Patagonia November 16-26, 2014
Enjoy one of the world’s most magnificent wilderness settings, with spectacular panoramic views and great wildlife encounters. This unforgettable trip will be led by Amazonia’s biologist, Alfredo Dosantos Santillan, an accomplished nature photographer who will make a customized photographic CD for everyone on the trip.
Nov. 16 Depart USA or Canada
Nov. 17 – Arrive Santiago. After getting your luggage, going through customs and paying your reciprocity fee of $150, walk out the exit and look for a person holding a sign with the group name on it. Transfer you to the Fundador Hotel - http://www.fundador.cl/en-us/
Nov. 18 - Breakfast, then you will be transferred to the Airport for your connecting flight to Punta Arenas. Transfer from Punta Arenas Airport to the Rio Serrano Hotel in Torres del Paine. On the way stop to visit the Seno Otway Penguin Colony. Also en route you will stop to visit the Milodon Cave that is a National Monument. This cave was discovered by a German Captain in 1895. In it he found skin, bones and other parts of an extinct giant ground sloth, 10,000 years old. (B) http://www.hotelrioserrano.cl/home_en.html
Nov. 19 – Torres del Paine – To Grey Lake’s beach and during the drive stop to see the winding curves of the Serrano River. You’re also going to see the mouth of the Grey River that combines with the
pristine waters of the Serrano River and together flows into the Ultima Esperanza Fiord. Then to Torres del Paine National Park. Viewing Grey’s Glacier, then
Pehoé Lake, then a panoramic view of the Paine Horns geological formation. In the prairie we should encounter herds of guanacos, curious grey foxes and other wildlife. Finally to Amarga Lagoon which serves as a mirror that reflects the Torres del Paine mountains. Continue our adventure to the colorful Azul Lagoon. (B,L) Difficulty: Medium – Low. / Duration: 8 hrs.
Nov. 20 - Salto Grande - Departure from Hotel toward the Lake Pehoé sector (Pudeto sector) where we will walk to the Salto Grande which has a height of 14 meters. Then we will follow the path that will take us to the Horns viewpoint where we will appreciate the varied flora and fauna of the area (Orchids, Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Palomita, Calceolaria, etc.) . >From this lookout we can also see Paine Grande, the Horns, French Valley and Lago Nordenskjold. (B) Difficulty: Low. - Duration: 3/4 hrs.
Nov. 21 - Private transfer from your Hotel to Cerro Castillo border with Argentina. Transfer to El Chalten and Lodge Kalenshen (B) http://www.kalenshen.com/hotel/el-hotel--comodidades.html
Nov. 22 – Full Day Lago del Desierto Hike – A full day exploring one of the most beautiful and remote corners in Patagonia, with a stunning landscape. We leave El Chalten towards Lago del Desierto (some people say it is one of the best kept secrets in the area!). Upon arrival we will have the possibility to choose a boat trip (not included in the rate) to reach the Northern border of the lake or a one hour hike to the Huemul Lagoon lookout point, both options of great beauty and with incredible vistas of the Rio de las Vueltas, Lago del Desierto and the Northern face of Mt Fitz Roy. At lunchtime, we drive to a nearby Adventure Camp for a well deserved lunch. This campsite is located on the West bank of the Rio de las Vueltas, a place of great beauty. Afternoon to relax, or do short hikes or some birding before heading back to El Chalten, where we will arrive by 5:00PM. This program is easy and for families and for those that enjoy getting to beautiful places and be amazed by nature! Includes lunch with a glass of wine. (B,L)
Nov. 23 – Cerro Torre Lookout - The trail starts 10 minutes from the village, walking towards Mount Torre´s valley. This is an area with a small forest and a variety of interesting rock formations. After a 30 minutes walk, we will reach our first lookout point: the Margarita waterfall and the Fitz Roy river. You will have astounding views to Mount Torre and Fitz Roy from here. After another hours’ walk, we will reach Mount Torre lookout point, from here we can also see Mount Solo, and a large portion of the Grande and its surrounding glaciers, as well as the mountains around Mount Torre. After a break, we will start heading back to El Chaltén by the same trail. 3 hours walk Slope: 300 meters Level of difficulty: moderate (B)
Nov. 24 – Laguna Capri Lookout - The trail starts 15 minutes from the village. The walking goes along the trail to the Fitz Roy lookout point and Capri lagoon. After 30 minutes of uphill walk, we reach the Rio de las Vueltas valley viewpoint, from where we will have marvelous views to the river´s valley below and to the surrounding mountain range. After a pause to admire the scenery, we continue our walk towards Capri lagoon, a beautiful lookout point to Mount Fitz Roy with one of the widest views in the area. After another break, we will head back the same way to El Chaltén. 3,5 hours walk Slope: 400 meters Level of difficulty: Moderate. (B) Afternoon transfer to Hosteria Shehuen in Calafate http://www.shehuen.com.ar/the-hotel.html
