Indulge your senses at the legendary Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa.

This is pure luxury. Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa sits on a bluff facing Lake Sarmiento with magnificent views of the Torres del Paine National Park.

Tierra Patagonia has 40 opulent rooms with spectacular views across the lake to the Torres del Paine, all decorated to capture the warmth and coziness of being indoors in this wild, faraway place.

The Spa has an adventure spa philosophy with services designed as relaxing options after a day of experiencing the outdoors actively.

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Tierra Patagonia blends with the flow of the geology of its location – wood clad interiors meld with the furnishings and textiles, which were hand made by Chilean craftspeople, using natural materials from the region.

Included are a choice of activities such as treks, horse rides, scenic trips and bicycle rides to world famous locations and also to areas less travelled, all of which are led by qualified and experienced guides.

Choose from four day stays or longer – the truth is you probably won’t ever want to leave Tierra Patagonia.

Packages include transfers from Punta Arenas, accommodation and full board with open bar.



Trip Highlights

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  • Stay at Tierra Patagonia hotel. Opulent rooms with spectacular views across the lake to the Torres del Paine.

  • Spa services and infinity pool.

  • Choice of activities such as treks, horse rides, scenic trips and bicycle ride.

  • Qualified and experienced guides bring Torres del Paine to life.

"The highlights of the trip were seeing the incredible landscapes of Patagonia, Perito Moreno glacier, the beautiful hikes to Lago del Torre and Fitzroy in Los Glacieres, and completing the Torres del Paine W trek with highpoints of Frances Valley and the Torres."

M. Gleason, Patagonia Tour

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Full Itinerary

Day 1: Shared transfer from Punta Arenas/Cerro Castillo or Puerto Natales to Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa (L,D)

This programme can start on any day of the week.

On arrival check in and your adventure begins (see Practical information below for all the pick-up and arrival times).

If you arrive at lunchtime, lunch is included at the hotel.

In the afternoon time to explore the hotel, its facilities or some self guided walks around the hotel.

Day 2 & 3: Choice of activities. Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa (B,L,D)

After a hearty breakfast we will set off on our chosen excursion.

Please read below in Practical information for more.

Those with a full day excursion will be provided with box lunches whilst those doing two half day excursions will lunch at the hotel.

Day 4: Shared transfer from the hotel to Punta Arenas/Cerro Castillo or Puerto Natales (B)

Enjoy your last sumptuous breakfast in the Torres del Paine National Park before your transfer out.

See transfer out times below, in Practical Information.


Prices From $2,750 / £2,332 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Accommodation, American breakfast, lunch and dinner, open bar (includes mineral water, sodas, juices, house wines & liquors), two half-day excursions or one full-day excursion daily with other guests, use of Uma Spa, including pool, saunas and hydro massage, regular transfers included for all-inclusive programs of three-night minimum to and from Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales and Cerro Castillo, International regular transfer to and from El Calafate, Argentina, available subject to confirmation for all-inclusive programs.

What's Not Included?

Flights (we can help to look for these), premium wines and liquors, massages, spa treatments and therapies, services not mentioned in the itinerary, insurance, personal items, extras and tips.

 


Accommodation

Located on the eastern border of the Torres del Paine Park, (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa sits in one of the most commanding settings anywhere on the planet.

The Hotel lies a little over 400 metres from Lago Sarmiento, the biggest lake inside the national park.

 

Rooms

All rooms are equipped with safes, hair dryers and telephones and decorated with hand-crafted furniture, locally sourced textiles and uniquely Patagonian details. The bathroom has a separate shower, WC and washbasin.

Features: L’Occitane products, hair dryer, bathtub, shower, heater, in-room safe, drinking water.
There are four types of room:

Standard rooms: Offer magnificent views of Torres del Paine and feature a bathtub in the bedroom. They are 36 sq. metres / 387 sq. feet and the room can be arranged with a king bed or two twin beds.

