Patagonia Trekking Full

This is the most traditional and requested trekking by our european clients, especially french and italians, because it is the most complete of all the routes, as it tours El Calafate, El Chaltén, Torres del Paine, in Chile and Tierra del Fuego in Ushuaia.

Patagonia Trekking Full

15 days -14 nights

This is the most complete Patagonian trekking program that combines the Glacier National Parks, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego. From El Chaltén we walk to the Los Tres Lagoons, then by Chile to follow the trails from Paine to finish in Ushuaia.

Patagonia Trekking Full

Patagonian Trekking Full is the most popular trekking program of all the Patagonian itineraries. With a difficulty between easy and intermediate we walk the four most important destinations and cover all of Southern Patagonia: In Argentina we go to El Calafate, El Chaltén and to Ushuaia in the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego and in Chile we trek the National park of the Torres del Paine. We begin in El Chaltén, it is the town considered the capital of trekking thanks to the magnificent presence of the Cerros (Mountains) Fitz Roy, the Torre and the Glaciars Piedras (Stone Glaciers). After, we continue to El Calafate to walk the Perito Moreno Glacier and observe the deep blue of its ice. In the second part of the trekking, on the eighth day, we go to trek the Torres del Paine until our camp site that is in the central point of the Park. We finish our trekking expedition in Ushuaia enjoying the natural sea boundaries of the Tierra del Fuego. Here we use a Mountain refuge before we go to sleep in the city and it is possible to navigate along the Beagle Canal. For those that do not have so much time available for the trekking in Patagonia, it is possible to opt for a shorter program of eight days that covers Fitz Roy and the Perito Moreno glacier and concentrates only on the National Glacier Park or take a trekking of the Torres del Paine in Chile over the same time frame.

Level of difficulty

The programs do not involve much difficulty in that we not go by risky trails and whoever has an acceptable physical state will be able to undertake the trekking. We do not rush in order to finish and we go at an appropriate rhythm with the necessary stops to rest. The average altitude is 500 metres above sea level with a maximum of 1,500 metres and therefore there are no altitude problems as there could be in the Altiplano Andos ( High planes of the Andes). This trekking is a balance between the 'outdoor', comfort and the experience of seeing nature in its true virgin state. In consequence it has a low difficulty. The programs are weekly between October and April. The fellow walkers can be from any part of the world and are led by a tour leader and a mountain guide. There are guides that not only speak English and Spanish but also German, French, Portuguese and Italian.

Lodgings

The Trekking Lodgings are in Hostels or Hosterias, full camping sites or mountain refuges. It is possible to opt for one of three categories in the hostels:

  1. Hostel with shared bathroom
  2. Hostel with doublé bedroom and prívate bathroom
  3. with single bedroom and prívate bathroom

On the other days the lodgings are all together in the camp sites or for the one day in the mountain refuge of Ushuaia.

Itinerary

Argentinian Explorer reserves the right to modify any of the journey programs or cancel any of the activities due to 'fuerza mayor', meteorological conditions or any other reason that can be justified as in the best interests of the health and security of the expedition group.

  • Season: October to April
  • Exits: Group
  • Star/Ends: El Calafate / Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego)
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

15 days -14 nights

Day 1 - El Calafate

Reception at the Calafate Airport. Free day to get to know Calafate.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. Alternative: Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Dinner
  • From / To: El Calafate / El Calafate

Day 2 - El Chalten - Lagoon Capri

Breakfast in the hotel. We go until El Chaltén, a mountain town set at the bottom of the Fitz Roy Cerros (Mountains) and Torre. We need to cross the Patagonian plains walking the 220kms that separate El Chaltén from Calafate. Once we leave the town we are accompanied by the pleasant view of the Viedma Lake, with its 80 kilometre length making it the largest lakes formed by glacier abrasion. This lake is fed by the Viedma Glacier that takes the continental ice and deposits it in the lake.

We dedicate three days to trekking in this zone taking with us the basic necessities so as not to have too much weight in our rucksacks. We stay overnights in the camping sites inside the National Glacier Park. On our first day we walk along the Río de las Vueltas until we have the first sightings of the Cerro Fitz Roy. After, we continue going until the Lagoon de Los Patos before arriving at our camping site in the Lagoon Capri. This camping site has igloo type tents that can be used as doubles or singles with a mattress for each one together with a sleeping bag and interior sheet. It is well equipped with a dining room, a kitchen tent with crockery etc.. The toilets are of latrine type.

