Mt. Fitzroy, Argentina.

Classic Patagonia Treks

11 days
from
$5,299 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 8 reviews >
Challenging
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Trip code: 
TAF
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
18

Patagonia's best trekking in Torres del Paine and the Fitzroy Massif

Experience breathtaking landscapes within two classic Patagonian trekking regions on both sides of the Chile/Argentina border. Challenging walks are rewarded with majestic views of lagoons, mountains and glaciers. See guanacos grazing and Andean condors soaring overhead, visit the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier, and find sheer tranquillity in the beautiful wilderness of Torres del Paine National Park. An essential trip for trekking enthusiasts that reveals the stunning glory of nature’s southern American wonderland.

Highlights

  • Stunning treks amongst the granite peaks of Torres del Paine National Park and the Fitzroy Massif
  • Visit Perito Moreno Glacier and watch huge icebergs calving from the glacier into Lake Argentino
  • Spend 4 nights inside Torres Del Paine National Park

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels (6 for land only bookings) and 4 nights refugios (dormitories)
  • 6 days walking
  • Light backpacking necessary
  • Good fitness required
  • Altitude maximum 1,000m, average 200m
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 18yrs
  • Countries visited: Argentina, Chile

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Internal flights for Land Only bookings
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Challenging: 2-3 km/1-2 miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths

Day by day breakdown
Day 319.0km/11.0miles
Day 411.0km/6.0miles
Day 524.0km/14.0miles
Day 611.0km/6.0miles
Day 918.0km/11.0miles
Day 1015.0km/9.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

El Calafate
to
El Calafate
  • Day 1

    Start El Calafate; visit Perito Moreno Glacier.

    Flight inclusive bookings will have arrived into Buenos Aires on the previous day and been taken to the centrally located hotel by the tour leader before having a short city tour and opportunity for an evening out exploring the city. Flight inclusive bookings include internal flights from Buenos Aires down to El Calafate today.

    Those booking ‘Land Only’ will make their own way to El Calafate and meet up with the group at the hotel in El Calafate. If agreed with Exodus in advance then it will be possible to meet the group flight at the airport and join the transfer in to town if this is preferable.

    Today we'll drive the short distance out of El Calafate to visit the breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier. One of the most famous geological sights in the world, the Perito Moreno glacier is one of only a few glaciers that grows and shrinks with seasonal fluctuations. It calves into Lake Argentino and sometimes part of the lake becomes land-locked depending upon the position of the ice. Every so often it is possible to see (and hear) huge lumps of ice break off and fall into the lake and then float away as icebergs.

    As there is an early morning start tomorrow we suggest sorting your luggage tonight and preparing a smaller bag that you will carry throughout the next 4 days of trekking in Chile. We have an agreement with the hotel in El Calafate that means excess luggage can be left securely until your return - the tour leader will give further details and assistance. Everything that you bring with you to Chile you will need to carry yourself on the treks.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Travel to Torres del Paine N.P in Chile; transfer to first refugio.

    This morning we start early with a long but scenic journey crossing the Andean border that starts out on the Argentine plateau and emerges in the stunning Chilean landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park.  Once we arrive at the Lago Amarga entrance to the park we will meet our local guide who will join us for the next 4 days to provide expert guidance and insight. From here we will be transferred to our first refugio. This afternoon we will have the opportunity to enjoy some short treks around the area.

    Refugio

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Trek to the base of Las Torres viewpoint.

    Onwards and upwards we trek to one of the most impressive highlights of the park - the 'base of the towers'. A lakeside viewpoint from where you will look upon Torre Sur (2,850m), Torre Central (2,800m), Torre Norte (2,600m) and Cerro Nido de Cóndor. We descend back down the valley and return to our refuge to enjoy a hot meal and a well earned drink.

    Trekking time: Approximately 9 hours.

    Note: To and from the refugio to the base of the towers is an 18 km round-trip (8/9 hours) whereby you can leave your bag at the refugio. There will be lockers available to leave your things, but please make sure to bring your own lock as these are not provided.

    Refugio

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Trek to Los Cuernos.

    We will walk down the valley towards the shore of Lake Nordenskjold and then follow the edge of the lake on a much flatter and easier terrain to reach Los Cuernos. This is considered by many to be one of the most charming sites in the whole park, a perfect spot to rest in our refuge for the night.  

