Patagonia Andes Wilderness Trek


Chile's Torres del Paine National Park is the wild heart of one of Patagonia's most spectacular and diverse regions. It is an area of grand mountain vistas and scenic diversity, with near vertical carved rock towers rising dramatically from windswept pampas. Torres del Paine is on the edge of the Great Southern Ice Cap: the largest glacial region in the Southern Hemisphere outside of Antarctica, with glaciers such as the Grey Glacier slide into the aptly named Azul Lakes and deep valleys of dense woodlands.



In addition to scenery, this Torres del Paine circuit provides an experience of one of Patagonia's best preserved Andean environments. On your trek you have a chance to observe a wide variety of South American wildlife. Guanacos, wild relatives of Llama and Alpaca have made a comeback in Torres del Paine and are often seen; as are Andean Condors, the World's largest flying bird who use their 3 metre wing span to ride on thermals. More secretive wildlife includes Patagonian Foxes, Rheas (South America's version of the Ostrich) and the Puma or Mountain Lion - the region's top predator. Sightings are rare, but you never know when you could see one - keep your eyes peeled, especially in the less visited northern sections of the Park where we trek.

These treks come with expert English speaking guides, staff to help set up tents and arrange tasty meals before your arrival at camp each evening - all qualities designed to help you appreciate this amazing hiking experience in the deep south of the Americas.



Whilst the trekking involved with these trips is all set in Chile, your start point is in El Calafate in Argentine. Here you will be hotel based and we introduce you to the stunning scenery of the area with a day trip to the huge Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the Planet's only glaciers which is not retreating. You will spend two nights in Argentina at the start of your journey and another the day you return from trekking in Chile.

You can join these treks on fixed group departures, or we can arrange them on a private basis. The Torres del Paine circuit journey is normally based on camping, but at the beginning and end of your trek you have the option to upgrade to unique Eco-domes for 3 nights of extra comfort.

If this trek seems more energetic that seems right for you, or you just have less time available, then please click HERE for details about shorter and less demanding options for experiencing the spectacular wilderness scenery of Patagonia and Torres del Paine.

Aqua-Firma is a company with a great depth of knowledge working in Patagonia and we can add further adventures in the region, including kayaking, journeys to Cape Horn or Polar Expeditions to Antarctica. Please contact one of our Argentina (or Polar) experts for further information.

Itinerary

This Torres del Paine experience is one of South America's truly great treks, with an invigorating 7 days of hiking through Patagonian Andes wilderness.

11 Day Sample Itinerary (FULL CIRCUIT)

Day 1: Arrive in El Calafate

Fly into El Calafate Airport where you will be met and transferred to your hotel (b&b basis). El Calafate is set on the shores of Lago Argentino - a lovely setting.

Day 2: Journey to Perito Moreno Glacier

Today you have a full day excursion to the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the Planet's few glaciers not in retreat. Watching huge blocks of ice as the break away from the glacier's forward edge, around 60m high and 5 km wide, is a quite spectacular experience. Optional trekking and boat journeys are also possible to arrange. In the evening you will return to Calafate.

Day 3: El Calafate to Torres del Paine National Park

After you check out of your El Calafate hotel, you will be driven 4 ½ hours through wild Patagonian landscapes across the border into Chile and the Torres del Paine National Park. The park boasts wonderful vertical granite peaks, glaciers and lakes and some of Patagonia's finest wildlife. You will set up camp within the National Park, where you have the afternoon to relax and explore. Views from the camp are spectacular.

Day 4: Camp Torres to Camp Dickson

The day will start at our base camp with a long trek heading to Dickson Lake. You will stop at a lookout point with a wonderful panoramic view of Lago Paine below, before descending to lakeside level and continuing west. Your campsite will be in the Dickson Valley surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and the pretty waters of Lake Dickson. Weather permitting, in the distance you will be able to enjoy a spectacular view of Dickson Glacier and part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. You will spend the night camping here at with a replenishing dinner and hot showers.

Day 5: Camp Dickson to Camp Perros

Today you will be guided along a trail which goes alongside Los Perros River, in the wildest and least accessible section of the trek. You will pass beneath the Los Perros Glacier, which falls into a small lake, and cross a virgin beech forest leading the way towards the lovely Laguna Los Perros. Camping at Los Perros.

