Join the Glacier and Ice Cap Trek to one of the most beautiful places in the world. This Patagonia trekking holiday in Argentina is a guided adventure expedition.
The ultimate destination for the relentless pursuit of ‘wow’! Join the Glacier and Ice Cap Trek on this Patagonia trekking holiday in Argentina to immerse yourself amongst the breath-taking landscapes as you explore this trekkers and photographers paradise.
This carefully crafted unique itinerary ensures you experience the ruggedness of Patagonia off the well trodden tourist trails following years of Chief Ewe’s (Jim’s) local knowledge having led expeditions across this vast and unspoilt landscape and his keen interest in historic Welsh settlements in this wind-swept land.
Experience South America’s southern frontier of snow-capped sheer granite towers, sweeping glaciers, cascading waterfalls, stunning turquoise lakes and vast grassy plains. Experience the immense blue-hued natural wonder of Glaciar Perito Moreno, trek the Tunel Glacier and wind your way up to Paso Del Viento to witness one of THE most incredible wonders to behold in a lifetime – the colossal Patagonia Ice Field (the third biggest mass of ice in the world after Antarctica and Greenland).
See guanacos roam and a few hardy gauchos tend their sheep, catch a glimpse of condors soaring around the Fitz Roy Massif, camp near the end of the earth in pristine wilderness and then have a chance to indulge in the delicious food and wine of Buenos Aires. This Patagonia trekking holiday in Argentina will reward you with a true sense of adventure, a deep love of the natural world and an appreciation of the pristine wilderness and rugged wildness of Patagonia.
Glacier and Ice Cap Trek itinerary
Day 1: Flight from UK to Buenos Aires and on to El Calafate, Argentina
Benin your Patagonia trekking holiday in Argentina with an overnight flight from London UK to Buenos Aires (approx 13 – 14 hours) and regional flight to El Calafate (approx. 3 hours).
Day 2: Flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate
On arrival into El Calafate you will be transferred to your hostel. El Calafate, Named for the berry that once eaten, guarantees your return to Patagonia, flanks the southern shore of Lago Argentino. Its main strip is dotted with souvenir shops, chocolate houses and restaurants. Beyond here, pretensions quickly melt away with muddy roads leading to ad hoc developments and open pastures. You’ll have time to explore before a team dinner at a local restaurant giving you the chance to sample your choice of traditional Argentinian food. A trek briefing will be given and you’ll have time to get to know your fellow team-mates.
Day 3:Perito Moreno Glacier & El Chaltén
Morning: Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most famous geological sights in the world, and the stunning centre piece of the southern sector of the Southern Ice Cap measuring a whopping 30km in length, 5km in width and an impressive 60 metres in height.
Afternoon: 215km transfer to the town of El Chaltén with free time to explore this quaint wild-west town.
Day 4: Trek Los Huemules Nature Reserve
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Los Humules private reserve. This reserve has been designed and managed by a team of naturalists and conservationists specialised in the protection of the critically endangered Patagonian Huemul deer which can only be found in this area.
Today’s trek will be in a Nothofagus forest and the start of your glacial wilderness experience where you’ll have the trail pretty much to yourselves. Very few people experience this enchanting forest, especially during the tail end of the busy tourist season so it will feel like you have the magic of the forest trees to yourself. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Fitz Roy Massif and follow Rio Diablo until reaching Luguna Diablo for more breath-taking views toward Glacier Caglirro. On your decent you will see Laguna Azul, the stunning blue glacial lake. Staying overnight in cabins at Ricanor campsite, you’ll be surrounded by impressive snow-capped mountains.
Day 5: Trek Laguna de Los Tres
Today’s trail will wind you through beech forests towards the Poincenot Base Camp with incredible views of the Piedras Blancas Glacier and the Rio Blanco Valley. This valley bestows colourful scrublands and grey coloured trees which artistically display their roots on sheer sandbanks that are intercepted by rocky glacial flowing streams.
Leaving the depths of the forest from Poincenot Camp, a steep trail will guide you to Laguna de los Tres, the most awe-inspiring lookout to Mount Fitz Roy. The skyline’s ensnared by the granite spires of the Fitz Roy range, these fearsome jagged pinnacles rise up dramatically from the steppe on the Chile-Argentina border. Focusing on the highest of the high, Mount Fitz Roy at 3405m, the indigenous Tehuelche people believed it to be a volcano because of the wispy clouds that curl around its summit.
