Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- A day visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier involves a boat ride along Canal de Los Tempanos and three separate walks, witnessing different sides of the glacier
- Add on a glacier ice hike, learning about the formation of the lagoons, cracks and sinkholes as you navigate through them
- Trek through dense lenga forests to Laguna de los Tres, from where a host of glaciers and the magnificent Mount Fitz Roy will treat you
- Hike the Torre Valley to Laguna Torre, admiring the diverse birds that circle overhead and huge icebergs that have fallen off the glacier face
- Uncover the finer details of the region with an expert local guide assisting you throughout the trip
Day 1: Transfer from El Calafate Airport to accommodation in town
Explore the town of El Calafate with a free afternoon following your arrival. The bustling centre is host to various restaurants, bars and shops, and a warm friendliness imbues the atmosphere. Hostal Schilling is a friendly B&B with simple rooms, located two blocks from the main avenue.
Accommodation: Hostal Schilling
Day 2: Full day excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier
You can't visit this part of the world without visiting the captivating Perito Moreno Glacier. Your day will begin with an hour's journey to Puerto Bandera 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 journey will take you along Canal de Los Tempanos 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 rainforest, 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.
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.
After disembarking at the bottom of the visitor 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.
Return to El Calafate to collect luggage and join an evening shared shuttle to El Chalten.
Alternative excursion (extra): Ice hike on the glacier - during the trek you learn all about the behaviour of the glacier and its natural environment; you will be mesmerised by countless blue lagoons, deep cracks, and huge sinkholes.
Length of excursion: 9 hours
Accommodation: Patagonia Hostel
Day 3: Group guided trek to Laguna de los Tres
This trek starts with a transfer to the trailhead at El Pilar, located 17km to the north of the town. The journey itself is enjoyable for the lovely views of the valley, the Rio de Las Vueltas, that we drive along, and the impressive Cordon de Los Condores. After about 20 minutes you will start to see Mount Fitz Roy from a different angle. You'll then set out on the walk, traversing through a dense forest of lengas that protect us from the winds coming off the Continental Ice Field. From the start you will be able to see lots of different glaciers; Marconi, Electrico, Cagliero and in the distance, towards Lago del Desierto, the Vespignani glacier. The path is easy as it's quite flat and the climbs are gentle.
Arrive at the first viewpoint, Piedras Blancas glacier, and then walk on into a clearing where you can admire the peaks of "S", Saint Exupery, Poincenot, Fitz Roy, Mermoz and Guillaumet, in all their splendour. From here, continue for a few more minutes until you arrive at Poincenot campground, located in the beautiful lenga forest inhabited by countless varieties of birds, which will accompany you with their song until the Rio Blanco campground is reached. This is the base camp for the most adventurous climbers who will attempt to conquer these granite masses.
Next, you'll climb for about an hour (400m) until you arrive at Laguna de los Tres. On arriving at the highest point on the path, majestic views of Fitz Roy, and the glacier de los Tres and its lagoon will reward you. The grandeur of this location causes a great sense of reverence. After taking in the view, you will circle Laguna de los Tres and head towards the viewpoint of the Laguna Sucia and its glacier. Again, the breathtaking views are unforgettable. After a rest and a bite for lunch, start the descent and walk back to El Chalten. En route, you will pass some varying landscape, crystal clear streams and Laguna Capri - a favourite spot for photographers. After visiting the lagoon, drop down into the valley where El Chalten is located.
Length of excursion: 8/9 hours
Accommodation: Patagonia Hostel
Day 4: Group guided trek to Laguna Torre
From El Chalten, head off on the Laguna Torre footpath and after a small climb, you will enter a small nire wood. From here, the path starts to gain height and straighten up alongside the Fitz Roy River until it arrives at a viewpoint of the river canyon and the Margarita waterfall. The panorama presents the valley of the Fitz Roy River and its serpentine course with the backdrop of the unique Mount Solo, the Adela range and the impressive Mount Torre.
After about an hour of walking we arrive at the Mount Torre viewpoint. Here we will make the most of the magnificent views of Mount Torre, the Adela range and glaciers and have a short break.
We then walk for 2 hours through grand lenga forests, crossing old glacial moraines and wet plains formed by the previous courses of the river until we arrive at Laguna Torre. In this section, there is always the possibility of spotting a wide range of birds, including the Magellanic woodpecker. At Laguna Torre, it is usual to see huge icebergs where ice which has fallen off the Torre glacier face.
It is also the source of the River Fitz Roy. This river may be crossed by using the Tyrolean rope; it's used by the climbers to access Torre glacier and to get to the base of the mountain they plan to climb. You will also be able to visit the Agostini campground that used to be a base camp for climbers from all over the world. This walk in springtime is lovely, as we are able to see a large variety of wildflowers endemic to Patagonia. After a rest and lunch at the lagoon, we start the trek back to El Chalten
Length of excursion: 7/8 hours
Accommodation: Patagonia Hostel
Day 5: Shared shuttle from accommodation in El Chalten to El Calafate/El Calafate Airport.
What our customers think
Our guide was incredible; we learned a lot from him, not just about the park but also in conversations over dinner. Everything was provided – tents, sleeping bags, meals, even wine!
Jake November 2015
Thanks again for a fantastic trip; itinerary was perfectly customised to my preferences, answers were quick and insightful, service was friendly. My trip was a dream come true!
Jon November 2015
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $805 per person for a complete group. If you are looking to join a group or you are a solo traveller we will help to form likeminded groups of travellers. Please let us know your travel plans.
The trip can also run on a private basis to fit around your plans. Departures may be tailored and can be set up on a date of your choice. Please note that there is a higher price for smaller groups. Please enquire for further details.
The price of $805 per person is for the Hostal Schilling & Patagonia Hostel. To upgrade to the Kosten Aike & Senderos Hosteria the price is $1035 per person and for Esplendor & Destino Sur Hotel the price is $1070 per person.
- Meals: 4 breakfasts
- Accommodation: 4 nights in local hostals
- Boat trip to Perito Moreno
- Guided hikes in El Chalten
- Bus transfer from El Calafate - El Chalten
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- International flights
- Personal Equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details)
- Entrance fees to national parks
- Travel insurance
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses