The rugged landscape of Patagonia turns from dramatic backdrops to ineffable reality on this custom tailored Patagonia hiking tour. Snow blankets the mountains until the towering landscape resembles clouds in the sky. Ancient glaciers carved high-altitude lakes along plains and mountain bases. The southernmost city in the world looks out to the active waters of the Beagle Channel while sitting in the shadows of the Andes Mountains. Venture across hiking trails and rushing waters, from river rapids...
El Calafate – Arriving in Patagonia
The beauty of Patagonia is apparent upon your arrival at Comandante Armando Tola International Airport in the town of El Calafate, Argentina. The alpine streets exude the aroma of pine and spruce. Chocolate displays decorate the numerous chocolate shops along the main street of Avenida Libertador. Cedar doorframes decorate stone buildings for a rustic and elegant architectural style. El Calafate sets the relaxed and welcoming pace of Patagonia. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you to your luxurious hotel. Consider learning more about your premier Patagonia tour operator who strives to provide you with the most memorable trip of your life. Outside of town, the windswept plains lead to the rolling mountain peaks on the horizon. North of town, flamingos graze in the shallow waters of Laguna Nimez. Their pink plumage adds bright color to the golden grasses and rugged foothills beyond the lake’s cobalt waters.
El Calafate – Acquainted with Glacier Trails
In the morning, the aroma of melted dark chocolate drifts out of the chocolatiers on Avenida Libertador. Store windows fill with opulent designs and mouthwatering displays. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you into the depths of Los Glaciares National Park, home to the celebrated Perito Moreno Glacier. The edge of the ice ascends out of Lago Argentino with an average height of 240 feet, resembling icy cliffs. From the viewing walkway, you can see the magnificent strength of the glaciers face, along with the tremendous length of the ice field, stretching approximately two miles from the water’s edge to the foothills in the distance reaching a length of more than 18 miles long.
The view from the platforms is stunning but can become even better with an ice trek. You can follow your guide on a boat over Lago Argentino, put on ice shoes, and hike across the breathtaking landscape listening to the ground crunch with every footstep. The breeze rushes upwards from the ice field adding briskness to the air. The mountains encompassing the glacier loom large at the borders. It is a truly unique experience that will always be at the forefront of your mind when you think about Patagonia.
El Chalten – In the Shade of Fitz Roy
In the morning, the layers of sunlight wash over the pink plumage of the flamingos in Lago Nimez. They stamp their webbed feet into the soil to stir the mud and bring food up from the bottom. Their wingspan can grow to a length of more than five feet. After breakfast, your transfer meets you at the hotel ready to escort you north to the town of El Chalten, located on the banks of the Rio de las Vueltas inside Los Glaciares National Park. The peaks of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy tower soar into the sky, visible from the town’s quiet streets.
The town is the base of numerous treks that lead to immaculate lakes; ascend to the occasional cloud covered mountaintops and spectacular panoramic views that showcase the natural beauty of the landscape. On the banks of Laguna Capri, you can find windswept forests and small reflective lakes before winding into the mountains for more adventurous paths. It is easy to settle into the relaxed Patagonian pace of town and enjoy a steaming, flavorful coffee while looking out into the vast wilderness.
El Chalten – The Smoking Mountain
In the morning, a subtle mist passes over the summit of Mount Fitz Roy. The fluid motion of the clouds inspired the aborigines of the region to have originally named the peak, “Smoking Mountain.” After breakfast, the day is yours to discover the variety of trails winding through landscape providing scenic views for adventurers both beginning and advanced. One of the most popular hikes takes you to the base of the Mount Fitz Roy massif. The trail begins at the edge of Avenida San Martin, at the official end of El Chalten. The trail has a steep ascent in the beginning. The Arctic beech trees along the path become more numerous after you reach the stream valley known as Del Salto.
You can hear the tranquil sound of rushing water. The air is crisp and pure around you. The trail continues alongside the water, providing a soothing soundtrack to the trek. You reach the Rio Blanco basecamp meant for climbers eager to ascend the mountain face. Past the basecamp are the stunning waters of Laguna del los Tres. The quiet ripple in the glacial lake touches the craggy shores of the Fitz Roy massif. Snow often adds a shimmer of white contrast to the black rocks of the summit. The granite wall of Mount Fitz Roy stands at an atmosphere of 11,020 feet and is clearly visible from the scenic edges of the lake.
El Calafate – Softer Side of El Chalten
In the morning, the granite peak of Mount Fitz Roy is clear of mist, showing its prominence over the surrounding landscape. The powerful image of the summit is unforgettable. After breakfast, the day is once again at your leisure to enjoy the encompassing scenery at your preferred pace. You could take an easy hike to Las Condores and Las Aguilas viewpoints, which provide stunning views of the mountaintops overtaking the skyline and the vast sweep of windswept plains. For a different experience, you could partake in a rafting expedition down the Rio de las Vueltas. Your guide leads you from your hotel to the banks of the river.
