12 nights/ 13 days
Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires

A land of stunning beauty and natural wonder, Patagonia is located in southern South America and is shared by Chile and Argentina. Massive glaciers and majestic mountains of the Andes range define Patagonia’s scenic landscape and attracts hikers from around the world. The ‘W’ Trek in Torres del Paine National Park is Patagonia’s most famous hiking route. A paradise for lovers of the outdoors, Patagonia is home to some of the most impressive vistas in South America. Imagine walking along Perito Moreno Glacier’s viewpoint trail and watching chunks of ice calve into Lake Argentina; savor a refreshing, locally micro-brewed beer after an unforgettable hike in El Chalten. Heed the call of the wild and visit Argentina for a taste of adventure!

2017 Dates: ($490 Single Supplement)November 14-26 $3650 ($490 Single Supplement)
Trip Leader(s):Stacey + Local Guides
Places Visited:Buenos Aires, El Calafate, El Chalten, Los Glaciares National Park, Torres del Paine National Park
Activities:Trekking, boating, sightseeing
Group Size:Min. 6 Max. 12
Travel Style:Basic/ Comfort
Physical Rating:Moderate to Difficult

Ready to book? Please click the button below to BOOK THIS TRIP and submit your information along with a $500 deposit.  Your deposit is fully refundable for 72 hours and always transferable to any of our other trips, or we can hold it for a future trip.

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Highlights

  • Enjoy the vibrant city of Buenos Aires
  • Get up close to the massive, blue-hued natural wonder, the Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Visit and hike through two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Argentina’s Los Glaciares and Chile’s Torres del Paine
  • Enjoy one of the classic and most unforgettable treks in Southern Patagonia, Laguna de los Tres
  • Trek past granite pillars, sparkling lakes, and gushing waterfalls on the world famous W Trek in Torres del Paine

Day 1: Buenos Aires

Today is arrival day and there are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting at the hotel.

Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and has been described as the “Paris of South America, ” which is a title it proudly embraces in addition to showing how unique its own culture is. Explore the traditional European architecture, the cobble streets lined with rustic outdoor cafes, the local antique and artisanal markets that offer plenty of bargain shopping, and savor the mouthwatering aroma of prized Argentine beef sizzling on an open parrilla (barbecue).

We recommend booking pre or post-trip accommodations to fully experience this vibrant city.

Overnight at L’Hotel or similar

Day 2: El Calafate/ El Chalten (B)

Today, we’ll take a morning flight to El Calafate and then continue by bus to El Chalten. Marvel at the towering Andean mountains as we drive through the desert of Southern Patagonia on the famous Route 40. Our route takes us around the southeastern shores of Lago Argentino, South America’s third largest body of water, and across the La Leona River, which connects Lake Argentino and Lake Viedma. As we drive, watch the granite fin of Mount Fitz Roy rise up behind the turquoise waters of the lakes and be on the lookout for nandu (a flightless bird similar to an ostrich). By the river, we’ll pass La Leona Road House, where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once hid out for almost a month after robbing a bank.

Along the way to El Chalten, we’ll pass the petrified forest where we’ll make a stop for a short hike. Marvel at this unique scenery and learn about the geology of the area and the dinosaurs that used to live in this area some 70 million years ago. This arid landscape is quite different to the lush forests you’ll see near Chalten.

El Chalten is the top rated trekking destination, the Argentinean capital of trekking. Located at the foot of the Fitz Roy Mountain, surrounded by glaciers, lakes, rivers and forest, it is still a hidden gem of Southern Patagonia. The charming little village, that is also the starting point for most paths, is a paradise for hikers.

Upon arrival, you can explore the surroundings, have a stroll around a little waterfall, or just relax in the local brewery.

