Patagonia - National Parks, Lakes and Glaciers - 10th to 25th January 2015



This fascinating holiday takes us first to Buenos Aires - the Argentinian capital - known for its European architecture, grand boulevards and squares lined with delightful cafés and restaurants. And because a visit to Buenos Aires simply wouldn't be complete without the chance to absorb the city's Latin rhythm we've included a visit to La Boca and a fabulous Tango Cabaret.

Then onto Patagonia, to the majesty of Los Glaciares National Park, Fitz Roy and Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. Crossing into Chile to visit Laguna Verde with its spectacular views of Los Cuernos (The Horns) and the waterfalls at Salto Grande. Hiking along the Ascencio River to Central Towers in Torres del Paine National Park and crossing Lake Pehoé by catamaran to enjoy a full days hiking to Frances Valley - where views of the interior of the Paine Massif are simply stunning.

Patagonia is a paradise of massive glaciers, towering granite spires and ice-filled turquoise lakes. Shared by Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is the name given to the southernmost part of the South American continent. It is washed by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic to the east.

The soaring granite peaks of the Patagonian Andes and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field with their glaciers and pristine lakes are regarded as one of the most hauntingly beautiful mountain ranges on earth. Highlights of this holiday will be unforgettable walking in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina and Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

Neighbouring Chile, a narrow mountainous strip stretching over 4,000km along the Pacific coast from the Peruvian border in the north to Cape Horn in the south, contains some of the most extreme and spectacular terrain on the planet.

Travel is in comfortable mini-buses; roads in this part of the world are variable in quality - expect some rough dirt roads. There will be refreshment and comfort stops, with plenty of time for photo opportunities and time to view the wildlife en-route. A Langdale tour leader will accompany the group throughout and local English-speaking guides will join us in each of the areas we visit.

At the end of the holiday we've included an optional extension to the famous waterfalls in Iguazu National Park. Iguazu Falls can only be described as the most stunning waterfalls in the world, situated 1,340km northwest of Buenos Aires, where Argentina borders with Brazil and Paraguay. We'll walk along trails and boardwalks taking in the panoramic views of the waterfalls from several different levels. We also get to experience the thrill of a zodiac adventure to the Devil's Throat. Staying at the Loi Suites Hotel - a luxury hotel built in the subtropical jungle of Iryapu, 15 minutes from the Iguazu Falls. This breathtaking hotel was built with extreme respect for nature, preserving native trees and most of the jungle.

  • Some of the very best guided walks in Patagonia
  • Visit Argentina and Chile
  • Buenos Aires - city tour and tango cabaret dinner
  • Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina)
  • Pliegue Tumbado hike
  • Fitz Roy Base Camp
  • Cerro Torre Base Camp
  • Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Torres del Paine National Park (Chile)
  • Salto Grande
  • Central Towers Base Camp
  • Frances Valley walk to Paine Massif
  • Optional extension to the majestic waterfalls at Iguazu National Park
La Boca, Buenos Aires

Day 1 - Saturday 10th January - Travel To Buenos Aires

Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements for the flight to Buenos Aires. Check-in at least two hours before departure time, using your passport and e-ticket.

Day 2 - Sunday 11th January - Buenos Aires (D)

Private transfer from the Ezeiza International Airport to the 4 star Hotel Intersur in central Buenos Aires. Rooms will be available for immediate occupation. Free time in the morning is followed by an afternoon sightseeing tour, including the artistic haunt of La Boca. We've planned a welcome reception in the evening followed by dinner and a tango show, where we can enjoy the city's Latin rhythm.

Buenos Aires - the capital of Argentina and centre of the political, economic and intellectual life of the country. It is also the most elegant city in South America. This cosmopolitan city with great European cultural influence displays a refined taste in its cooking, boutiques and in the elegance of its inhabitants. Almost 13 million people live there and there is plenty to enjoy - from tango clubs and discotheques to eternally open bars and restaurants.

Dinner and Tango Show at La Esquina C.Gardel. Overnight Hotel Intersur.

Day 3 - Monday 12th January - Travel To El Chaltén (BD)

Private transfer and flight to El Calafate followed by mini-bus to El Chaltén in the Fitz Roy Massif area of Los Glaciares National Park. This is a fascinating journey of some 230km through desert and then the Steppes of the Andes. Check into Hotel Poincenot for four nights.

