PUMALIN NATIONAL PARK & YELCHO GLACIER TREKKING
8 days / 7 nights
Over the past few years, at the northern Carretera Austral (now also known as part of the “Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia), a dreamy, hitherto barely known hiking paradise has emerged. After crossing from the north, the long fjord Comau from Hornopiren, you reach a tiny place with the inconspicuous name of Caleta Gonzalo – the gate to a huge natural treasure called Parque Pumalin National Park.
Douglas Tompkins; The early deceased former founder of Esprit and Northface, has over the last two decades protected one of the most beautiful rainforest areas in South America; And subsequently developed very cautiously for visitors.
In this program you will go through the famous Pumalin Douglas Tompkins National Park. This park belongs to the “Route of Parks”, a new concept of showing the naturals wonders in southern Chile. This route covers 2,800km (1,740 miles) from the city of Puerto Montt down to Cape Horn.
A festival of the senses is expecting us! In the dense rainforest, we walk through a wonderland of innumerable plant species; Huge ferns and nalcas, wild trees, always accompanied by the curious Chucao – a native bird species. These friendly companions have no fear at all to walk with a hiker for a little moment.
Light to medium-sized day-trips bring us along well-developed hiking trails to roaring waterfalls, centuries-old Alerce trees, to hardly known glaciers; And on the crater of a volcano erupted only a few years ago.
Arrival in Puerto Montt airport. Here your guide will pick you up. With the van you go from the airport in Puerto Montt, you will drive for 40 min approx., to the nearby small town Puerto Varas. This city is next to the Llanquihue Lake and it is also known as the city of Roses. Puerto Varas is these days one of the most visited destinations in this region, it is a nice place, with a wide offer of restaurants and coffee places. We know you will enjoy it as well. Two nights’ accommodation in Puerto Varas.
On an impressive journey along the Llanquihue Lake, you will admire the landscape of the Chilean Lake district. You´ll pass through the small village of Ensenada to reach the national park Vicente Pérez Rosales. From here we´ll see a deep, untouched Lenga forest up the slopes of the Osorno volcano, to the starting point of our today’s hike. From here starts the “El Solitario” -trail, with beautiful views over the volcanic landscapes. You will visit the falls of the Petrohué River, one of the wildest rivers in Chile. With the Osorno volcano in the background it forms a breath-taking view.
In the morning we start driving south through the “Carretera Austral – Ruta de los Parques” to Hornopiren. Here the road ends and we continue on a several hours ferry trip through the Comau Fjord to Caleta Gonzalo.
In the afternoon, you will enjoy an about three-hour hike tour through the rainforest of the Pumalin National Park. This Park is one of the 17 parks that belong to the Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia.
1-night accommodation in Caleta Gonzalo
Today you will experience the adventure of crossing the Pumalin Douglas Tompkins Park towards the small town of Chaiten.
You are going first on this short hike to see these two-thousand-year-old Alerce trees. Only a few specimens of this tree species still exist today, as the excellent quality of these trees provoked a radical deforestation which was stopped in recent years.
You continue hiking to the Chaiten Volcano base, which erupted in 2008, causing enormous damage in the Pumalin Douglas Tompkins Park, Chaiten and parts of Argentina.
Today, a newly created net of hiking trails allows the ascent of the volcano until the edge of the crater. Three nights’ accommodation in Kahuel Posada (nearby Chaiten) or Hotel Yelcho (Lago Yelcho)
Leisure day! You can do what you wish!
Alternatively, you can:
- Visit Termas “El Amarillo” thermal baths
- Take a kayak tour
- Take a 10-hours hike (easy to intermediate) to the volcano Michimahuida.
A less known excursion destination is the Ventisquero Yelcho; located in the giant Corcovado National Park and close to Lake Yelcho in Patagonia.
This simple hike takes you through the typical rainforest of this region, at the end of which we are rewarded with a breath-taking view of the magnificent Yelcho Glacier.
Today we will return to Puerto Varas.
We use the cozy ferry which brings us to Hornopiren, along with the forests of the Pumalin Park.
1-night accommodation in Puerto Varas
The program has come to an end! We know you experienced such a great moment in this tour.
Drive to the airport in Puerto Montt to say goodbye! You can fly back to Santiago or continue with the optional extension of this tour.
OPTIONAL: EXTENSION TO BALMACEDA
Today you continue your journey on the famous “Carretera Austral – Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia”, this so called delightful extension of the Chilean Panamericana. The rustic unpaved road runs deep into the untouched wilderness, along the turquoise Frío River, glacier-covered mountain massifs, dreamy lakes and picturesque waterfalls. Two nights’ accommodation in Hotel Casa Ludwig/ Puyuhuapi Lodge Spa
Today we will take a 3-hours hike through the Queulat National Park. We will reach a viewpoint from where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the hanging glacier “Ventisquero Colgante” and its waterfall.
Then we walk through a fairy-tale dense rainforest; where the precipitation has created a magnificent plant world in the undergrowth.
Today, the journey continues along the lush wild vegetation of the “Carretera Austral – Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia” towards the south. Huge “Nalca” plants and gigantic ferns decorate the edge of the trail, dense forests, quiet fjords and snow-capped peaks form a legendary landscape. The road winds in narrow serpentines towards one of the highest passes of the Carretera Austral and descends abruptly until we reach the rushing “Rio Cisnes” (the swan’s river).
Here the impenetrable, evergreen rainforests become clear and make room for the harsh South Patagonian mountain landscape. Through the wild-romantic valley of the Simpson River you will reach the capital of the Aysén region, Coihaique.
Today the tour has come to an end!
Drive to the airport in Balmaceda you to be able to take your next flight.