Argentina’s Wild Patagonia – Andes, Glaciers & Estancias


It’s hard to imagine a place so remote and far from civilisation, yet a stay at an authentic Patagonia Estancia you will find just that. Situated within the Los Glaciares National Park on the edge of Lago Argentino, the largest freshwater lake in Argentina, we provide two estancias, each providing a warm and welcoming break into traditional Patagonian life.

A huge highlight of a stay at the Estancia is the glaciers and having the chance to view them in restricted areas of the national park, where very few people have ventured.  You will be able fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes to gain awe inspiring views over the Hidden Glaciers Frías, Gorra, Grande and Dickson. There is also an opportunity to journey by boat to one of the most important glaciers within the Los Glaciers National Park – the Upsala, which is the largest glacier in South America and 3 times the size of the nearby Perito Morneo Glacier. In fact, the Upsala glacier flows from the SouthernPatagonian Ice Field, feeding Perito Moreno Glacier.

Whether it’s easy walks, more demanding hikes, a leisurely bike ride or simply a relaxing rural retreat you have in mind, this experience is ideal. Nearby waterfalls, lakes, rivers and fossil sights make for some interesting exploration.  Also home to horses, sheep and cows, one can get hands on with traditional daily activities, including milking cows and horse riding as well as watching the sheep shearing and daily herding.

Each day you will have the choice of guided or self-guided treks to choose from, varying in length and difficulty to suit all, taking in the various beauty spots of the estancia and its surrounds.  Horse riding is another great option, with the choice of shorter outings or longer more challenging ride.

Whatever activity you chose, there are always opportunities to seek out local flora and fauna. Depending on the time of year such wildlife as woodpeckers, hares, flamingos, black necked swans, upland geese and steamer ducks are all possible to witness. On occasion, even the elusive puma has been spotted.

A limited number of rooms provides a more exclusive feel, with staff going out of their way to make your stay as comfortable as possible.  With a deep routed history of over 100 years, the typical Patagonian décor helps to evoke a real sense of nostalgia for guests, who during their stay with learn more each day about the lives of the original founders. 

During your stay at the estancia you’ll be treated to a hearty buffet breakfast and provided with a delicious lunch box to enjoy during your day excursions.  Evening meals are to be eagerly anticipated, with chefs producing daily specials using fresh local ingredients, including homemade breads, Patagonian lamb and tempting desserts, served with the best regional wines and beers.  

The start and end point for this experience is El Calafate, named after the berry that, once eaten, guarantees you will someday return to Patagonia. Compact in size, yet it offers all the amenities any visitor needs, a choice of lovely local restaurants, a great museum well worth visiting and a wide range of shops selling traditional arts and crafts.  This quaint and quirky colourful town is a great place to spend a few days or from which to visit the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier – we have incorporated a day visit to this must-see glacier to round off this Patagonian experience.



An Optional add on for this itinerary may include El Chalten – the gateway to the incredible peaks of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitzroy. Please contact us for further details.

Itinerary

These itineraries can be extended or slightly shortened, depending on interests and budget

Sample 5 Day Itinerary: Option 1

Day 1: Arrive El Calafate

Today you will arrive into El Calafate where we will meet you and transfer you privately to your hotel. You will have the rest of day free to explore this colourful town.

Day 2: Perito Moreno Glacier

After breakfast in your hotel, this morning you will be picked up in a small bus from your hotel at around 08:30 to visit the renowned Perito Moreno glacier, unique on the planet in its constant forward movement. Along the 85 km (53 mi) that you will drive to get to the park, you will discover many Andean pre-cordillera sites that are worth sight seen or recording on camera and by the Argentino Lake you will access the National Park "Los Glaciares".

Along Brazo Rico River you will start to spot the floating icebergs until you finally are able to grasp in all its awe this natural wonder considered World Heritage by the United Nations. You will have a few hours to yourself to explore the walkways and observe the glacier from an array of different angles. In the afternoon you will be transferred back to your hotel.

There is an option to also go glacier hiking on Perito Moreno too for an additional cost or include a boat navigation too. Please contact us for further details.

Day 3: Transfer to your Estancia

You will be picked up from your hotel in El Calafate this morning and transferred for approx. 45 minutes to Puerto Bandera port. Upon arrival, you will embark a passenger ferry, which will transport you across the milky blue waters of Lake Argentina and up the Upsala Channel. Here you will take a detour up one of the lake’s branches among icebergs and stunning scenery in order to witness the largest glacier in Argentina – the Upsala Glacier.

After 3 hours you will arrive at the Estancia, where you will be warmly welcomed and transferred up the track to the main lodge.  After an initial briefing, welcome lunch and settling into your room, you will have the rest of the day to spend as you wish, either relaxing or perhaps with a gentle hike or horse ride.

