• Patagonia

On South America’s southern frontier, uncover a vast and exotic land of wild beauty. Come and discover with us the towering granite peaks, impressive glaciers, secluded lakes, beech forests and rolling grasslands of Patagonia.

Overview

Our adventure starts with the fully supported, classic ‘W’ Trek, into the heart of the Torres del Paine National Park.  Staying in mountain refugios and the ruggedly comfortable, world renowned Eco Camp, we trek to the base of the famous granite monoliths that rise above the deep blue glacial lakes.

We hit the water next to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field as we kayak along the Serrano River. We paddle to viewpoints rarely visited by other travellers, passing glaciers and icebergs and camping in the wild beside the river.  This kayaking adventure is a great way to experience the wilderness of Torres del Paine NP.

Next highlight on our journey is Los Glaciares National Park as we set out to explore the granite peaks that have inspired mountaineers and trekkers throughout the world.  We stay in comfortable lodges as we trek around these peaks before heading north to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 Your tour leader and crew:


Clare Davissen
is an avid trekker and has enjoyed the great outdoors across six continents. She has extensive trekking experience including Everest Base Camp, Kokoda, the UK’s famous Coast to Coast walk and Spain’s Camino de Santiago. Clare also designed and leads our Mongolia trek. Clare has been the driving force in researching and developing Back Track Adventures’ Patagonia program. Clare’s energy, enthusiasm and bubbly personality make her the ideal companion in any outdoor adventure.
Clare works in the Back Track Adventures office as our Sales & Reservations manager as well as designing new trip itineraries.

You will also be accompanied on this tour by experienced, professional, English speaking guides who will be happy and honoured to share their knowledge. Expert drivers will handle the road transportation throughout the journey. They will safely deliver you to your destination.A support team of guides, cooks, and porters will join you. Your interaction with the local crew will greatly enhance your enjoyment. In a nutshell, you’re in good hands.

 

Accommodation

Throughout our journey we are staying in small, comfortable, locally operated lodges interspersed with a few nights in mountain refugios and riverside camping. The highlight of our stay is at the award-winning EcoCamp Patagonia. The accommodation is composed of eco-friendly and completely sustainable geodesic domes. EcoCamp was the first hotel of its kind in the world, and since then, has become an industry leader in sustainable lodging. This is a comfortable oasis where you can connect with the dramatic nature of the Torres del Paine National Park as well as kick back and enjoy delicious food and beverages.
We travel on a variety of transport methods throughout our Patagonian adventure – private chartered mini-bus, boat, kayaks, catamaran, public bus and of course, most importantly, trekking. This journey is suitable for anyone in good health, with sound fitness, a lively sense of fun and a spirit of adventure!

 

 

Costs & dates


TRIP DURATION & GRADING 16 days. START: Punta Arena | FINISH: El Calafate

PATAGONIA GRADING: CHALLENGING


COST^ & DATES
  • 27 January – 11 February 2018
  • AUD $9969*^ land only. All prices are subject to change based on exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Single supplement $2256.
  • Contact us for the BEST FLIGHT DEALS

INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS  YOUR TRIP INCLUDES:

  • AUSTRALIAN TREK LEADER
  • All ground transportation as indicated (including airport transfers on group flights)
  • Boat crossing on Grey Lake, Torres del Paine
  • National Park fees
  • Expert English speaking local guide in each location
  • All accommodations as indicated
  • Drinks included at EcoCamp (water & wine only)
  • All meals as noted in Itinerary
  • Complete Kayaking gear
  • Complete Camping gear including sleeping bag & mat Sleeping Bag for refugios in Torres del Paine
  • Porters for W Trek
  • Crew Tips
  • All excursions mentioned in Itinerary

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Transfers in Punta Arenas and El Calafate if not arriving on group flights
  • Optional Ice trekking in Perito Moreno
  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Personal medical requirements including vaccinations
  • Meals not shown on itinerary
  • Additional sightseeing, souvenirs, laundry, phone calls, all items of a personal nature

GROUP SIZE: maximum 11 people, plus trek leader.


Itinerary overview

TRIP OVERVIEW. (Please note: the weather in Patagonia can be difficult to deal with at times.   The local trip guide may need to modify, change or eliminate part of the itinerary based on safety and weather considerations).
1 Arrival day in Punta Arenas
2 Travel to Torres del Paine NP via Puerto Natales (BLD)
3 Beginning of the ‘W’ Trek. TREK to Refugio Los Cuernos (BLD)
4 TREK French Valley (BLD)
5 TREK to Grey Glacier.  Grey Lake Navigation (BLD)
6 TREK Towers Base (BLD)
7 Eastern Lakes excursion (BLD)
8 Transfer to Serrano River to begin Kayak trip. (BLD)
9 KAYAK to Mt Balmaceda (BLD)
10 KAYAK towards Puerto Toro.  Catamaran on Last Hope Fjord.  Transfer to Puerto Natales.  (BL)
11 Travel to El Chalten via El Calafate (BL)
12 TREK to Laguna Torre (BL)
13 TREK to Laguna Los Tres (BL)
14 TREK to Pliegue Tumbado (BL)
15 Full Day Perito Merno Private Excursion (BL)
16 Trip ends after breakfast (B)

Itinerary

Day 1, Monday 27th January 2018

Arrival

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

Today is your arrival day in Punta Arenas.   The day is at your leisure to explore this picturesque city on the edge of the Strait of Magellan.