    Trekking time: Approximately 4/5 hours. 

    Refugio

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Trek to Valle Frances and on to Paine Grande.

    Another long day of trekking lies ahead as we venture into the French Valley. The first 2 hours involve some ascents and descents with views of Nordenskjöld Lake accompanying us until reaching 'Campamento Italiano'. Here you can leave your backpack (unattended) at the campsite if you wish, enabling you to walk the next part of the trek empty handed (keep valuables with you). The slight ascent lasts for about 1 and a half hours until French Glacier lookout, where we’ll be able to observe an impressive hanging glacier and listen out for the rumbling noises of small avalanches as great chunks of ice and snow fall off. The trail does continue until 'Campamento Británico' and on to another lookout point 'Mirador Britanico', but note that how far the group will walk up into the valley is dependent upon weather conditions, timings, and the condition of the group - the decision will be taken by the local guide who will walk with us whilst in the National Park. 

    We return back down along the valley to Campamento Italiano and continue our walk onwards past the shore of the smaller Lake Skottsberg and into the Pehoé sector of the park. We arrive in the late afternoon to the inviting and idyllic site of 'Paine Grande' refugio and can spend the evening gazing upon the clear night skies or relaxing in the on-site bar.

    Occasionally some groups may have full-service camping tonight instead of staying in the refugio dormitories - see accommodation section.

    Trekking time: Approximately 10 hours. 

    Note: This is the trek distance if reaching the very end of Valle Frances, often we only go as far as one particular viewpoint due to the weather and/or group condition. The total walking distance for today therefore becomes 17 km.

    Refugio/Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Trek to Glacier Grey viewpoint; catamaran and bus transfer to El Calafate.

    Today we will start early in order to see the third and final of the 'W-Trek' highlights - the Grey Glacier. This is a round trip to a lookout over Lake Grey that will end back at Refugio Paine Grande, so we can leave our bags and just carry any essentials with us. The trail goes along the western side of the Paine Massif with views to Lake Grey and various mountains. After about one and a half hours we will reach the lookout point and enjoy views of the Grey Glacier in the distance. We return by the same route back to Pehoé Lake from where we will take the Catamaran across the Lake to Pudeto sector. A bus will take us from here on the short drive to the park entry point at Laguna Amarga, and here we will board our transfer vehicle to Calafate (approx. 5/6 hours). After driving through beautiful scenery on our way out of the park (keep an eye out of the window for pumas!) we cross the border once more into Argentina and arrive late evening into the town of Calafate.

    Trekking time: Approximately 4 hours. 

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Free day at leisure to take part in optional excursions in and around El Calafate.

    This is a free day to either have a rest or you can also book optional tours in Calafate. We recommend the Perito Moreno Ice Trek or the half day tour to Estancia Nibepo Aike where you will have the chance to enjoy a typical Patagonian barbecue and see how a typical estancia works in Patagonia. Please ask your tour leader, and they will help you to arrange it.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Transfer to El Chalten; free afternoon.

    In the morning we will transfer approx 3 hours to the small mountain town of El Chalten that will be our base for walking in the Fitzroy region. After arriving, the rest of the day is free to relax. Alternatively, for those who wish, there are many short treks around town, which your tour leader will help you to arrange. We spend the night in El Chalten at a simple and friendly hosteria.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Los Glaciares National Park; trek in Fitzroy Massif up to Laguna de Los Tres.

    This morning we start with a short 30 minute bus journey on the edge of Los Glaciares National Park to our start point at El Pilar from where we will commence our trekking in the stunning Fitz Roy region. We follow the trail leading to Poincenot Camp, along the way enjoying views of Piedras Blancas Glacier and Fitz Roy if the weather conditions are clear. From Poincenot we then continue onwards to reach 'Laguna de los Tres', involving a steep ascent to reach a wonderfully scenic spot from which to relax and take photos of the Fitzroy Massif. We descend back down from the viewpoint and walk back down from the mountains to eventually reach the town of El Chalten on foot.

    Trekking Time: Approximately 8/9 hours. 

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Trek to Torres Glacier and Cerro Torre viewpoint; return on foot to El Chalten.

