Patagonia Hiking Adventure with Glacier Ice Walk Tour

A 14 day trip to Argentina & Chile 
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The natural splendor of Patagonia will enchant you on this active exploration of the glaciers, mountaintops, rivers, and lakes at the southern edge of the South American continent. Strap the crampons onto your feet and hike along the surface of an enormous glacier, exploring the nooks and crannies carved into the ice over time. Trek across the undulating landscape of high altitude plains looming beneath the shadow of snowcapped Mount Fitz Roy. Kayak alongside enchanting blue icebergs in Grey Lake. Your custom-tailored glacier ice walk tour allows you to discover Patagonia, filling your days with hiking and biking through the marvels of ineffable scenery. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Magdalena Island, Torres del Paine National Park, Los Cuernos, French Valley, Grey Lake, Puerto Natales, El Calafate, El Chalten, Los Glaciares National Park, Laguna de los Tres, Milodon Caves

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Building Excitement

The sunlight shimmers across the waters of the Strait of Magellan. Corrugated homes are painted vivacious colors and overlook the shoreline. Punta Arenas is situated at the southern end of Chile. The city has a relaxed ambiance filled with people eager to show their hospitality, shaped by the stunningly rugged landscape encompassing the city’s edges. Fishing boats wade through the cobalt hues of the strait. The central square of Plaza Munoz Gamero highlights the city’s opulent past.

Together with her husband and brother, Sara Braun amassed nearly 2.5 million acres of land around Magallanes. The Sara Braun house was erected in the 19th century. The house continues to showcase the radiant décor of the family’s lavish lifestyle. The European detail of the dining room has a chandelier dangling from the ceiling over an elegant table that seats 20 people. The large window adorning the wall opens to the city. The pleasures of historic high society are only the beginning of Patagonia’s wonders.

What’s Included: dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 2: The Adventure Begins

In the morning, the water from the Strait of Magellan laps at the shores of the city. An exact replica of the Nao Victoria, the ship on which Ferdinand Magellan and his crew journeyed around the world, creates an interactive and dynamic museum intent on immersing visitors into a 16th-century sailing expedition. After breakfast, your guide meets you in the lobby of your hotel and escorts you to the harbor, where you board your cruise on the water for the first of many Chile tours.

You may not be embarking on a 16th-century adventure to the old world, but your cruise follows in the paths of Sir Francis Drake and Charles Darwin, making your time on the water even more memorable. In the summer, Commerson’s dolphins swim in the boat’s wake. The dual-colored dolphin is also known as the skunk dolphin due to its black and white coloration. It can grow up to five feet long and maintains a playful personality alongside your boat. The ship docks at the jetty on Magdalena Island, home to the largest penguin colony in Southern Chile.

The windswept grasses rise and fall with the small mounds creating the island. You follow the pathway leading over the hill to find the active colony waddling along the sea break. The penguin can grow up to 30 inches tall. You can hear their squawk over the breaking water. The penguins congregate near the lighthouse. The red and white stripes of the building resemble the black and white stripes of the penguins. The penguins have a friendly charm and quaint demeanor when enjoying their natural habitat.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: The First Length of Torres del Paine

Puerto Natales is known as the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. The city sits between the waters of the Senoret Channel and the gentle foothills of the Riesco Mountain Range. The water shines an emerald hue in the morning light. Your guide greets you at the hotel and escorts you to the celebrated grounds of Torres del Paine National Park, where the first leg of your active journey begins. The “W” circuit is known for its challenging trails and breathtaking scenery. The aroma of the Magellanic forest around the trail adds a slight sweetness to the air from the beech trees.

The lush trees create a verdant skyline beneath the towering granite peaks of the Paine Massif. You follow your guide long the Rio Ascensio Valley. You cross a wooden bridge over the river. The water rushes along the banks of the gulley beneath the gemlike hues of the forest. The river shines an immaculate indigo against the bordering boulders. You can’t help but notice the towering granite peaks of Paine Grande, rising more than 9,400 feet above sea level.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: Continuing Natural Splendor

In the morning, Torres del Paine remains serene. A soft breeze rustles the leaves of the forest. You can hear a gentle trickle of a nearby stream. The trees maintain an emerald glow beneath the drifting sunlight. In the distance, you can see the fading colors of the forest as the landscape shifts to the rugged granite hills and peaks of high altitude. After breakfast, your guide leads you out into the wilderness for another day exploring the stunning scenery of Torres del Pain National Park. The trail takes you alongside the turquoise waters of Lake Nordenskjold.