Rio de las Vueltas is fed by glacial waters and originates at Lake Desert more than 1,600 feet above sea level. You travel nearly two and a half miles downstream. The water has a fast current that rushes over rocks and boulders. The river winds around the rocky slopes of the canyon. You can hear the rapids coming before your guide tells you to paddle. Adrenaline pumps through your body as you come closer to the swelling torrents. Water splashes all around you. The drops are cold on your cheeks. You traverse the Class III rapids without incident. Your heart continues to pump quickly from the previous thrill. You take a look around you and notice the serenity of the canyon filled with icy blue water.
Puerto Natales – Stepping into Chile
In the morning, the chocolate aroma of El Calafate is familiar and soothing. The quiet streets fill with the sounds of cafes opening and the vibrant images of creative window displays. After breakfast, you meet your transfer in town and venture southbound on a scenic drive to Puerto Natales in Chile. The town acts as the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. Boutique breweries and wineries have a charming allure and provide insight into the preferred flavors of the locals. The corrugated tin houses are brightly painted and snuggly positioned with views to the Ultima Esperanza Sound. The water shines turquoise and brushes against the beach. Rugged mountain tops encircle the sound. Nearby stands the Cueva del Milodon, a nearly 100-foot tall cave where a German pioneer once found the remains of a 13-foot tall giant ground sloth. A lookout point offers views to the Andes Mountains in the distance.
Puerto Natales – The Pleasures of Torres del Paine
The sunlight blankets the city in the morning and casts a light on the turquoise water of the sound. You can hear the sea lapping on the shores of Puerto Natales before breakfast. Your guide greets you at the lobby early in the morning, eager to escort you into the depths of Torres del Paine National Park. The park encompasses 25,979 square miles. The trail is well marked amongst the changing landscape. You can hear the powerful cascade of Salto Grande, a waterfall trundling nearly 50 feet. The splashing water into the river below creates a vibrant thunder. The higher you trek, the more the scenery undulates. Wild guanacos graze on the windswept plains. Their soft coats and long necks show their relation to llamas and camels. At the base of Torres del Paine, you look up and see the twin towers soaring to an elevation of almost 6,500 feet. The granite pillars dominate your view.
Punta Arenas – Splendors of Leisure
Puerto Natales has a tranquil ambiance in the morning. The vivacious hues of the rustic houses break through the thin layer of early mist drifting over the Señoret Channel. The Historical Museum, with English style architecture, houses a collection of artifacts that predate the region’s colonization. Tools refer to the importance of hunting and gathering in aboriginal culture. Photographs from the 1930s provide insight into life in the town before the national park was established. After breakfast, you venture away from Puerto Natales, making your way to the southernmost region of Chile and its capital of Punta Arenas. Mansions line the main square reminiscent of the town’s wool boom. Mirador Cerro la Cruz rises over the city. The lookout offers a remarkable panorama of Punta Arenas as a whole, taking in the bright homes of the city, the turquoise water of the Strait of Magellan, and the wonderful landscape of Tierra del Fuego on the horizon.
Ushuaia – Scenery at the Edge of the World
The Magellan Statue in the heart of Punta Arenas proudly commemorates the 400th anniversary of when the explorer first set eyes on the land of Tierra del Fuego. The figure of Magellan crowns the memorial and stares out to the region he was famed as being the first European to see. After breakfast, your journey takes you further south, out of Punta Arenas, and returning to Argentinian territory in the city at the end of the world. The drive to Ushuaia is filled with remarkable scenery. A ferry takes you across the Strait of Magellan. The breeze blows over the calm water. The hue of the Strait turns from turquoise to cobalt as the water deepens.
You pass through windswept grass that rustles in the breeze. The sound of the water fades behind you. The plain rushes into the distance. Sporadic antique buildings border the road. The prairies turn to foothills. The hills rise into mountains. When you arrive in Ushuaia, the Andes Mountains, the longest mountain range in the world reaches the southern ocean shores. Snow drapes over the peaks of the Martial Range. People venture out into the Beagle Channel on kayaks and enjoy the seclusion of the journey bordered by the sensational landscape.
Ushuaia – Tremendous Tierra del Fuego
The water from the Beagle Channel laps on the shores of Ushuaia. The city comes to life in the morning, set against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains. The snowcapped peaks imitate clouds in the sky. Fishing boats set out along the channel into the southern sea in search of the daily fresh catch. On the grounds of Isla Martillo, penguins waddle along the pebbled shores and dive into the cresting water. After breakfast, your guide leads you into the national park of Tierra del Fuego to follow the paths often overlooked by visitors. The region was named after Magellan’s visit to the land when he looked out over his ship and found flames rising out fire pits set by aboriginal tribes.