    Today we will trek into a beautiful valley and make our way toward the stunning Torre glacier viewpoint. If time permits, we might be able to continue on to the Maestri Lookout at Laguna Torre (this 4km section of the walk can get very windy) before walking back to El Chalten.

    Trekking time: Approximately 7/8 hours. 

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Transfer to El Calafate; fly back home.

    After breakfast we will transfer by road down to El Calafate airport. This is quite a long journey and we allow approx. 3/4 hours in order to arrive on time for the midday or afternoon flight to Buenos Aires.

    For Land Only bookings – the trip ends at El Calafate airport and the internal flights are not included in the price of the trip.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Iguazu Falls Extension

Code: XAF

To the far North East of Argentina, boarding Brazil lies the magnificent falls of Iguazu (or Iguassu).  Add four additional days to your trip to experience this awe-inspiring sight. Staying on the Argentinian side you will have the opportunity to wander around this UNESCO World Heritage National Park packed full of flora and fauna. In the heart of the park you will find the cascading waters. This spectacular waterfall is not to be missed. You can also get up close to the falls by taking a boat trip as an optional extra.

The detailed itinerary can be found here.

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

It is possible to upgrade to premium accommodation- please call for details. 

Essential Info

Visas

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

No visa required for holders of British passport.

If you are crossing the border into Argentina from Chile on your trip, we will need to know your profession in order to provide when entering Argentina.

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee which applies to Canadian and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows: Australians - US$100 (multiple entry) Canadians - US$75 (single entry) This fee must be paid before you enter Argentina. For full details, and to make the payment, please visit: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes

Chile

British, most European and most other nationalities, including Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, do not require visas. All other nationalities should contact the nearest Chilean Embassy if in doubt. Citizens of Australia pay a fee on first entry into Chile by air (cash US Dollars only, no credit cards or cheques) $95 - valid for only 90 days). There is no fee for other nationalities at the time of writing. The one-time charge is valid for the life of your passport so keep the stub stapled in.

Vaccinations

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Argentina with an update to the Health section – an outbreak of Hantavirus has been reported in Epuyén, Province of Chubut in southern Argentina; for more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers in Argentina, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever is also a known risk in Argentina. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Due to a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Misiones province of Argentina, vaccinations are strongly recommended if you intend to visit the Iguazu Falls.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Chile

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet-style and are included. The accommodation in Torres del Paine will arrange packed lunches for days when we are trekking. There is a variety of good quality food on offer in local restaurants and cafes usually for relatively low prices (although the refuge that we stay in for the standard itinerary in Torres del Paine is the exception as facilities here are limited).  Please advise us at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements. Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, but gluten free diets can be hard to cater for in this part of the world - you may wish to bring supplementary food items. 

Weather

Since Argentina is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the reverse of those which we experience in Europe. Trips to Patagonia are organised between October and April to take advantage of the longer, warmer days. During these months the summer temperatures in Buenos Aires reach a maximum of 35ºC, in Calafate around 22ºC and in the extreme south around 19ºC. These are maximum figures, and the average can be taken as being somewhat lower; night time temperatures in Patagonia and the south will certainly be very much colder than this, and in some cases freezing. It can be extremely windy and it can rain at any time of year. The chart below for Punta Arenas is fairly representative of standard conditions for the areas visited on the trip. There are two distinct seasons at the Iguazu Falls - the summer is hot and humid with average temperatures in the mid-20s, but in winter it can be surprisingly cool, with an average daily temperature of 15ºC. It is mostly sunny, but rains are quite common in spring and summer.

Buenos Aires

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 5 (Challenging)

This is a trek where it is preferable to have experience of long walks in varied and irregular terrain. The walking is not dangerous or technically difficult, but you must be a confident walker with a good level of fitness in order to manage the sections of ascent and long duration of the treks, combined with carrying your backpack on most days. Due to the unpredictability of the climate in southern Patagonia, you will need to be prepared for walking in all conditions, as the weather can change extremely rapidly, making clothing and footwear choices important. There is a rest day scheduled in the itinerary for the day in El Calafate. The regions we visit on the trip are very remote and you should be prepared to spend time in areas where facilities and services are limited. Roads are mostly unpaved and although well-maintained they can be bumpy and dusty. Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group. There are several days where you have to carry all of your belongings with you on the trek (see 'What to Take' section, and daily itinerary text for details) so it is recommended that you pack lightly and are happy walking with a bag.  You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Refugios

8 nights hotels (6 for land only bookings) and 4 nights refugios (dormitories).

