Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- Journey through deepest Patagonia, encountering very few humans and fascinating wildlife like the giant Magellanic Horned Owl, the peregrine falcon, and the chinchillon
- Witness jaw-dropping environments that are a cross between Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the moon, a spectacle of the seismic activity in the area
- Start in Esquel, both where the Welsh started their second settlement in 1865, and evidence of pre-historic populations and pre-Andean rainforests is found
- See the Patagonian skies at their best – no light pollution and the Milky Way gleaming like a bejewelled cape
- Stay in a cosy newly built hotel, with a library, open fire and heated pool, and eat like a local served by a private chef
Day 1: Explore the volcanoes and canyons from Esuqel to Gualjaina
Starting the trip at Esquel, you'll head south to the Welsh settlement of Nant y Pysgod, a well known spot for fly-fishing, and then Laguna Aleusco, one of the most important flamingo reserves in the Americas. In the breeding season, you can count these brilliantly scarlet Chilean flamingos by the thousand.
Continuing on, look out for guanacos and rheas at Estancia Saucal, before arriving at the 800 foot volcanic plug at Piedra Parada. Here's a perfect spot to have lunch, sat at the base with the remains of an ancient volcano and the ancient tombs of Tehuelche Caciques (chieftains).
Discover a caldera from which you can take one of two walks. Either explore the narrow canyon and it's caves or search for precious stones like dramatic agates, thunder eggs and petrified logs. Marvel at the region as you walk – the canyons, petrified forests and tortured lava flows looking the same today as they have for eons. The area is virtually uninhabited, except by the species which have adapted to this fearsome environment. Among them are the puma, the giant Magellanic Horned Owl, the peregrine falcon, and, rarest of all, the chinchillon, known as the Patagonian Killer Bunny.
In the evening, make your way to Gualjaina where you'll stay at a hidden gem of a hotel, with a heated pool and private vineyard. You'll have dinner in a private restaurant just around the corner, cooked especially for the group by a chef from Esquel.
Meals: Lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Gualjaina
Day 2: Follow the Indian trail and end in Trevelin
Your second day involves following the Indian trail tracked by Welsh explorers in 1885 when they found Cwm Hyfryd – translating to "Beautiful Valley", which was exclaimed upon discovery. It also follows the area disputed by Chile and Argentina subsequent to their boundary treaty of 1881.
From Gualjaina, you'll cross a small mountain range via the “Magic Hill”, an amazing optical illusion, then continue down to Argentina’s infamous Route 40 where you will cross the watershed to the Cwm Hyfryd. Passing sheep farms in the Andean steppe, the pasture will become gradually richer, and then the vast lake at Estancia Cronometro will come into horizon. Here, you'll take a walk over the hill top to catch your first glimpse of the Andes mountains.
Back on the drive, arrive at a spot below Mynydd Thomas which offers amazing views of Cwm Hyfryd, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and rivers running in all directions. The afternoon will be spent soaking up some more of the culture and history of the area, in town. Visit the school where the historic vote for which defined the territory of Trelew was made, the first occasion in the Americas where women or indigenous people voted. Pass the valley featured in Marc Evans' film, Patagonia, and then commemorate the end of the trip with a drink in Trevelin.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
This is a private itinerary that can be done with up to 4 people. You can book for the date of your choice, dependent on availability.
The trip price varies depending on group size as shown below:
4 people - USD $ per person
2 people - USD $ per person
- Meals: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
- Accommodation: 1 hotel night
- Local wine with dinners
- Entrance fees for visits mentioned in itinerary
- Driver and guide
- All private transfers mentioned in itinerary
- Driver and guide
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- Any extra/optional excursions
- Travel insurance
- Personal Equipment (request our recommended kit list for more details)
- International and domestic/in country flights