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Active Argentina: Walking in Patagonia

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The world's best wilderness mountain treks can be hard to reach. Not so in Argentine Patagonia: world-class hiking trails are just a short drive away from the airports of El Calafate, Los Glaciares National Park, and Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego National Park. We've put two treks together, the M Trek and a hike on Tierra del Fuego, in one walking holiday with four nights' camping.This is comfortable, low intensity hiking appropriate for the weekend hiker. 

The M Trek, so named after its shape, is a long recognised and popular route, renowned for its mountain views of the Fitz Roy massif, as well as vistas over glacial lagoons. The Tierra del Fuego hike is less well known or walked, which adds to its appeal. Just a few kilometres inland from the busy port of Ushuaia is a quiet wilderness of ancient forest clinging to mountain cliffs, hidden streams and views over vertiginous glaciers. Follow guanaco trails where footpaths have not yet been forged. Some peaks you’ll see are still as yet nameless. A superb trek. 

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel.

Day 2

At leisure to explore the city.

Day 3

Fly to El Calafate, transfer to hotel.

Day 4

Excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Day 5

Transfer to El Chaltén in the Fitz Roy Mountains

Day 6

Hiking in the Rio Blanco valley, camp overnight.

Day 7

Trek to the Laguna Torre, camp overnight.

Day 8

Boat on Lago del Desierto with walking options near Vespignani glacier. Return to El Calafate.

Day 9

Fly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Transfer to your hotel.

Day 10

Begin ‘End of the World Trek’ to Laguna del Caminante, camp overnight.

Day 11

Trek in the Superior Valley, camp overnight.

Day 12

Hike back towards Ushuaia, transfer to hotel.

Day 13

Fly to Buenos Aires, transfer to central hotel for final night of the holiday.

Day 14

Transfer to airport for your flight home.

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What our experts say

Trekking is one of Patagonia’s most enticing draws and so we wanted to create an active holiday that focuses on this activity. You don’t have to be an expert trekker, though, to enjoy this holiday – if you get out at the weekends for a hike in the hills then you’ll enjoy the low-intensity hikes we’ve included in this trip. For an added sense of adventure, you’ll be camping overnight by mountain lakes and in forested valleys.

Natalie

Natalie Paiva

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Active Argentina: Walking in Patagonia

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El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park
Perito Moreno Glacier
The vast ice fields in Los Glaciares National Park, southern Patagonia, are a primeval wilderness from which flow 13 huge glaciers into the waters of lakes Viedma and Argentino. Visitors can only see a small part of it, from bases which are surprisingly accessible, but get a real sense of the remoteness of this unpopulated region.  The emerald beech forest and the wind-strafed steppes framing the ice add to the landscape’s beauty. El Calafate is a small lakeside town with tourist facilities which still has a frontier feel. It’s the base for visits to the Perito Moreno, Upsala and Onelli glaciers.
When's the best time to visit El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park?
Weather-wise it’s best to visit in the summer (Dec-Feb) when days are long and mild, but at this time – especially Jan – the area is very crowded with both Argentine and foreign visitors. Mar/Apr or Sep/Oct can be sunny and clear, but it can be windy. In the winter months Jun-Aug it is very cold and access routes can be blocked by snow. Many facilities are closed then, too.
What's the official language in El Calafate?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in El Calafate?

Argentine Peso. There are a couple of banks with ATMs accepting foreign cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also some money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash but rates are not good; you may be better off changing money in Buenos Aires or another large city before heading to El Calafate.

What's the time difference between El Calafate and the UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places does El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park combine with?
El Chaltén in the northern sector of the park, to visit the Fitz Roy massif, 215 km (3hrs); Peninsula Valdés (1hr 20 mins’ flight); Tierra del Fuego for visit to Lapataia National Park and Beagle Channel (flight 1.5hrs); Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, 210 km, (4-5hrs scenic drive).
How do I get to El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park?

Daily flights from Buenos Aires take 3.5hrs; from Ushuaia, 1.5hrs. You can reach El Calafate by road from Puerto Natales in Chile (5-6hrs).

What are the cultural events in El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park?

Lago Argentino Day: El Calafate, 15 Feb, live music, barbecues and dancing.

Dia de la Tradición: El Calafate, 10 Nov, horse-riding presentations and barbecues. 

