Escorted Tour – Nov/ Dec 2019 Northern Patagonia Exploration

Tour Dates: 25th of November until 9th of December, 2019

Northern Patagonia (called Carretera Austral) refers to an isolated and stunningly beautiful region spanning sections of both Chile and Argentina. Its magical hold on visitors comes from the extensive rain forest, the scrub covered steppe, snow-capped mountain peaks, countless glaciers, clear cascading rivers running into turquoise lakes, and the labyrinthine of fjords that cover the horizon. Northern Patagonia can be a challenge to explore as the road is mostly gravel and tourism services aren’t as developed as more visited areas in Patagonia. Accommodation and touring information is limited and the best places to visit are hidden and hard to find – unless you know where to look that is!

This adventure is for travellers looking to explore a magical part of the world without the stress of organisation and self-drive in an unknown destination.

Your guide on this adventure is Vannesa Urrutia, originally from Chile and current resident of Australia. She has a true passion for Patagonia and it has always been her dream to share this destination with explorers who love nature as much as she does. Her degrees in Ecotourism and Ornithology along with extensive experience in the travel industry will provide immense value for guests on this journey.

Join Vannesa on this fantastic trip to explore unique destinations!

Overview

Overview

Day 1Arrival in Santiago – Day at leisure
Day 2Santiago to Castro (Chiloe Island) – Welcome dinner
Day 3Castro (Chiloe Island) – Chiloé National Park & Muelle de las Almas (Pier of Souls)
Day 4Castro to Puerto Varas – Castro & Dalcahue with transfer to Puerto Varas
Day 5Puerto Varas to Bariloche – Full Day Andean Lake Crossing
Day 6Bariloche – Full Day Victoria Island & Arrayanes Forest
Day 7Scenic Drive from Bariloche to Futaleufu – Beginning of Carretera Austral
Day 8Futaleufu to Puyuhuapi – Hanging Glacier Trek at Queulat National Park
Day 9Puyuhuapi – Time to disconnect, Activities at leisure
Day 10Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique – Enchanted Forest Glacier Trek
Day 11Coyhaique to Rio Puerto Tranquilo – Patagonian lunch activity + Marble Cathedral Boat Tour
Day 12Rio Puerto Tranquilo – Full Day San Rafael Lagoon – Glacier Tour via Exploradores Valley
Day 13Rio Puerto Tranquilo to Puerto Bertrand – Scenic Drive and short exploration of Puerto Bertrand  (Rafting Optional)
Day 14Scenic Drive from Puerto Bertrand to Coyhaique via Chile Chico
Day 15Coyhaique to Balmaceda Airport – End of Program

Itinerary

Itinerary

November 25 – Day 1 : Arrival in Santiago

Private transfer from the Airport to your Hotel.
Overnight in Santiago Hotel.

November 26 – Day 2 : Santiago to Castro (Chiloe Island) – Welcome dinner (B-D)

Group transfer to the airport for your flight from Santiago to Castro in Chiloe Island. At our arrival, we will be transfered to our hotel were we will enjoy a relax afternoon until the Dinner. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight in Castro Hotel.

 

November 27 – Day 3: Chiloé National Park & “Muelle de las Almas” (Pier of Souls) (B-L)

Today we will travel to the southwest part of the main island to an area called Rahue sector. We begin the journey on a path through the young native forest and cross the first part of the Pirulil mountain range. There are majestic views of the Pacific Ocean for a large part of the journey as we walk towards the meadows and cliffs. The Pier of Souls at Punta Pirulil is here and pays homage to the Huilliche beliefs which we will learn more about with the help of our guide. After time for pictures and a rest, we will return via the same path to our vehicle. The experience continues with a trip to the indigenous community of Quilque where a sample of local cuisine awaits us. Finally, we will follow continue en route to Chiloé National Park and marvel at the rich biodiversity of the “El Tepual” trail before ending our tour and returning to Castro.

Overnight in Castro Hotel.

November 28 – Day 4: Castro & Dalcahue with transfer to Puerto Varas (B-L)

Today we will Castro with a city tour and visit the famous stilted houses of Rio Gamboa, the main square and its church which was declared a Unesco World Heritage site. We will then continue to the recently restored Nercón Church (built in 1890), which is a national monument and is also on Unesco’s protected list.

After the city tour of Castro, we will make our way to Dalcahue. Our first stop will be on the waterfront to take in the wonderful natural landscape followed by a visit to the local artisan market and the church.

Next we will drive to Puñihuil Bay, a unique place in the world, where both Humboldt and Magellan Penguin nest side by side. Here we board a small boat and head to an islet for a short tour to observe several species such as penguins, birds and a variety of other animals that nest and live in this place like cormorants, pelicans, Carancas and the occasional sea otter.

Following the boat trip, we will stop for a traditional local lunch on Chiloe Island called “Curanto”. You will be able to taste fresh local products from the surrounding country and sea.