Suites: Split over two levels, are generously sized (51 sq. metres / 549 sq. feet) and feature a cozy living room on the top floor and a large double room with en-suite downstairs.

Superior rooms: Also 36 sq. metres / 387 sq. feet and can be arranged with either a king or two twin beds.

Family apartments: Made up of two interconnected Superior rooms that can sleep up to six people. These apartments can be arranged with a variety of bed types, depending on your family’s requirements. Made up of two interconnecting Superior rooms, these apartments feature two bathrooms as well as amazing views of Torres del Paine mountain range.

Tour Staff

All excursions are led by qualified and experienced guides.

There is a range of different activities on offer, such as hikes, horse rides, scenic visits or bicycle rides to places of interest within the Torres del Paine National Park, as well as less explored areas outside the borders of the park.

The guides meet with you upon arrival and offer the support and information you need to get the most out of your journey.

In addition, many excursions are planned with the support of the local community, which means you can meet gauchos, fishermen, artisans, and astronomers.


Meals

There are vegetarian meals, and other dietary needs can be catered for – please enquire.

The food is delicious. The hotel uses seafood from the Straits of Magellan and Beagle Canal, meats and lamb from the nearby ranches as well as calafate and myrtle berries from the pampas.

A typical starter would be locally sourced king crab set in a flavorful gazpacho soup.

This would be followed by a choice of Garron of roasted lamb accompanied by candied vegetables with puree of polenta or Southern hake with cream of avocado and shrimp flambé in pisco.

For dessert, a delicious Calafate tiramisu and pine nuts and caramelised rhubarb.

 

Wine & spirits

Tierra Patagonia has an extensive wine list featuring a wide variety of Chilean wines.

The bar serves a range of cocktails and the Chilean national drink – Pisco Sour, plus local artisan beers.

Activity Level

Tierra Patagonia’s excursions are led by qualified and experienced guides; with them you will be able to experience varied activities such as treks, horse rides, scenic trips and bicycle rides to world famous locations and also to areas less travelled.

The hotel offers trips with three levels of difficulty:

Easy: For all ages and ability.

Medium: Requiring a reasonable level of fitness and experience.

High: This activity requires good level of fitness, experience and ability.

 

Duration

Every day you will be able to choose between two half day excursions or one full day excursion.

Half day: offered in the morning and/or afternoon, lunch at the hotel.

Full day: start in the morning and we you provide with a box lunch, returning to the hotel in the afternoon generally after 18.00 hrs.

If you wish to book a massage and spend some time at Uma Spa, we suggest that you check the return time of your excursions with our guides and arrange it in advance.

A full list of trips available is detailed below, in Practical Information.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Tierra Patagonia Excursions

A list of the Tierra Patagonia excursions available.

HIKING – half day walks

Cornices
Difficulty: Medium
Walk length: 2,5 a 3 hours / 6 km
Travel time: Outwards, 30 min. – Return, 30 min.

Leaving the Hotel we will drive 30 minutes towards the Estancias area. This hike climbs progressively along a prominent rock buttress where we will be rewarded with stunning views of the Torres del Paine, Sierra Contreras, Sierra del Toro and also the Hotel, from a 360° view point. Strong winds are frequent in this area. From here we must find our own way down since there is no defined trail. This hike is ideal for those who want to see different places outside the park boundaries and away from the crowds. At certain times of the year and depending on weather conditions this may also be a good place to spot condors.

 

Origins of Life
Difficulty: Easy
Walk length: 1 to 1,5 hours / 3 km
Travel time: Outwards, 30 min. – Return, 30 min.

This walk is perfect to stretch your legs on arrival at Tierra Patagonia, as it is a gentle walk along part of the eastern border of the National Park. We pass through scrubland from where it is possible to see the mirage of the hotel in the distance, with great panoramic views of Lake Sarmiento as we gradually approach its shore. The most interesting point of this excursion is the thrombolites. These geological formations are millions of years old and were created by some of the most ancient living organisms on earth. They decorate the shore of the lake, creating the ideal habitat for the biggest predator in the park. We conclude the walk at the Portería Sarmiento, (Sarmiento entrance) with views of the Paine Massif in front of us.

