Tag Archives: Trekking

Walking with Llamas in the Northwest

Take a hike joined by llamas among ancient ruins, salt lakes, valleys and gorges. An ancestral activity to connect with the Pachamama and the most amazing landscapes in the northwest.


Ever since the beginning of time, the andean men and the llamas traversed the harsh terrain in the mountains and the high plateau. These particular animals were used not only to transport commercial goods but for their wool, their meat and their guano.

Nowadays in Tilcara, Santos Manfredi has settled a rural and ecological establishment specialized in taming llamas as a freight animal, to recreate this ancestral practice. Caravana de Llamas, as it is called, is also dedicated to promote the conjoint work with local communities, for which they rely on different routes where local families provide their homes and tour guiding.

Santos has developed different trails to hike with the llamas around the Humahuaca Gorge and the Puna Jujeña. With a variety of difficulties and durations (from half day to several days), there are multiple options for everyone, including families. Each hike is developed to satisfy the expectations of the many visitors.

A recommended half day hike is the one towards Salinas Grandes, the salt lakes. Along the way you have panoramic views of the Humahuaca Gorge. Once at the Salinas, a tent is lifted to provide shadow and to have a well-deserved picnic in the middle of the 45.000 hectares of salt.

For a short and family alternative, a one hour and a half walk around the colorful town of Tilcara will do. You might feel funny walking around the town’s main square right beside a llama, but believe us, is a once in a lifetime experience!

Different paths around the region takes you towards ancient ruins, valleys, volcanoes, gorges and salt lakes. While hiking, you learn about the local culture and history. The lamas are always used to carry all the camping equipment, food and personal belongings for the journey, you can’t ride them.

For those travellers in the search of original experiences, walking with llamas is an unforgettable experience in the northwest.


 

A Mountain Refuge in El Chlatén

Imagine yourself in the middle of the Patagonian nature with amazing mountain views, the sound of silence and time at your expense to connect with this surreal environment.


Laguna Cóndor Mountain Refuge provides this experience to anyone willing to unplug from everyday life and technology.

This exclusive refuge is located on the west bank of the Río de las Vueltas, 17 km north of El Chaltén. Surrounded by an imposing scenery, this new lodging alternative combines the wild beauty of a nearly explored place with the facilities of a luxury camp.

The proposal is to enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings without the interference of technology, Hence, there is no mobile phone signal, Wi-Fi or TV available. Although there is permanent electricity provided by a hydroelectric turbine that uses the natural river torrent, reducing any impact or pollution that may be produced by a power generator.

Wood is the main element of the refuge. There is a main cabin that works as a common living room with a fireplace where you can sit and read a book, a breakfast room and a restaurant; all with beautiful views of the northern face of the mythical Mt. Fitz Roy.

Laguna Cóndor has eight small cabins located in the best spots of the property. Each one has two beds, a salamander and a deck; offering a complete privacy and comfort experience, an intermediate between a campsite and a hotel. There are also spacious locker rooms with toilets and hot showers; a multipurpose room with a fireplace and view to the mythical Fitz Roy.

The refuge offers different activities and excursions with the objective of providing and intimate contact with nature and the possibility to enjoy the peace of the place. There are many hiking trails and places to go over, from classic full day treks (such as Laguna Torre) to longer and more difficult options.

One of the preferred treks is the ascent to Loma del Diablo; a demanding but rewarding one, given the spectacular view from above of Mt. Fitz Roy. Its top is at 1800 meters, providing a great panoramic view of the whole area.

It is also possible to kayak across the waters of the Laguna Cóndor itself or to ride a mountain bike along the paths crossing the andean patagonian forest and lakes on a self-guided circuit that borders the Río de las Vueltas, including a few stops to contemplate cascades and the local flora and fauna that may come across.

Overall, Laguna Cóndor grants an unusual and reserved experience deep in the patagonian forest, where nature and relax are the protagonists.

Please, do not hesitate to contact our Kallpa Executives to learn more about this lodging option in El Chaltén.


 

Kayak & Trekking Experience Río La Leona

A 14 km full day adventure to discover the delightful La Leona River and take a hike through Los Hornos Mount. Explore a glacial river surrounded by the Patagonian steppe and learn about geology!


In the Santa Cruz province it is said that Río La Leona is one of the most beautiful rivers in the Patagonian steppe. With a 70 km flow of turquoise waters, this glacial river is born at the Viedma Lake and discharges at the Argentino Lake.

An interesting fact: its name was given due to a female puma attack (colloquially called “leona”, which means lioness) that suffered Francisco Pascasio Moreno, the famous Perito Moreno, on an expedition towards the Santa Cruz River in the summer of 1877.

Surrounded by the most arid steppe, with no trees and framed by a wide tiered valley, La Leona provides the scenery for today’s adventure.

After an early pick up from the hotel in El Calafate, we are driven towards Luz Divina, a rural inn. On the way the guide tells us about this faraway place and the river we are about to navigate. Glaciers, flora and fauna complete a very interesting informative talk.

Once at Luz Divina, we get familiar with the kayak equipment and pay attention to the technical brief to know the paddling basics. Even if you don’t have any previous experience kayaking, this activity can be easily done by anyone!

All equipped and instructed, we finally go down to La Leona River. The first paddling stretch takes about an hour and a half. Until we get used to this activity, which for some is the first time ever to get into a kayak, it’s impossible not to be captivated by this outstanding landscape of natural beauty and geological history; to take in this vast environment where the sound of silence is so overwhelming. An untouched scenery that many years ago astonished explorers such as Darwin or Moreno with the contrast of the ocher steppe and the turquoise glacial waters.

