Argentina / Chile / Patagonia - A unique look at Argentinas wildlife and trekking in Torres del Paine, Chile
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Days 1 and 2 Arrive Buenos Aires
Arrive AA 997 from Dallas to Buenos Aires EZE 9:05 am. Met and transfer to Design CE hotel in the heart of this thriving city. Plaza rooms with breakfast. I have included a half day city tour and a tango show and dinner.
Days 3 and 4 Peninsular Valdez - Estancia Rincon Chico
Early start for transfer to domestic airport for 06:00 am flight to Trelew, landing at 08:00. Met and get on your transport for the 3 hour transfer to Rincon Chico. Estancia Rincon Chico belongs to one of the pioneer families of the region who colonized the Valdés Peninsula in 1880 to raise sheep. Augustin Ayuzo and his partner Maria, who will host you here, epitomize their ancestors' strong spirit of endurance, while sharing their home-made specialties, deliciously barbecued Patagonian lamb, and excellent wines.
This estancia has the most privileged location - right in the heart of the National Park. It is the ideal place from which to enjoy the vastness and mystique of this flat Patagonian countryside and its amazing wealth of wildlife. Rincon Chico has over 10 km of private Atlantic coastline with wild stretches of beaches upon
which hundreds of elephant seals and sea-lions breed each year. You wake up to the song of the larks, immerse yourself in the fascinating scenery of the steppes, ocean and wildlife, enjoy sun-downers with the soothing views of stretching shadows and red skies, the longest rainbows you can imagine, and the most incredible starry skies.
The Peninsula's diverse wildlife is spectacular: lesser rheas (South American ostrich), maras (Patagonian hare), foxes, guanacos, armadillos, skunks, owls, petrels, oyster-catchers,
and even marine fossils such as sand dollars and oysters.
The Patagonian steppes are covered with shrubs of quilimbay, molle, jume, coirón (stipa, poa and festuca tussock grasses) that lead the way to gorges, lagoons, salt pits, sand dunes and endless pebbled-beaches of the wide-open South Atlantic ocean. Southern elephant seals, southern sea-lions, and seasonally penguins, killer-whales and Southern Right Whales complete this remarkable panoply of wildlife while on daytrips around the peninsula.
Four-wheel drives to the Pedregullo beach allow you to watch, study and chuckle over the male dominated antics of the elephant seals, or walk along sand dunes searching for marine fossils.
Drive or hike to the tajamar lagoon, a 9.8 km round trip to see a wide diversity birds, depending on the time of the year, or to watch the elephant seal harems from the cliffs above.
This diversity of fauna and flora will define your stay here as you enjoy hikes, photo-safaris, and bike rides. However a cultural element to be added to your experience at Rincon Chico is watching and sharing in the daily chores of sheep handling and shearing typical of the rural life of a sheep station.
Driving off the farm, there are many fascinating day trips. You can visit the penguin rookery by Caleta
Valdés or Punta Tombo, enjoy the excitement of a whale-watching boat ride or dive from Punta Pirámide.
Rincon Chico has eight bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms, well adapted to the climatic rigors, yet open to the Patagonian vastness. There is a cozy living-room with a fireplace where you will chat to your hosts and meet the other guests, a small dining-room and a wide verandah.
The season is year-round, and there is wonderful wildlife to be seen at all times; Magellan penguins come to breed from September to April.
Day 5 Puerto Madryn - Hotel Territorio
In the afternoon, after exploring you will drive into Puerto Madryn to the simple but comfortable Hotel Territorio.
Days 6, 7, 8 Calafate - Estancia Eolo
Awake early for transfer to Trelew for 08:35 am flight to Calafate, landing at 10:26am. Transfer to the magnificent Estancia Eolo.
Here you will explore the area on foot, horseback or mountain bike.
Your full day visit with a private guide to the Perito Moreno glacier, the worlds only advancing glacier, is one you will never forget.