 

Mirador Cuernos
Difficulty: Easy
Walk length: 2 to 2,5 hrs / 6 km
Travel time: Outwards, 50 min. – Return, 50 min.

It is an unmissable hike, located in the heart of the park. After a scenic drive, passing by the Sarmiento and Nordenskjöld view points, we arrive at the starting point. The terrain is fairly flat with only one steeper part, and we can always see the “cuernos” or horns of Paine in front of us. We visit the “Salto Grande” or “Big Waterfall” and continue along the shores of Lake Nordenskjöld. On arrival at the viewpoint, you can appreciate the geology that formed the massif. We return along the same path, with the “horns” at our back. There are frequent strong winds in this area.

 

Hunters Trail
Difficulty: Medium
Walk length: 2 to 3 hours / 7 km
Travel time: Outwards, 30 min. – Return, 30 min.

After a 30 minute drive to the Porteria Lago Sarmiento this trek gradually winds its way northwards, with the Paine Massif as a constant companion. Half way through we will visit a rocky area where there are cave paintings from the Aonikenk, hunter-gatherer native Indians that occupied this area some 6,000 years ago. It is also one of the best areas to see wildlife such as guanacos, foxes and condors. The hike ends a few meters away from Portería Laguna Amarga.

 

Laguna Larga
Difficulty: Easy
Walk length: 1,5 to 2 hours / 3,5 km
Travel time: Outwards, 40 min. – Return, 40 min.

This hike starts near Laguna Larga, inside the park, where it is possible to spot flamingos and other water fowl at certain times of the year. From here we head towards the east with views of the Cuernos del Paine and hanging glaciers of French Valley and Mount Almirante Nieto. This horse trail is off the beaten path and occasionally you may spot big groups of guanacos in the grassy areas. We will pass several lagoons until we get to Mirador Nordenskjöld, where you can see the Massif from up close and the turquoise waters of this lake.

 

HIKING – full day hikes

All include a boxed lunch, provided by the hotel.

Pingo & Great Valley Peninsula
Dificulty: Easy
Walk length: Pingo 2 hrs /6 km
Grey 1,5 hrs / 4 km
Travel time: Outwards, 90 min. – Return, 90 min.
Departing from the hotel by van, we pass through the most beautiful viewpoints of the National Park until we reach the Grey Entrance. From here we walk in the Pingo valley on a gently sloping path which follows the bed of the Pingo River. This is one of the greenest areas of the park where it is also possible to see interesting geographical formations. We pass by an old “puesto” of the gauchos and reach the “Chorillo del Salmón” a small waterfall hidden in a Nothofagus wood. We return via the same path. Following lunch, we visit picturesque Grey Lake where icebergs float on the water from the Grey Glaciar, which can be seen in the distance.

 

Paso de la Guitarra
Difficulty: Medium
Walk length: 5 to 6 hours / 12 km
Travel time: Outwards, 55 min. – Return, 90 min.

This hike is located in a private area at the southern edge of the park. It borders the Lago Maravilla and Lago Porteño, ending at the Puesto Las Dudas at the shore of Lago del Toro. The trail is off the beaten path and very likely you will be the only ones walking in the area. After a drive of almost an hour, heading south east, we start walking through beautiful forests, passing by some open areas where you can feel the wind strength and appreciate the turquoise waters of Lago del Toro, the biggest lake in the region.

The vegetation here is varied, with species like Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio), Ñirre (Nothofagus antarctica), Coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi), Canelo (Drymis winteri) and Siete camisas (Escallonia rubra). Weather permitting, we will have lunch in one of the beaches of Lago del Toro. Most of the trail is undulating with two sections that are very steep but also short (about 20 minutes each), ending at the western side of the bay.

