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On this trekking holiday in Patagonia explore the spectacular mountain areas of Fitz Roy and Torres del Paine. Trek through the heart of Los Glaciares National Park to the magnificent Fitz Roy Massif, and hike the 'W Trek' from Lago Grey to the iconic Paine Towers.
Explore Tour Leader
5 nights simple camping
2 nights comfortable guesthouse
6 nights comfortable hotel
Moderate and Challenging
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital, located on the southern shores of the Rio de la Plata. Since its founding by Pedro de Mendoza in 1536 the city has thrived on trade and its vibrant streets are filled with an eclectic mix of European architectural styles, with Spanish, French and Italian classicism rubbing shoulders with remnants of Victorian grandeur. After gaining independence from the Spanish in 1816 the city grew to rival the great cities of Europe, its wide avenues and elegant squares earning it the title of the Paris of the South.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Buenos Aires at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), which is around 20 minutes' drive. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you could explore this lively city by wandering the city streets, admiring the impressive architecture and relaxing parks, or enjoy the traditional Porteno pastime of people watching from the many sidewalk cafes.
Hotel Principado (or similar)
We leave the city far behind as we fly south to Patagonia and the town of El Calafate, the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park. From here we travel approximately three hours to El Chalten, the charming village close to Fitzroy and Torre Massif. After checking in to our hotel you may wish to explore some of the nearby short trails to local sites and viewpoints, such as Chorrillo del Salto Waterfall and Condor or Eagle lookouts.
Please note: If the group is six people or less the bus journey to El Chalten will be by public bus.
Lunajuim Hotel (or similar)
After an early breakfast we drive to El Pilar, the starting point for the classic trek to Laguna de los Tres. Taking just what we need overnight we ascend for two hours up a gentle slope with fantastic views over the Fitzroy Massif and Piedras Blancas glacier. On reaching the Poincenot area we stop briefly at our campsite (750m) before continuing to Rio Blanco Base Camp. An hour of steep ascent takes us to De Los Tres Lagoon (1180m), the emerald small lagoon at the foot of Mount Fitzroy, where we will have the opportunity to appreciate the enormous granite walls of Fitzroy and its nearby peaks, Poincenot, Saint Exupery and Guillaumet. After exploring the area around the lagoon, we descend back to our campsite to spend the evening inside the forest. An additional hike to Capri Lagoon is available for those wanting to do more walking.
Poincenet Camp is a simple site, water will be provided and the camp crew will set up a kitchen tent, dining tent and toilet.
Today's moderate 10 kilometre trek is expected to take around six hours with 700 metres of ascent and descent. The additional optional walk takes three hours and covers another six kilometres.
Poincenot Campsite (or similar)
After a camp breakfast we set out for another days hiking through the unique landscape of Los Glaciares National Park - taking the Madre e Hija Trail which links the Fitzroy and Torre Valleys. We walk passed two clear lagoons and through 'Lenga' forest on our way to Torre Lagoon, from where weather allowing, we will be rewarded with stunning views to Torre Massif and the surrounding glaciers as we have our picnic lunch. Later we continue our trek along Torre Trail back to El Chalten.
Today's moderate 19 kilometre trek is expected to take around seven hours with 300 metres of ascent and descent.
This morning there is the option to enjoy a morning rafting on the Rio de Las Vueltas or take an optional excursion to Lago Del Desierto, where you will enjoy a scenic drive to the lake, followed by a short sail across the lake and a hike up to the Vespignani Glacier lookout. In the afternoon we travel back to El Calafate, where we spend the night.
Please note: If the group is six people or less the bus journey to El Calafate will be by public bus.
Hotel Quijote (or similar)
Today we make an excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier - an ice river towering an average of 60 metres above the surface of the lake water, a truly impressive sight. Fed by the vast expanse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the glacier covers some 250 sq km and stretches over 30km being over 700 metres thick at its deepest point. It is advancing at a rate of 700 metres per year, but is estimated to calve off great chunks at probably the same rate, meaning that it has remained pretty much stationary for nearly a century.
Whilst at the glacier, there will be the chance to either trek on the ice (an age limit of 65 years applies due to National Park regulations) or take a boat or kayak trip to get closer to the glacier face.
Today we travel for approximately six hours by public bus south to Puerto Natales, crossing the border into Chile en route. Puerto Natales is the gateway to the Torres del Paine national park, and from small beginnings as a tiny fishing port it has now blossomed to a hub of adventure, with an atmosphere of excitement as travellers pass through on their way to the mountains. From the edge of the town there are striking views out to the fjords, and looking back inland we see the mountains rising imposingly over us.
Later today we have a briefing with the Tour Leader and the local trekking guide on the 'W' Trek, and have the rest of the day to prepare for the trek and explore the town.