Day 6: Camp Perros to Camp Grey, through John Gardner Pass

Today we reach the highest point of the circuit at 1300 m with an awe-inspiring view of Grey Glacier - an enormous fractured mass of ice dominating the valley. The John Gardner pass is one of the most famous points of Torres del Paine. It is a hard but spectacular day. Descending from this highest point, the route continues roughly south along forested slopes with beautiful views of the enormous Grey Glacier (more than 28 km in length). We spend the night camping at Grey Campground on the shores of Lake Grey.

Day 7: Camp Grey to Pehoe Lake

The first part of the morning free to rest and enjoy Grey Glacier's surroundings. In the late morning it's time to continue trekking, along the eastern side of Grey Lake. The view over the lake, with numerous giant icebergs drifting across the waters, is very impressive at this point. The track climbs and descends arriving at Lago Pehoe. Your camp will be set up for you by the turquoise Lago Pehoe.

Day 8: Valle Frances

After breakfast, you will start the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far into the valley you go with depend upon our group's rhythm. An active walk leads to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south east face of the Massif. Then you continue up the trail until reaching the upper section of the valley. The entire group of geological formations of the high valley can be admired here: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark's Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). You will descend across undulating terrain to reach Camp Cuernos.

Day 9: Los Cuernos

After breakfast you will start our day's trek heading towards an eco-camp through the Cuernos trail located beside the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. Today is a great opportunity to take in the park's charming flora and fauna and learn more about the vast variety of species with our expert guides. As you walk along the trail you will be able to enjoy magnificent views of the park's central lakes and admire a different view of the Paine's Horns. The trek ends at our the eco camp. A hearty meal will be prepared for you ready for tomorrow's big challenge.

Day 10: Trek to Las Torres

The goal today is to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine NP! You will be guided from the camp site towards the Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Your big challenge comes as you climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading to a view of the Towers. The Towers are three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill hike, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before you, with the glacial lake visible below. After feasting on the view and a picnic, you will backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to our camp for a well-deserved dinner.

Day 11: Torres del Paine to Punta Arenas

After a final breakfast in Torres del Paine, you will be picked up this morning and transferred to Punta Arenas airport, where you can catch a flight after 3pm.

Day 1: Arrive El Calafate

Fly into El Calafate Airport where you will be met and transferred to your hotel (b&b basis). El Calafate is set on the shores of Lago Argentino - a lovely setting.

Day 2: Journey to Perito Moreno Glacier

Today you have a full day excursion to the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the Planet's few glaciers not in retreat. Watching huge blocks of ice as the break away from the glacier's forward edge, around 60m high and 5 km wide, is a quite spectacular experience. Optional trekking and boat journeys are also possible to arrange. In the evening you will return to Calafate.

Day 3 (Monday): El Calafate to Torres del Paine National Park

After you check out of your El Calafate hotel, you will be driven 4 ½ hours through wild Patagonian landscapes across the border into Chile and the Torres del Paine National Park. The park boasts wonderful vertical granite peaks, glaciers and lakes and some of Patagonia's finest wildlife.

The day ends with your arrival and overnight stay at a luxury tented camp, nestled in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park and with a prime view of the majestic Torres. Sunset is usually around 11 pm during the summer months, meaning that there will still be enough daylight for you to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon once you arrive.
 
Overnight in luxury tented camp, Torres del Paine National Park

Day 4 (Tuesday): Los Cuernos Trek

You begin your Patagonian adventure with a pleasant walk through the sinuous Cuernos Trail which leads you alongside the beautiful Lake Nordenskjold. During this warm-up walk you will have the opportunity to admire the park’s exquisite flora and fauna, as you enjoy the magnificent views of the park’s central lakes and the Paine’s Horns, majestic black horn-like peaks of slate atop gray granite which crown the center of the Massif. The trek ends at Refugio Los Cuernos, a small and cozy mountain refuge located on the shores of Lake Nordenskjold. Alternatively, the trek ends at Domo el Francés, located between Cuernos and Italiano camping sites, with an amazing view of Nordenskjöld lake. The evening is free for relaxing and enjoying dinner.

