Glaciers, ice-caps, fjords and mighty rivers all command your attention during tours to this little-visited part of Chile.
A visit to Aysen and Terra Luna offers some unforgettable experiences.
You will be based at a comfortable lake side lodge. The programme allows you to take your pick from a range of excursions, to mix and match and create an adventure that suits you.
We suggest at least 3 days to see this part of Chile, but we recommend longer if possible as there is enough to do here for many more days.
Aysen is Chile’s most sparsely populated region, and access was only possible after a dusty road was completed in the 1980s.
The road traverses landscapes of glaciation, with high peaks and deep lakes, mighty rivers, channels and fjords and endless forests of southern beech trees.
As you travel south you border the edge of two vast ice -caps, the North Patagonian ice-field and the South Patagonian ice field.
After your explorations either return the same way or continue southwards.
Travelling on southwards will bring you to Villa O’Higgins, a small town at the southern end of the Carretera Austral. From here we can organise the fabulous two day crossing by boat and on foot into Argentina.
The Terra Luna lodge in Aysen, Patagonia, is located in a privileged area, away from the crowds. It is the perfect place to relax, with wood-burning stoves.
Visit the famous blue marble caves by boat.
Choose to trek, horse ride, raft, fish or more, including use of hot tub and spa.
Flexible itinerary so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful area.
It was a FABULOUS trip – so THANK YOU! All the bookings, guides and transport that ANDEAN set up worked out very well for us.
M. Gleason, Patagonia
You’ll fly into Balmaceda, a 2-hour flight down the spine of the Andes, from Santiago, and instantly feel the remoteness.
We pick you up there and drive to the comfortable lodge on the shores of lake General Carrera, base for the next few days.
There are options for fossil hunting, jet boat rides, kayak, horse-riding, fishing, day walks, glacier visits, and for the hardy an adventurous, tough trek multi-day trek onto the North Patagonia ice-cap.
The driving time is approximately 5 hours.
A stop will be made for a visit to the Marble Caves near Puerto Tranquilo on Lake General Carrera if time and weather permit.
Arrive to the Lodge, check in to your room and relax until dinner time. Dinner and overnight.
After a filling breakfast head off on your chosen excursion(s) – see below.
Dinner and overnight at Terra Luna Lodge.
Included shared Excursions
Marble caves, Saltos del Maqui
Sailing on Lake General Carrera visiting the Marble Caves, Carabinero Island and a short walk to various waterfalls at Maqui.
Duration: 1 hour
Marble cave sailing and Puerto Sanchez Islands
Sailing on Lake General Carrera visiting the Marble Caves and Puerto Sanchez Islands.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Trek to Rio Maqui Waterfall
Guided walk to the numerous waterfalls of the Maqui River. Return Terra Luna on foot, by vehicle or by boat.
Duration: 2-4 hours
Trek to Lake Bertrand
Guided trek to lake Bertrand. Duration will depend on chosen starting point. Combinable with a mountain bike portion. Good for rainy days.
Duration: 2-5 hours
Chico Chico and Jeinimeni National Reserve
Full day excursion to Chile Chico and Jeinimeni Nacional reserve.
Duration: 10 hours
Horse riding to Mina Escondioa or Laguna La Manga
Half day horse riding excursion to Mina Escondiota or Laguna la Manga.
Duration: 2 hours
Trek to Veranada fossils
Full day trek to search for Veranada´s fossils.
Includes : Transfer by car, tourleader, picnic. Wonderful views.
Duration: 5-6 hours
Baker river rafting
Half day rafting on the Baker river. Roundtrip transfer by car. 2 hours of rafting.
Duration: 4-5 hours
Trek to Leones Lake
Full day trek to Leones lake and its impressive glaciers. Transfer by 4×4 car to Mapuche glacier. 2 hours trekking 2h,to reach the lake. Navigation in a zodiac to the glacier front wall. Lunch facing the glacier. Back to Terra Luna.
Trek to Meliquina Lake
Full day trek to Meliquina lake. Transfer by car to Punta Baja and back from Leones Valley. Tour leader and lunch included. Tour of lakes and glaciers.
Duration: 10-12 hours
Tamango reserve and Baker River
Full day excursion to Pto Bertrand, Baker river waterfall, Cochrane and Tamango reserve to see “huemules” – South Andean Deer.
Duration: 8-10 hours
Exploradores Valley and Marble Caves
Full day excursion to Puerto Tranquilo, Exploradores Valley, Marble chapel and more. Transfer by car, ailing to marble caves (conditions permitting), tour leader, lunch.
Climb Mount Lindero Magallanes
Full day excursion to climb mount Lindero Magallanes (1,700m/5,577ft), Incredible view on the highest peaks of Patagonia and of five different lakes.
Enjoy 2 hours fishing on Lago Bertrand andthe Lake Bertrand area. Navigation in Semi Rigid (motor) and McKenzie (row) boats. Only Catch & Release. Basic fishing equipment Included.
