9 Days - 8 Nights
Calafate Ushuaia & Chaltén
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9 days - 8 nights
Day 1 - Ushuaia
Transfer to Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires. Reception and transfer from Ushuaia Airport to the Hotel.
Day 2 - Classic Navigation on the Beagle Channel and Magellan Penguins watching on the Martillo Island & Tierra del Fuego Park National and Train of 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 Park National and Train of 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 3 - 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 4 - Departure to Calafate
Transfer to Ushuaia Airport. Reception and transfer from Calafate Airport to the hotel. Free day.
Day 5 - Journey to the centre of the most famous glacier in the world (Big Ice)
If we have already visited the glacier from the outside, this is the opportunity to discover it from the inside. Like Jules Verne's 'Journey to the centre of the earth' book, this is a trip to the centre of the most famous glacier. For four hours we walk on top of the frozen surface with the object to arrive to the 'seracs', giant ice structures, where the ice folds.
We begin our crossing between the ice structures on the Port 'Bajo de las Sombras' in order to sail along the waters of the Brazo Rico until we arrive at the western coast. Before we start the adventure we receive instructions from the professional mountain guides who explain how to use the materials and help us to obtain the necessary equipment. We advise using sun glasses.
We are now ready to take the path that takes us to the southern moraine of the Perito Moreno Glacier (the area where the ice and ground join together). After an hour of walking we reach an astonishing place: a viewpoint where we have an impressive view of the glaciers and their surrounds. From here, we enter to the interior of the glacier to discover new landscapes such as grand sumps, white caves, very deep crevices and blue lagoons. We find a place which gives us unforgettable images and postcards of the journey to the centre of the glacier. During the excursion, we learn about glaciology, wildlife and native flora thanks to the participation of the guides who are specialists in these subjects. Around midday we have time for lunch and admire the landscapes that surround us.
We continue the trail to the moraine, walking for another hour until we finish our hike. We then embark in order to get closer to the southern wall of the Perito Moreno. Late in the afternoon we return to El Calafate. If you want to see other excursion options in Calafate, click here: Tours in Calafate.
Important Note: This excursion is only available from middle of September to the end of April. It is a demanding excursion where the terrain is irregular and only persons between 18 and 45 years old and in good physical shape can do it. Pregnant women are not authorized. The entrance fee to the National Park is neither included, nor for personal equipment, or the box lunch (is the responsibility of each person). We advise the use of sun glasses and sun protector of a minimum of factor 30, light clothing but warm, a sun visor, rain proof jacket, gloves, hiking boots (not rubber boots), rucksack of 40 litres, water bottle and lunch box for personal food.
Day 6 - Mount Frias 4x4
From the way to the Perito Moreno Glacier we get to know the Cerro Frias (Frias Mountain) and its environment on the Patagonian Steppes. It is attractive because it is in the middle of the steppe and is not connected to any mountain range and therefore permits some impressive panoramic views of the Torres del Paine, the Fitz Roy Mountain, the cordon of the Crystals, Brazo Rico, Brazo Norte, Lago Argentino, the Magellan Peninsular, amongst other grand attractions that mix the colours of the forests of lengas y ñires, the lakes, the flora and its fauna. Here we have a beef steak barbecue accompanied by vegetables cooked in a mud oven, together with local bread.
Option: trekking with ropes or a 4x4
We make a trek by a well marked trail, through a forest of lengas and ñires and crossing rivers, guided by a map that shows the heights, viewpoints, rest areas and observation points for the flora and native animals and the panoramic landscapes of the Torres del Paine, Fitz Roy and the Lago Argentino amongst others. We take the time to have lunch and afterwards to continue our way until the summit of the Cerro Frias to obtain the most incredible postcard views. We combine the trekking with a traverse of a rope bridge, shifting between two cables that are joined at fixed points but with a certain height difference so that we can slide by gravity. We walk until the initial point at an altitude of 562 metres on the southern slopes of the Cerro Frías.
The trip is fantastic with the views of the Torres del Paine, Centinela Valley, Lago Roca (Red Lake), etc. Once we make the crossing of nearly 470 metres hanging by the cable we arrive at the point of the trail that takes us back to the Estancia. Another option is to travel over the zone in a 4x4. On the journey we cross over a swamp and climb by the lowest part of the Cerro Frías. Following on we have a tremendous view of the environment. We go close to fields where there are cows, guanacos, maras (Patagonian hares) and horses. It takes close to two hours to reach the summit with its magnificent panoramic views and later we make our return to the Estancia for lunch. If you want to see other excursion options in Calafate, click here: Tours in Calafate.
Notes for your consideration: This adventure program is recommended for people between the ages of 10 and 60 and we do not advise for those that are overweight (more than 110 kgs) or expectant ladies or those with heart problems. You need to take hiking boots and suitable clothes for the activity.
Day 7 - Balcón del Calafate 4x4
We leave behind the city of El Calafate in order to climb up to 1,000 metres to enter the first Balcony. We will keep in our mind the classical postcard view taking notice of the city and the Argentino Lake. Depending on the weather conditions, it is possible to see the Fitz Roy and Torre Mountains and see the odd condor flying over the Andino Mountain chain. The trail continues until the Laberinto de Piedras (Stone Labyrinth) watching the fossil remains of the Cretaceous Period. We now continue descending until we arrive at the Piedra de los Sombreros (Hat Stones), where we have an optional lunch and take a good rest. We follow on with our return to El Calafate by descending to the northern area, with the presence of the Argentino Lake on the way.
Note: This program is available between September and May.
Day 8 - Trekking to Mount Torre or Trekking to Piedra del Fraile
Breakfast in the Hotel. Free day to rest or do some hiking. You can also choose other paths such as Laguna de Los Tres, Laguna Capri or Pliegue Tumbado.
Trekking to Mount Torre
This is one of the most traditional treks in Los Glaciares National Park. The trail that we take goes to Laguna Torre and goes through a really beautiful landscape. The route starts in El Chaltén and goes along the Río Fitz Roy and starts with a pronounced slope and then the path becomes flatter until we reach our first resting point after about two hour hike. At this stop we can see the mountain chain of the Torre Mountain, the Las Adelas Chain and some of the Fitz Roy Mountain.
We carry on with few more rises until the source of the river and arrive at the De Agostini Camping Site after about another hour of walking along the signaled track. A little more effort and we going along the cross of the moraines we can see in front of us the Laguna Torre. Here we have incredible panoramic views of the Torre Mountain, sculptured by the ice needles of the Egger, Standhard, Bifida and the Adelas Chain that shows the mountain glaciers that pour their waters into the Laguna Torre.
Trekking to Piedra del Fraile
We leave from the Río Eléctrico Bridge, some 16 kms from El Chaltén. We need to travel to this point in order to start the trekking to the Fraile Stone. It is an easy walk that is almost totally flat. It takes two hours of hiking through ancient forests of nothofagus, between ñires and lengas, and fording streams until we arrive at the Fraile Stone. Here Agostini made a base for his expeditions and we can appreciate the unique image of the north east face of the Fitz Roy Mountain.
Los Troncos Refuge is a good place to camp because it has good facilities, however there is an entrance charge because it is a private camp site. Those that feel like it can hike for another two hours over 5 kilometres to get to the Pollone Glacier. As we follow the banks of the river we arrive soon to the Eléctrico Lake, in presence of the north face of the Fitz Roy and the ice needles of Mermoz and Guillaumet. We then continue until we are affronted by the Pollone and North Fitz Roy Glaciers.
Day 9 - Return to Buenos Aires
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Calafate Airport. Reception and transfer from Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires to Ezeiza International Airport. End of our services.