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A private guided walk through some of Patagonia's least visited and yet most dramatic mountain landscapes. From the turquoise blue waters of Lago General Carrera, through the mountains of the Jeinimeni Natural Park as far as the guanaco rich grasslands of the future Parque Patagonia, this is world-class wilderness walking.
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You are collected by your driver and guide from Balmaceda airport. It is a beautiful drive of just over an hour through the Cerro Castillo Natural Park to get to the pier where you board the ferry across the beautiful waters of Lago General Carrera. From this, the eastern end of the lake, you have beautiful views west towards the peak of monte San Valentín, the highest mountain in Patagonia. Spend tonight in the border town of Chile Chico as you prepare for your hike tomorrow.
From Chile Chico it is a 60km drive south along an unpaved road which hugs the Argentine border. The landscapes become increasingly dramatic as you reach the trailhead on the shores of Jeinimeni lake. Jeinimeni receives only around 1,000 overseas visitors in the course of a year so you are highly likely to be enjoying the trail to yourselves as you follow the trail around the shores of the lake.
The walk takes you through ever more dramatic mountain landscapes with condors circling overhead as you pass high crags and dwarf forests. Tonight you camp on the ‘frontier’ between Jeinimeni and the future Parque Patagonia. Once officially inaugurated, these parks will become one entity - by far the largest of the accessible parks in Patagonia.
For your final day, the trail leads you down gradually along the Avilés river valley. The high Andes tower over you to the east while the gorge of the river cuts into the valley to the west. Herds of guanaco graze the plains of the valley while the dwarf forests of native species such as lengue and nirre are filled with birds. Spend tonight in the Chacabuco Valley at the Casa Piedra campsite.
Travel by road to the trailhead of one of the most emblematic trails in the new park. The high lakes, Lagunas Altas, are spread out along the higher parts of the park so the views are wonderful. The lakes are home to flocks of migratory birds. The path between the lakes weaves through pretty trails through forests of native trees before dropping back down the sides of the valley to the lodge at the heart of the park.
After a relaxed morning, you are collected for the drive north back to the shores of Lago General Carrera. This time to stay in comfortable cabins to the west of the lake but with amazing views over to the northern Patagonian Icefield. Spend time relaxing in front of your wood burning stove, or on your private porch overlooking the water.
There are various walking routes in the area, for which we can provide GPS units. Alternatively, there are horses stabled right here at your hotel which are available for rides of a couple of hours or a half day (extra payable).
Another day in the area allows you to discover more of your surroundings. As well as the option to ride or walk, you might like to take a boat ride across the lake to the famous marble caves. For something yet more dramatic, we can arrange for you to visit the incredible Leones Glacier (extra payable). The glacier is accessible only by taking a boat and then walking to the lagoon into which the glacier calves.
Your driver returns to collect you for the four-hour drive back to the airport at Balmaceda at a time of your choosing.
Note: This is just an itinerary idea and we'll therefore tailor everything to you.
New and exclusive to Pura Aventura, this holiday has, at its heart, a private guided three-day hike into Chile’s future Parque Patagonia. From the beautiful and remote Jeinimeni Natural Park on the shores of Lago General Carrera into the vast Chacabuco Valley, this trip combines walking through some of the most beautiful and unexplored areas of Patagonia with time to relax in comfort by the shores of South America’s second largest lake, Lago General Carrera.
This is an active trip. At its heart are four days of hiking through the wilds of Patagonia, camping out so this is an adventure for people who enjoy being the great outdoors, no matter the weather. Distances walked each day are between 15-22km, at low altitude with relatively minor altitude gains and losses so this is a route suitable for any reasonably fit walker.
Whilst on the shores of Lago Carrera at the end of your trip, there are optional walks you can take as well as horse riding. There is also the option to visit the spectacular Leones Glacier, arguably the most impressive of the strands of the Northern Patagonian Icefield.
To get to the Parque Patagonia is an adventure in itself. We try to time your arrival so that the journey to Chile Chico, your first overnight stop, consists of a 1.5 hour drive on paved road followed by a ferry journey across Lago General Carrera, a stunning lake crossing which takes you directly to the village of Chile Chico. However, it is possible that this journey be done by road, in which case it involves five hours or so on unpaved roads - albeit through incredibly beautiful scenery.
In Chile Chico you stay in a fairly simple but comfortable guest house. Facilities are en suite. For the hiking though, you are camping with few facilities. Though official campsites, your three overnights under canvas may be challenging. We include camping gear, sleeping mats and cooking gear. We also have porters carry the kit for you (your main bags go on ahead to the Lodge in Parque Patagonia). Saying this, you are travelling as part of a small team so you should expect to pitch in and help with camp duties such as pitching tents, cooking and cleaning.
Once at El Lodge, things become very significantly more comfortable. Rooms at El Lodge are very comfortably furnished, this is remote Patagonian comfort verging on luxury.
For your final stop on the shores of Lago General Carrera you will stay in premium cabins with private bathrooms and wonderful views out over the lake. Wood burning stoves and private porches mean that you can make the most of the views no matter the weather.
This is a part of Patagonia which is, as yet, very little visited. You will get the most from a trip like this if you are culturally inquisitive. Speaking Spanish is not essential since your guide does speak English, but a few words of the native tongue will go a long way to helping you engage more with your surroundings.
This is a part of Chile where you will still see horses being ridden along the road, oxcarts being towed. In fact, the ferry across the lake which you take on the first day even has a tariff for horses and oxen!
There is a rich history of immigration to this part of Chile in addition to the fascinating gaucho culture which is reaches across the border between Chile and Argentina.
This holiday is based around private services so can be adapted to suit you in almost any way. The first day works best if it is a Monday/Wednesday as this enables you to catch the ferry across Lago General Carrera, cutting out several hours of driving.
Flights are not included in this holiday, the start and end point is Balmaceda airport (Coyhaique is the nearest town). We can help arrange flights for you, both domestic and international.
Price based on private services for two people sharing a room/tent, staying at El Lodge for one night. This trip leaves any day except Tuesday between October and early April.
Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure
The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.
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