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'Day walks in Southern Patagonia'

What makes this trip special?

Upsala Icebergs

Upsala Icebergs

Upsala Glacier

Upsala glacier is the second largest in Argentina, in the heart of the Glaciares National Park. As this is a retreating glacier, it is famous for its giant icebergs that break off from the face of the wall of ice and are left floating in the channel connecting the Argentino and Viedma lakes. Excursions here can be organised by kayak for the adventurous, or combined with a trip to the remote Estancia Cristina via a larger vessel.

Panorama of the Fitz Roy range

Panorama of the Fitz Roy range

Laguna Torre trek

The Laguna Torre trail starts and finishes in El Chalten and affords some of the best views of the Fitz Roy mountains. The path goes through lenga forests and along the Fitz Roy river, whilst also passing the Torre glacier face and eventually facing the Cerro Torre peak.

North face of Fitz Roy

North face of Fitz Roy

Piedra del Fraile trek

This trail requires a 30 minute transfer from El Chaltén town to its starting point, north of the Fitz Roy massif. The trail largely follows the Pollone river until you eventually get some stunnig views of the glacier by the same name and the Fitz Roy range.

El Chaltén highlights trail

El Chaltén highlights trail

Laguna de los tres trek

The Laguna de los trek trail takes you along rivers, over mountains and past glaciers, and is the standout trail of El Chaltén. Through lenga forest take in views of the Marconi, Electrico, Cagliero and Vespignani glaciers, before the peaks of Fitz Roy and Poincenot come into range. The trail ends back in town, with one of the final photography points coming in the form of Laguna Capri. The relatively flat terrain makes this walk one of the most accesible in the park and the perfect hike for those with just one day in the area.

Wild Viedma Glacier

Wild Viedma Glacier

Viedma Glacier

Viedma glacier is a stark contrast to the more famous Perito Moreno, as sediment deposits of mud and stones scatter the white surface of the ice. The more rugged appearance of Viedma makes a trek on the surface of the ice all the more interesting, whilst boat trips navigating between the icebergs are an alternative to those keen to avoid the crampons.

Granite peaks of Patagonia

Granite peaks of Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine is one of South America's most famous, and possibly its most photogenic national park. The massive rock pillars of Las Torres loom above the vast expanse of grasslands, glaciers and lakes, and are visible from almost all the trails within the park. The park is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, and remains Chile's premier destination for walkers and hikers.

Chile's southernmost city

Chile's southernmost city

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas for most travellers acts solely as a point of entry to Southern Patagonia. However, Magellanic penguin colonies at Ceno Ottway and Isla Magdallena make this one of the best places in Chile to see the species, whilst a small colony of King penguins across the straits of Magellan onto Tierra del Fuego, makes staying a couple of days well worthwhile.

Modern Metropolis in the Andes

Modern Metropolis in the Andes

Santiago

Set with a backdrop of the Andes to the east and the Pacific coast to the west, Santiago makes for a stunning arrival or departure point. The city has a great range of restaurants and hotels, whilst the vineyards on the city outskirts make some of the continent's most well-known wines.

Itinerary map for Argentina 'Day walks in Southern Patagonia' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Buenos Aires
  • 2 Buenos Aires
  • 3 El Calafate
  • 4 El Calafate
  • 5 El Calafate
  • 6 El Chaltén
  • 7 El Chaltén
  • 8 El Chaltén
  • 9 El Calafate
  • 10 Torres del Paine
  • 11 Torres del Paine
  • 12 Torres del Paine
  • 13 Punta Arenas
  • 14 Punta Arenas
  • 15 Santiago
  • 16 Santiago
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Day walks in Southern Patagonia'

DAY 1
B

Arrive in Buenos Aires

You arrive into Buenos Aires this morning after an overnight flight into Argentina's capital city. At the arrivals terminal a guide greets you and takes you to your chosen hotel where you stay for the next two nights. You can leave your bags at the hotel and you are then taken out for a tour of of this elegant cosmopolitan city. You visit some highlights such as the Obelisk and the historic Plaza de Mayo, and stroll down broad avenues, such as 9 de Julio, lined by impressive buildings. You stop in the colourful quarters of San Telmo and La Boca before continuing with a drive through stylish Palermo with its beautiful parks and gardens, Recoleta, and the modern neighbourhood of Puerto Madero. You return to your hotel later this afternoon.

DAY 2
B

Free day in Buenos Aires

Free day for some independent sightseeing perhaps visiting one or two of the city's art galleries or museums, shopping in the boutique quarter of Palermo. If you are a non-urban person we recommend taking a walk in the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve where there are sandy hiking and bicycling trails through this tranquil nature reserve set between the River Plate and the modern office sky scrappers of Buenos Aires' docklands. Popular with joggers who run along the paths between the lagoons and stands of Pampas grass makes an ideal spot for some early morning and dusk birdwatching, watch out for Capybara amid the water hiacynth in the first former dock 'laguna de los Coipos' too. Later this evening you may perhaps wish to take in a classic Argentine Tango show.

