30 Days - 29 Nights
Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia, Calafate, Chaltén, Bariloche, San Martín de los Andes, Esquel
Navigation through the Menéndez Lake and Millennial Larch Forest or Navigation to the Kruger Lake without landing.
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30 days - 29 nights
Day 1 - Arrival to Buenos Aires
Welcome to Argentina. Reception and transfer from Ezeiza International Airport (Buenos Aires City) to Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires. Reception and transfer from San Carlos de Bariloche Airport to the hotel.
Day 2 - Valle Encantado, Villa Traful & Villa La Angostura
We leave San Carlos de Bariloche city crossing the Ñirihuau and Limay rivers, towards Rincón Chico. During the trip we go along the Limay river up to Rincón Grande where we can see the amphitheatre whose silhouette is similar to the one of the Roman circuses. We later arrive at Valle Encantado with its rocks drawing different figures such as El Dedo de Dios (God´s Finger), Los Siameses or El Centinela (the guard). Our next destination is Confluencia, where the Traful and Limay rivers meet. Before crossing over the Traful river bridge, we take a dirt road which winds between valleys and Coihue forests, edging Traful Lake up to Villa Traful.
After enjoying this beautiful Patagonian spot we go on towards Puerto Arrayán and El Portezuelo, where there is a junction with the Siete Lagos (7 lakes) route. After going through Quintupuray and going along the coast of the Correntoso Lake, we get into Ruca Malen. Going back to Bariloche, the trip takes us to the Espejo Lake, finally arriving at Villa La Angostura. We know Puerto Manzano, going by the Huemul peninsula. Then, we are only missing the trip from Villa La Angostura to Bariloche.
Day 3 - Valdivian Jungle: Puerto Blest, Frías Lake & Los Cántaros Waterfall
We embark at Puerto Pañuelo (Pañuelo harbour) towards Brazo Blest, where we will arrive at the Blest harbour. We go past the Centinela islet, famous for being the place where Perito Moreno has been buried. All this region is somehow similar to the channels of Tierra del Fuego and to the fjords in Norway, it overflows with vegetation due to the damp climate and frequent rains. There is an additional possibility to reach Frías Lake by bus. Then we go to Puerto Alegre in a northernly direction of the Frías Lake, to embark up to Puerto Frías. The Frías Lake has an oval shape, there are rocky zones which protrude from the East and West coasts generating the classic image of the fjords.
Continuous rains due to the damp winds coming from the Pacific characterize all the region. The rain average is around 3.700mm per year especially in Winter, being January the only dry month. This lake feeds on thaw water coming from the Tronador Mount and on the intense rains of the Valdivian jungle. When returning to Puerto Blest (it is on the Nahuel Huapi Lake just at the mouth of the Frías river) we go by Los Cántaros waterfall. We must climb through a native wooden track surrounding the waterfall reaching some 600 meters high, where beautiful small waterfalls can be seen. We return to the ship to go back to our destination.
Day 4 - 7 Lakes Road & Villa La Angostura
Just at the town of San Martín de los Andes is where the famous Seven Lakes Route begins and it ends in the town of Bariloche. The piers on the Nahuel Huapi lake stand out, and the most important points are the small town and the Manzano Bay. Then the Espejo Grande lake up to the branch off to Chile by the Antonio Samoré crossing and turning to the left to get to Villa la Angostura. Then we go into the zone of the Espejo Chico and the Ruca Malen lakes. The road takes us to the Pichi Traful lake and then we go around the edge of the Correntoso lake. We leave the asphalted road and once on the gravel road, rougher and more natural, we get into a zone of Coihues forests, the Escondido lake is on our right with its fantastic emerald colour. We go through the Vullingñanco Waterfall with its important fall of over 20. To honour the lakes, we delight seeing the fourth and fifth lake: to the east the Villarino lake and to the west the Falkner Lake.
The second lake we see is the Machónico, then the Hermoso Lake where we abandon the Lanín National Park to continue along the Nahuel Huapi National Park. As we go on, we arrive at the forked Arroyo Partido, which divides its water in branches into the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The Chapelco Mountain range with its 2.200 meters high and the crystalline lakes of sweet water are always with us during the journey. We stop at the Pil-Pil lookout point to enjoy an overwhelming sight of the Lácar Lake. The landscape is composed of cypress, lengas, raulíes and oaks legendary forests. We set off around the edge of the Lácar Lake during almost 4km up to Paihuén. We continue to San Martin de los Andes to end the journey. If you want to see other excursion options in Bariloche, click here: Tours in Bariloche.
