Patagonia ExplorerHike, kayak and horseback ride through Patagonia

Chile
Chile
8 Days
8 Days
Intensity
5/10
18+
$4,695
$4,795 non-peak member
About the trip

Explore Patagonia's Pristine Mountains

When it comes to adventure travel, there are few places in this world that compare to Patagonia. From the moment you land in Chilean Patagonia you will see that this is not simply another adventure, rather, it is a right of passage into the land of discovery.

Ride horseback through the oldest standing cattle ranch in Chilean Patagonia, take the classic W-Trek through Torres del Paine National Park and kayak to the edge of the southern icefield. Our journey will be filled with towering granite walls, lush green mountain valley, giant glaciers and vibrant blue icebergs.

This trip will change the way you think of adventure, and provide you with memories for a lifetime.

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Info
Level 5/10
Chile
8 Days

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Itinerary

Arrive in Punta Arenas, Private transfer to Puerto Natales

Arrive today at Punta Arenas airport with private transfer to Puerto Natales. Our guide will meet you at the Punta Arenas airport to assist with your transfer to Puerto Natales, a three-hour drive through the Patagonian pampa (high-plateau). Once in Puerto Natales, we will check into Hotel IF, before our dinner and meeting to discuss the trip program. This is a great opportunity to meet our local guides and ask any questions about the upcoming journey. (Dinner is not provided)

Torres Del Paine, Ascendio Valley, Cordillera Del Paine

This morning, we transfer by van to Torres del Paine, a two-hour journey crossing the Pampa Patagonica before arriving at the majestic gates of Patagonia’s renowned National Park. Our trek begins with a hike deep into the Ascencio Valley, where you will see the river of the same name running wildly past the refugio Chileno. After a quick stop at the refugio, we will continue through a forest of the native Lenga (beech) trees before drastically changing landscapes at the glacial moraine. From here, we trek for just one hour more to the top of the moraine where the high granite towers appear from seemingly nowhere. This is the classic scene of granite towers and glacial lakes that makes the park famous; where so many photographers come for that perfect sunset. Dinner and night at Refugio Torres. (Meals: B,L,D)

Hiking Distance: 11 milesHiking Time: 7 hoursElevation Gain: 2,700 feet

Trek to French Valley

The famous French Valley is considered the most beautiful valley in the park and one of the most unique in the world. It’s surrounded by hanging glaciers, calving ice fall and an amphitheater of smooth granite walls and jagged spires. The further you hike into the valley, the better the views become. On the return journey, you will notice the extraordinary turquoise color of Lake Pehoe (“hidden lake” in the Tehuelche Indian language). Dinner is at Lodge Paine Grande, where you can enjoy a cocktail in the bar that overlooks Paine Grande and Los Cuernos in the beautiful evening light. Here, we will ring in the New Year! Night and dinner at French Domes. Lodging at Camp Pehoe. (Meals: B,L,D)

Hiking Distance: 14 milesHiking Time: 8 hours

Grey Glacier

Trek along enchanting Lake Grey (3 - 4 hours, 7 miles) with magnificent views of Glacier Grey and floating icebergs. Visit to the glacier lookout point and to the lakeshore for up-close views of vibrant-blue icebergs (Paine is a Tehuelche Indian word for “blue”). From here, our guides will introduce us to the equipment needed for the kayak tour and we will have a safety briefing. We will be paddling around icebergs that are floating in the lake and afterwards we paddle towards the eastern side of the Grey. Dinner and night at Grey Lodge. (Meals: B,L,D)

Hiking Distance: 6 milesHiking Time: 4 hours

Ice Hike Grey Glacier

After breakfast, the guides will have an introductory chat and explain the route and make sizing adjustments to your equipment. Then, we go in a zodiac boat for 15 minutes until we reach the west side of the Grey Glacier. On arrival, we will disembark on the island at the glacier (Nunatak) and we will walk on it for an hour until we reach the ice. Before walking onto the glacier, the guide will talk to us about the safety aspects, and they will explain the techniques of displacement in the ice and the correct use of the equipment. Once the safety briefing is complete we will begin our exploration of the Grey Glacier which will last approximately three hours. During this time we will be able to observe cracks, rivers, lagoons and tunnels with their different tones of blue. After the tour, we will return to the zodiac boat and ride back to the base camp where we will have lunch. In the afternoon, we will board the Grey II boat and explore the lake, navigating among the ice bergs. Dinner and night at Tyndall Hotel. (Meals: B,L,D)

