• Hidden Patagonia: Hiking the Lake District in Argentina

    Patagonia's renowned Lake District & Los Glaciares National Parks in Argentina

    Here's a blend of fun and adventure with insights into Patagonia's colorful history, culture, flora, and fauna. Explore the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, Perito Moreno Glacier, and El Chalten.

    best times to go: January - March, November - December

    departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.

    pricing: from $5,595 see detailed pricing

    Patagonia

    Moderate
Avaliable as a private trip. Call for details

Patagonia's renowned Lake District & Los Glaciares National Parks in Argentina

Patagonia's Lake District is a scenic wonderland of deep blue lakes, brilliant wildflowers, and the craggy peaks of the Andes, while the lands to the south offer even more scenic surprises—sprawling glaciers and an array of lakes and mountains of unimaginable beauty.

Your active days will include kayaking on sparkling waters, walking on glaciers feeding into luminous lakes, and hiking and riding horses (in true Gaucho style!) on the vast golden Patagonian steppe with foxes, guanacos, and soaring condors as your only companions. At the end of each day, you'll unwind in remote, beautifully restored, historic estancias or small intimate hotels that reflect Patagonia's engaging charm and ambiance.

 

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Activities

Moderate hiking and lake kayaking (no previous experience required), optional horseback riding

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Discover Patagonia's beautiful Lake District—"The Mediterranean of Patagonia!"
  • Explore the impressive Perito Moreno up close, including a walk on the Perito Moreno glacier itself!
  • Enjoy tremendous vistas of the spectacular peaks of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre!

Duration: 12 days Start Location: Buenos Aires End Location: Buenos Aires

Download Detailed Itinerary
Itinerary
  • Pvz_day1_bsas
    Day 1 : Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Please be sure to schedule your international flight so that you arrive in Buenos Aires in the morning. Upon your arrival at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza Airport you'll be met by your trip leader or another representative outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel.

    Once you've settled in you'll depart for an afternoon tour of the city, including visits to La Boca, San Telmo (antiques market), Costanera Sur (docks by the river), the Plaza de Mayo (Government House), and 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. Dinner tonight will be on your own—Buenos Aires has no lack of enticing culinary options.

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    Day 2 : San Carlos de Bariloche

    We'll begin the day with a transfer to the airport where we'll board our flight to San Carlos de Bariloche, located in Patagonia’s Lake District. Upon landing we'll transfer to the Aldebarán Hotel on the San Pedro Peninsula, just 14 miles from San Carlos de Bariloche. The Aldebarán is pleasantly situated in a beautiful setting, with verdant forests, soaring mountains, and idyllic Lago Nahuel Huapi (pronounced "nah-well wah-pee") filling the views. Its ten exclusive rooms overlook the lake, and each has its own individual balcony providing you with unlimited enjoyment of the hotel's beautiful natural setting.

    In the afternoon we'll hike to Cerro Llao Llao, possibly one of the most photographed regions in all of Argentina, known for its spectacular setting of crystalline lakes and mountains. The hike to the top of the mountain is an easy walk that takes us through the surrounding woodlands, where we may hear the trill of the chucao or the habitual pecking of woodpeckers. This is quite possibly one of the most enjoyable and stunning hikes in the Lake District.

  • Day 3 : Trek Bella Vista

    The activity starts at the Hotel. Your guide will meet you between 9 and 9:15 am and driver you to El Tambo start of the Trail, (2,800') . Before starting our hike, we'll have a briefing on the journey, and then start hiking at a slow pace to warm up.
    The hike starts through the woods, following a trail surrounded by thick vegetation. The ascent is slow up to the first lookout. From there we steadily continue ascending until we reach the second part of the trail at 5,248', surrounded by high Lengas and colorful Amancay. Here the vegetation begins to thin out, opening up  to fresh air and unmatchable panoramic views. After three hours of hiking, we'll reach the pre-summit.

  • Hid_day3_kayaking
    Days 4 - 5 : Kayaking on Lago Nahuel Huapi

    Kayaking allows us to reach the most remote and virgin areas in nature, experiencing the Andes from another angle and explore new sensations. We meet at the hotel at 9:30 am and make our way to Bahía López 7 where we will have our safety and security talk and go into the details of the activity. We will sail down the waters of lake Nahuel Huapi and Moreno, discovering its shores and crystal clear water. After 2 or 3 hours of gentle paddling on the Moreno lake, we will disembark at one of its beaches to return to our Hotel.

  • Day 6 : El Calafate

    Today we'll transfer back to San Carlos de Bariloche and from there fly to Calafate, on the shore of Lago Argentino. From the Calafate airport we'll have a 30-minute drive to Eolo lodge, located in the vast Patagonian steppe near renowned Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park.