Duration: 3 – 4 hours
Mountain Bike to La Mina or La Manga lake
MTB to a hidden mine or the lake.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Canoe in River Leones
Drift down the river Leones in a canoe, passing hills, glaciers, and wildlife.
Duration: 3-4 hours.
Note: Other excursions are available for an extra charge such as Jetboat to Glaciar Los Leones or helicopter overflights.
After a filling breakfast head off on your chosen excursion(s).
After breakfast, shared transfer to Balmaceda airport.
Driving time is approximately 5 hours so you need to book flights leaving after 15.00.
Note: This itinerary can be modified and tailored to suit your needs on a private basis.
Transfers can be arranged form and to different locations.
Prices From $887 / £752 per person
Enquire about booking
Fixed time shared transfers from and to Balmaceda airport (please enquire which flights to take), Lodging according to programs, full board (meals as listed), excursions, Bilingual guide Spanish/English/French, free use of spa (hot tub, sauna, training machine)
Flights, services not mentioned in the itinerary, extras and tips, some excursions have an extra cost
All lodgings include breakfast, heating stove and fire alarm.
Bungalows & camp huts are equipped with a kitchen (2 fires), purified water and a refrigerator so you can self-cater if desired.
There are various accommodation types which are allocated on arrival and cannot be reserved in advance.
Lodge San Valentín (Standard rooms):
This building has 3 standard rooms (1 to 3 people each) with private bathroom. The building is also equipped with a common leisure room, a kitchenette, and a terrace shared between users of the 3 rooms. Rooms are sold separately.
Main Lodge (apartments)
The lodge has 4 triplex units with 2 double rooms, 1 single room (changeable into a double room for children), 1 toilet and 1 living room with direct access to the main terrace. There is no kitchen in the units. The restaurant is located in the same building.
El Nido 1 + 2
Beautiful rooms, up in the treetops with an excellent view & privacy. This building has 1 double bed and private bathroom.
The ‘Conejeras’ and ‘The Cave’
These “Camp Huts” are small, two-floor mini-houses (20m2), for 2 people, with a terrace.
The Jacuzzi (superior room)
Best view of the lodge and a jacuzzi, good for special occasions, with double bed and private bathroom.
The Family House
For 6 people, with 2 bedrooms (1 double and 1 quadruple), 1 living room, 1 kitchenette, 1 mezzanine, 2 bathrooms, and terrace. Possibility to increase the capacity of the family house to 8 people.
Nice bungalow built out of a wooded boat, located on the lake shore. It has a double bed, a mini living room, a bathroom and a terrace.
For 6 people, with 2 x triple rooms, 1 living room, 1 kitchenette, 2 bathrooms, and terrace.
The San Lorenzo
For 4 people, with 2 x double rooms, 1 living room, 1 kitchenette, 1 bathrooms, and terrace.
Campo de hielo bunglaows
Twin bungalows separated by a covered terrace and exterior kitchen, located on the beach shore. Each bungalow include a double room, a fridge, a mezzanine with an additional bed and a large bathroom with jacuzzi.
Bilingual guides (English, Spanish, French) know the area intimately and will show you around the area on various tours.
Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please enquire.
The lodge has a choice of full board, or some of the lodgings have their own kitchens so you can self-cater.
The itinerary can be adapted to your needs, from long treks to more relaxing itineraries.
Suitable for families, honeymooners, couples, the lodge has activities for everyone.
There is no high altitude to worry about.
For most people, Patagonia evokes a vast, windblown plateau, jagged mountains and the life of the gauchos.
The steppe that occupies much of southern South America is only one aspect of a magical region, jam-packed with amazing and contrasting landscapes.
Patagonia (latitudes 40°-55°, approximately) embraces a vast portion of southern Chile and Argentina, from the Rio Colorado in the north, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.
For convenience, we have divided the region into three zones: the Lakes District of northern Patagonian, central Patagonia and southern Patagonia.
Southern Patagonia (latitudes 49° to 55°), encompassing the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina plus Tierra del Fuego, has an altogether more vertical aspect than the rest of Patagonia.
As the continent tapers towards its southern point, the Andes take on new characteristics and offer some truly impressive panoramas.
Much of southern Patagonia is characterized by virgin landscapes where man’s hand has either not been present or, because of the scale of the landscapes, goes almost unnoticed. To the west of the semi-arid Patagonian plateau, mile-high granite spires – e.g. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy in Argentina and the Torres and Cuernos del Paine in Chile – rise abruptly from the Andean foothills, while vast blue glaciers, fringed by southern beech forest, gouge out thevalleys below.
At the heart of these magnificent landscapes lies the South Patagonian Ice Field, an utterly remote icy wilderness spanning hundreds of kilometers, whose glaciers – including the Perito Moreno and Upsala – are tens of kilometres long by severalkilometers wide.
