Explore Tour Leader plus driver(s), trek guides, cook, horsemen, drivers and some local guides.
This is an 8 day trek with an average of 8 hours walking each day. This trek will involve ascents of up to 900m. We will reach our highest point at 1,300m. We have graded this trek as strenuous.
Trekking In Patagonia | Adventure Holiday In Patagonia
Details may vary depending on departure date. Please choose
Our 8-day trek follows the famous circuit of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. We explore this beautiful region, admiring views of the spectacular Paine massif, with sheer granite towers, sweeping glaciers and bright blue lakes. We also tour the cosmopolitan capital city of Buenos Aires, visiting the Plaza de Mayo and colourful La Boca.
Torres Del Paine National Park - Trek the famous 8-day circuit of this stunning national park walking past mountains and by glacial lakes
El Calafate - Small town in the heart of Patagonia on the shores of Lago Argentino
Moreno Glacier - Optional trip to view this magnificent glacier
Buenos Aires - City tour of the cosmopolitan Argentinean capital
What we say
Staff Member Anne Witney travelled on this tour in 2010.
"This is a trip of contrasts , from the vibrant city of Buenos Aires to the tranquillity of the Torres del Paine National Park with El Calafate and the Perito Moreno glacier in between. A very enjoyable varied trek with spectacular views and ever changing weather from warm sun to snow."
Arrive Buenos Aires and check-in at hotel in the morning. In the afternoon your tour leader will arrange a city tour to see the major points of interest including the Plaza de Mayo, La Boca and the downtown area. Known as the Paris of South America, this extraordinary metropolis spreads over some 200 square kilometres and contains up to 13 million people living within its environs. A vibrant, political and cosmopolitan city, there are plenty of interesting things to see, from world-class museums and galleries, to theatres and shows. You may also choose to wander the city streets, admiring the impressive architecture and relaxing parks, or enjoy the traditional Porteño pastime of people watching from the many cafés – always alive with the sound of passionate debate!
Overnight Standard Hotel
Fly to El Calafate
Today we leave the city far behind as we fly across the vast Patagonian wastes to descend over the deep blue waters of Lago Argentino, at El Calafate. On a clear day, this descent allows breathtaking views of the distant peaks of the Andes. There is time this afternoon to explore the settlement, perhaps including a short walk to the shores of Lago Argentino, via the Laguna Nimes bird reserve (optional). You might wish to take an optional trip to see the beautiful Perito Moreno glacier. The opportunity to get up close to this natural wonder, by boat or from the walk–ways over-looking this huge expanse of cracked ice is highly recommended. With a snout over 5km wide and 55m high, the Perito Moreno Glacier commands a profound silence – interrupted only by the thunderous roar of crashing blue ice as it calves into the milky lake below. A truly unforgettable experience. There are a number of excellent restaurants and cafés in town – don’t miss the opportunity to try the fruit of the calafate bush: local folklore says that those who eat this berry will one day return to Patagonia.
Overnight Standard HosteriaIncluded meals: Breakfast
Drive to Torres del Paine National Park; trek to Campo Serón
This morning we depart El Calafate and drive, by public bus, through the stark and barren Patagonian plains. Beneath the enormous skies characteristic of this part of the world, there is little sign of habitation other than the occasional ‘estancia’ (local farm) sheltering behind its windbreak of trees, or a lonesome gaucho on horse-back braving the elements. Crossing over the border into Chile we transfer to chartered bus and enjoy our first views of the Paine Massif, which we’ll circumnavigate over the next eight days. The views continue to get more impressive as we approach our trail – head at Refugio Las Torres area. Arriving late afternoon, an undulating path leads us to our first overnight stop, Serón camping, host to many species of birds including Parinas, Black Woodpeckers and Buffed Neck Ibis. (approx. 4.5 hours, 12kms with pack horses).
From Serón camping we enjoy an easy trek through undulating terrain to Lago Paine along the Cordillera Paine circuit. On the way we pass through beautiful forested landscapes, which escaped a great fire that took place at the beginning of the last century. We hope to see black woodpeckers today: listen out for the sound of their furious hammering upon these gnarled trees! Once we arrive at Lago Paine, we have a spectacular view of the north side of the Paine Massif, seeing the stunning peaks of Cerro Oggioni, Cerro Tridente, and Cerro Cabeza del Indio. The trek continues westwards along the southern bank of the Paine river. We descend down to the lake shore, then continue across open grasslands along the river towards Refugio Dickson (approx. 6-7 hours, 18km with porters).
