A lodge-based trek through spectacular, world-renowned Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks—guided by the Patagonia experts
Patagonia’s famously rugged landscape surpasses expectations—a hypnotic wilderness of stunning granite towers thrusting thousands of feet above the golden Argentine and Chilean steppes. This pristine beauty is preserved in two exceptionally scenic parks: the breathtaking mountain environs of Torres del Paine in Chile, and Argentina’s Los Glaciares. Hiking through them on foot is a one-of-a-kind adventure (with the welcome feature of a warm, comfortable lodge, cabin, or traditional estancia at the end of each rewarding day). MTS has been exploring Patagonia since the 1970s, and pioneered some of the very routes you’ll be taking. Our itinerary is the most comprehensive Patagonia trek available, showcasing the very best of both parks—from the ice-clad peaks of the Torres del Paine, including a portion of the famous “W,” to the sheer-walled granite shark fin of Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park, to the renowned Perito Moreno glacier. Your highly experienced naturalist guides know every inch of the region, and will ensure the best possible Patagonian adventure—and as a bonus, your trip wraps up with a visit to the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, the “Paris of South America.”
8 days moderate to strenuous hiking, some long drives
- See the best of the region on moderate day hikes in Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks, with the company that’s been leading tours here since the 70s
- Gaze at spectacular vistas of the Towers of Paine, Cerro Torre, and the awesome Fitz Roy massif
- Enjoy a full-day excursion to famous Perito Moreno glacier, including an optional hike on the massive ice cloak itself!
- Stay at luxurious hotels, a traditional estancia, cozy cabins next to a waterfall, and a mountain lodge accessible only on foot—no camping!
- Visit Buenos Aires, cosmopolitan capital of Argentina—often referred to as the "Paris of South America"
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Punta Arenas End Location: Buenos AiresDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, on the northern shore of the Strait of Magellan. Your trip leader will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Later in the evening the group will gather for a briefing, and excitement will begin to build for the adventure ahead.
Day 2 : Travel to Torres del Paine National Park
From Punta Arenas we’ll drive about three hours across the Patagonian plains to the quiet fishing and mining town of Puerto Natales on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Here we’ll stretch our legs a bit and have lunch. Continue driving toward Paine National Park and take in the first spectacular views of the Paine range (weather permitting). There is also a very good chance to see guanacos—small cousins to the camel and llama—up close in this area of the park. In the evening we'll arrive at our accommodations for the night, Hosteria Torres del Paine, ideally situated for our exploration of Paine at just 4 miles from the base of the Torres del Paine. Because it does not get dark in the Austral summer until around 11:00 p.m., you will have plenty of time to admire and photograph the amazing landscape as we drive toward the park.
Day 3 : Torres del Paine
We'll get an early start for our all-day hike to the Torres del Paine. We walk towards the Ascension River and cross it over a suspension bridge. Continue hiking along the river over a low pass into the Ascencion Valley, then through beech forests to the talus-covered slopes below the towers. Then it’s a 45-minute hike up the rough talus and boulders to a viewpoint where the towers rise majestically before us, and the glacial lake is visible below. This is one of the most scenic spots in the world! We'll have a box lunch en route, and return to the Hosteria Torres del Paine at the end of our hike. Hiking time approx. 8 to 10 hours. 2,600ft elevation gain.
Day 4 : Paso Cuernos
Today we’ll hike five hours at a relaxed pace along the north shore of Lago Nordenskjold to Los Cuernos, along the Paso Los Cuernos trail, beneath the jagged Cuernos del Paine massif. To our south lies the beautiful turquoise lake and to our north, the vertical grey granite walls that support the black slate Cuernos (horns) of the massif. The views throughout this hike are magnificent including seeing for the first time the southern ice field! And tonight we’ll stay in cozy cabins set next to a waterfall. This is an excellent staging area for tomorrow's hike to the French Valley. Hiking time approx. 5 hours, 7 miles with 1000ft elevation gain. (You will be provided a small bag to store the items that you will need for two days, you will get access to your bag on Day 6.)
