llama before snow-covered mountains on patagonia wildlife safari land tour
three trekkers near lake on patagonia wildlife safari land tour
fox on grass on patagonia wildlife safari trip
puma in tall grass on patagonia wildlife safari land tour
huge snow-covered mountains behind a llama seen on patagonia wildlife safari land tour
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South America Patagonia Land Tour

Patagonia Wildlife Safari

Torres del Paine National Park’s magnificent and unrivaled flora, fauna and stunning vistas are at your fingertips with this customized Patagonia trip, allowing you to handpick daily activities such as cycling, hikes and nature walks, returning home to EcoCamp at the end of each day for cozy dome accommodations and sublime meals. We’ve listed the full details for the 7-day Patagonia Wildlife Safari, but this trip may be booked as a 4-, 5- or 6-day trip as well.

Patagonia is a vast and diverse region, with scenery ranging from dramatic mountain formations and smoky volcanoes to flat barren pampa and expansive ice fields. At the far south of the Andes is the Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most impressive sights in the Southern Hemisphere and home to the Patagonia Wildlife Safari and EcoCamp. The dramatic mountain formations here are crowded with glaciers, lakes, fjords, ancient forests and wildlife such as guanacos, flamingos, condors, ñandus and huemules. There’s also some of the most magnificent trekking and nature in the world. With custom levels of activities to choose from – easy or active – the Patagonia Wildlife Safari adventure is outdoor recreation at its best!

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Patagonia tours.



Itinerary

Patagonia Wildlife Safari Itinerary

This customizable 7-day Patagonia Wildlife Safari begins and ends in either Punta Arenas (PUQ) or Puerto Natales (PNT).

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Day 1
Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine

The Patagonia Wildlife Safari starts in Punta Arenas early morning, either at your hotel or at the airport. You’ll be picked up from Punta Arenas and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park, for briefing and your first night’s stay. On the way, stop at Puerto Natales, a small but lively town on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza, “Last Hope Sound,” to enjoy a hearty lunch with delicious local food. The journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes. The day ends with your 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.

Accommodations

EcoCamp

Meals

lunch or box lunch and dinner

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Days 2 - 6
Various Daily Patagonia Excursions

During your Patagonia Wildlife Safari you can choose between easy or active excursions – depending on your mood, weather conditions and travel companions’ preferences. Detailed below are the activities, which vary in availability depending on the day of the week and local conditions. Each day ends back at EcoCamp for dinner and relaxation:

Hiking or Biking to Laguna Azul (EASY) – MON, THU

On your way to Laguna Azul, enjoy marvelous views of the famous Torres and pass through the pampas (the local steppe) where you will be lucky enough not only to spot many elegant guanacos, but also to hop out of the van and walk among them. After soaking up these beautiful surroundings, continue the drive to Laguna Azul (“Blue Lagoon”), where you’ll enjoy a box lunch looking out over the lake, with a view of the three granite towers in the distance. An alternative is a bike ride in the wilderness near Laguna Azul where you will cycle among the herds of guanacos that roam the pampas. Then jump back into the van, heading back to the EcoCamp in time for cocktail hour. Activity: Nature Walk or Bike. Distance: 3 miles. Walking Time: 2 hours. Altitude: 660 feet.

Towers Base Trek (ACTIVE) – MON, WED, THU, SAT

After a hearty breakfast, 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. The big challenge comes on the climb up the steep moraine, leading toward one of the world’s most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (9,350 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, with the glacial lake visible below. Is there any better place in the world to have lunch? After feasting on the view and your picnic box lunch, backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp. Activity: Demanding Hiking. Distance: 14 miles. Walking Time: 9 hours. Altitude: 3,000 feet.