Hotel Glaciares (or similar)
After breakfast we drive from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine National Park (approximately an hour and a half). We continue along the winding roads of the park to the Grey Lake area, with great views to 'Cuernos del Paine' en route. Arriving to the lake we start our hike to Ferrier viewpoint. This can feel a demanding ascent but the views over Torres del Paine National Park - of the mountains and glaciers of Paine Grande and Los Cuernos Massif, are stunning. Later we take the ferry across Grey Lake to Grey refuge campsite (approximately one hour). The campsite is magnificently located between the lake and forest, close to Grey Glacier, we can make the short hike (two kilometres) to the glacier viewpoint.
A note on the W Trek campsites: All sites are located at the refuges. You will have use of shared bathroom facilities with hot water showers and use of the communal dining room at the refuges, where meals will be taken. In the refuges there is a small shop selling basic items and they have electricity and heating.
Today's moderate eight kilometre trek is expected to take around four hours with 350 metres of ascent and descent.
Grey Campsite (or similar)
From Grey refuge we start our trek along the first leg of the 'W' circuit, walking by Grey Lake and crossing the beginning of French Valley, where we will spend the night. The trekking is fairly relaxed, passing through striking mountain and lake scenery to the Frances Domes refuge campsite.
Today's challenging 22 kilometre trek is expected to take around eight hours with 300 metres of ascent and descent.
Frances Campsite (or similar)
We start early today for our trek along French Valley. As we walk along streams and the main river, if we are lucky we may see glacier breaks from Paine Grande to our right.There are some short steep climbs as we arrive to the main lookout point at Britanicos camp - to see the great granite amphitheatre and all its peaks revealed. We will also see other trekkers here as this is a popular area for walking. Later we return back down the central part of the 'W' to Frances Domes for a second night.
Today's challenging 17 kilometre trek is expected to take around seven hours with 550 metres of ascent and descent.
Today's trail is known as Sendero Paso Los Cuernos, due to the fact that it passes under the dramatic mountains known as 'Los Cuernos' (horns). We walk alongside the shores of the beautiful Nordenskjöld lake, crossing small rivers and wide grasslands along the way. We continue our trek to Chileno refuge campsite.
Today's challenging 16 kilometre trek is expected to take around seven hours with 500 metres of ascent and descent.
Chileno Campsite (or similar)
Our final day of trekking takes us to the foot of what has inspired us over the last week - the impressive granite towers of Torres del Paine. Climbing steeply, high above the scattered blue lakes, we hike along the Asencio river, and up towards the Torres. After a final clamber over steep terminal moraine deposited by a glacier centuries ago, we reach a panoramic point from where we admire one of the best known sights of Patagonia, the Paine Towers, rising very close, above a green lagoon. The famous Torres del Paine (2900m) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, overlooking a landscape shaped by the forces of glacial ice and the elements. Again this is an iconic walking area so we will see other trekkers here. On returning to Los Torres we travel by private bus back to Puerto Natales.
Today's challenging 16 kilometre trek is expected to take around seven hours with 600 metres of ascent and 800 metres of descent.
This morning we leave the wilds of Patagonia behind taking a flight to Santiago, Chile's capital in the shadow of the Andes. We usually arrive late afternoon and have the rest of the evening to enjoy the city, however flight schedules can change.
Hotel Fundador (or similar)
This morning, if you have an afternoon flight, there is the option of taking a walking tour of the city. Santiago's historic colonial centre and acres of green space contrast sharply with its modern business district and quickly-growing urban scene.
The trip ends at Santiago Iternational Airport (SCL), there will be a transfer by bus to arrive at about 1.30pm. If you wish to spend the morning in Santiago the earliest your flight can depart is 4.30pm.
Total distance : 72 miles
Argentina has a climate that ranges from subtropical in the north to cold in the temperate south. The Andes has erratic rainfall and flash floods from December to May. From June to September spring like sunny days temper the cold nights.
3 Pin Flat
Predominantly Roman Catholic.
Spanish is the main language throughout this region, along with a number of indigenous dialects, of
The best time to visit is spring (Sept-Nov) and autumn (March- April). Between June and September the heat in the northern part of the country is less intense. Remember rain can fall at any time of the year and the weather is changeable in the mountains. Easter Island has a tropical climate so is likely to be quite hot and humid. It can also rain there in the evenings and become chilly.
2 Pin Round
Spanish, Aymara, Rapanui.
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your adventure. Whilst the basic tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities, or take time to relax, the choice is yours. Buenos Aires - Tango show US$80 and US$130 with dinner; Fiesta Gaucha Don Silvano - US$190, Tigre Delta cruise US$105 Chalten - Visit Lago del Desierto US$126; Day 11: El Chalten - Half Day Rafting (min 2 pers) US$120 El Calafate - Perito Moreno Ice Trek (ages 65 and under due to Glaciares National Park regulations) £299 including transport - this should be be pre-paid at time of booking and is non-refundable. Perito Moreno boat trip US$36 Argentina is undeniably an expensive destination to visit, and the costs of these optional excursions do show that. However, please remember that at certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in. In Torres del Paine hotel they charge 19% interest on the use of Chilean Pesos.