Day 5 : French Valley
Today we'll hike into the French Valley, one of the most spectacular cirques in the Paine Range. During this hike into the southern cirque, we walk below the glaciers that descend from Paine Grande (the highest summit in the Paine range), and below the enormous granite sweep of the horn-like Cuernos del Paine—the peaks with beautiful black “horns” of slate atop gray granite. Two different hiking options are available today (8-10 hours hiking; 14 or 7 miles hike. 1,900ft elevation gain in long option ).
We'll overnight at the Lodge Paine Grande. Located in the heart of the park on the shore of Lago Pehoé, this lodge is only accessible by hikers. (Your luggage will be carried in by porters from the camp at Pehoé.)
Day 6 : Torres del Paine National Park – Grey Glacier
We’ll arise early and hike to the face of the Grey Glacier, at the south end of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. From here we’ll have fabulous views of the glacier calving into Lago Grey (Grey Lake). Hiking time aprox. 4 hours; 7 miles. 900ft elevation gain.
Day 7 : Travel to Argentina
Today we depart Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, and drive across the border into Argentina, proceeding over the steppes to the town of El Calafate. Located on Lago Argentino, a deep green-water glacial lake, El Calafate is the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park. We’ll have lunch en route. (Note—There may be delays of up to a few hours while border formalities are attended to.) Dinner tonight will be on your own in El Calafate. Approx. 7 hours ride to El Calafate.
Day 8 : Perito Moreno Glacier
Full day excursion to Los Glaciares National Park to see the renowned Perito Moreno glacier, a very active glacier on the south arm of Lago Argentino where we can watch (and hear!) the glacier calving great chunks of ice into the lake. Hiking options are available, depending on the weather, and include an optional walk on the glacier itself, an outstanding but easy glacier hike among the great ice peaks and towers that surround the glacier. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch and return to El Calafate at the end of our day. Dinner tonight will be on your own.
Day 9 : To Los Glaciares National Park
After an early breakfast we’ll continue our drive (about 3 to 4 hours) across the steppes and along the northern end of Lago Viedma to the little town of El Chaltén. The views get better and better as we approach the mountains and glaciers, and soon we’ll begin to perceive why we have traveled so far. This will be our base for the following days' excursions into the park, which may include visits to Cerro Torre Base Camp, perched in a beautiful spot on a glacial lake with the imposing monolith of Cerro Torre as a backdrop. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch en route, and once we arrive at our lodging (within the park) we will do some hiking, time permitting.
Days 10 - 11 : Los Glaciares National Park
We'll enjoy long day hikes into the park's interior, and be treated to some commanding views of the spectacular peaks of Fitzroy (11,072') and Cerro Torre (10,280'). Both are sought after by photographers and climbers* alike. Our hiking destinations include Laguna Torre, the base camp for Cerro Torre climbs, situated on a beautiful glacial lake with the stunning monolith framed behind the lake; Laguna Capri and Laguna de los Tres, directly in front of Fitzroy; Piedras Blancas and Piedra del Fraile, looking towards the north face of Fitzroy and the east entrance to the famous Patagonia Ice Cap. Where we hike is weather-dependent, but with all these great options, we can’t miss!
*Fitzroy was first climbed by the French team of Guido Magnone and Lionel Terray in 1952. Their adventure is recounted by another member of the expedition, M.A. Azema, in his book The Conquest of FitzRoy. Cerro Torre was first summitted in 1959 by Cesare Maestri and Toni Egger (although this claim is dubious as Egger was killed on the descent and Maestri was too delirious to recall details of their climb). It was also the inspiration for the climbing apparel and gear company, Patagonia.
Day 12 : El Chaltén
This morning we'll rise early to enjoy one last hike in Los Glaciares National Park. In the afternoon we'll return to El Chaltén and gather for a farewell dinner in the evening.
Day 13 : Buenos Aires
This morning we transfer to the town of El Calafate to catch our flight to Buenos Aires, the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina, often referred to as the "Paris of South America." Upon arrival in Buenos Aires we'll transfer to our hotel in the city's stylish Recoleta district. Dinner will be on your own in Buenos Aires, where there is no shortage of tempting culinary offerings!