Boat Ride by Serrano Glacier

Board a zodiac boat to be taken across the Serrano River to Puerto Toro, which is located in a very tranquil, natural wilderness area, complete with striking views of the Serrano glacier. We will transfer to the boat and travel across Last Hope Sound to Puerto Natales. Dinner and night at Puerto Natales. (Meals: B,L,D)

Horseback Riding

We will drive to Estancia Mercedes, located 22 miles from Puerto Natales in the peninsula Muñoz Gamero. This is a typical Patagonian ranch since 1916, today open for tourist activities. Here you will enjoy a horseback riding excursion to watch the condors at Cerro Mirador. Following an old track made by the grandparents, you will go through a lush native forest to arrive at the foot of Cerro Mirador. The mountain is a nesting site for the condor, the majestic national bird. If any of the birds are resting on the day of our visit we will be able to observe them up close. At lunch time, typical Patagonia barbecue will be served. Return to Puerto Natales. (Meals: B,L,D)

Transfer to Airport, Return Flight

Our guides will once again assist with your private transfer to Punta Arenas airport. Once safely checked into the airport, you will bid your guide and Patagonia one final “adios”... for now. (Meals: B)
Planning

Here’s what you need

Bring

Essential Gear

  • 1 soft duffel bag (no hard frame or wheeled suitcases or bags). These will hold extra clothing that you will bring for kayaking and will be transferred to camp directly from Puerto Natales.
  • 1 backpack which you will trek in every day, 45-60 L is ideal.
  • 1 sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees fahrenheit
  • Pair of trekking poles
  • Head lamp with extra batteries and extra light bulb
  • 3 one–liter water bottles, or equivalent hydration bladder for your pack
  • Sunscreen. Highest possible SPF rating
  • Personal first aid kit with blister bandaids, kleenex, etc
  • Small, quick dry towel
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Sunscreen and lip ointment
  • Toiletries

Recommended Gear

  • Binoculars
  • Camera with plenty of memory and extra batteries
  • Current converter and outlet adapter
  • Flora/fauna field guide
  • Leisure reading

Wear

Essential Clothing

  • 2 Merino wool or polypro mid–weight long sleeve shirts (long enough to tuck in; snug fit and zip neck is best).
  • 2 Merino wool or polypro T shirts
  • 2 Cotton T shirts for nights at the refuges
  • 2 pair Hiking shorts
  • 2 pair Hiking pants
  • 2 pair quick drying long underwear (merino wool or polypro mid–weight)
  • Waterproof shell pants made with Goretex or similar, to repel water but let the body breathe
  • 1 pair polar fleece pants for relaxing around camp
  • 1 pair leg gaiters
  • 1 pair socks for each day; 9 pair mid–weight. Wool or wool/synthetic are best.
  • 1 pair underwear per day
  • 1 warm fleece or softshell jacket
  • 1 waterproof Gore-tex rain shell jacket
  • 2 pair windproof, lightweight gloves
  • 1 warm hat
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 pair trekking boots (medium weight, waterproof)
  • 1 pair comfortable tennis shoes or tevas for around camp
  • 1 pair wrap–around, UV–blocking sunglasses

Trip Package

Includes

  • Transport between airport and hotel
  • All park and camp fees
  • Tents and sleeping pads
  • All ground transportation, beginning and ending with airport arrival and departure
  • Services of licensed, experienced, English-speaking trail and kayaking guides
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Does not Include

  • International Airfare
  • Travel Insurance
  • Some meals before and after trek
  • Tips for your guides
  • Personal gear or clothing

Meals

Three meals a day are provided, including delicious vegetarian options. We provide a plethora of foods to permit tasty and varied meals. Breakfasts include foods such as eggs, sausage, toast or pancakes, hot cereal, fruit and juice, tea and coffee. Lunch will include sandwiches, juice and various snacks to keep your energy up while on the trail. Dinners will include meat dishes of beef, chicken or fish, fresh vegetable dishes, pasta, rice, potatoes, homemade soups, fresh fruits, desserts, juice, tea, coffee.

