ice hiking calafate

Best of Patagonia tour

responsible travel

This 11 day Best of Patagonia tour starting in Buenos Aires enables you to experience the jewels of Patagonia from both sides of the magnificent Andes mountain range.

Place to be visited include: El CALAFATE – PERITO MORENO, USHUAIA – TIERRA DEL FUEGO, & TORRES DEL PAINE.

El CALAFATE – PERITO MORENO
In the heart of Patagonia, next to the Andes, is one of Argentina’s most scenic areas, commonly referred to as Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier, declared “Universal Heritage” by the UNESCO. The most renowned of all the glaciers is the Perito Moreno Glacier. Situated 80 km (50 miles) from El Calafate, it is the most easily reached among them. This is an imposing ice river that descends from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap down to the lake, at ‘Canal de los Témpanos’ (Icebergs’ Channel). It is the only glacier in the area which is considered to be in equilibrium, that is: not receding. It has always been the most important attraction of the region thanks to its spectacular beauty, but especially because of its unusual behavior. The glacier slowly advances down the mountain slope towards the lake, producing, as it spills down, thunderous noises and ruptures.

USHUAIA – TIERRA DEL FUEGO,
Reluctantly shared by both Argentina and Chile, this ”land of fire” really is the end of the world. Its faraway location has drawn explorers since the days of Magellan and Darwin, and this tradition continues with today’s travelers. A triangular archipelago surrounded by the stormy South Atlantic and the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego offers plenty of natural beauty: scenic glaciers, lush forests, astounding mountains, clear waterways and a dramatic sea coast. The region’s largest city, Ushuaia, is also the ‘southernmost city in the world’ – a major draw for list-tickers – but has also become the main gateway to wonderous Antarctica. Tierra del Fuego is isolated and hard to reach, but for true adventure-seekers in Argentina it’s a must.

TORRES DEL PAINE
The Torres del Paine National Park covers 181.000 hectares on the Seno de Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Inlet). There are many hiking paths that cover differing types of terrain, from windswept pampas to thick Magellanic forests, and along lakes with huge glaciers and icebergs. The park is surrounded by huge, craggy mountains, including the famous Cuernos del Paine (Paine Horn). Keep an eye out for wild guanacos as they roam the windy plains. You will also see rheas, Patagonian hare, and even condors.

Included:
• Breakfast
• Transfers as listed
• Tours & activities as listed
• English speaking guides

Not Included:
• Travel Insurance
• Access to National Parks
• Internal Flights.
• International Flights