We use comfortable and welcoming small hotels when staying in towns in the south of Argentina. Within Torres del Paine in Chile we will stay in ‘Refugios’ located within the national park along the trails. They are sociable places, and have all the amenities we will need; including hot showers, food, drink, and comfortable bunk beds with bedding provided in dormitory style rooms.

For the 4 nights staying in refugios within Torres del Paine National Park, it has become increasingly common for these properties overbook themselves and inform us at late notice that our groups will be camping as opposed to staying in the dormitories. In these instances, they each have adjoining campsites and tents are pre-erected for us, with all equipment (including sleeping bags) included. Anyone who has paid a single supplement is able to have a single tent, and others will be on a twin share basis as per the hotel rooming on the rest of the trip. Meals are all still included in the refugios, and sleeping under the stars certainly has its perks in this part of the world. We may not necessarily be able to tell you in advance of travel whether or not your group will be camping. If you have any concerns about this then do get in touch with us.

For those booking Flight Inclusive, this includes 2 nights in Buenos Aires (at the start and end of the trip) where we use an international style hotel in a central and safe area of Buenos Aires. Single accommodation can be booked for the hotel nights but doesn't apply to the 3 nights in refugios.

Please note single accommodation can be booked for the hotel nights but it doesn't apply to the 4 nights in refugios.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Roy FRANCE

    Classic Patagonia

    On reflection, I would of liked there to be more trekking. Land only booking is 11 days of which only 6 are trekking. I fully appreciate the size of the region and the need for transfers to see "it all" but given the distance travelled and the cost involved I think DAY 7 should be a trekking day rather than a rest day. There is plenty of time to rest during transfers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Las Torres

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pepe was outstanding. 10/10 only just covers it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    consider arriving a day early to see a little bit more of Buenos Aries. Take flip flops for the showers in the refugio's

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The mini and full ice trek on Perito Moreno are a full day excursion 8am-6pm. Our party signed up expecting a 4pm return with a view of visiting El Calafate before dinner but that was never the case which was made clear once we were picked up.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Chris Jennings

    Stunning Patagonia

    Where to begin. I've been on some amazing trips but this tops the lot! Exodus clearly do their research, so you are guaranteed awesome walks with excellent competent guides and as described accommodation. The variables typically are a) weather b) the group c) how you get along with the group / guide. On this trip all these were far exceeded - I have memories that will always bring a smile to my face, a sure sign of a great trip. The nature of Patagonia ensured we got to experience all types of weather conditions, high winds, heavy rain, sun, hot, cold, but importantly we were lucky and got to see and do almost everything on the itinerary, and where cut short there were alternatives to keep the group occupied such as the micro brewery in El Chalten :). Excellent beer! The group came from all walks of life and had interesting stories to tell and quickly gelled over our common interests that all brought us to this holiday. Finally, our group leader Tomas, what can I say apart from repeat an earlier review comment, the guy is a legend!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many highlights, having a shot of Jim Beam on reaching the viewpoint at 'Mirador Britanico' on day five. The views of Fitzroy and Perito Moreno Glacier that take your breathe away, soaking up the vast landscapes and enjoying the journey, exploring cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to the large quantity of ice cream and steak I consumed!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I'll repeat again Tomas is a legend! Always on the look out for people's well being (include those not on the group!), from simple things like pointing out open zips on rucksacks to dealing with angry people in dorms, that was a simple misunderstanding (nobody from the group I must add!), to carrying peoples bags. His knowledge and spoken English were both excellent and he had many an interesting story to tell of prior jobs and life experiences. After the trip extension I caught up with him for my final evening in Buenos Aires and again he was hard at work attempting to address flight issues for the next group (caused by the G20!), I don't think I seen a harder working guide. Socially he got to know the group very well and our sense of humour, and I hope that we, and the group, stay in touch.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Highly recommend the trip extension to Iguazu Falls, particularly if you have time to see the falls from both sides, Argentina and Brazil. Note - I packed 3 bags, one for this extension (t-shirts, shorts etc), one for Chile where you have to carry everything and one main rucksack for the rest of the trip. Worth nothing that you are not carrying all your stuff as much as you think in Chile.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Try the Ice Cream in El Calafate it is superb. The local beers are good as well and if you have time possibly add extra days to explore Buenos Aires. Finally, if you like 80s / 90s rock you're in for a treat!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steven Porter

