Patagonia - Trekking and Wildlife

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Day 1: Arrive in Buenos Aires

Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you are met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore the city of Buenos Aires. In the evening, we have our introductory meeting and dinner. Overnight in Buenos Aires.


Day 2: Buenos Aires

Today, we discover the highlights of Buenos Aires. Traveling by bus and walking through the unique "barrios", we have a close look at daily life in Buenos Aires.

We see Parliament Square, Mayo Avenue, Tortoni Cafe, La Boca, Recoleta and the ornate cemetery where Evita Peron is buried.

Enjoy a traditional dinner while watching a fantastic tango show. Overnight in Buenos Aires.


Day 3: Urban trek and Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve.

Today we will explore the hidden side of Buenos Aires on a full day walking tour. We begin our urban trek discovering the city´s streets, squares and hidden corners starting with the Obelisk and 9 de Julio Avenue, where we can enjoy the local green spaces in the city. We continue our walk down Santa Fe Avenue, exploring Plaza San Martin area and Puerto Madero. We will then continue to Costanera Sur where we will enjoy traditional street food for lunch at Buenos Aires “Costanera”. Enjoy a chorizo, pork, beef or a hamburger by the Rio de la Plata coastal sidewalk.

After lunch enjoy the visit to the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. With its 350 hectares, this reserve is the largest green space in the City of Buenos Aires and where the locals come to walk, bike, jog or relax with their families. Along the many trails leading to the river, we will be able to see different species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. We also see native vegetation such as grasslands and forests of elder cortaderas, creole willows, ceiba trees along with hundred of species of plants and fungi, which are typically found on the banks of the Rio de la Plata. Be on the lookout for birds such as benteveo, chimango, hawks, woodpecker and even swans. Cats, rodents, opossum, bats and even furrier sea lions are part of the 18 species of mammals that inhabit this space. Pond turtles, long necked turtles and painted turtles move slowly through the reeds, amid lizards and snakes.

This evening we will experience more of the cosmopolitan entertainment that Buenos Aires is famous for. Dinner and overnight in Buenos Airies.


Day 4: To El Chalten, Fitz Roy Massif

In the morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to El Calafate. Upon landing in Patagonia, we transfer to ground transportation and drive across the steppe to El Chalten, our staging point for the Fitz Roy Peaks in the southern Andes and our hikes in the region.

The drive takes us across semi-arid steppes as we approach the famous peaks of the Patagonian Andes. Overnight in El Chalten.


Day 5: Trek to Mount Fitz Roy

Today, we spend a full day trekking to Mt. Fitz Roy. Mt Fitz Roy sits in its granite glory surrounded by Poincenot and Mermoz peaks. Enroute, we pass through Nothofagus forest and see glaciers. As we travel alongside the Rio Blanco (white river), the sounds of the rushing water echo off the mountainsides. Keep a watch for the world's second largest bird, the Andean condor, circling the peaks.

Note: For those who are keen for more adventure and a spectacular view of the upper lakes of Laguna Sucia and Lago de los Tres, a challenging hike from the Fitz Roy base camp is offered. Overnight in El Chalten.


Day 6: Hike to Laguna Torre

In the morning, we hike to a viewpoint where we can see the magnificent Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy Peak. Enroute, we hike past a gorge, the towering peaks of the Andes, and alongside the glacial waters of the Fitz Roy River. Overnight in El Chalten.


Day 7: Perito Moreno Glacier

This morning we leave for the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier, which is located within Glacier National Park and has been declared a World Heritage Site. The glacier is a river of ice, 2 miles wide, 20 miles long and 200 feet high, which we view from a tour boat only 500 feet away! It is considered to be one of the greatest natural attractions in all of South America. Hiking along the shore we can watch icebergs calving off the glacier into Lago Argentino.

As we arrive at our nearby estancia, watch for the kelpi dogs gathering the sheep. Dinner tonight is a wonderful feast with many local specialties. Overnight at the estancia.


Day 8: Life on the Estancia

Our day is open to enjoy the activities of the estancia. Sheep shearing and herding, a walk to the lake and bird watching by the lagoon. If you want more adventure you may wish to go further afield on a horseback-riding excursion.

Tonight, another feast accompanied by the magnificent view over Lago Argentino and the Cordillera de Los Andes. Overnight at the estancia.


Day 9: To Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Today, we have a long drive across the border into Chile. Enroute, we have lunch at a Patagonian estancia from where we can see the Paine Massif and the rolling steppe.

In the afternoon, we arrive in the famous park of Torres del Paine, reputed to have the cleanest air in the world.