Overnight Refugio Cuernos or Domo El Francés (depending on availability), Torres del Paine National Park

Day 5 (Wednesday): The Paine Massif’s Heart: Valle Frances

After breakfast at Refugio Los Cuernos, you will begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley), along a steep trail that leads to the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far in you go depends on our group's trekking rhythm. A swifter walk will lead you to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south-east face of the Massif, where you will be treated to fantastic views of the valley. you will then continue to ascend towards the upper section of the valley where you will be able to marvel at the extensive mass of the valley's geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). After your upward trek, you will pause for a picnic and relax a while. This day's trek will end as you descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest which will take us to Refugio Paine Grande.

N.B. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is also available.
 
Overnight Refugio Paine Grande, Torres del Paine National Park

Day 6 (Thursday): Glacier Grey

This day will see you hike from Paine Grande Refugio along the shores of Lake Pehoe to the northern side of the glacially beautiful Lake Grey. You will feast on a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails right to the huge, crystalline facade of Glacier Grey, where you will have plenty of time to marvel at the calving glacier.  From the southern end of Glacier Grey, you will transfer to EcoCamp. Due to the temperamental weather of the region, boat trips across the lake may occasionally be canceled if the required minimum of 15 passengers is not reached. If either is the case, you will trek up to the sightseeing point and profit from wonderful, panoramic views of the Glacier instead. Then you will return on foot to Paine Grande and take a catamaran to Pudeto’s dock, where you will be picked up and driven to the luxury tented camp.
 
Overnight in luxury tented camp, Torres del Paine National Park

Day7 (Friday): The big challenge, Trek to the Towers Base

The goal for the fifth day of your 7-day Trek will be to complete the most famous trekking trail in Torres del Paine National Park! You will walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending to Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Your big challenge comes in the form of the steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which will lead you to that iconic base-view of the Towers - Three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before you, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and your picnic, you backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to the luxury tented camp for a well-deserved dinner.
 
Overnight Luxury Tented Camp, Torres del Paine National Park

Day 8 (Saturday): Eastern Lakes*

The sixth day will consist of a less strenuous trail in order to counter the exhausting efforts of the previous day. After breakfast, you will take a leisurely car journey towards Laguna Azul,  passing Cañadón Macho, home to many wild guanacos and ñandúes, en route. You will pause occasionally to admire the views of the Patagonian steppe and the towers from a different perspective. At Laguna Azul, you will hike to the lookout point where you will be treated to a gorgeous view of both the lagoon and granite towers. After lunch, you will drive to the northern shore of Sarmiento Lake where the Fauna Trail begins. As you hike northbound, you will spot an impressive range of Patagonian fauna on the vast plains, including guanacos, ostrich-like ñandús and maybe the occasional puma print! You will pass the charming Goic lagoon and after approximately 5km of relaxed walking, you will reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station where you will be picked up and driven back to the luxury tented camp to celebrate over A farewell dinner.

*Please note that if there are more than 6 travelers in the group there's an option to split into two groups, with one group (or the whole group if everybody's in the mood!) cycling to Laguna Azul!

Overnight Luxury Tented Camp, Torres del Paine National Park

Day 9 (Sunday): Adios Torres del Paine

You will board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax, and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight to Santiago. Or, alternatively, board an early morning vehicle to the border to continue your journey to El Calafate.

Dates

10 Oct 2019 - 22 Apr 2020 - from US$ 4,140

11 days including Full Circuit of Torres del Paine
(based on minimum group of 4 people)
Upgrade nights 3, 9 & 10 to an Ecodome from US$ 725 per person
Upgrade to Refugio for 3 nights from US$ 580 per person

10 Oct 2019 - 22 Apr 2020 - from US$ 2,375

9 days including 7 Day W Trek
(based on 2 people sharing)

Upgrades available from US$ 425 per person
Single supplement from US$ 1,060

These treks can also be arranged privately. Please Contact Us for details.

Our prices include
All accommodation
Breakfasts in El Calafate
All meals on the trek
All transportation and guided trips / treks as per itinerary
Guided trips
Entrance fees to Torres del Paine National Park

Our prices exclude
Tips
Insurance
Drinks
National Park entrance fees for Los Glaciares National Park (*US$ 28 to be paid locally).

*Correct at time of writing

Level of Difficulty The ability to trek up to about 6 hours per day is needed to join these treks.

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