Tag Archives: Trekking

W Trekking Circuit in Winter

Summer is not the only time to hike in Patagonia! Kallpa took part of a trip to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, to walk the W Circuit in winter time. We want to share this different trekking experience with you.


From May to August it is possible to experience a rare trekking adventure in Torres del Paine: a 6 days hiking wintry version of the famous W Circuit in the cold, through an inhospitable and deserted environment, snow-covered mountains, crowdless sceneries and surrounded by nature. Also, enjoy delicious meals and drinks, spend unforgettable moments and rest the nights in comfy mountain lodges.

Felipe, our Kallpa member that took part on this adventure, describes the ambience: “Such a wild and unique environment allows you a close encounter with guanacos, condors and -of course- with the spirit of the puma, that is present in each and every moment of this great wintertime trekking. At the feet of the bicolored Horns and at the top of the white and blue Grey glacier, in the depth of Ascencio Valley and in the face of Francés Valley, the Andes are overwhelming.”

The journey takes you to the three exceptional spots in the park: the base of the Towers, the French Valley and the Grey Glacier; always in the company of a specialized and expert mountain guide. The last day and for the final picture, a ferry boat ride across Pehoé Lake.

Overall, this unique adventure provides a defiant winter trekking challenge on ascending and descending mountain trails towards impressive lookouts with fantastic views of the amazing Paine Towers, glaciers, lakes and icebergs. Full contact with nature when the park is nearly empty.

Despite the cold, the weather and the fatigue, according to Felipe nothing could make you quit this challenge: “No glacier ice could freeze your sensations. No weather conditions, rain or snow would stop your intentions. On the contrary, they will most probably bring up to the top your physical capacity, internal feelings and strength to walk and fulfill the W Circuit”.

Don’t miss the chance to feel the power of nature along the intense and crowdless W trekking in winter at the southern side of the Torres del Paine Massif, one of the most beautiful natural environments of the World!


 

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 freighting animal, to recreate this ancestral practice. Caravana de Llamas, as it is called, is also dedicated to promoting 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 take 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 travelers 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.