Pehoe Lake Boat Ride & French Valley Hike (ACTIVE) – MON, WED, THU, SAT

After breakfast, drive toward the Pudeto dock, on the shores of Pehoe Lake. Board the catamaran, then disembark on the northwest shore of the lake to begin the challenging trek to Valle Frances (French Valley) along a steep trail into the very heart of the Paine Massif. How deep you go depends on the group’s rhythm. An active walk leads to the hanging bridge over the French River, at the foot of the Massif’s southeastern face. Continue to the valley’s upper section to admire the area’s entire group of geological formations, then enjoy a picnic rest. This day’s adventure ends with a descent through an undulating terrain of mixed grassland and light forest at Refugio Paine Grande, located on the peaceful shores of Lake Pehoe. From here, board the catamaran back to Pudeto, where you will be transported back to EcoCamp. Note that the catamaran does not operate in May, and this excursion will be replaced by a 9-mile trek to Los Cuernos. Activity: Demanding Hiking. Distance: 11 miles. Walking Time: 6 hours. Altitude: 1,640 feet.

Drive & Walk Western Lakes & Grey Glacier Boat Ride (EASY) – TUE, FRI

Drive across the Park, admiring the view of snowy Paine Grande and Los Cuernos with its black, granite horn-like spires. Stop at various viewpoints on the way to enjoy observing and photographing herds of guanacos, Andean condors and interesting flora. Walking along the shores of Lake Pehoe, see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls and enjoy a spectacular lookout point. From here, drive up to Grey Lake and wander along the beach. Here enjoy a tasty box lunch by the lake before embarking on a boat ride across the icy waters to the towering blue walls of Grey Glacier. After this incredible up-close look at the glacier, drive back to EcoCamp. Activity: Nature Walk & Boat Trip. Distance: 0.5 miles. Walking Time: 1 hour. Altitude: 660 feet.

Please be aware that the Grey Glacier boat trip is subject to availability, so please confirm your reservation in order to participate on the day of your arrival. During the shoulder season months of September, October, April and May,  the boat trip to Grey Glacier may be canceled as the boat requires a minimum of 15 passengers to sail, which might not be reached in some cases. If this is the case, an alternative excursion in the park will be planned.

Western Lakes Drive & Cerro Ferrier Hike (ACTIVE) – TUE, FRI

Drive across the Park, admiring the view of snowy Paine Grande and Los Cuernos with its black, granite horn-like spires. Walking along the shores of Lake Pehoe, see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls and enjoy a spectacular lookout point. From here, drive up to Grey Lake and wander along the beach. Here begin your hike to Cerro Ferrier, a fairly steep route taking you through a fairytale-like Magellanic forest where you might spot the huemul, the endangered South Andean deer. Hike uphill for about an hour and a half to reach a breathtaking lookout offering a unique perspective of the Paine Massive, Grey Glacier and some of the most famous lakes of the National Park. Then walk back to Grey Beach to meet your fellow travelers coming back from the boat ride. Together, head back to EcoCamp to enjoy a relaxed evening. Activity: Hiking. Distance: 7.5 miles. Walking Time: 3.5 hours. Altitude: 1,970 feet.

Lazo Weber Hike (ACTIVE) – TUE, FRI

Start the day at 8:30am with breakfast at EcoCamp and a moment to prepare your box lunch before boarding your bus at 10am. Drive past the Lazo Weber Estancia where you’ll enter the National Park via Laguna Verde and begin this active hike. The Lazo Weber Trail is packed with native flora and wildlife, so have your cameras ready to snap pics of the guanacos, owls, eagles, condors and caranchos, another bird of prey, all with the mountainous Paine range on your right. The hike is rather easy, and apart from a few hills, the trail remains rather flat. Stop a moment to refuel by the magical Laguna Honda, and enjoy the sights and sensations of the gorgeous landscape and fresh breeze. On your way, hike through one of the quietest forests in the national park, a fantastic opportunity to observe native trees such as the lenga and the coihue. From here, continue to a lookout point (El Toro Lookout) where you’ll be wowed with a 360-degree view of the Paine mountain range, the Patagonian Andes and a suite of rivers and lakes (including the Paine, Grey and Serrano Rivers, and Lake Toro, the largest in the region). An hour’s descent towards Paine River will reunite you with your van. On your way home, search for more animals to photograph and take a final moment to enjoy the scenery. Activity: Hiking. Distance: 7.5 miles. Walking Time: 5 hours. Altitude: 2,300 feet.