Indeed, the Tehuelche name for the peak means ‘smoking mountain’ or ‘peak of fire’. This iconic peak pushes even the most hardcore climbers to their limits. Here you will have lunch to maximise your time at one of the most striking mountain sceneries in the world. You may even be lucky to catch sight of condors soaring around the summits or hear the whoosh of the mighty three-meter wingspan of one of the largest birds on earth. Returning to Poincenot Camp to overnight below the jagged backdrop of the Fitz Roy Massif.
Day 6: Trek Laguna Torre – Madre Hija Trail
Set your alarm early to ensure you capture one of the most majestic natural displays as the sun rises against the sheer granite towers of the Fitz Roy Massif imparting a warm orange glow from their soaring peaks.
After breakfast you will start trekking in the shadows of Mount Fitz Roy as the trail takes you along the shores of three picturesque lakes, Laguna Madre, the largest lake and its name means ‘mother’, the next is Hija, meaning ‘daughter’, and the smallest is Nieta, meaning ‘granddaughter’. There will be plenty of picture postcard photo opportunities of these crystal lakes with the mountains providing the perfect framework.
The trail then descends steeply down a number of switchbacks until you reach the Torre Lake Trail which follows the fast-flowing Glacial Fitz Roy River. On further to reach Laguna Torre the trail leads to a lookout with immeasurable views across the glacial moraine towards Cerro Solo, the Adela’s Range, Glacier Torre and the legendary savagely steep needle of granite – Cerro Torre, known as the ‘impossible mountain’.
Following the captivation of these awe-inspiring views, you will then retrace your steps to join the trail along the Rio Fitz Roy to reach your cabins in El Chaltén. Before dinner you will have time to relax, pick up some extra snacks or enjoy the cafés or microbrewery of this frontier town – a great part of this Patagonia trekking holiday in Argentina.
Day 7: Trek Laguna Toro
The next two days of the trek are spent expedition style as you venture deep into the Patagonian wilderness. This is an incredible experience as you journey off the beaten track with special permits organised to allow you to trek is such an astounding area. You will be provided with two packed lunches, food bowl, coffee cup and spoon to carry along with your kit. Local porters will take your tent and other food supplies.
Starting from El Chaltén at 450 metres above sea level, you will follow the trail to Laguna Toro (Lake Toro) and Pliegue Tumbado. The route climbs through beautiful beech trees to the timberline (1000 metres) at the base of the Pliegue Tumbado Ridge; before heading down to the vast grassy plains. It has been known for the elusive and solitary Patagonian Puma (the “ghost of the Andes”) to be seen in this area. From here you will descend through the Tunel River Valley and to Toro Lake campsite at 650 metres, your amazing home for two nights. You will have the chance to savour another epic outlook of Fitz Roy and Cerro Solo though this time from the south.
Day 8: Trek Laguna Toro – Paso del Viento
It is almost impossible to describe your trekking experience for today as it’s an extraordinary journey jam-packed with adventure! With a glacial river crossing, being enveloped with striking snow-capped mountains, trekking the Tunel Glacier, witnessing the expansive view of the third largest icefield in the world and finally a river crossing via a Tyrolean rope. It will be a day you’ll remember for many years to come.
To start today’s great adventure you will set off from camp and cross the flowing Tunel River in order to approach the Tunel Glacier which originates from the South Patagonian Ice Cap. Depending on the flow of the river, you will either wade across the glacial waters or take the Tyrolean rope(zip-line cable and harness) further upstream. Your route will winds its way through loose rocks, moraines and beautifully exposed bedrock before reaching the Tunel Glacier. With conditions permitting, you will have the rare opportunity to trek across the Glacier and be graced with amazing vast views of the Tunel and Quervain Glaciers and Mount Fitz Roy. Followed by a steep ascent of Paso Del Viento or Windy Pass taking you to a height of 1,500 metres where the Continental Ice Field will unveil itself. The sheer scale of the world’s third largest icefield is simply jaw-dropping and a sight that not many people have been fortunate to try and absorb. The route then descends to Lake Toro and re-cross the Tunel River via a Tyrolean rope and return to camp.
Day 9:Trek Laguna Toro – El Chalten
From the campsite at Lake Toro you will head back downstream and retrace your steps from day 7 via “Pliegue Tumbado”. The undulating terrain leads you back through burnt forests, marsh areas and lush beech forests to arrive at the park ranger station where the Glacier and Ice Cap Trek comes to its end and you’ll return to the comforts of El Chaltén.
Day 10: El Chaltén to El Calafate to Buenos Aires
Following breakfast you will be transferred from El Chaltén back to El Calafate for your return flight to Buenos Aires. Here you can either extend your stay in Argentina or return home.