Patagonia's Wild North

Spectacular Patagonia Park and the Undiscovered Aysén

Overview

Hike the spectacular trails of the new Patagonia Park, a vast slice of Patagonia that has been “re-wilded” and donated to the people of Chile by Tompkins Conservation. Still largely undiscovered, this enormous new national park has been hailed as “South America’s Yellowstone” for its epic landscapes and resurgent native wildlife, including puma, flamingo, and vast herds of guanaco. We also explore mountain-ringed Lago General Carrera, Chile’s second largest lake, where we hike below massive glaciers and kayak in the surreal beauty of the Marble Caverns. Your journey will support one of the world’s greatest conservation efforts in Chile’s pristine Aysén region!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4, Nov 15-18, 2020
Balmaceda / The Aysén / Patagonia Park

We meet in Balmaceda in the Aysén, an untamed region of northern Patagonia that was named one of 2017’s “Top 10 Must Visit” regions by Lonely Planet. In Patagonia Park, we’ll find stunning peaks, untrodden trails to high lakes, endless beech forests, and guanaco herds on the grasslands. The centerpiece of the park is the vast Chacabuco Valley, a former estancia (large private ranch). From the park’s elegant lodge in Valle Chacabuco, we hike across rolling grasslands to ancient forests laced with mountain streams, often sighting condors and guanacos. The park’s pioneering re-wilding efforts include the largest-ever grassland restoration in Chile, resulting in burgeoning populations of native wildlife. Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Tompkins Conservation joined forces in 2018 to create five new national parks in Chile, adding more than 10 million acres of new national parklands and fulfilling the vision of Doug and Kris Tompkins for a “Great Route of National Parks” stretching to Tierra del Fuego.

The Lodge at Valle Chacabuco
Parque Patagonia, Chile
Days 1 to 4 (4 nights)
Days 5-7, Nov 19-21, 2020
Lago General Carrera / Glacier Hikes

The remote Aysén region is filled with natural wonders, including glacier-fed Lago General Carerra, a 700-square-mile body of intensely blue waters shared by Chile and Argentina. From our lakeside lodge, we’ll hike into the lenga (beech) forests above the lake to see marine fossils in the rocks and enjoy vistas of snow-capped San Lorenzo (12,158') and San Valentin (13,331'). Boat rides across the lake bring us to our trailheads for hikes below towering glaciers.

Terra Luna Lodge
Puerto Guadal, Chile
Days 5 to 7 (3 nights)
Days 8-9, Nov 22-23, 2020
Marble Caverns / Coyhaique / Balmaceda

From lakeside Bahia Mansa, we set out by kayak for the Capillas de Marmol (Marble Caverns), a natural wonder of fantastic caverns, pillars, and tunnels on Lago General Carrera. The caverns are accessible only by boat, and we’ll paddle right into these otherworldly geological formations, the result of 6,000 years of extraordinary carving by the lake’s waters. Overnight in Coyhaique and depart on Day 9 via Balmaceda.

Hotel Dreams
Coyhaique, Chile
Day 8 (1 night)

Highlights

Highlights

Hike the wild mountains of Patagonia Park, one of South America’s newest national parks
Support the conservation practices that created this unique park
Enjoy the spectacular Lodge at Valle Chacabuco, with phenomenal access to park trails
See Patagonia’s wildlife, from herds of guanaco to flamingos and soaring condors
Cross cobalt-blue Lago General Carrera by boat, hike below the Leones Glacier
Kayak to the Marble Caverns on Lago General Carrera

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $5695  
Arrive: Balmaceda, Chile
Depart: Balmaceda, Chile
Lodging: 8 nights lodges
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

7 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 2-6 hours a day, altitudes below 5,000 feet, extreme winds and sudden changes in weather may affect the final itinerary