Classic Calafate & Chaltén

El Calafate and El Chaltén are the departure points to visit some of the most emblematic glaciers and peaks of around the world. Walk Patagonia has prepared a selection of the main highlights for you to visit in Glaciares National Park: Perito Moreno Glacier, Mounts Torre and Fitz Roy. This programme also includes spectacular trekkings to deep blue lagoons and through magical lenga forest, and the great experience to be surprised by the arid landscape of the steppe by visiting a 70 million year old Petrified Forest. This programme includes comfy and friendly accommodation where you can relax and replenish your energy levels after days full of discovery and excitement.

Day 1
El Calafate

Arrive into El Calafate. Depending on what time you arrive you might have time for visiting the centre, bird watching at Laguna Nimes or visiting Glaciarium – the ice museum – a great introduction to Patagonia! (And maybe a drink in the ice bar?!)

– Overnight: Accommodation in El Calafate.

Day 2
Excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier

Your day will begin with an hour’s journey to the port where you will embark on a boat ride that gives you a unique approach to the glacier. The drive follows a beautiful route around the edge of Lake Argentino. There will be time for photo stops along the way and you may even be lucky enough to spot condors and eagles.

Once you have stepped aboard, the boat will take you along Canal de Los Témpanos toward the northern face of the glacier. Before you reach the glacier, the lake branches off and you will enter Seno Mayo until you get to Bahia Toro where black sand meets glacial blue waters. You will hop out here and take a short walk through beautiful coihue forest, typical of the Patagonian Andean region. Finally, you arrive at an impressive waterfall and fascinating rock formations. Your guide will tell you all about the fauna and flora, glacial formations and the history of Perito Moreno, not just a glacier but a person, too!

On return to the boat, you will continue the ride before making a second stop for another forest walk and a closer look at Glacier Mayo. You will embark once more for an hour’s boat ride that will take you right up to the northern face of Perito Moreno. You will spend some time watching its spectacular display of calving ice and the formation of deep blue icebergs.

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After disembarking at the bottom of the walkways opposite the glacier, you will have the opportunity to explore along the paths, which offer brilliant views of the glacier from a different perspective.

If you are lucky you will also see some ice calving, creating great waves on the lake. You will have time for wandering around and enjoying the views. There is a cafeteria at the glacier for snacks and hot drinks. At the end of the day you will be dropped off at your hotel. A great highlight to start your trip on!

– Overnight: Accommodation in El Calafate.

Day 3
Excursion to Petrified Forest and transfer to El Chaltén

You will be picked up from your hotel at about 9am and driven to La Leona ranch. Here you will have time for a quick toilet/coffee stop. You will then get back on the bus and go along an unpaved road in an estancia to then go walking for a couple of hours in the petrified forest. During the walk you will be able to marvel at this unique scenery. We will learn a bit about the geology of the area and the dinosaurs that used to live in this area some 70 million years ago. This arid landscape is quite different to the lush forests you will see near Chaltén! After lunch you will carry on with the journey and arrive into Chaltén at about 4.30pm. In the afternoon we will go through the rest of your time here in El Chaltén.

– Duration 7/8 Hs

– Overnight: Accommodation in El Chaltén

Day 4
Trek to Laguna De los Tres and back to El Chaltén

This trek is one of the classic and unforgettable treks in Southern Patagonia. You will leave El Chaltén with your guide in a transfer to the trailhead, at El Pilar, half an hour away. You then start this lovely walk in a forest on a path that ascends gently until you reach the viewpoint of Piedras Blancas glacier. You’ll have a short break here to enjoy the view of this hanging glacier, a perfect example for a Geology schoolbook, with its seracs, lateral moraines and lake. You then continue on past Poincenot and Río Blanco campsites. After another short break, you start the most challenging section of the day up to Laguna de los Tres. The effort is all made worth it by the breath-taking views you get at the top, of Mt Fitz Roy and its satellite mountains. After lunch, enjoying this amazing view, you start the descent towards El Chaltén via Laguna Capri, another very photographic spot in the national park! When you arrive into El Chaltén, why not celebrate and enjoy a local homebrew or hot chocolate with waffles and homemade cake?!

– Duration: 8/9 Hs.