From here one of our vans will take us back to the hotel.

 

Mirador Glaciar Grey
Difficulty: Medium
Walk length: 5 hours / 10 km
Travel time: Outwards, 45 min.- Return, 45 min.

This classic trek begins with a 30 minute boat ride across Pehoe Lake. From here the trail winds up to the west, through Lenga forests and over rocky outcrops. The culmination of this excursion is an impressive viewpoint from which you can see the Southern Patagonian Ice field, Grey Lake and the icebergs that bob and float on the lake’s surface. We return along the same path.
Available from November 16th through March 15th, except on December 25th and January 1st.

 

French Valley
Difficulty: High
Walk length: 8 hours / 17 km
Travel time: Outwards, 45 min. – Return 45 min.

This excursion starts with a 30 minute boat ride across Pehoé Lake. We walk along a winding trail that passes the slopes of Paine Grande and the shores of Lago Skottsberg. There are great views of the Cuernos del Paine on the way. Upon reaching the Italian Camp, we will cross a bridge over the French river and head up the French valley to the view point that sits below the world famous French Glacier. We will return along the same trail and take the boat for the last 30 minutes to the point where the van will take us back to the hotel.

Available from November 16th through March 15th, except on December 25th and January 1st.

 

Cerro Obelisco
Difficulty: High
Walk length: 5,5 to 6,5 hours / 6 km
Travel time: Outwards, 60 min. – Return, 60 min.

This is an intense hike, gaining altitude constantly and with excellent chances of seeing wildlife. We will enter the area of Cordillera Baguales, one of the least explored parts of this area. We will hike nearly 650 mts of altitude in 3 hours. At the top there some interestingly formed sedimentary rocks which have been eroded into whimsical shapes. From the top there are great views of the Torres del Paine and surrounding valleys if the weather is clear. On the way back, we walk along the edge of a beautiful and ancient Lenga forest, close to Las Chinas river.

 

Base of The Torres
Difficulty: High
Walk length: 7 to 9 hours / 18 km
Travel time: Outwards, 45 min. – Return, 45 min.

This world famous hike demands stamina, but the rewards are the impressive views of the three granite towers. This hike ascends strongly for one hour bordering the Rio Ascensio until reaching the Paso de los Vientos. From here it takes 30 minutes to reach Campamento Chileno where we can have a little rest. The walk continues to ascend through the forest for 1,5 hours, gaining altitude very quickly and with amazing views of the geological formations in the area such as folds, fractures and granite intrusions.

The last hour is the most challenging and difficult, where the trail winds up thorough a moraine section of loose pebbles, there is exposure to the wind and where the weather is unpredictable. Arriving at the lookout we will have the classic view of the Torres del Paine and if the weather allows, we can have lunch with this fantastic landscape in front of us. We will descend along the same trail and it takes about four hours to reach the starting point, so it definitely requires good knees and you need to be in good shape.

Make sure you dress properly, rain pants and waterproof jacket, hat, gloves, fleece or any warm jacket, synthetic and breathable top, light hiking pants, hiking boots. Avoid wearing cotton, jeans and new shoes. This excursion is hard and strenuous if you are not used to long distance hikes.

 

Mirador Ferrier & Grey Peninsula
Difficulty: High
Walk length: Mirador Ferrier: 3 to 4 hrs / 6 km Lago Grey: 1,5 hr / 4 km
Travel time: Outwards, 90 min. Return, 90 min

This is a great option to see most of the national park combined in two hikes. First we will hike the challenging trail to the Ferrier Viewpoint. The terrain is very steep and we gain altitude very quickly (550 meters ascent). We will pass through a beautiful Lenga forest before reaching the windy lookout. At this point we will have spectacular views of Grey Glacier, Paine Massif, Paine river, Lago del Toro, among others. The descent is the same way, very steep!. After lunch we will visit the picturesque Lago Grey, where you can see icebergs near the shore and the Grey Glacier can be seen in the distance.

