During your Wildlife Safari, which can last from 4 to 7 Days depending on your preference, you can choose between nature walks, treks and bike excursions – depending on your mood, weather conditions, and travel companions preferences!
Torres del Paine NP, Chile
The trip begins with you being picked up from your hotel in Punta Arenas or Punta Arenas airport in the morning and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. Alternatively, you can start your trip in Calafate. En route we make a couple of stops – First in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of “Seno de Ultima Esperanza”, where we enjoy a hearty local lunch, and second at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen. The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a view of the Torres. During summer the sun sets around 11 pm, so upon arrival, there’s plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.
Sarmiento and Laguna Azul + BBQ
We start the day driving to the western shore of Sarmiento lake, walking down a trail from the road towards the lake edge. The shoreline is very scenic and we can enjoy watching birds, as well as observing the Gunther Plüschow monument (the first man to film Patagonia by air, in the 1920s). After soaking up our surroundings we drive to Laguna Azul where a BBQ lunch is being prepared for us! We enjoy lunch looking out over the lake, with the three granite towers in the distance, from the warmth of the BBQ ‘quincho’. After lunch, we walk south to Macho Cañon where we can observe typical Torres del Paine fauna including guanaco herds. From here we board our van heading back to EcoCamp in time for cocktail hour.
Drive & Walk Western Lakes, Navigation Glacier Grey*
We start off driving across the Park, admiring the view of Paine Grande and its snowy peaks, and Los Cuernos with its black, granite horn-like spires. We stop at various viewpoints on the way to enjoy observing and photographing herds of guanacos, Andean condors and interesting flora. We drive down past Pehoe lake and enjoy a short scenic walk along the tip of its southern shore, with views of the vast Toro lake. From here we drive up to Grey Lake and wander along the beach on the shores of the glacial water. Here we enjoy a tasty box-lunch by the lake before embarking on a boat ride across the icy waters to the towering blue walls of Glacier Grey. After this incredible sight of the glacier up close, we drive back to EcoCamp.
(*During Shoulder Season (September, October and April) the boat trip to Glacier Grey may be canceled as the boat requires a minimum of 8 passengers to sail, which might not be reached in some cases. If this is the case we will plan an alternative excursion in the Park.)
Salto Grande, Cuernos viewpoint & Fauna Trail
After breakfast we head out in the van westwards, taking a route along the southern shore of Nordenskjold Lake. Our first stop is the magnificent Salto Grande waterfall, with its impressive cascading waters falling from Nordenskjold lake into Pehoe lake. From here it’s a short walk to Cuernos viewpoint, with a panoramic view of the mighty Horns. From here we drive back eastwards along the northern shore of Sarmiento Lake until we reach the starting point of the Fauna Trail. As we walk northwards along the trail we see park fauna on the Patagonian plains including guanacos, ostrich-like ñandús and maybe the occasional puma print! We pass by Goic lagoon and after an approximate 5 km relaxed walk we reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station where we’re picked up and driven back to EcoCamp.
Hike To Serón woods
The trek to Seron means doing the first part of the classic Paine circuit, bordering the eastern side of the Massif. After breakfast, we head off on foot along the trail leading us north of EcoCamp, through plains home to Lenga forests and other flora, and with great views of Laguna Azul and Sierra Masle. Hopefully, we encounter the park’s animals that roam around this sector, in their quest to avoid the more populated areas of the Park. Our guide will introduce us to the different flora and native vegetation in the magical Serón woods before we break for lunch. We continue to admire the scenery as we walk back to Ecocamp in time for cocktail hour.
Trek Towers Base
After a hearty breakfast, we set off from Ecocamp towards Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Tower’s eastern face. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes as we climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading us towards one of the world’s most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp.
Drive & Walk Western Lakes, Hike Pingo Trail
We drive across the Park, admiring the view of Paine Grande and its snowy peaks, and Los Cuernos with its black granite horn-like spires. Walking along the shores of the stunning Lake Pehoe, we see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls where the water from Lake Nordenskjold cascades down into Pehoe. The walk continues over the gentle Nordenskjold trail until we reach its spectacular lookout point. Later, back at Lake Pehoe, we are driven south to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey where we walk to reach the start of the beautiful Pingo Trail taking us through a fairytale Magellan forest full of local fauna and flora. As we walk, huge rock formations in nearby hills and the strong Patagonian wind give us a good idea of just how wild Patagonia is! We reach a small sightseeing point with splendid views of the Massif’s west face, and then walk back to Grey Beach to meet our fellow travelers coming back from the boat ride. Together, we all head to Ecocamp to enjoy dinner and relaxation time.
Navigation Pehoe Lake and hike French Valley*
After breakfast, we start our day driving towards Pudeto dock, located on the shores of Pehoe Lake. We board the catamaran that’ll take us to the north-western sector of the Lake where we’ll begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley) along a steep trail that goes into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep we go depends on our groups’ rhythm – An active walk leads us to the hanging bridge over the French River, located at the foot of the south-eastern face of the Massif, where there is a truly wonderful view. Then we continue up the trail to the upper section of the valley where we admire the valley’s entire group of geological formations: Hoja (Blade), Máscara (Mask), Espada (Sword), Catedral (Cathedral), Aleta de Tiburón (Shark’s Fin) and the magnificent Fortaleza (Fortress). Here we picnic and rest for a while. An optional trek to Mirador Britanico is available as well, if the group isn’t keen on resting. Then, we descend through a rippling terrain of grassland and light forest until reaching the Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. From here the catamaran takes us back to Pudeto and we’re driven back to EcoCamp.
*The excursion to French Valley varies throughout the season depending on the catamaran connecting Pudeto and Refugio Pehoe:
September, October and Abril (shoulder season) the navigation will not operate and therefore the excursion will be replaced by an excursion from Estancia Lazo to Weber Bridge.
1st to 15th of November: Hike is limited and only reaches camp Italiano
16th of November till 15th of March: excursion operates on a regular basis
16th of March till 31st of March: Hike is limited and only reaches camp Italiano.
Hike along Los Cuernos
After breakfast, we set off on foot towards Nordenskjold lake. On the walk towards the lakeshore, we’ll have wonderful views of the park’s vegetation and flora and if we’re lucky we’ll see Andean condors circling overhead as we make our way along the trail. As we head east we enjoy magnificent views of the park’s central lakes and the Paine’s Horns, majestic black horn-like peaks of slate atop gray granite which crown the center of the Massif. We reach Arriero River, our goal for the day, and enjoy our picnic lunch looking out over the beautiful turquoise Nordensjkold lake. We also enjoy a fantastic view of the Cuernos. After lunch, we make our way back to EcoCamp in time for our well-deserved cocktail hour.
We start the day driving to the western shore of Sarmiento lake with the rest of our group, walking down a trail from the road towards the lake edge. The shoreline is very scenic and we can enjoy watching birds, as well as observing the Gunther Plüschow monument (the first man to film Patagonia by air, in the 1920s). After soaking up our surroundings we drive to Laguna Azul where a BBQ lunch is being prepared for us! We enjoy lunch looking out over the lake, with the three granite towers in the distance, from the warmth of the BBQ ‘quincho’. After lunch, the real adventure begins as we mount our bikes to start the cycle ride back to EcoCamp! We ride along the scenic road making stops along the way to enjoy our surroundings. Back at EcoCamp we reunite with our group to enjoy the evening aperitif.