    Classic Patagonia Trek

    A thoroughly enjoyable trekking holiday. Fantastic scenery, the company of like minded walkers, in a variety of accommodations in both remote and popular locations in Patagonia, Chile and Argentina. The services of excellent tour and local guides made the experience feel both authentic and comfortable. My hat off to the whole team from Exodus

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the pinnacles of Mt Fitzroy behind the glacial lake.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was extremely competent and helpful, rescuing me on a very difficult long day in the heat.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you love spectacular mountain scenery, you'll love this trek. If you have the chance, take the Iguazu extension. This was fantastic.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I understand we were very lucky with the weather we had. As a consequence I carried alot of gear which was unnecessary - additional fleeces, gaiters and extra waterproofs. This extended to towels which were provided at all accommodations but we weren't told.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Tim Hurst

    Patagonia Rocks (pun intended)!

    Views of Torres Del Paine and Mount Fitroy are breathtaking. We were very lucky with weather throughout and the trekking was very enjoyable with scenic views at every turn. My inspiration for going was pictures of TDP and it didn't disappoint. However, Mount Fitzroy is just as impressive - if not more so. Overall I didn't think the walking was overly demanding (weather helped of course) and am surprised it was a 5 rating. I believe next year, the real tough day is being split into 2 days?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I had looked at pictures of Torres Del Paine for a few years and couldn't wait to trek to this area. I was concerned that weather would impede the views but as we entered the National Park, what cloud there was gradually dissipated to reveal the true majesty of these amazing rocky peaks as we got closer and closer. Could not have been a more dramatic or fulfilling. For me, the rest of the trip was a bonus - but what a bonus!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas Toro our group leader was a true legend! Looked after us like a father even though the average age of the party was probably 30 years older than him!! Very conscientious, friendly, personable, knowledgeable, good humoured. The list could go on. Seemed to hear every voice, wanted to ensure our tour was memorable. Nothing seemed like too much of a problem. Carried an extra 10kg rucksack for one person who was temporarily struggling. Well done Tomas!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be careful when reading trip notes. The link I had for final joining instructions was for 2018. This has changed quite a bit. The first long day trek on the 'W' walk in Torres will be split into two days next year and the 2 day trip to the Estancia El Condor has been dropped. With regard to the former, the long trek was tough but not over-demanding. I am surprised it is category 5. I enjoyed this challenge - though we were exceptionally lucky with weather throughout. The packing instructions are also quite confusing as others have said. I took a big holdall with everything in. Left stuff at El Calafate and continued with a 40litre rucksack which I thought was about right for the W walk. Usually in Argentina you can get away with a smaller day rucksack. I travelled with Air Europa to Buenos Aires as organised by Exodus because of problems I had with my own flights on a different occasion. However, it is definitely worth paying a bit extra to go BA to BA
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Emma Thomson

    Classic Patagonia

    This trip was fantastic! Even though we didn't see many of the most famous views due to the cloud (there's always an element of luck where mountain weather is involved) it was still an awe inspiring place. The mountain scenery was dramatic and atmospheric in the mist and the lakes in Torres del Paine were the most beautiful shades of blue and turquoise that changed in the light. No two days of walking were the same, the landscape was varied and we never tired of seeing another glacier or the condors soaring above us again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It would be impossible to pick just one! The mountains appearing and disappearing through the mist in the French Valley was eerie and beautiful. Seeing the lenticular clouds forming above Los Cuernos also sticks in the mind. But I think my favourite moment was at the estancia when we hiked up to a ridge where the condors nested and saw them soar beneath where we were standing. I could've watched them all day! And the even without the condors the view of Lago San Martin from the ridge was stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pepe was fantastic... His knowledge about the region was impressive and his enthusiasm and passion for trekking were inspiring. He obviously spent a lot of time making sure everything was organised for us and the trip ran smoothly, though he did this so discretely it would've been easy not to notice. Pepe made sure that everyone got what they wanted out of their trip, whether that was to take it slow, soak in the scenery and take lots of pictures, or to set a more challenging pace. And because we were always with local guides no one was unaccompanied. But most importantly Pepe was brilliant fun, we had a great laugh!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The packing instructions seemed a bit complex but you should take a holdall or pack with all your gear, then when you go to Torres del Paine to do the point to point trek you can leave this behind securely and only bring what you need for the W-trek in a smaller back pack (~30L-40L capacity). Prepare for all weathers and heed the advice to wear layers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was initially worried about joining the group on my own but after the first evening any worry I had was forgotten. We all got on well and everyone was really inclusive. Finally, although all the local guides who joined us for certain parts of the trip were fantastic, Sarah and Camilla who were our guides in Torres Del Paine were particularly fantastic! Much like Pepe they were enthusiastic both about the place they worked and about Treking. And they were brilliant fun.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Ashita Patel