Note: Depending on the flight back end on day 7 this program to take us the flight from San Carlos de Bariloche. If instead the flight leaves from San Martin de los Andes, we return to this beautiful mountain village.
Day 5 - Quila Quina
We leave behind the beautiful town San Martín de los Andes to go deeper into the Lanín National Park so as to visit one of the most wonderful places of this region: Quila Quina. It is located on the banks of the Lácar Lake and the road is a typical mountain road with fantastic sights. During the visit to this residential village, we arrive at the best beach of the zone next to the pier. In summer, with hot weather, people bathe in the lake. Towards the east there is an interpretation path: The Cipresal, a cypress legendary reserve. We can return navigating through the Lácar Lake and enjoying the landscape (optional)
Day 6 - Navigating through the Huechulafquen and Epulafquen Lakes & Lanin Volcano
We set off to Junín de los Andes, a town located 40km away from San Martín de los Andes. There, in Junín, we will stroll around to know the church where the Vírgen de las Nieves (Snow Virgin) is situated. We continue towards the Huechulafquen and Paimún Lakes to appreciate a first class sight of the Lanín Volcano. We arrive at the gorge of the Río Chimehuín, this river is the most important one for fly fishing in the whole Patagonia. We walk around a transition area appreciating notros, maitenes and geological figures such as the Piedra la Virgen (Virgin Stone).
We enter the Andean-Patagonic forest going along the edge of the lake, where we observe a sub-antartctic jungle covered of coihues of more than 25m high, together with antique oaks and lengas (kind of Patagonic trees). The undergrowth is made of reeds, ñires, bushes introduced by the man, such as rosa mosqueta, apart from mutisias, amancay (lilies) and reina mora (a kind of berry). We continue towards the Lanín Volcano of over 3,500m, to approach the south base. We continue towards the Paimún Lake, and we will visit its chapel. When returning we will stop at the Río Rucu Leufú to appreciate another sight of the Lanín. Our last destination is the Saltillo Waterfall, having to walk almost half an hour through the Andean Patagonic forest.
Optional: We sail the Huechulafquen and Epulafquen Lakes
Going back, in Puerto Canoa we can optionally take a ship to navigate along the extense lake. Once on board, on the north bank of the Huechulafquen we will go south to see the face of the Lanín Volcano of almost 3,800m high. The lakes with their frozen water can have over 400m depth and are of glacial origin. The Isla de los Chivos stands out of the lake. Towards the west, we arrive at the joint of the Huechulafquen and the Epulafquen rivers. The latter quite shallow and with legendary forests and snow-covered mountains where there is plenty of fauna due to the fact that man hasn´t made incursions nearby. The vessel arrives at the Escorial, a lava river in solid status, because of the eruption of the Achén Ñiyeu Volcano more than 480 years ago. As time went by, the lush vegetation covered this lava soil producing a midget forest or a bonsai forest, which doesn´t reach one meter of height.
Day 7 - Navigation along the Lácar & Nonthué Lakes
We embark at the Lácar Lake pier. In the first stretch of our navigation, we can see the high walls of the Abanico Mount until we reach Quila Quina, our first stop. We can enjoy a small trekking along the Cipresal, a cypress zone on the shore of the lake. We also get to the Arroyo Grande Waterfall. We leave Quila Quina towards the west to disembark at our next destination: the Santa Teresita Island. Here we find Arrayanes and the chapel. The maritime route takes us through a narrow water path between both lakes. Once on the Nanthué lake, we reach Hua Hum where there is a lodging house with the same name and the source of the homonymous river which flows into the Pacific Ocean. Once on land we begin a short trekking up to the Chachín Waterfall during an hour with a mild but constant ascent. We cross raulíes, oaks and coihues forests which don´t allow the sun to go through. Even in the undergrowth we can see a cohihe reedbed jungle together with ferns that form a dense vegetation. The Chachín waterfall is an important fall which impresses; it is a geological fault which makes its water fall from 24 meters high generating a stunning roar when hitting the base. This journey allows us to see in detail how the ecosystem where the Patagonic lakes coexist is, in this case in the Lanín National Park. In the afternoon we return sailing towards the beautiful San Martín de los Andes.
Day 8 - Departure to Bariloche
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the bus terminal in San Martín de los Andes. Reception and transfer to the bus terminal in San Carlos de Bariloche to the hotel.
