Category Archives: Southern Patagonia

Last Frontiers of Patagonia

Patagonia: one of the most sparsely populated places on planet Earth, surrounded by pristine wilderness and the dramatic scenery of the Patagonian steppe. This Last Frontiers expedition takes you for 8 days to the outmost skirts of this territory, diving into the last less traveled corners in the Argentine and Chilean Patagonia.


On the first day of our adventure, we drive north from El Calafate to an authentic estancia, where we will also spend the night. La Angostura is a ranch in the Santa Cruz province that has been runned by the same family since 1916. Nowadays, the grandson of the original owner welcomes and delights tourists with home-made meals and family anecdotes of the estancia. 

Estancia La Angostura.
Estancia La Angostura.

Day 2 of the journey takes us to the Cueva de las Manos (Hands Cave), a UNESCO heritage site and one of the most famous and fascinating displays of drawings and paintings by the primitive inhabitants of these lands, the pretehuelches. These are the first artistic manifestations known from the south-american original cultures and were originated during an extensive period from the 9300s to the 1300s before today. The drawings show different elements related to the daily life of the tehuelches, being the positive and negative spray-painted hands’ silhouettes the most recognized ones.

Cueva de las Manos, Santa Cruz.
Cueva de las Manos, Santa Cruz.

This day ends in Lago Posadas, located north in Santa Cruz province and in the oriental border of the Andes range.

From this point, the next day we depart towards Chile. Lago Posadas provides one of the most scenic, hard and off-the-beaten paths in southern Argentina. This day’s hike involves walking along basaltic dams and sandstone formations -volcanic remains of the Andes’ origins- with views to one of the highest peaks in the Patagonia: Mt. San Lorenzo.

Lago Posadas, Santa Cruz.
Lago Posadas, Santa Cruz.

Later this day, we drive through Paso Roballos -an international mountain pass to cross the Argentina/Chile border- and finally arrive in Puerto Bertrand, where we spend the night.

The next morning we drive southwest along the Chilean Carretera Austral, next to Baker River. This is a scenic drive into the wilderness of Chile, with views of the mountains and the aquamarine river waters. We finally arrive to the Pacific coast fiords in Caleta Tortel. This unique fishing village doesn’t touch the ground. It is beautifully positioned between two ice fields, in a zone with archipelagos, canals and estuaries, enclosed by steep mountains and right next to Baker River’s mouth. With more than 7 km of walkways, platforms, bridges and stairways made of cypress wood instead of concrete streets, this village was declared landmark due to its architecture and traditional way of life.

Caleta Tortel walkways, Chile.
Caleta Tortel walkways, Chile.

After spending the night in this magical place, day 5 awaits. We arrive at the utmost tip of the Carretera Austral in Villa O’Higgins. This village is one of the fastest growing locations in the Carretera.  Actually, this is the end of the road and the beginning of a new journey. Near the city, the Mosco River Valley’s hills and wetlands are home to a large colony of huemul, the patagonic deer that is depicted alongside the condor on the Chilean coat of arms.

Villa O'Higgins, Chile.
Villa O’Higgins, Chile.

Day 6 brings us the Last Frontier of the trip. We navigate the emerald waters of O’Higgins Lake, along one of its eight arms, arriving lastly in Candelario Mancilla. The nature of this amazing spot, its few inhabitants and vibrant affluence of travelers impresses us.

After lunch here, we hike back to Argentina. A 3 hour walk in the middle of the forest through Candelario Mancilla and Lago del Desierto takes us to the border again, arriving in El Chaltén, Argentina’s trekking capital and final destination of this exciting journey.

Lago del Desierto, El Chaltén, Santa Cruz.
Lago del Desierto, El Chaltén, Santa Cruz.

The last two days ahead are at your leisure, but if you’re not too tired we highly recommend hiking on your own or with a guide to Laguna de los Tres and face one of the most impressive mountain ranges in America: the Fitz Roy Massif. We also suggest a trek to Laguna Torre, another classic hike in El Chaltén through diverse glacial landscapes, nir and lenga forests and several panoramic mountain views. The trip ends with shuttle service to El Calafate town or airport.

Optional trekking to Laguna de los Tres. Mount Fitz Roy behind. El Chaltén, Santa Cruz.,
Optional trekking to Laguna de los Tres. Mount Fitz Roy behind. El Chaltén, Santa Cruz.,
Optional trekking to Laguna Torre. El Chaltén, Santa Cruz.
Optional trekking to Laguna Torre. El Chaltén, Santa Cruz.

As you know by now, this amazing expedition provides a unique and adventurous experience across unfrequented paths enriched by the beautiful scenery and wilderness of the Last Frontiers of the Patagonian steppe. A perfect journey for nature and hiking fans.