DAY 3
B

Fly to El Calafate

Today you are transferred to the airport in time for your El Calafate, and your first taste of Patagonia. You are met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, either in town or on the shore of the lake. In the afternoon you are free to explore the town independently, and a good place to start could be to visit the glaciarium ice museum situtated 6km beyond town. This is a modern structure that offers a good introduction to the glacial region of Patagonia, whilst at the end of the tour you end up in a unique bar area serving ice cold drinks.

DAY 4
BL

Perito Moreno Glacier (with mini-trekking if possible)

Depart in the morning for a full day excursion which offers an adventurous way of seeing the stunning Perito Moreno glacier. Once in the Glaciers National Park you stop at Bajo la Sombra Bay, approximately 6 km from the Perito Moreno viewpoint, to board a boat that will take you on a 20 minute journey across the ‘Brazo Rico’ of Lake Argentino to a refuge where you will be given ice crampons and instructions on how to walk on ice. You will then set off in groups (usually 10 people) for an exciting ice trek, an unforgettable experience giving you an amazing close up view of the various ice formations, cracks, gullies, cravasses and small lagoons in every shade of blue. The walk will be moderate and although the surface of the ice is irregular, it is firm and your guides will ensure you keep to a secure pathway. Along the way you will learn about the local flora and fauna as well as the general glaciology of the region and of the Perito Moreno, one of very few Patagonian glaciers that are still growing. After a trek of approximately 1h30mins on the glacier, you will return to the refuge via a lush Magellanic forest path before sailing back to Bajo la Sombra and transferring to the main viewpoint for a more conventional view of the phenomenal Glacier from the catwalks that face its snout. Return to your hotel in El Calafate this evening. Note: some seasons the fissures on the glacier become too great for the ice walking mini-trekking to be permitted. In which case you will see the glacier from the catwalks and by boat only. Mini-trekking is only permitted by people aged: 10-65 years

DAY 5
BL

Estancia Cristina - Fossil Canyon trek

An early start today to reach Punta Bandera in time to board your boat for acruise across Lake Argentina to Estancia Cristina. Nestled a setting of glaciers, snow capped peaks and lakes of outstanding beauty the Estancia Cristina has proudly stood since 1914. Founded by Joseph Percival Masters, an Englishman who came to Patagonia in search of fortune by the working the lands around Lake Argentina. Arriving at Estancia Cristina in the late morning, you are taken to visit the Continental Ice Sheet for impressive views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, including the Eastern face of the mighty Upsala Glacier, Lake Guillermo, and the Andes Mountain Range. You then start a magnificent 14km hike through the Cañadón de los Fósiles, a unique valley and a geologists dream where all your hours in geography classrooms come to mind as you hike over slabs of bare rock of every hugh and stripe, through a truly unique and impressive landscape visibly scraped and scoured by the pressure of a once passing glacier and where marine fossils inc belemnites and ammonites have been revealed. Chance to see Condor perched high above from their cliff edge roosts at the top of the canyon above. In the late afternoon you sail back to Puerto Bandera and then continue on to El Calafate to arrive in the early evening. Note: this 14km trek is quite challenging as it involves mostly walking over uneven terrain of bare rocks at an active pace as there is a time pressure to catch the boat back to El Calafate at a fixed time. no opportunity to turn back once commenced. Overall descent 550.m.a.s.l. Minimum Age: 12 years

DAY 6
B

Transfer to El Chaltén at the base of the Fitz Roy massif

Today you are driven (approx 3h) north skirting the end of Lake Argentino then following along the length of Lake Viedma to the small pioneering settlement of El Chaltén in what is regarded as one of the best hiking areas in all of Argentina. On a clear day the scenery on this drive is awe inspiring as the whole of the Fitz Roy massif is laid out before you as you travel ever closer to the base of these jagged peaks. As Lionnel Terray, the first man to reach the summit of the Cerro Torre peak wrote: "It´s the most spectacular geologic convulsion that the terrestrial surface has thrown towards the sky”. On arrival in the village drop off your things at your hotel, and immediately have a chance to stretch your legs perhaps with a gentle hike up to the Mirador de los Condores Condor look-out on the edge of town. Simply take the self-guided trail from beside the National Park visitors' centre office near the bridge at the entry to the village. .