  • Lodging: Lagoon Capri Full Camp in double or single tent (rural area)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: El Calafate / El Chalten / Lagoon Capri
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Day 3 - From the Lagonn Capri camping site to the Lagoon de Los Tres

We leave early to go in the direction of Chorrillo del Salto observing on the walk the majestic icicles of the massif glacier until we arrive at the camping site at the base of the Fitz Roy, named River Blanco. Here we climb a steep slope that takes us one and a half hours before we arrive at one of the most impressive viewpoints of the National Glacier Park, La Laguna de los Tres. Here we can see the cerro Fitz Roy and its ice needles that ascend perpendicularly close to 1,500 metres. We then return to the Lagoon Capri camping site.

  • Lodging: Lagoon Capri Full Camp in double or single tent (rural area)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Lagoon Capri / Lagoon de Los Tres / Lagoon Capri
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate to intense

Day 4 - From the Lagoon Capri camping site to the Lagoon Torre

Again we leave early to go round the Laguna Capri until the trail that crosses the Valle de las Lagunas Madre and Hija (Mother and daughter). We go through a dense forest whose floor is formed with 'mallines', descending the Valle del Cerro Torre that is furrowed by the river Fitz Roy and which we follow until its source, the Lagoon Torre. This lagoon is trapped between moraines and contains icebergs that fall off the western sector of the Grande Glacier. The landscape is impacted by the presence of the ice needles of the Cerro Torre with its 3,128 metres. We stay the night at the Lagoon Torre camp site.

  • Lodging: Cerro Torre Full Camp in double or single tent (rural area)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Lagoon Capri / Lagoon Torre
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Day 5 - From the Lagoon Torre Camping Site to El Chaltén

Here we can take advantage of the local highlights by seeing the Cerro Solo and the Adela Glacier. Optionally for those that wish to perform like in Holiday on Ice they can do it. We are then treated to a short walk over the Cerro Torre Glacier. Here we need to use crampons on the shoes. The grade of difficulty is quite demanding from a physical point of view but it is really worth the effort and we can gain experience of trekking over the glaciers and take advantage of the viewpoints close to the vertical walls of the Cerro Torre. We finish the trekking by again bordering the Fitz Roy river until El Chaltén.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. // Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Camping Lagoon Torre / El Chaltén
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Day 6 - Our return to Calafate

We have the morning to rest or take some activity in the town of El Chaltén. It is possible to get to know the tops of the mountains or go to the region of the Desert Lake about 44kms or walk to the interpretation centre of the National Parks. In the afternoon we make our way to El Calafate, arriving in the evening.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. // Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast
  • From / To: El Chaltén / El Calafate

Day 7 - Visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier

The next day we are taken to the Magallan Peninsular to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. We have a brief walk to the Canal de los Témpanos (Iceberg Canal) to spend some time time looking at the ice falls produced by the breaking of different blocks of ice over the front walls that have a height of more than 50 metres. Late afternoon we return to Calafate.

This glacier shows a special phenomenon in that there is a constant advance of ice, generating an extraordinary accumulation of frontal blocks of ice. Set over the Iceberg Canal, when they fall they generate a sound similar to that of thunder. In 1947, thanks to a formidable advance it went over the Ice berg Canal and covered the forest of 'lengas', stopping the natural drainage and forming a natural dam named the Brazo Rico. This unusual phenomenon caused an increase in the height of the Lago Argentina producing a difference of 18 metres. The filtrations over the glacier finish by destroying the front walls causing a natural spectacular unique in this world.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. // Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast
  • From / To: El Calafate / Perito Moreno Glacier / El Calafate
  • Navegation: Safari Nautico (included)
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Mild

Day 8 - Departure from El Calafate to go to Pehoe Lake, Torres del Paine

We rise early for breakfast and leave for the Chile frontier entering by 'Cancha Carrera' after four hours travelling over the Patagonian plains where we should see flamingoes and 'choiques'. There in Chile we go until the Torres del Paine National Park, declared by UNESCO, a human patrimony site. We take a camping site on the banks of the Lake Pehoe. On the way to Pehoe, we have some exceptional views of the Nordenskjöld Lake and the 'Cuernos del Paine' (horns of the Paine), we go partially by bus and the rest by short walks. Later we go to the Grey Lake. We then return to rest at the Full Camping Site of Pehoe.

  • Lodging: Camping Pehoe Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: El Calafate / Torres del Paine / Grey Lake
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Mild

Day 9 - Base of Las Torres and the River Ascensio Valley

We breakfast in the Lake Pehoe camp site. We begin our trekking by the trail to las Torres del Paine. The walk begins by the slopes of the Monte Almirante Nieto accompanied by the Ascensio River. Once we have climbed a steep slope that takes about an hour we enter into the River Ascensio Valley until we reach our refuge. We proceed through the forest until we reach the camping site at the base of Las Torres, being the point where the climbers that wish to climb the 900 metre vertical faces start. Later we enter the Torres viewpoint, a unique natural amphitheatre that we find at the base of the imposing and perpendicular granite towers that go up to 2,800 metres. We take the same trail to return to the camp.