Day 9 To Chile and Torres del Paine
An early start for the 3.5 hour drive to the Chilean border. Here you will pass through border formalities - expect an hour or more - and meet your Chilean driver for the onward 1.5 hour drive to Hosteria Torres del Paine, situated in its spectacular location at the base of the massif , right at the heart of the extraordinary Torres del Paine National Park in central Patagonia. The varied and untouched landscapes of this area led UNESCO to declare it a biosphere reserve.
Day 10 Torres del Paine National Park
Start your trip with a hike around Laguna Azul (North-Eastern part of the park), where we will have the opportunity to explore Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lagoon), Cascadas Rio Paine (Paine River Waterfalls) and their surroundings. Afterwards we will visit Laguna Azul (the blue lagoon), where it is possible to sight numerous groups of Guanacos (Chilean Llama), together with great views of the Torres.
Day 11 The Towers
Today you will hike to one of the highlights of the park: the base of the towers themselves. Seen from up close, next to a beautiful green lagoon with a vertical rock towering more than 1,000 m - just breathtaking. You will arrive back at the hotel in the late afternoon - tired, but content! That is me you see in the photo!
Hike: moderate to strenuous, about 6-8 hours
Trekking makes it possible for you to contemplate your surroundings in an unhurried and meaningful way, you can look at things more
closely and carefully. In your treks in the park, you will cross forests of mature lenga trees (nothofagus
pumilio), remote pampas and rivers. You'll trek alongside glaciers, lakes and enormous, mountainous
formations of magma and granite.
Day 12 Catamaran Lago Pehoé and Trekking Valle/Glacier Francés
In the morning you will be transferred to Pudeto in order to begin you next adventure with a little boat trip across the lake Pehoé. Afterwards you will hike into the French Valley. You shall see tremendous views of the French Glacier. In the upper part the valley appears to broaden into an amphitheatre, surrounded by the fascinating scenery of the granite towers of the Paine Massif. In the late afternoon you will arrive at your Refugio Paine Grande.
Hike: moderate, about 7-8 hours to the end of the valley
Day 13 Trekking Camino de los Vientos
Today you will enjoy a marvelous hike along the "Camino de los Vientos" (Path of the Wind). After about two hours you reach the first observation point where one can see the Grey Glacier in the distance and the huge deep blue icebergs in the Grey lake right next to oneself. From here the path leads up and down the hill
directly to the wall of the glacier - it is a unique experience to stand that close and to watch the glacier melting and crashing thunderously into the Grey lake. In the late afternoon arrival at Refugio Grey.
Hike: about 6-8 hours, depends on the weather
Day 14 Catamaran Lago Grey and Trekking Peninsula Grey
After breakfast you will board the boat towards Grey Glacier. Shortly you will approach the glacier's front wall. Afterwards you will navigate across the Grey lake passing by many icebergs. Arriving at the jetty, you will do a little trekking on the peninsula Grey and be able to enjoy the nature around you.
Day 14 Trekking Lago Pingo
Today you will hike towards Lago Pingo on the western end of the Torres del Paine National Park. Enjoying unbelievable views of the Lago Grey and Grey Glacier throughout, you make your way from Hosteria Lago Grey through the Pingo valley with the Pingo river and Pingo waterfalls to the Pingo lake itself. At the end of the hike, transfer to Hotel Serrano, on the edge of the park, where you will bid farewell to your guide. Hike: about 6-8 hours, depends on the weather
Day 15 Trekking to Lago Verde in the Eastern part of the park
This excursion today at the eastern border of the park is a wonderful conclusion to the beautiful days of hiking in Torres del Paine. We follow an easy clear path through grass meadows and beech woodland, passing clear mountain lakes framed by the magnificent Torres del Paine mountain range. After the descent to the Park Headquarters we travel back to Hotel Rio Serrano.
Hike: 12km / 7½miles. Ascent: 244m / 800ftm, Descent: 305m / 1,000ft
Day 16 Drive Punta Arenas - and on to Santiago
Early start, leaving Rio Serrano at 6:30am for transfer 4.5 hours by road to Punta Arenas. Arrive at the Punta Arenas airport at about 11:30 for Lan Chile LA 292 12:25 - 16:50 via Puerto Mont.