Our time in Torres del Paine will be spectacular and different. The backpacker 'trekking circuit' or hiking the "W" can be crowded with lots of backpackers and other hikers. With our local guides, we have developed treks that have been researched to offer spectacular hikes, stunning views and incredible wildlife. We also encounter more wildlife, as more remote regions tend to have much more wildlife. On 3 of our 4 hikes, you will likely not encounter any other hikers. Our hike to the the Towers is on the circuit, and will have other hikers but is so worth it and a 'must-do' trek for avid hikers. The other 3 hikes will likely not have any other hikers that are not part of our group. Each day we enjoy a different hike: 1) In search of Feral Horses 2) The Towers 3) In search of Pumas 4) Lazo Webber (with views of the Horns).

Accommodations: We are staying at an EcoCamp in comfortable dome tents with private bathroom.


Day 10: Torres del Paine Trekking - In search of Feral Horses

This hike is new in Torres del Paine. We drive to a remote area of the park that is not accessible to backpackers. There is abundant wildlife in Torres del Paine but backpackers tend to scare off the wildlife. Wildlife in the park includes mountain lions or pumas, guanacos, gray foxes, Andes skunk, South Andean deer and feral horses. The plentiful birdlife includes the Andean condor, towering over mountain peaks, with the second widest wingspan in the world, as well as Magellanic Woodpeckers, Black-chested Buzzard Eagles, Lesser Horned Owls, Black-necked Swans, Lesser Rheas and Chilean Flamingos.
Overnight in Torres Del Paine EcoCamp (adjacent to Paine Massif, base of the Towers)


Day 11: Torres del Paine Trekking - The Towers

Today, we go on a spectacular hike to Torres del Paine. This is a challenging hike but well worth the effort because of the spectacular views of the Tower Peaks.

The hike takes us up a slope with beautiful views of the countryside, through a valley and then up a moraine slope to see the Torres del Paine rising above a small glacier and lake. Torres del Paine translates to Blue Towers, in reference to the blue hue of the granite towers. Overnight in Torres Del Paine EcoCamp (adjacent to Paine Massif, base of the Towers)


Day 12: Torres del Paine Trekking - In search of the elusive Puma

Today's hike may be nothing short of one of the best and spectacular hikes of your life. Not only is the scenery in the park stunning, but to see wildlife as elusive as a puma, will make this a true highlight.

Our experience is made possible by a team of trackers who continuously track wild pumas to know of their whereabouts so that while we are on our hike, we are far more likely to encounter them. Our guides are also true conservationists who care deeply about the survival of the puma.

Please Note: Group size is limited so we may have to split up our group into more than one. We may also have to rotate this hike with the hike on Day 13 or Day 15.
Overnight in Torres Del Paine EcoCamp (adjacent to Paine Massif, base of the Towers)


Day 13: Torres del Paine Trekking - Lazo Webber (views of the Horns)

Our hike today will provide more beautiful vistas with fanciful peaks and vast valleys below. Our hike is on the south side of the Paine Massif with superb views of the famous Paine Horns. Our full day hike includes lunch with a view and plenty of opportunity to stop and enjoy the beautify surrounding you.
Overnight in Torres Del Paine EcoCamp (adjacent to Paine Massif, base of the Towers)


Day 14: To Puerto Natales

This morning, we leave Torres del Paine and head south to Puerto Natales. This is scenic trip through amazing scenery from the high mountains of Torres del Paine to the coastal city of Puerto Natales on the shore of Esperanza Bay.
Overnight in Puerto Natales.


Day 15: To Punta Arenas; Sites and Sara Brown Museum

Enjoy a relaxing morning, enjoying the fresh sea breeze in this busy port town and then continue for another 250kms through this mountainous Magallanes region of Chilean Patagonia. We arrive in Punta Arenas, located on the Strait of Magellan, we will have time to explore the central Plaza with its elaborate buildings reminding us of its wealth when wool and wood were king. Traces of its history as a staging ground for Antarctic adventures are evident and the city still has a strong maritime base. We will also visit the Sara Brown Museum where you will learn more about the history of this city.

Overnight Punta Arenas.


Day 16: Strait of Magellan, Humpback Whales

Today, we journey by boat in the Strait of Magellan in search of Humpback whales as well as an array of seabirds and marine mammals. Keep an eye out for penguins, dolphins, fur seals, sea lions and the massive albatross with a wingspan reaching 12 feet. In addition to humpback whales, you may also see orca or killer whales. This day has the potential to be one of the highlights of your trip to Patagonia. In the afternoon, we return to Punta Arenas.

Overnight Punta Arenas.


Day 17: Magellanic Penguin colony

We have an early start today as we take a short trip to Isla Magdalena where we will travel by Zodiac boat to see the colony of Magellanic Penguins - sometimes numbering 100,000 strong. We will have time to walk amongst the penguins, eventually making our way to the lighthouse where we can enjoy spectacular views. The sights and sounds of these curious creatures is truly an amazing experience.

We return to Punta Arenas for our farewell dinner and overnight.
Overnight Punta Arenas.


Day 18: Depart Punta Arenas

We transfer to the airport for our homeward flights or join our extension to mysterious Easter Island, the most remotely inhabited place on earth, Igauzu Falls or Machu Picchu.

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