Tag Archives: Patagonia

KAYAKING IN THE RIO DE LAS VUELTAS IN EL CHALTÉN

This is a unique and unforgettable experience, sailing on Patagonian lakes and rivers by kayak for an enriching visit of the El Chaltén area.


The Rio de las Vueltas is born in the Lago del Desierto lake and, as the name implies (literally, river of turns) descends towards Lago Viedma lake, making numerous curves through leafy forests of lenga trees and vertical walls. It is one of the most important rivers in the area as it transports the meltwater from glaciers in the region.

This experience provides a privileged position aboard a sit on top kayak, for about  20 kilometers enjoying the best views of Mount Fitz Roy and its satellite needles, with a totally different point of view from the one that you get from a trail. This is an excellent complement to the traditional trekking trip to El Chaltén!

In the morning, the adventure begins at a local tourism office in town, where we take a transfer to Laguna Cóndor. After a 17 km drive, we arrive at the mountain refuge where we meet Loli, our expert guide for the day. While we drink a hot cup of coffee or tea, he introduces us to the activity; a full briefing including the itinerary, paddling instructions and safety techniques to keep in mind during our kayaking excursion. 

We try out the equipment and put on the full outfit (neoprene wetsuit, boots and gloves, safety vest and helmet) and we’re ready to rehearse the paddling movements before boarding the river.  

Finally, we get on the kayaks and properly practice our recently acquired paddling skills in the Laguna Cóndor (Condor Lagoon). If you never paddled before, it might take a couple of minutes to get used to, but overall it’s an easy task.

We follow a unique descend through the river and, if the weather allows it, we’ll get breathtaking views from the Fitz Roy Massif along the sail. Nature all around and the subtle sound of our gentle paddling is all we hear and observe, feeling really small at this environment surrounded by giants. 

Wind may blow and make the adventure more fun trying to keep the kayak on track. Don’t worry, Loli is there at all times to help and guide you! The kayaking route is 20 km but the paddling is really easy going. There’s no time pressure as the activity’s duration is adapted on the way according to the group’s size and skills.

The descent and paddling end at El Chaltén, where after a short walk we reach the office where we change our clothes, enjoy a deserved snack to recharge our energy and continue our friendly chat, joking around and remembering the experience that now has become a trip anecdote of an amazing day. 

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Included services: Transfers El Chaltén – Laguna Cóndor mountain refuge. Enabled expert kayak guide with basic technical English. Full neoprene-suit, gloves and boots. Jacket. Personal safety gear (life vest and helmet). Snacks, tea and coffee  in El Chalten. Radio contact with El Chaltén.
  • Not included: Transfers not detailed specifically. Tips. Box lunch (travelers have to take their own box lunch or book it through Kallpa in advance!). Services not specified in the program.
  • Please make sure to bring: Small backpack 20 lts. Extra clothes and shoes. Sunglasses. Sunscreen. Cap or hat. Jacket. Waterproof camera or protection. Box Lunch.
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate. Activity for people with good physical condition but not necessarily with rowing experience. Both beginners and experienced rowers can enjoy it. Requirement: ability to Swim.

 


 

HIKING TO THE EMERALD LAGOON IN USHUAIA

This is an active excursion, for those who enjoy walking and being outdoors in contact with nature. The forest, mountains and the glacier that surround it make the Emerald Lagoon an incredible place worth visiting.


This is one of the most interesting hikes to get to know the surroundings of Ushuaia and be surprised by the unique charm of the Laguna Esmeralda (Emerald Lagoon), hidden in the mountains.

The excursion begins in the morning with the transfer to the Valley of Tierra Mayor, just 20 km from Ushuaia on Route 3. Here we will start the walk of about two hours towards the lagoon, trekking through pristine forests, peat bogs, beaver dams, mountains and glaciers. Almost 5 km one way where we will cross over two valleys: Tierra Mayor, the largest in Tierra del Fuego  and also a Natural Reserve, located at 250 ms asl; and the Valley of Emerald River.

The trail enters the forest and then goes through a peat moss area where we cross a log bridge over the Emerald stream. From here we can see some beaver dams and part of the damage they cause in these forests. Not being a native species of this region, they cause serious damage to the local ecosystem.

From here, the landscape will alternate between forest and peat moss as we head deep into the valley. Along the path you will see incredible landscapes surrounded by mountains and snowy peaks, plus the crystal clear stream that comes from the lagoon.

At around 11 am, we will reach the beautiful Emerald Lagoon going up a hill, located at the foot of the Ojo de Albino glacier, between the Bonete hill and the Toribio cord. Its green waters live up to its name and contrast with the reddish color of the peat moss that surround it. We will enjoy the scenery for an hour while we take photos, rest and enjoy a picnic lunch in the mountain to regain strength for the way back.

We will return by the same path, and we might take a shortcut to see a gigantic beaver dam on the way. By 2.30 pm we will be back at the hotel


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • 6 hs regular excursion.
  • Departure time at 8.30 am.
  • Operates daily.
  • Distance: 10 km (6.1 miles) round-trip.
  • Includes: Round-trip transportation from hotels, picnic lunch with empanadas, fruits, cereals, alfajores and hot beverage).
  • It is recommended to wear hiking shoes or boots and a backpack. Bring sunscreen, a cap and sunglasses.