El Chaltén is situated on the northern margin of Lago Viedma, in the confluence of the rivers De las Vueltas and Fitz Roy, in Los Glaciares National Park. The area combines the magic of glaciers, hidden lagoons, estancias, Lake Viedma and mount Fitz Roy. The summit is almost always covered in a cloud that the Tehuelche thought was smoke, a mistake that gave origin to the name Chaltén, which means volcano. Two hundred people live in this town 220km from El Calafate. El Chaltén is contiguous to Lake Viedma and its reserve, and has been declared the National Hiking Capital due to its popularity with hikers and climbers.

Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Poincenot for 4 nights.

Langdale 2005 Group, Fitz Roy

Day 4 - Tuesday 13th January - El Chaltén (BLD)

Full day hike to the base camp of Fitz Roy at Rio Blanco, concluding with a steep climb to Laguna de los Tres, a great viewpoint surrounded by glaciers and granite peaks.

Walking - 8 hours, grade hard. This walk can be cut short around halfway for those requiring something less demanding. 5 hours, grade moderate.

Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Poincenot.

Day 5 - Wednesday 14th January - El Chaltén (BLD)

Full day hike to Cerro Torre Base Camp at an altitude of 3,143m, although the height gain in this walk is only about 500m. The final point is Laguna Torre from where there are magnificent views over the lagoon and ice field.

Walking - 7/8 hours, grade hard. For a less challenging day, this walk can be limited to halfway, from where there are still panoramic views. 4/5 hours, grade moderate.

Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Poincenot.

Day 6 - Thursday 15th January - El Chaltén (BLD)

Trek to Pliegue Tumbado through forests and open countryside culminating in spectacular views of almost the entire region.

Walking - 6/7 hours, grade moderate.

Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Poincenot.

Day 7 - Friday 16th January - El Calafate (BD)

After breakfast, we retrace our steps and return to El Calafate. Free time in El Calafate. Afternoon visit to Perito Moreno Glacier Museum.

El Calafate is located on the shores of Lake Argentino. It's a developing tourist centre with several hotels, restaurants and a casino. The Glaciarium Museum is the first museum in South America dedicated to the glaciers and Patagonia ice. It has a privileged location, situated close to El Calafate town (20min drive) on the way to Los Glaciares National Park.

Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Calafate Parque for 2 nights.

Perito Moreno Glacier and Viewing Platform

Day 8 - Saturday 17th January - Perito Moreno Glacier (BD)

Drive to Perito Moreno Glacier, a scenic journey of 80 km - the last 26 km within the National Park. Shortly after leaving the outskirts of El Calafate you will be able see Lake Argentino with its Round Bay populated by an important variety of birds. These include swans with black necks, flamingo, steamer ducks, gallareta, cauquén and coirones.

The first 40 km travel are across the Patagonia Steppe, before arriving at the entrance to the National Park. Be prepared for amazing views of the ice fields from various vantage points as you walk around the footbridges. Catching different views of the Glacier and watching huge chunks of ice come crashing down into Lake Argentino as the Glacier makes its slow progress to the lake. Optional lunch and return scenic drive to Calafate.

Perito Moreno Glacier forms part of the Patagonian Continental Ice Field from which 13 glaciers descend on the Atlantic side to flow into Lake Viedma and Argentino. It is 5km (3.2 miles) wide and 60m (197ft) high above Lake Argentino and is one of the few in the world that still advances forming a wall and containing the Brazo Rico waters. Every 4 or 5 years, the water pressure is so strong that it breaks into multiple pieces providing an overwhelming spectacle.

Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Calafate Parque.

Los Cuernos (The Horns)

Day 9 - Sunday 18th January - Torres del Paine National Park (BD)

Check out of the hotel and drive to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Long drive today (480km, 6 hours), but very interesting, mainly on dirt roads, crossing the border into Chile at Cancha Carrera and then onto Torres del Paine. There will be sightseeing breaks along the way, including an hour walk to the waterfalls at Salto Grande and Laguna Verde for breathtaking views of Los Cuernos (The Horns) and opportunities to see the varied wildlife.

Torres del Paine is a region of extraordinary beauty: lakes and rivers of crystal-clear turquoise-coloured waters, ancient forest and spectacular landscapes. Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most spectacular scenic regions in the world. It covers an area of 113,000ha and has been named a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Cascading waterfalls, roaring creeks, shimmering lakes and the jagged spires of mountains are just a part of what Paine offers. Look out for herds of guanacos, foxes, swans and birds.

Dinner and overnight Hosteria Las Torres for 3 nights.