Overnight Hotel Cabo de Hornos (or similar), Torres del Paine National Park

 

 Day 2, Sunday 28th January 2018

THE PATAGONIAN ADVENTURE STARTS

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

Today we depart Punta Arenas and drive to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. En route we stop for a hearty local lunch in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of “Seno de Ultima Esperanza”. The day ends at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and with a prime view of the majestic Torres. Sunset is usually around 11pm during the summer months, so once you arrive, there will be plenty of daylight for you to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

 

Day 3, Monday 29th January 2018

LOS CUERNOS

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

We begin our Patagonian adventure with a pleasant up walk through the sinuous Cuernos Trail which leads us alongside the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. The trek ends at Refugio Los Cuernos, a small and cozy mountain refuge located by the shores of Lake Nordenskjold. Alternatively, the trek ends at Domo el Francés, located between Cuernos and Italiano camping sites, with an amazing view of Nordenskjöld lake. The evening is free for relaxing and enjoying dinner.

Overnight Refugio Cuernos or Domo El Francés (depending on availability), Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

 

Day 4, Tuesday 30th January 2018

THE PAINE MASSIF’S HEART: VALLE FRANCES

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

After breakfast, we will begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that leads to the very heart of the Paine Massif. We will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley where we will be able to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley’s geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After our upward trek, we will pause for a picnic and relax a while. This day’s trek will end as we descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest which will take us to Refugio Paine Grande.

N.B. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is also available.

Overnight Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

 

Day 5, Wednesday 31st January

GLACIER GREY

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

This day will see us hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern side of the glacially beautiful Lake Grey. We will feast on a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails right to the huge, crystalline facade of Glacier Grey, where we will have plenty of time to marvel at the calving glacier. From the southern end of Glacier Grey we will transfer to EcoCamp.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

 

Day 6, Thursday 1st February

THE BIG CHALLENGE: TORRES DEL PAINE

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

The goal of our fifth day of our 7-day Trek will be to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine National Park! We will walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending to Ascencio Valley on the Tower’s eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead us to that iconic base-view of the Towers – Three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, 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 our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp for a well-deserved dinner.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

 

Day 7, Friday 2nd February

EASTERN LAKES*

Torres del Paine NP, Chile

After breakfast, we will take a leisurely car journey towards Laguna Azul, passing Cañadón Macho, home to many wild guanacos and ñandúes, en route. At Laguna Azul, we will hike to the lookout point where we will be treated to a gorgeous view of both the lagoon and granite towers. After lunch, we will drive to the northern shore of Sarmiento Lake where the Fauna Trail begins. As we hike northbound, we will spot an impressive range of Patagonian fauna on the vast plains, including: guanacos, ostrich-like ñandús and maybe the occasional puma print! We will pass the charming Goic lagoon and after approximately 5km of relaxed walking, we will reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station where we will be picked up and driven back to Ecocamp to celebrate over our farewell dinner.

*Please note that if there are more than 6 travellers in the group there’s an option to split into two groups, with one group (or the whole group if everybody’s in the mood!) cycling to Laguna Azul!

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

 

Day 8, Saturday 3rd February

BEGINNING OF KAYAK ADVENTURE!

Torres del Paine NP, Serrano River

We start the day driving towards Serrano Camp on the southwest shore of the Park, where the Serrano River begins its winding path towards the Pacific Ocean leaving Torres del Paine NP. When we reach the camp we’re given equipment and a safety briefing for the next three days of our adventure. We start paddling down Serrano River with spectacular scenery around us and passing beautiful mountains covered in Lenga forests. We disembark at a riverside campsite near the mouth of the Tyndall River, pitch our tents and enjoy dinner by the campfire.

Overnight tent, Tyndall river (BLD)

 

Day 9, Sunday 4th February

SOUTHERN ICE FIELD GLACIERS

Serrano River, Mount Balmaceda

After a hearty breakfast, we continue our kayaking journey. As we paddle down this section of the river we enjoy magnificent views of Tyndall Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the enormous Southern Patagonian Ice Field. We stop at Estancia Pekin Guerrero for lunch and afterwards paddle for about 3 hours through Patagonic fjords overlooked by the beautiful Mount Balmaceda. We finally reach Mount Balmaceda itself, where our cozy mountain lodge awaits us.

