Fitz Roy and Paine Explorer

This action-packed small group trekking tour combines the best hikes in Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks. Enjoy the best treks in Southern Patagonia, discover Perito Moreno Glacier via small boat expedition, enter Torres del Paine by zodiac boat ride, and celebrate your final night in an estancia with a Patagonia BBQ! Our tour leader and expert local guides will ensure the seamless running of your trip from start to finish. This action-packed small group trekking tour combines the best hikes in Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks. Enjoy the best treks in Southern Patagonia, discover Perito Moreno Glacier via small boat expedition, enter Torres del Paine by zodiac boat ride, and celebrate your final night in an estancia with a Patagonia BBQ! Read more...

12 Days

$3,995

Fitz Roy and Paine Explorer - 12 - $3,995

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • Explore the Fitzroy massif with all three of the most exhilarating day hikes that give you a close up view of Cerro Torre, mesmerising lagoons and glaciers and Mount Fitzroy itself
  • Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and surrounding fjords by boat, or why not try some ice hiking?
  • Zoom into Torres del Paine by Zodiac - the most exciting way to enter the park
  • Hike the famous 'W' and witness the mile-high granite towers, the French Valley and the Grey Glacier
  • Celebrate your adventure with your final night at a traditional estancia and a lamb asado

Start from El Calafate and end at Punta Arenas

Landmarks visited on Fitz Roy and Paine Explorer

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Let the adventure begin!

Fly to El Calafate airport where you will be provided with transport all the way to your hotel in El Chaltén: the gateway to Mount Fitz Roy and Los Glaciares National Park. Here you will be met by your friendly local tour leader who will be guiding you for the first week of your adventure. He or she will help you with checking-in and provide some other local information. El Chaltén sits at the base of Mount Fitz Roy and on the edge of the South Patagonian Ice Cap. This place combines the magic of the glaciers, hidden lagoons, estancias with a rich history, Viedma Lake, the magnetic presence of Mount Fitz Roy and the legendary granite spire of Cerro Torre.

In the evening, get to know your group over a delicious welcome dinner in a local restaurant. This will also be a great opportunity to get to know your tour leader who will give you a briefing on the following days.

Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Cumbres Nevadas o
r similar, El Chaltén

Day 2: Hike to Laguna Torre

The trek to Laguna Torre is one of the most spectacular walks of El Chaltén. You'll get an impressive view of the Torre massif, the Adela range, Mount Solo and their respective glaciers. This is a relatively gentle trail, so it's a great hike to ease you in on your first day. You set off from El Chaltén and after a gentle ascent, you'll enter a small wood. From here, the path starts to gain height and straightens up alongside the Fitzroy River until it arrives at a viewpoint of the river canyon and the Margarita waterfall. After about an hour of walking, you arrive at the Cerro Torre viewpoint. Here, you can have a short break and enjoy the magnificent views of Cerro Torre, the Adela range and the immense glaciers.

The trek continues for 2 hours through Southern Beech forests, across old glacial moraines and over wet plains that were once river courses. You're likely to see a wide range of birds, including the Magellanic woodpecker if you're lucky. Finally, you arrive at Laguna Torre where you will see huge icebergs formed by ice that has fallen from the face of the glacier. This is one of El Chalten’s iconic photographic viewpoints, and after a rest and lunch at the lagoon, you start the trek back to El Chaltén.

Length of excursion: 7 - 8 hours, 20km
Meals: Breakfast & lunch
Accommodation: Cumbres Nevadas or similar, El Chaltén

Day 3: Hike to Laguna de Los Tres - Mt Fitz Roy

This is your chance to get up close to the iconic and imposing Mount Fitz Roy and trek one of the most iconic day-hikes in the world. While this trek is steep in places, the spectacular views once you reach the top make it totally worth it. Unlike other outfitters, we transfer you to the trailhead, around half an hour's drive from El Chaltén, meaning you do not back-track on the same trail. You begin your walk in beautiful, dense forest that protects you from the winds coming off the ice cap, and you will see several magnificent glaciers right from the start. The path climbs gently and, at a certain point, you leave the forest behind and arrive at a clearing where you can admire the mountain peaks in all their splendour. The challenging section is one hour of steep uphill to get to Laguna de los Tres. Your efforts are rewarded by the breath-taking views you get on arrival of Mt Fitz Roy, Laguna de los Tres and the glacier...possibly one of the most impactful sights in Patagonia. By circling the lagoon, you will also reach the lookout for the stunning Laguna Sucia and its glacier.

