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The Best of Patagonia
12 Days
 
About

Patagonia is a paradise for travelers looking for unparalleled outdoor experiences balanced with culture, fine wine and cuisine. This program is also ideal for artists and photographers. During our Best of Patagonia journey you will explore in style Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno in Argentina. You will enjoy private services throughout the program, quality accommodation and unparalleled nature during your journey, which features the best of Chilean & Argentinean Patagonia.

Highlights: 

  • Enjoy a day in wine country
  • EcoCamp Suite Domes in Torres del Paine NP
  • Highlights of Los Glaciares National Park
  • Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Private transportation in Chile and Argentina
  • Quality Accommodation
  • All Meals Included
  • Local Folklore Show

No fixed departure dates. You choose when you want to go. There can be just two of you or a group of friend. You can also plan it as a family vacation. Private guide and services throughout the program. We are flexible and able to make adjustments to the program in order for us to meet all your needs and expectations.

 


 
Day 1

Arrival in Santiago de Chile
After landing at Santiago airport and clearing customs, you will be met by a Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC (MVE) representative and driven to your hotel in a private hotel transfer. You will have time to relax after checking into your cozy hotel before being picked up for a City Walking Tour.

The tour begins with us driving downtown to famous landmarks including the central fish market and ‘Plaza de Armas’, Santiago’s main square and kilometer zero (the point from which all distances in the country are measured). We visit the ‘Alameda’, the main street of the city centre, via busy pedestrian walkway ‘Paseo Ahumada’, famous for its crowds, shops, and diversity of people.  After visiting Chile's presidential palace ‘La Moneda’, a symbol of Chile’s political past and its famously turbulent history, we climb Cerro Santa Lucía, where Pedro Valdivia founded Santiago in 1541. Our tour finishes by visiting the bohemian Lastarria neighborhood, lined with cafés, restaurants, small theaters, bookstores and boutique shops. Free time for lunch and dinner. Overnight in Santiago.

L included


 
Day 2

Premier Wines of Chile
Our exclusive tour begins with a visit to Perez Cruz, a boutique winery located on the estate grounds of the Perez Cruz family in the Maipo Alto valley. The vineyard is surrounded by beautiful scenery, which complements the modern, elegant architecture of the manor.

After sampling the finest wines of the Maipo Alto valley at Perez Cruz we continue to the legendary Concha and Toro winery in Pirque. An interesting tour awaits us, covering the company history while walking through the extensive vineyard grounds. We visit the famous wine cellar, home to many legends, and then enjoy a special tasting session of four varieties of the vineyard's prestigious, internationally acclaimed Marques de Casa Concha wine. The wine is accompanied by a selection of cheeses, nuts, dry fruits and freshly baked breads.

After the tasting we enjoy a delicious lunch in one of Pirque’s local restaurants, Tesoros de Chile. A beautiful restaurant housed in a heritage-rich Chilean casona from the nineteenth century, Tesoros de Chile was originally the house in which the estate of Pirque was administered. The house is decorated with elements of Chile's most important cultures and is home to a delicious tasting menu with recipes from different regions of the country, offering an entertaining and authentic journey throughout Chile and its different cultures.

The tour then continues with a visit to the Aquitania Winery*, created in 1984 by two Bordeaux residents looking for high-quality Chilean land to plant a vineyard. Here we’re taken on a tour of the vineyard and told of its successful history. After visiting the wine cellar, we enjoy an exquisite tasting of their different wines before being driven back to our hotel in Santiago.

* Aquitania Winery is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. If you book the tour on one of these days, the mornings second wine tour and lunch will be at the prestigious Santa Rita winery and the p.m. wine tour at Concha y Toro winery.


 
Day 3

Santiago – Torres del Paine
Today you check out of your hotel and are driven to the airport to board a flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival meet a Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC representative. You start your drive from Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine National Park. En route we make a couple of stops - First in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of Seno de Ultima Esperanza, where we enjoy a hearty local lunch, and your second stop is at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen. The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a view of the Torres. During summer the sun sets around 11pm, so upon arrival there's plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon. Overnight at EcoCamp Patagonia, in Torres del Paine National Park.


