Southern Explorer

From El Chalten to Ushuaia OR From Ushuaia to El Chalten
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Patagonia
  • Expedition
  • Walking
  • Group
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Tour Description

Explore remote southern Patagonia on this 13-day adventure.  Discover some of South Americas finest national parks including the Los Glaciares National Park, home to some of the world’s most stunning ice formations; Torres Del Paine National Park famous for its granite pillars, lakes and mountains and Tierra Del Fuego National Park, located in one of the most southern regions of the world.  This is a tour of overwhelming natural beauty!

**Please note there are a couple of changes in the Feb 2020 – April 2020 itinerary, please ask us for the itinerary**

Viva's Best Bits...

Get personal with Patagonian wilderness

Hike the most stunning landscapes of Torres Del Paine National Park

Visit incredible Perito Moreno Glacier

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
El Chalten

After arriving into El Calafate airport, you will be met at the airport and transferred to El Chalten, located in the stunning Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.

Day 2
El Chalten

A full day hiking today, we meet our local guides and set off on one of the main hiking trails in the wonderful Los Glaciares National Park. Enjoy spectacular scenery and obtain views of the magical Cerro Torre or the wonderful Mount Fitzroy.

Day 3
El Chalten El Calafate

Spend the morning exploring some of the other great walking trails El Chalten is famous for. Discover great views of the peaks of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy as well as spectacular rivers, lakes and forests, and if you lucky watch condors circling high above. There are many options available form short walk of less than an hour to longer half day hikes. In the mid-afternoon, we will continue by road to El Calafate. Enroute we will stop at a historic homestead saloon.

Day 4
El Calafate

Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the Earth's most dynamic and accessible ice fields.

Day 5
El Calafate Torres Del Paine

We will cross into Chile to Torres Del Paine, South Americas finest National Park and a trekker’s paradise. Declared a Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO in 1978 it is located amongst the mountain range of the Andes and the Patagonian steppe. In this zone, the colossal towers and horns of granite and rock that have given world-wide fame to it, with heights of up to 3,050 meters above the sea level. The park preserves fragile ecosystems, numerous animals like guanacos, condors, ñandues (South American ostrich), foxes and the elusive puma.

The 3 famous hikes we cover inside the park, these are:
(a) Los Torres Hike
(b) French Valley Hike
(c) Greys Glacier Hike

Instead of walking these continuously, carrying all your hiking gear like on the Big W (a 4-day hike), we break it into three separate walks, covering different sections of the park and hiking an average of 15km (9.5mi) to 20km (12mi) each day. The group is assisted by expert local trekking guides who share information about the environment and guide you through the hiking trails.

If you are not hiking there are other activities available inside Torres Del Paine including tours be a vehicle, boat and on horse-back. However, please note these activities are subject to availability and minimum numbers and will incur an additional cost. Please ask about our Torres Light Add-On.

Day 6
Torres Del Paine

Las Torres Hike (Difficult)

Hiking to view the iconic Las Torres (the Towers) is a challenging yet immensely satisfying hike, a highlight for all experienced trekkers. The Towers are the three massive granite columns that encircle the smaller Torres Glacier.

The Towers hike is by far the most strenuous of all the hikes. From the entrance, you have a 1.5km/1mi flat warm-up to the start of the trailhead at Hosteria Las Torres. You start off climbing up the side of one of the mountains, all dirt paths and quite steep in gradient in areas. It then flattens out as you scale the side of the valley with a great river underneath you.

A short downhill section will bring you to the Refugio Chileno. Here you can buy snacks and rest for a while and use the facilities. Although you can see the tips of the towers from the Refugio, this hike is fully appreciated when you are able to hike the full length. Once you leave the Refugio you start climbing again for about 1-hour crossing rivers and passing through a beautiful forest. The final 45 minutes are quite challenging as you scramble up boulders to the base of the towers.

*We offer a fantastic optional day for those unable to attempt the Towers. It involves heading to another section of the park, enjoying a shorter hike and visiting indigenous hand paintings while still having a view of the Towers.

Full walk takes approximately 8 - 9 hours return including time for lunch and depending on your ability/physical strength.

Day 7
Torres del Paine

French Valley Hike (Moderate – Difficult)

The French Valley is the most beautiful valley in the Torres del Paine National Park. It is a steep hike and offers incredible its unique panoramic views of Los Cuernos del Paine, the French Glacier and Lakes Nordenskjold, Pehoé, Scottsburg and Toro.

This walk starts at the same place as the Greys Glacier walk and between the hikes we stay overnight at the Paine Grande Refuge so you do not have to return across the lake to our hotel, effectively allowing you additional time to complete the hikes. This is a very different walk to the Greys Glacier. Slightly longer for the shorter walk and at times, the track can be rocky and steep. The entrance to the valley is Italiano Camp (7.5km/4.5mi) and is our short hike stopping point. For those who continue up into the valley to the French Lookout, the trail becomes steep with loose gravel and boulders. With a 300m/1000ft elevation gain, you have wonderful views of the valley as well as the amazing view of mountains all around. You can sit, watch and hear ice crack and maybe even see a mini avalanche.

The full walk takes approximately 8 - 9 hours return including time for lunch and depending on your ability and physical strength.