After lunch the journey to Puerto Varas continues by crossing the Chacao channel and finally arriving at our hotel.

Overnight in Puerto Varas Hotel.

November 29 – Day 5: Puerto Varas to Bariloche, Lake Crossing (B)

Today you will cross the Andes and end your trip in the fascinating city of Bariloche. Along the way, admire views of volcanoes, cruise across Todos los Santos Lake and admire the beautiful Petrohué Waterfalls.

Leaving Puerto Varas, head to Petrohué, bordering Lake Llanquihue, where impressive views of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes dominate the landscape. Then enter Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park and visit Petrohué Waterfalls – whimsical volcanic rocks bathed by green waterfalls that make the perfect picture. Next, sail to Peulla by cruising on Todos los Santos Lake. If the weather permits, you may get incredible views of Osorno and Puntiagudo volcanoes and Mount Tronador. Once you arrive in Peulla, a paradise for nature lovers, take a break with free time for lunch.

Then board a bus to Puerto Frias. After the formalities at the Chilean customs office, cross the Andes Mountain range at 3,202 feet (976 m) above sea level. Descend by a winding road to Puerto Frías, navigating by Felix Frías Lake, and arrive in Porto Alegre to take a bus to Puerto Blest. Departing from Puerto Blest, begin the last portion of your trek on Nahuel Huapi Lake on the way to Puerto Pañuelo. Here, board the bus to make the final part of your trip and visit the capital of Argentine tourism, Bariloche, a fascinating city in both winter and summer with ski resorts, shopping, hotels, restaurants and nightlife.

Overnight in Bariloche Hotel.

November 30 – Day 6: Full Day Victoria Island & Arrayanes Forest (B)

After breakfast, we will start the excursion with a drive to Puerto Pañuelo, located 25 km’s away from the town where we will get to the port for a 40 minutes sailing through Nahuel Huapi lake to Puerto Anchorena on Victoria Island. There we will do a guided hike, learning about the history and nature on the island. If there is enough time, we may also visit Puerto Gross, old cave paintings and Del Toro beach – a volcanic black sand beach. Then you take back the ferry to Bosque de Arrayanes (forest) at Peninsula de Quetrihue. This forest is considered one of the most unique in the world. There are 12 kms of forest but we will only walk 600 meters of it, ending at bambi’s house, where Disney was inspired for the film. After exploring the Arrayanes Forest, we will return to our hotel in Bariloche.

Overnight in Bariloche Hotel.

December 1 – Day 7: Bariloche to Futaleufu (B)

Today we will start the adventure towards beautiful Northern Patagonia with a scenic drive from Bariloche, Argentina to Futaleufu, Chile. On the way we will stop at different view points until we get to Esquel where we will stop for lunch.

After lunch, the drive will continue across the border from Argentina to Chile. Upon arrival to Futaleufu, we will do a short sightseeing excursion before arriving to the hotel for check in.

Overnight in Futaleufu Hotel.

December 2 – Day 8: Futaleufu to Puyuhuapi (B)

This morning we will start with a scenic drive to the town of Puyuhuapi where we will stop for lunch before the drive to Queulat National Park. Here we have a short trek to a view point.

Hanging Glacier Trek: This trail lasts approximately 3 hour with a 200 meter climb to the view point, which has a spectacular vista of the hanging glacier.

After the hike, we will drive out of the park and take a short boat ride to our accommodation for the next two nights.

Overnight in Puyuhuapi Hotel.

 

December 3 – Day 9: Puyuhuapi – Time to Disconnect (B-D)

The beautiful Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa emerges from a green lush landscape. Here there is a perfect equilibrium of sophisticated and deliberate simplicity.

At the lodge, you can enjoy a variety of activities at leisure. Explore the surrounding trekking trails through the temperate rain forest, enjoy thermal waters, relax with thalassotherapy treatments or massages in the spa, and discover delicious gastronomy and selection of fine Chilean wines.

Vannesa will lead two optional treks that she will be guiding during the day. You can decide to join both, only one, or none if you prefer to relax in the natural hot springs and enjoy the hotel facilities.

Dinner will be serve at the hotel restaurant at leisure.

Overnight in Puyuhuapi Hotel.

December 4 – Day 10: Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique (B-BL)

After an hour drive, we reach our first stop the start of the Enchanted Forest Glacier Trek (3 hrs approx). The trail crisscrosses the forest featuring bizarre lichens, fungi, mosses, algae, ferns, and numerous flowers filling the space between old, beautiful trees. This experience is unique as there are not many similar forests in the world and even less that can be reached by car.

After the hike, there is time to break for a box lunch (included) before continuing the drive to Coyhaique via beautiful views of the Carretera Austral.

Overnight in Coyhaique Hotel.

December 5 – Day 11: Coyhaique to Rio Puerto Tranquilo with Marble Cathedral (B-L)

After a relaxing morning, we will start the drive to Villa Cerro Castillo where we will enjoy a traditional Patagonian food experience.

