One of the most beautiful landscapes in the Western Hemisphere is found in the Andes of Patagonia Argentina. For this reason a chain of Argentine and Chilean National Parks protects this natural beauty. Numerous lakes fed by glacial run-off reflect the majesty of the snow-capped peaks. The mountainsides are covered by primeval forests of sub-antarctic beech trees many of which change color spectacularly in autumn.
Day 1 Arrival in El Calafate.
Arrival and reception at the airport. Transfer to the selected hotel. If you have time, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Glaciarium, a glaciological museum or enjoy a tour which will allow you to discover the steppe landscape with lunch or dinner.
DAY 02 El Calafate
Departure from the hotel towards the Perito Moreno Glacier, within Los Glaciares National Park, declared a Natural Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This glacier is an impressive ice river with a surface of 257 square kilometers (99 square miles) and the height of the front wall oscillates between 50 and 60 meters above lake level. This frozen river descends from the continental ice field and in its slow advance, causes detachments and outbursts that make the glacier a wonder in constant movement. The visit can be complemented (optionally) with a one-hour boat trip, which allows us to enjoy a different view of its front and get a better dimension of the height of its peaks. Time for lunch (not included). In the afternoon, return to the hotel.
DAY 03 El Calafate
Day at leisure ideal to take boat trip through Lake Argentino or enjoy one of the many activities which will allow to get to know unique landscapes.
DAY 04 - Depart
At due time, transfer to the airport or bus station
or you can add or substitute the following tours at extra cost:
Minitrekking on the Glacier :
Transfer to Los Glaciares NP, in the sub-Antarctic Continental Ice-cape, known as the "Third Pole", which extends over 60,000 sq.km (23,000 sq. miles) and gives birth to several major glaciers along the Patagonian Andes. We will board boats to cross Argentino Lake in front of towering ice walls of the Perito Moreno glacier and will navigate around the ice blocks, which are constantly calving from it. We will land on an uninhabited beach and hike on the glacier. (Neither additional equipment nor previous experience needed). The wildlife of the area includes Andean condors, buff-necked ibis, black-chested buzzard eagles, ashy-headed geese, etc. It is a moderate hike and the ice surface where you will walk is irregular, but firm and safe. At the end of the hike, you will go back to the shelter walking through the exuberant Magellan forest. Arrival and embark to cross the lake. Once you arrive at the pier, you will travel for 6 km to reach the catwalks, in front of the Perito Moreno glacier, from where you will have different and amazing views of it.
Note: In order to do this excursion clients should be between 10 to 60 years
Big Ice - This incredible experience starts at the small pier "Bajo las Sombras", where you board a small boat - the Tehuelche - to cross the Rico Arm of Lake Argentino. After a 10 minutes navigation you meet the guides on the opposite bank of the lake and you start hiking in the beech forest till you get to the lateral moraine of the Perito Moreno glacier. You put on our grampons, get a brief instruction on ice climbing and hiking and off. Once on the glacier, the world changes dramatically, deep blue lagoons, profound crevasses, huge cesspools, amazing ice caves and that special feeling of being right in the heart of the ice mass. You will explore this "unique world" hiking for about 3 hours led by expert mountain guides. You will stop for lunch (not included) - an opportunity to rest and enjoy the most of this experience, being the first and few in the area. You then hike back (about an hour) to the small pier to board our boat and navigate back to the coast with our souls fulfilled of this amazing experience unique in the world. This tour has a demanding schedule, due to the uneven terrain. Therefore it is only advisable for participants between 18 and 45 years old with a good physical condition, taking into account that the trail demands a 7 hour walk on ice and loose pebbles.
add to substitute for regular Perito Moreno tour
HD Mount Frias Horseback ride W/ lunch - Meetings at the starting point to begin a great full day ride to Mt. Frias. Following a valley to Mt. Frías, at 1100 m. up a canyon, through a Nothofagus forest, we reach the ridge with spectacular views to Lakes Roca and Argentino. If the weather is fine we will be able to see as far as the Torres del Paine in Chile. Return to the ranch, for a cup of tea and cakes and having experienced the typical patagonian steppe, with the possibility of wildlife watching (guanacos, pumas, and condors).
Includes full equipment, lunch and assistance of qualified bilingual guides. 4x4 drive to Mount Frias also available for same price.
Day 1 El Calafate.
Arrival and reception at the airport. If you have time, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Glaciarium, a museum dedicated to glaciology, or to do some activity that allows you to get to know the steppe by enjoying lunch or dinner.
Day 2 El Calafate. B L
Today we explore part of Los Glaciares National Park, declared a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. We leave from the hotel by the Route of the Patagonian Estancias, until we reach Nibepo Aike, where we enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, we sail Lake Argentino and we disembark in Playa de las Monedas to make a walk until the viewpoint of the glacier. We continue to Bajo Las Sombras, from where we transfer to the footbridges and we have the chance to admire the glacier from a different point of view, at a moment of the day when the silence and the detachments make this spectacle even better.
Day 3 El Calafate / Estancia Cristina. B L D
Departure to Puerto Banderas where we embark to sail Argentino Lake and to arrive at a unique corner, Estancia Cristina. First, we sail through the Northern Arm in order to admire the Upsala Glacier and then we take Cristina Branch to finally arrive to Estancia Cristina. Founded in 1914, the Estancia still retains its essence, keeping alive the history of this pioneer family that made this place their home. After checking in, a host will explain to us about the activities we can do during our stay.
Day 4 Estancia Cristina. B L D
We are able to choose between the following activities offered by the lodge:
o De Los Perros Cascade: 2,5 hours roundtrip. Low difficulty.
o Pesca Lagoon: 3 hours roundtrip. Low difficulty .
o Carnero Hill: 4,5 hours roundtrip. Medium difficulty, good physical condition is recommended.
o Del Hielo Viewpoint: 3,5 hours one way. Medium/high difficulty (steep slope the last 40 minutes)
o Upsala Viewpoint: 2,5 horas one way. Medium difficulty.
o Cristina Viewpoint: 6 hours roundtrip. Medium/high difficulty.
o Cañadón de los Fósiles: 6 hours roundtrip (one way trip in 4x4). Medium/high difficulty. Good physical condition is recommended .
o Cristina Viewpoint: 5/7 hours roundtrip. Ride through Valley of River Caterina, ascending the western mountainside of Mesón Hill, to Puesto Los Perros.
o Pesca Lagoon: 2/3 hours roundtrip. Mínimum difficulty.
Day 5 Estancia Cristina / El Calafate. B
In the morning, we embark to return to Punta Banderas from where we will take the transfer to the airport.