Have lunch at the lagoon (weather permitting) before starting the descent back towards El Chaltén. On the way down, you will be spoilt by a variety of landscapes, passing through forests, over crystal clear streams and alongside the incredibly picturesque Laguna Capri. After visiting the lagoon you will drop down into the valley and back to El Chaltén.

Length of excursion: 8 - 9 hours, 22km
Meals: Breakfast & lunch
Accommodation: Cumbres Nevadas or similar, El Chaltén

Day 4: Hike to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado

This lesser-visited trail is uphill all the way there and downhill all the way back, with the views at the top making the effort totally worthwhile. On clear days you will experience fantastic, elevated vistas overlooking the National Park with a panorama of peaks - the best place to see both Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. You set out on the hike from El Chaltén. Having walked uphill, crossed over small streams and weaved through woods for about an hour, you come to a clearing with your first picture postcard view of Mount Fitz Roy, Torre and Huemul. The hike continues across the pampas before passing through woodland where a variety of bird species make their home. On leaving the forest, you will step into a more alpine terrain dotted with wildflowers. In fact, this area used to be the sea bed, so you can also spot marine fossils such as ammonites and belemnites which are about 100 million years old. Eventually, you will reach the magnificent viewpoint with a fantastic panorama of both the Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy massifs, gaining a magnificent perspective of where we have hiked over the last few days. After enjoying lunch with an unforgettable vista (if the wind isn't too strong!) you return back along the same path to El Chaltén.

In the evening, you will be provided with transport to your hotel in El Calafate.

Length of excursion 8 - 9 hours, 18km
Meals: Breakfast & lunch
Accommodation: Kapenke Hotel or similar, El Calafate

Day 5: Boat trip to Perito Moreno Glacier

You can't visit this part of the world without visiting the captivating Perito Moreno Glacier, and we will take you there on an unforgettable, alternative day-trip. 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, perhaps stopping along the way for photos and if lucky enough, spotting condors or 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 reaching the glacier however, the lake branches off and you will enter Seno Mayo Sound, reaching Bahia Toro where black sand meets glacial blue waters. You will hop out here and take a short walk through beautiful coihue (Beech) 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 the immense Perito Moreno. You will spend some time watching its spectacular display of calving ice and the formation of deep blue icebergs from the water.

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. Whilst still a busy place, most travelers have begun returning to El Calafate by this time, so you can enjoy the walkways with far less people than at other times during the day. Alternatively, you may wish to take the full-day Ice hike on the glacier (extra cost) - 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. 

Please enquire with Swoop's bookings team at the time of reserving your tour - we cannot guarantee availability once you have started your trip. National park authorities place the age limit for the Mini-Ice Hike at 65 years; and Big-Ice Hike at 50 years.

Length of excursion: 9 hours
Meals: Breakfast & lunch
Accommodation: Kapenke Hotel or similar, El Calafate


Day 6: Next stop... Puerto Natales

Your tour leader will accompany you on the morning bus crossing the border from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. The total travel time is between 5-6hrs, crossing the border into Chile - today is our longest travel day: The landscapes witnessed are the same as those which inspired Charles Darwin on his voyage to Patagonia almost 200 years ago. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, stretch your legs along the waterfront, take some time to explore this picturesque little town or simply relax as you will have some free time. In the evening, you will meet your trekking guide for Torres del Paine who will accompany you right until the end of the tour. You will have dinner at a local restaurant with your guide, group and tour leader. Your guide will brief you on the following week which will entail a fabulous journey by boat and Zodiac into Torres del Paine National Park and four days of trekking.

This will be your last evening with your Argentinian tour leader who will be heading back across the border the following morning.

Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Francis Drake or similar, Puerto Natales

Day 7: Zodiac up the Serrano River into Torres del Paine National Park

You'll really be making an entrance into Patagonia's most popular destination with this Zodiac ride up rivers, past glaciers and through lagoons! Thanks to the unique opportunity of travelling by Zodiac, you will get some fabulous views of the national park that few people get the chance to witness. Start the day by jumping aboard an enclosed-cabin boat at Puerto Natales that will take you all the way up the 'Ultima Esperanza' fjord to a point close to the Balmaceda glacier. Here, you will disembark and set off on a short walk through native woodland, spotting a variety of birds along the way. Eventually, you will reach the spectacular Serrano Glacier and its beautiful lagoon of icebergs.

