Patagonia Walk and Wildlife Holiday

This 20-day diverse programme takes you to Buenos Aires and into Patagonia to discover the lakes and mountains of Torres del Paine (where you will also do a glacier trek) and to the impressive Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, all with nights in comfortable hotels and lodges.

20 Days

Patagonia Walk and Wildlife Holiday - 20

Itinerary Map

Start from Buenos Aires and end at Buenos Aires

Landmarks visited on Patagonia Walk and Wildlife Holiday

Operator's Itinerary

Trip Summary

- Transfer from Buenos Aires airport to city centre hotel

- Explore Buenos Aires

- transfer to airport for flight to Bariloche; transfer to hotel

- Explore Bariloche

- Transfer to Puerto Varas

- Explore Puerto Varas

- Fly to Puerto Natales, Patagonia

- Enter Torres del Paine National Park by boat

- Journey by boat across Lago Grey;  walk on top of Glacier Grey

- Walk along the shoreline of Lago Grey

- Trek around Mount Paine Grande and Lago Nordenskjold, perhaps the French Valley, too

- Hike along shoreline of Lago Nordenskjold to the mouth of Ascencio Valley

- Bus to El Calafate

- Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier by boat from Lago Argentino

- Flight to Buenos Aires

- Explore the city before flying home

Trip Details

Day 1: Buenos Aires - travel to Argentina

Fly to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. Please note: international flights are quoted separately. On arrival you are collected by your guide and taken to your charming small hotel in the Las Canitas area. Despite being close to the centre of the city, this barrio is quiet, leafy and green with lots of pavement cafes.

Day 2: Buenos Aires - explore the capital

Spend this morning in the company of your own private guide who can take you on and off the beaten track in this lively and beautiful city. You will have a car at your disposal, but we recommend getting out and walking for some of the tour. Rather than follow a specific route, you basically just let them know what sorts of things you like to see and they can take you. It could be that you want to see the main sites, or you might want to stroll amongst the small local boutiques of Palermo or the lovely buildings of Recoleta. This afternoon you might like to explore the enormous and rather lovely Recoleta cemetery. (b)

Day 3: Buenos Aires - day at leisure

Spend today exploring the city at your own pace. (b)

Day 4: Bariloche - explore the city

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bariloche, in the shadow of the Andes. On arrival you are collected and taken to your stylish small hotel overlooking the lake and mountains. The hotel is about 20km out of the town of Bariloche so you are staying in a peaceful and quite remote spot. The hotel serves very good food so settle in over supper. (b)

Day 5: Bariloche - day to explore

Spend today relaxing and taking advantage of the your hotel’s beautiful location. To get into Bariloche you can take a taxi which the hotel can arrange for you – taxis are reasonably priced. Your hotel is close to the mountains at Cerro Catedral and Cerro Otto for walking. The friendly staff at your hotel will be able to advise you on this and any other activities in the area. (b)

Day 6: Puerto Varas - cross the Andes

Today’s journey takes you right across the Andes mountains to Chile. Cut through a high pass which is dominated by snow capped volcanoes and beautiful turquoise lakes. The journey takes around 13 hours in total. Set off on the longest boat trip of the day as you cross Lago Nahuel Huapi to dry land at Puerto Blest. Here you catch a bus for a short journey to Lago Frias. From here it is a bus ride across the Chilean border. At Puella you board another boat to take you along Lago Todos los Santos, often referred to as the most beautiful lake in the world. On arrival at Petrohue you drive along the shores of Lake Llanquihue in the shadow of Osorno Volcano to the lakeside town of Puerto Varas. Stay in a characterful small hotel in the heart of the town. (b)

Day 7: Puerto Varas - explore

Today is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish. Your hosts at the hotel are very friendly and helpful should you want to arrange a trip to walk in the Vincente Perez Rosales National Park nearby. There are a number of short trails you can hike in this park at the base of the Osorno Volcano. Be warned that in February the horse flies can be a nuisance in the forests so check locally to see if these are a problem. If so, we do not advise that you walk in the forested areas. (b)

Day 8: Puerto Natales - travel to Patagonia

This is a long though beautiful travel day. Fly south along the spectacular spine of the Andes, over the massive Patagonian ice fields. When you arrive meet your guide in Patagonia. The three-hour drive across the open plains of Patagonia takes you to the seafront town of Puerto Natales and your first class hotel overlooking the Last Hope Sound. Dine out in town and then back to the hotel to pack for tomorrow’s journey into Torres del Paine. For your time in the park you will need relatively few things so you will leave most of your luggage in Puerto Natales to be picked up on your way out of the park. While walking your overnight things are carried for you by porters, leaving you to walk with just a daypack. (b)