– Distance: 22 Km.

– Overnight: Accommodation in El Chaltén.

Day 5
Kayak at Lago del Desierto

You start the day with a transfer to Lago del Desierto. You will travel along a scenic route of 37 km (for around one hour an a half).

Once at destination, the kayak instructor will provide you with the basics for a safe paddling experience. Once you put on the suits, you will be ready to go on water!

You will also have some free time to go hiking self-guided to Huemul Glacier viewpoint. This is a short but steep walk but offers lovely views of the hanging glacier and along the length of the valley towards El Chaltén.

-Excursion duration: 7 Hs

-Overnight: Accommodation in El Chaltén

Day 6
Trek to Laguna Torre

Today you will walk on your own. You can depart from the hotel by foot. The trek is a bit gentler than the day before – not so much climbing! Today you enjoy the views of Mt Torre, the Aldea Range, Mt Solo and several glaciers. During the trek you’ll be able to appreciate several glacial terrains, ñire and lenga forests and some great spots for panoramic views. Geologists and photographers for its perfect shape love this glacial valley. You can also visit De Agostini campground where some of the most famous climbers in the world have spent a night or two before scaling one of these granite massifs. Another great day of nature!

– Duration: 6 Hs

– Distance: 20 Km.

– Overnight: Accommodation in El Chaltén.

Day 7
Trek to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado

The final self guided trek in the national park; it also starts from the door of your hotel! This trek takes you along less walked trails and takes you up to a 360° viewpoint. You can appreciate the Torre and Fitz Roy valleys, the mountains themselves, the Patagonian steppe and Viedma Lake – the largest lake of Argentina. In the last section of the trail you will come across different flora, found in these high plateaus and exposed areas, and if you look closely you will also spot marine fossils (ammonites and belemnites).

– Duration: 6/7 Hs.

– Distance: 18 Km.

– Overnight: Accommodation in El Chaltén.

Day 8
Bus to Calafate / Airport

The bus to Calafate departs at 8 o’clock, arriving in at the airport at about 10.30/11am so you can catch any flight 12 o’clock onwards. End of Services

Optional extras/changes

  • If you want to live the experience of trekking and camping we can adjust this programme accordingly.
  • If you want to learn more about El Chaltén you can hire a guide. Please ask.
  • Beside the beautiful landscapes, Chaltén has a very interesting history. To find out more about it, we recommend you doing the guided tour to Andreas Madsen’s House, one of the first families in this region.

Includes:

Accommodation:

  • 2 nights accommodation in El Calafate, includes breakfast.
  • 5 nights accommodation in El Chaltén, includes breakfast.

Meals:

  • Packed lunch on Day 3.

Transport:

  • Transport from your hotel in Calafate to Chaltén with a visit to the Petrified Forest en route.
  • Transfer to trailhead for trekking on Day 4.
  • Transfer to Lago del Desierto for the kayak excursion.
  • Public bus Chaltén-Calafate or airport.

Excursions:

  • Excursion to Perito Moreno glacier.
  • Excursion to Petrified Forest – La Leona.
  • Guided trek to Laguna de los Tres.
  • Kayak on Lago del Desierto.
  • Entrance to Private property.
  • Help/advice from us while you are in Chaltén.

This doesn’t include:

  • Entrance fee to Perito Moreno glacier (about U$S20 per person).
  • Transfers in El Calafate.
  • Personal equipment (look at the recommended kit list).
  • Gratuities.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Anything not specified in the programme.

Recommended Personal Kit List:

  • Back pack (30 litres).
  • Warm hat.
  • Cap/sun hat.
  • Buff/scarf (something to keep your neck warm).
  • Short and long sleeved t-shirts (synthetic).
  • Fleece.
  • Waterproof jacket with hood (like Gore-Tex).
  • Trekking trousers.
  • Waterproof trousers.
  • Warm gloves.
  • Light waterproof trekking boots.
  • Trekking poles (optional – or hire locally).
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Sun block (SPF 40) and lip balm (it’s dry in Patagonia).
  • Water bottle – 1 litre.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Trip Facts

  • 8 days and 7 nights
  • 5 Moderate | Requires experience in trekking
  • October to April
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