Patagonia: Peaks, Plateaus & Glaciers

Active Exploration of Southernmost Chile and Argentina
Overview

overview

You'll be hard-pressed to find a more adventurous, engaging way to celebrate New Year's than in spectacular Patagonia.  Spanning the southern ends, islands, and fjords of Chile and Argentina, few places on earth can compete with the grandeur and breathtaking beauty of this wild, pristine place.  Jagged peaks soar skyward, glaciers crawl down steep rocky slopes, and crystalline mountain lakes beckon the intrepid hiker.

Starting from El Calafate, spend several days trekking among the many iconic sights of Patagonia, including the Western Lakes, Lake Pehoe, Grey Glacier, and the French Valley in Argentina and Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Then return to El Calafate and onward through El Chalten on your way to explore the other side of Patagonia, including splendid, imposing Mount Fitz Roy and stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, which actually creeps forward as much as 6-7 feet per day, in Los Glaciares National Park.  You'll stay in a comfortable ecocamp and an authentic estancia on this active, exhilarating wilderness adventure. Enjoy some time at the beginning or end of the trip in vibrant, cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Argentina.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive El Calafate, Argentina

    Your international flight will arrive this morning in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where you will connect to a domestic flight that takes you down to El Calafate, in Argentinean Patagonia.

    Your guide will meet you at the El Calafate airport and bring you to your hotel. This evening, the group will gather for a briefing about the adventures to come during the trip ahead, followed by a welcome dinner.

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Kosten Aike or Similar
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  • Day 2: Drive to Torres del Paine, Chile
    Spot snow-spattered peaks and guanaco during your drive across Patagonia

    After breakfast, embark on a scenic drive through the Argentinean pampas and into Chile, finally arriving at Torres del Paine National Park, the ultimate Patagonian destination. Admire the steppe and snow-peaked horizon during your drive across Patagonia, and keep an eye out for guanacos, rheas, Patagonian hares, foxes, and condors. Arrive in time for lunch at the EcoCamp, and spend the rest of the day exploring your base for the next four nights.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp
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  • Day 3: Western Lakes & Grey Glacier
    Wander the western lakes, nestled among black peaks

    Drive across the park this morning, admiring the views of Paine Grande with its snowy peaks and Los Cuernos with its black granite horn-like spires. Walk along the shores of stunning Lake Pehoe and see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls where the water from Lake Nordenskjold cascades down into Pehoe. The walk continues over the gentle Nordenskjold trail to a lookout point that will remind you why you traveled all the way here. Later, back at Lake Pehoe, go south by vehicle to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey. Here, enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake before embarking on a boat ride across the icy waters to the towering blue walls of Grey Glacier. After this up-close encounter with a glacier, there won't be a way for the day to get any better, so you'll drive back to the EcoCamp.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Lake Pehoe & French Valley
    Hike along Lake Pehoe, then ascend through the French Valley

    After breakfast, start the day driving toward Pudeto dock, located on the shores of Lake Pehoe. Board the catamaran that will take you to the northwestern edge of the lake, where you will begin the challenging trek to Valle del Frances (French Valley) along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. The hike leads to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the southeastern face of the Massif, where the view is breathtaking. Then, continue to the upper section of the valley to admire the valley's entire group of geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). Picnic among the geologic oddities and rest for a while, or, if the group isn't into taking breaks, pursue an optional trek to Mirador Britanico. Then, descend through rippling terrain of grassland and scattered forest until reaching the Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. From here the catamaran takes you back to Pudeto and you're driven back to EcoCamp, where you can collapse into your bed.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Towers Base Trek
    These famous towers give Torres del Paine National Park its name

    The first half of the trip has been based in Torres del Paine National Park, and today we focus on the towers from which the park gets its name. Set out from the EcoCamp on foot this morning toward Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Towers' eastern face. Mountain overlooks, beech forests, and small rivers line the scenic walk toward the valley. The biggest challenge of today's hike will be climbing the steep moraine, a mass of boulders that leads the way to one of the world's most famous views of the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great sphere sheared away by the unrelenting forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and your picnic, backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp for a memorable New Year's Eve celebration.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    EcoCamp
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Return to El Chalten, Argentina

    After breakfast, board the van that will take you back to Argentina and the great sights of the other side of Patagonia. Stop in El Calafate for lunch and then continue along the iconic Route 40 to El Chalten. This tiny town is the youngest town in Argentina and the starting point for some of the greatest hikes east of the Andes. Explore your surroundings or relax this evening in the local brewery.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hostería El Puma or Similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Mount Fitz Roy
    The iconic silhouette of Mount Fitz Roy stands as a timeless landmark

    Today trek to Laguna Los Tres, with a great view of Mount Fitz Roy, the landmark of Los Glaciares National Park. A big breakfast and lots of enthusiasm will be needed to carry you through this tough but exhilarating day. Begin heading toward the silent Laguna Capri and rounding its northern corner. Then follow the Fitz Roy Trail up to Rio Blanco, passing Poicenot, a mountaineering camp. Finally, a short, steep trail leads to Laguna de Los Tres where you will find one of the park’s most marvelous natural scenes – the turquoise blue of the Lagoon, framed by Fitz Roy’s spires and glaciers. You’ll probably experience a Torres del Paine flashback! It's a perfect place for a picnic and a chance to soak up the scenery. When everyone’s ready, hike back to Laguna Capri and continue along the trail back to El Chalten.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hostería El Puma or Similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Perito Moreno Glacier
    Perito Moreno Glacier

    After breakfast, gather your luggage and begin the drive back to El Calafate, stopping en route for an excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most well-known landmarks in Patagonia. Revel in multiple perspectives on the glacier's face as you meander the well-positioned walkways that allow you the perfect vantage point to watch, and hear, giant chunks of ice plummet into the waters of Lago Argentino. Your guide will answer questions about the glacier and the park. You will also have the opportunity for a short nautical safari to observe this magnificent glacier up close. After the thrilling encounter with Perito Moreno, drive to Estancia Nibepo Aike, the traditional ranch where you will spend the next two nights.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Estancia Nibepo Aike
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Estancia Nibepo Aike

    Choose among several options today, designed to give you a taste of life on a rural estancia. Options may include sheap shearing, milking cows, herding livestock, horse-handling. Or, opt for a day hike to explore the terrain around the ranch. 

    On this final night with the group, recollect the high points of the trip over drinks and a delicious final dinner together.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Estancia Nibepo Aike
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Onward
    The colors of La Boca are the most vibrant in all of Buenos Aires.

    Say "adios" to Patagonia today, and transfer to the Calafate airport after breakfast for your flight north.  Connect to your homebound flight this evening, or consider extending in Buenos Aires, one of South America's most charming, vibrant, colorful cities. 

    Time here would offer a chance to visit the center of government at Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada, explore the historic, lively neighborhoods of La Boca and San Telmo, and along gorgeous, and wander tree-lined boulevards in a city that locals will tell you pretends to be European rather than Latin American. You will also enjoy the many cafés that line the streets, discover the more modern, funky neighborhoods of Recoleta and Palermo, and explore the artisan markets that seem to stand at every intersection on weekends. And, before you leave, a classic tango show is a must.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Dec 26, 2015-Jan 4, 2016
Feb 20-29, 2016
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$5,290
Domestic airfare not included
Single Supplement:
$1480
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
10 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
3
Group Size:
4-12
Small group supplement may apply if fewer than 6 people
Activity Level:
5
Daily hiking on steep and rocky trails

Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Resources

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Trip Extensions

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