DAY 7
BL

Iconic Laguna de Los Tres Trek

Today you are free to indepenently explore the Los Glaciares National Park's system of well marked trails from El Chalten. We recommend the classic "Laguna de Los Tres" which is a very memorable full-day 9h hike in view of the mighty Mt Fitz Roy peak. It starts with a beautiful walk through characteristic lengas forest, next you pass the Piedras Blancas glacier then once you leave the forest there are good views of the peaks; Fitz Roy, Cero Torre, Poincenot, Saint Exupery, Guillaumet and Mermoz. Shortly after the Poincenot camp ground, midway through this hike is an optional steep staircase-like ascent up to reach stunning glacial lake vantage point at the foot of three sheer peaks. This makes an ideal spot for a picnic lunch. If your knees and ankles aren't up to steep ascents (400m in 1hr) then down by the same steep route, you could drop this optional part and still have a very rewarding day's hike passing Laguna Capri as you walk back down to your hotel into the frontier town of El Chalten. (Tip: get your hotel to provide a box lunch and ask them to arrange an early a.m. shared transfer to the start point at El Pilar. Trekking poles would be a big help - these can be rented locally) If you would like to hire a guide you can do locally, or one can be pre-booked in advance, though trails are well marked and easy to follow.

DAY 8
B

At leisure in El Chaltén for treks in the Los Glaciares National Park

Free day based in the trekking village of El Chalten. This will act as a contingency day in case the weather was too poor to make the big trek yesterday. There are many alternative self-guided trails of varying lengths that you can choose to make today. Another possibility could be to make a Viedma glacier ice trek (depends on condition of the ice locally).

DAY 9
B

Free morning in El Chalten and afternoon transfer to El Calafate

This morning you are free in Chaltén for either another trek in the National Park or to relax in town. This afternoon at the agreed time you return to El Calafate (approx 3hr drive) for one final night before travelling on towards Chile. There is a comfort stop en route at the charming and La Leona roadhouse an historical site on the famous Ruta Nacional #40 highway built on the site where Francisco 'Perito' Moreno (an Argentine scientist and explorer) was attacked and badly injured by a female puma 'la leona'. Here in 1905 three unknown "gringos" holed up for a while. Later when the local constabulary arrived it transpired they were Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid and his wife Ethel Place, on the run after robbing a bank in Rio Gallegos. Because of its strategic location many famous mountaineers stopped here including Jacques Poincenot and Francisco Ibanez the first man to summit the Fitz Roy mountain peak in 1952

DAY 10
BD

to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile - stay at an expedition lodge x 3 nights

Today travel from your hotel in El Calafate across the border of Chile and into Torres del Paine National Park to your chosen Expedition Lodge. The drive into the park takes around 4-5 hours including the border formailities and which part of the Park you will be staying in. The journey is a scenic one as the iconic Torres del Paine skyline creeps into view. Your stay is for three nights on an all-inclusive basis with all your meals and a daily choice of shared guided excursions provided. You simply chose which tour/trek/activity you wish to do from the list that the lodge offers.

DAY 11
BLD

Full day excursion in Torres del Paine

Today you make your pick of the excursions on offer. There is a large variety of half day and full day tours and activities which cover most areas of the park such as the French Valley, Lake Sarmiento, Inges Lagoon, Salto Grande Waterfall, Lake Nordenskjold, Las Torres and Cuernos del Paine. Activities are on a shared basis generally in small groups, and you are able to chose the level of activity you would like and can pick one full day or two half-day excursions each day.

DAY 12
BLD

Full day excursion in Torres del Paine

Today you have a second full day free to chose from the menu of excursions on offer for exploring the Torres del Paine National Park.

DAY 13
B

via Punta Arenas to Santiago

Today you depart this stunning part of the country and travel with other guests from your Expedition Lodge across the grassland Steppe (watch out for Rheas and Guanaco en rout) to Punta Arenas airport where you then take a flight north to Santiago. On a cloudless day there are breataking views of the mighty Southern Icefield as you fly north parallel with the Andes on your right. After you have made your way through the arrivals area you are greeted by your guide and taken to your hotel in the city centre where you then have the remainder of the day at leisure.

DAY 14
B

City tour and afternoon at a winery

you are taken on a tour of the city. You start by strolling through the labyrinth of lanes up to Santa Lucia Hill, the site where Santiago was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1541. You vist Lastarria, a lively neighbourhood that is known as the traditional cultural and gastronomic heart of the city. Walking through Parque Forestal, a narrow slither of greenery and tranquility, locals jog or whizz past on bicycles to reach Bellavista, a bohemian neighbourhood where one of Chile's most famous sons, Pablo Neruda, used to live. Today there is always the latest new restaurant to try, hip boutiques stocking beautiful products and avant-garde galleries exhibiting some of Latin America's best contemporary artists. Finally you arrive at San Cristobal Hill and hop on to the cable car taking you to the Immaculate Conception Sanctuary from where there are stunning panoramic views of the city and on clear days, out to the snow-capped Andes. Later today you head south to the town of Pirque to visit the Concha y Toro Winery, one of the most famous wine makers in Chile. Currently, Viña Concha y Toro is the largest exporter of wine in Latin America, with a presence in over 130 countries. The tour will take you through the country mansion and into the vineyards and wine cellars stocking the most well known Casillero del Diablo bottles. At the end of your tour you will have the opportunity for a tasting of various wines, whilst there is also a shop on site should you wish to take anything away with you.

