Torres del Paine & El Calafate, Chile & Argentina – 10
The Perito Moreno Glacier and the Torres del Paine Park alone are worth the trip.
DAY 1: BUENOS AIRES
Description: you will be greeted at Ezeiza airport by your guide and settle in at the hotel. You’ll have the afternoon off or, if you prefer, take an initial tour around Buenos Aires. At the end of the day, a briefing around a map with one of our Operations Representatives will take place. Lunch and dinner: of your choice, not included. Accommodation: Vitrum Boutique Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 2: BUENOS AIRES / EL CALAFATE - "A reality which surpasses the eye"
Description: after the trip to the airport and a 3h flight, your guide will be waiting for you at El Calafate airport. This city, whose name originates from a kind of blueberry, is famous for its popular ski resort. The hotel offers a privileged view of an amazing bay of Lake Argentino. The afternoon consists of a 3h excursion covering 15 km (9 mi), in a Land Rover 4×4 (non exclusive) through the Calafate highlands. The circuit includes three areas of great interest. The Calafate Balcony, an excellent viewpoint overlooking Lake Argentino; the Stone Labyrinth, an area filled with huge mineral mushrooms, and the Sombrero Stone, a series of what look like Mexican hats embedded in the cliffs, to which there is no scientific explanation. A perfect region for a family trip ! Distances: the lodge is located 15 km from the airport. Lunch: in El Calafate at Casimiro restaurant or equivalent. Accommodation: Design Suites Calafate Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 3: EL CALAFATE / SPEGAZZINI & UPSALLA GLACIERS / EL CALAFATE - "Ice Carrousel"
Description: after enjoying the morning light from the lodge’s breakfast lounge, you will travel to Punta Bandera. This full-day excursion will cover the north branch of Lake Argentino, one of the country’s biggest lakes. You will board the Chonek or Nueva Leon catamarans at the Captain’s Club (VIP lounge and private dock). Wandering through the icebergs, the boat will take you along the lake’s different branches to the base of the main glaciers: Spegazzini, 80 meters (262 feet) high, Uspalla, the second biggest glacier of the 47 glaciers in the Park, and Onelli. You will disembark for lunch, and after an 800 meter (half a mile) walk through a magnificent lenga forest, you will reach Onelli Bay, which is filled with icebergs and framed in a unique landscape of glaciers and snowy peaks. Back onboard, you’ll sail for 1 hour to meet your guide in Punta Bandera. Technical description: with a maximum capacity of 250 passengers, the Chonek and Nueva Leon catamarans are state-of-the-art vessels. They are equipped with all the security devices required by international standards. GPS, plotter, eco-sounder, VHF, heating and bar service. Distances: 46 km (29 miles) from the lodge to Punta Bandera. Five hours of nautical excursion. Lunch: gourmet picnic basket provided by your guide. Accommodation: Design Suites Calafate Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 4: PERITO MORENO GLACIER / EL CALAFATE - "A parade of blues, intense, crystalline, pastel and opaque"
Description: for this day you can choose between two options. Option 1: a mini trek on the southern section of the Perito Moreno glacier. After crossing the Rico branch by boat (15 minutes), and receiving a short briefing, you will put on crampons (ice nails) and you’ll be ready to begin a 90 minute circuit on the ice. What is most amazing in this icy world, besides the silence and total absence of life, are the uncommon deep blue tones. Option 2: from the “Bajo la sombras” dock you will sail for an hour along the southern wall of the glacier. The facade of the glacier is 5 km (3 mi) wide; its height reaches 170 meters (557 ft), though only 60 meters (197 ft) emerge from the surface. After the optional tour, we suggest hiking a trail which skirts the Iceberg Canal and enables you to gradually discover the glacier, and further on you will reach the traditional footbridge circuit. To make this day even more unforgettable you should have tea or mate at an ideal place, La Usina, located on the shores of some rapids, under the shade of some lenga trees. Distances: 74 km (46 mi) from the lodge to the footbridges, of which 12 km (7 mi) are dirt roads. Note: this trekking adventure is for people over 10 to 65 years old. Two mountain guides will lead each group of 20 people max. We recommend you to select this option once you book. Lunch: gourmet picnic basket provided by your guide. Accommodation: Design Suites Calafate Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 5: EL CALAFATE / LAKE ROCA / EL CALAFATE - "The eternal attraction of what is different"
Description: Argentines call it a “dia de campo” (farm day). A day for enjoying nature and participating in typical estancia activities. Nibepo Aike is located in a fairytale landscape, Lake Roca, the southern branch of Lake Argentino, the peaks towering on the other side of the banks, mountain grasslands, lenga forests. Even the access road is beautiful; don’t miss the chance to go up the small hill where the park rangers live. You will have absolute freedom to choose among the activities the estancia has to offer. A horse ride between the lake and the Crystal Range; a slight ascent to the highlands that surround the estancia, from where you can admire the puzzle formed by the branches of the different lakes, with the Perito Moreno glacier in the background. The estancia’s gauchos will suggest you witness a sheep clipping demonstration, and will invite you to share a hearty asado. This Yugoslavian family, pioneers in the region, settled in these lands at the beginning of the 20th century. Distances: 81 km (50 mi) of which 36 km (22 mi) are dirt roads, and 56 km (35 mi) to return to Calafate via the old dirt road. Lunch: at the Nibepo Aike Estancia’s Inn. Accommodation: Design Suites Calafate Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 6: EL CALAFATE / PUERTO NATALES - "Following the wind"
Description: after breakfast, you will take the road to Chile which travels through Esperanza, at the heart of the Santa Cruz province, and the border post at Mt. Castillo. Then you will head towards the Lazo Estancia and to the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) for a first view of the pillar of Torres del Paine. After lunch at the inn, you will have the afternoon off to stroll along the lake banks with your guide, or to climb to the high mountain grasslands which surround the Inn and enjoy a great panoramic view, or to go horseback riding. At sunset, you head back down the road to Puerto Natales. The hotel is located 2 km (1.2 mi) before the city, on Ultima Esperanza Bay. Once settled in, your guide will be available to accompany you to Puerto Natales, a typical port with small houses of multicolored wavy roofs. Note: keep your park entrance ticket, since you can use it the following day.