FACT SHEET

  • Special Expedition Departure Date:  JANUARY 27th 2017
  • Min. 3 pax required.
  • 8 day excursion.

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • 7 nights of accommodation in economic hotels in standard rooms, including breakfast.
  • Entrance fee to Cueva de Las Manos.
  • Excursions and services as described in the itinerary.
  • Fees and expenses for the TG.

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED

  • International and national flights.
  • Airport taxes.
  • Tips and personal expenses.
  • Meals, drinks, excursions and services not mentioned in itinerary.
  • Optional activities.
  • Medical insurance.

World’s End minitrekking

Enjoy the World’s End at Tierra del Fuego National Park, the last Patagonian forest of the continent.

The journey begins with a 12 km drive on the National Route No. 3 towards the southwest, making a few stops to enjoy panoramic views of the Beagle Channel, the Ushuaia Peninsula and the Bridges Archipelago.


isla redonda foto 15

A few kilometres later, we enter the Tierra del Fuego National Park: a 68.909 hectare conservation area for the protection of Subantarctic forest and native wildlife. Only 2000 ha of its southern end are open to the public since the rest of the park is considered as a strict reserve. This is one of the few Argentine national parks with a sea coast and valleys with glacial rivers and lakes.

The first hike in the park begins at the trailhead of Mirador LapataIa. Approximately after 40 minutes, we reach the path’s end at a paleo-fiord. This is where the famous Pan-American Highway –which starts in Alaska- ends.

01

The next stop is Roca Lake, a binational waterbody divided between Argentina and Chile, followed by the last stretch of the journey at Ensenada Zaratiegui Bay. Here we shortly sail through the Beagle Channel on an RIB boat, where it is possible to watch a diversity of native shorebirds.

The boat arrives to Redonda Island, where the last 40 minute hike takes place through one of the most pristine areas ever, surrounded by cinnamon and coihue forests.

isla redonda foto 8

From this imposing natural scenery, the journey ends sailing back through the Beagle Channel and visiting the World’s End post office before going back to the city of Ushuaia.

isla redonda foto 10


FACT SHEET

  • Regular daily departures or private services available.
  • Pax requirements: min. 2  – max. 12.
  • Operating Season: November 15th to March 15th, subject to weather conditions.
  • Duration of the activity: Half day. From 8 am to 1.30/2 pm.
  • Level of Challenge: Easy.
  • Trek duration: two 40 minute stretches.
  • Bilingual guides Spanish/English.

INCLUDED

  • Transfers from and to hotel.
  • Navigation to Redonda Island.
  • Bottled water and a cereal bar.

NOT INCLUDED

  • Meals.
  • Admission to National Park.

 

Ushuaia Vinciguerra Glacier Trekking

We’ve arrived in Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world. Landscapes and breathtaking views are all around us. Mountains, forests and glaciers invites us to this magnificent hike to Vinciguerra Glacier, a Trekking not to be missed. Keep reading about Ushuaia Vinciguerra Glacier Trekking.


Trekking-experience-to-Vinciguerra-Glacier-3Vinciguerra Glacier is one of the largest in Tierra del Fuego. If you had a prior experience of doing an ice trekking you know how it feels walking on the ice, it’s fascinating, watching the surrounding landscape and hearing the sound of nature. If you did not, this is a great opportunity.

Trekking-experience-to-Vinciguerra-GlacierEarly in the morning the transfer picks us up at the Hotel and leave town towards the mountains, to the starting point of the Trek. After a briefing and some safety tips we start walking on the trail, through native lenga forest. The trail goes softly near the river for the first few kilometers. And then starts to softly ascend across the forest. And all of a sudden we are above the forest and the views begin to amaze us.

Trekking-experience-to-Vinciguerra-Glacier-1 Trekking-experience-to-Vinciguerra-Glacier-2We were able to understand more deeply the Fueguinian nature and enjoy a great day skirting rivers, going through forests, lagoons and the glacier. Another highlight we were able to see is the Laguna de los Témpanos (Icebergs lagoon) at the foot of the Glacier.

With the company of an experienced guide we start walking on the ice. There is a variety of forms, cracks, caves, processes that have been taking place over the years. They need to be interpreted and our guide provide tips and facts on the way.

Trekking-experience-to-Vinciguerra-Glacier-5The guide leads the way, he knows very well where to walk, it is important to follow him cause the ice can be tricky and sometimes we can put ourselves at risk if we follow our own path,. While we are walking we can hear about different moments of the geological evolution and the rich history of the Glaciers which can be found in Southern Patagonia. Each step we take, we can hear the sound of the ice in contact with crampons, cracking as they are sticking in the ice. There is like a silence dominating the environment and we only hear our breath and steps as we walk.