Today we follow Los Perros river to the wildest and least accessible section of the trek. It is here where we begin what is perhaps the longest forest walk in Patagonia – trekking through impressive ancient virgin beech forests (look out for four different varieties: lenga, ñire, cohihue and guindo). The path is crossed by many water courses and offers the best and closest views of the Paine massif. Our camp awaits us at Laguna Los Perros, in the middle of dense forest. (approx. 4 hours, 10km, with porters).
Today we ascend for several hours until we reach the John Gardner pass (1241 mts), the highest point of the circuit. Here we should be rewarded by an awe-inspiring view of the south Patagonian ice cap and the Ventisquero (Glacier) Grey, an enormous fractured mass of ice covering the valley. Glacier Grey empties part of the giant South Patagonic icefield into Lago Grey, and the lake is often filled with impressive giant icebergs drifting across the waters. The route continues roughly south along the trail, crossing forested slopes, gorges and streams, with superb views along the way. (approx. 11-12 hours, 22km with Porters).
Day 8. Trek to Paine Grande This morning we make a leisurely start and our trek continues along the eastern banks of Lago Grey through clearings of calafate bushes. The view over the lake and its sculptured icebergs drifting across the waters is again very impressive. The path leads over undulating terrain towards the shores of Paine Grande. (approx. 4 hours, 11km with Porters).
Leaving behind emerald green Pehoe lake, the track makes its way through the undulating terrain of mixed grassland, firebush and light forest. We pass Skottsberg lake and the south-east slopes of Cerro Paine to meet river Frances. From here we follow the river upstream to Mirador Francés, offering views of Glaciar Francés. Subject to weather conditions, we continue to a small hut built by a British climbing expedition. This magnificent setting is surrounded by high peaks on all sides – Cerro Aleta de Tiburon (Shark’s Fin mount), Cerro Cabeza de Indio (Indians Head mount), Cerro Escudo (Shield mount), Cerro Fortaleza (Fortress mount), Cerro Espada (Sword mount), Cerro Hoja (Blade mount) and to the north the famous Cuernos del Paine. We head back down the valley again and then carry on walking along the panoramic trail to the shores of the blue Nordenskjöld lake, where we find our next lodge. (approx. 9-10 hours, 27km with porters).
Today’s trail is known as Sendero Paso Los Cuernos, due to the fact that it passes under the dramatic Cuernos (horns). We walk alongside the shores of the beautiful Nordenskjöld lake, crossing small rivers and wide grasslands along the way. The hike today is very relaxing, taking us to the Asencio river and on to our final Refugio. (5 hours, 11km with horses).
Our final day of trekking takes us to the foot of what has inspired us much over the last week – the impressive granite towers of Torres del Paine. Climbing steeply, high above the scattered blue lakes, we hike along the Asencio river, and up towards the Torres. After a final clamber over steep terminal moraine deposited by a glacier centuries ago, we reach a panoramic point from where we admire one of the best known sights of Patagonia, the Paine Towers, rising very close above a green lagoon. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900m/9,400ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, overlooking a landscape shaped by the forces of glacial ice and the elements. After returning to Refugio Las Torres, we can relax and enjoy our final afternoon within this awe-inspiring National Park. (approx. 9 hours, 20km).
From the lost world of Torres del Paine we transfer by private bus to the Argentine border and continue on to Calafate, where we spend our final night in Patagonia.
Overnight Standard HosteriaIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Fly to Buenos Aires
This morning we leave the wilds of Patagonia behind and step into the heat and bustle of Buenos Aires feeling we have left behind a lost world. Will the folklore surrounding the calafate berries we ate turn out to be true? We arrive in Buenos Aires mid afternoon leaving the rest of the day free for exploration.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast
Tour ends Buenos Aires
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.
Explore Worldwide Ltd 72 Market Street, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205, Australia.