This might be the best trek in Patagonia that you have never heard of!
Rivalling the beauty of Torres Del Paine, this far reach is simply undiscovered. Tucked into one of Chile’s least populated regions, this trek offers it all. From towering, glaciated peaks of the Southern Andes, wide valleys with ice cold mountain rivers, hanging glaciers, indigenous forests of southern beech clinging with moss, startlingly green and turquoise blue glacial lakes and bizarrely shaped mountains – this is untouched nature at its best. Hike to the sounds of cascading waterfalls, the cracking of calving glaciers and the chirping of endemic birdlife. From wildlife hotspots, to grasslands, wetlands and snow-capped peaks, experience Patagonia’s wild nature on foot, as mother nature simply encapsulates and overwhelms your senses.
Welcome to Patagonia! Upon arrival at Bamaceda Airport, you will be met and follow the Austral Road to Cerro Castillo. Cerro Castillo is a typical Patagonian village at the foot of the impressive Cerro Castillo Hill. The landscape here is unexpectedly beautiful and surprisingly diverse. Enjoy lunch before you follow the road south to Puerto Tranquilo, a small picturesque village on the shores of Lake General Carrera. If the weather permits, you will board a boat excursion to the Marble Chapel, which is home to fantastic caves created by the process of erosion. Dubbed as the most beautiful cave network in the world, Cuevas de Marmola is a 6,000 year-old sculpture, hewn by the crashing waves of the lake. Also called the Marble Cathedral, the intricate caverns are part of a peninsula made of solid marble, surrounded by the glacial lake which spans the Chile-Argentina border. The swirling pattern on the cave interiors are a reflection of the lakes azure waters, which change depending on the water levels dictated by weather and season. The colours here are incredible and the patterns in the rock, swirl in beautiful contours. (L,D)
3 nights at Terra Luna Lodge or similar
Today, you will navigate around three lakes. Bertrand, Plomo and Carrera. Heading to the outlet of Lake General Carrera, you will continue onto Lake Bertrand, surrounded by stunning mountains and hanging glaciers. Travel across the distinctive grey waters of Lake Plomo, before making your way to the village of Puerto Bertrand to see the impressive beginning of the Baker River. You will then enjoy a three hour hike to Maqui waterfall. Follow a narrow path and the magical melody of the waterfalls. Pass through forests that are home to a variety of birds, such as diucones, cometocinos, chincoles, thrushes and chercanes. Then, you will begin to witness a spectacle of nature, the first waterfalls, waterfalls that form small natural pools created by the riverbed. You will be surprised by the imposing view of Lake General Carrera, the largest lake in Chile and the second largest in South America, accompanied by the northern ice fields, the third largest expanse of ice in the world. Return to Terra Lune. (B,L,D)
Today, you will enjoy hiking for approx. 3 hours through ancient forest, until you reach the fossils area with preserved remains of ancient organisms, animals and plants. The hike today is graded as easy. The terrain is uneven, as you hike through an indigenous forest. Here, you will have extraordinary views of Patagonia’s two highest mountains. This afternoon, try a typical Patagonian barbeque. (B,L,D)
Depending on the weather, you may take a jet boat on Leones River, or trek to the magical glacier lake. This lake is considerably larger than the well-known Meliquina, its waters a stunning blue-green from the dramatic glacier that carves its way down from the ice cap, splitting into three rivers of ice that spill into the lake. Enjoy being navigated to the glacier and doing an ice trek. No special equipment is required other than solid hiking boots and layered clothing. Witness the impressive sights and sounds, as chunks of ice are calved into the waters of the lake. It’s an unforgettable experience. Spend the evening camping in front of the glacier soaking up this impossibly scenic setting. (B,L,D)
2 nights camping or similar
Today, is an extraordinary climb and a 7 hour round trip, as you hike to the top of Putagonia (1320m), a small summit offering a 360 degree view over the mountains, surrounding glaciers and Mount San Valentin (4058m). Hike through rainforests, before heading above the vegetation line and into the mineral and glacier world. Return to your camp. (B,L,D)
This morning you will trek up on Rio Fiero Valley to its glacial lake. Here, there are wonderful views of ice bergs floating on the glacier lake. Take in the impressive icebergs floating on its surface. If it is possible, you will navigate across the lake to the glacier. Return to your camp, before travelling on jetboat across Leones River to Terra Luna. (B,L,D)
2 nights at Terra Luna Lodge or similar
Today, you will have a full day exploring the Baker River and Patagonia National Park. The wild union of the milky glacial Neff River, and the deep turquoise of the Baker River, is a treat to the eye and a spectacle to your ears. The Neff River comes directly from the Neff Glacier, which is part of the Northern Ice Fields (the second largest extra-polar icefields in the world), is approximately 30 km long and owes its milky colour to glacial sediments. The Baker River is the strongest and most abundant in Chile. In all its extent, this confluence is a symbol of the purity and vital force of water in Patagonia.
Not far away, is the best wildlife hotspot in the region, Patagonia National Park. From grasslands, wetlands to native lenga forests and lagoons, this diversity in habitat attracts an array of diverse wildlife. Guanacos, foxes, huemul, puma, condor, flamenco, tuco tuco (gopher). Pass lagoons filled with black-necked swans and, if we are lucky, flamingos. In addition, there are beautiful trails that take you through this unique ecosystem, which has gone through an immense transition from a cattle ranch to a varied and diverse National Park. There will be time for optional activities to choose from today (payable locally) including a helicopter flight out to Nef Glacier and/or the icefield area. (B,L,D)
Today you will transfer to Balmaceda airport to meet your onwards flight. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.