THE FOUR GIANTS OF PATAGONIA

24 days / 23 nights

Patagonia – a word that inevitably awakes associations with rugged mountain worlds and a nature of superlatives. A remote corner of the world, where life is as rough as the weather; and yet, its visitors are hooked once they conquer its mountains and feel the fresh breeze, their gaze wandering into the distance where infinite panoramas await.

This trek & drive tour is for all the adventurers out there who want to feel Patagonia in its essence, with their own two feet. It takes you along Patagonia´s four most imposing giants: The spectacular castle-like mountains of Cerro Castillo, the Fitz Roy massif in Los Glaciares National Park, the Torres del Paine National Park and, most adventurous of all, the toothlike peaks of Navarino Island in the southernmost extension of the continent, the “Dientes del Navarino”.

Welcome to Chile! After arrival at the international airport, you have time to acclimatize and get a glimpse of this metropolitan capital. Overnight in Santiago de Chile.

Approx. 1 h drive – 70 km/43 mi

Take a flight south to Balmaceda, the main hub to Chile´s remote Aysén region. Upon arrival, pick up your rental car at the airport and drive on the Carretera Austral to nearby Villa Cerro Castillo.

Overnight in Villa Cerro Castillo. (B)

The majestic mountain world of Cerro Castillo National Park, a true hiking paradise, awaits you today. There are several trails to choose from; a highly recommendable, yet demanding option is the hike up to Laguna Cerro Castillo*.

Overnight in Villa Cerro Castillo. (B)

*Duration: 8-9 h return / 15 km or 9 mi / high difficulty (1.100 m or 3.608 ft height difference)

4-5 h drive – 180 km/112 mi

Drive south on the Carretera Austral to Puerto Guadal, a town on the shores of Chile´s biggest lake, the General Carrera. On the way, there is the option to visit the lake´s spectacular marble caves on a short boat trip.

Overnight in Puerto Guadal. (B)

2-3 h drive – 105 km/65 mi

Drive along the southern shore of General Carrera Lake until reaching the village of Chile Chico, at the Argentine border.

Overnight in Chile Chico. (B)

Approx.20 min drive – 14 km/9 mi

Visit the recently opened Patagonia National Park (former Reserva Jeinimeni) at one-hour distance on a unique hike along ancient cave paintings and the colorful rock formations of the Valle Lunar*. Afterwards cross the border to Los Antiguos in Argentina.

Overnight in Los Antiguos. (B)

*Duration: 4-5 h loop / 7.4 km or 4.6 mi / low-medium difficulty

5-6 h drive – 415 km/256 mi

Continue your journey through the barren pampa landscape of Argentina. The Ruta 40 leads south until reaching the small village of Gobernador Gregores.

Overnight in Gobernador Gregores. (B)

5-6 h drive – 300 km/186 mi

Continue driving south on Ruta 40 (mostly gravel road) until you reach the hiking mecca of El Chaltén, a small village nestled into the Andes Mountains.

Overnight in El Chaltén. (B)

Immerse in the spectacular mountain world that surrounds El Chaltén. There are numerous hiking trails of varying difficulties*; a classic is the day hike that leads to Laguna Torre. 

Overnight in El Chaltén. (B)

*Some of the many trails available in El Chaltén:

Trails

Duration

Distance

Difficulty

Laguna Torre

7-8 h return

21 km / 13 mi

medium-high (751 m or 2463 ft height diff.)

Laguna de los Tres

8-9 h return

20 km / 12.5 mi

medium-high (970 m or 3182 ft height diff.)

Viewpoint Laguna Torre

3-4 h return

6 km / 3.7 mi

low (240m or 790 ft height diff.)

Laguna Capri

4-5 h return

9 km / 5.6 mi

low-medium (500 m or 1640 ft height diff.)

 

Without a doubt one of Patagonia´s most iconic treks is the one to Laguna de los Tres, at the feet of Fitzroy Mountain. This demanding day hike is worth the sweat!

Overnight in El Chaltén. (B)

3-4 h drive – 215 km/134 mi

Continue your way south to El Calafate today. In the afternoon, you have time to visit Perito Moreno, arguably Patagonia´s most impressive glacier. It is one of the few that is growing rather than shrinking.

Overnight in El Calafate. (B)

4-5 h drive – 355 km/220 mi

Cross the border to Chile and continue driving to the town of Puerto Natales, the main touristic hub for Torres del Paine National Park. Drop off your rental car in the city office.