Day 9 - El Bolsón & Lago Puelo - Esquel
We leave Bariloche to set off to El Bolsón, taking the road in the southeast of Río Negro province which is part of the Parallel 42 Andean Region, together with the northeast of Chubut province. It is an ecological zone par excellence, with a perfect microclimate for fine fruit growing such as raspberries, morello cherries, blackberries and strawberries, apart from hop plants. We take the road to the south, the lakes Gutiérrez, Mascardi and Guillermo can be seen while getting near La Veranada and Pampa del Toro.
The Ñirihuau and Áspero mountains can be seen on the left of the route. We go past the Cañadón de la Mosca and cross the small town called Villegas. Once crossing the Fuyel river and crossing the bridge on the Quemquemtreu river, we finally arrive in El Bolsón with its natural borders: the Puelo Lake, the Piltriquitrón Mount, formidable rock near the Tallado Forest and the Río Azul valley. Already in the town, we will visit the Regional Craft Fair, provided that it is open, where pieces of pottery, wooden and leather creations are displayed thus gathering the manufacturers and craftsmen of the zone. It is considered one of the biggest in South America.
We can visit a farm dedicated to the manufacture of homemade jams and the Lago Puelo National Park covered with legendary forests of myrtle and pataguas together with lianas, creepers, ferns and the singing of its birds. We can walk by the interpretative path Bosque de Las Sombras. The Puelo Lake has a characteristic turquoise water, where the green of its forests and the white of the eternal snow of its neighbouring mounts reflect. If one travels to El Bolsón, one can´t help tasting the high quality beer home brewed in this zone, with its different tastes, from the traditional lager beer, to the stout one or specialty beer (fruity or flavour of hops or honey). Another exquisiteness is cheese (sheep or cow cheese).
Day 10 - Old Patagonian Express "La Trochita"
We start a fantastic journey of 25 kilometers in the vintage Patagonic Express La Trochita, which was declared National Heritage Patrimony. It is an old steam train whose narrow gauge has less than a meter, it goes across the Patagonic steppe, with its wagons, whose heating are iron salamander stoves with firewood as fuel, were built in 1922 together with its engines Baldwin and Henschel. The first trip was inaugurated in 1945 up to Esquel. The train offers a dining-room with delicious cakes that can be served together with chocolate and coffee. The route begins at the Esquel station, going through the Esquel stream, then the way changes so as to go parallel to the mountain range and the route towards a town called Tecka. It crosses the steppe, we can see acquatic birds such as ducks, cauquenes and flamingos in low lands called mallines in indigenous language. The route ends in Nahuel Pan station (name of the highest mountain of the zone) where there is a place with craftmen. While we visit a small handcraft center, the steam engine performs the maneuvers to get ready to go back. During the return, the train crosses the valley. The journey lasts nearly 3 hours and it isn´t cancelled for bad weather, unless an excess of snow provokes blockages. Today there are two stretches, the touristic stretch which joins Esquel with Nahuel Pan and the passenger´s stretch which goes up to El Maitén. If you want to see other excursion options in Esquel, click here: Tours in Esquel.
When it is operating the train? The outputs for the year are on Saturdays and depending on the month is added on Monday. Departure is at 10:00 AM and return at 24:45. Saturdays can add an additional departure at 14:00 pm, depending on the demand.
Day 11 - Los Alerces National Park Full
Today we will know one of the most attractive national parks in Patagonia: Los Alerces. The park spans two hundred and sixty-three thousand hectares protected since 1937 with the fundamental aim to safeguard the woodland species after which it is named, the lahuan or alerce. During our stroll around the park we will visit beautiful places which make up a water basin with more than 12 lakes and rivers, such as the Futalaufquen Lake, the Arrayanes River, the Verde Lake, the Menéndez Lake, surrounded by an Andean mountain range, together with glaciers and the Valdivian jungle. What completes this wonderful offer is the one-thousand-year-old alerces forest located in the north of the park, one of the few forests still kept in wilderness in the world, known as Alercial Milenario. This region is considered, by experts, the most beautiful of all regions in Patagonia and honestly they are not mistaken, it is difficult to find another destination with so much charm as this one.