The glacial lake lies at the heart of the national park with a radiant allure, possessing a surface area of nearly 11 square miles. You can hear the nearby thunderous sound of Salto Grande, an exquisite waterfall feeding the pure mountain water into the lakebed. On the southern edge of the lake, wild guanaco graze on the verdant grass. Their long necks create a graceful impression. In the background, the peaks of Los Cuernos make the dramatic skyline. The darker elements of the sedimentary summit contrast the bright granite.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Thrills of the Valley

Sporadic fluffy clouds drift past the peaks of Los Cuernos. The alpine ambiance of your accommodation provides a view to the marvelous summits, which rise above the nearby mountaintops. After breakfast, your guide leads you out onto the trail once more, this time taking you up to the French Valley. The scenery turns into an amphitheater of granite walls and spires. The wind, rain, and melting glaciers have shaped the forests and mountains over thousands of years.

You come closer to the jagged tops of Los Cuernos, taking in their magnitude. Cerro Espada climbs higher than 8,200 feet above sea level. Your guide points out the magnificent edge of Cerro Paine Grande, the principal peak with an altitude of more than 10,000 feet. The icy edges of the summit are actually a single hanging glacier. The sunlight glints off of the ice. The rugged peak has incredible charisma. Your heart beats with the thrill of the natural landscape all around you. The beauty of the Patagonia is endless.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Seeing Grey

At breakfast, you have a fabulous view of Paine Grande. The windswept grass around your accommodation leads to the rocky outcrops of the snowcapped mountains. The trees have become sporadic, but their emerald leaves and sweet aroma remain. The scent of freshly brewed coffee mixes with the herbaceous aroma of yerba mate tea, the preferred drink of Patagonian gauchos. Your guide greets you in the morning light and leads you onto the trail to Grey Glacier. The windswept trees bend at interesting angles. The Andes Mountains in the distance overtake the horizon. You continue along the pathway to find the shores of Grey Lake.

Blue icebergs float across the lake, adding dazzling color to the gray water. Grey Glacier shines a similar iridescent blue, a stunning river of ice more than 15 miles long. Your guide leads you to the shores where you can kayak, and you eagerly head out onto the water. The simple change from land to water changes your entire perspective of Grey Glacier. The icebergs are massive, only outdone by the large ice wall of the glacier itself, rising more than 130 feet out of the lake. The water is cold to the touch but pristine. You are surrounded by magnificent ice formations the likes of which you have never seen, as you follow your guide through the niches of the lake.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 7: A Unique Point of View

The icebergs continue to captivate you in the morning. Their shimmering hues dance in the morning light in contrast the rugged shores of the lake. The beech forests drape across the opposite banks of the lake leading to the edges of Grey Glacier. You follow your guide on a trek to the edges of the glacier. Your guide helps you strap on your crampons. You hold tight to your personal ice axe. Once on the glacier, you can hear the ice crunch beneath your feet. The feeling of traversing the surface of a glacier is exhilarating. Grey Glacier has a surface area of more than 104 square miles.

The expanse of the ice makes you feel small in comparison to the kaleidoscope of blue colors surrounding you. The ice transforms into tunnels, crevices, and tremendous formations shaped by melting ice and the elements. A view of the ice field shows you a network of tunnels disappearing beneath the surface. Countless cracks look narrow from the distance, but up close they are wide enough to step between. Your experience on Grey Glacier is unlike any other. The spectacular scenery is enough to fascinate you, but the wonder of walking along the ice is truly unforgettable.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Into Argentina

Outside of Puerto Natales, the Milodon Caves carve into the foothills of the mountains. A German explorer discovered the caves in the late 19th century. The largest cavern in the network is nearly 660 feet long. Remnants of human habitation, along with extinct animals, have made the area a popular site among visitors and locals. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you over the border into Argentina. The rugged mountain terrain lining the horizon turns to quiet hills and glistening lakes. Windswept plains create a charming environment along the scenic drive.

You arrive in the alpine town of El Calafate, located on the shores of Lago Argentino. The lake is the largest fresh water lake in the country with an area of 546 square miles. The dramatic landscape returns in the image of Patagonian steppe. Outside of town, the grasslands lead to the foothills of stunning mountains. El Calafate is often referred to as the “Gateway to Los Glaciares National Park.” The aroma of enticing dark chocolate drifts out of the chocolate shops on the main street of Avenida Libertador. Cafes place freshly baked empanadas on display. Buildings emanate alpine comforts with stone facades and pine-knotted doorframes.   

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: Noticing the Ice Wall

In the morning, the aroma of yerba mate tea fills the cafes of the town along with the semi-sweet aroma of medialunas, a delicious breakfast pastry similar to croissants. After your meal, your guide takes you on the grounds of Los Glaciares National Park for a gorgeous view of Perito Moreno Glacier, one of three Patagonian glaciers that are expanding instead of retracting. A network of viewing walkways overlooks Iceberg Channel. The ice wall of the glacier edges into Lago Argentino to create the narrow water passage.