Overnight in Puerto Natales. (B)

The multi-day W-Trek takes you to the highlights of Torres del Paine National Park. Travel by public bus from Puerto Natales to the park´s Torres sector, where you start the trek on the morning to follow.  (2 h bus ride)

Overnight in Refugio Sector Torres. (B, D)

A demanding full day hike* leads up to the viewpoint of the towers (“torres”) that give the park its name.

Overnight in Refugio Sector Torres. (B, BL, D)

*Duration: 8-9 h return / 20 km (12.5 mi) / medium-high difficulty (700 m (2300 ft) height difference)

The trek continues today with stunning views of Nordenskjöld Lake, until reaching the Refugio Los Cuernos*.

Overnight in Refugio Los Cuernos. (B, BL, D)

*Duration: 4-5 h / 11 km (6.8 mi) / low-medium difficulty

Today´s hike takes you into the spectacular French Valley*. Afterwards, continue on until reaching Refugio Paine Grande.

Overnight in Refugio Paine Grande. (B, BL, D)

*Duration: 9-10 h / 21 km (13 mi) / medium difficulty

30 min ferry + 3 h bus ride

A day hike leads you to the impressive glacier Grey*, before returning to Paine Grande in the late afternoon. Cross Pehoé Lake by boat and continue your journey by public bus to Puerto Natales.

Overnight in Puerto Natales. (B, BL)

*Duration: 8 h / 22 km (13.5 mi) / medium difficulty

Take the public bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas today. (Approx. 3 h bus) Get off at the airport if you want to end your journey here with a flight back home via Santiago, or continue to the city center in order to do the world´s southernmost trekking on Navarino Island.

Overnight in Punta Arenas. (B)

Approx. 1.5 h flight

In the morning, fly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams on the remote island of Navarino, south of Tierra del Fuego. A transfer takes you to the nearby lodge.

Overnight in Lodge in Navarino Island. (B)

Your multi-day trekking adventure begins today together with a professional guide. After the first ascent enjoy panoramic views of the town, the Beagle Channel and Tierra del Fuego. Continue until reaching Laguna del Salto and set camp*.

Overnight in tent. (Full board)

*Duration: 4-6 h / 7 km (4.3 mi) / high difficulty (900 m (2950 ft) height difference)

After packing up your tent, the route surrounds the Dientes massif until reaching the Southern part of the island, with great views to “the end of the world”. Continue until reaching the camping spot between Laguna de los Dientes and Laguna Escondida*.

Overnight in tent. (Full board)

*Duration: 4-6 h / 9 km (5.6 mi) / high difficulty (575 m (1886 ft) height difference)

Today´s trek takes you through a fairytale landscape with the Dientes mountain range as a backdrop. Continue ascending via the Ventarrón and Guerrico passes, before reaching scenic Guerrico valley. Reach a camp spot between Laguna Martillo and Laguna Zeta in the evening*.

Overnight in tent. (Full board)

*Duration: 4 h / 7 km (4.3 mi) / high difficulty (350 m (1148 ft) height difference)

The last ascent to the highest point of the tour to Virginia Pass awaits you today. Enjoy amazing views of the Beagle Channel and Tierra del Fuego mountains, before descending. Arrive at the lodge in the evening.

Overnight in Lodge. (Full board)

*Duration: 8-10 h / 16 km (10 mi) / high difficulty (930m (3051 ft) height difference)

Your adventure on this remote island ends today. A transfer takes you to the pier or airport, depending on your further travel arrangements. Take a boat to Ushuaia in Argentina (approx. 4 h) and a flight from here to Buenos Aires, or fly back via Punta Arenas and Santiago de Chile.

Dientes del Navarino section – please keep in mind:

– The trekking is available between November and March.

– The Dientes del Navarino Trekking is a very demanding trekking that requires participants to be in good physical shape, and to have the ability and disposition to carry a backpack by themselves. A porter is available at additional charge, yet the idea is to divide the group trekking equipment between all participants.

– The trekking includes a minimum of 2 nights tent camping, which can be extended to 3 nights if the climatic and participant´s physical conditions make it necessary. In case of arrival back to the lodge on Day 4 (after 2 nights camping), the last day is at leisure at the lodge.

– It is possible to do this trekking as a self-guided trip with GPS only (without meals and guide). However, this is only recommendable for clients experienced in multi-day trekking in remote places.