  • Lodging: Camping Pehoe Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Camping Lake Pehoe / Las Torres
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Day 10 - Boating in Pehoe Lake and trekking in the Francés Valley

Breakfast in the camp. We begin the day navigating the cold waters of the Pehoe Lake leaving from Port Pudeto to arrive at Refuge Pehoe, where we start our walk to the Francés valley, a mountain valley that comes down from the interior of the mountain range and finishes at the Nordenskjöld Lake embraced by Los Cuernos to the east and the Paine Grande with its 3,0000 metre altitude to the west.

Walking by the valley we arrive to the superior viewpoints that are in a natural amphitheatre which is surrounded by ice needles and the walls of the largest of the mountain range: los Cuernos, Epada, Máscara, Hoja, Aleta de Tiburón, Catedral and Paine Grande. The natural frame of this trekking is given by the forest and the hanging glaciers that from el Paine Grande that generate constant breakages of ice and snow. We return down by the same way until we reach the foot of the valley and then go west, bordering the Skottberg Lake and finishing at the Pehoe Refuge where we stay the night.

  • Lodging: Refuge Pehoe Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Camping Lake Pehoe / Francés Valley / Refuge Pehoe
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Day 11 - Going to the Glacier Viewpoints and Grey lake, navigating by the Pehoe Lake until Port Natales

Breakfast at the Refuge. We begin our journey to the Glacier Grey viewpoints. We take the day to see the views of the Grey Valley and its glacier. The Grey Glacier has an area of 300 square kilometres, overflowing from the Patagonian Ice fields that terminate in the lake at its northern point and surrounded by forests of 'lengas' and 'morenas'. In the Grey Glacier there are permanent breakages of blue ice that are driven by the wind to the south.

The trail that we take to the viewpoint can have spectacular views of the lake, the glacier and the mountainous cordon that emanates from the west of the Ice Field. Following the outlined tracks we go to another viewpoint where it gives us the possibility to see the front of the glacier. The way is covered by Andine thicket and forests of 'lengas' and the shadow of the majestic shoulders of ice that line the tops of the Paine Grande, for whose slopes we walk. For the return we navigate the Pehoe Lake waters disembarking in Port Natales.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. // Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Refuge Pehoe / Glacier and Lake Grey / Puerto Natales
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Day 12 - Journeying from Port Natales until River Grande

Breakfast in the Hostel or Hosteria according to what has been contracted. We go to a typical Patagonian estancia in the island of Tierra del Fuego. Later we make the crossing of the Magellan Straits in 'Primera Angustura'. On the way we get see thoroughly the south of Chile. Once we have crossed in the ferry the turbulent waters of the Magellan Straits we again enter Argentina by the San Sebastián pass. After arriving at the city of River Grande we are taken to a Patagonian estancia where we can enjoy a Patagonian lamb barbeque made by local gauchos.

  • Lodging: Full Camp in double or single tent (area with sanitary services)
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: Puerto Natales / "Estancia Patagónica" in River Grande

Day 13 - From the River Grande way to the Tierra Mayor Valley

We wake up at the estancia and after breakfast we visit the installations of the estancia and the rural Patagonian activities such as herding of sheep using dogs and observing the processes of wool production. We carry on our voyage until Ushuaia and on the way we see the Fagnano Lake, in the middle of the Andes mountain range, leaving the wild and silent Patagonia to enter into the last cordon of mountains of the Andes Mountain Range. We arrive close to noon to have lunch in the Mountain Refuge situated in the Tierra Mayor valley. After, you can walk to the Esmeralda Lagoon and on the trail you can see the destruction of the National Park in the hands of the beavers that had been brought to this part where it is unnatural to have such a native animal and has resulted in a breakdown of the ecosystem.

  • Lodging: Mountain Lodge with shared bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
  • From / To: "Estancia Patagónica" in River Grande / Tierra Mayor Valley

Day 14 - Arrival in Ushuaia, going to the Tierra del Fuego National Park and navigating the waters of the Beagle Canal

Breakfast in the Mountain refuge of the Tierra del Fuego Valley. We follow our way to Ushuaia. Here we visit the National park of Tierra del Fuego, the extreme point of the limit with Chile, seeing the mountain cordon that submerges itself into the sea as if it was leaving. After a box lunch we begin our navigation over the frozen waters of the Beagle Canal where we can observe the native flora and fauna such as Magallan Penguins, cormorants and sea lions.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. // Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast, box lunch
  • From / To: Valle de Tierra Mayor / Ushuaia

Day 15 - Leaving from Ushuaia

After breakfast in the hostel we leave the morning free to see the city of Ushuaia, on the banks of the northern sector of the Beagle Canal. In the late afternoon we are taken to the Ushuaia Airport. Here we finish our services.

