Traverse Chile and Argentina

Explore some of the best parts of Patagonia including the Aysen region, Los Glaciares National Park, and hike the famous W-trek in Torres del Paine on this tour that sees all your logistics taken care of. You will have the chance to see wonderful scenery such as lakes, glaciers and the famous Towers of Paine.

15 Days

$4,917

Traverse Chile and Argentina - 15 - $4,917

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Trek through Los Glaciares National Park with its towering glaciers, cool glacial lakes and floating icebergs
  • Accomplish one of the most famous trekking routes in the world in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Shun the crowds to discover the new pass between Lago O'Higgins in Chile and Laguna del Desierto in Argentina
  • Rest your legs as you sail along the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap for an up close experience of Perito Moreno Glacier

Start from Balmaceda Airport and end at Punta Arenas

Landmarks visited on Traverse Chile and Argentina

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Join Balmaceda, drive to Puerto Guadal via Coyhaique

Arrive at Balmaceda no later than midday to be met by your guide. As you settle into the drive down the Carretera Austral you'll soon realise why this is one of the most famous roads in South America, with it's stunning views and slowly changing scenery providing a perfect introduction to this region of Southern Chile. If time allows, you will make a stop at the La Capilla de Marmol (the marble chapel), a magnificent marble cave, sculpted over eons by wind and water, set on the emerald and turquoise waters of the General Carrera Lake. The lake is the largest in Chile, and also borders Argentina. You will spend the night at a charming lodge with spectacular view of the lake, and experience your first Patagonian dinner together in the evening.

Meals:  Lunch, dinner


Day 2: Full day trekking in the Veranada area

A short drive this morning will bring you to the start of today's trekking route. Begin your hike today with an ascent up to a viewpoint overlooking the Northern Patagonian Icecap and its impressive glaciers - Leones, Nef and Soler. Patagonia's highest peak, Mount San Valentin (4058m), looms large on the horizon. You'll also be on the lookout for fossils; reminders that mountains were at the bottom of the ocean. Return to the lodge in the evening to watch the sun set over the vast Patagonian wilderness.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 3: Trek to Lake Leones to view the Leones Glacier

Set out for a short car journey to the trailhead where you will begin today's trek into the Leones valley, up to the Leones lake. Sail on a zodiac across the lake for an up close view of the Leones Glacier, to experience the tranquil waters where the wall of deep blue ice meets the lake. After a picnic lunch in stunning surrounds, you will return to the lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 4: Transfer to Villa O'Higgins

Complete the final section of the Carretera Austral by car. The end of this famous road takes you through some of the least populated, least developed and least visited areas in Chile, and the vast wilderness experienced along the route is captivating. Your destination is quite literally the end of this 1,200km road, where it meets the small town of Villa O'Higgins, beyond which is simply the vast shore of Lago O'Higgins. Both town and lake were named to immortalise the hero of Chilean independence, Bernardo O'Higgins, and it is here you will spend the night, ready to cross the lake in the morning.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 5: Embark at Bahamondez port, cross Lago O'Higgins by boat

Embarking on your boat across Lago O'Higgins this morning, your will be crossing the deepest lake in the Americas, with a maximum depth of just over 830 metres near the O'Higgins Glacier. During your navigation you will pass right by the foot of the glacier, one of the largest in the Southern Ice Field with a width of 3km and vertical walls up to 80 metres high, before reaching Candelario Mancilla port in the afternoon.

Candelario Mancilla is a tiny speck in the vast wilderness, and this evening you will experience authentic Patagonian hospitality when you spend the night with a local family at their estancia. The homestay is basic, with no hot water, an inconvenience far outweighed by the chance to feel the warmth of a true Chilean welcome, and to hear the stories of the people who populate this remote area.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 6: Cross into Argentina via Laguna Redonda and Laguna del Desierto

After breakfast, set out on today's 15km trek straight from the door of the Estancia, soon crossing through the Chilean border on foot. A vehicle will transport your luggage for the first 5km until you reach the hamlet of Laguna Redonda, after which we will be accompanied by pack animals as we head onto hidden trails, muddy and laden with tree roots, taking us into the forest and towards Laguna del Desierto.

On arrival, pass through customs and embark across the lagoon by boat. After 40 minutes cruising across the water, you'll be met on the shore by our Argentinean vehicle which will take you to El Chalten, a village in the heart of Los Glaciares National Park. Take the evening to explore this charming town which will be your base for the next few days's hiking.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch


Days 7-8: Los Glaciares National Park

Based in El Chalten, we will spend two days exploring the impressive trails in the Los Glaciares National Park in the company of an experienced hiking guide. The options available to us include a trip to Laguna Torre and the base of Cerro Torre, or Laguna de los Tres and Fitzroy Base Camp. We'll aim to see as many of the contrasting faces of this UNESCO World Heritage Area as we can during our stay, to experience some of the unique beauty of some of the mountains and valleys. With ample opportunities for admiring flora and wildlife as well as the stunning scenery, it won't be hard to experience all the National Park has to offer. Each hike varies in length, but we will be prepared to walk up to 8 hours in a day if embarking on some of the longer trails.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch


