"This trip to Patagonia was new this year and I go to be on the maiden voyage. It was VERY fun, challenging, and the other trekkers were wonderful. Argentina is beautiful, unpopulated country. The Argentinian people were very kind and went out of their way to assist in any way."- Joan Allan
"Don’t change a thing. It was perfect! Everything was exceptional!"- Tricia L.
Huge views of the Andes Mountains, the longest continental mountain range in the world.
Mountain climbing, sparkling lakes, beach picnics, and hut-to-hut hiking all in one tour.
Welcoming inns every night of the tour. No camping here!
Step into Patagonia, a land of vast steppe grasslands, rugged and beautiful coastlines, endless foothills, and forests of indigenous trees. Patagonia’s lakes and rivers sparkle with infinite hues of blue while the massive volcanoes and jagged granite peaks of the Andean cordillera (the longest continental mountain range in world) rise abruptly against the skyline.
It is no secret that Patagonia boasts a wild reputation due to its rugged geography, strong winds, intrepid bandits, (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were outlaws here), and the countless explorers that have chronicled their bold and heroic adventures. But Patagonia has a sophisticated side too, exemplified by welcoming inns, an elaborate trail system for hikers, well appointed hiker’s huts and, of course, delicious food. We’ve developed an itinerary that centers on these luxuries as well as the crystalline lakes that comprise the “Lakes District” of Patagonia, and the intriguing little towns tucked along the famous Ruta 40.
You’ll begin this 9 day inn-to-inn hiking tour of Patagonia in the famous resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche. Bariloche is the “Chocolate Capital of Argentina” and the preeminent gateway city to all things Patagonia. You’ll sample the flavors of Bariloche then transfer to the idyllic mountain enclave of El Bolson. Spend the next two days hiking along the crystal waters of the Cajon del Azul (the Blue Canyon), sampling homemade beer, tea and pastries in cozy mountain huts, and summiting the Cerro Piltriquitron (7,415 feet/2,260 meters), with its 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and the Patagonian Andes Mountains.
Transfer north to the sublimely beautiful peninsula known as Llao Llao. Hike up the Cerro Lopez (7,178 feet/2,188 meters), one of the most famous alpine peaks of the region, and take in the grand views while sipping coffee on the deck of a perfectly positioned climber’s hut.
Continue the hiking tour with a boat ride across the area’s largest lake, Lago Nahuel Huapi. Once off the boat, you’ll enjoy a hike through Los Arrayanes National Park. The park was created in 1971 to protect its forest of rare cinnamon colored Arrayan trees. Walk through the park, enjoy great views of Andes Mountains. Finish this hiking tour through Patagonia by venturing over the frontier into Chile where we will explore towering volcanoes and the strikingly blue lakes of Lago Llanquihue and Todos Los Santos.
Arrive Bariloche, the gateway to the Northern Patagonian Lakes District. Bariloche has grown from a tranquil town on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi to a mountain destination of choice amongst the Argentine elite. Bariloche is also the chocolate capital of Argentina with shops lining the streets of its’ main shopping district and has a penchant for gnomes! Meet group for welcome drinks and dinner at 7:00 p.m.
After breakfast we will transfer by van 1.5-2 hrs. south to the laid back village of El Bolson, it’s name translating literally to “handbag” as it sits tucked between two high ranges. We will hike up the Rio Azul en route to the Cajon del Azul, or Blue Canyon, encountering amazingly clear blue water, multiple bridge crossings and quaint refugios that usually have tasty artisanal homebrewed beer if you happen to be thirsty! Once we return to the trailhead we have the option of riding horses the last 1.5 miles to our family-run hosteria or finish under our own power. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional Argentine “asado” barbeque provided by a local Bolson Asador, or barbeque master.
Today we will drive just south of Bolson and up to the trailhead to Cerro Piltriquitron (7,415 feet/2,260 meters), or Piltri, as the locals call it. After an hour of ascent we will arrive at the refugio for a quick break. From the refugio we will continue our ascent to the upper slopes of Piltri where we will have the option of taking in the magnificent views from a stopping point or we can continue on to the summit for amazing 360 degree views of the Patagonian Andes. On the way back down we can stop by the refugio for a coffee or tea and sample some of the homemade baked goods, or postres, they have to offer.
This morning we will head back north driving through bustling Bariloche to the Llao Llao peninsula and our trailhead for Cerro Lopez. From the trailhead we will climb through the forest to our first stop at Roca Negra, or Black Rock, a small hut in which we can enjoy a coffee or tea break. From there we continue our climb up to Refugio Lopez with unmatched views of the Llao Llao peninsula and Lago Nahuel Haupi.
From the refugio we will descend via an old 4×4 road to Colonia Suiza, or Swiss Colony, formerly settled in the late 1800’s by Swiss immigrants. Tonight we will stay at a lovely hotel in Llao Llao.
After a little elevation boost via gondola and lift at Cerro Catedral ski area we will start on Bariloche area’s classic hikes. After a short climb to Punto Paradiso we begin the long traverse with spectacular views into the Rucoca valley and to the glaciated mighty Monte Tronador in the distance. From the Cancha de Futbol, Football Pitch Col, we drop down to Laguna Schmoll and on to Refugio Frey on the eastern shores of Laguna Toncek. Refugio Frey is famous for hosting the many rock-climbers who scale the jagged granite spires in the surrounding area. After a rest we continue down through the forest, passing Refugio Piedras, and finish our long day on the shores of Lago Guitierrez at Playa Munoz. After dipping our tired and dusty feet in the lake we will transfer by van back to our hotel in Llao Llao.
After a boat transfer across Lago Nahuel Huapi we disembark at the southern tip of the Quetrihue Peninsula and Los Arrayanes National Park. The park was created in 1971 to protect its’ forest of rare cinnamon colored Arrayan trees. Today’s hike is a very casual stroll through the forest finishing at the northern end of the peninsula offering great views of Cordillera de los Andes and Bahia Brava.
We end with a 2-hour drive across the frontier into Chile and our tranquil hotel in Puyehue.
A short drive to Antillanca is followed by an ascent up Volcan Casablanca. From the summit of Casablanca enjoy fantastic views of the lush Chilean tierra and the volcanoes of Osorno and Puntiagudo.
Today we drive south to Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Our hike will follow the Paso Desolacion trail and then the Rincon trail down to the lake. After lunch we follow the Rincon trail through a beautiful, lush woods until it eventually drops back down to the shoreline and Petrohue. Van back to Puerto Varas.
Our final day will be your guide’s choice. Possibilities could be a lakes circuit in Los Alerces National Park, an ascent of Volcan Calbuco or a hike up to the toe of the glacier on Volcan Osorno.
Awake to a delicious breakfast then depart.