    El Calafate In the middle of the steppe and constantly escorted by the southern wind, El Calafate is one of the country’s most visited destinations for the outlying spectacular attractions: The Perito Moreno Glacier and National Park Los Glaciares. Around Lago Argentino, a lake with a surface area of 1600 square kilometers and so deep its temperature remains 8º C year round, straight down from the South Continental Ice Cup, an array of glaciers can be visited and travelers from all the world are bewitched by the magic of a zillion shades of blue and white and by the thundering noise of ice cracking into the lakes…
    The City holds around 20,000 inhabitants While it makes its living from the ice it is not a completely chilled-out place: the main street is crowded by souvenir shops, some featuring very nice crafts, and there’s a selection of restaurants where to taste unbeatable Patagonian Lamb. A must at least once in a lifetime, Calafate owes its name to a small bush which fruit is a delicious
    berry. According to tradition, whoever eats Calafate will return for more.
     

  • Hid_moreno
    Day 7 : Perito Moreno Glacier Mini-Trekking

    After breakfast and accompanied by a private guide we’re off to explore the Perito Moreno Glacier up close. Like the majority of glaciers in Patagonia, the Perito Moreno glacier has its origins in the Patagonia Ice Cap but unlike its fellow glaciers is the only one in the area that has maintained its ice mass. We’ll start our exploration by sailing across Lago Argentino's Brazo Rico and along the three-mile-long snout of the glacier, disembarking on the opposite side. Here a group of certified mountain guides will give a short talk on glaciology before taking you on an easy, optional two-hour hike on the glacier itself. (Crampons will be provided, and no experience in glacier trekking or walking with crampons is needed).

    After our glacier hike, we’ll have lunch before returning to the port. Our private van will then take us to a boardwalk composed of seven balconies of different heights and distances from the glacier where you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy and photograph the massive face of Perito Moreno and possibly have the thrill of watching huge chunks of ice break off and tumble into the water below—a sight and sound not soon forgotten! We'll return to our lodge for overnight

    Perito Moreno Age restriction. Does not apply for travelers under 10 or over 65 years old. Not suitable for pregnant women.  This excursion is operated on a regular basis, it is not private, yet still worth the experience!

  • Pai_fam_falls
    Day 8 : Transfer to El Chalten

    After breakfast we’ll mount Alta Vista’s tame horses and—in best gaucho style—ride to nearby Estancia Anita to learn a bit about sheep farming in Patagonia. (If you’re not up for horseback riding, you can either hike, bike, or take the van to Estancia Anita.) Afternoon transfer to El Calafate and continue to El Chalten.

    As we continue west from Estancia Leona we will (weather permitting) enjoy impressive views of the Cordillera Andes (including Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitzroy) . We are likely to spot guanacos, lesser rhea, grey foxes, condors, and falcons along the way. We’ll arrive at El Chalten late afternoon and have time to fully enjoy the Andes mountains, with the Cerro Fitzroy standing out as the centerpiece.

  • Hid_icecave
    Days 9 - 10 : To El Chalten. Los Glaciares National Park

    Two days to enjoy the tremendous vistas of the spectacular peaks of Fitzroy (11,072') and Cerro Torre (10,280'), the masterpieces of Los Glaciares National Park. There are a variety of day hikes to suit all abilities, including Laguna Torre, the base camp of 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 Laguna Sucia, which boast large glaciers calving into beautiful alpine lakes with Fitzroy as a backdrop; 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!

  • Day 11 : Buenos Aires

    Late morning  transfer to El Calafate and catch our return flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival transfer to your hotel for overnight.

  • Day 12 : Depart Buenos Aires

    The day is yours to enjoy all that Buenos Aires has to offer. We'll transfer to the airport for departure on homeward-bound flights  (or continue with an extension to Iguazú Falls). Your can depart at any time.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: January - March, November - December Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.

PRICING:

2013- 2014 PRICES
$5,595 (2 + members)

Price does not include flights within Argentina (Buenos Aires to Bariloche;  Bariloche to El Calafate; El Calafate to Buenos Aires.
 

  • 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.

  • Hosteria Los Cerros
    El Chaltén

    Overlooking the young town of El Chaltén, Hosteria Los Cerros offers a cozy stay with unique décor that harmonizes with the natural environment. Expansive windows open onto dramatic views of the Río de las Vueltas and the surrounding landscape.

  • Eolo Lodge
    El Calafate

    Eolo Lodge is a 30-minute drive from the Patagonian town of El Calafate, nestled in a private property of 3000 hectares, on the eastern face of Mount Frías. It has 17 comfortable and very generous rooms, with exquisite views of the Patagonia steppe and mountains. Built with all the modern amenities, it is designed to evoke the nostalgia of the estancias (ranches) built by the first settlers in the early 1900s. The lodge also has an intimate gourmet restaurant; a small heated indoor pool and a truly outstanding staff eager to make out of your stay your most treasured memory.

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.

photo credits: ©MTS Photo File



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Activity Ratings

Easy

Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.

Moderate

More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.

Strenuous

Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

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Toll Free:1-888-831-7526