We watched holes of water, cracks and caves. How glaciers were formed? how is the melting process? are they going to disappear?, do they move forward or backward? Some of these are frequently asked questions from travelers and the good news is that all of them have their own answers.

Trekking-experience-to-Vinciguerra-Glacier-4A unique landscape, places and sceneries portrayed in a perfect picture, unshaken lakes, mountains with perpetual snowed peaks and mountain streams are awaiting for you to contemplate in awe in front of them.

Contact our Account Executives, they love trekking on the ice like some of your travelers and have great travel ideas to enlighten the experiences.

Thank you for reading, ice trekking and traveling.


FACT SHEET

  • Minimum pax requirements: 2
  • Place: Vinciguerra Glacier, Témpanos Lagoon.
  • Activities: Walking on the ice, interpretation and observation of glacier processes (caves, cracks, sinks).
  • Duration: Full Day.
  • Services Included: Mountain Guide, transfers, box lunch, crampons, poles and gaiters.

Equipment that passenger should bring: Trekking shoes, backpack, jacket, gloves, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a bottle of water.
Operation Period: November to April.

Together with the surrounding terrain and peat bogs it was declared Ramsar Site during the year 2009 and is the southernmost glacier of the world.

Las Vueltas River Kayak Experience

The act of traveling through Patagonian lakes and rivers enlightened our experience adding great value to our trip. While  staying in El Chalten, away from traditional trekking trails, looking for something different to explore we decided to try the Las Vueltas River Kayak Experience.


Kayak adventure in the Rio Las Vueltas-1

The Las Vueltas River (Río de las Vueltas), a.k.a. Gatica river, belongs to the Basin of the Santa Cruz river. A large portion of its waters has glacial origins and receives the tributaries, which are fed with water from snow drifts coming from the extreme North of Los Glaciares National Park. Headwaters in Lake Desert (Lago del Desierto) and as the name implies it flows into Lake Viedma meandering through lush beech forests and vertical walls.

Kayak adventure in the Rio Las Vueltas-6Kayak adventure in the Rio Las VueltasThe way to the starting point of the tour it’s a highlight in itself. With Mount Fitz Roy behind us, walking past the side of the famous Chorrillo del Salto waterfall and bordering Rio de las Vueltas. After 21 kilometers  we reach our destination. Upon  arrival, we´ll be welcome with coffee or tea, you can choose the one you like best,   be briefed about our activity and test the required equipment suited  to the activity we’ll be doing.. The equipment and the safety elements are provided  locally:  the suit, the boots, a pair of neoprene gloves,a  life- vest and a helmet.

Kayak adventure in the Rio Las Vueltas-2

As soon as we’re ready we´ll start descending and rowing through the river in our 20 Km. trip across the river. A few minutes later we´ll find ourselves  paddle practicing on Condor Lagoon. We continue our trip getting back to Las Vueltas River, enjoying the ride, and  if we have good weather we´ll get magnificent views of Mount Fitz Roy on our front. Luckily our guide knows how to  pick a great viewpoint to stop for lunch, have small talk and rest by the river.

It’s necessary to do the activity if you are in great physical condition. No rowing experience is required, but some parts can be demanding and the trip is long. So make sure your travellers know this before the experience.

Kayak adventure in the Rio Las Vueltas-7

Eventually we arrive in El Chalten at Inn Hostería El Puma where we´ll be  able to leave the equipment and put on our own dry clothes.

Contact your Kallpa Account Executive and get more information about this and other experiences, they are full of great ideas and tips to enlighten your travelers´ trip and get the most of their experience in Argentina.


FACT SHEET

Minimum age: 14 years old and they must be accompanied by a parent.
Minimum pax requirements: 2
Difficulty: Moderate

Program description:

09:00 am. Transfer from El Chaltén to Fitz Roy Adventure Camp, 21 km.
10:00 am. Arrival at Fitz Roy Adventure Camp. Coffee/Tea. Briefing. Equipment test and waterproof gear try-on
11:00 am. Beginning of the descent through Río de Las Vueltas. A few minutes away, paddle practices on Condor Lagoon. Continue of descent.
Between 12:30 and 1:00 pm. Box Lunch on designated viewpoint selected by the tour guide.
2:00 pm. Arrival to El Chaltén.
2:15 pm. Transfer to Inn Hostería El Puma. Here the travelers can take off the suits and put on their clothes.
3:00 pm. End of services.

Included

River Guide.
Full neoprene-suit, gloves and boots.
Personal safety gear (life vest and helmet)
Snacks, tea, coffee and lunch according to program.
Radio contact with El Chalten.
Minibus transfers.

Not included
Services not specified in the program