Patagonia's Wild North

Spectacular Patagonia Park and the Undiscovered Aysén

Trip Level

This trip is rated Level 4, Moderate to Strenuous. This is a wonderful adventure in a remote part of the world! There will be two long transfer days, at the start of the trip when we travel from Balmaceda to Valle Chacabuco (6-7 hours of driving), and at the end of the trip from Bahia Mansa to Coyhaique (5.5 hours of driving). In Valle Chacabuco, we have minimal transfers to the trailheads, but the gravel and dirt roads can be bumpy and dusty. Our hikes in Parque Patagonia are spectacular, featuring up to 3,300 feet of elevation gain or loss, and hikes of up to 14 miles in length—be ready for some excellent hiking days! From our base at Terra Luna Lodge on the shores of Lago General Carrera,  we will transfer to our trailheads by jet boat—a fun, exciting, and more direct way to get to our destination, avoiding long drives. We’ll be suited up against the wind, as these are open boats. All of our hikes will be on rocky ground on fairly narrow trails. We will also be hiking on the glacier, on a fairly level surface, with rough snow and ice underfoot. No technical gear (crampons or ice axes) are necessary for the time on the ice cap, but on all hikes, hiking poles will be very useful. On Day 8, we will paddle to the Marble Caves by kayak. No previous kayaking experience is necessary. We’ll be close to the shore at all times, and the total distance is approximately 1 mile round trip. If the weather is not suitable for kayaking, we will head to the Marble Caves by boat. This part of Chile is wonderfully wild country, and all participants should be ready for exploring  in a beautiful, but un-manicured landscape. It’s a big part of the appeal!

The weather in this part of the world always makes the final call, and extreme wind or rain may cause us to change our hiking plan for the day. The safety of the group is of primary importance, and will be the guiding factor in our decisions. We will, of course, do all we can to complete all activities as outlined in this itinerary.

Weather

With its deep southern latitude, you might expect Patagonia’s weather to be more “polar” than it really is. In fact, the austral summer temperatures are relatively moderate. During Patagonia’s “summer months” (November through March in the Southern Hemisphere ), the thermometer rarely drops below 40°F and will usually reach into the high 60s and even low 70s during the day. Nevertheless, the weather here is notoriously variable. Strong winds, rain, sleet, and snow can occur at any time—perhaps just a few hours before or after sunny skies and 70° temperatures. The enormous, unbroken stretches of ocean to the west and south of southern South America leave the Patagonian Andes exposed to the strong winds that circle the Antarctic continent. Experiencing these winds is almost inevitable on any Patagonian journey. The winds can occasionally gust up to 100 miles per hour, quickly “cooling down” an otherwise pleasant day. Proper hiking gear is essential, and a full packing list will be sent with your pre-departure information.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.