 

Cerro Guido
Difficulty: High
Walk length: 6 to 8 hrs / 14 km
Travel time: Outwards 30 min. Return 30 min.

The hike starts at Estancia Cerro Guido. The first section climbs steadily as we proceed, passing first through forests and then opening up to wetlands where it is possible to spot guanacos. Little by little and as we gain altitude the landscape turns rocky and dry, as it is exposed to the wind, until we reach the summit. From here we will have panoramic views of Paine Massif and Cordillera Baguales. We will be able to enter the ancient world of the Aonikenk, as the rugged Cerro Guido summit is crowned by a native Indian burial mound. Ideal for those who already did other long hikes in the park or for those interested in archeology. We recommend you to organise this in advance.

 

Horse Rides

Horseback riding in Patagonia is an unforgettable experience, and there are rides available for all levels, from beginners to experts.

The locations vary from Estancia Cerro Guido which extends for 100.000 hectares, Estancia Lazo, which is surrounded by lenga forests. Local gauchos (cowboys) will take us to know the heart of their world, allowing us to live and feel a real Patagonian experience. Chaps and helmets are supplied at the estancias. The length of the rides can be between 2 to 3 hours. Please ask our guides for availability since they must be scheduled with a minimum of 24 hours notice.

If you are interested in full day horse rides, please mention it to us at the time of booking.

All horse rides are subject to weather conditions.

 

Horse Ride Estancia Cerro Guido
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 2 hours
Travel time: Outwards, 30 min. Return, 30 min.

After a 30 minute drive we arrive in Estancia Cerro Guido. Depending on weather conditions the local Gauchos will take us to different areas of the estancia. We will enjoy a ride on the pampas, with wide open views of the surroundings. If it is a clear day we will see the Torres del Paine.

 

Horse Ride Estancia Lazo
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 2 hours
Travel time: Outwards, 50 min. Return, 50 min.

From the hotel we head south towards Estancia Lazo. The drive is very scenic and you will enjoy great views of Sarmiento Lake. The ride starts at Hosteria Lazo, passing through an ancient lenga forest. After one hour we will get to a lookout with panoramic views of the Massif. We head back into the woods, and return to the Hostería, where we can enjoy a hot drink before we return to the hotel.

 

Scenic Tours

A scenic trip is the perfect balance between a van ride and a short walk. Ideal for birdwatchers and photographers.

 

Half Day Adventures
Laguna Azul
Difficulty: Easy
Walk length: 30 min.
Total length: 3 hours
Travel time: Outwards, 45 min. Return, 45 min.

From the hotel we head northwards to get to Laguna Azul area, which offers a spectacular view of the South, Central and North towers whenever the weather allows it. We will be able to walk along the northern shore of the lake, where during spring and summer it is possible to spot many birds in the middle of the lenga forest. We will stop at the Cascada Paine and Laguna Amarga, both iconic lookouts of the area.

 

Salto Grande
Difficulty: Easy
Walk length: 20 min
Total length: 3,5 hours
Travel time: Outwards, 60 min. Return, 60 min.

We will visit some of the most classic places in Torres del Paine National Park; MIrador Sarmiento from where you will appreciate the biggest lake inside the park; Laguna Amarga whose waters are four times saltier than the ocean and Mirador Nordenskjöld just in front of the Massif. We finish with a gentle 10 minute walk that will take us to the Salto Grande. We will return by van on the same road.

 

Valle La Porfiada
Difficulty: Easy
Total length: 4 hours
Walk length: 20 min.
Travel time: Outwards, 75 min. Return, 75 min.

The La Porfiada valley is located north of Laguna Azul. We will pass beautiful lenga forests as we gain altitude driving up the road, with great views of gullies and rivers. If we are lucky we will have the company of condors that frequently fly around the area. We will finally reach the plains where a Puesto (temporary home of a Gaucho) is located, with views of the Argentinean summits. The possibility to explore this area is exclusive to our guests.