 
Day 4

Patagonia’s Torres del Paine / Two Options

Easy Option: Western Lakes & Grey Glacier
We drive across the Park, admiring the view of Paine Grande and its snowy peaks, and Los Cuernos with its black, granite horn-like spires. Walking along the shores of the stunning Lake Pehoe, we see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls where the water from Lake Nordenskjold cascades down into Pehoe. The walk continues over the gentle Nordenskjold trail until we reach its spectacular lookout point. Later, back at Lake Pehoe, we are driven south to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey. Here we enjoy a tasty box lunch by the lake before embarking on a boat ride across the icy waters to the towering blue walls of Glacier Grey. After this incredible sight of the glacier up close, we drive back to EcoCamp.

*During Shoulder Season (October and April) the boat trip on Glacier Grey may be cancelled as the boat requires a minimum of 10 passengers to sail. If this is the case we will plan an alternative excursion in the Park.

Active Option: Western Lakes and Pingo Trail
We drive across the Park, admiring the view of Paine Grande and its snowy peaks, and Los Cuernos with its black granite horn-like spires. Walking along the shores of the stunning Lake Pehoe, we see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls where the water from Lake Nordenskjold cascades down into Pehoe. The walk continues over the gentle Nordenskjold trail until we reach its spectacular lookout point.

Later, back at Lake Pehoe, we are driven south to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey where we walk to reach the start of the beautiful Pingo Trail taking us through a fairytale Magellan forest full of local fauna and flora. As we walk, huge rock formations in nearby hills and the strong Patagonian wind give us a good idea of just how wild Patagonia is! We reach a small sightseeing point with splendid views of the Massif’s west face, and then walk back to Grey Beach to meet our fellow travelers coming back from the boat ride. Together, we all head to Ecocamp to enjoy dinner and relaxation time.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia Suite Dome, Torres del Paine National Park.


 
Day 5

Patagonia’s Torres del Paine / Two Options

Easy Option: Laguna Azul and Fauna Trail
We start the day driving to Laguna Azul, on the north-eastern side of the Park, stopping at various points en route to admire the local flora and fauna and the mighty Paine Waterfall. Once at Laguna Azul we hike to a sightseeing point with a panoramic view of both the lagoon and granite towers. We then drive down to the shores of Sarmiento lake, home to many limestone formations and herds of guanacos, and walk northwards along the Fauna Trail past the small Goic lagoon and various types of fauna. After around 5km we reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station from where we are driven back to EcoCamp to relax and enjoy the evening meal.

Active Option: Trek Towers Base
We walk from Ecocamp towards Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes as we climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading us towards one of the world's most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and our picnic, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp. Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome, Torres del Paine National Park.


 
Day 6

Los Glaciares National Park: Calafate – El Chalten
After enjoying breakfast we board the van and start driving to the Cerro Castillo international border crossing. Once we complete the immigration process we enter Argentina and continue to Calafate, a small town set on the edge of Los Glaciares National Park, amid dramatic scenery and natural beauty. Our local coordinator will meet us at the restaurant where we’ll have lunch before heading to our next destination.

When everyone is ready we board another van that’ll take us on a 3-hour drive to Chalten. The drive is on isolated roads across the pampas and along the northern end of Lago Viedma. Chalten is a tiny outpost beside the Glacier National Park at the foot of impressive Mount Fitz Roy. We arrive at our hotel in time to get some well-deserved rest. Overnight at hotel in El Chalten


 
Day 7

Los Glaciares National Park:Laguna Torre
Today we do a full day hike along Cerro Torre Trail to Laguna Torre, a stunning mountain lake with majestic Mount Torre in the background. After breakfast we walk eastwards following the trail through beech forests until we reach Fitz Roy River. We continue and reach Base Camp de Agostini from where we do a short hike to Laguna Torre, with Cerro Torre and the Adela range to the West. Icebergs can be seen peacefully floating on Laguna Torre as the wind pushes them to the coast. We stop at different points to take in the magnificent view and enjoy a picnic lunch. Later we return to Chalten following the same trail and we stay overnight in Hosteria Los Cerros. Overnight at El Chalten.