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. The weather conditions in the mountains can be changeable, and it can become cold, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier and are recommended as a base layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. A waterproof jacket is essential at all times in case of rain and wind. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket (you may also wish to bring waterproof trousers) -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Midlayer Fleece/pullover - Thick sweater/fleece jacket: A thick sweater or fleece jacket is necessary as nights can be cold. Make sure that your waterproof jacket is loose enough to wear over your sweater or fleece -Insulated jacket -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) - Thermal underwear: Comfortable around camp and much more practical (and warmer) to sleep in than pyjamas. - Gaiters: especially in November and December but due to unpredictability of weather any time of year could be necessary -Swimwear and towel -Socks (liner and thicker pair) - Gloves, scarf & hat: Especially useful around camp in the morning and in the evening. Worth bringing two pairs - one fleecey for warmth and one pair that is waterproof and windproof
We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
You will need to take one main piece of baggage and a daypack. Main Baggage Recommend that this is lockable Daypack Your daypack should be at least 30 litres capacity. During the course of a trekking day, you will not have access to your trek kit bag, which is being carried for you by the porters. In any mountain region the weather can change rapidly and you must be equipped for this eventuality. Your daypack should be large enough to carry your day things including: waterproofs, fleece, long trousers (if walking in shorts), warm hat and gloves, sun hat, suncream, water bottle(at least 1 litre bottle), tissues and your packed lunch. Camera equipment can be heavy so think carefully when deciding what to take. Please note that in the Fitzroy area you will also be carrying your overnight things for two days / one night. Trek Kit Bag (provided at the hotel in Puerto Natales) In Torres del Paine your main bag will stay at with our local ground suppliers and you will be given a trek kit bag in which to put your kit for the W circuit. Your trekking clothing and equipment should be packed into the kit bag which is to be carried by local porters. In Puerto Natales there is time to re-organise your luggage, the weight limit for this is 5kg and advice on how to pack will be given at the trek briefing. Internal flights The baggage limit for the internal flight between Buenos Aires and El Calafate is 15kg. If you exceed the limit you are able to pay for the excess locally at the airport, this is approximately $20.
- Sunglasses - Sunhat - High factor sun cream: Patagonia is very near the ozone layer hole. A combination sunblock/lipsalve is ideal for facial protection. - Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb). Often a head torch is the most practical option as it allows you to have both hands free - Camera -Sleeping bag liner (fleece will add warmth) - Walking poles (recommended) - Personal toiletries: Essentials are toothbrush/paste, biological soap and a small towel. Hand sanitiser gel are recommended - Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. - Insect repellent - Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) - Dry bags: Useful for separating things out in your kitbag and keeping things dry in both your kitbag and day sack - Waterproof Cover for Rucksacks: Can be useful to offer extra protection for your bags against rain. - Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre). The camp staff will provide plenty of water each day with which to fill your own bottle. Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -It's worth bringing a portable power pack or a solar charged device
Bus, Ferry, Flight, Public Bus
Accommodation and service levels in Argentina and Chile are generally very good. On this trip we stay in a number of smaller, family-run hotels and guesthouses that might not offer the same luxuries as larger chain-style hotels, but they do provide a warm welcome and a comfortable place to stay. Day three at Poincenet Camp shared two-man tents are provided, along with sleeping bags and mats. There is also a kitchen tent, dining tent and a latrine. However there is no running water at this camp location so washing facilities are limited, water will be provided in a large jerry can. It can also get very cold so bring warm clothes. When camping at the refuges on the W-Trek shared two-man tents are provided (and pre-erected), along with sleeping bags and mats. You will have use of shared bathroom facilities with hot water showers (separate communal shower blocks for male and females) and use of the communal dining room at the refuges, where meals will be taken. Meals are held at fixed times and there is a small shop selling basic items. The refuges have electricity and heating, there are plugs to charge devices however these are often used first by the hikers staying the dorms. In high season the refuges can be very busy.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Please note we require a photocopy of your passport 3 month pre departure. It is essential that you provide Explore with a photo copy of your passport at the time of booking, as this will be required in order to confirm accommodation. Argentina: Visas are not required for UK, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens. Please note Australian passport holders will need make a payment called the 'reciprocity fee' in advance of travel to enter Argentina. This currently costs US$ 100. This payment needs to be made online at http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/templates/reciprocidad/reciprocidad.htm The receipt generated at the time of online payment must be printed and given to local immigration authorities together with your passport. Chile: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Australians are now required to have a visa to enter Chile Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. USA: If your flights pass through the USA, even if only in transit, you will require either a visa or an ESTA (an e-visa). Please read on for more information. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA under certain conditions. This applies if you enter the country by sea or by air, and this must be done online via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have a biometric passport to apply for an ESTA. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba since the 12th of January 2021, you will not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. Your ESTA application will ask for Point of Contact information. Please note that if you're only transiting through the USA then this is not required. If you're visiting or staying in the USA on an Explore trip, then our USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. Entry requirements for the USA can change regularly, therefore, please ensure you have the most up to date information before you travel by checking the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Yellow fever is only recommended for those travelling to Iguazu falls. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue Fever and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.