  • Lodging: Hostel room with shared bathroom. // Hosteria or Inn, double or single room with private bathroom
  • Meals we provide: Breakfast
  • From / To: Ushuaia / Ushuaia Airport (End of trip)

Services

Included:

  • Bilingual tour leader for all the trekking
  • Mountain guide
  • Excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Navigation of Lake Pehoe
  • Navigation of the Beagle canal
  • Transfers during the trekking by public and private transport
  • Lodgings according to the itinerary and that is:
    • 6 nights in a Hostel or Hosteria
    • 7 nights in Full Camping
    • 1 night in the Mountain Refuge
  • Meals described in the program

Not Included:

  • Entrance to the national parks
  • Medical insurance
  • Life Assurance
  • Tips
  • Drinks
  • Air tickets
  • Optional excursions and all services which are not included in the journey program

General information

Lodgings available

Full Camping

These are camping sites with igloo tents adapted to sleep one or two persons. Each one contains a mattress, a high mountain sleeping bag and an interior sheet. The camping site has a kitchen tent, dining room, seats, crockery etc. Laguna Capri has chemical toilets and in Camping Pehoe they are standard.

Mountain Refuge in Tierra del Fuego

On the day of arrival at the Tierra del Fuego Island you sleep here and it is very close to the city of Ushuaia. It is a classic Patagonian style wooden cabin that is in the forest. The refuge has two floors, the upper being the dormitory where there are 20 beds in the form of 10 sets of bunk beds in a spacious environment. Downstairs is the dining room. The heating is by wood stove (there is little gas in Patagonia, especially in Chile). There are individual baths with hot water. The electric lights are provided by a generator that is started at night.

Hostel

In El Chaltén and El Calafate the accomodation is in a Hostel. There are single and double rooms. The bathrooms have wash basins and toilets and are single sexed but shared. Sheets are provided but not towels. The Hostels comply with all the requirements and international standards of Youth Hostels assuring a given level of hygiene and comfort. In El Chaltén the bathroom needs to be shared but in El Calafate it is posible to elect for a prívate bathroom.

Hostería

Rooms are with a private bathroom. They can be single or double depending on what has been contracted.

Recommended gear for the trekking

The following is the suggest equipment and clothing required for the trekking:

  • 50 litre rucksack
  • Synthetic interior garments
  • Long Sleeved T-Shirt and another of cotton
  • Walking trousers
  • Under trousers without feet
  • Polar jumper
  • A pair of leggings and a pair of gloves
  • Two pairs of woolen socks
  • Two pairs of light socks
  • Walking shoes
  • Woolen hat (better woolen than fibre)
  • Sun visor
  • Hand and bath towel
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cream protector
  • Torch
  • Walking sticks (fundamental)
  • Documents necessary to enter to Chile (Passport etc.)
  • Personal medicines

Frequent Questions

What is the food like during the expedition?

In the campings, the food is abundant making sure that it covers the necessary energy levels required. The base is to have fresh food. At breakfast there are thermos flasks with hot water and you can opt for tea, coffee, yerba, mate cocido and milk; together with biscuits, marmalades, fruits and cereals. The lunch is a plate of food containing a high level of energy together with a desert and juices. The picnic lunch is a salad or sandwich, fruit and an alfahor (dulce de leche biscuit) or chocolate.

The snacks are infusions like tea or mate together with pastries, biscuits or could be tortas fritas. They are given at the end of the treks. The dinners consist of a starter, normally salads or soups, a principal dish that could be pasta, rice or meat and for desert there are fruits.

How many people are normally in the group?

Normally about 10 with generally a minimum of 4 up to a maximum of 15.

Who coordinates the group?

In the whole journey there is permanent coordination between the tour leader and a mountain guide qualified by the Argentinean Association of Mountain Guides and with certification from the National Parks for all of the treks taken.

How do we carry our gear in El Chaltén?

In El Chaltén there is a stay of two nights at the Laguna Capri camping and it is possible to leave some gear at the El Chaltén lodgings until the return.

Is there communication during our trekking?

There is a Primeros Auxilios medical kit available at all times and there is communication by VHF radios in the case of emergencies.


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