Having spent some time taking in this astounding setting, you will board a rib-Zodiac dinghy and be taken across the Serrano river to a restaurant with a wonderful view of the glacier for a barbecue lunch. After lunch, you will hop back into the Zodiac and continue up the Serrano river for a couple of hours, taking in Torres del Paine National Park from a unique angle. By the time you reach your final stop at Serrano Village, you will have observed some astonishing scenes of the South Patagonian Ice Field. This evening's camp is a great ‘glamping’ experience, perfect before beginning the famous ‘W’ circuit.  

Length of excursion: 8 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Accommodation: Deluxe Tent at Riverside Camp

Day 8: Boat ride to Paine Grande and hike to Glacier Grey viewpoint

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Pudeto dock for a 30min boat ride across the beautiful Lago Pehoe and to reach the Refugio Paine Grande. Here you will be able to leave you heavier items, enjoying the day’s hike with just your essentials.Today’s return hike will take you on a narrow and slightly ascending winding path that leads to Laguna Negra, under the watchful eye of the imposing Cerro Paine Grande, as the South Patagonian Ice Field creeps into view.

Follow the path through forests and over rivers, possibly sighting flying steamer ducks, up to the glacier viewpoint. The sight of the Southern Patagonian Icefield is spectacular and will prove a great introduction for what Torres del Paine has to show us over the coming days as we hike the famous ‘W’ trail. You’ll stop at viewpoints, taking lunch along the way, as you edge closer and closer to the magnificent Grey Glacier. The impressive sight of this huge, moving body of ice is one to behold, but beware, it is rapidly retreating year-on-year. Today’s hike will take you as close as possible before returning back along the same trail. This afternoon you’ll return to the Refugio Paine Grande, where you can rest-up before dinner. Refuge meals are usually lively events where all nationalities of hikers gather together, exchange travel experiences, and reflect on trekking in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

Length of excursion: 8 hours, 24 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Paine Grande or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)

Day 9: Hike into the French Valley and Refugio Los Cuernos 

Heading East along the shore of Lake Pehoe the path leads you through native beech forests that have recently been affected by bushfire, as you follow the edge of Cerro Paine Grande through the middle-section of the ‘W'. Along this trail the ‘Cuernos’ will be your guide as you edge closer and closer to them - a truly stunning sight! Upon reaching the French Valley, considered by many to be the most spectacular region of the whole park, you will begin to see glimpses of its impressive hanging glacier. Leaving your heavier packs if you wish, you will follow the undulating trail uphill for about an hour, stopping occasionally to take in the magnificent surroundings.

You eventually reach the French Valley viewpoint where you are surrounded by the wildly beautiful, rugged mountains – the Cuernos, Espada and Fortaleza – with the valley opening out below, revealing a fantastic view whichever way you look.During lunch here, you may even get to witness some avalanches tumbling off the hanging glacier.

You follow the same path back down until you reach the entrance of the valley where you take your pack once more to continue. Here, you take a different trail, to the east, which after about 2hrs will bring you to Refugio Los Cuernos.

Length of excursion: 8 hours hiking, 18 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Los Cuernos or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)

Day 10: Hike around Nordenskjold lake to Las Torres

Today’s hiking is a little gentler than yesterday’s as you follow the base of the Almirante Nieto Mountain, with the imposing ‘Cuernos’ - the horns of Paine to one side, and the beautiful Nordenskjold lake to the other. Today’s trek will really show you the contrasting topography between the Andean mountains and flat Patagonian Steppe in the east. This section of the ‘W’ is exposed giving you great panoramic views and making it an exciting place to try to spot the elusive Andean Condor rising on the winds that sweep across this area. You will cross the Bader River which flows from the valley above, as you also pass the Inge Lagoon and try to sight other wildlife such as hares or foxes.

This afternoon you’ll arrive at our final refuge in the Las Torres area, to relax and prepare for tomorrow’s final trek to the base of the towers.

Length of excursion: 6 hours hiking, 12 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Accommodation: Refugio Las Torres or supported camping (tent set up with sleeping bag and mat provided)

Day 11: Hike to the Base of the Towers

This truly iconic day-hike is a wonderful way to end our experience hiking the ‘W circuit’ in Torres del Paine. This testing, yet fascinating trek follows the Ascencio River, high into the valley and up to the base of the colossal towers. You will start with an uphill hike and after about an hour you begin to catch your first glimpses of the valley. The trail takes you, undulating through incredible beech forests and past glaciers and waterfalls. The trek continues undulating through the valley for around an hour and a half, after which you then start a steep ascent up a huge terminal moraine. Having zig-zagged your way up, you eventually come to the breath-taking viewpoint where you will be confronted by three giant granite towers and the lagoon. You will have lunch at this incredible spot.