Day 8
Torres del Paine Puerto Natales

Greys Glacier trek (Easy-moderate)

Grey Glacier is one of the principal tourist attractions located in Chile. As soon as you get to this place you will be breath taken with the lakes creamy blue colour dotted with icebergs floating and the Patagonia Icefield at the back.

Initially, you will walk through a valley before climbing a steep incline, onto a ridge taking you first through a burnout forest and then into a green live forest.

A little further along the trail brings you to an elevated view of Grey Lake. You hike along an exposed ridgeline before reaching the Grey Glacier Lookout point. (Approx 2.5hrs)
If you are looking for a short hike this would be your turn around point, heading back the same way to the start of the trail. Continuing down another 2 hours further from this point you get to the main Refugio Grey Glacier viewpoint which brings you a lot closer to this magnificent ice sheet. From here you have a magnificent view of the glacier across the water and usually the wonderful blue of the icebergs floating in the lake below. All viewpoints of the glacier are from a front on angle.

The full walk takes approximately 7 - 8 hours return including time for lunch and depending on your ability/physical strength.

At the conclusion of your full-day trekking, we will head to our hotel in Puerto Natales.

Day 9
Puerto Natales Punta Arenas

After a leisurely morning we will head off to Punta Arenas, located on the edge of the Straights of Magallen. Tonight you will enjoy a meal prepared by a talented, local chef who takes local regional foods and gives you a taste of the variety of unusual tastes and flavours they have.

Day 10
Punta Arenas Cerro Sombrero

Enjoy your morning exploring Punta Arenas before crossing the Straights of Magellan onto the island of Tierra Del Fuego.

Day 11
Cerro Sombrero Ushuaia

Visit a King Penguin colony on the way to Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world.

Day 12
Ushuaia

Take a cruise on the Beagle Channel to view wildlife and learn of the region's history. Explore Tierra Del Fuego National Park and arrive at ’the end of the road’: Lapatia Bay.

Day 13
Ushuaia

Depart Ushuaia with wonderful memories, and a new respect of our wonderful planet courtesy of Patagonia.

Day 1
Ushuaia

Your tour begins with a bang in Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world. Enjoy dinner with your tour leader and group this evening.

Day 2
Ushuaia

Take a cruise on the Beagle Channel to view wildlife and learn of the region's history. Explore Tierra Del Fuego National Park and arrive at ’the end of the road’: Lapatia Bay.

Day 3
Ushuaia Cerro Sombrero

Visit a king penguin colony on the way to Cerro Sombrero.

Day 4
Cerro Sombrero Punta Arenas

We arrive to the port town of Punta Arenas and enjoy a unique dinner prepared by a talented local chef who uses unusual local flavours.

Day 5
Punta Arenas Torres Del Paine

Enjoy some time in Puerto Natales before we continue on to Torres Del Paine, South America's finest National Park.

Day 6-8
Torres Del Paine

Be wowed by Torres Del Paine's breath-taking vistas! We hike the trails of Greys Glacier, French Valley and Las Torres. For non-trekkers we offer a fantastic “Torres Light” programme, please just ask for more info.

Day 9
Torres Del Paine El Calafate

We cross back into Argentina and continue through the steppe before seeing the beautiful Lake Argentina, the biggest freshwater lake in Argentina. We arrive into El Calafate, our base to visit the impressive Perito Moreno glacier.

Day 10
El Calafate

Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the earth's most dynamic and accessible ice fields.

Day 11
El Calafate El Chalten

We will arrive to El Chalten, a small town nestled quietly under the imposing peak of Chalten (also known as Mount Fitzroy). Explore some of the great walking trails El Chalten is famous for. Discover great views of the peaks of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy as well as spectacular rivers, lakes and forests, and if you lucky watch condors circling high above.

Day 12
El Chalten

A full day hiking in the wonderful Los Glaciares National Park. Enjoy spectacular scenery and obtain views of the magical Cerro Torre or the wonderful Mount Fitzroy.

Day 13
El Chalten Depart

Your tour of Southern Patagonia concludes with a transfer back to the airport in El Calafate.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 11 nights accommodation in standard hotels and guesthouses
  • Included Copy 20 1 night in a hiking lodge with shared bunk beds
Food
  • Included Copy 20 12 Breakfasts
  • Included Copy 20 8 Lunches
  • Included Copy 20 9 Dinners
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Fully escorted in South America in our custom built all-terrain expedition vehicles
  • Included Copy 20 Service of an experienced tour leader as well as local guides
  • Included Copy 20 Experienced Driver/Mechanic
  • Included Copy 20 All National Park Entrance fees
Transportation
Expedition Vehicle

Activities

  • Included Hiking in El Chalten
  • Included Moreno Glacier day trip including Nautical Safari El Calafate
  • Included Day Hikes/Excursions Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Included Useless Bay King Penguin Colony Tierra Del Fuego
  • Included Crossing the Straights of Magellan
  • Included Beagle Channel Boat trip Ushuaia
  • Included Tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park - Ushuaia
Tour on Special!
Click here for dates & prices
Mar - Apr 2020 departures: Please ask for prices! Nov - Feb 2020/21 departures: Book by 28 Feb 2020 and save up to 10%.
Duration

13 days

Price from

$6,050 $5,445 USD

Per person, twin share

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