INCLUDED:

  • Domestic flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate
  • Private bus transportation to El Chalten
  • Excursion to Petrified Forest
  • Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel time: 3.5 hours by plane; 3 hours driving (135 miles)
Overnight at Hostería Pudu Lodge or similar

Day 3: El Chalten/ Trek to Laguna de Los Tres (B, L)

Today is a hiking day and we’ll be doing one of the classic and most unforgettable treks in Southern Patagonia, Laguna de los Tres. The journey takes us into a forest on a path that ascends gently until you reach the viewpoint of Piedras Blancas glacier. You’ll have a short break here to enjoy the view of this hanging glacier with its seracs, lateral moraines and the lake. You then continue on past Poincenot and Rio Blanco campsites. After another short break, you start the most challenging section of the day up to Laguna de los Tres. The effort is all made worth it by the breath-taking views you get at the top of Mt. Fitz Roy and its surrounding granite peaks. After lunch, we’ll start the descent towards El Chalten via Laguna Capri, another very photographic spot in the national park.

INCLUDED:

  • Trek to Laguna de Los Tres
  • Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Hiking Duration: 8-9 hours
Hiking Distance: 22km (14 miles)
Hiking Difficulty: Moderate (2300ft elevation gain)
Overnight at Hostería Pudu Lodge or similar

Day 4: El Chalten/ Ice Trek on Viedma Glacier (B, L)

Today is a free day and at your leisure. Choose another hike or possibly a trek on Viedma Glacier!

Optional Excursion: Viedma Glacier Ice Trek – A visit to El Chalten would not be complete without a visit to Viedma Glacier. We’ll start the day with a 20-minute transfer to the port on Lake Viedma. You will then travel for about 45 minutes across the lake until you reach the glacier and you’ll be able to admire the 40m high walls of ice and their infinite hues of blue up close. After disembarking and strapping on your crampons, you’ll be ready for a 2-hour trek on the glacier. There will be plenty of time for taking photos and admiring the lovely lagoons, crevasses, sinkholes, ice caves and other ice formations. Your guides will be on hand at all times to help you and to answer any questions you have about the glacier. After the trek, we’ll get back on the boat and return to the port for our ride back to El Chalten. Estimated Travel Time: 20-minutes driving; 45-minute boat ride; Hiking Duration: 2 hours Cost: $186

INCLUDED:

  • Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Hostería Pudu Lodge or similar

Day 5: El Chalten/ El Calafate (B)

Enjoy a free morning before we make are way back to the quaint little town of El Calafate, located in the dry and dramatic Patagonian steppe. It is on the border of Lago Argentino (Argentina’s biggest lake) and considered to be the capital of the glaciers. It is the gateway to the incredible Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the only glaciers in the world that is still advancing.

Upon arrival, have the rest of the day to relax or explore the areas around town. If there’s time, perhaps we can make the 1km hike out to Laguna Nimez for a beautiful Patagonian sunset or visit the Glaciarium and have a drink in the Ice Bar!

INCLUDED:

  • Private transportation from El Chalten to El Calafate
  • Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel time: 3 hours  
Overnight at Kau Yatun Hotel or similar

Day 6: El Calafate/ Los Glaciares National Park (B)

After an early breakfast, we’ll drive approximately 80km through the beautiful Andean foothills, along the south bank of Lake Argentino. After crossing the River Centinela and Mitre, we enter at Brazo Rico to Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981 and home to one of the most awe inspiring landscapes in Argentina. Enjoy stunning views of the glacier from the nearby walking trail and viewing platforms where you can appreciate the height of its massive ice walls, which are 60m high and extend to 100m below lake level.

The glacier advances on the waters of the lake, until reaching the opposite shore. The rupture of the glacier is a spectacular process that begins as the glacier advances to the front of the peninsula of Magallanes until forming a natural dike of ice. This formation obstructs the drainage of the water from the Rica Arm to the Channel of the Tempanos.

As the waters of the Rio Arm exert pressure on the wall of the glacier a tube of ice is formed that allows for water flow between the basins and lakes again. Finally, this tunnel collapses. This event can last from 1 to 2 days and offers a spectacular show of singular beauty. Once it is complete, two basins obstruct the channel and the whole process begins again.

