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Visit South America and travel to Patagonia - a fascinating region in the far south of Chile and Argentina, rich in natural beauty, dramatic vistas and cosmopolitan cities oozing with passion and culture. Feel the contrast as you trek the W Hike through the Patagonian wilderness and explore the urban metropolis of Santiago. From camping near the end of the earth and witnessing gargantuan glaciers to indulging in the modernity of Buenos Aires, this trip will reward those with a sense of adventure, an appreciation of nature and an interest in diversity.
Day 1: Santiago
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Chile. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until an important welcome meeting tonight at 6 pm. If you arrive early and want a quick and immersive intro to the city, consider a Lonely Planet Experiences: Santiago Bites and Sights day tour. It’s a great way to see the historical centre and markets while sampling some local treats.
Day 2: Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales
Today is a travel day, so sit back and enjoy the scenery. You will leave the hotel early in the morning (departure time from the hotel can vary depending on the flight) Fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas (approximately 3–5 hours, depending on the flight connection). From there, take a local bus to Puerto Natales (3 hours, 227 kilometres, non-stop – toilets on board). Situated on the shores of Senoret Channel, Puerto Natales is the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park and a great place to catch up with fellow hikers for a pre- or post-trek meal in one of the many quaint local restaurants.
Day 3: Torres del Paine National Park
Rise and shine for a morning bus ride to Torres del Paine National Park (115 kilometres, approximately 2 hours). Hop off at Laguna Amarga, the park’s main checkpoint, and then continue for 40 minutes to your camp. Located on the shore of Lake Pehoe, your campsite for the next two nights is set beneath the immense granite pillars of the Paine Massif. Eat lunch at the campsite, then take a short walk to Los Condors Viewpoint. The next three days will bring on more serious hiking opportunities, so we recommend you take the rest of the day to stretch, rest and take in the views around your camp. There’s plenty of wildlife in this part of the world, so keep an eye out for camelids, foxes and more.
Day 4-6: Torres del Paine National Park
Over the next few days you'll tackle the three trails that form the Torres del Paine's ‘W’ circuit (one trail per day), but the exact order you trek them in will depend on the weather. You will return to your campsite each evening after your hikes, the details of which are below. After the final hike on Day 6, return to Puerto Natales for a well-earned night in a comfortable hotel and an included dinner.The trek to French Valley is 24 kilometres with an elevation gain of 420 metres. This hike will take around 8–9 hours and pass through some open forest before you reach the valley, where you can see the immense French Glacier (and sometimes even witness calving). The hike to Grey Glacier takes around 6.5 hours. The day you embark on this trek begins with a ten-minute van transfer to a dock. Board a catamaran for a 30-minute cruise across Lake Pahoe that will take you Paine Grande, the starting point for the trek. Hike through mountains and low shrubbery to Grey Lake, where you will likely see some icebergs floating and, of course, the retreating face of Grey Glacier. The most popular trek in the area, Base Las Torres (The Tower's Base) takes approximately 8 hours in total with an elevation gain of about 300 metres. This hike takes you to the foot of the three Paine Massif towers and passes through a boulder-strewn mountain landscape.
Day 7: El Calafate
Enjoy some breakfast and then board a public bus for a long day of travel. Today you will cross the international border from Chile to Argentina. Head to El Calafate city (310 kilometres, approximately 5–6 hours). This is your gateway to the Glaciers National Park. As a major hub for adventurers headed to Perito Moreno, El Calafate has undergone a lot of development in recent decades but retains plenty of charm. Located on the shore of the Argentino Lake and surrounded by the Andes range, this is a beautiful place to spend a few days. In the evening, perhaps take the opportunity to try some of the local trout and a glass of Malbec.
Day 8: El Calafate – Perito Moreno Glacier
Travel by minivan (80 kilometres, approximately 2.5 hours), witnessing some spectacular scenery within the Glaciers National Park. Once you arrive, spend some time walking on the set paths and taking in the magnificence of the Perito Moreno Glacier from the different angles. There is also the chance to take a walk on the glacier itself, but this must be booked in advance. At three kilometres wide and 35 kilometres long, it's an incredibly massive icescape, and one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually in balance rather than melting away. Watch and listen to the crack of the ice as it plunges into the waters below. In the evening, return to El Calafate and enjoy a free night.
Day 9: Buenos Aires
Fly to Buenos Aires and enjoy a final night out. Depending on what time you arrive you may have some free time to explore this wonderful city. The main square of the city, Plaza de Mayo, is very close to your hotel; on the east side of the square you will find Casa Rosada, the pink presidential palace where Eva Peron appeared on the balcony in front of adoring fans in the 1940s. The traditional neighborhood of San Telmo is not to far from the hotel too.If you have extra time in Buenos Aires there is a number of places that you could visit, such as: “La Boca Neighborhood”, The “Recoleta” cemetery, Palermo neighborhood, Puerto Madero, Teatro Colon (opera house), Café Tortoni (oldest coffee shop in South America). There is also Museo Evita, dedicated to the life (and gowns) of this famed figure. MALBA is an incredible art gallery showcasing a private collection, including works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, plus great temporary exhibits.Notes: If everything goes to plan, you'll arrive in the early afternoon, but keep in mind that airline schedules in Argentina are known for changing without much notice. This means you could arrive in BA as late as 10 pm tonight
Day 10: Buenos Aires
Your adventure ends after breakfast this morning. There are no further activities planned, and you are free to depart at any time.
Question: Does the walking involve moving from one destination to another? That is, must you be able to walk for 9 hours at high altitude?
Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?
Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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