Optional in High Season:
Navigation along the Menéndez Lake & Alerces Milenarios Forest or Navigation up to Kruger Lake without disembarkation
In Summer there is an optional navigation to Menéndez Lake having access to the alerces milenarios forest (one-thousand-year-old alerces) discovering trees of more than 2,500 years of existence, which have an impressive appearance. We must arrive at the Arrayanes River, we walk over the hanging bridge to cross the river, and border the Menéndez River up to the Puerto Chucao entrance. At this harbour we embark at midday to sail along the Menéndez Lake, the biggest of the park, till we arrive at Puerto Sagrario. During the voyage, we can see the Torrecillas Glacier. Once on land, together with the guide, we walk into the forest of alerces milenarios (one-thousand-year-old alerces) and enjoy the Cisne Lake and the rapids of the river with the same name. We can appreciate the oldest alerce in the park, with 2,600 years old and a diameter over 2 meters and a height over 57 meters.
Note: Another possibility is to sail along the Verde Lake, the Arrayanes River and the north area of the Futalaufquen Lake until we reach the Kruger Lake once we pass through the Los Monstruos Strait. In this second case, we don´t disembark.
Day 12 - Departure to Puerto Madryn
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the bus terminal in Esquel. Reception and transfer to the bus terminal in Puerto Madryn to the hotel.
Day 13 - Península Valdés & Whale Watching
Breakfast at the hotel. We will have great excitement on this day. We will set out first thing in the morning towards Península de Valdés, which was declared Natural and Cultural World Heritage by the UNESCO for being one of the few places in the world where you can watch the Southern right whale in its natural habitat. In this place we can find the biggest concentration of sea animals in the entire Atlantic coastline.
We will visit the Interpretation Center in Carlos Ameghino Isthmus, and then we will head for the ecotouristic village of Puerto Pirámides, which is the only urbanized town in the Peninsula. In Pirámides, we will enjoy a spectacular experience watching the whales in their natural habitat, accompanied by whale specialized guides, biologists, and film and naturalist photography teams.
Before starting our voyage, we will provide travelers with a raincoat and a life jacket. We will set out on a motorboat tour around the crystalline waters of Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) to see the Southern Right Whale. We will have a unique natural experience when the whales make their appearance moving, swiping their tails, blowing air through their holes and jumping. From the end of May to December, whales from Antarctica reach the coasts of Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) to breed in the coastline of Puerto Pirámides.
Note about the whale watching: It is performed between July and November. Waterproof clothes and windbreakers are recommended. Before the trip, elemental advice is provided. This adventure is available for adults as well as for children.
Day 14 - Faro Punta Ninfas… Elephants & fossils
Breakfast at hotel. We start the excursion at the southernmost point of Golfo Nuevo, where Punta Ninfas is located, an excellent place to enjoy the panoramic view of the whole gulf. Visitors know this place for the lighthouse with the same name. This antique lighthouse in Punta Ninfas has been the principal shelter for elephant seals since over a century. We will be able to see the place history through the marine fossils. If you want to see other excursion options in Puerto Madryn, click here: Tours in Puerto Madryn.
Day 15 - Punta Tombo Penguin colony with Valle Inferior
Breakfast at hotel. Today we visit the most important Magellan penguin colony in South America: Punta Tombo, located in the south of the Valle Inferior of the Chubut River. At the beginning (more than 50 years ago), it was a natural reserve, 20 years later it was considered protected area. Punta Tombo has an expanse of almost 3.000m per 500m wide along the Atlantic Ocean. This natural accident is produced by crystalline rocky structures appearance before the Jurassic era which have beared the erosion produced by the ravages of the sea. Key factors for nest creation are the existence of boulder and compact sand. The season is from the beginning of September until April, when penguins emigrate to nest and protect their young.
Depending on the season, all their productive cycle can be observed. First males appear so as to build their nests or rebuild the previous year one, they take advantage of the natural caves for that. One month later, females lay their eggs to sit on them during 40 to 45 days. During that gestation period, males go for food. At the beginning of April, chicks are already good swimmers and feed alone. In the past, this zone was an indigenous cemetery where many Tehuelches also lived and hunted. When walking around the reserve we recommend not to divert the route. When returning from this adventure with penguins, we go towards the lower valley, to know the industrial and commercial center of the region: Trelew. Then we continue towards Gaiman, the most important Welsh colony in Argentina. There are still traditions and customs such as the Welsh tea with Welsh Black cake, as well as the walnut cake with fruit and homemade bread. If we go back the chacras (eateries), we will observe the different Welsh Chapels and observe the farming-tourist ventures.
Day 16 - Departure to Ushuaia
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Trelew Airport. Reception and transfer from Ushuaia Airport to the hotel.