Distance: 286 km (178 mi) > 3h15 from Calafate to Mt. Castillo, plus 82 km (51 mi) > 90 minutes to the Laguna Verde. Finally, 2h (110 km, 68 mi) to Puerto Natales. Lunch: at the Mirador del Paine Inn restaurant (Estancia Lazo – Laguna Verde). Accommodation: Altiplánico Patagonia Hotel.
DAY 7: PUERTO NATALES / TORRES DEL PAINE - "A swarm of lakes and a regiment of granite peaks"
Description: you will depart early in the morning to take full advantage of Torres del Paine National Park. The trails skirt the pillar, zigzagging in between the turquoise or opaline lakes, which change color according to the sun’s position. You will enter through the Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lagoon) area. The Towers appear first, and then The Horns and the Frenchman’s Glacier come gradually into view. We suggest going straight to Grey Lake, to get there around noon and taking a 45 minute walk (2.2 km, 1.4 mi) to the end of the peninsula. When you return, we cannot miss out on a 10 minute walk on the north end of Lake Pehoe to visit Salto Grande, a huge waterfall with the pinkish colored rock formations of The Horns in the background. You will then exit the Park and head to the lodge located nearby. Distances: 110 km (68 mi) > 2h15 from Puerto Natales to the Park entrance; 60 km (37 mi) > 1h45 to Lake Grey. Another 60 km back to the park entrance and 33 km (20 mi) back to the lodge. Lunch: at the Lake Grey Inn restaurant or at the Sodexho restaurant of Lake Pehoe. Accommodation: Estancia Cerro Guido or equivalent.
DAY 8: TORRES DEL PAINE - "When contemplating beautiful sights, beautiful words arrive at our lips"
Description: you will have the day off to enjoy the activities the lodge has to offer. A horse ride facing the Torres del Paine, from 2 to 5 hours according to your preference, or taking part in typical estancia activities. From November 1, 10, sheep clipping (12000 head of cattle); from November 20th to December 10th , branding and tail clipping of 30000 lambs and 35000 sheep; from December 1, 24, sheep clipping (35000); from January 2, 4, tagging and trail herding of 500 calves and 700 cows, from January 15-20, sheep trail herding. Lunch and accommodation: Estancia Cerro Guido or equivalent.
DAY 9: TORRES DEL PAINE / EL CALAFATE / BUENOS AIRES - "Transforming our dreams into memories"
Description: after breakfast, you will head back straight to El Calafate through the border post at Mt. Castillo. At the border you will meet your Argentine guide again who will accompany you to the El Calafate airport. You will be greeted in Buenos Aires and after settling in you will be able to enjoy a dinner show, which will embrace you with the passion and grace of tango. Argentina further reveals its soul. Distances: 334 km to El Calafate, through border post at Mt. Castillo. Note: you can also return through Santiago, via Punta Arenas. Lunch: of your choice or on the plane. Dinner show: at the Esquina Carlos Gardel restaurant, VIP location, or similar. Accommodation: Design Ce Hotel or equivalent.
DAY 10: BUENOS AIRES / INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
Description: until leaving for the airport, you will continue to discover Buenos Aires and/or, according to your preferences, go shopping. The leather-goods and gaucho articles shops offer typical and original products. The city tour goes through 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world with its 65 meter (213 ft) obelisk and Avenida de Mayo, which is well known for its buildings of Galician architecture influence. At Plaza de Mayo you will discover the Casa Rosada, HQ of the president. You will then visit La Boca neighborhood with its colorful houses made with material recovered from ships, as well as antique shops and traditional tango bars. Recoleta is a traditional residential neighborhood, where walking is a real pleasure due to its numerous parks and squares. To end the tour, you’ll visit Puerto Madero, the old city port which has recently been completely refurbished. Option:enjoy Buenos Aires by helicopter. Experience the feeling of flying over Buenos Aires from an altitude of 200 meters. Lunch: at the Gardiner restaurant or similar. Dinner and night: on the plane.