Day 10 - Monday 19th January - Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

Full day hike along the Ascencio River and upwards to the Chilean base camp, and then onto the base camp of the Central Towers for some truly awesome views.

This walk is regarded by many as the best in Patagonia. 8 hours, grade hard. This walk can be restricted to just the Chilean base camp if required. 5 hours, grade moderate.

Dinner and overnight Hosteria Las Torres.

Day 11 - Tuesday 20th January - Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)

A full day's hike to the Frances Valley located right in the heart of the Paine Massif. The walk starts after crossing Lake Pehoé by catamaran and reaches the Italian camp and then upwards to the British camp from which the views to the interior of the Paines peaks are stunning.

Walking - 7/8 hours, grade hard. Again this walk can be restricted to the Italian camp if required. 5 hours, grade moderate.

Dinner and overnight Hosteria Las Torres.

Caminito, La Boca

Day 12 - Wednesday 21st January - Return To Buenos Aires Via El Calafate (BD)

Retrace the journey back to El Calafate and take the flight back to Buenos Aires where we'll stay at the Hotel Intersur.

Farewell dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Intersur.

Day 13 - Thursday 22nd January - Buenos Aires - Return To UK (B)

Free time to explore Buenos Aires.

Transfer to the airport for the flight from Ezeiza International Airport to UK.

Optional Extension To Iguazu National Park:

Iguazu National Park

Thursday 22nd January - Iguazu National Park (BD)

Transfer by private coach to the domestic airport for the flight to Iguazu. Then transfer by private coach (10 minutes) to our hotel in Iguazu National Park.

Dinner and overnight at the stunning Hotel Loi Suites.

Friday 23rd January - Iguazu National Park (BD)

Guided tour of the waterfalls in Iguazu National Park. Panoramic views from different levels, followed by a zodiac ride on the Iguazu River and the Devil's Throat. Late afternoon transfer to the airport for the return flight to Buenos Aires.

Iguazu Falls leave every visitor speechless. A total of 275 waterfalls dropping over 70m (230ft). Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) is the most impressive waterfall where the falling water gives the illusion of magical rainbows. The National Park is full of exotic subtropical vegetation surrounding the waterfalls: several plant species with giant trees, ferns, lianas and orchids, 400 species of colorful birds (toucans, parrots, woodpeckers, humming birds and butterflies, and other fauna such as jaguar, tiger-cat, foxes, tapir and monkeys). Iguazu National Park is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was recently voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the World.

Transfer to the hotel. Dinner in local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Intersur.

Saturday 24th January - Buenos Aires (B)

Free time to explore Buenos Aires.

Transfer to Ezeiza International Airport for our flight back to the UK.

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

Flights are with Air France. Please note that the following flight details are the latest known and are subject to confirmation. All times are local.

Approaching Laguna Torre Southern Face of Perito Moreno Glacier Tango, Buenos Aires
Outbound Heathrow - Saturday 10th January 2015
Depart Heathrow, UK
Arrive Paris (CDG), France
AF1181 20:10
22:20
Depart Paris (CDG), France
Arrive Buenos Aires (EZE), Argentina
AF418 23:20
09:05 (11 Jan)
Inbound Heathrow - Thursday 22nd January 2015
Depart Buenos Aires (EZE), Argentina
Arrive Paris (CDG), France
AF417 17:55
11:00 (23 Jan)
Depart Paris (CDG), France
Arrive Heathrow, UK
AF1780 13:25
13:45
Outbound Manchester - Saturday 10th January 2015
Depart Manchester, UK
Arrive Paris (CDG), France
AF1169 19:45
22:10
Depart Paris (CDG), France
Arrive Buenos Aires (EZE), Argentina
AF418 23:20
09:05 (11 Jan)
Inbound Manchester - Thursday 22nd January 2015
Depart Buenos Aires (EZE), Argentina
Arrive Paris (CDG), France
AF417 17:55
11:00 (23 Jan)
Depart Paris (CDG), France
Arrive Manchester, UK
AF1068 13:20
13:50
Inbound - Iguazu Extension - Saturday 24th January 2015
Depart Buenos Aires (EZE), Argentina
Arrive Paris (CDG), France
AF417 17:55
11:00 (25 Jan)
Depart Paris (CDG), France
Arrive Heathrow, UK
AF1780 13:25
13:45
Depart Paris (CDG), France
Arrive Manchester, UK
AF1068 13:20
13:50

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