Sarmiento Lake & Fauna Trail (EASY) – WED, SAT

This predominantly flat trek boasts stunningly diverse natural scenery and offers the chance to feast your eyes upon a startlingly blue lake, which is secluded from all the other water systems of the area. There will be ample opportunity to spot many graceful guanacos and great grebes along the way. First examine the geology of the area’s turbidite rock folds, before descending the isthmus that separates Lake Sarmiento from Lake Sarmiento Chico (the two lakes were once a single mass of water), walking along a slight slope, and ambling beside the eastern edge of Lake Sarmiento Chico. Arrive at an impressive bay on the western side of Lake Sarmiento, admiring a breathtaking view, then begin your ascent back to the van. From here, drive back eastwards along the northern shore of Sarmiento Lake until you reach the starting point of the Fauna Trail. As you walk northwards along the trail, look for fauna on the Patagonian plains including guanacos, ostrich-like ñandús and maybe the occasional puma print! Pass by Goic lagoon, and after an approximate 3-mile relaxed walk, reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station to be driven back to EcoCamp. Activity: Nature Walk. Distance: 6 miles. Walking Time: 5 hours. Altitude: 660 feet.

Cerro Paine Trek (ACTIVE) – SUN

After a tasty breakfast at EcoCamp head for Cerro Paine, a nearby mountain characterized by its two imposing peaks. Hike along the mountain for half an hour, which allows you to warm up while admiring the view of the surrounding pampas. The challenge begins as you start climbing the eastern part of Cerro Paine. Cross the lenga forest with the sound of the local birds and enjoy a few stops to observe the immense Almirante Nieto Mountain and its glacier on your left side. With any luck you will follow the tracks of the puma as the towers come into full view. A nice place for lunch, isn’t it? Start the steepest part of the hike, leaving the forest to hike on rock. As you ascend, admire the spectacular panoramic view of the immense pampas and the mountains in the distance, like Balmaceda Mountain. Walk upward for about an hour up to 4,920 feet to reach the eastern peak of Cerro Paine, which offers an unforgettable lookout of the towers and the Ascencio Valley. Take in one of the most striking views of the national park, then backtrack along the same trail and return to EcoCamp. Activity: Demanding Hiking. Distance: 9 miles. Walking Time: 8 hours. Altitude: 4,920 feet.

Wild Horse Tracking (EASY) – SUN

Begin the journey by 4×4 through the folds of the Cordillera Masle, with views of the Cordillera Baguales, Salto Las Chinas and Barranca de los Toros pass. After about 40 minutes, arrive at a typical “puesto” where Patagonian gauchos would take refuge while caring for their livestock. With the help of satellite tracking equipment, coupled with your guide’s experience and knowledge, begin the trek, searching for the 100 untamed horses that remain isolated in this sector surrounded by mountains, lakes and plains, in the most pristine and untouched terrain of Torres del Paine. The experience of tracking, observing and analyzing the horses in such natural surroundings is incomparable. Lunch is served in the field, and after a full day (7-8 hours), return to EcoCamp, ready to enjoy an aperitif before settling down to a warm meal. Note that Wild Horse Tracking is not available during winter and is therefore not offered in May and September, to be replaced by a 7.5-mile walk to Salto Grande and El Condor Lookout. Activity: Nature Walk. Distance: 4 miles. Walking Time: 6 hours. Altitude: 300 feet.

