Embark on a cycling excursion to Ojos del Caburga, a set of waterfalls in Chile surrounded by lush forest.. Get close to Argentina’s beyond epic Perito Moreno Glacier. At five-kilometres wide and 30-kilometres long, it must be seen to be believed.. Spend a day hiking through Patagonia’s pristine Lake District, immersed in evergreen forest and passing gorgeous waterways until your reach your mountain lodge accommodation.. Hike the two most popular trails in El Chalten – Laguna de los Tres and Laguna Torre – plus enjoy a free day to explore independently.
Explore Patagonia, land of sharp granite peaks, glaciers and perfect blue lakes, on a tour bought to you by Lonely Planet and Intrepid. Spend 14-day exploring this outdoor playground, beginning in the Chilean capital of Santiago and ending in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. We know that travellers who love the great outdoors also love their freedom, so we’ve designed an itinerary that combines group hikes and excursions with plenty of free time to strike out on your own. Witness the power of the Perito Moreno Glacier, hike through the Bariloche and the Lake District, and work up your appetite for empanadas and wine.
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 6 pm. 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. 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.
Santiago – Pucon
Enjoy a free day to explore Santiago at your own pace. If you’d prefer a little guidance, speak to your leader about the optional half-day city tour that includes La Alameda (the main avenue), the thriving central markets and Cerro San Cristobal. If you want to strike out on your own, consider the National History Museum and the fascinating Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombiano – both found in the Plaza de Armas. Tonight, board an overnight bus to Pucon in Chile’s southern lake district, known for its abundance of adventure activities.
Arrive to Pucon in the early hours of the morning. If our accommodation is not ready yet, we can drop off our bags and head to town for breakfast. Pucon is one of the major centres for adventure eco-tourism in the country, and this afternoon you’ll get to explore during a bike ride to the gorgeous Ojos de Caburga waterfalls. You evening if free, so maybe head out to dinner with your group.
Spend another day in Pucon, with no scheduled activities. There are a few optional activities on offer, from active to relaxing. Travellers who want to hike the Villarica Volcano can do so today. Keep in mind this is a challenging climb, but the views from the top are stunning. Plus, you get to slide down the snow-capped ide of the mountain once you’re finished! Want to save your energy? You also have the option to visit the Los Pozones hot springs and take a soak in thermal waters set in the middle of verdant forest.
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 16-kilometres and it gains approximately 850 meters of altitude. This hike perfectly showcases the beauty of Northern Patagonia: deep green forests, crystal clear mountain rivers and pristine lakes. You should arrive at the lodge by the afternoon.
Hiking – Bariloche
After breakfast, head out with your experienced local guide to summit Cella Peak. This scenic ten-kilometre hike takes you past a glacial lagoon and gains approximately 660 meters altitude. Spend the rest of the day however you please in this gorgeous area. Maybe you’d like to rest up at the lodge with a book, or head out to explore the wilderness further.
After breakfast commence the descent to Bariloche (16 kilometres). Arrive in Bariloche by the late afternoon and spend the rest of your day however you please.
Bariloche – El Calafate
Depart at 11 am for an approximately 2-hour flight to El Calafate, then transfer by private vehicle to El Chalten (approximately 3 hours). Located in Los Glaciares National Park, El Chalten is unsurprisingly full of hikers and climbers from all over the world. It’s a great place to grab a meal and meet like-minded people if you feel the urge.
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 6—9 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.
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.