Trip Itinerary: Trekking South Patagonian Andes
Torres del Paine
Day 1: On arrival into Santiago you will take a 4 hour domestic flight south to Punta Arenas - Chile's southernmost city that is located on the shores of the Magellan Strait. Spend the afternoon exploring the old mansions and historic museums.
Accommodation: Ilaia, Punta Arenas
Day 2: Take a short, 3 hour bus across the Patagonian steppe to the small town of Puerto Natales where your local guide will meet you and brief you for your first trek. You will have the afternoon to buy any supplies you might need for the trek or take a visit to the Milodon Cave, made famous in Bruce Chatwin's book, In Patagonia.
Accommodation: Amerindia, Puerto Natales
Days 3-9: After a good night's rest you'll embark on a week-long Full Circuit trek of Torres del Paine. Upon hiking to the base of the Torres themselves, three magnificent mile-high columns of granite, you'll venture into the less explored areas of the Park. Climbing the Oggioni Pass, you'll be rewarded with an incredible vista of the Dickson Valley with its glacier and melt-water lake. Hiking onwards you'll pass native Lengua and Coigue forests, glistening glaciers and rivers as you make your way up and through the John Garner Pass which opens up to another breath-taking panorama, this time of Grey Glacier (and, on a clear day, of the South Patagonian Ice Field). A steep descent takes you to the shorelines of Lagos Grey and Nordenskjold which you'll follow to complete the Circuit and return to Puerto Natales.
Accommodation: camps and refugios, Hotel Amerindia in Puerto Natales on the final night
Experience Mount Fitz Roy
Day 10: You will depart early for the road journey into Argentina. After checking into your hotel, you will continue your journey to see the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier where a series of walkways take you right to the face of the glacier. You will have time to stand and stare as enormous pieces of ice crash into the blue waters below.
Accommodation: Hotel Sierra Nevada, El Calafate
Day 11: You will continue your journey deep into the heart of the Los Glaciares National Park basing yourself in a cosy hostel in the hikers' haven of El Chalten. After checking-in, you will have the opportunity to head out self-guided onto the more popular, signposted trails. Your first will be to the Laguna Torre. On this hike, you ascend a perfect glaciated valley up to the Laguna Torre with its wonderful views of Cerro Torre and the glacier. It's an easier hike than the Laguna de los Tres, normally done over 5-6 hours and covering 20km.
Accommodation: Nothafagus B&B, El Chalten
Day 12: You will hike self-guided to arguably the best viewpoint in the national park - the Laguna de los Tres. This is a 22km route, ascending approx 800m and taking around 7-9 hours if you take your time to enjoy yourself and take it all in. The route starts on a forest path with views across to the Piedras Blancas glacier, and then you have a steep ascent up to Laguna de los tres, a great place to stop for lunch if conditions permit. The descent takes you to the wonderful Laguna Capri which also offers great views up to the massif. Once back in El Chalten, a must is a stop off in the micro-brewery to celebrate your day's achievement.
Accommodation: Nothafagus B&B, El Chalten
Days 13-16: Today you begin a guided hike, the Huemul Circuit. This route isn't really accessible for the day hikers so you can expect a much more remote experience as well as views over the Patagonian Ice Cap itself. Cerro Huemul stands at nearly 2,700m and this route circumnavigates the mountain and takes you up to Paso del Viento on the edge of the Ice Cap, and then along the edge of the Viedma glacier and lake. It's a 60km+ route with some tough climbs and terrain. You will departure early from El Chalten as you have 6 hours trekking through the forest until you reach Laguna Toro campsite. This hike passes through beautiful meadows whilst enjoying amazing views of the impressive Patagonian spires of Fitz-Roy and Cerro Torre.
Accommodation: Wild camping until the last night spent at Nothafagus B&B, El Chalten
Tierra del Fuego
Day 17: In the morning, transfer to the airport in El Calafate where you will take a short 1-hour flight south to the southern-most city in the world - Ushuaia. Spend the afternoon exploring this quirky city with many museums and busy passenger port.
Accommodation: Hotel Campanilla
Day 18-20: Today you will begin your 3-day trek into the wilds of Tierra del Fuego. This hike takes in enormous valleys, spectacular peaks and in places where there is no path, some seriously wild trekking. Your guide will be with you every step of the way to ensure your safety and make sure that you don't get lost. The scenery, terrain, and experience is completely different to the previous two treks - a real compliment to your Patagonian trekking odyssey.
Accommodation: Wild camping (final night in Hotel Campanilla, Ushuaia)
Day 21: Today you will take a domestic flight to Buenos Aires where depending on your onward flight schedules you will either spend the night here or transfer airports to take your international flight home.
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Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
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