The next stop is at Los Hornos Mount, one of the oldest formations in the world. At this mount we take a 2 hs hike discovering the beginnings of Patagonian geography. Petrified trees and dinosaur fossils are witnesses of ancient times where the Earth’s conditions and weather were very different than nowadays.

At this place we will also have a brief lunch (not included) and a hot tea to regain energies for the next paddling stretch.

Back again on our kayaks, after 45 minutes more navigating through La Leona, we reach the final stop of the adventure at Arroyo Turbio. We are welcomed at Estancia La Irene and after settling in and putting away the kayak gear, the team bids farewell with a delicious cold beer before returning to El Calafate.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Daily departures. Full day excursion.
  • Operates from October to April.
  • Requires Min. 1 pax – Max. 8 pax.
  • Min. age required is 12 years old.
  • Very active excursion. Implies moderate physical effort. No previous trekking or kayaking experience needed.
  • Pax should wear trekking shoes, comfortable clothes for paddling (thermal t-shirt, polar jacket or sweater, etc.), thermal or lycra leggins, additional underwear (in case it gets wet while kayaking), sunglasses and sunscreen, backpack or bag to keep personal items in the vehicle.

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • Calafate Hotels pick up (starts at 7:30 am) & drop off (4:30 pm). Can be arranged to and from airport depending on flight schedule.
  • Double Kayak and paddles.
  • Safety briefing & Technical equipment: neoprene suit and boots, semi-dry jacket, cockpit cover, helmet, mittens, life jacket, waterproof bag.
  • Bilingual guides (Spanish-English)
  • Snack (hot drinks, cookies or brownies, nuts).
  • Insurance pack for tourism activities.

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED

  • Box lunch.
  • Transfers from/to El Chaltén.

 

Trekking into the woods in El Chalten

A full day experience that combines driving, navigating and trekking at one of the wildest and outermost corners in the Patagonia.


There is no doubt that anyone who visits El Chaltén looks for nature, adventure and hiking. Many trails within this trekking national capital take you through and towards breathtaking landscapes and views, such as the mighty Mt. Fitz Roy.

This time, we want to tell you about a full day adventure from El Chaltén to the northern area of Los Glaciares National Park and the Lago del Desierto reserve.

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A different tour option that allows not only many pictures and memories but also flora and fauna observation and interpretation, sailing across the Lago del Desierto, hiking through one of the prettiest forests of the region and reaching lookouts with unique views of the Vespignani glacier.

Departing from El Chaltén, we travel 36 km by bus across a panoramic road through the woods and along the Río de las Vueltas. On the way, you can’t miss the view of giant glaciers.

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After arriving in Punta Sur, we go aboard a boat and sail on the Lago del Desierto for about 50 minutes, spotting the Crestón and Huemul glaciers.

We disembark for 15 minutes in Punta Norte to enjoy a unique distant view of Mt. Fitz Roy’s northern face and breath in the Patagonian fresh forest air.

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We continue to navigate towards the Vespignani glacier, right in the middle of the lake. Once at the reserve, we disembark and get into the forest walking towards a dome where you can leave any personal belongings that you don’t want to take with you.

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Then, a person responsible for the trekking activity takes you to the starting point of the hikes and gives information about the three different trails. All of them are self-guided and imply different levels of difficulty and effort. There’re about 2 hours for the trekking activity before the boat returns.

The more demanding hike trail begins right after crossing the bridge over the river. It takes about 40-50 minutes at a slow pace and it goes through the forest on a slight and constant slope. This path takes you first to the nearest viewpoint of the Vespignani glacier and then to an outlook of the north face of Mt. Fitz Roy.

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The moderate trail is softer and takes about 20 minutes. Hiking through the native woods of lenga and coihue trees and by the stream line on the right, we reach a different viewpoint from where Mt. Vespignani with its hanging glacier and a part of the Lago del Desierto can be seen, frames by the forest. Picture perfect!

Vespignani´s hanging glacier

Last but not least, the easiest and more relaxed path reaches a river’s mouth where you may also spot the glacier. Walking by the lake’s coastline, you get back to the dome. There’s almost no slopes on this trail and it takes about 30 minutes.

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After the hiking experience of your choice, we have a snack at this magical place. Then we go on board again to sail back on the Lago del Desierto towards Punta Sur, where the bus awaits to take us back again to El Chaltén, where the adventure comes to an end.

Contact you Kallpa Executive for more information about this experience.

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GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Operates from October 1st 2017 to April 30th 2018.
  • Full day regular excursion.
  • Daily departure in the morning and in the afternoon.
  • Morning departure by bus from El Chalten at 8 am, leaving from Punta Sur at 10 am. Return to Punta Sur at 1.30 pm and ending in El Chaltén at 4 pm.
  • Afternoon departure by bus from El Chalten at 12.30 pm, leaving from Punta Sur at 2.30 pm. Return to Punta Sur at 6 pm and ending in El Chaltén at 8 pm.
  • Includes bilingual Spanish/English guide, roundtrip transfers from El Chaltén (can be excluded), navigation and a snack (hot chocolate, tea or coffee and sweet and salty biscuits).
  • A Box Lunch can be included with extra charge and upon request. It includes two empanadas, an individual chard pie or similar, one cereal bar, one alfajor, an apple, candies, a small bottle of mineral water and a box of fruit juice.