Discover the spirit of cosmopolitan Santiago. Enjoy action-packed fun in Pucon. Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier must be seen to be believed. This massive, blue-hued natural wonder is one of Patagonia’s real crown jewels. Trek the Patagonian wilderness through Argentina and Chile
Just the sound of it fills the stomach with butterflies: Patagonia. Sharp granite peaks impale the horizon and glaciers feed into the most perfect blue lakes imaginable. Visit the seemingly endless wilderness that’s become the hottest, and coldest, outdoor playground for adventurers world-over, beginning in the Chilean capital of Santiago and ending in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Combine the best of both worlds, hiking in the shadow of Mt Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, conquering Villarica Volcano high above Pucon and ‘exploring’ the chocolate shops in Bariloche, not to mention the incredible food and wine scene throughout both these countries.
Breakfast Included: 13 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 3
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Chile. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until an important welcome meeting tonight at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note at the hotel reception telling you where this meeting will take place, after which there’ll be the option of joining the group for dinner. If you arrive early, perhaps get out and explore Santiago. The city centre is quite compact and easy to get around; you can visit Plaza de Armas (Main Square) and its cathedral, Palacio La Moneda (government house) or Santa Lucia hill. Alternatively, head out to the barrio Bella Vista (the serene Parisian Quarter) and take a cable car up to Cerro San Cristobal. If the weather is fine, you’ll have lovely views over the city and the Andes.
Enjoy a free day sightseeing in Santiago. Both the National History Museum and the fascinating Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombiano can be found in the Plaza de Armas and it’s a short walk to the National Museum of Natural History. There’s the option to take a half-day city tour including La Alameda (the main avenue), the thriving central markets and Cerro San Cristobal, a huge green space above Santiago with views of the city and the Andes. Tonight we’ll take an overnight bus to Pucon in Chile’s southern lake district, known for its abundance of adventure activities.
We arrive to Pucon in the early hours of the morning. If our accommodation is not ready yet, we'll able to drop off our bags head to town for breakfast. Pucon is one of the major centres for adventure ecotourism in the country, picture-perfect Pucon is visited year-round by domestic and international tourists keen to push their heart rate up a tad thanks to its handy location.
This afternoon we take a bike ride to the gorgeous Ojos de Caburga Waterfall, so named because in Spanish the name means Eyes of Caburga and from above the falls look like a pair of eyes, one blue, one green.
Spend another day in Pucon. Today is a free day, for those wanting to hike the Villarica Volcano. This is an optional activity and will take up most of the day. This is a challeninging climb, but well worth it fr the stunning scenerey from the top - and of course the child-like fun of sliding back down the volcano after you've reached the summit!
For those not climbing who may prefer some relaxation, the Pozones natural hot springs are a short drive from town. These thermal baths are set within a verdant forest with a river flowing through the middle, and have a range of depths and sizes to soothe those aching muscles. Sit back and soak up the breath-taking natural scenery before heading back to Pucon to hit the food and bar scene.
Today we cross the mountainous border from Chile into Argentina, this is approximately 10 hours of travel time with one change of bus in Osorno. Our destination is Bariloche , another adventurous lake town that must be seen to be believed. Bariloche is the largest of several settlements supported by Lake Nahuel Huapi and is a popular destination for skiing in the winter and hiking, mountain-biking and kayaking during the summer months. It’s also known for its Swiss influence, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve somehow ended up in the Swiss Alps once you see the mountains, wooden chalets and boutique chocolate shops. Like any good tourist town, the food and bar scene here has really taken off and it’s a great spot to have your first taste of Argentina’s famous steak. Take the afternoon and evening to enjoy and explore town, because tomorrow you’ll discover why it’s known as the Great Outdoors.
Hiking - Bariloche
Lace up those hiking boots. Today we hike up to one of Bariloche's most scenic mountain refuges. The hike is about 16km long and it gains approximately 850 meters of altitude. Today's hike perfectly showcases the beauty of Northern Patagonia and its Lake District: deep green forests, crystal clear mountain rivers and pristine lakes. Enjoy! Accommodation tonight is at a mountain lodge. Rooms are multishare and separated by sex and basic toilet facilities. Meals at the lodge are included and they normally consist of pastas, rice and meat. Please let us know well in advance if you have any dietary requirement.
Hiking - Bariloche
After breakfast your experienced local guide will take you on a trek pass a glacial lagoon, up a mountain pass before getting to the summit of Cella Peak. Today's hike is 10km long and it gains approximately 660 meters altitude.
After breakfast we commence our descent to Bariloche. The hike down is approximately 16km long and you will reach Bariloche by early afternoon.
Bariloche / El Calafate
Today is a long travel day. We get up nice and early and trek down to Bariloche once again. Upon arrival we head straight to the airport for a 1h 45 flight to El Calafate. El Calafate, a small town on the shore of Lago Argentino and a hub for visiting Los Glaciares National Park. Hikers and climbers from all over the world congregate in both El Calafate and El Chalten, creating a laid-back and very outdoors-orientated atmosphere. Don't be scared to chat to them, there are plenty of people to meet and stories to be heard in Patagonia's supposed wilderness.
The flight departs at approximately 11am for a 12:45pm arrival in El Calafate where you will be transferred by private vehicle to El Chalten (approximate drive time 3 hours).
Over the next two days you'll hike the two most popular trails in the area: Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Torre. The Laguna de los Tres takes you through forests and past lagoons and glaciers until you hit the bottom of Mt Fitz Roy, an imposing landmark. The Laguna Torre trek also features ridiculous scenery and all the forests and lagoons you could ever want, but will take you to the area's other famous peak: Cerro Torre. It's not unusual to see huge icebergs in the lake and you'll also walk alongside the Fitz Roy River.
Today we'll embark on our second trek. The order of treks will differ based on weather conditions, but both hikes are moderate to difficult and you can expect to walk from six to nine hours on clearly-marked and well-maintained paths. The terrain itself is not difficult, so rain and the notorious Patagonian wind may be the main challenges you face on these walks.
Hiking - El Chalten/El Calafate
The majority of the day is free to complete another optional hike if you choose. Otherwise, take it easy and enjoy a final day in El Chalten with a stroll around the local area, which is still incredibly beautiful. In the afternoon we'll return to El Calafate.