Day 9: Paine - by river into the park

Catch a morning boat along the Ultima Esperanza Sound, enjoying the wildlife as the mountains and glaciers loom ever closer. At Balmaceda glacier you get off the larger boat and walk a short way to the smaller river boat which takes you along the Rio Serrano into the Torres del Paine National Park. On a clear day, there is no more spectacular introduction to this most emblematic and beautiful mountain range. Once you arrive at the park you transfer the short distance to your comfortable first class hotel. Relax and enjoy the views before dinner. (b,l,d)

Day 10:Paine - walk on a glacier

Enjoy a boat ride along the full length of Lago Grey as far as the glacier of the same name. This is the end point of the southern Patagonian icefield so you have 1,000km of ice ahead of you as you travel towards the 40 metre high face of the glacier. Land to drop your things at the mountain refuge (refugio) where you will spend tonight. After getting kitted up you travel along the face of the glacier to spend the afternoon exploring the top of Glacier Grey. The walk itself is just that, there is no climbing or technical proficiency required. You are provided with crampons which fix onto your ordinary walking boots. You do wear a safety harness and have an ice axe but you are walking to explore the surface of the ice. Each year the landscape on top of the glacier changes, sometimes you will see lots of deep crevasses, other times you will walk through tunnels in the ice. Return to sleep within earshot of the creaking glacier. A spectacular ice tunnel on top of Glacier Grey. For the next four nights you sleep in refugios. These are basically mountain huts. The ground floor is taken up by the dining area, small shop for snacks & drinks and the bathrooms/showers. Upstairs are the dorm rooms. Rooms sleep between four and eight people in bunk beds. Rooms are mixed. Each of these refuges is different so some are more modern, some more basic. In all of them there is little in the way of light or sound insulation but you are indoors and relatively comfortable. Hot meals are prepared for you in the evenings and the atmosphere tends to be lively and sociable. The ‘tuck shop’ sells snacks as well as wine and beer. (b,l,d)

Day 11: Paine - lake view walk

Set off on the four-day ‘W’ hike across the park from the glacial west to the dry grasslands of the east. Whilst walking you only have to carry a daypack with items such as lunch, waterproofs and cameras. One lovely feature of hiking in the park is that streams are so pure that you drink the most delicious water straight from them. Porters carry your main bags ahead to the next refugio so you do not tend to see them during the day. Today’s walk is relatively short (11km, 4hrs, !400m "400m) and therefore relaxed. Over the course of the route you pass the viewpoint of Glacier Grey which is a great spot for photos. During the summer you can expect upwards of 14 hours of daylight so you have plenty of time to explore and enjoy your surroundings with your guide. (b,l,d)

Day 12: Paine - pass mountains

Today the scenery is some of the best of the holiday as you walk in the shadow of huge peaks alongside turquoise lakes. Walk under the mountain of Paine Grande then a steady uphill and a steep downhill towards the shores of Lake Nordenskjold. You might also be lucky enough to enjoy a side hike up into Valle Frances for fantastic views out across the glacial lakes to the south of the park. Walk 9km, 4hrs, !200m, "200m Tonight you sleep in the most isolated of the refugios in probably the most striking setting. (b,l,d)

Day 13: Paine - walk past lakes

Continue your walk along a good path in the shadow of the mountains throughout today. You should see lots of condors as you pass beneath the high peaks. Stop for lunch alongside a small lake populated with fantastic bird life. The path is intersected by streams at certain points – crossing these can involve stepping stones or the occasional rope bridge. Towards the end of the day you reach the base of Valle Ascencio. Walk 13km, 5hrs, !600m, "300m. Sleep in what many consider to be the prettiest of the refugios in the park. (b,l,d)

Day 14: Puerto Natales - to the ‘Torres’

Early start to hike up to the distinctive mile-high granite towers. The day starts off on an undulating path leading through a pretty beech forest. Once you emerge from the forest you find yourself at the foot of the glacial moraine beneath the towers. It is a steep walk to get through this maze of huge boulders but you emerge on the edge of a small lake at the base of the towers. Head back downhill to the Refugio for lunch before undertaking the final stretch of your walk back down to the bottom of the valley. Walk 16km, 7hrs, !650m, "900m.

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

This trip can run as a group trip, with prices starting from $0 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.

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