Day 17 - Classic Navigation on the Beagle Channel and Magellan Penguins watching on the Martillo Island & Tierra del Fuego National Park and Train at the end of the World
Classic Navigation on the Beagle Channel and Magellan Penguins watching on the Martillo Island
After breakfast we leave during the morning from the port to navigate the icy waters of the Beagle Channel. We visit the Isla de los Pájaros (Bird Island) to see its abundant marine fauna, including skuas, steam ducks and grey seagulls. We can also watch sea lions of one and two hair on the Isla de los Lobos Marinos.
Both Islands are part of the Bridge's Archipelago. On the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse there are Imperial and Rock cormorants. This was the place where the SS Monte Cervantes sank in 1930. We continue our navigation to get to Port Almanza in Argentina and Port Williams in Chile until we disembark in the Martillo Island to appreciate the Magellan and Papúa Penguins.
On our return to Ushuaia it is possible to see the Túnel and Remolino Estancias, which hoard the remains of the Monte Sarmiento steam boat that sank at the beginning of the 20th century. Our return to the city is very inviting due to the presence of the ultimate mountain chain of the Andes. This navigation lasts approximately four hours and a half.
Tierra del Fuego National Park and Train at the end of the World
During the afternoon we will go to Tierra del Fuego National Park which highlights for being the only park with sea coast because it is located at the shore of the Beagle Chanel. Outside Ushuaia, we will go through the Valley of Pipo River to get to the entrance. We will get on board the Train of the End of the World which is outside the Tierra del Fuego National Park where we start in the Central Station until getting to the Tierra del Fuego National Park Station. We will have the excellent opportunity to meet the Southern Fueguino Railway which travels along one of the routes that were used in the past by thousands prisoners who obey everyday their routine in those legendary woods. The journey starts over the embankment that the prisoners made a long time ago, going through the Cañadón del Toro so then we can ascend a steep surrounding the Pipo River until getting to the "Cascada de la Macarena" Station where we will hace the possibility to descend to the restoration of a native camp or we can have the option to appreciate the amazing panoramic view of the fall´s source.
The train´s horn give us the signal that we have to continue with the journey to get into the sub-antarctic woods. Surrounding the Pipo river and the "turbales" area where the moss Sphagnum grows, the train ends the journey when it arrives at the Park´s Station where we will descend to continue with the tour. Once we get into into the Tierra del Fuego National Park which was founded in 1960 and it is located in the region of the patagonic woods and the Andean mountain chain. Our tour goes to Ensenada Bay where we will be able to see the Redonda and Estorbo islands and the Montes Nevados in front of them which belong to the Sampaio mountain chain in Chile. Then we get to Roca Lake.
We continue the way while we are surrounded by lengas, ñires and guindos woods until getting to the bridge of the Lapataia river, an ideal area to do trekking as there are many paths such as the Paseo de la Isla, Roca Lake, Black Lagoon, etc. We will go through a winding way where we will find the Green and Black Lagoons, this last one is an impressive "turbal", until flowing in the Beavers´ dike which will guide us to Lapataia Bay.
Day 18 - Off Road 4x4 Adventure to the Fagnano and Escondido Lakes
Breakfast at the Hotel. We begin our adventure to the Fueguino Lakes: Fagnano and Escondido. We go to the centre of the Grand Island of Tierra del Fuego where we can see the transition between the Andes Mountain Chain and the end of the rugged Patagonian Plains. We spend some time in the Alto del Valle Ski Centre to see the breeding and training of the Siberian sleigh dogs. We then continue to the north to cross the Andes Mountain Chain by the Luis Garibaldi Pass with its unique views of the Fagnano and Escondido Lakes, the track connects the River Negro and the Estancias of the Island with Ushuaia. This mountain pass is the highest place that reaches until 460 metres high. We get closer to the Escondido Lake where we stop to have our box lunch before we start our off road experience. The Escondido Lake, also called the Escondido Lagoon is surrounded by a forest full of coihues, pines and lengas. It is possible to see what the beavers are doing with the trees: they roll them so that they can use to build their dams which produces floods in the forest. We enter to the forest by the tracks made by the woodcutters, which are covered in mud, the trucks soon look as though they have been painted. Suddenly, the scene changes as we leave behind the forest and arrive at the Fagnano Lake and then we continue until the camp site to eat before return to Ushuaia. If you want to see other excursion options in Ushuaia, click here: Tours in Ushuaia.
