: 7 to 8 hours.

Day 5 - El Chalten – Loma del Pliegue Tumbado
Our goal for today is to scale the 1500 metre Loma del Pliegue Tumbado located south of the Cerro Torre Valley. It offers some of the best views over the different group of mountains, glaciers and lakes that feature in this region. From the lower terraces to the summit, you will be afforded spectacular views of Fitz Roy, Torre and the glacial valley in between. From the summit, the bonus is the sight of Paso Del Viento and some of the mountains that rise from the Patagonian Icefield. Depending on the abilities of the group we will walk the lower terraces or to the summit, a long but gentle climb on scree. The lower part of the mountain is covered by shrubland and forest. Arrive back in Chalten by late afternoon. Overnight Hosteria Pudu Lodge or similar (BLD)

Hike El Chalten – Loma del Pliegue Tumbado: 6 miles.
Altitude Loma del Pliegue: 1298 metres above sea level.
Elevation Change: 894 metres.
Approximate Walking time: 7 to 8 hours.

Day 6 – El Chalten – El Calafate
Today is at leisure to visit the town or to go on optional excursions around the area. For example, visit Lago del Desierto, an attractive lake which historically has been disputed between Argentina and Chile. Later in the afternoon we return to El Calafate. Overnight Hosteria Hainen or similar (B)


Day 7 – El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier
Visit one of the world’s natural wonders, the Perito Moreno Glacier. The glacier flows down from the Patagonian Icefield, a huge sheet of ice that at 22000 square kilometres is the third largest glacial area in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland. Because of the unusual and favourable 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 metres in front of you. The roar of the chunks of ice falling inside the glacier or from the glacier into the lake is a special and unique experience. The journey to the glacier is around 80 km (1 ½ hours) across the steppe and the journey is usually a good opportunity to see different species of birds. Later return to El Calafate. Overnight Hosteria Hainen or similar (B)

Please note that you will be offered the opportunity to take the optional Safari Nautico to cruise by boat up close to the face of the glacier. The extra cost is USD 30 payable locally

Day 8 – El Calafate - Torres Del Paine National Park
An early start today for a 6 hour drive to Torres Del Paine National Park. We drive across the steppe, following sections of the legendary route 40, to circumnavigate an impressive range in between Calafate and Paine. Cross the Argentinean/Chilean border at Cancha Carrera/Cerro Castillo. After the border crossing continue to the National Park. Approaching the park, we start to see the different mountains that feature prominently in the area such as Paine Grande, the Horns, Admiral Nieto and the Towers. Once we enter the park enjoy a short 1 to 2 hour walk to get familiar with the epic landscape. There should be opportunities to see wildlife such as Guanacos, Lesser Rheas, Condors and all types of wetland species. The park is also rich in interesting flora. Overnight at a refuge in the park with shared rooms and facilities (BLD)

Day 9 – Paine Towers – Ascensio River Valley
An early start walking towards the bridge over the Ascensio River, the start of the iconic Paine Towers Trail. After an hour of relatively steep uphill walking we arrive inside the valley itself. A gentle downhill section leads us to Refugio Chileno, a cosy and comfortable mountain lodge, where those who do not wish to do the full day hike can stop and relax and then head back to the lodge. Continue up a gentle slope by the river and through beech forest. A final climb on the moraine leads us the Towers Viewpoint: a spectacular glacial lagoon with three magnificent towers rising vertically 1000 metres from the glacier. The view here is quite extraordinary. The full hike today is approximately 7 – 8 hours in duration with stops. Overnight at a refuge in the park with shared rooms and facilities (BLD)

Hike to Refugio Chileno: 4 miles round trip (4 hours walking)
Hike to Las Torres: 11 miles round trip (8 hours walking)
Altitude Las Torres foot: 866 metres above sea level
Elevation: 766 metres from Camp Las Torres
Approximate Walking time: 7 to 8 hours

Day 10 – Lake Pehoe crossing – French Valley
Early this morning we take a short 1-hour drive to Port Pudeto to board a catamaran that crosses Lake Pehoe. At the far side of the lake we embark on the French Valley Trail. The trail skirts the southern slopes of Paine Grande and Lake Skottberg. After around 2-3 hours of continuous rolling terrain we reach the hanging bridge over the French River. This breath-taking location is at the foot of both the 2700 metres south east face of Paine Grande (to the west) and the Horns, with its characteristic black sedimentary rocks to the east. Continue walking 1 hour to reach breath-taking viewpoints of the surrounding area. After lunch we retrace our steps back to the port, where we sail back and return to the refuge. Walking time today is approximately 5-6 hours with stops. Overnight at a refuge in the park with shared rooms and facilities (BLD)

Hike up French Valley: 11 miles round trip
Altitude Pehoe Refuge Full Camp: 100 metres above sea level.
Altitude French Valley: 763 metres above sea level.
Elevation French Valley: 663 metres from Pehoe Refuge
Approximate Walking time: 5 to 6 hours.

Day 11 – Lake Grey
Bid farewell to the spectacular landscapes of Torres Del Paine. Drive for around 2 hours to the shores of Lake Grey and view the western slopes and peaks of Paine Grande. Spend around 2 hours walking its southern shore, a truly beautiful area. This afternoon continue to the windswept but picturesque fishing town of Puerto Natales located on the shores of the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) Fjord. Overnight Hosteria Francis Drake or similar (BLD)

Day 12 – Puerto Natales – Río Grande
A long drive today but very much a worthwhile one. Continue south to reach the legendary Magellan Strait, and board the ferry to cross the Strait. Once in Tierra del Fuego (literally translated as the Land of Fire, due to the fires seen on land by the first white sailors, having been lit by the indigenous people), continue for around 2 hours to reach Estancia Las Hijas, where a classical lamb dish cooked in the classical Patagonian barbecue style will be waiting for us. Overnight Estancia Las Hijas or similar - shared rooms (BLD) The accomodation tonight is comfortable but with shared bunk bed style rooms. The bathrooms are shared and hot water is available.

Day 13 – Río Grande – Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego National Park
Following breakfast we visit the estancia and by mid-morning continue south to visit Lake Fagnano situated in the middle of the Andes Mountains. Continue to our last destination: Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. This afternoon we continue to Tierra del Fuego National Park. The National Park is in the South West corner of the Argentinean side of the island bordering Chile. In Tierra del Fuego the mountains literally come right down to the sea. Overnight Hosteria Rosa de los Vientos or similar (BL)

Day 14 – Ushuaia – Beagle Channel boat trip
After breakfast we board our boat for a trip on the legendary Beagle Channel. Visit Alicia Island to observe a colony of Sea Lions and the Island of Birds where we can see Cormorants and the lighthouse Les Eclaireurs built in 1919. Return to port with a backdrop of the Darwin Range to the West and the Andes looming above Ushuaia. This afternoon is at leisure but it is possible to take an optional excursion (paid locally USD 130) to Estancia Harberton to see a colony of Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins. Overnight Hosteria Rosa de los Vientos or similar (B)

Day 15 – Ushuaia – Ushuaia Airport
This morning enjoy some leisure time where you can take in the museums or the interesting architecture of the town. Later transfer to the airport for your onward flight (B)

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Transport throughout the tour in minibus or similar
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner) plus 1 ½ L of water per day
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Excluded:
International Flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance
Visas if applicable
Drinks
Items of a personal nature & tips (discretionary)
National Park Fees – Payable Locally USD 77


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