Independent Trek in Paine & Chaltén

Combine fantastic day hikes around the Fitz Roy massif in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park with the famous W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. All travel, border crossings and accommodation is included and arranged for you, but hiking alone and unguided keeps your costs down and gives you more control of your pace. Combine fantastic day hikes around the Fitz Roy massif in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park with the famous W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Read more...
11 Days
$2,520

Independent Trek in Paine & Chaltén - 11 - $2,520

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Transfer from Punta Arenas Airport to Puerto Natales

Day 2: Trek to the Towers; Las Torres Campsite

Day 3: Trek along Lake Nordenskjöld; Los Cuernos Campsite

Day 4: Trek through the French Valley; Paine Grande Campsite

Day 5: Trek to Glacier Grey and boat trip; Puerto Natales

Day 6: Bus to El Calafate and onto El Chaltén

Day 7: Trek to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado; El Chaltén

Day 8: Trek to Laguna de Los Tres; El Chaltén

Day 9: Trek to Laguna Torre; El Calafate

Day 10: Trip to Perito Moreno Glacier; El Calafate

Day 11: Transfer to El Calafate Airport

Start from Punta Arenas and end at El Calafate

Landmarks visited on Independent Trek in Paine & Chaltén

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer from Punta Arenas Airport to Puerto Natales

You'll board a public bus at Punta Arenas Airport and be taken directly to Puerto Natales. The journey is approximately 3hrs, and along the way you'll be able to catch your first glimpses of guanacos and nandus.

When you arrive in Puerto Natales a member from our staff will meet you and take you to your accommodation. Here you'll have a briefing to explain the arrangements for the next few days and you can ask any last minute questions.

Accommodation: Amerinda B&B in Puerto Natales


Day 2: Trek to the Towers; Las Torres Campsite

After an early breakfast, you'll leave Puerto Natales for Torres del Paine National Park. At the entrance of the park you'll take a transfer to Refugio Las Torres. You'll stay at the campsite here tonight, so you can check-in and leave your stuff there, before continuing on your trek. You'll begin a gentle walk up Almirante Nieto, a mountain that takes you to an incredible view of Lake Nordenskjold and the Asencio Valley before arriving at Camp Chileno a few hours after lunch.

From the refugio you'll hike for 1hr through a dense lenga forest. After leaving this forest, you'll approach a moraine and a final climb to see the amazing granite peaks known as the Towers (Torres).

After soaking up the stunning view you return back to Las Torres Campsite to have dinner and spend the night.

Transfer duration: 2hrs

Length of hike: 8-10hrs, 18km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Las Torres Campsite


Day 3: Trek along Lake Nordenskjöld; Los Cuernos Campsite

In the morning you'll have breakfast and prepare to hike again. You'll leave the Las Torres Campsite and walk to Los Cuernos Campsite, located on the shore of Lake Nordenskjöld and at the foot of the impressive Cuernos of Paine.

Along the way you will border Almirante Nieto and pass along Lake Nordenskjöld. Along the way there are a few river crossings where you'll need to hop across rocks. There will also be fantastic views of the glaciers on the mountains that loom over before you finally see the monstrous twin peaks of the Cuernos. You'll spend the night at the foot of them, in Los Cuernos Campsite, after today's breathtaking journey.

Length of hike:  4-5hrs, 13km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Los Cuernos Campsite 


Day 4: Trek through the French Valley; Paine Grande Campsite

Shortly after breakfast you will begin trekking towards Camp Italiano. This camp is an easy 2hr hike away. You will trek across a windy beach and finally escape into the valley where the wind is a little calmer. You can leave your backpack at Camp Italiano and continue into the French Valley with just a small day-pack.

You'll hike across a moraine and through a forest until you finally come to a clearing. Here you will be blown away both by the wind and by the spectacular views of Lakes Nordenskjöld, Skottberg and Pehoe behind you. The stunning French Glacier – a hanging glacier – is just ahead of you and many of the famous peaks of the park are visible from here too.

After leaving this viewpoint you will return to gather your backpack from Camp Italiano and continue walking to Paine Grande Campsite where you will spend the night.

Length of trek: 8-9hrs, 18km

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Paine Grande Campsite


Day 5: Trek to Glacier Grey and boat trip; Puerto Natales

After a restful sleep and an energising breakfast you'll be ready to trek again. Today you will begin with a short 2hr hike up to the first viewpoint of Glacier Grey. You'll experience the harsh wind coming off the Southern Icefield and see both the icefield and Glacier Grey from here.

From here, you'll continue walking for another 2hrs to reach Refugio Grey. At 1:00pm you'll take a boat trip to the face of the glacier in the hope of seeing icebergs calve. The return journey offers fantastic views of Paine Grande with its impressive ice mushrooms as you sail between stunning blue icebergs.

Once back on dry land a transfer will be waiting to drive you back to Puerto Natales on a different road with great views of the Paine Massif.

Length of hike: About 4hrs at lake-level. The undulations on the route are only gentle and you will not climb or descend much more than about 250m in total.

Length of boat trip: 2hrs

Length of transfer: 2hrs

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch

Accommodation: Amerinda B&B in Puerto Natales


Day 6: Bus to El Calafate and onto El Chaltén

Today you'll take a morning bus to El Calafate in Argentina. You will arrive in the town at approximately 2pm, and can leave your bags securely at the bus station while you explore town.

Your bus to El Chaltén will leave at 6:30pm so you may want to have an early dinner in El Calafate. When you arrive into El Chaltén you'll be met at the bus station up and transferred to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: El Paraíso in El Chaltén


Day 7: Trek to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado; El Chaltén

This trek has great aerial views of the park. It's uphill all the way there and downhill all the way back and is located a bit closer to the steppe than the others, so it has a more wild feeling. You're also going to get great views of Lake Viedma, the largest lake of Argentina.