The Patagonian food experience involves a slow cooked spit-fire lamb “Patagonian Asado” (bbq) with traditional breads and salads from the region. Try the famous Patagonian Pisco Sour with a unique ingredient – calafate berries – all while listening to local musicians from Villa Cerro Castillo.

After lunch we will continue on our drive to Puerto Rio Tranquilo.

On our arrival, we will head straight out on a boat excursion where you will witness one of the most impressive natural wonders you can explore in Patagonia. We begin this journey by heading towards General Carrera Lake to board a small boat and navigate through the surreal landscapes of this incredible location. After only a few minutes, we reach the famous Marble Caves, extraordinary rock formations carved throughout centuries by wind and water. The contrast between the ice and the emerald coloured waters of the lake will provide hundreds of perfect photo moments. After exploring the Marble Caves, we will return to our next hotel.

Overnight in Puerto Rio Tranquilo Hotel.

December 6 – Full Day San Rafael Lagoon – Glacier Tour via Exploradores Valley. (B-L)

Today we will have an early morning adventure to Bahía Exploradores (Explorers Bay). We begin with just over a two hour drive through a stunning valley with scenic landscapes until we arrive to Explorers Bay, also known as Puerto Grosse, where boats and crew will be waiting to meet us.We begin a smooth and pleasant voyage down the Explorers River whilst enjoying breakfast on board amidst the beautiful surrounding landscape. The journey is 2 hours approx. then we arrive at Laguna San Rafael National Park. Here we will disembark for a 30-minute walk and visit the ruins of the historical Ofqui Hotel.

After this walk, we continue the navigation towards the wall of the glacier taking in the magnificent view of ice and the landscape that surrounds it. On board we will have a homemade lunch taking in the views followed by a whisky on the rocks (with ice as old as the glacier) and warming coffee and tea.

The journey back to Bahía Exploradores begins after lunch, arriving at the dock in the late afternoon. After disembarking and a short drive back through the valley, we will walk 20 minutes to the Explorers Glacier view point before returning to the vehicle for the return journey to Puerto Rio Tranquilo.

Overnight in Puerto Rio Tranquilo Hotel.

December 7 – Day 13: Rio Puerto Tranquilo to Puerto Bertrand (B)

After breakfast, we will make our way to Puerto Bertrand stopping at beautiful view points to see the various lanscapes and to see the famous Confluencia of Baker and Chacabuco River.

Upon arrival in Puerto Bertrand hotel, we will check in to the hotel and have lunch (not included). After lunch, you have the option to relax at the hotel, or go to explore the small village and join a rafting activity on the beautiful Baker River. This rafting is suitable for anyone who is interested in a soft adventure.

Please note: The cost of rafting is not included and it is necessary to pre-book.

Overnight in Puerto Bertrand.

December 8 – Day 14: Puerto Bertrand to Coyhaique via Chile Chico (B-D)

Today we start the drive the 3.5 hour drive towards the town of Chile Chico. There will be stops along the way featuring amazing views of General Carrera Lake before arriving to town. We will stop for lunch in Chile Chico then head to the port and board a ferry to Puerto Ingeniero Ibáñez.

The ferry provides stunning views of Cerro Castillo and General Carrera Lake as we continue to Coyhaique for our last night on this Northern Patagonia adventure.

We will end the day with a special farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Coyhaique.

Overnight in Coyhaique.

December 9 – Day 15: Coyhaique – End of Program (B)

We will depart Coyhaquie – with unforgettable memories of the adventure – for the Balmaceda airport and connect to your flight back to Australia or your next destination.

Inclusions & Notes

Inclusions

  • Fully escorted by our experienced Chilean member of Travel Just 4U
  • Experienced local tour guides to support activities
  • All transportation throughout itinerary
  • Private chauffeur and comfortable minibus along Carretera Austral
  • All tours and activities as mentioned in itinerary
  • All national park entrances fees
  • Accommodation in 3* to 4* Hotels
  • 14 Breakfasts
  • 1 Box Lunch
  • 4 Lunches
  • 3 Dinners included
  • Non-alcoholic drinks at included Lunch and Dinners.
  • Standard double/ twin room accommodations
  • Alcoholic drinks included in welcome and farewell dinner and Patagonia asado experience.
  • Internal flights as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips

Not included

  • International flights
  • Visa and reciprocity fees
  • Services other than those specified
  • Items of personal nature
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, except in the lunch and dinners listed included in the program

Single supplement (single room)

The supplement for a single room is AUD $2,799.00.

Note: if you are willing to share a room, we could try to match you with another same sex solo traveler to avoid the single supplement payment.

Airfares

Travel Just 4U  has competitive South America Flights to get you to the starting point of your chosen Holiday. Contact one of our Travel Consultants for a full quotation including airfares, stopovers and any additional travel you wish to organise.

 

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