Day 19 - Knowing Ushuaia - Flight to Calafate
We will do a very special tour in the morning as we start knowing the magic of the city of Ushuaia which is very famous for being recognized as the "End of the World" (also known as the most southern city of all). We will also visit the Museum of the End of the World which started working in 1979. It was firstly for families and then became part of the heritage in Ushuaia. This museum shows its collections in five different rooms where there are glasses that honour those people linked with the local history such as the explorers, natives, etc. We will know the main and most famous attractions that Ushuaia has: the old Recidivists´ Prison which is known because of its exciting and strong history, every year many visitors go visiting it because of its prison architecture and also because of its history. It is important to higlight that it worked from 1900 to 1947 and the city started growing more and more around this prison where today many and important cruises and transatlantic.
We will enjoy the building, its corridors and even today we can feel the pain the people suffered. This militar prison worked firstly in the Staten Island in San Juan de Salvamento, then it was transferred to CooK Port until it was settled in Ushuaia for humanitarian reasons. It accommodated sentenced people like the anarchist Simón Radowitsky or Cayetano Santos Godino known as the big eared shorty or the writer Ricardo Rojas. We will visit the Port, the Paseo del Centenario, an excellent panoramic spot where there is the monument for the Ushuaia´s Centennial and then, the Beban House an important architectural heritage, which was bought in Sweden and made in Ushuaia between 1911 and 1913 by Don Tomas Beban. Is one of the most ambitious buildings in the city.
Transfer to Ushuaia Airport. Reception and transfer from Calafate Airport to the hotel.
Day 20 - Mini trekking to the Perito Moreno Glacier
To undertake this brief hike we need to cross the Rich Lake and then we arrive to the south east coast after a few minutes of navigation, which is in front of the southern wall of the glacier. Here we disembark and we go to the refuge where we are organized in groups. We begin our short 15 minutes walk going around the lake until we arrive to the glacier. Here we prepare our specialized equipment for trekking on ice. We suggest using hiking boots with thick socks, preferably woolen (it is not possible to use rubber boots because they are too slippery.
The track takes less than two hours to walk at a normal rhythm and we can discover a great variety of types and sizes of crevices, sump holes, small lagoons, and 'seracs' that are great blocks of ice divided by fissures caused by internal movements. We learn about the local flora and wildlife of the place and some other features of the glaciers: for example the continuous and incredible advance of the glacier leaving behind giant pieces of ice. We start our return through an Andean Magellan Forest covered in plants and typical trees of the southern Patagonia.
Note: This tour is available nearly all year round except for June and July. The people suitable for this expedition are those between 10 and 65 years old approximately. It all depends upon the physical condition of the person. It is forbidden for pregnant women, people with illnesses related to heart, movement or coordination. We do not recommend this tour for overweight people. Smoking is not allowed throughout the programme.
Day 21 - Navigating by the outskirts of the Upsala Glacier in the direction of the Cristina Estancia
We dedicate the day to the Cristina Estancia. We leave in the morning in a boat from the Punta Bandera Port in the direction of the Estancia and on the route we pass great icebergs and the incredible landscape of the western face of the Upsala Glacier before we enter into the Cristina Canal and disembark at the Estancia. We visit the Costumbrista Museum which was the old sheep shearing works and after we make our Patagonian journey by a 4x4 up mountainous tracks until we reach the Continental Ice Camp Site where we begin a short hike over the surface that has been eroded by the glaciers. Later we go until the appearance of the Cañadón de los Fósiles (the waterbed of the fossils) where there is a reservoir of marine fossil remains.
Note: This program is over irregular ground and involves a reasonable amount of effort and is not suitable for children less than 12 years old.
Day 22 - A day in the country inside Los Glaciares National Park (Nibepo Aike)
We visit an estancia that is located inside the National Park. After the welcoming we go to the Brazo Sur of the Argentino Lake watching and enjoying the amazing views to the glaciers and the different levels of water that have eroded the rocks. It is possible to verify the different folds of rocks that were produced by sediments. On our way we discover an ancient forest of nothofagus, that is the habitat for the caranchos, eagles, maras etc. We will be able to enjoy how skillfull are the country men with their control and love for their horses (generally, they are local breeding animals), manual shearing of the sheeps, how to classify the wool and how to bale it.
