Patagonia Total: El Calafate, El Chaltén & Torres del Paine

An exclusive proposal from Walk Patagonia to embark on a spectacular and unforgettable programme that includes the most diverse activities in the most extraordinary places of Patagonia. Vist the Perito Moreno Glacier, be amazed by an ancient petrified forest on the infinite Patagonian steppe, walk along the most famous paths in the area of El Chaltén – Fitz Roy, experience trekking on the biggest glacier in Argentina, navigate immense lakes, share experiences with travellers from all over the world in mountain refuges and enjoy the beautiful views of the indescribable masses of granite at Torres del Paine in Chile.

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: Madre Tierra Boutique Hotel or similar.

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: Madre Tierra Boutique Hotel or similar.

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, you’ll have time to explore this small pioneer town, where traffic lights and jams are still a thing of the future!

– Overnight: Hostería Senderos or similar.

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 back into El Chaltén, why not enjoy a local homebrew or hot chocolate with waffles and homemade cake?!

– Duration 8/9 Hs

– Distance: 22 Km.

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: Hostería Senderos or similar.

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 famous climbers in the past have spent a night or two before scaling one of these granite massifs.

– Duration 6 Hs

– Distance: 20 Km.

– Overnight: Hostería Senderos or similar.

Day 7
Trek to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado and Bus to El Calafate

The final 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). On your return to Chaltén you will catch the 18.30 bus back to Calafate. On arrival, either walk or taxi to hotel.

– Duration 6/7 Hs

– Distance: 18 Km.

– Overnight: Madre Tierra Boutique Hotel or similar.

Day 8
Journey from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile)

Today a travel day, starts with a car picking you up and driving you to the bus station where you catch the bus to Puerto Natales You arrive into your new town about 13/14hs. (Depends on the border crossing). When you arrive into Puerto Natales you can either walk or catch a taxi to your accommodation. In the afternoon we can go through the next few days in the National Park with you. Perfect time to ask any questions! Free afternoon for a wander round Pto Natales – visit local museum and try the national tipple of Pisco Sour?!

– Overnight: Hotel Vendaval or similar.

Day 9
Base of The Towers

This morning you take a public bus from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park. You drive across the open steppe and huge ranches (estancias), and you might be able to observe one of the most typical animals in this area, the ñandu, (rare South American ostrich). Upon entering the park you have excellent photographic and birding opportunities as the bus drives alongside lagoons frequented by Chilean flamencos and black-necked swans.

After the bus ride and a shuttle bus you arrive at Hotel Las Torres, from where you start the hike up to the famous base of the Towers.

You continue through the valley for another hour and a half before ascending a huge terminal moraine to a lookout, excellent for picture taking. This amazing view will be accompanied by lunch to add to the enjoyment. After being awed by the towers you’ll start the descent, following the same path back to the hut. Dinner will be served in the Refugio.

– Distance: 22 Km.

– Duration: 8 hours

– Overnight: Las Torres Campsite or Refuge (upon availability), full board

Day 10
Nordenskjold lake

After breakfast at the Refugio you request your pack lunch at the reception and start the hike to Refugio Los Cuernos. As we leave the hut we soon arrive at Inge lagoon. Chances are, on this path, we may see the flight of an Andean condor or eagles hunting hares or small rodents. You follow a well marked trail ascending around (200 mts.) from the base of Almirante Nieto Mountain (2750 mts.), crossing the Bader River to arrive at Refugio Los Cuernos where you stay overnight. Today is an easier day, permitting lots of time to enjoy the views of this famous national park.

– Duration 4/5 Hs.

– Distance: 13 Km.