 
Day 8

Los Glaciares National Park:Mount Fitz Roy
Today’s hike is along Rio Blanco. We drive to El Pilar, 11 miles north of El Chalten, and follow the Rio Blanco Trail to Piedras Blances Glacier, a hanging glacier descending from the base of Mount Fitz Roy. We picnic here, marveling at the glacier, and then continue up Rio Blanco Trail to reach one of the best views of Mount Fitz Roy - the landmark in Los Glaciares NP.

We descend via another path heading past Laguna Capri, ending back in El Chalten. We enjoy a delicious dinner and spend our final night at Hosteria Los Cerros. Overnight at El Chalten.


 
Day 9

Los Glaciares National Park: Glacier Perito Moreno
After breakfast we gather our luggage and begin the drive back to Calafate, following the same road filled with Argentinean pampas. We arrive in Calafate around noon with enough time to check in at our hotel, leave our luggage and prepare for our excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier - one of the most famous landmarks in Patagonia. Unlike typical tours, which go straight to the regular panoramic views, we go first to the glacier’s less-frequented north face to marvel at its splendor. We observe and hear giant chunks of ice plummet into the waters of Lake Argentino.

Our guide will answer questions about the glacier and the park. We’ll then continue to the footbridges, enjoying the surroundings at our own leisure. We also have the opportunity to do a short nautical safari to observe this magnificent glacier from up close.

After the thrilling encounter with Perito Moreno we drive back to Calafate. This is our final night and we enjoy a tasty farewell dinner with an excellent local folklore show. Overnight in El Calafate.


 
Day 10

Calafate – Buenos Aires
After breakfast we check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport for our flight to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival in Buenos Aires meet Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC for transfer to your hotel.   Time to relax and have lunch on your own.

This evening you will enjoy a spectacular show at one of Buenos Aires' most iconic theaters steeped in the history and traditions of Argentina’s most passionate and entertaining art form – the Tango. A true highlight of any trip to South America this tango extravaganza will surely leave you taken aback by the quality and passion of this world class show.

You will be served complimentary drinks and a sumptuous 3-course dinner in opulent surroundings while the artists get ready for the show. Then be amazed by the intensity and precision of the dancers, singers and live orchestra as they take you on exquisitely choreographed journey through the ages of Argentina's most celebrated dance. Then it's time to skip and hop your way back to the Hotel. Overnight in Buenos Aires.


 
Day 11

Buenos Aires City tour and the Tigre Delta River Cruise
This panoramic tour of Buenos Aires covers many of the city’s highlights, beginning with La Boca—a lively and colorful area. Then, you will continue downtown by way of Avenida de Mayo. At the Plaza de Mayo you will see the Casa Rosada (Government House), the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Cabildo—Buenos Aires’ first City Hall, built during the colonial era. At the other end of Avenida de Mayo, you will find the Congress building. Passing Colón Theatre, one of the world’s best known opera houses and the cultural pride of the locals, continue along the Palermo with its beautiful parks, the City Zoo, Botanical Garden, Argentine Horse Track and the National Polo Fields. At the end of the tour, you will pass through the Recoleta area—one of the city’s most glamorous spots.