 

SNORKELING WITH SEA LIONS IN PUERTO MADRYN

Snorkel surrounded by curious and playful sea lions, who willingly take photos, hug and even smother you with kisses.


Puerto Madryn is the mecca of Argentinian diving activities and only 15 km from Punta Loma, a rookery of Southern Sea Lions. There are not many places in the world where it is possible to snorkel with these marine mammals, but this is one of them. That is why this experience is one of the highlights in the city.

From the service provider office on the coast in Puerto Madryn, we board speedboats and navigate for 25 minutes towards Punta Loma Provincial Reserve, a protected natural area that restricts the permanence time and allows 18 people at the same time. 

On the way, we enjoy a maritime scenario of beaches, cliffs, shipwrecks, whales, dolphins, cormorants and seagulls. Also we receive a briefing including an explanation about the animal’s behaviour, how we must conduct ourselves within the protected area and an introduction to the snorkeling activity and equipment. The neoprene suit we wear maintains body heat and also provides positive buoyancy, therefore, it is not a requirement to know how to swim (although advisable).

As we get closer to the spot, the sea lion noises get louder and louder. Soon, hundreds of them are all around! Adults and cubs. It’s time to get ready and dive in.

If you never snorkeled before, it might be a little uncomfortable at first to get used to the sensation and trying to breathe through the tube, but just try to relax and remember the instructions. Enjoy the experience, look around, paddle softly and when you feel more at ease, you’re good to go.

It’s a surreal feeling to be up close with these creatures, touching and playing with them, going underwater and see them swim so gracefully. Everywhere we turn, there are more sea lion cubs playfully swimming around us. It’s clear that they are used to divers and comfy enough to even kiss us and take selfies.

We remain in the water with the sea lions for 40 minutes, always joined by the instructor. We guarantee that in the end you will wish that the experience lasted longer, even if at first you thought that snorkeling isn’t your thing. To be able to have such an intense and close-up encounter, to observe and play with these curious marine mammals is a fantastic and cherished experience.

After the diving ends, we go back onboard and return to the office, where we return the equipment and change our clothes.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Duration: 3½ hs
  • This activity operates daily in the morning. Depending on the time of the year, departure time is adjusted according to high tide.
  • Difficulty: Moderate The passenger must be able to move with the diving fins for 40 minutes, taking into account that it is within a medium in constant motion.
  • Age restrictions: Minimum 7 years old – Maximum suggested 60 to 65 years old.
  • Min. 2 pax required.
  • The current regulations allow visits of no more than one hour and fifteen minutes in the area. The contact activity with the sea lions takes maximum 40-45 minutes.
  • Included: Neoprene suit, two pieces, helmet, boots and gloves. Coat jacket for round trip transportation on the boat. Snack service on board: water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, alfajores and pastries. Instructor and necessary briefing according to the activity.
  • Not included: Transfers to the service supplier office in Puerto Madryn. Dry suit. DVD with HD photos and videos.
  • The program may be modified or suspended depending on weather conditions, in which case the amount paid will be refunded if it’s not possible to reschedule. Sighting and interaction with the fauna depends on uncontrollable factors, such as climatic changes or reproductive time.


 

SOLAR ECLIPSE IN BARILOCHE 2020

The greatest astronomical phenomenon will take place again next year and can be observed in a wide line of totality in Patagonia, from the Cordillera to the Argentine sea.


The total solar eclipse of 2019 shone splendidly in Argentina, leaving unforgettable images in a lot of Argentines and foreigners who came to our country to be among the 20 million privileged people around the world who were able to see live the greatest astronomical phenomenon, according to scientists.

It takes more than 300 years for an eclipse to occur in the same place, but since our geography is so extensive from north to south, the next one will be visible in Patagonia in 2020.

 The entire strip will be relatively narrow. Passing through Argentina, it will be seen from San Martín de los Andes in the province of Neuquén, to Las Grutas in Río Negro. In the rest of the country and in South America it will be seen partially in different percentages.

In Kallpa, we have planned a special 3-day fixed departure to witness this celestial phenomenon. It is a unique opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Bariloche, experience the magical event of the solar eclipse joined by other interested travelers and an astronomer, and also enjoy a soft uphill hike on the Llao Llao peninsula to enjoy incredible Patagonian panoramic views. Without a doubt, an unforgettable photographic journey!

For more information, rates and the full program, please contact your Kallpa Tour coordinator.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Fixed departure from December 13th to 16th 2020:

  • Day 1 – Dec. 13th: Arrival in Bariloche. Briefing with tour leader and astronomer. Rest of the day at leisure.
  • Day 2 – Dec. 14th: Solar eclipse full day experience at Catan Lil ranch.
  • Day 3 – Dec. 15th: Full day short circuit and hike to the Llao Llao Peninsula.
  • Day 4 – Dec. 16th: Transfer to the airport.

Included

  • Tour leader for the whole tour.
  • Lodging for 3 nights at Las Marianas Hostería in standard room with breakfast.
  • Services and meals as detailed on the description.
  • Full day eclipse events arrangements, including round trip transportation and accompaniment of an astronomer. Lunch is not included.
  • Hike to Llao Llao Peninsula, including Bilingual Certified Mountain Guide / Box lunch + water + tea + snacks / First Aid Kit + VHF Radio + GPS / Insurance + Permits.

 Not included

  • International and/or domestic flights.
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • Taxes, personal expenses.
  • Meals not detailed on the description.