– Overnight: Los Cuernos Refuge or Campsite (upon availability), full board

Day 11
French Valley

Today’s hike is a challenging trek to heart of the Paine massif. The French Valley is a spectacular natural basin surrounded by peaks and hanging glaciers. You set off on a 2-hour hike through a winding path to the French River. At the entrance to the French Valley – a glacial moraine – you’ll scramble over huge boulders and catch the first sight of the hanging glacier atop the valley. From this point, you’ll ascend for an hour through a dreamlike Japanese garden landscape before arriving at the French Valley viewpoint (the “Plateau”). Your reward is a heart-stirring bird’s eye view of granite peaks and hanging glaciers. Take your time to have lunch at the viewpoint, surrounded by these imposing peaks and open skies. You descend via the same path until you reach the valley’s entrance, at which point you continue around the south-west side of Paine Grande, Torres del Paine’s highest peak. This final leg passes through native firebush and evergreen beech forests to the shores of Pehoe Lake. Dinner will be served at Refugio Paine Grande.

– Duration: 9 Hs.

– Distance: 18 Km.

– Overnight: Paine Grande Refuge or Campsite (upon availability), full board

Day 12
Glacier Grey

Set out early after breakfast, ascending 200 meters through the narrow winding path to Laguna Los Patos. Here, you’ll see sections of the massive Southern Patagonian Ice Field, a geological phenomenon that still hides many unclimbed mountains. From here you’ll continue to Grey Glacier’s lookout point, passing forests and rivers, with possible sightings of the spectacled and flying steamer ducks that call them home.

After lunch you set off by boat across Grey Lake, to the massive facade of Grey Glacier. You will have time to observe the wall’s textures, lines and colors – and of course, watch for ice calvings. On your return journey you’ll see the wind-sculpted “ice mushrooms” atop the massive peaks of Paine Grande, as we sail past blue-hued icebergs. On dry land once again, we’ll take our transfer back to Puerto Natales.

– Duration 4 Hs. Hiking

– Distance: 11 Km.

– Overnight: Hotel Vendaval or similar.

Day 13
Bus to El Calafate/Punta Arenas and Fly Out

Either walk or order a taxi to take you to the bus station and depart for the town from which your flight leaves. We can advise. If flying from El Calafate you can catch a flight any time after 16 Hs. End of Services.

This includes:

Accommodation:

  • 3 nights accommodation in El Calafate in Madre Tierra Boutique Hotel, or similar, includes breakfast.
  • 4 nights accommodation in El Chaltén in Hostería Senderos, or similar, includes breakfast.
  • 2 nights accommodation in Puerto Natales in Hotel Vendaval, or similar, includes breakfast.
  • 3 nights accommodation in refuges in Torres del Paine Park, includes breakfast & made up bed in dorm.

Meals:

  • Breakfast: every day.
  • Box lunch on Days: 3,10,11,12.
  • Evening meals on Days: 9,10,11.
  • Transport:
  • Transport from your hotel in Calafate to Chaltén with a visit to the Petrified Forest en route.
  • Transfer to trailhead for Laguna de los Tres hike
  • Transfer to Lago del Desierto
  • Public bus Chaltén-Calafate.
  • Public bus Calafate/Puerto Natales/Calafate (or Punta Arenas).
  • Public bus Pto Natales/Torres del Paine National Park/Pto Natales.
  • Catamaran across Pudeto to Paine Grande Refuge.

Excursions:

  • Excursion to Perito Moreno glacier.
  • Excursion to Petrified Forest – La Leona.
  • Guided trek to Laguna de los Tres.
  • Kayak at Lago del Desierto

Others:

  • Guide on Days 2,3,4 & 5.
  • Suit for the kayak excursion.
  • Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Help/advice from us while you are in Chaltén and Puerto Natales.

This doesn’t include:

  • Entrance fee to Los Glaciares National Park
  • Entrance fee to Huemul glacier viewpoint (at Lago del Desierto, in El Chaltén)
  • Meals not mentioned.
  • Fizzy and alcoholic drinks.
  • Personal equipment (look at the recommended kit list).
  • Travel insurance.
  • Anything not specified in the programme.

Recommended Personal Kit List:

  • Back pack (60 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.
  • Tape/Compeed – something for blisters.
  • Personal hygiene kit.
  • Penknife.
  • Ear plugs
  • Head torch
  • Plastic bags (various sizes).
  • iPod, small book, camera, etc.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Trip Facts

  • 13 days and 12 nights
  • 2 Moderate
  • October to April
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