Day 14 : Buenos Aires – Fly Home
The day is free for shopping and sightseeing. You may wish to explore the Recoleta district in the northwest sector of the city, famous mainly for its nightlife but also well worth a visit by day. Close by are the National Cemetery with the tombs of many famous people (among them Eva Peron) and the Museum of Fine Arts. The downtown district, especially along Calle Florida, contains many galerias (huge enclosed shopping malls) with dozens of stores and colorful stands.
Evening transfer to the Buenos Aires airport for homeward-bound flights. Your international flight can depart at any time on this day, but we highly recommend staying on a few extra days to take in Buenos Aires.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, November - December Departures: Nov 16 - 29, 2014 SOLD OUT Dec 7 - 20, 2014 Dec 21, 2014 - Jan 3, 2015 SOLD OUT Jan 11 - 24, 2015 SOLD OUT Jan 25, 2015 - Feb 7, 2015 SOLD OUT Feb 8 - 21, 2015 Mar 1 - 14, 2015 Mar 22, 2015 - Apr 4, 2015 Apr 5 - 18, 2015 Nov 1 - 14, 2015 Dec 6 - 19, 2015 Dec 13 - 26, 2015 Jan 3 - 16, 2016 Jan 24, 2016 - Feb 6, 2016 Feb 21, 2016 - Mar 5, 2016 Feb 28, 2016 - Mar 12, 2016 Mar 20, 2016 - Apr 2, 2016 Mar 27, 2016 - Apr 9, 2016 Apr 3 - 16, 2016
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 PRICES (per person)
$5,395 (12-15 members)
$400 internal airfare (subject to change)
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 PRICES (per person)
$5,795 (10-16 members)
$400 internal airfare (subject to change)
Hotel Cabo de Hornos
Recently renovated modern European style hotel in the world's southernmost city, located on the main Plaza Munoz Gamero. High ceilings and beautiful artwork complement the stone floors in the entryways.
Hotel Las TorresPaine National Park
Surrounded by towering mountains, this hostería sits in a grassy field at a considerable distance from nearby towns. Simple, comfortable rooms come equipped with all the welcome essentials but in elegant harmony with the awe-inspiring surroundings.
Hotel El Quijote
Centrally located in El Calfate, Hotel El Quijote is a traditional family establishment furnished in an antique ranch style, fitting for the remote mountain territory. With large, modern rooms, this hotel provides a favorable launching point into Los Glaciares National Park.
Loi Suites Recoleta
This five star hotel is located in the most elegant area of the city, at walking distance from museums, art galleries, shopping areas, historical architecture and beautiful parks.
Refugio Paine GrandePaine National Park
The Lodge is on the shore of Pehoé Lake, facing the southern face of Paine Grande hill, crowned by Punta Bariloche in the plain that terminates Quebrada de los Vientos. It is strategically located in the old area of Pehoé Shelter and is only accessible via Lao Pehoé or by walking the trekking routes of the park. It forms part of the W Circuit and is considered as the base camp.
The Lodge can hold 100 people in 22 bedrooms with 3 and 2 bunks each. These rooms have a view to Pehoé lake, the heights of Paine Grande, Valle del Francés and the east face of Cuernos del Paine. Each one of them has comfortable bunks and drawers to put away gear. However, we have a custody service and a safety box to keep valuable belongings.
The toilets are on the first and second floor and have wash basins, toilets and hot water showers, separated for men and women.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Sergio "TC" Bahamondez
Sergio was born in Puntarenas, Chile, and grew up in Tierra del Fuego, where he developed his love for the outdoors. He studied psychology at La Plata University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has a degree in Patagonia Biodiversity from Magallanes University. Sergio has more than 10 years of experience as a tour leader, and his explorer’s spirit has taken him to nearly every continent. He is an excellent ambassador of his country and its culture—his enthusiasm and sense of adventure are absolutely contagious! Sergio is best known in Patagonia by his nickname, “TC,” and we know you’ll be captivated by his engaging smile.