Then, we visit the old quarters of the estancia and its organic garden. We can have roast lamb or a country barbecue for lunch together with special salads prepared with fresh vegetables from its gardens and homemade desert. Once we are rested, we return to our walk so we can get to a unique panoramic point from where we can see two branchs of the Argentino and the beautiful Roca Lake. The Perito Moreno Glacier finishes both in the Brazo Rico and the Brazo Sur of the Argentino Lake. This valley is not very often seen and its southern access is the less visited of the Southern Ice Fields.
Day 23 - La Leona Petrified Forest - El Chaltén
We leave in the morning in order to spend the whole day in the steppes of Patagonian discovering new places and enjoying the free air and adventure. We take the Route 5 to the east and then join the mythical Route 40 along which we have magnificent views of the Argentino Lake, the Santa Cruz River, La Leona and its attractive valley, and having as a back drop the Mountain Range of the Andes and the Fitz Roy Mountain. We stop for a few minutes in the La Leona Hotel, considered an historic site, and then go west, guided by the edge of the Viedma Lake until we get to the slopes of the Los Hornos Mountain.
Close to midday we arrive to the foot of the Los Hornos Mountain where the Route finishes. Here we find a great depression in the land and that is where we can see the petrified tree trunks and begin our trek to explore them. We take some time to have lunch and during this time we can see many petrified tree trunks, some of them up to 1.20 in diameter, that reveal how different the climatic conditions were for millions of years that supported a flora so abundant and great. Here it is possible to also discover some fossil remains of the dinosaurs. If you want to see other excursion options in Chaltén, click here: Tours in Chaltén.
Note: this program is available from October only when the meteorological conditions permit. The walk is of moderate difficulty and for this a good physical condition is required. Children less than 6 years old cannot undertake this activity.
Day 24 - Valle del Río Las Vueltas & Navigation by the The Desert Lake
We leave to go the extreme south of the Desert Lake, wrongly named Laguna del Desierto. We travel for 38 kms by a dirt road that snakes along the Río Vueltas Valley. The landscape that we watch is typical of Andes Patagonia surrounded by mountains, forests, water falls and mirror like waters that combine to present a natural harmony. We can chose between a walk until the Huemul Glacier or a navigation to the icy waters of the lake. The hike is short at only one hour but has a pronounced ascent that requires a reasonable effort. This is a private area and therefore there is an entrance charge. We can also go until Laguna Larga and Diablo but the route takes another four hours. Those who decide not to take the walk can enjoy the navigation of Lago del Desierto where the boat goes from the south to the north of the lake.
Once on land we walk to the Centinela Viewpoint that is only 12 minutes and is accompanied by some fantastic views. Lago del Desierto is located in a valley that stretches 15 kms between the Andes Mountain Range, close to the O?Higgins Lake, and the Fitz Roy Mountain. The mountain chains that enclose the valley are the Occidental Massif which is made up of the Marconi chain and the Occidental Massif amongst others. The Río Las Vueltas starts from this lake and flows through the Azul Lake before finishing in the Viedma Lake.
Day 25 - Trekking to Laguna de los Tres or Trekking to the Capri lagoon
Trekking to Laguna de los Tres
Free day to rest or do some hiking. Depending on the physical conditions we recommend making the trek to the base of the Cerro Fitz Roy, the three Lagoon (moderate, 8 hours) or the hike to Laguna Capri (easy, 4 hours)
Trekking to the Fitz Roy Mountain: Laguna de los Tres
Breakfast at the boarding contracted. We have a day off in El Chaltén. We suggest to undertake the most important trekking in Los Glaciares National Park. The trail to do this is perfectly signaled. We get to the first viewpoint, with the view of the Piedras Blancas Glacier, after about two hours of hiking by the Río Blanco Valley and walking through the ancient forests of nothofagus. We go a little further and arrive to the Poincenot Camping Site which finishes on the Río Blanco. From here we climb up a steep slope which rises 400 metres until the Mountain Fitz Roy Base: Laguna de los Los Tres.
The trail finishes on the edge of a glaciatic moraine. From here we have an amazing view of the lagoon and its glacier together with the classic profile of the Fitz Roy Mountain, that appears from the top of its envelope of ice at a height of more than 2,000 metres. If we feel like going a little further we can turn off to go to the Laguna Sucia viewpoint from where we can see the Viedma Lake and the hanging glaciers. We return to the town going to Laguna Capri. If we are not late we should be arriving at about 18 hrs. In case you require a mountain guide please advise in advance.