Lunch

In the afternoon you embark on a journey in the Tigre Delta.  With its rivers, streams and green islands this is one of Argentina’s most attractive areas to explore. For more than 100 years, channels of Tigre Delta have been a favorite summer gateway to porteños—the name describing the inhabitants of Buenos Aires. The Delta Islands are formed by the continuous sediment of the Paraná River, which gives the river and estuary a peculiar brownish-red color. Take a leisurely, one-hour ride on a comfortable river cruiser boat along the waterways. On the way back to Buenos Aires, you’ll pass through residential areas of Argentina’s capital. Take time to stroll around San Isidro—one of the few remaining areas where style and romanticism are still proudly on display.


 
Day 12

Buenos Aires – USA

After breakfast transfer to the airport for flight out. End of services.


 
Basics

Pricing upon request
No fixed departure dates. You choose when you want to go. There can be just two of you or a group of friend. You can also plan it as a family vacation. Private guide and services throughout the program. We are flexible and able to make adjustments to the program in order for us to meet all your needs and expectations.


 
Moderate

Journey requires moderate walking.


 
Chile and Argentina Notes

Preparing Physically for the Trip
During your program to Chile and if combined with Argentina you will mainly participate in what we would consider Easy to Active Excursion so here are some guidelines to prepare for your journey.

You should start your training several months before departure, then slowly build up to a more strenuous level. Stop the strenuous activities if you feel dizzy, faint, have difficulty breathing, or experience any other significant medical discomfort.

Before you depart for an extended vacation, you should consult your physician. Make the doctor’s appointment no less then 8 week before departure. You will need some prescriptions, inoculations and perhaps some special advice that relates to your own physical condition.

If you have any special conditions or allergy that might require attention overseas, have your physician write a letter describing the nature of the condition and the treatment. Carry the letter with you. You should be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip.

Important: Be sure to bring enough of the prescription medication that you are currently taking. When you pack, make certain that you have ALL your medication in your carry-on luggage. NEVER pack any of your medications in your checked luggage.

Medical Matters
Chile and Argentina are among the safest countries in South America for maintaining personal well being. The tap water in most cities is chlorinated and well regulated. However, we do recommend that you use bottled water if you have any sensitivity to changes in water and food environments.

In general, the standard of hygiene is high and well controlled by the proper authorities. The countries are fortunate to produce an abundance of fresh meats, fruit and vegetables as well as have some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Chile and Argentina requires no special shots. Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may at times be a long way away, that a doctor may not always be available, and that evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive.

Remember that Mondo Verde Expeditions is not a medical authority and that we can only give you general information, which may not be accurate by the time you travel. You should consult with your physician. Other good Web sites for travel preparation information are www.tripprep.com and www.medicineplanet.com

Immunization
We highly recommend to be up to date with your Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccination.

 

Staying Healthy
While in the program with us, we use the best facilities available and where the staff is trained to maintain the highest standards of hygiene

At hotels and on your own: Although the tap water at the hotels is generally drinkable, you can buy bottled water at the local stores.

Personal Medical Kit
We highly recommend that you bring a basic first aid kit for emergencies. Please discuss this matter with your physician, as well as medications you should bring with you, such as antibiotics, pain killers, allergy medicine (epi-pens for allergic reactions to bee stings), etc.

Altitude
Altitude should not be an issue when traveling to the regions of Patagonia, the Lake Region or the Chilean capital of Santiago. The city is located at 1,706 ft. above sea level. You will encounter much higher altitudes if you travel to the Atacama Desert. Here you will reach altitudes above 13,000 feet. If going at altitudes of 4,000 feet above sea level presents a problem for travelers we highly recommend you consult your doctor before departing on your trip. We encouraged our clients to limit exertion for the first few days and maintain themselves adequately hydrated. Individuals with coronary or other health problems should consult their physician before deciding to travel to high altitude locations. Ask your doctor about high altitude medicine.

High Altitude Medication
If you have issues with altitude or suffer from high blood pressure, ask your doctor about the use of high altitude medicine. Diamox is the most popular and tested drug for altitude sickness prevention and treatment. Increases the amount of bicarbonate excreted in the urine, making the blood more acidic. Acidifying the blood drives the ventilation, which is the cornerstone of acclimatization.

