On the Smuggler's Trail in Patagonia

Overview

Trace the footsteps of mountain pioneers on this unique hiking adventure deep into the heart of Patagonia. Trek through the diverse wilderness of Jeinimeni National Reserve and Parque Patagonia, following a remote path once used by cattle smugglers. Spend five unforgettable days exploring hanging glaciers and turquoise lakes, overnighting in remote camps and huts. Then, it's on to San Lorenzo massif, the second highest summit in Patagonia, where you'll share meals and stories with a gaucho family and visit the hut of the Italian priest who first conquered the peak.

  • Explore the awe-inspiring landscapes of Jeinimeni National Reserve and Parque Patagonia
  • Trek past glacial lakes and wildlife-rich pampas with views of San Lorenzo's dramatic spires
  • Experience a traditional gaucho barbecue and learn about the pioneers who settled the area
  • Arrive: Balmaceda, Chile
  • Depart: Balmaceda, Chile
  • Duration: 12 Days
  • Group Size: 6-12 Guests
  • Minimum Age: 16 Years Old

Itinerary

  • Day01

    Arrive in Patagonia

    Arrive at Balmaceda Airport in Northern Patagonia. Meet your trip leader and transfer to your hotel in Coyhaique. Explore the town on your own, then gather in the evening for a group dinner and trip briefing.

  • Day02

    Journey to Chile Chico & Hike Lunar Valley

    Depart early and travel through Cerro Castillo National Park and Ibañez Pass, known for its stunning views of the dramatic Castillo mountain range and the Rio Ibáñez. Board the Tehuelche Ferry in Puerto Ibañez for a 2-hour voyage to Chile Chico, a small mining and agricultural community on the lake's southern shore. From there, continue on to the Lunar Valley trailhead for a short hike that showcases surreal geological formations and evocative, ancient cave art. The length of the hike will vary, depending on the day's logistics. Overnight at cabins in Chile Chico.

    • Accommodation: Cabins Chile Chico
    • Activity: 2 hours/2-3 miles hiking with no significant elevation gain
    • Transportation: 2-hour private van transfer & 2-hour boat crossing
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day03

    Hike Jeinimeni National Reserve

    Travel across the Patagonian plains and along the Jeinimeni River to Jeinimeni National Reserve, a 39,000 acre outdoor paradise with a rich diversity of habitats. Set off on a challenging, 18-mile hike from Jeinimeni Lake to Glacier Hut Camp. The trail crosses wide, shallow rivers with lots of glacial and river debris, along turquoise-blue Jeinimeni Lake, and over La Gloria Pass, with gorgeous views of Esmerelda Lake, Jeinimeni Lake, and many lofty peaks. Tackle a number of steep inclines before reaching Glacier Hut Camp in Valle Hermoso, your home for the night.

    • Accommodation: Glacier Hut Camp
    • Activity: 9-10 hours/18 miles hiking with 750' elevation gain
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day04

    Trek Lago Superior Circuit

    Embark on a technical trek of the Lago Superior circuit, stopping for a box lunch at the hanging glacier of Punta Guanaco peak. The hike is steep and ascends on eroded rock and gullies until it reaches the dramatic landscape of Baguales Glacier, named after the wild horses the original settlers found there. Enjoy the exhilarating views of glacial lakes and cascading waterfalls before returning via the same path to Glacier Hut Camp for dinner.

    • Accommodation: Glacier Hut Camp
    • Activity: 4-5 hours/4 miles hiking with 1,000' elevation gain
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day05

    Hike Valle Hermoso & Aviles Pass

    Rise early for a hike through the spectacular Pinturas Valley on our way to Parque Patagonia. From Glacier Hut Camp, descend to the Ventisquero Valley and hike alongside two glacial lakes. Cross streams through flat glacial watersheds and pass under hanging glaciers as condors soar over the sharp peaks above. Continue along the river and through beech forest over the low Aviles Pass and through the Pinturas Valley to our pristine camp. Dinner and camping at Rio Pinturas.

  • Day06

    Traverse Patagonian Pampas to Casa de Piedra

    Start your morning with stellar views of Jeinimeni, the highest mountain range in the area. Traverse river beds and beech forests as you descend to the Pinturas River valley. Visit a few old huts from the time when the park was a ranch and marvel at the sheer walls of old volcanic rocks. Take in spectacular views as you cross a hanging bridge over the river. Then make a sharp descent that ends at the confluence of the Chacabuco Valley and Casa de Piedra before transferring to your elegant lodge.

    • Accommodation: Lodge at Valle Chacabuco
    • Activity: 9-10 hours/18 miles hiking with 600' elevation gain
    • Transportation: 45-minute private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day07

    Experience Conservation in Parque Patagonia

    Today presents two options. The first is a 13-mile hike with beautiful views of Mount San Valentin and San Lorenzo - the two highest peaks in Patagonia - with the opportunity to experience the revival of fauna in the area. A second option is a half-day hike dotted with picturesque lagoons and lakes, with ample opportunities to view wildlife. Return to the lodge for dinner.