INCLUDED:

  • Excursion to Los Glaciares National Park & Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel time: 1 hour (each way)
Overnight at Kau Yatun Hotel or similar

Day 7: El Calafate/ Torres del Paine National Park (B, D)

This morning, we’ll travel by bus to Torres del Paine National Park, a crown jewel in the Chilean National Park system. After passing through Cerro Castillo, a small village near the Chilean border, we get our first views of the Paine massif, towering above the plains in the distance.  After crossing the Patagonian steppe from North to South, you will arrive at the border post “Cancha Carrera.” There, you will start to travel through beautiful Southern Chile until we arrive at the Laguna Amarga Main Entrance of the park. Upon entering the park (established in 1970 and given World Heritage status in 1978), you might be greeted by small herds of guanacos, a wild relative of the llama. Other possible wildlife sightings include rheas (a large flightless bird similar to a nandu or a large ostrich), hares, red-fox, flamingos, upland geese, and even condors.

Here, we’ll say goodbye to our big bags and take just what we need for the next four days of hiking (our big bags will stay at the hotel in El Calafate).  A private bus will take us to our Refugio for the night where you’ll enjoy an energizing dinner upon arrival. Refugios in the park offer shared, mixed dorms with bunk beds. Tonight, we will be in the Las Torres sector of the park, which is the beginning of the W Circuit and the place we’ll start our four-day trekking journey.

INCLUDED:

  • Private transportation from El Calafate to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Estimated Travel time: 3.5 hours
Overnight at 
Refugio Las Torres

W Trek

Day 8: Torres del Paine National Park/ Base de los Torres (B, L, D)

Rising early, we’ll begin our trek after breakfast. The first hour and a half is steep with fantastic views of Lake Nordenskjold and Almirante Nieto Mountain (8,759’) with its hanging glacier, until we reach Refugio El Chileno. From here, you can leave your big pack and continue hiking with just a small daypack. The trail continues through a millenary Lenga forest for about one hour until we reach the base of the moraine. A challenging 45-minute ascent will take you to one of the most impressive lookouts in the park, the famous Base of Torres del Paine. Here, you’ll have the view of Torre Sur (9,350’), Torre Central (9,186’), Torre Norte (8,530’), and Cerro Nido de Condor. The granite walls, lagoon and the huge sky above make this place very special. After a good break to enjoy the Torres del Paine and take lots of photos, we’ll start the trek back down to Refugio El Chileno, where you’ll enjoy a well-deserved meal.

INCLUDED:

  • Guided trek to Base de las Torres
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hiking Duration: 7-8 hours
Hiking Distance: 18.5km (11.5 miles)
Hiking Difficulty: Difficult (2500ft elevation gain/loss)
Overnight at
 Refugio Las Torres

Day 9: Torres del Paine/ Lake Nordenskjold (B, L, D)

About 30-minutes after leaving Refugio Las Torres, you’ll notice a sign to take the “shortcut” that leads to Refugio Los Cuernos. The trail goes through the Base of Almirante Nieto Mountain – part of the Paine Massif – with great views to Nordenskjold lake. Witness intense colors from the light-blue of Nordenskjold Lake that abruptly crash with different shades of greens of the local flora. These greens are so intense that they may seem unreal, almost as unreal as the red of the flowers that blossom in the Spring. After about 4-5 hours you’ll get to the Base of Los Cuernos where our Refugio is located. Considered by many to be one of the most charming sites in the park, this is the perfect spot to rest and recover your energies for the next day’s challenging trek, The French Valley.

Our refuge this evening is located in the heart of the W Circuit, between the Las Torres Sector and the French Valley.

