Spirit of the Carretera Austral - 5 Days
DAY 1: BALMACEDA AIRPORT – PUERTO RIO TRANQUILO
Upon arrival at the Balmaceda Airport a transfer will be waiting to take us to Rio Tranquilo and commence our travels appreciating the beautiful scenery and local flora of the region. On our way there we will stop at an iconic archaeological site called Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands). This site has been featured by UNESCO as “unique pictorial ensemble in the world, for its antiquity and continuity through time, the beauty and state of conservation of the paintings”. Dating back to the first hunter-gatherer tribes of around 9300 years ago. We will continue our way to Rio Tranquilo and have time to explore the surroundings of this small town on the shores of the magnificent General Carrera Lake. Overnight in Puerto Rio Tranquilo. (BL)
DAY 2: PUERTO RIO TRANQUILO - OPTIONAL FULL DAY ACTIVITIES
We have the choice between the following iconic activities for today. (B)
- FULL DAY EXPLORADORES GLACIER AND ICE TREK
This full day excursion starts with a scenic drive through the Exploradores Valley where we will be able to observe distinct changes in vegetation and climate. Upon reaching the visitation center we will be fitted with the proper equipment and then receive an introductory talk. From there we begin our hike through the surrounding green forest, home to a variety of species and local flora. As you ascend the frontal moraine of the glacier we will reach a viewing deck where we will be privileged to panoramic views. Afterwards we will descend to reach the frozen paths and the crystal clear ice where the glacier will come to life through sounds and sights only felt in southern Patagonia. After a snack we can explore our surroundings, visit the ice caves and witness the contrasting blue colors.
- FULL DAY NAVIGATION TO SAN RAFAEL LAGOON
This excursion will take us on a majestic navigation through the frigid waters of southern Patagonia. Departing from Puerto Río Tranquilo we will reach a national park home to extensive wetlands, temperate rainforest, channels and a variety of flora. We will continue on to the pier in La Teresa where you will need to first cross the waterway by boat before arriving at Puerto Grosse where the official navigation down the Exploradores River will begin. The course designed will take us close to several peninsulas and small icebergs. During this part of the expedition it is frequent to see a variety of avifauna and even dolphins. The boat ride will then take us to the waters of the Pacific Ocean and subsequently to the San Rafael Lagoon. It is at this final destination that we will disembark at the nearby dock to walk the sandy shores and witness fragments of ice break away from grand icebergs of immense size and vivid color. After many pictures and memories later, we will return to your starting point.
DAY 3: NAVIGATION MARBLE CAVES, TREKKING AND ARRIVAL TO PUERTO GUADAL
This excursion differs from what is normally on offer because we extend our navigation to visit the Marble Caverns as well as the traditional caves. We will witness impressive sceneries unique to this part of Patagonia. We will board a boat and navigate the turquoise waters. After a short distance, we will reach the famed Marble Caves, extraordinary rock formations carved throughout centuries by wind and water. This is a place of true natural wonder with mesmerizing colors and formations. After several pictures and taking in this special moment, we will return. We now continue by road south towards the town of Puerto Guadal around, an hour and 15 minutes drive from Puerto Tranquilo. This afternoon we have the opportunity to trek in the Patagonian forests with some Nothofagus trees (Lenga, Coigue, Ñirre), that are home to a variety of birds, such as Diucones, Cometocinos, Chincoles, Thrushes, Chercanes, among others. Our trail takes us to a multitude of waterfalls and ponds. On the way back we will be surprised by the imposing view of Lake General Carrera from another angle, accompanied by the Northern Ice Field, the third largest extension of ice in the world and to its side Mount San Valentín, the highest mountain in Chilean Patagonia. We will stay overnight in Puerto Guadal. (B, BL)
DAY 4: PATAGONIA NATIONAL PARK
Today we move south again and travel to reach the southern part of the Patagonia National Park (formerly known as Lago Cochrane National Reserve). On route we visit the extraordinary scenery where the rivers Nef and Baker join. It is a picture-perfect spot for those who seek a more contemplative experience or for those looking for a great picture. Once at the park, we will have the opportunity to connect with typical Patagonian nature as we hike trails boasting a variety of vegetation. Additionally, we will navigate the icy waters of the Cochrane River and try to spot the Huemules (Andean Deer). At a certain moment during our excursion we will make a stop to have a well-deserved meal. To wrap up this wonderful day we will return to the hotel. Overnight in Puerto Guadal. (B, BL).
DAY 5: PUERTO GUADAL – BALMACEDA AIRPORT
After breakfast we will be picked up from our hotel and transferred to the Balmaceda Airport. (B)
Price per person in US$, based on double occupancy:
till April 30, 2024 - with 2 people = $3524, with 3 people = $2596. Single supp. is $257
Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2024 - with 2 people = $3122, with 3 people = $2299. Single supp. is $267
Hotels we use in this program: Apart Hotel Valle Exploradores (Standard Room), Mirador de Guadal (Standard Bungalow)
Payment Conditions: 50% upon confirmation of services. The balance must be fully paid 30 days prior to arrival.
Cancellation fees :
- 30 to 15 days prior to arrival = 50% of rate
- 15 to 0 days prior to arrival 100% of rate