Day 1 : Arrival to Santiago
Overnight at Hotel Bonaparte
Upon arrival at the Santiago Airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Flight to Punta Arenas and start of the 5-day short W trek
Overnight at Ecocamp
In the morning you will be picked up at the hotel and transferred to the Santiago Airport to board your morning flight to Punta Arenas–approximately 4 hours.
After arriving in Punta Arenas, you will drive to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. During summer, the sun sets around 11 pm, so as you drive in you’ll have plenty of light to admire the Patagonian plain with its guanacos and snow-capped mountain horizon. Before arriving, there will be a couple of stops.
One is at Puerto Natales, a small but lively town on the shore of Seno Ultima Esperanza — “Last Hope Sound”. You’re invited to check out the town and enjoy a hearty lunch of delicious local food. The other stop is at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890s. The surrounding area is very scenic with plenty of wild birds to be seen. The day ends with an overnight at the EcoCamp.
Day 3: Paine Massif’s Heart, Valle Frances
Overnight at Paine Grande Lodge
After breakfast, start your day by driving towards Pudeto dock, located by the shores of Pehoe Lake. Once there, board a Catamaran that will take you to the northwest sector of the lake, where you’ll start the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley) on a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How far into the valley you go depends on your pace.
An active walk will lead you to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the southeast face of the Massif. From this point, you can enjoy your first truly wonderful view and then continue up the trail until you reach the upper valley. The geological formations of the high valley are marvelous: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Cathedral de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). Here it’s time to have a picnic and recover from the walk. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well.
Next, you will descend through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest until reaching the Refugio Paine Grande, located in the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. Upon reaching the refugio, there will be the opportunity to reflect on the day while enjoying a replenishing dinner.
Day 4: Glacier Grey
Overnight at Ecocamp
Today you’ll hike from Paine Grande Lodge along the shores of the mountain-lined Lake Pehoe to the northern end of glacial Lake Grey. Enjoy a picnic lunch before boarding the boat that sails to the blue face of Glacier Grey.
During shoulder season (October and April), the navigation on Glacier Grey might be cancelled as the boat requires a minimum of 10 passengers to sail. If this is the case you will get up early and trek about two hours on the Grey trail until reaching a sightseeing point offering a splendid view of the Glacier, and then return to Paine Grande on time to take the catamaran back to Pudeto’s dock.
During regular season, once you are close to the glacier you’ll have lots of time to marvel. From Lake Grey’s southern end, you will transfer to the EcoCamp, where you’ll enjoy the night.
Day 5: The Mighty Torres del Paine
Overnight at Ecocamp
Time for a big breakfast and lots of energy! Your goal today is to complete the most famous trail in Torres del Paine NP. You will walk from the campsite towards Hostería Las Torres and connect with the winding uphill path to Ascencio Valley. This is the valley that supports the eastern face of the towers’ base. Pass dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers along the scenic walk into the valley. It’s not a difficult walk, but you might want to save some energy for the final challenge: the moraine. This mass of boulders is the last guardian before you are face to face with the uplifting Torres del Paine. The moraine is sufficiently steep. It is important to do it slowly and with a fair amount of caution.
After considerable effort, the Towers will come into full view, rising majestically before you with the glacial lake visible below. This is one of the most breathtaking sights in the world! The famous Torres del Paine (2, 900 m/ 9, 400 ft) consists of three gigantic granite monoliths, sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. Is there any better place on this planet to have lunch? At the foot of the mighty Torres del Paine you will enjoy life, the view, and a bite to eat!
Once everyone is ready, you will backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley, and return to the EcoCamp.
Day 6: Kayaking Adventure
Overnight at Tyndall area camping site
Start the day with a drive, headed towards the Serrano Camp, located in the southwest shore of the park, where the Serrano River begins its winding path, leaving Torres del Paine NP. This river is the main channel for the park’s glacial hydrological network to drain towards the Pacific Ocean. When you reach the camp, you will be given equipment and a safety instructions to cover the next three days of adventure. You will embark down Serrano River with Paine Massif as your backdrop.
When you’ve been kayaking for about four hours, you’ll cross a small section of land to avoid a waterfall. Afterwards, continue downriver passing by beautiful mountains covered in lenga forests. Near the mouth of the Tyndall River disembark at a riverside campsite to pitch your tent and enjoy dinner by the campfire.
Day 7: Superb Southern Ice Fields Panorama
Overnight at Hosteria Monte Balmaceda
After a hearty breakfast, continue on your kayaking journey. As you advance through this section of the river, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of Tyndall Glacier, a major arm of the enormous Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Later, stop at Estancia Pekin Guerrero for lunch and a break, followed by a three-hour paddle through Patagonic fjords in the realms of the beautiful Mount Balmaceda. You’ll ultimately reach Mount Balmaceda, where your cozy mountain lodge awaits you for the night.
Day 8: Exploring Balmaceda Glacier and Last Hope Fjord
Overnight Hotel Rey Don Felipe
This morning enjoy a kayaking excursion to Balmaceda Glacier. Located in Bernardo O’Higgins NP, this hanging glacier is part of the Southern Ice Fields and deposits its icebergs in the Ultima Esperanza Fjord. The Balmaceda Glacier can only be visited by water.
After enjoying great views close to the glacier, you’ll paddle towards the main dock of O’Higgins NP, where you will board the catamaran to Puerto Natales, crossing the Last Hope Fjord. You may experience the famous Patagonic winds and sporadic shows of local marine life. Once you reach the picturesque Natales town, a transfer to the bus station awaits. Head towards Punta Arenas on a 3-hour scenic drive; upon arrival, a transfer to your hotel will be provided.
Day 9: Horseback riding and return to Santiago
Overnight at Hotel Bonaparte
You will be picked up at your hotel and driven to Agua Fresca Bay, located 27 km to the south of Punta Arenas. Upon arrival to Hosteria Agua Fresca, you’ll be welcomed by the guides, who will provide all the necessary instructions and equipment for your horseback ride along the Strait of Magellan.
Visit the surrounding wetlands, where you’ll find many native birds, foxes, and rabbits. This area is also rich in flora, where species like lenga, calafate and arenaria are found. Continue through the native forest until you arrive at a splendid lookout where the historic Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego, and Dawson Island can be seen. Complete your ride at the hosteria, where you will enjoy a delicious homemade snack before returning to your hotel in Punta Arenas.
You will be picked up at the hotel in the afternoon and transferred to Punta Arenas Airport to board your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 10: Bike and wine full-day tour
Enjoy a morning pick-up at your hotel and head south to wine country. Enjoy a ride through three vineyards and the small towns supported by the wineries. The vineyards vary in the wine they produce and in the background of their origin. First you’ll visit a rustic family-owned estate producing a wide variety of wine including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Carmenere (thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in Chile in 1995).
Next visit a contemporary vineyard, started by a wealthy Santiago family to produce high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, and Cot (Chile’s version of the famous Argentine Malbec). Finish your journey with a 100% organic vineyard where you’ll taste wine directly from the tanks. After the final vineyard, you’ll be transported to a countryside restaurant for lunch and then return to Santiago after a wonderful biking and tasting day!
Later in the day, you will be picked up at the hotel and transferred to Santiago Airport to board your flight home.