Accommodations

EcoCamp

Meals

breakfast, box lunch and dinner

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Day 7
Leave Torres del Paine

Board an early-morning vehicle, sit back, relax and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas on time to catch the evening flight to Santiago. Those heading to Argentina board an earlier transfer heading to the border.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast and box lunch

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodation at EcoCamp; regular bus tickets Calafate/Natales; meals as indicated; all ground transport as indicated in the itinerary; English-speaking escort guide; park fees for Torres del Paine National Park; boat crossing ticket over Grey Lake and/or Pehoe Lake. Note: the visit to Milodon Cave on route to EcoCamp is without a guide on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays.

Exclusions

Airfare; insurance (it is mandatory you purchase appropriate insurance for this trip); voluntary tipping to guides and staff; soft drinks or snacks not served with the meals included at EcoCamp; extra drinks/snacks or souvenirs in Torres del Paine National Park (bringing cash in US$ is suggested); items of personal nature.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 61 days – 100% of deposit
60 to 45 days – 40% of total trip cost
44 to 31 days – 60% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Patagonia Wildlife Safari Trip begins and ends in either Punta Arenas (PUQ) or Puerto Natales (PNT). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales before 3:00pm on day 1. Plan flights to depart Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales no earlier than 3:00pm on day 7. Transfers between Punta Arenas/Puerto Natales and EcoCamp are provided. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Optional activities not included in the rate may include: Hostería Las Torres Spa & Massage Center and half-day horseback riding or ride per hour, both just a 10-minute walk from EcoCamp. Included activities have a typical group size of 8-12 travelers, plus guiding staff. Maximum group size is 16 people. Guide to passenger ratio: 1:12.

Room Configuration

Prices listed are for double occupancy. All domes may be booked for single occupancy at an added cost; Suite Domes may also be booked for triple or quad occupancy. If you are a solo traveller you will be expected to share a dome with another traveller of the same gender. If there is availability at Ecocamp, most likely in low season, you may be allocated your own dome. EcoCamp follows this sharing policy in order to keep dome numbers to a minimum and preserve the surrounding wilderness as much as possible. Contact AdventureSmith for single, triple and quad rates at EcoCamp. Please note Standard Domes do not have electricity or a heater.

Families & Children

Children 6 to 12 years old sharing a dome with 2 adults receive a 50% discount. Minimum age 6 to participate in program. Children aged 6 to 9 are welcome to participate in nature walks. Children aged 10 to 12 may participate in trekking excursions, but the family must hire a private assistant guide. Children aged 12 and up are welcome to participate in all activities and are treated as adults.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

We may occasionally alter itineraries slightly for safety, or to take advantage of weather, wildlife and unplanned discoveries. The ability to be spontaneous makes this style of adventure travel unique.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Details

Listed prices for this trip are based on foreign currency exchange rates and may vary. USD pricing will be calculated at the time of final payment based on the market conversion rate plus a 1% banking conversion fee of total invoiced amount. Please contact AdventureSmith for current pricing.

Departures available daily, September through end of April. Contact us for current rates and availability.

Accommodation

Learn About the Lodge on Your Itinerary

Lodge
EcoCamp Patagonia

EcoCamp is situated in the very heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile, and provides the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation, complete with green technology and individual geodesic domes.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Andrew Browning • July 3rd, 2018
Expert Review: EcoCamp & the Towers Base Hike

See what it's like to hike to the Towers Base in Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park, and why EcoCamp lodge is the best basecamp for this famous trek.

Testimonials

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

"Good Balance Between Sustainable Adventure Travel & Comfort"

I loved the EcoCamp in Patagonia--every evening, you can decide with the help of staff and fellow travelers what you'll be doing the following day, depending on how you're feeling. Every choice of activity level is top-quality. The EcoCamp represents a good balance between sustainable adventure travel and comfort, and the staff succeeds in quickly building a sense of community.

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Accommodations
4 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
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4 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
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"This Was a Trip of a Lifetime"

Smooth trip, great guides. Patagonia is obviously one of the most beautiful places on earth. Torres del Paine is almost terrifying in its beauty. The (reasonably) close contact with wildlife/birds is extraordinary.

Overall
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
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