Day 9: Drive to El Calafate and visit Perito Moreno Glacier

Journey across the pampas to El Calafate and onwards to Perito Moreno glacier. This impressive glacier advances across Lago Argentino, and is unique in having a number of paths to explore, each offering different vantage points of this calving glacier. The glacier is 4 km wide and 70 metres high and descends to the surface of the lake, almost cutting the lake in two. Occasionally, massive pieces break off and fall into the lake becoming icebergs and creating huge waves in the process. The groans and creaks of the active glacier precede dramatic falls of the ice face. You'll return to El Calafate for the night, where you can enjoy being in the largest town you'll have been in for some time. Spend the evening exploring some of the many restaurants, cafes and several fabulous chocolate shops to enjoy.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch


Day 10: Drive to Torres del Paine National Park

Today you will drive for approximately 7-8 hours across the steppes following the face of the Andes. The scenery is breathtaking, with great rolling hills dotted with stunted beech trees. You will cross into back into Chile, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant at the border, and continue to Torres del Paine National Park. Take the boat across Lake Pehoe to your accommodation in a refugio within the national park.

Note: Today you will leave your main luggage with the driver to be transferred to Torres, you will be reunited with it on the evening of day 14. This means you will only need to carry essentials for the next 3 days' trekking, including warm clothes for sleeping and your hiking gear.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 11: Trek to the Grey Glacier mirador

Today you commence the first leg of the famous "W" hike in Paine. Your trail offers stunning views of Lago Grey, the Towers of Paine and the Grey Glacier. Towering above you are the Cuernos del Paine, or "Horns" of Paine, and Paine Grande - the highest peak in the massif. This morning is a 3-4 hour hike to view the Grey Glacier and the Continental Icecap beyond. You return on the same trail to Refugio Paine Grande, past mountain lakes edged with wildflowers and stunning views down to the larger lakes below. As a day hike it is possible to walk as far as you wish and turn around, although the trail today has fairly gentle undulations with few steep sections. Overnight in the refugio.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 12: Hike to Refugio Los Cuernos & The French Valley

The hike today will be decided on as a group. The easy option is to walk the direct route to Refugio Los Cuernos, taking 4-5 hours. However, another option is a highly recommended detour up the French Valley, depending upon local weather conditions, to experience fantastic views of glaciers, waterfalls and be surrounded by the granite peaks of Paine. Here you can hear the thundering of the river, and the creaks and groans of the French Glacier. The views down to the lakes and forests below are also outstanding. This side trip can be 4-5 hours, which means this day could be around 9-10 hours in total. Stay overnight in Refugio Los Cuernos, set above the lake with great views of the Paine Massif.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 13: Trek to Las Torres

Your hike today will take 5-6 hours and follows the scenic Lake Nordenskjold. You trek through awe-inspiring scenery today, passing by emerald glaciated lakes with the Torres del Paine Massif in the background. A steep ascent takes us to the riverside Refugio for the night.

meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 14: Trek up the Ascensio Valley to the base of Torres del Paine and return to Las Torres

Early this morning, you ascend the Rio Ascensio to the base of the iconic towers of Paine. When seeing the great granite pinnacles of Paine, it is worth remembering that the Andes is the youngest chain of mountains in the world. One can imagine the great pressures and movements of the earth that created these spectacular peaks. The trek will take around 8 hours, with some steep sections. You will return to Refugio Las Torres, to celebrate having completed the W Trek.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner


Day 15: Drive to Punta Arenas airport where trip concludes 

Transfer to Punta Arenas airport or to a Punta Arenas hotel if you are extending your stay. It is important not to book your outgoing flight before 2pm as the drive from Torres Del Paine takes several hours.

Meals: Breakfast

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Start date Price (pp)
November 2018
3-Nov-2018 $4,917* Fully Booked
20-Nov-2018 $4,917 Provisional Date
December 2018
1-Dec-2018 $4,917* Provisional Date
25-Dec-2018 $4,917 -
January 2019
29-Jan-2019 $4,917* Provisional Date
February 2019
12-Feb-2019 $4,917 Limited Availability
March 2019
2-Mar-2019 $4,917* Provisional Date
November 2019
2-Nov-2019 $4,917 Provisional Date
19-Nov-2019 $4,917* Provisional Date
30-Nov-2019 $4,917 Provisional Date
December 2019
25-Dec-2019 $4,917* Provisional Date

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in GBP (£) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost £3,890

Price of £3890 GBP per person. 

Single Supplement (hotels only, not in Torres Del Paine): £400 GBP

Includes

  • 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 10 dinners
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Comfortable lodges and hotels
  • Refugios or camping in Torres Del Paine and basic homestay (estancia) in Candelario Mancilla
  • All internal ground transport by private bus for groups of 7 or more people
  • All national park and site entry fees
  • Horses to carry equipment on day 6
  • Boat trips on Lago O'Higgins and Laguna Desierto
  • Group medical kit

Excludes

  • Internal flights within Argentina
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Airport transfers
  • Bottle water, aerated and alcoholic beverages
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips
  • International airfares and departure taxes
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance

Questions about this Trip?