This area used to be a sea bed, so it's possible to find ammonites and other fossils on the route. If the wind is not too bracing at the top of the Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, you can sit and have lunch with a magnificent view of Mt Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre and the whole park below you.

Return along the same path and stay the night in El Chaltén.

Length of hike: 6-7hrs, 18km

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: El Paraíso in El Chaltén


Day 8: Trek to Laguna de Los Tres; El Chaltén

This trek begins with a transfer to the trailhead at El Pilar, located 17km to the north of El Chaltén. The journey itself is enjoyable for the lovely views of the valley, the Río de Las Vueltas, as well as the impressive Cordon de Los Condores. After about 20mins you'll start to see Mount Fitz Roy from a different angle.

You'll then set out on the trek, navigating through a dense forest of lengas that provide protection from the winds coming off the Continental Icefield. From the start, you'll be able to see various glaciers; Marconi, Electrico, Cagliero and in the distance, towards Lago del Desierto, Glacier Vespignani. The trail is easy as it's quite flat and the climbs are gentle.

After arriving at the first viewpoint, Glacier Piedras Blancas, 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 on 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 Río Blanco campground is reached. This is the base camp for the most adventurous climbers who will attempt to conquer these granite masses.

After the campground, 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 will reward you. There will be time to soak up the view before circling Laguna de Los Tres and heading to the viewpoint of the Laguna Sucia and its glacier. Again, the stunning views are unforgettable.

After resting for a picnic lunch, you'll start the descent and walk back to El Chaltén. En route, you will pass varied landscapes, crystal clear streams and Laguna Capri – a favourite spot for photographers. After visiting this lagoon, drop down into the valley where El Chaltén is located.

Transfer duration: 30mins

Length of hike: 8-9hrs, 20km

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: El Paraíso in El Chaltén


Day 9: Trek to Laguna Torre; El Calafate

From El Chaltén, head off on the Laguna Torre footpath and after a short climb you'll enter a small ñire wood. From here, the path starts to gain height and straighten up alongside the River Fitz Roy until it arrives at a viewpoint of the river canyon and the Margarita waterfall. The panorama presents the valley of the River Fitz Roy and its meandering course with the backdrop of the unique Mt Solo, the Adela range and the impressive Mt Torre.

After about an hour of walking, you'll arrive at the Mount Torre viewpoint. Make the most of the magnificent views of Mount Torre, the Adela range and glaciers while having a short break.

You'll then walk onwards for around 2hrs through grand lenga forests, crossing old glacial moraines and wet plains formed by the previous courses of the river until you arrive at Laguna Torre. On 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 that have calved from the face of Glacier Torre.

Laguna Torre is also the source of the River Fitz Roy. This river may be crossed by using the Tyrolean rope; used by the climbers to access Glacier Torre and to get to the base of the mountain they aim to climb. Walk to the Agostini camp, where climbers from all over the world stay – it's a lovely route with a chance to see the abundance of wildflowers endemic to Patagonia, if visiting in the spring.

After a rest and lunch at Laguna Torre, you'll commence the trek back to El Chaltén and catch the afternoon shuttle to your hotel in El Calafate

Length of hike: 6-7hrs, 20km

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Michaelangelo Hotel in El Calafate


Day 10: Trip to Perito Moreno Glacier; El Calafate

Today you'll be picked up from your hotel and driven 90km to the Perito Moreno Glacier where you'll board a boat at Punta Bandera.

The first stop will be at Toro Bay where there is a 700m-long walkway which you will be guided along. You'll then get back on the boat and sail to the next stop, Negro Mount, where there is a 1,000m-long walkway. 

The next destination is the glacier itself. You'll cruise right in front of its 60m high face of slow moving ice and perhaps see icebergs calving.

You'll then be taken to the walkways where you'll be free to explore before meeting up for the cruise back to Punta Bandera.

Return to El Calafate for a final celebratory dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, box lunch

Accommodation: Michaelangelo Hotel in El Calafate


Day 11: Transfer to El Calafate Airport

Depending on what time of day your flight is, you might have time to visit the town centre, go bird watching at Laguna Nimes or visit the Glaciarium (the ice museum) which gives a really interesting insight to the glaciers of Patagonia. There is an ice bar there too!

In the afternoon you'll take a transfer to El Calafate Airport for your flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Customer review background image

What our customers think

It was excellent to have all the accommodation and transport organised - particularly the multiple bus and shuttle trips and transfers - but then to be able to walk independently.

Merran Cooke New Zealand January 2018

Our hike was both fantastic and challenging; undoubtedly the best part of our trip - so remote and beautiful.

Sarah & Greg January 2016

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

The price of USD $2,520 per person is based on a group of 2 people staying in 'no frills' hotels.

If you wish to upgrade to boutique hotels in Puerto Natales, El Chaltén and El Calafate, the price is USD $2,995 per person.

Please get in touch for information on departures.

Additional Notes

Itinerary – The itinerary in El Chaltén is 100% flexible given that the trails are self-guided. Our local partners will be on hand to assist you with local information if you wish to adapt your itinerary.

Solo travellers –  If you are a solo traveller the price will be USD $3,120.

Includes

  • Meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 picnic lunches, 3 dinners, 
  • Accommodation: 7 nights in 'no frills' hotels; 3 nights in refugios
  • Transport to and from the Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance Fee to Torres del Paine National Park
  • Boat tip on Lake Grey

Excludes

  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Guided hiking services
  • Backpack (day-pack/65ltr minimum)
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Entrance fee to Los Glaciares National Park
  • Bus terminal tax – about USD $2 for El Chaltén and El Calafate
  • Porters
  • Gratuities/tips
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?