Please note: I would be happy to discuss with you via telephone your individual travel arrangements. Please feel free to leave your telephone number when you complete the online inquiry form.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia: Transfer to Airport to take flight to Ushuaia. Upon arrival transfer to Acebos hotel Reluctantly shared by both Argentina and Chile, this ”land of fire” really is the end of the world. Its faraway location has drawn explorers since the days of Magellan and Darwin, and this tradition continues with today’s travelers. A triangular archipelago surrounded by the stormy South Atlantic and the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego offers plenty of natural beauty: scenic glaciers, lush forests, astounding mountains, clear waterways and a dramatic sea coast. The region’s largest city, Ushuaia, is also the ‘southernmost city in the world’ – a major draw for list-tickers – but has also become the main gateway to wondrous Antarctica. Tierra del Fuego is isolated and hard to reach, but for true adventure-seekers in Argentina it’s a must. Ushuaia Canal de Beagle cruise In the afternoon, after making our way to the tourist pier, we embark on a boat excursion along the famous Beagle Channel. You will gain panoramas of Ushuaia Bay and see the diverse marine wildlife, such as cormorants and fur seals, on De los Lobos and De los Pajaros Islands. On one of the Bridges Isles, you can explore the island for concheros, or giant shells, and enjoy the views of Chile and Argentina. Return to hotel
Day 2: Ushuaia: Breakfast Option 1: Full day 4×4 tour in a Land Rover Defender off-road through Tierra del Fuego National Park. Delight in amazing views of Hidden Lake (Lago Escondido) and Lake Fagnano – impressive natural attractions within the Southern Andes range. Your sturdy 4×4 off-road utility vehicle takes you through a stunning Patagonian landscape, where you’ll enjoy a lakeside barbecue lunch paired with Malbec wine. or Option 2: Trekking in the Tierra del Fuego National Park, when you can choose from many of the varied walks. This Park is the only National Park with ocean coast in the country. Its 63.000 hectares protect innumerable ñires, lengas, cherry trees, calafates and notros and flowers as violets and orchids. The walk in the park offers marvellous panoramic views of the Beagle Channel surrounded by mountains and an opportunity to feel nature at its best. There is an abundance of wildlife such as Magellanic Woodpeckers, condors, Steamer Ducks, Kelp Geese, guanaco, the Patagonian grey fox and the rare southern sea otter. Includes trip on the End of the World train. Return to hotel
Day 3: El Calafate: Breakfast Transfer to Airport to take flight to El Calafate Welcome to El Calafate A chauffeur will be waiting to take you to your hotel, La Cantera Boutique hotel where you will stay during the following 4 nights. Rest of day free to explore the town. El Calafate is ideally located to explore this fascinating region. In the heart of Patagonia, next to the Andes, is one of Argentina’s most scenic areas, commonly referred to as Lago Argentino and the Perito Moreno Glacier, declared “Universal Heritage” by the UNESCO. The most renown of all the glaciers is the Perito Moreno Glacier. This is an imposing ice river that descends from the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap down to the lake, at ‘Canal de los Témpanos’ (Icebergs’ Channel). It is the only glacier in the area which is considered to be in equilibrium, that is: not receding. It has always been the most important attraction of the region thanks to its spectacular beauty, but especially because of its unusual behavior. The glacier slowly advances down the mountain slope towards the lake, producing, as it spills down, thunderous noises and ruptures.
Day 4: Full day Perito Moreno Glacier Tour: Breakfast We depart from El Calafate, which borders the southern arm of the Argentine Lake and travel to Los Glaciares National Park (90 km away). An UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981 and home to one of the most awe inspiring landscapes in Argentina). Our bilingual guide will provide you with important facts and information about the Galcier. From the nearby walking trails and viewing platform you will have the chance to enjoy stunning views of the glacier and see its surface of 192 km2, its front wall of 5 km long and some of its peaks at 80 metres high. By being so close, you will also be able to hear the majestic sounds and movements of the Glacier and bear witness to its advancements as the deep silence is suddenly interrupted by the tremendous noise of massive shards of ice cracking from the Glacier and collapsing into the Canal de los Tempanos (Icebergs Channel). Return to hotel
Day 5: Full Day Upsala Glacier Tour: Breakfast Experience the remote beauty of Patagonia’s Estancia Cristina and Upsala Glacier on a journey of discovery from El Calafate. Sail past icebergs across Lago Argentino and tour the historic Estancia Cristina ranch. In the afternoon, choose between a short and easy trek to a beautiful waterfall or an off-road tour to the beautiful Upsala Glacier. Our Patagonian adventure begins with pickup from your hotel in El Calafate. Relax on the 28-mile (45-kilometer) journey to the port at Punta Bandera, where your three-hour boat cruise departs. Enjoy croissants and hot drinks served on board the comfortable boat as you glide among icebergs, past the stunning scenery of snow-covered peaks. Sail to the western front of the Upsala Glacier, then cruise along Cristina Channel to Estancia Christina. Disembark at the historic estancia, and learn the history of the sheep and cattle ranch on a visit to the museum and old shearing shed. Enjoy a snack break before continuing your tour of the estancia. Take a short guided walk up to Caterina River to visit the estancia’s chapel and other historic buildings. After lunch (own expense), take an off-road trip for fantastic views of the Upsala Glacier, or an easy trek to see the beautiful waterfall of Los Perros. The three-hour off-road trip takes you along a scenic mountain trail, following a route of great geological interest, until quite recently covered by glaciers. Reaching a mountain refuge, take a 20-minute walk over terrain eroded by glaciers to reach the Upsala Glacier. From here you can see amazing views of Lake William, the Patagonian ice field and the Andes mountains. If you choose the walk to the cascading waters of Los Perros waterfall, the two-hour trek takes you through beautiful woodlands for lofty views of Caterina River and the estancia below. In the late afternoon, relax on the boat ride back to the port of Punta Bandera, arriving at around 7:30pm, then be dropped off at your hotel at El Calafate.
Day 6: Perito Moreno Glacier Ice Hiking: Breakfast Departing from your El Calafate hotel, you’ll head to the Bajo de las Sombras (Under the Shadows) port. After a quick 20-minute sail, you’ll reach the opposite shore and the base of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Here, the guides will help you pick out a crampon, special metal spikes worn on your boots for traction. Then, your adventure begins as you hike along the Rico Arm to reach the glacier. With your crampons fastened, head out for the real adventure as you embark on a 1.5 hour walk across the glacier. Your guide will be there to tell you about the famous Perito Moreno Glacier while trekking. At the end of the walk, enjoy lunch (bring your own) before continuing on. Finish up your adventure as you cross the Rico Arm again, which leads you to a footbridge located in front of the glacier for one last glance at the beautiful glacier. Then, make your way back to the road that cuts between the fores of lengas and the pier. Board a bus that will take you to the glacier’s viewpoint and footbridges, where you have an hour to enjoy before heading back to your hotel.
Day 7: El Calafate – Puerto Natales (ARGENTINA-CHILE): Breakfast. Transfer to the bus station to take a bus to Puerto Natales. Arrival and transfer to the hotel inside the Torres del Paine National Park. Overnight
Day 8: Torres Del Paine (CHILE): Breakfast and full day excursion visiting Torres del Paine National Park. This National Park covers 181.000 hectares on the Seno de Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Inlet). There are many hiking paths that cover differing types of terrain, from windswept pampas to thick Magellanic forests, and along lakes with huge glaciers and icebergs. The park is surrounded by huge, craggy mountains, including the famous Cuernos del Paine (Paine Horn). Keep an eye out for wild guanacos as they roam the windy plains. You will also see rheas, Patagonian hare, and even condors. Overnight in Park.
Day 9: Torres Del Paine (CHILE): Breakfast Day free in Torres del Paine National Park
Day 10: El Calafate: Breakfast Transfer to El Calafate Overnight in El Calafate
Day 11: Buenos Aires: Breakfast Transfer to Airport to take flight to Buenos Aires