For more information on medical considerations please contact the:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm

It is vital that persons with medical problems or special diet requirements make them known to us well before departure so that land operators are properly informed.

Passport Information
You will need a valid U.S. passport to enter Chile and Argentina. If you have a valid passport, make sure that it will remain valid for at least six months after the date of your return from Lima to USA.

If you have changed your name, be sure that is reflected on your passport. You must always use the name as it appears on your passport for all applications, visas and identification.

If you have a passport that has expired, or one that will not remain valid for at least six months after the date of your return, you will need to renew it. That requires two passport photos, your latest passport and payment for the renewal fee.

Photo Copies of Important Documents
It is a good idea to bring with you four photocopies of your passport and two copies of your airline tickets and a copy of your credit card information. Having copies is useful in case of documents are misplaced or stolen.

Visas
No visa is necessary when you travel to Chile, only a valid passport. When entering Chile, at customs, you'll need to fill out a Tourist Card that allows visitors to stay for up to 90 days and will allow multiple entries. You'll need to show this Tourist Card to Customs when leaving the country as well, so be sure you don't lose it. For more information on other type of Visa, go to the Chilean CONSULAR SECTION for more information.

Entry Fee for Chile
There is a reciprocity fee of US$160 dollars to be paid in cash (U.S. dollars) or credit card. The one-time charge is good for the life of your passport. Go to the Chilean CONSULAR SECTION for more information.

Entry Fee for Argentina
Nationals of the USA, Canada, do not need visas to visit Argentina. However, as of 20 December 2009, US citizens flying into Ezeiza International Airport must pay an entry fee of $US 131.00. This fee is valid for ten years and allows for multiple visits to the country. For more details, see the US Embassy website or Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travelers' forum.

In theory, upon arrival all non-visa visitors must obtain a free tourist card, good for 90 days and renewable for 90 more. In practice, immigration officials issue these only at major border crossings, such as airports and on the ferries and hydrofoils between Buenos Aires and Uruguay. Although you should not toss your card away, losing it is no major catastrophe. At most exit points, immigration officials will provide immediate replacement for free.

International & Domestic Flights
Mondo Verde Expeditions is not able to book any international flight reservations during your program in Chile or Argentina. Mondo Verde Expeditions will purchase your domestic flights inside Chile upon request.

Airport Taxes

International Flights: For flights leaving Chile, there is an airport tax of USD$18. Airport taxes cost are subject to change without previous notification.

National Flights: On domestic flights airport tax is usually included in the airline ticket.

Flight Cancellation
If for any reason any of your flights is cancelled because of bad weather or mechanical problems, the guest loses the first day service at any of their destinations without refund and activity if applies planed for that day. The guest is also responsible for the costs of the additional expensed caused by any delay.

Time
Chilean standard time corresponds to the time zone UTC-04:00 (Universal Time Coordinate, formerly Greenwich Mean Time). The daylight savings time (DST) stays one hour ahead (UTC-03:00) between the second Saturday of October (changes at 12 PM) and the second Saturday of March. During the summer (October to March) Chile is 2 hours ahead of the US Eastern Time (New York, Miami, Washington DC), and during standard time Chile has the same time as US Eastern DST.  Argentina’s Standard Time Zone is GMT/UTC – 03:00 hour. Daylight Saving Time: DST not applied.

Electricity
Electricity in Chile & Argentina is 220 volts 50 cycle. If you have American electrical equipment you want to use (battery chargers, razor, and hair dryer) be sure your equipment can be switched to 220 volts or take along a transformer. Many electrical appliances, including battery chargers, now available in the U.S. operate on dual voltage – 110/220, but check to be sure. In this case you will not need a transformer, but you will need an adapter plug. In Chile the plugs (left) and sockets look like this: You can buy adapter plugs in a travel store or at Radio Shack.


 
Reading List

http://www.longitudebooks.com/find/d/24863/r/3A/mcms.html


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