DAY 15
B

Depart Chile

Leisurely start probably with a free morning in Santiago, then at the appropriate time today you are transferred to Santiago airport in time for your international flight home.

Guide prices for 'Day walks in Southern Patagonia'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
mid-range hotel, shared excursions 2 people sharing £5,040
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Argentina and Chile
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
  • all excursions described
  • domestic flights
Prices do not include:
  • transatlantic flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • airport and departure taxes

Customer reviews for 'Day walks in Southern Patagonia'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Day walks in Southern Patagonia'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Buenos Aires 29°C rainfall 100mm
2 Buenos Aires 29°C rainfall 100mm
3 El Calafate 17°C rainfall 19mm
4 El Calafate 17°C rainfall 19mm
5 El Calafate 17°C rainfall 19mm
6 El Chaltén 17°C rainfall 58mm
7 El Chaltén 17°C rainfall 58mm
8 El Chaltén 17°C rainfall 58mm
9 El Calafate 17°C rainfall 19mm
10 Torres del Paine 16°C rainfall 29mm
11 Torres del Paine 16°C rainfall 29mm
12 Torres del Paine 16°C rainfall 29mm
13 Punta Arenas 15°C rainfall 36mm
14 Punta Arenas 15°C rainfall 36mm
15 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
16 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Day walks in Southern Patagonia'

Days 1 - 2

Pulitzer

Buenos Aires

The Pulitzer is a modern hotel located in the centre of Buenos Aires. Rooms are equipped with safe, minibar, airconditioning and free high speed wifi whlist there is a downstairs bar that serves lights meals and drinks throughout the day. Up on the 7th floor there is a swimming pool and even a gym where it is possible to book in for a massage.

 

 

Pulitzer
Hotel exterior
Days 3 - 5

Hotel Sierra Nevada

El Calafate

This is a lakeside hotel with attractive gardens running down towards the shore of Lago Argentino. Rooms are a little dated, but are equipped with cable TV, private bathroom and heating for the colder months, whilst there is wifi in the communal areas, a small gym and bikes which are free to hire.

Hotel Sierra Nevada
Hotel gardens
Days 6 - 8

Hotel Kalenshen

Kalenshen is a good value, basic accommodation option well located in the centre of town and close to the start of many of the walking trails. There are 17 simple rooms with air conditioning and heating, and whsilt there is an internet connection, like with many of the places to stay in El Chalten it is intermittent. Whilst the rooms are simple, this is one of the few hotels in El Chalten with an indoor pool.

Hotel Kalenshen
Hotel entrance
Day 9

Hotel Sierra Nevada

El Calafate

This is a lakeside hotel with attractive gardens running down towards the shore of Lago Argentino. Rooms are a little dated, but are equipped with cable TV, private bathroom and heating for the colder months, whilst there is wifi in the communal areas, a small gym and bikes which are free to hire.

Hotel Sierra Nevada
Hotel gardens
Days 10 - 12

Hotel Las Torres

Torres del Paine

Located near the start of the trail to the base of the Torres (Towers) the lodge is one of the few located within the park. All the rooms, divided between Standard, Superior and Suites, are en-suite and have central heating, Wi-Fi and hairdryers. There is a restaurant and bar, a Spa, a gift shop, an interpretation centre and a conference centre as well as stables where the local guides work and an organic garden. The location of this hotel is what really sets it apart, and it offers B&B as well as all inclusive programmes.

Hotel Las Torres
Lodge Exterior
Days 13 - 14

Isla Rey Jorge

Punta Arenas

Located near the main square, this colonial building features 22 rooms (including one junior suite) with amenities such as cable TV, telephone, hair-dryer and safety box. The hotel also has a bar which serves food, a games room and internet access.

Isla Rey Jorge
Front of the hotel
Days 15 - 16

Hotel Providencia

Providencia

A newly renovated, 75 room traditional hotel with a garden swimming pool and fitness centre, conveniently located near the Providencia metro station and close to the entrance to the Cerro San Cristobal. Rooms have cable TV, A/C and free Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant on site, as well as pleasant gardens and food is served in the terrace area by the pool.

 

Hotel Providencia
Double room