Nov. 25 - Perito Moreno Glacier - We leave El Calafate and drive for about two hours on a paved road to reach Los Glaciares National Park. Upon arrival we will enjoy spare time at the catwalks to be mesmerized by the constantly calving of ice blocks of this amazing glacier. Different blue colors, altitude, capricious formations, the roaring of the calving are all part of this experience. While on our tour, we will be able to observe the wildlife of the area, which includes Andean condors, buff-necked ibis, black-chested buzzard eagles, ashy headed geese, etc. Lunch facilities are available in the park. Perito Moreno Glacier is the park’s most famous and imposing glacier. It is permanently advancing along its 3-milewide front, which is a wall 200 feet high over Lake Argentino. Visitors invariably observe great blocks of ice breaking loose from this wall and falling thunderously into the lake, making huge waves, later surfacing to form icebergs. The first views of Moreno glacier are breathtaking vistas down a narrow arm of Lago Argentino with the imposing Andean Mountains as a backdrop. As spectacular as it is, it pales compared to a close approach where the constant sounds of this "living" glacier shake the air. Gigantic blocks of ice, frequently break away and crash into the lake, sending spray hundreds of feet into the air and sound like distant artillery fire. The startling contrast of color, sound, motion and size creates a continuously changing mosaic of indescribable beauty. (B)
Nov. 26 - transfer to Calafate airport for flight to Buenos Aires (B)
Optional extension to Tierra del Fuego:
When the first Europeans arrived on this legendary island at the lower tip of Patagonia, it was inhabited by several hunter-fishergatherer Indian tribes who built large bonfires to protect themselves from the penetrating cold of these extreme southern reaches. The first Spanish navigators to sight these shores from their boats named the large island” Tierra de los fuegos” (today Tierra del Fuego), which means “Fire Island” in English. Tierra del Fuego contains all the different ecosystems, which typify Patagonia on a single island: South Atlantic coast, bushy steppe, Andes surrounded by glaciers, snow, lakes and forests. As if it weren’t enough the island also has its unique sub-Antarctic rainforest. Unexpectedly lush beech forests are covered with a magic carpet of green mosses, lichens waving in the wind in this seemingly enchanted forest. The legendary Beagle Channel explored by Darwin is now available to search for its varied wildlife: sea lions, penguins, cormorants, etc.
Nov. 26 – arrive to Ushuaia, transfer to Los Naranjos Hotel
Nov. 27 - Full Day Tierra del Fuego National Park - Upon arrival in the park, we start a 7 km trek (3.5 hour walk) on a safe but uneven terrain with some slopes on the way, to a wonderful scenic point overlooking Lake Roca, Lagunas Verde and Negra, Rivers Ovando and Lapataia and Bahía Lapataia. Hiking through this beech forest we will be able to look for the Magellanic woodpecker, largest in South America, Austral parakeets, black-chested buzzard eagles and Andean Condors. Lunch (pasta specialties) at Lake Roca. After lunch embarkation on an 18 people zodiac shared boat and head towards Isla Redonda for an afternoon short walk on the island. On the way back to Lapataia Bay, we will be able to watch cormorants and sea lions, albatrosses and petrels. Upon arrival we will hike an old trail to Laguna Verde, where we will board our vehicle back to Ushuaia
Nov. 28 - Beagle Channel Navigation - Two and a half hours navigating the legendary waters of the Beagle Channel, where the Andes plunge into the sea to reappear in the Antarctic Peninsula. The Beagle Channel is located south of Ushuaia and overlooks the islands that extend all the way to Cape Horn. It was first discovered by Fitz Roy expedition in 1830 and later again with Darwin in 1833. Anglican missionaries first settled it in 1860. The navigation starts with a transfer from the hotel to the pier Brisighelli, where we board the boat to navigate the legendary Beagle Channel. When we leave the city, the landscape changes into a combination of sea, estancias and mountains, Mount Olivia (a landmark of Ushuaia); Five Brothers, the Fique and Túnel "estancias" and the Encajonado River can be seen. The boat then sails to the middle of the Beagle Channel, towards the southwest, arriving to Les Eclaireurs lighthouse, at the archipelago of the same name. In one of these islands it is sometimes possible to observe some remains of Monte Cervantes, the legendary ship that shipwrecked in 1930. On the way back we visit Isla de los Lobos (Seal's Island) where we can observe the games of these peculiar sea mammals while the boat circumnavigates the island for about 20 min. The boat then resumes the trip to Isla de los Pajaros (Birds´island) to appreciate the colonies of Magellanic Cormorants, Imperial Cormorants, Giant Albatrosses, and Fullman Petrels, Skuas and 20 different species of sea birds. As we get close to Ushuaia, sailing through Paso Chico, we will have a splendid view of the city framed by the Martial Mount and its glacier. (B)
Single in room add $750
Cost of Tierra del Fuego extension:
single in room $300
Leader Alfredo Dosantos Santillan
Private local guides
Lodging as above
Meals as above
Park fees and taxes
Excursions as above
Chile entrance fee
Argentina reciprocity fee must be paid on-line before departure
Meals not listed in above itinerary