Also characteristic of the southern Patagonian Andes are its turquoise, iceberg-filled lakes. To the west lies the southern portion of the Chilean Archipelago, comprising snow-capped islands and fjords.
Across the Magellan Straits from mainland Patagonia lies Tierra del Fuego which, like the rest of Patagonia, is divided between Argentina and Chile.
The north and east of Tierra del Fuego is flat, but flanking the Beagle Channel in the south, the tail end of the Andes provide very dramatic mountain scenery.
The Lake District (latitudes 40° to 45°) or the Araucania, is a region of dramatic conical volcanoes, evergreen, high-canopy forests and, of course, lakes.
It straddles the Chile-Argentine border, and also takes in Chiloe island, in the extreme north of the Chilean Archipelago. This region stretches from Temuco in the north to Chiloe in the south.
Central Patagonia (latitudes 45 to 49) is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. The vast wilderness area can be divided in two:
This huge region, embracing the sparsely-inhabited southern Araucaria and Aisén Region, features temperate rainforests, snow-peaks (often extinct volcanoes), lakes and, to the west, the Chilean Archipelago: a labyrinth of fjords and mountain-islands. This, the Chilean portion of central Patagonia, boasts the northernmost of Patagonia’s many giant, sea-level glaciers.
The San Raphael Glacier, probably this region’s most famous landmark, is an immense hanging glacier whose seracs calve into an iceberg-filled lagoon.
Find out more about Patagonia with our blog about its wildlife.
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
When planning for the varied climatic conditions encountered in Patagonia, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system. It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.
To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers. Layers should have the following qualities:
First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.
Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.
Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
We also carry an extensive first aid kit & oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only.
Below is a more detailed kit list.
Detailed kit list
Chilean Patagonia, in the south of the country, has a climate with lower temperatures compared to the rest of Chile.
Lake District and Patagonia
It can be better to go in the Austral summer (Oct-March). Daylight hours are much longer at this time, with Nov-Feb being popular times to visit. October and March can be very colourful and vivid with less visitors, but weather can be more blustery.
In Patagonia, the weather is, putting it mildly, variable, and variable on a daily basis. It is usually cool and windy all year round but seldom does the temperature fall below freezing point. Some days start with snow and end in balmy sunshine. It is always interesting, and can range from 10°C-20°C in the summer, although the wind can make it feel chilly.
The vast unbroken stretch of ocean to the west and south of the South American continent leaves the Patagonian Andes very exposed to the saturated winds that circle the Antarctic landmass. Also the South Patagonia Ice field influence makes the weather hard to predict. In spring or early summer fine weather may deteriorate almost without warning, bringing rains and eventually snow. Even in summer (Dec-Mar) you should come prepared to find cold, strong winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfalls. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºC max, 2ºC min).
Winter visits to these southern areas are possible, but many hotels close and not all trips are possible. Daylight hours can be very short, but the lack of visitors can greatly improve chances of seeing wildlife in parks such as Paine.
The Lake District’s temperate climate can be said to resemble that of the UK, with rain possible but also enjoying long spells of fine, fresh weather in the summer (Oct-March).
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
Chilean Patagonia is a pristine wilderness of fjords, glaciers, plains, mountains and forests.
Southern Patagonia’s main attraction is the Torres del Paine National park. The granite spires attract many visitors to what some have called the 8th Wonder of the World. The park is a trekkers paradise with two classic treks, the Paine W and the Paine Circuit.
Northern Patagonia, the Aysen region, is one of the least populated parts of the country and is blessed with spectacular countryside.
The main airport is Balmaceda near the city of Coyhaique and must see places include Lake General Carrera and the Marble Caves, The San Rafael Glacier, the Quelat Hanging Glacier as well as driving the Austral Road.
The Futaleufu River is a must for white water enthusiasts.
The region also offers great horseback opportunities as well as kayaking ones. Nature enthusiasts can admire the impressive scenery, imposing glaciers and fascinating wildlife and flora.
Argentine Patagonia, the southern half of Argentina, is a remote, wind swept land of plains, mountains, lakes and glaciers.
The main airport is at El Calafate which is the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park.
Nearby is the mighty Perito Moreno glacier where you have the opportunity to get up close to the ice on one of the many walkways or on a boat trip.
El Chalten, a 3 1/2 hour drive from Calafate, is the trail head for treks in to the base of Cerro Torre, Fitzroy or for the more intrepid, on to the South Patagonian ice-cap.
Ushuaia, on the Beagle channel, is the southern most city of Argentina. Ushuaia is fascinating for historical interest, is rich in wildlife and is departure port for many Antarctic cruises
2022-23 price, per person, shared room basis
Shared departures Tuesdays and Fridays.
Minimum 3 people
Private departures available
Shorter/longer stays possible
Single supplement applies
Christmas and New Year surcharges
Enquire about booking
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