INCLUDED:

  • Guided trek along Lake Nordenskjold
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hiking Duration: 4-5 hours
Hiking Distance: 13km (8 miles)
Hiking Difficulty: Moderate (565ft elevation gain/loss)

Overnight at 
Refugio Los Cuernos

Day 10: Torres del Paine/ French Valley (B, L, D)

Rising early, we’ll start with a couple hours of ascents and descents with views to Nordenskjold Lake until we reach the Italiano Camp. We’ll continue our ascent for about an hour and a half until the French Glacier lookout, where you’ll be able to observe its hanging glacier and opportunities to observe small avalanches. As we gain altitude, we scramble through rocky sections of the mountain’s boulder moraines to a breathtaking 360-degree lookout point where we’ll stop for lunch.

On a clear day, we have fantastic views of the high peaks that surround us from this extraordinarily beautiful cirque. The Paine Horns (8,530′), as well as the Mascara (7,545′) and Espada spires (8,205′) are among them. Marvel at the geology of these incredible rock formations as we watch patches of snow break loose and thunder down Cerro Paine’s rock and ice face. The views of the glaciers and the sensation of being in a bowl surrounded by towering granite mountains is sensational.

INCLUDED:

  • Guided trek along the French Valley
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hiking Duration: 10-12 hours
Hiking Distance: 25km (16 miles)
Hiking Difficulty: Difficult (2,130ft elevation gain/loss)

Overnight at Refugio Paine Grande  

Day 11: Torres del Paine/ Grey Glacier (B)

This morning we will hike towards Grey Lake for a panoramic view of its four-mile-wide glacier. The trail goes through the western side of the Paine Massif with views to Grey Lake and the Mountains. Be sure to watch for soaring condors along the way. After about an hour and a half, we’ll reach the first lookout point, where you may observe the Grey Glacier in the distance.

We’ll return following the same path from where we’ll take the last Catamaran at 11:30am to start our drive to Laguna Amarga, where our driver will take us back to El Calafate for an overnight stay.

INCLUDED:

  • Guided trek to Grey Refuge
  • Boat ride Pehue Lake to Pudeto
  • Private transfer from Laguna Amarga to El Calafate
  • Meals: Breakfast

Hiking Duration: 3-4 hours
Hiking Distance: 11km (7 miles)
Hiking Difficulty: Moderate (1410ft elevation gain/loss)
Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours driving; 3-hour boat ride

Overnight at Kau Yatun Hotel or similar

Day 12: El Calafate/ Buenos Aires (B)

This morning will be at your leisure before we transfer to the airport for our flight back to Buenos Aires. Spend one last evening here and if you still have the energy, enjoy dinner and a Tango Show!

INCLUDED:

  • Domestic flight from El Calafate to Buenos Aires
  • Private transfer to El Calafate airport
  • Private transfer from Buenos Aires airport to the hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast

Estimated Travel time: 3.5 hours by plane
Overnight at
L’Hotel or similar

Day 13: Buenos Aires/ Departure

At the appropriate time you will be taken to the domestic airport for your flight home or to your next destination. If your schedule permits, why not extend your stay and visit Iguazu Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a must-see when visiting Argentina!

INCLUDED:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included?

8 nights hotel w/ breakfast; 4 nights refugios w/ full board
English, Spanish speaking guides
All meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner)
All transfers included in itinerary
All domestic flights included in itinerary
Guided excursion to Los Glaciares National Park & Perito Merino Glacier
Excursion to Petrified Forest
Guided trek to Laguna de los Tres
Trekking w/ crampons on Viedma Glacier
Guided trek in Torres del Paine National Park
Boat ride in front of the Grey Glacier
National Park Entrance Fees

What’s Not Included?

Roundtrip international airfare to El Calafate
Accommodations before and/or after tour
Beverages & Meals not specified
Optional Activities
Gratuities
Personal Expenses
Travel Insurance
Airport taxes and excess baggage fees

 

 

Trip Length
12 nights/13 days
Travel Style
Comfort/ Basic
Physical Rating
Difficult
Price
Starting at $3650