Day 1. Puerto Natales.
Arrive at the airport in Punta Arenas, Chile, meet your trip leader and hop on the van for our scenic drive northwest to Puerto Natales. Enjoy your first views of Patagonia while riding through the monumental, wide-open plains that Patagonia is known for, and spot animals and picturesque sheep ranch “estancias” along the way. Arrive at Puerto Natales, a colorful, windswept town with a spectacular location along the shore of the Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2. Torres del Paine National Park.
Rise early to fully appreciate the golden light of the morning sunrise and beautiful mountains of the Señoret Canal as a backdrop. Along the shore, black-necked swans, numerous duck species, cormorants and flamingos mingle and feed in the chilly waters. The road to Torres del Paine will take us through wide valleys of glacial origin, where sporadic human settlements, the estancias and their livestock, can be seen and which continue to be highly important to the local economy. Gauchos, or Patagonian cowboy-sheep herders, are a treasure trove of colorful stories about their experiences in this “last frontier.”
Day 3. Torres del Paine National Park.
The day begins early before sunrise at a viewpoint in the northern sector of the park that offers a fantastic view of the Paine Massif. The weather will guide our journey as we set off in search of the best light and wildlife. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a gentle walk until dusk, when we’ll end at the southern sector of the park to photography the Massif from alternative angles.
Day 4. Torres del Paine National Park.
Today’s photography adventure takes us to Lake Grey, where we’ll have the opportunity to navigate past icebergs that calve from the Grey Glacier and float to shore. The boat will then advance to the imposing wall of ice that is the Grey Glacier, and with luck watch ice calve and crash loudly into the lake. In the afternoon, a gentle walk will take us to a viewpoint of the magnificent Cuernos del Paine.
Day 5. Torres del Paine National Park.
We start the day with a gentle walk along a trail that is known for its abundance of wildlife species: guanacos, foxes, and even an appearance by the region’s predator, the Puma if we are lucky. We will visit a conglomerate rock formation where ancient Tehuelche cave paintings can be viewed, and then head to Lake Sarmiento’s navy blue waters and its otheworldly calcium formations that ring the lake.
Day 6. Sierra Baguales.
Today we’ll visit the Sierra Baguales (Wild Sierra), a remote mountain range that sees very few visitors in spite of its fascinating geological origin. The range was prehistorically a tropical delta zone, and as such the area is known for the vast amount of fossils found here. Along the way, we’ll stop to shoot the open plains, dotted with picturesque sheep ranches.
Day 7. El Calafate.
We’re off to Argentina today and El Calafate, on a 5-hour journey that will surprise with the drastic changes in landscapes that occur along the way. El Calafate will be our jumping-off point for our visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier, and once here we’ll have the opportunity to simply relax and explore town, drop by the Laguna Nimez to view birds, or visit the city’s Glaciarium museum.
Day 8. Perito Moreno Glacier.
A two-hour drive from El Calafate will put us face-to-face with one of the world’s grandest wonders: the Perito Moreno Glacier, part of Los Glaciares National Park. The glacier’s massive dimensions and the surprising proximity that a traveler has to the glacier from a variety of viewpoints are breathtaking. This is one of the world’s most active glaciers, and with luck we’ll view ice calving and crashing into the water below. Then we’ll drive to El Chaltén, an outdoorsy village at the base the magnificent Fitz Roy Massif and our destination for the evening.
Day 9. Mount Fitz Roy – El Chaltén.
The day begins with the colorful sunrises over El Chaltén, then a visit to the Chorrillo del Salto waterfall, followed by a visit to the beautiful nature sanctuary Reserva Huemules. Here, a series of gentle trails will lead us through 1,000-year-old forests that open up to a majestic view of Mount Fitz Roy. The is the habitat of the elusive deer of the Andes, the huemul. We’ll wait for the sunset and photograph the jaw-dropping scenery.
Day 10. Cerro Torre -— El Chaltén.
After rising early to see the sunrise, we take a walk to the “Laguna Torre” viewpoint, an excursion that lasts about six hours, the reward is the view of the imposing spire of the mythical “Cerro Torre” peak which is coveted by thousands of expert climbers, but climbed by very few.
Day 11. Goodbye Patagonia.
We depart El Chaltén and drive to El Calafate Airport where say goodbye to our guides. Fly to Buenos Aires or to the next adventure. End of Services