Day 4: Your Remote Estancia

During your stay at the estancia you’ll be treated to a hearty buffet breakfast each morning and provided with a delicious lunch box to enjoy during your day excursions.  Evening meals consist of a choice of starters, mains and desserts made from fresh local ingredients with homemade artisan breads and a wide selection of wines from all Argentine regions.

Each day you will have the choice of guided treks to choose from, varying in length and difficulty to suit all, taking in the various beauty spots of the estancia and its surroundings.  There are also clearly marked self-navigation paths that you can easily explore yourself.

Horse Riding is a great option for beginners or those that just want to enjoy a leisurely ride. A two hour excursion will take you through varied terrain of grass, sand, rocks and through the river.  The horses are very gentle and even if you have never been on a horse before, there is no better place to start than the Patagonian Wilderness.  Along the way look out of hares darting through the undergrowth and across your path. You may even see a woodpecker in the trees.  During April each year you will be able to witness a large number of salmon in the river here, which come to lay their eggs and where they soon after perish – it’s quite a spectacle to see.

For anyone keen on fishing, from January – February, the Estancia offers great opportunities to catch and release Pacific Salmon, with individuals sometimes exceeding 30lb in weight.

Day 5: Bid Farewell to your Estancia

After your last breakfast at the estancia and checking out of your room, you will have the rest of the day for more activities or to relax before you bid farewell to the estancia and begin your journey back to El Calafate via boat through Lago Argentino, where you may wish to spend another night or two or head straight to the airport.

Sample 5 Day Itinerary: Option 2

Day 1: Arrive El Calafate

Today you will arrive into El Calafate where we will meet you and transfer you privately to your hotel. You will have the rest of day free to explore this colourful town.

Day 2: Perito Moreno Glacier

After breakfast in your hotel, this morning you will be picked up in a small bus from your hotel at around 08:30 to visit the renowned Perito Moreno glacier, unique on the planet in its constant forward movement.  

Along the 85 km (53 mi) that you will drive to get to the park, you will discover many Andean pre-cordillera sites that are worth sight seen or recording on camera and by the Argentino Lake you will access the National Park “Los Glaciares”. Along Brazo Rico River you will start to spot the floating icebergs until you finally are able to grasp in all its awe this natural wonder considered World Heritage by the United Nations. You will have a few hours to yourself to explore the walkways and observe the glacier from an array of different angles.

In the afternoon you will be transferred back to your hotel. There is an option to also go glacier hiking on Perito Moreno too for an additional cost or include a boat navigation too. Please contact us for further details.

Day 3: Transfer to your Estancia

You will be picked up from your hotel this morning and transferred the 55 km (1 hour, 18 minutes) to your remote estancia.

Day 4: Your Remote Estancia

Set in a sheep-breeding farm with lush garden, your comfortable accommodation is a rural country house surrounded by scenic mountain view.  Spending just 2 – 3 nights here will aquaint you with the rural life of the estancia and its breathtaking landscape.

The 10 rooms (Standard & Superior) are quaint wooden buildings with gabled roofs, decorated within rustic wooden furniture and parquet floors. With a maximum capacity of just 22 guests, you can expect exclusivity during your stay.

The chefs utilise vegetables grown in the onsite garden and boast a splendid lamb, grilled on a traditional Patagonian cross stake.

During your stay you can get hands on with rural work, including cattle branding, dressage, milking, cattle herding and sheep shearing.

There are a number of different paths surrounding the estancia, enabling you to explore in depth and discover local flora and fauna.  Some places of interest to explore on foot, horseback or foot include the valley of the Cachorro River, the shores of the Argentino Lake, the border milestone with Chile and the Cerro Crsital hillside.  Be sure to take your cameras, as you can capture some fantastic panoramics of the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Hidden Glacier, the southernmost ones of the National Park.

Day 5: Bid Farewell to your Estancia

After your last breakfast at the estancia and checking out of your room, you will have the rest of the day for more activities or to relax before you bid farewell to the estancia and begin your overland transfer back to El Calafate, where you may wish to spend another night or two or head straight to the airport.

Dates

01 Oct 2019 - 30 Apr 2020 - from US$ 750

5 Day Itinerary Option 2: Flexible Dates
Single Supplements available from: US$ 480
El Calafate Hotel upgrades are available

15 Oct 2019 - 15 Apr 2020 - from US$ 1,390

5 Day Itinerary Option 1: Flexible Dates
Single Supplements available from: US$ 540
El Calafate Hotel upgrades are available.

Prices Include:
Accommodation
All ground transport as indicated in itinerary
Transport to / from Estancia
Breakfast Day 2 - 5, Lunch Day 3 - 5, Dinner Day 3 & 4
English speaking guides

Prices Exclude:
Flights
Insurance (it is mandatory you purchase appropriate insurance for this trip)
Los Glaciares National Park Fee
Items not mentioned in the itinerary
Tips
Items of personal nature
Alcoholic beverages

Activity Level:  Medium

Standard of Accommodation:  Comfortable hotel in El Calafate on a bed and breakfast basis, Remote Estancia on a full board basis

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