The archipelago stretches more than 243 square miles from the Beagle Channel in the south to Lago Fagnano in the north. Moss blankets much of the seaside forest touching the Lenga and Guindo trees. Beavers have created an elaborate dam system up Los Castores stream. Red foxes hide in the forest underbrush. The seasonal winds have bent the trees, marking the landscape. The herbaceous landscape blends with the salty aroma of the sea drifting from the shores. Three rocky peaks enclose the shores of Laguna Escondida. The water shimmers with pristine turquoise color, contrasting the rugged hues of the landscape.
Ushuaia – The Waters of a Land on Fire
Today you set out on the shores of Tierra del Fuego, taking in the treasured beauty of the landscape from the distance. Your guide escorts you back into the national park. Beech and evergreen trees emanate a minty aroma along the shores of Lapataia Bay. You climb aboard a canoe and venture into the water. The glassy surface allows you to see into the bay. The water drips on your hands with you paddle. The cold temperature spreads across your skin.
Geese and plovers drift along the water. Gentle greenery drapes over the rolling hills around the bay. The natural splendor of the scenery has a calming effect. The powerful images of snowcapped peaks and forceful waterfalls have mellowed into the charms of the bay. The water is calm, and the scenery is peaceful. Crabs settle along the bay floor. The Chilean dolphin can sometimes be seen traveling up the channel and playing in the bay. The dolphin grows to a length of five and a half feet.
Ushuaia – The Gratification of a Rewarding Experience
The excitement of visiting the world’s southernmost city has not abated. When you wake in the morning, boats set sail, traveling the Beagle Channel, which makes you recall Darwin’s discoveries. The Museo Maritimo commemorates the rise of the city founded in the early 20th century. The maritime exhibits offer insight into the region’s interesting history, providing artifacts from the narrowest gauge freight train decorate the courtyard. The train helped transport prisoners between towns and workstations during the early years of Ushuaia’s existence. The history of the city is as unique and intriguing as the surrounding landscape. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you from the hotel to Ushuaia-Malvinas Argentinas International Airport for your flight home.
- Discover the charming shores of Laguna Nimez where local flamingos add a distinctive flair to the water
- Whitewater raft down the Rio de las Vueltas for a unique view of Torres del Paine National Park’s landscape
- Bask in a treasured experience of walking along the ice field of the Perito Moreno Glacier on a guided tour
- Discover the magnificent size of one of the world’s few remaining expanding glaciers
- Enjoy a marvelous trek to view the immaculate waters of Laguna de los Tres set amongst an unforgettable backdrop of Mount Fitz Roy
- Traverse the hiking trails of Torres del Paine, which lead to fabulous waterfalls, sensational lakes, and breathtaking views of the mountains
- Delight in a canoe excursion along the glassy waters of Lapataia Bay in the hopes of spotting Chilean dolphins or otters
Patagonia will take your breath away. Dramatic cliffs ascend into majestic mountain peaks. Lakes shimmer with unadulterated clarity. Fishing boats bring fresh seafood to shore caught in the mystic southern waters. Ancient forests are matched only by the size and age of ancient glaciers. Your 12-day Patagonia hiking tour provides you with the endless adventures and activities of the landscape, taking you along the well-marked trails and often overlooked paths to ensure an unforgettable exploration of the region. The adventure begins with your arrival in the Argentinian town of El Calafate. The alpine style of the architecture has an undeniable charm.
Your private transfer escorts you to your comfortable hotel near the heart of town. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the city and its surroundings, including the flamingo-clad lake of nearby Laguna Nimez. Your guide greets you at the hotel and leads you on a tour of Los Glaciares National Park, home to the tremendous Perito Moreno Glacier. Embark on the first of your many Patagonia hiking tours by undertaking an unforgettable ice trek, taking you to the top of the glacier. The following day, you venture to the town of El Chalten, near the foothills of Mount Fitz Roy. Explore the treasures hidden on Mount Fitz Roy as you set out on a trek of your preferred length and duration, one of which can provide you with a sensational panorama at Laguna de los Tres.
Enjoy the adventures around El Chalten once more, taking a hike near Mount Fitz Roy or enjoy a thrilling rafting trip down Rio de las Vueltas before returning to El Calafate for the evening. Make your way to the Chilean side of Patagonia, and settle in the waterside town of Puerto Natales. The following day, you have a full day excursion to Torres del Paine National Park to explore the wondrous landscape. Venture on a trail of your choosing to take in a powerful waterfall or view the imposing peaks for which Torres del Paine is known. Then, your private transfer escorts you to Punta Arenas.
Your flight from Punta Arenas, Chile takes you to Ushuaia, Argentina, considered the southernmost city in the world. These days in Ushuaia take you in and around Tierra del Fuego National Park. Follow the easy or challenging paths across the majestic landscape, canoe through the sensational waterways, and enjoy the indelible sites for which the national park is famous. On your final day, your private transfer greets you at your hotel and leads you to Ushuaia-Malvinas Argentinas International Airport for your flight home.
$2,995 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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