"If you're accepting of some hard work you're end, the reward goes without saying as trekking in the Patagonia is life changing for many reasons!"
For many travellers visiting South America, trekking in Patagonia is an absolute must. The region is renowned for its wild and natural beauty, with vast steppes, craggy mountain peaks and stunning glaciers. From Mount Fitzroy to the Moreno Glacier, this adventure takes you to some of the region’s best spots. Your tour begins in Argentina’s ‘trekking capital’, El Chaltén, a small and colourful village at the feet of Mount Fitzroy and Mount Torre. You’ll begin with a warm-up trek through native beechwood forest to the summit of the 1,500m Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, with the promise of fantastic views of the Continental Ice Field and Tore Laguna, impressive granite massifs and Paso del Viento at the top.
You’ll then trek through sub-Antarctic forest, passing by a small glacier lake, before embarking on a tougher and steeper climb. Discover Patagonia’s majestic glaciers, crossing a lake to reach Viedma Glacier. After getting kitted out in crampons for ice-climbing, you’ll begin a hiking tour of the glacier, discovering drains, caves and cracks in the ice. Journeying on to Mount Torre you’ll pass by the electric-blue Laguna Torre, a mountain lake boasting incredible views of the Grande Glacier and icebergs. Finally, you’ll visit Los Glaciares National park and see the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier, a real highlight and an unforgettable experience.
Chimu Adventures aims to minimise its impact on the environment and support local communities in any way possible. The company strives to source guides, meals and transport from the communities it operates in rather than importing. Chimu Adventures prides itself on the fact that all operations for this tour are carried out by locally-owned companies, and they select locally-owned hotels which share their values in terms of social and environmental responsibility. The company's guides are highly experienced and qualified, and are paid above the minimum wage; since they are local, travellers are able to gain a more authentic insight into the communities and environments they visit.
Travellers are encouraged to minimise their carbon footprint whilst touring with Chimu Adventures, and are provided with information and advice on responsible waste disposal and how to offset carbon emissions. This ensures that guests are equipped with the knowledge necessary to help them protect the diverse ecosystems they visit. The company also practices what it preaches, with sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company/staff vehicles, and processes to help create paperless offices and reduce waste. Chimu’s ‘Pass it On’ programme empowers local people, providing funding to help Latin American communities develop their own infrastructure. Finally, Chimu Adventures also offers travellers the chance to make a positive impact by visiting community projects.
You’ll begin your tour with a private transfer to the Calafate Bus Station, before taking the morning bus to El Chaltén. Arriving in the afternoon, you’ll then check in to your hotel.
Get warmed up for your trekking tour with a 1,500m hike up Loma del Pliegue Tumbado. In terms of difficulty, the route is rated moderate, and the ascent is fairly straightforward. You’ll trek through a native beechwood (‘Lenga’) forest, with fantastic views awaiting you at the summit. Enjoy a box lunch as you take in the sights of Paso del Viento, the Continental Ice Field and Torre Laguna.
Begin the day with a scenic 18 kilometre drive through a valley to Hosteria Pilar. You’ll then trek through sub-Antarctic forest, passing by Piedras Blancas (a small glacier lake) before crossing the Rio Blanco. Here is where the tough trekking really starts… You’ll ascend for around 50 minutes, weaving your way up a 45˚slope. Again, the effort will all be worthwhile when you see the awesome views of Laguna de Los Tres. This is arguably one of Patagonia’s best panoramic vistas. You’ll then follow a different route as you descend to El Chaltén.
Take a bus ride to Lake Viedma Pier and cross the lake by boat (approximately 2.5 hours). This crossing will take you to the glacier’s light-blue and 40 metre high front wall. You’ll land on the rocky outcrop off the Viedma Glacier, before walking to the glacier’s edge and putting on your crampons. You’ll then spend around 2.5 hours on a hiking tour on the ice, discovering the glacier’s drains, caves, crevices and cracks. After this incredible experience you’ll return to El Chaltén in the late afternoon.
Today you’ll visit Laguna Torres, a mountain lake that you pass by on the way to Mount Torre. The site not only boasts a stunning bright blue lake, but also has spectacular views of the Grande Glacier and colossal icebergs. Continuing on you’ll pass the Mirador Torre, with yet more views of the snow-capped Mount Torre, glaciers and the Adela range. You’ll then make your descent through thick beech forests towards the valley of the De las Vueltas River and El Chaltén. Finally, you’ll travel back to El Calafate.
You’ll visit Los Glaciares National Park today, to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. This huge glacier is more than two miles wide and is one of only a handful of glaciers in the world that is continuing to advance. You’ll take a boat trip to its southern wall, giving you the chance to truly admire the sheer size of the glacier. The onsite visitor centre includes a walking circuit that allows you to view both faces and the surface of the glacier. After the visit you’ll return to El Calafate.
Today you’ll transfer to the airport for your outward flight from El Calafate.