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El Chalten and the Fitz Roy Massif
Fitz Roy
The vast ice fields in Los Glaciares National Park, southern Patagonia, are a primeval wilderness from which flow 13 huge glaciers into the waters of lakes Viedma and Argentino. The dark beech forests, gem-clear lagoons and the lonely steppes skirting the ice-capped towers of the Fitz Roy massif in the northern area of the park add to the beauty of this ideal landscape for hikers. El Chaltén is a small purpose-built town with tourist facilities and the principal base for visits to the area.
When's the best time to visit El Chalten and the Fitz Roy Massif?
The best months for hiking are Mar-Apr, when autumn foliage is stunning. Many hikers also visit in summer – Dec-Jan - along with non-trekkers so it can be very busy at that time. Days are long and mild then but it can be windy, as in spring (Sep-Oct). In the winter months Jun-Aug it is very cold and access routes can be blocked by snow, and facilities closed. 
What's the official language of El Chalten and Fitz Roy Massif?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in El Chalten and Fitz Roy Massif?

Argentine Peso. Bring sufficient pesos for your needs from a previous larger destination.

What's the time difference between El Chalten and Fitz Roy Massif and UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with El Chalten and Fitz Roy Massif?

El Calafate in the southern sector of the park, to visit the Perito Moreno glacier, 215 km (3-4hs); Tierra del Fuego for visit to Lapataia National Park and Beagle Channel (flight from El Calafate 1.5hrs); via El Calafate to Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, 425 km, (7hrs scenic drive).

How do I get to El Chalten and Fitz Roy Massif?

Daily flights from Buenos Aires take 3.5hrs to El Calafate, thence it is 3hrs by road to El Chaltén; from Ushuaia the flight to El Calafate is 1.5hrs.

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Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
This wilderness island – Land of Fire - sitting at the end of the world is separated from the southern Patagonia mainland by the Magellan Straits.  It is carved through by icy streams, waterfalls and glaciers, mantled by evergreen forests and carpeted with boggy, flower-speckled grassland. Framed by needle-sharp icy peaks, it’s a tortured landscape of incredible natural beauty. Ushuaia, clinging to its shores on the Beagle Channel, is a busy little port from which cruises depart for Antarctica; it still has a frontier feel and has an interesting history in its own right.
When's the best time to visit Tierra del Fuego?
This far south, you will benefit from long daylight hours and mild temperatures between Dec (when it is light until 1am) and the end of Feb, though you can have snow flurries at any time of the year. In the winter, snowy landscapes are beautiful here but hiking is not practical.
What's the official language of Tierra del Fuego?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Tierra del Fuego?

Notes in local currency can be withdrawn from the many ATMs along the main street of Ushuaia, calle San Martín, using a UK credit or debit card. A couple of banks also change money.

What's the time difference between Tierra del Fuego and UK?

GMT -3 hours.

What places combine well with Tierra del Fuego?

El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier, 564 km (50mins by air); most Antarctic cruises depart from Ushuaia; Buenos Aires (3.5hrs by air); a cruise to Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia on MV Australis.

How do I get to Tierra del Fuego?

Direct flights from Buenos Aires take 3.5 hours.

What are the festivals and cultural and sporting events in Tierra del Fuego?

The skiing season is Jun-Sep.

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Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Along with Rio, this is a city worth crossing the Atlantic for in its own right. Dynamic, stylish and nostalgic, it’s the continent’s most European city, but does not lack South American verve. Its contrasting neighbourhoods reveal colonial plazas, shady avenues, quirky antique fairs, street art, world famous theatres and football stadiums and spruced-up metropolitan port districts. Studded with extensive parks, cutting-edge boutique hotels, designer boutiques and a myriad of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it’s a restless place, challenging to find your way around but well worth the effort. It’s the beating heart of Argentina, the hub for visits throughout the country.
When's the best time to visit Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is at its hottest Jan-Mar (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40C during the day). It can be cold and cloudy Jul-Aug, so weather conditions are best for a visit in spring and autumn. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times: Porteños head for the beach.

What's the official language in Buenos Aires?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Buenos Aires?

Argentine Peso.

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Please note that in 2016 many of the ATMs were not functioning properly; we are recommending that for the moment you take a good supply of US dollars cash. There are many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling frequently poor. 

What's the time difference between Buenos Aires and the UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Buenos Aires?

Beach time in Mar del Plata (392 km by road, 5hrs); Colonia or Montevideo in Uruguay across the River Plate: travel by ferry, bus or plane; a stay on a working estancia in the pampa south and west of the city; Iguazú Falls (2hrs approx by air).

How long is the flight to Buenos Aires from the UK?

Average flight time is 14hrs 20mins on a direct flight from London. There are also flights requiring a change of plane in Europe or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural and sports events in Buenos Aires?

Tango Festival: Aug. The world's – top tango festival, nine days  of concerts, shows, free classes, exhibitions, open-air milongas (Avenida Corrientes is closed for a massive display) and other tango-related festivities.

Opera season: Mar-Dec. Take in a concert or opera at the refurbished Teatro Colón which attracts internationally esteemed artists. 

Argentine Polo Open: Mid Nov-mid Dec. Polo is a passion for many Argentines. This is the year’s main attraction, taking place in Palermo’s 16,000 seater stadium.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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