Trekking to the Capri lagoon
The trekking to Laguna Capri offers a unique relaxing view for the eyes and it is ideal for those who do not have the time to take a whole day walking, like going to the Laguna de Los Tres or Laguna Torre. Our main objective is to arrive to the first viewpoint of the Fitz Roy Mountain. We begin from the town of El Chaltén, it is an easy trekking although the slope is pronounced for a stretch of about 2 hours, rising some 350 metres. The first part is the same as Los Tres track until we arrive at a natural rocky viewpoint where we can turn off to the south until the camping site. At the viewpoint we will have a privileged view of the Torre Mountain and its surrounding ice needles such as Poincenot, Saint Exupéry, Mermoz and Guillaumet. We stop just a few minutes before entering the Capri Camping Site in order to see the Laguna Capri. We return by the same trail to our lodgings in the town.
Day 26 - Viedma Lake Navigation & Minitrekking to the Viedma Glacier
We leave from the Túnel Bay Port in the northerly direction to El Chaltén, in Los Glaciares National Park, in order to navigate on the Viedma Lake disembarking at the Viedma Glacier and walking to its interiors. The Viedma Lake is some 78 kms in length and is the largest one caused by glacier abrasion and the second largest in the Park (the Upsala Glacier is the largest). It is fed by its glacier of the same name that is in the west.
The Viedma Glacier has a breadth of some 5.000 metres, a height of 50 metres and an area of circa 1.000 kms2 and originates from the Continental Patagonian Ice Fields between the Huemul and Campana Mountains taking their ice and tipping it into the lake. Once we board the vessel we go to the south accompanied by the views of the Fitz Roy and Huemul Massifs and the impressive icebergs. In the middle of the morning we arrive at the Viedma Glacier and we descend in a rocky area to go and see the ice caverns and other glacier formations that are particular to this zone. Here we are given some information about the glaciers and then we continue our trekking to the erosion zone in front of the glacier.
With the help of crampons we ascend in order to start a walk over the icy structures for about 3 hours where we could see crevices and drainage areas. Once we finish the trekking to the interior of the caves we return to the boat to take a trip along the front of the glacier. We have lunch on board (the box lunch is not included) and in the afternoon we return to Túnel Bay.
Day 27 - Departure to Puerto Natales (Chile)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the bus terminal in Chaltén. Reception and transfer to the bus terminal in Puerto Natales to the hotel.
Day 28 - Torres del Paine National Park
Breakfast at the hotel. We will leave the city of Puerto Natales to go to the north to 24 km so we can visit the Milodon´s Cave which is on our way to the main place: the Torres del Paine National Park. There are 3 caves and a group of rocks that are known as the Devil´s Chair which were discovered at the end of the XIX century and it is the place where the remains of a huge herbivore mammal were found at the end of the Pleistocene. The most important cave is 30 metres high with a 75 metres front and 195 metres deep. Its origin it´s due to the erosive effect of the mud which comes from the Puerto Natales basin when the ice blocks gone in the quaternary age. We will get to the Milodon´s Cave, an anthropologist treasure which is considered as the place where the first men of the Patagonia lived. We will continue our tour to get into the Torres del Paine National Park that covers an area of 240.000 he.
While we get closer to the park we will see a mixture of lakes, glacier lagoons, hills and splendid vegetation. Inside the Torres del Paine National Park we will be able to visit the Nordenskjold Lake which emerald waters get to the mountain´s base which at the same time it fuels the Salto Grande that origins a very peaceful lake like the Pehoé lake. We will start a trekking very near the Pingo River through a path that crosses the river, then we go through a sand area that limits the lake´s bank which are surrounded by ice in the coast of the lake and a unic scene as the Grey Glacier next to many hills, woods and the Paine mountain chain. Then we will return to Puerto Natales.
Day 29 - Navegation to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
We will set out from Puerto Natales surrounded by stunning and pure nature, watching forests of coligüe, cinnamon, lenga, ñire, chilco and calafate trees. Here we will also discover native fauna such as seals, cormorants, steamer ducks, condors and seagulls. We will sail the waters heading for Last Hope Sound. The Balmaceda Mount, which is around 2,035 meters high, belongs to Bernardo O'Higgins National Park and forms the Andes Mountains. We will see Balmaceda Glacier and watch its ice falling into the cold fiord waters; and Serrano Glacier, situated to the north and where we can go just by land and is surrounded by a lagoon originated by the deicing.
Day 30 - Departure to Punta Arenas
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to the city of Punta Arenas to take the flight to Santiago de Chile. End of our services.