    • Accommodation: Lodge at Valle Chacabuco
    • Activity: 8 hours/13 miles hiking with 3,000' elevation gain
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day08

    Hike to Estancia San Lorenzo

    Drive to Cochrane, stopping for a short walk to stretch the legs. After lunch along the way, continue on to Estancia San Lorenzo. From here, we take a 2-hour hike through a beech forest and past heart-shaped Corazon Lake to Estancias base camp.

    • Accommodation: Estancia San Lorenzo Campsite
    • Activity: 2-hours/4.5 miles hiking with 500' elevation gain
    • Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day09

    Follow Trails to Refugio Agostini

    Take a trail through a beech forest that opens onto a valley with views of the San Lorenzo Mountains. Explore the remains of a rustic hut built by Alberto De Agostini, an Italian priest and mountaineer who was the first to summit San Lorenzo. Weather permitting, we'll have lunch with views of an alpine lake and the pinnacles of the massif. We'll then return to Estancia San Lorenzo camp for dinner and tales of the legendary pioneers and adventurers who first explored this rugged land.

  • Day10

    Hike to Cordon Cohrane

    Today we'll hike deep into the Tranquilo Valley with the Cordon Cochrane mountain range amphitheater with its shimmering hanging glaciers and array of unclimbed peaks.

    In the evening, we'll enjoy a typical gaucho barbeque with the locals, complete with music and stories.

  • Day11

    Settle into a peaceful lodge on the Baker River

    After an early breakfast, depart by shuttle bus and take a bumpy road to the peaceful Green Baker Lodge on the emerald-colored Baker River. En route, we'll stop for a short hike to Mirador Confluencia. The afternoon is at your leisure; enjoy fishing, take a well-deserved soak in the hot tub, or simply relax. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the lodge.

    • Accommodation: Green Baker Lodge
    • Activity: 2-3 hours/5 miles hiking with 200' elevation gain
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day12

    Depart from Chile

    Rise early for a morning departure to Balmaceda Airport. It's a long drive, but the spectacular views of General Carrera Lake, beech and larch trees, and the Patagonian Andes are worth it. Enjoy a packed lunch along the way.

    • Transportation: 6-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Want to extend your adventure?
Contact our Regional Specialists for more travel ideas!

Upcoming Departures

  • AvailableMar 01 - 12, 2019
  • AvailableMar 22 - Apr 02, 2019
  • AvailableApr 05 - 16, 2019
View More Departure Dates
From: $6,895.00 What's Included?
12 Days
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Got Questions?
Speak with an expert.

Brian Allen

MT Sobek Regional Specialist

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On the Smuggler's Trail in Patagonia Map

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Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek first pioneered this route in 2016 and it has become a favorite of our most adventurous hikers.

Reason #02

Experience the wonders of Parque Patagonia - a major, public-private conservation project - on this exclusive MT Sobek itinerary.

Reason #03

Reap the benefits of our 40+ years of experience in Patagonia with top-notch, expert guides leading the way.

Meet Our Guides

Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.

What To Expect

  • Activities

    Moderate to strenuous hiking covering up to 18 miles a day on rocky trails with some river crossings.

  • Lodging

    A range of lodging, from remote tent camping to modern hotels with amenities. Includes two luxurious nights at the Lodge at Valle Chacabuco.

  • Climate

    Expect extreme weather conditions that can change from one moment to the next.

FAQ

  • Who will meet me on arrival?

    Your guides will meet you at the Balmaceda Airport on Day 1, and transfer you to your hotel in Coyhaique.

  • What are the river crossings like?

    There are multiple river crossings. Depending on weather conditions, water level may be knee to hip high.

  • What temperature rating of sleeping bag do I need?

    Plan to bring a sleeping bag 0° Fahrenheit (-17° Celsius).

  • What are the trail conditions like?

    Trails vary from glacier moraines over loose rock with sand and decomposed granite to large boulders and some steep ridges through steppe grassland and forests.

  • How much water do I need to carry?

    1 to 2 liters, or a bladder system. Potable water from glaciers is accessible from the streams every few hours.

  • Will I have access to my duffel bag during the trip?

    While camping at Glacier Hut and Pintura/Frontera Camps (nights 3, 4 & 5) you will not have access to your duffel. You will be provided with a 15-liter dry bag for the porters to carry your overnight essentials.

Dates & Pricing

Pricing Dates

Scheduled Dates

  • Available
    Mar 01 - 12, 2019
  • Available
    Mar 22 - Apr 02, 2019
  • Available
    Apr 05 - 16, 2019

Customize Your Trip

Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!

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2018 2019
$6,895.00 Price per person

Additional Cost

  • $1,500.00 Single Supplement

Special Offer

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner (hotels only)
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary camping gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival and departure day airport transfers

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport transfers if arriving outside of Day 1 and departing outside of Day 12
  • Optional travel protection

Testimonials

  • "A prominent reason we have chosen MT Sobek as our favorite adventure travel company has been the excellent travel guides."

    Carol & Burt D.

    MT Sobek Guests

  • "Traveling with MT Sobek is like gaining a new set of close friends that have shared an incredible experience together."

    Mark N.

    MT Sobek Guest

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