/ Trekking in Patagonia
Had a search but cannot seem to find much on this site. Does anyone have any suggestions for how we might do this ? Does one need to book from the UK or is it possible to arrange a trek locally, and any thoughts on which might be best ? There must be folk here who have done that ?
We are planning ahead to a big trip in a couple of years, ideally some trekking in Patagonia and a more general extended holiday in South America, so any suggestions very welcome.
Assuming you’re going to be camping, you don’t need to book anything. Most treks are short, out of one valley and into the next, 2-3 days. The ones in the Lake District tend to follow trails through thick forest below the snow line, and need no special equipment (other than the best waterproofs that money can buy!!). Torres del Paine circuit is longer but mostly low level.
Recommendations: all of them! Every single one we did was brilliant. We used the lonely planet trekking in Patagonia book, effectively pre internet days (2000) buy found that entirely sufficient
did termas de Callao (chile, near lago todos los Santos), paso de las Nubes (Argentina, near bariloche), coastal trek on chiloe. Abandoned attempt on the dientes circuit on Isla navarino due to heavy snow. Did the Paine circuit- phenomenal.
We used a 3 season tent (terra nova solar 2) and found it to be ideal. MSR dragonfly stove- fuel widely available. We tracked down some Chilean IGM maps in Santiago, but needn’t have bothered- you’re either on the trail, or you’re thrashing about in bamboo thickets and the map is completely useless either way.
Chile and Argentina both very friendly places, with decent infrastructure so getting around is straightforward. Some Spanish essential but easy to pick up.
It was one of the best experiences of my life- hope you have a great time!
Try contacting Richard Hartley at Spanish Highs. They run an annual trip to the Patagonian Icecap. Load of info on their website. A great company and very helpful.
The guide is long out of print and for some reason my girlfriend objects to selling ours, but there should be plenty of info online for the major treks. Bradt did a good one which I gave away at some point but it only covered Chile. If you speak Spanish my friend’s website wikiexplora has lots of info and I think there are a few English articles as well, I wrote one many years ago when I lived in Santiago.
Thanks for those very helpful tips, my wife speaks Spanish well so it looks like she is in charge of research...........will look out for the books too.
I was in El Chalten in Argentina a couple of years ago last February/March. I'd recommend the trekking around there. Easily accessed from the town and with stunning views of the Fitzroy range. No need to book the campsites, just turn up. The popular areas were pretty busy, but it's easy enough to get away from the hordes. There is a rangers office just on the outskirts of town how are very friendly and helpful, and speak English.
I also really enjoyed Torres del Paine, but it was back in 1999 that I was there, so any logistical info is probably well out of date, but we did the northern half of the circle route and returned along the 'W' route which worked really well. I gather it's a bit busier these days mind.
If you want something a bit different, the Dentes circuit is supposed to be good. It's near Puerto Williams in Tierra del Fuego. We just did the first day before retreating in a blizzard in March, but there is supposed to be some impressive scenery, and it claims to be the most southerly established trek in the world! It's not easy to get to though, we ended up talking our way onto a cargo ship, then had to hitch a ride on a French yacht to Ushia to get off. This was also back in 1999, it might be easier to get to now!
Have a great trip!
> If you want something a bit different, the Dentes circuit is supposed to be good. It's near Puerto Williams in Tierra del Fuego. We just did the first day before retreating in a blizzard in March, but there is supposed to be some impressive scenery, and it claims to be the most southerly established trek in the world! It's not easy to get to though, we ended up talking our way onto a cargo ship, then had to hitch a ride on a French yacht to Ushia to get off. This was also back in 1999, it might be easier to get to now!
we had a very similar experience the following year- turned back by thigh deep snow. it was a remarkable place though- and the weather did clear long enough to get up Cerro Bandera, overlooking Puerto Williams, which gave us a view through the col to the southern half of Isla Navarino and the Southern Ocean beyond- thrilling! then a condor flew over us, only 20-30 feet up, would love to go back and have another go- i suspect that access is easier now.
In November last year we had three weeks trekking in Patagonia as part of a longer " holiday of a lifetime" involving a family wedding in Buenos Aires. We had a five day trek in Torres del Paine, staying in rifugios, and later a week in El Chalten where we did different treks each day. We booked a studio flat in El Chalten.
Booking rifugio places in advance from home is tricky, but possible. Torres del Paine is busy and you need to buy an entry permit, and have evidence of a booked place overnight, even if that place is on a free campsite. There's a wealth of online information.
Patagonia is a genuinely awe inspiring place.
A few photos here:-
Fantastic, sounds like you got a bit further than us. I've got a photo somewhere of some pointy peaks a few miles away from our high point, not sure what they were called. It's pretty special seeing the condors in the mountains down there, we saw one maybe 50 feet away.
Where did you stay in Puerto Williams? We just turned up and asked a local who said they were planning on opening a guest house the following year and would we like to be their first guests?! Can't remember their name, but it was just up the hill west of the town square.
I was lucky enough to fly over Tierra del Fuego last time I was down that way in 2016, and got a glimpse of the mountains south of Isla Navarino as the clouds parted, stunning!
not that much further i expect- Cerro Bandera is the hill just above Puerto Williams, so easy to get to - but what a viewpoint!
i cant remember the name of the place, but it may be the same one. i do remember it had an internet connection- but it was the slowest dial up connection in the world... and god it was cold- Punta Arenas felt nearly tropical in comparison!
Can help a lot if you need, my girlfriend is local and lived in the park for many years.
I believe you could certainly trek in Torres del Paine for 10 days without a guide, all pre booked camping and easy signposted trails!
Can answer specifics if you need.
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