    Classic Patagonia Treks

    The breath taking landscapes/views, whether you were sitting in the bus or hiking. Don’t forget to look up!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Las Torres from a distance as we were driving into Chile and then actually getting to the base . It was same feeling when I saw and climbed to the base of Mount Fitzroy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was everything that you want in a guide and more. He was knowledgeable, organised, very friendly, accommodating, possibility the most patient and considerate guide I have met! Our other guides, Paula and Sebastian, were equally excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are confusing, as my fellow hikers have suggested, - Activity Level of 5 is very valid and nothing to do the accommodation nor the fact that you need to carry you stuff for a few days as suggested by the guy I spoke to in Sales. - you definitely need a bigger pack, max 40L, rather than a day pack - you will have to carry kit in your pack for all weathers so layer up. We had good weather but it did include sunshine, rain, snow and lots of wind - Essentials to pack, definitely bring a pair of flipflops/jandles/tongs/crocks, pain killers, dry bags - ATMs are rare so load-up with dollars

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put of my the long hikes, the views are so worth the effort. At the end of the hike there is usually a cold beer or nice glass of wine to look forward.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Helen Gentles

    Classic Patagonia Treks

    A fantastic trip which I would have given 5 stars until we had major delays with our return flight. The scenery is stunning and the walking excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Numerous moments but seeing Mount Fitz Roy for the first time was very special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was a first class leader who looked after us all very well. He was very knowledgeable and had developed good relations with people wherever we stayed so the trip ran very smoothly. The local guides were also excellent. Paula in Chile deserves a special mention as she was outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You never need to carry all your luggage on a hike. I had a 36L day pack which was just ok, perhaps 40L would have been ideal. Take a travel towel for a couple of the refugios.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first day's hike took us 12 hours so was a tough start. As Andrea has said, we felt that an extra day in Torres del Paine would have been beneficial. I won't be flying with Air Europa again. Our return flight was cancelled, we were taken to a hotel but then pretty much left in the dark - finally flew out 60 hours later.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Andrea Kolatchew

    Classic Patagonian Treks

    This is a physically demanding but very rewarding holiday which takes you to a beautiful part of the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The remote Estancia El Condor, located on Lago San Martin, was a sensational final location.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier Espil was excellent, very committed to his country and patient in trying to provide for all the needs of the group. As well as completing the physically arduous treks with us, he had to organize a series of guides in specific places and he seemed to have good relationships with many people (drivers,guides, hoteliers,etc.) who contributed to the success of the trip. He went out of his way to make all the details work. I really liked the way he took care of individual tips from a kitty - this is often not handled well, in my experience, but he worked it out in a fair manner on our behalf.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lot of packing and repacking to do, a sensible day pack is necessary (30 litres seemed to be about right). Keep your head torch with you, as it is necessary in the refugios and on the camping night. Bring enough US Dollars to be generous with tips and to be able to have coffee and extra meals. The ATM's are often not working. Tourism (money) is essential to enable these remote areas to sustain viable programs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The group I was in thought that an extra day doing the Torres Del Paine (W Trek) section would have been desirable, as we were all a bit stunned after the first 13 hour, 30Km day. Most of the inconvenient injuries , (knees and feet) started from that day. An extra day would still make the trek within the 2 week holiday window.

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