Flights

Landing at Punta Arenas

Upon your landing at Punta Arenas, you will need to pay for your Chilean visa. Please have US $140 on hand for this. From customs, claim any bags you have checked and proceed toward the airport exit. Look for a sign with your name on it: your Discover Outdoors guide will meet you here and transport to your hostal in Puerto Natales.

Flight Arrangements

We recommend that you plan your itinerary so that you land no later than 5:00 PM on the first day. If you plan to arrive prior to the first day, we can help you arrange public transport to Puerto Natales (there are additional transport fees). Your departing flight should leave on the evening of the final day. Please forward your flight itinerary to [email protected].

Travel Documents

A valid passport, along with evidence of return or onward flight, is required for U.S. citizens traveling to Chile. A tourist card will be given at the airport.

Destination Information

Safety

Patagonia is generally a safe and pleasant place but as with any destination, it’s important to be aware of possible hazards. Violent crime is almost unheard of in the regions we visit. In the rare instances crime does occur, it is usually petty theft; to limit your susceptibility, we suggest you always travel with at least one other person when going out, and that you avoid flaunting jewelry, cameras, expensive watches and other items that may be tempting to a thief.

Money Matters

The standard unit of currency in Chilean-Patagonia is the Chilean-Peso. This is different from the Argentine-Peso and the Mexican-Peso. As of September, 2015, $1 US is the equivalent to 692 Chilean-Peso’s. The Chilean-Peso can fluctuate, however, so we suggest you check the online Universal Currency Converter or with your bank for the most up-to-date information close to the time of your departure. Credit cards are accepted throughout Chile including the town of Puerto Natales. ATM’s are also available. We recommend bringing at least $500 for spending and $200 for tips (this includes Torres del Paine trek, kayaking and horseback riding tips).

Time Zone

Puerto Natales is in the Chilean Standard Time Zone.

Phone

To call Puerto Natales from the United States, dial 011 (America’s international access code) +56 (Chile’s country code) + the city code (61 in Puerto Natales) + the local number. To place an international call from Puerto Natales, first dial 00 (the international access code) and the appropriate country code. To call the United States, dial 00 + 1 (the U.S. country code) + area code + local number.

Electricity

The electricity in Puerto Natales is 220 volts and the plugs have two round pins, like those in Europe. An international adaptor is needed for all other types of plug.

Weather

Weather in Patagonia is a very important factor to consider. Remember that strong winds, rains and snow characterize this region. While it is summertime when we visit, the temperatures could be 80 degrees one day, and then quickly drop into the 50’s the following day with a storm. Winds blow from the northeast and the Pacific, crossing the southern Patagonian ice fields to rapidly form clouds that can result in nasty storms. We often travel under clear skies with great sunny weather, however you need to be prepared for quick changes in temperature as well as flash rain and wind storms.

Lodging

In Puerto Natales, we will stay at Hotel Natalino, a clean, comfortable and environmentally conscious lodge. While trekking, we will stay warm and dry at night with refugio (lodge) accommodations and camping on January 1 (tents provided - double-occupancy). The refugios have showers with bunks that accommodate 4-8 people per room.

On the Trail

In your packs, you will carry your sleeping bag, clothing, camera, lunch, water and sunscreen. The weather in Patagonia is extremely variable and impossible to predict, therefore, you should always be prepared for wet and windy days.

Training

We will be hiking and doing activities for nine days straight, which means that your endurance should be high and your recovery time should be minimal. Engaging in as many long, hard hikes as possible is a great way to prepare for your trek.

Health

You will need your routine vaccinations to be current, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. If you have motion or seasickness, we would suggest talking with your doctor about prescribing medication for this as well.

For more specific information on health precautions consult a travel medicine doctor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Why this trip

Recommended for...

This trip is ideal for adventurers who want to explore new trails, new cultures and who enjoy the hiking in the mountains. We recommend this trip for participants who have a moderate level of fitness. Those new to hiking are welcome to inquire. Our DO staff will give you tips for training so you can maximize your enjoyment on the trail.

Dates and Prices

The right trip,
at the right time.

Start
Finish
Availability
Price From
Sunday
Jan 13, 2019
Sunday
Jan 20, 2019
Waitlist
$4,695

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