After bidding farewell to the towers, you will start the descent, following the same path back down to the refugio. This afternoon you will be transferred to Estancia Tres Pasos, a 5000 hectare ranch, with views of the surrounding steppe, mesetas and mountains – Cerro Castillo, Cerro Campana, Cadena Dorotea and Jorge Montt. Look out for condors, guanaco and rhea from the hotel and soak in the environment that inspired Chile's great writer, Gabriela Mistral, who earned the Nobel Literature Prize for her book "Desolacion" in 1945. Spend your last night with the rest of the group and celebrate the end of your wonderful adventure together with a traditional asado (lamb BBQ).

Length of excursion: 8 hours walking, 18 km, 1 hour by transfer
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & BBQ dinner
Accommodation: Estancia Tres Pasos

Day 12: All good things must come to an end...

Transport will be provided this morning from Torres del Paine National Park to Puerto Natales town and airport. We can help you with your onward travel plans to Punta Arenas of El Calafate. Say goodbye to your guide and fellow group members.Take away memories of an unforgettable trip!

Meals: Breakfast

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Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Start date Price (pp)
November 2020
2-Nov-2020 $3,995* Provisional Date
16-Nov-2020 $3,995 Provisional Date
December 2020
7-Dec-2020 $3,995* Provisional Date
21-Dec-2020 $3,995 Provisional Date
28-Dec-2020 $3,995* Provisional Date
January 2021
4-Jan-2021 $3,995 Provisional Date
18-Jan-2021 $3,995* Provisional Date
February 2021
1-Feb-2021 $3,995 Provisional Date
15-Feb-2021 $3,995* Limited Availability
March 2021
1-Mar-2021 $3,995 Provisional Date

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $3,995

Additional Notes

Group size: 14 maximum, 4 minimum.

Optional excursions: estimated prices per person (USD) for optional excursion on Day 5 at Perito Moreno Glacier:

Big Ice Hike: $260 (Full day, 3.5hrs hiking; also includes walkways and boat trip to face of glacier; group size 20; age limit under 50 years)

Mini Ice Hike: $130 (Full day, 1.5hrs hiking; also includes walkways and boat trip to face of glacier; group size 20; age limit under 65 years).

Accommodation upgrade: upgrade your shared dormitory on Day 9 for a private cabin at Refugio Los Cuernos (availability dependent, USD $230 single / $140 per person double). Please note, this is not included as part of the single supplement.

Single supplement: USD $720 per person for a single room in El Chalten, El Calafate, Puerto Natales and Estancia Tres Pasos (7 nights in total).

Solo travellers: if you are willing to share with another solo traveller then you will not be charged the single supplement and we will match you with someone of the same gender.

Joining & departure instructions: it is recommended to spend a night in Buenos Aires before the tour and a night in Santiago after the tour; if you would like help booking your pre/post tour arrangements and domestic/in country flight, please just let us know.

Your dates don't quite match? Please get in touch and we'll quote a private departure for you.

Includes

  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights), Shared dormitories (3 nights), Glamping (1 night)
  • 3 hikes in the Los Glaciares national park with a local mountaineering guide (English speaking)
  • Perito Moreno Glacier excursion including boat trip to face of glacier
  • Zodiac boat excursion to Bernardo O’Higgins National Park (Balmaceda & Serrano Glacier)
  • 5 day W trek with local mountaineering guide (English speaking)
  • Glacier Grey boat navigation to face of glacier
  • Torres del Paine national park entrance fee
  • All ground transportation in either private transfer, public bus or by boat
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Tour leader in Los Glaciares National Park (English speaking)
  • All bedding for your nights in the shared dormitories and glamping

Excludes

  • Ice hiking at Perito Moreno Glacier (can be added optionally)
  • Los Glaciares National Park fees (equivalent to approx. USD $32 for El Chalten and USD $32 for Perito Moreno)
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • International and domestic/in country flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal Equipment (trekking poles, sleeping bag liner, back pack etc)
  • Gratuities/Tips

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