Overnight Balmaceda Mountain Lodge (BLD)

 

Day 10, Monday 5th February

BALMACEDA GLACIER AND LAST HOPE FJORD

Balmaceda Glacier, Last Hope Fjord, Puerto Natales

During the morning we kayak to Balmaceda Glacier. Located in Bernardo O’Higgins NP, this hanging glacier stands at over two thousand metres! It is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and its icebergs calve in the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) Fjord. The Balmaceda Glacier can only be visited by taking a marine route, so we are privileged to view this rarely seen wonder. After enjoying great views close to the glacier, we paddle towards the main dock of O’Higgins NP. At this point we leave the kayaks and board the catamaran that takes us to Puerto Natales, crossing the Last Hope Fjord. On this sailing route we feel the famous Patagonian winds for the last time and enjoy sporadic shows of local marine fauna. We finally reach the picturesque town of Puerto Natales, where a driver takes us to our hotel. Adios Torres del Paine!

Overnight at Puerto Natales hotel (BL)

 

Day 11, Tuesday 6th February

HEADING TO LOS GLACIARES NP, ARGENTINA

Los Glaciares NP, Argentina

Waking up early, we take a transfer to El Calafate, a small town set on the edge of Los Glaciares National Park, bathed in dramatic scenery and natural beauty. After lunch in Calafate we continue to El Chalten, a tiny outpost beside Los Glaciares National Park, and at the foot of the impressive Mount Fitz Roy. The drive will take us across isolated dirt roads, through the pampas and along the northern end of Viedma lake. Once we’ve checked into our hotel in El Chalten, it’s time to get some rest and prepare for the upcoming days.

Overnight Hosteria Senderos 3*, El Chalten (BL)

N.B. The following excursions around El Chaltén might vary in order

 

Day 12, Wednesday 7th February

HIKE TO LAGUNA TORRE

Los Glaciares NP, Argentina

Today we do a full day hike along the Cerro Torre trail to Laguna Torre, a stunning mountain lake with the majestic Mount Torre in the background. We set off after breakfast walking eastwards following the trail through beech forests towards Fitz Roy River. We continue towards Base Camp de Agostini and then do a short hike to Laguna Torre, admiring the western view of Cerro Torre and the Adela range. Icebergs can be seen peacefully floating on Laguna Torre as the wind pushes them towards the coast. We stop at various points to appreciate the magnificent view and enjoy a picnic.

Upon our return, we are free to enjoy a delicious dinner at one of Chalten’s cozy restaurants.

Overnight Hosteria Senderos 3*, El Chalten (BL)

 

Day 13, Thursday 8th February

LAGUNA LOS TRES

Los Glaciares NP, Argentina

Today we trek to Laguna Los Tres, with a great view of Mount Fitz Roy – the landmark of Los Glaciares National Park! We begin our hike by heading towards Laguna Capri, passing its northern corner. Then we follow the Fitz Roy Trail up to Blanco river, passing the mountaineering camp Poicenot. Finally, a short steep trail takes us to Laguna de Los Tres where we witness one of the park’s most marvellous natural scenes – the turquoise-blue of the lagoon framed by Fitz Roy’s spires and glaciers. Here is the perfect time to enjoy our picnic and soak up the scenery while relaxing in such a memorable place. When everyone’s ready we hike back to Laguna Capri and continue along the trail back to tiny Chalten to spend the final night in our hotel here.

Overnight Hosteria Senderos 3*, El Chalten (BL)

 

Day 14, Friday 9th February

PLIEGUE TUMBADO TREK & EL CALAFATE

Los Glaciares NP, Argentina

After an hour or so of walking a slight incline and forging our path through some enchanting woods of lenga beeches and ñire trees, we will stumble upon an open space called the Pampa de las Carretas, providing us with panoramic, stunning views of Mount Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre and the Huemul glacier. As the forest thins, we will find ourselves in a bleaker, more mountainous landscape, with the path leading us to the Pliegue Tumbado viewpoint. During this stretch, we’ll have no trouble finding marine fossils, such as ammonites and belemnites, which are over 100 million years old. This viewpoint will give us a spectacular view of almost the entire area: the Fitz Roy River Canyon, Cerro Torre and the glacier, the Madre and Hija Lagoons, Mount Fitz Roy and even the Cóndor Lagoon.  Returning to Chalten before heading off to El Calafate and our overnight here.

Overnight Hostería Sierra Nevada 3*, El Calafate (BL)

 

Day 15, Saturday 10th February

GLACIER PERITO MORENO

Calafate, Argentina

We wake up and prepare for the 60m high Perito Moreno glacier! Unlike the regular tours going straight to the panoramic viewpoint, we’ll first marvel at the splendour of the glacier’s less visited north face. We watch and hear giant chunks of ice plummet into the waters of Argentino lake and our guide will answer questions about the glacier. We then continue on to the footbridges and take a break to soak up the surroundings. This day also includes a navigation of around one hour in Argentino Lake. After the thrilling encounter with the glacier we drive back to Calafate and stay in the same hotel.

Optional Excursions: If you’d like to up the action when visiting Perito Moreno, you can sail across the Lake towards the glacier walls and do a short ice trekking; technical experience isn’t required. N.B. Due to operational insurance issues, the age limit for doing the ice trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier is 65-years-old.

Overnight Hostería Sierra Nevada 3*, El Calafate (BL)

 

Day 16, Sunday 11th February

ADIOS

Calafate, Argentina

Today marks the end of our memorable trip… Adios Patagonia, hopefully we’ll meet again! (B)

 

 

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