El Calafate

"La Leona" petrified forest

Length: 09 a 16:30
Grade of difficulty: Easy
Experience required: No trekking experience required
Season: October to April

Note: You can start this excursion in El Calafate and continue your journey to El Chaltén

Description

Come along with us to discover the wonderful world of petrified forests and gigantic dinosaurs that inhabited this area millions of years ago! This excursion, which takes us on a journey through a fantasy landscape that seems like another world, takes places on an estancia (ranch) half way between El Calafate and El Chaltén, just off a section of the mythical Route 40. This different option allows you to spend a day on the Patagonian steppe and is designed especially for those who enjoy being in contact with nature and want to experience unique places.

Itinerary

We depart El Calafate at 9 am for the 100-kilometre drive, partly along the mythical Route 40. During this journey we travel around the edge of the gigantic Lake Argentino and its wide valley, with views of the infinite hues of ochre across the immense Patagonian Steppe, with the Andes Mountains and the imposing Mount Fitz Roy as a backdrop. We make a stop for about 15/20 minutes at Hotel La Leona (historical site).

From here, we take a dirt track for 10 kilometres towards the west, along the south shore of Lake Viedma, as far as the slopes of Mount Los Hornos (Estancia Santa Teresita), where we arrive at the palaeontological site at around midday.

The next part of the tour takes us on foot into the enormous and deep depression in the ground, where 70 million year old petrified tree trunks can be found and from where we begin our adventure among the fossils. We make a stop for lunch at the halfway point of the walk.

During the entire walk it is possible to see an infinite number of petrified tree trunks lying on the surface, some with diameters of up to 1.20 m, bearing witness to times gone by when the climate was very different and supported abundant large-scale flora.

Fossil remains of various different types of dinosaurs are occasionally uncovered.

This area is protected from the wind by Mount Los Hornos and by the fact that it is a natural depression in the ground.

As it is in an area of steppe, it is very dry and the weather conditions are generally very pleasant.

The return bus leaves at approximately 2 pm and there is another stop at Hotel La Leona, from where transport will take you to El Chaltén, El Calafate or the airport (FTE), arriving at all of these destinations at about 4.30 pm. If your flight leaves after 6 pm, you can take advantage of this activity before catching your plane

This excursion is perfect for anyone who is coming to the end of their stay in El Calafate and wishes to continue their journey to El Chaltén.

  • Programme details
  • Includes:
  • Specialist guide.
  • Return transfer (*).
  • Food: Packed lunch.
  • Tourist Activities Permit.
  • Entrance to private property.
  • Insurance.
  • (*) Options to end the excursion in El Chaltén, El Calafate or the airport (FTE) Please ask us about this.
  • Doesn't include:
  • Personal kit (see suggested personal kit).
  • Refreshments at Hotel La Leona.
  • Alcoholic or fizzy drinks.
  • Tips.
  • Services not specified in the programme.
  • Requirements:
  • Good physical condition.
  • No trekking experience required.
  • Children restricted: Excursion only for children of 6 years and over.
  • 50% discount for children between 6 and 12 years.
  • Recommended personal kit:
  • Small back pack.
  • Warm hat.
  • Sun hat.
  • Fleece.
  • Warm jacket.
  • Trekking trousers.
  • Gloves.
  • Trekking boots.
  • Sunglasses with UV filt.
  • Sunscreen (FPS 60) and lip balm.
  • Water bottle.
  • Camera.
  • Weather conditions
  • Although the weather in the zone is relatively stable, the activity may be suspended in the event of heavy rain.
  • Cancellation policy:
  • If the activity is suspended due to the weather (heavy rain at the palaeontological site), refunds will be given as follows:
  • If the tour DOES NOT leave El Calafate: 100% of the cost of the excursion + transfer.
  • If the tour DOES leave El Calafate: Just the cost of the excursion.
  • Due to the fact that the site is in a remote area, the conditions will be verified in situ. In other words, upon the arrival of the group it will be the guide who will decide whether or not to continue with the excursion.


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El Chaltén - Santa Cruz - Patagonia – Argentina
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