From the walkway, the panorama of Perito Moreno Glacier is stunning. The impact of the towering edge of the ice is marvelous, reaching an average height of 240 feet above the water’s surface. The glacier encompasses more than 96 square miles. You can see puffs of ice break away from the glacier’s edge before you hear the tremendous crack echo throughout the air. An iceberg calves away from the cliff and splashes into the channel for a remarkable display of raw power and natural beauty.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 10: Adventure at the Village Doorstep

The sunlight washes across the Patagonian steppe and highlights the pink plumage of the flamingos lingering in the shallow waters of Lago Argentino. The colorful birds rest with one leg tucked into their underbelly and dig their beak into their wings for warmth. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to El Chalten, a village at the northern rim of Los Glaciares National Park. The tops of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre summits point into the sky above the surrounding mountains. After you settle in the village, your guide leads you on one of the relatively easier tours of Patagonia to Laguna Torre.

You pass the charming shops of the handcraft market and climb the stairs passing a residential area. Beech forest lines the pathway for much of the ascent to the lake. Magellanic woodpeckers drill their beaks into the trees. Bright red plumage colors their heads. They are the largest South American woodpecker with a bill nearly two and a half inches long and a body length of up to 18 inches. When you reach the edges of the Mirador Laguna Torre, you arrive at an exquisite view of Cerro Torre, reaching 10,262 feet above sea level. The snow and ice capping the summit resemble a mushroom, rounding out at the top. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 11: Waterways of the National Park

The village atmosphere of El Chalten is comforting in the morning light. The quiet streets come to life with local bakeries and cafés opening their doors to the locals. Yerba mate and coffee help refresh visitors and locals alike. The thrilling scenery around the valley entices you with fascinating rock formations and expansive grasslands to explore. Your guide meets you after breakfast and leads you once more out onto the trails of Los Glaciares National Park beneath the towering peak of Fitz Roy. The mountaintop rises to a height of more than 11,000 feet. The trail begins at the edge of town.

In the Rio Blanco Valley, you venture through the thick Lenga forest. The trees have a sweet and minty aroma. The river rushes along the glen, adding a serene soundtrack to your hike. When the tree line breaks, you have a view of the mountains on the far side of the valley. The snowcapped peaks descend into the glaciers. Sporadic lenga trees continue to speckle the trail. The steep ascent brings you to the summit overlooking Laguna de los Tres. The opulent water reflects the peak of Fitz Roy on the surface. Craggy, lunar landscape encircles the marvelous turquoise lake. The edge of De los Tres Glacier recedes from the lakeshore. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 12: The Breeze on the Bicycle

Outside of El Chalten, the surface of Lake Viedma shines the same color blue as the sky. The El Bar pastry shop fills the village with the aroma of freshly baked medialunas and alfajores, a dulce de leche sandwiched between two butter cookies. After breakfast, your guide leads you along the road to Lago del Desierto in the River de las Vueltas basin. Lenga trees and Antarctic beech trees encircle the isolated lake with emerald hues. The water is a radiant indigo. At the far end of the lake, you can see the receding edges of the Huemul Glacier. The image is picturesque, with snowcapped mountaintops bordering the icy expanse of the glacier.

From the north shores of the lake, you can see the Andes Mountains before you and the dramatic peak of Fitz Roy behind you from the direction whence you came. You mount your bicycle and follow your guide, ready for the gorgeous ride back to El Chalten. The waterfall of El Salto del Anillo rumbles nearby. You follow the banks of the Rio de las Vueltas and listen to the torrent. Water sporadically splashes against the rocky banks. The air is cool and refreshing as the breeze blows against your cheeks.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 13: Discovering a New Trail

In the morning, you wake up to a view of the mountaintops cresting over the valley. The herbaceous scent of yerba mate tea is a refreshing aroma to begin the day. Your guide greets you after breakfast and leads you to the Loma del Pliegue trail. The path leads upwards of 4,200 feet above sea level, traversing the rounded hillside along the valley. Along the trail, lady slippers, a slipper-shaped flower known for trapping insects, decorate the forest floor. The flower is an orchid with delicate petals of yellow and red. Beech trees tower over the underbrush.

You cross over the small creek and eventually pass Laguna Toro, continuing onward from the shores from which you enjoyed the previous day. The trees open to the elements. Andean condors circle the sky. They are the largest land bird capable of flight, with a maximum wingspan of more than 10.5 feet. They gracefully glide through the air in circles searching for prey. During the final ascent, the path clears into the rugged high-altitude expanse. Boulders and pebbles pave the rolling hills. The view to the peaks of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy is unparalleled and unobstructed.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 14: A Time for Rest and Relaxation

The waters of Lake Nimez are quiet in the morning. Wild ducks drift along the water’s surface near geese and flamingos. The avifauna in the ecological reserve move with grace around the water. Local sip their yerba mate in the morning, ready to take on another day in Patagonia. Gauchos ride on horseback celebrating the open spaces of the estancias outside of town. At breakfast, you sip a soothing cup of rich coffee before your private transfer arrives at the hotel to meet you. You will make your way to Comandante Armando Tola International Airport for your flight home. The splendor of your time in Patagonia, kayaking across glacial lakes, traversing icy surfaces, and hiking along the famous “W” trail will forever remain at the forefront of your lasting memories of Patagonia.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.