Patagonia’s West Trek

At the southern end of the Earth lies a wide, windswept, wonderful land called Patagonia. Though it’s technically in both Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is a place of its own – a land of calving glaciers, vast lakes, awesome steppes, and peaks so jagged and immense they pause the mind and stir the heart. Patagonia calls to the adventure traveler, and mainly to the hiker. We know these awesome, winding trails, and we want to walk them with you.

Refugio Torres in Torres del Paine National Park.
The silhouettes of hikers in the mountains of Patagonia.
Hikers cross a foot bridge close to one of Patagonia's many glaciers.
A mountain range in Patagonia.
Fitz Roy Mountain and El Chalten at dawn, Patagonia, Argentina.

Highlights

  • Tour Buenos Aires, the second-largest city in South America
  • Hike to glaciers and lakes at the foot of massive granite towers
  • Hike from the trekking village of El Chalten to the Fitz Roy Range
  • Trek for five days in Torres del Paine National Park

Description

After touring the vibrant city Buenos Aires, we’ll travel to southern Argentina and day-hike into the mighty range of peaks dominated by Monte Fitz Roy, an 11,020-foot tower whose sheer face of more than 6,000 feet makes it one of the world’s most challenging climbs. We’ll also catch views of the Continental Ice Field and even walk on the surface of the sprawling Perito Moreno Glacier.

Then it’s on to Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, where we’ll hike hut-to-hut for five days, winding in and out of spectacular mountain valleys, past Grey Glacier, and up the spectacular French Valley, surrounded by hanging glaciers and an amphitheater of granite walls and spires.

After a scenic boat trip on Grey Lake, it’s back to Buenos Aires and farewell to Patagonia. But the sights and experiences of this trip will stay with you forever.

Itinerary Summary

Day 01: Arrive in Buenos Aires
Day 02: Buenos Aires City Tour
Day 03: Buenos Aires to El Chalten
Day 04: Day Hike to Pleigue Tumbado
Day 05: Day Hike to Lago de los Tres
Day 06: Perito Moreno Glacier
Day 07: Drive to Torres del Paine NP, Chile
Day 08: Trek to the base of the Torres
Day 09: Trek west to Los Cuernos
Day 10: French Valley
Day 11: Grey Glacier
Day 12: Grey Lake boat trip
Day 13: Fly to Buenos Aires
Day 14: Depart from Buenos Aires

Frequently Asked Questions

What is being in Patagonia like?

Upon arrival in country, you will be met by an Embark representative at the airport exit and driven by private vehicle to your Buenos Aires hotel.

Travel in Patagonia involves everything from being a major city to trekking lodge-to-lodge in the mountains. While hiking, breakfast is typically around 7 a.m., and you will hit the trail by 8 a.m. You will be given a pack lunch for the trail, and during the day you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoons there should be time for some relaxation before dinner.

These are mountain trails, but very well-worn ones. The tread is well maintained and, while sections are steep and challenging, footing won’t be a problem.

How hard is it?

While we believe that anyone in good physical condition can complete our hiking trips, this trip is strenuous. While travel always entails some level of adventure and challenge, when we say “strenuous” we mean there will be long, sometimes difficult hikes; occasional significant physical barriers such as climbing; and the chance of falling or some other injury. To complete this trip, especially with any enjoyment, one must be in good physical shape – in particular, able to handle strenuous hikes on several consecutive days.


What do we eat?

You’ll be served three meals per day, with plentiful portions. Specialty diets such as vegetarian or gluten-free are available on request. Breakfast will include things like eggs, meat, toast, oatmeal, dry cereal, juice, milk, and coffee or tea. Lunch, often boxed, will typically include a sandwich, chicken, fruit, a chocolate bar and juice. Dinner might be soup; potatoes, rice, or pasta; chicken or beef; vegetables; and milk, and coffee or tea.

Not included are snacks for the trail, such as bars, trail mix, and electrolyte drink mixes. If you like to hike with these, bring them!

Do I need a visa?

US citizens only need a visa to enter Chile and Argentina if they plan to stay for more than 90 days.

What is the sleeping arrangement?

While in town, we stay at bed-and-breakfast lodgings. While hiking, we stay in more rustic Rifugios, typically sleeping in bunk beds with bathrooms down the hall.

What is included in the trip cost?

Your cost includes transportation, lodging, guide fees, and most meals. While on the climb, all your meals are included, although you might want to bring some snacks that you like to have during the day. Before and after the hikes you will have some time (and meals) on your own in town. Also not included in the cost is your airfare, souvenirs, and tips for guides and drivers.

How far ahead should I book this trip?

You want to commit to this trip at least six months ahead of time. It takes a lot of preparation, both logistical and physical. Beginning at this point, you should be booking your airplane tickets and planning your training regimen.

What is the best time of year for weather?

For hikers, the only time to visit Patagonia is from October through March. At other times of year the trails are covered in snow and mountain hiking is impossible. During these times, the average high temperature will be in the 60s to 70s, and the average low in the 40s. Average rainfall in these months is around one inch per month, or less.

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