Responsible tourism: Patagonia 11 day tour, best of Patagonia

Environment

We use only certified local nature guides that are trained in ecology, conservation and animal protection. The guides and clients have to adhere to a zero footprint policy when entering national parks and protected areas.

We support and have contributed to the Glacier Protection campaign against global warming which threatens the very existence of the earth’s last advancing glacier. Our guides are trained on Glacier Protection and ensure all clients comply with its requisites when visiting the Glaciers. Clients will be informed on the glaciology of the region and the effects of global warming on the glaciers.

In 1978, Torres del Paine National park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. UNESCO maintains Ecological Sciences for Sustainable Development. National Park entrance fees are paid directly to the national parks by the clients to ensure that they directly support the parks´ maintenance and preservation.

During this tour we visit a number of national parks. We ask our clients to keep all waste with them until back in the nearest town, to walk only on designated paths, and not to pick flowers or disturb the natural resources. We also encourage clients to drink the high quality tap water rather than buy bottled water, to avoid excess waste of plastic.

All transport required use low carbon fuel and in the office we further look at our footprint and have a minimum use paper policy whereby all travel itineraries, reservations and confirmations are sent to customers and maintained by us in PDF format. Any paper used is used double sided and any waste paper and cardboard in recycled. All ink and toner cartridges are refilled and reused. All our furniture has previously been owned and was purchased at auctions.

We check the environmental credentials of all our suppliers and service providers before doing business with them. All our staff in Buenos Aires walk, cycle or take the bus or tube to work instead of driving.

Community

We employ and contract the services of local people throughout Argentina and we have a “study-time” vacation for employees who are undertaking any further education courses.

We have a “national first” policy whereby we give preference to local products. We use accommodation of small local suppliers and not multinational chains and we also encourage our clients to consume local handicrafts at local markets for example. We only use accommodation providers that comply with the law and have an active policy & procedure to eliminate child abuse, prostitution and people trafficking.

A percentage of all profits is donated to a charity that provides a “reinsertion program” for vulnerable adolescents that have dropped out of the formal education system.

All our tours contribute to the local community by providing our clients access to their customs, products, music and language in each destination. We encourage our clients to visit small local restaurantes that comply with organic & healthy living best practice. We encourage our clients to buy local crafts by taking them to local markets at each destination where possible.

http://www.responsiblevacation.com/vacation/17408/patagonia-11-day-tour-best-of-patagonia

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