 

Estancia Las Chinas
Difficulty: Easy
Total length: 3,5 hours
Walk length: 20 min. Travel time: Outwards, 60 min. Return, 60 min.

We will enter the Las Chinas valley, an almost unexplored area near Cordillera Baguales. We can walk here and there are good probabilities of seeing fauna such as guanaco, ñandú, condors, cara-cara, long tailed meadowlarks and austral negritos. In spring we can find abundant flora such as oxalis, ladies slipper, alstroemeria, quinchamalium, leucheria and neneo.

 

Full day Scenic Adventures

Macizo Paine
Difficulty: Easy
Total length: 8 hours – includes boxed lunch.
Walk length: 30 min
Travel time: Outwards, 2,5 hrs. Return 2,5 hrs.

This full day scenic trip focuses on the western side of Torres del Paine National Park. It is the best alternative to see the most of the park in just one day, stopping at different places of photographic interest. We will enjoy one of the most scenic drives in the world, which ends at the Lago Grey area. There we will find glaciers and nothofagus forests. If we are lucky we might spot the Huemul, a chilean native deer in danger of extinction. Here we can do a 30 minute walk along the southern shore of Lago Grey where it is common to find icebergs that have travelled from the face of the glacier. The return drive takes place on a road south of Lago del Toro.

 

Patagonian Life

 

Estancia Cerro Guido

Nestling below the Sierra Contreras Mountain Range, the Estancia (working ranch) Cerro Guido is the hub from which 100,000 hectares of land, 50,000 head of sheep and 2,000 head of cattle are administered. Steeped in close to 100 years of history this working Patagonian ranch shows our guests a world that is very rarely seen.

A lifestyle that is at times romantic and at times unforgiving is brought to life as workers from the ranch walk us through the lives and lifestyle of the Patagonian Baqueano (Cowboy).
Visits to estancias are subject to change, There are no activities on Sundays.

 

Esquila: September – October

In Patagonia, the “esquila” (shearing) is the process of removing the sheep’s wool at specific times throughout the year. The esquila pre-parto is when they remove a limited portion of wool from the bellies of the sheep a few months before the full shearing takes place. The esquila pre-parto at Estancia Cerro Guido normally happens between September and October each year; however, exact dates depend on the weather.

 

Esquila: December – January

At Cerro Guido, the full shearing takes place between December and January, usually lasting about a full two weeks. Before the actual shearing takes place, there is the chance to see how Chilean cowboys or “baqueanos” herd the flocks with their specially trained dogs, gathering thousands of sheep at a time to prepare for the shearing.

 

La Señalada: January – February

During the summer months, usually January and February, Cerro Guido brands their sheep in a process called la señalada. This makes their sheep easily identifiable among the animals of other estancias in the area. La señalada is performed by making a quick incision in a particular shape on the ears of all Cerro Guido sheep.

 

Esquila De Ojo: April

The third type of shearing that takes place during the year at Cerro Guido is the esquila de ojo where only wool from around the sheep’s eyes and face is removed to allow for better sight during the winter months. Similarly to the other esquilas, there is the opportunity to witness the massive sheep herding as the baqueanos bring them to the main area of the estancia for shearing.

 

Additional Activities

As well as the list of detailed excursions, Tierra Patagonia is constantly exploring its surrounding areas in order to provide new and innovative trips for guests. Upon arrival please ask the guides for all the latest updates.

Introduction to Patagonia

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.

Geography of 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:

  • The dry band of Andean foothills and wind-blown plateau lying on the Argentine side of the Andes. This remote area is traversed north to south by a gravel highway known as the Ruta Cuarenta (Highway 40).
  • The Chilean portion to the west of the Andean watershed, often referred to as the Careterra Austral (after the little-used gravel highway that crosses it from north to south).

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.

Weather

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).

ATOL holiday protection

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.


Argentine Patagonia

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

Chilean Patagonia

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.

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