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Get Up Close to Glaciers in Patagonia
One of the world’s iconic destinations, Patagonia is a landscape of towering peaks with condors soaring high above. It’s a naturalist’s paradise, with opportunities to observe a diversity of flora and fauna living at a range of altitudes in diverse microclimates. Glaciers make their way to the sea, as do rivers and streams, and you’ll have an unforgettable opportunity to raft down two of those rivers on G Adventures’ 9-day Patagonia Hiking trip

This trip includes some high-altitude hikes, which are accessible to most travelers in good health, and of course you won’t be going it alone. You’ll be exploring Patagonia with a maximum of 16 travelers—camaraderie without a crowd. Your G Adventures’ CEO (Chief Experience Officer) will ensure that you can take in the natural wonders without worrying about anything. From handling logistics to explaining the geology and ecology, your CEO will make your Patagonia hiking adventure seamless and rich.
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    Photo By Sander Crombach
    Day 1
    Arrive in Buenos Aires
    You can arrive in Buenos Aires at any time on the first day of your G Adventures trip. You don’t need to meet up with the rest of your group and your CEO until the evening—so if you land earlier in the day, you’ll have time to explore the capital either on your own or with one of G Adventures’ optional excursions.

    You might want to join a bike tour of Buenos Aires’s various neighborhoods. It’s an ideal way to experience a European atmosphere in a surprising location, at the southern end of South America. Stops include the Plaza de Mayo, where the Casa Rosada (the presidential palace) is located, and the lively San Telmo neighborhood. Another tour focuses on La Boca, a neighborhood known for its colorfully painted houses and as the home of the tango—the quintessentially Argentinian style of music and dance. A tour of the Teatro Colón will appeal to music lovers and students of architecture. The theater, completed in 1908, is famous for having some of the best acoustics in the world. In 2010, a thorough renovation and restoration of the building was completed as it entered its second century as one of Buenos Aires’s premier venues.  

    After your day exploring, return to your hotel to meet your fellow travelers and your CEO, who will explain what you can expect during the trip ahead.
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    Day 2
    Travel to El Chaltén
    Today, you’ll transfer to the airport in Buenos Aires and fly south to El Calafete. From there you’ll continue by bus to El Chaltén, located within Glacier National Park. The journey will provide your first glimpse of the stunning landscapes of the southern tip of South America.  

    Once you arrive in El Chaltén, you’ll have some free time to explore the village or go on a hike. El Chaltén is commonly described as the trekking capital of Argentina, but don’t let “capital” mislead you. It’s decidedly a small frontier town, with fewer than 400 year-round residents. It won’t take you long to explore, and you may want to get a table at one of the town’s restaurants and order some empanadas or a burger and a beer paired with alpine views. Or you can head out on a short hike on one of the trails that begins in town.
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    Day 3
    While most of your time in Patagonia will be spent be exploring the region on foot, today you’ll head out on a rafting trip down some of the park’s Class III rapids. River rafting is a relatively new way to explore Glacier National Park, with the trips from El Chaltén launched only in 2015. 

    If you aren’t familiar with river-rafting terminology, Class III means that while there are some challenging stretches, no previous rafting experience is required. You’ll also have guides to instruct you when (and when not) to paddle. As you make your way along the rougher Las Vueltas River and then float down the more placid Fitz Roy, the Patagonian peaks will loom overhead. It’s a very scenic ride.
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    Day 4
    Hike to Laguna de los Tres
    Today’s hike to Laguna de los Tres is strenuous but rewarding. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular treks from El Chaltén. You’ll ascend an impressive 1,300 feet to reach the lake, and when you get there, you’ll be rewarded with views of the Cerro Fitz Roy and the teal lake itself.  

    “Cerro” is the Spanish word for hill, which could only be applied to Fitz Roy ironically—the peak stretches to a height of 11,290 feet. The mountain, which sits along the Chile-Argentinian border, has become an iconic symbol of Patagonia—it’s even been incorporated into the logo of the Patagonia clothing company (albeit in a very stylized form). When the bare granite peak is set off against vivid blue skies, you’ll understand why Fitz Roy makes such an impression.  

    The Laguna de los Tres, at the base of the peak, gets its name from the three peaks that loom over it: Fitz Roy, Poincenot (9,849 feet), and Saint-Exupéry (8,392 feet). The lake and the peaks are just the most famous sights on this trek; you’ll come upon jaw-dropping vistas at every turn.
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    Day 5
    Explore around El Chaltén
    Today, you can choose from a number of different hikes that start at El Chaltén. The Cerro Torre Valley hike is an easy-to-moderate option that goes to the Torre Lake and Glacier, where you’ll have views of the Cerro Torre (10,262 feet) and its nearby peaks. This dramatic mountain rises to a narrow tip, like a knife cutting into the sky above it. If you wake up this morning and the sun is shining, the Cerro Torre Valley hike is an obvious choice. (On gray days, you may not be able to see the mountain from the lake.)

    The Laguna Capri Hike is another easy-to-moderate option that takes around two hours from El Chaltén. At the end of the trail, you’ll reach Laguna Capri, also known as Laguna Pato, surrounded by pine forests and with postcard views of a peak that will be familiar from yesterday, Fitz Roy. It’s only about a half-hour hike to the El Condor Mirador, or Lookout. You’ll have views of the town of El Chaltén below you and, beyond it, Fitz Roy.  

    At the end of the day, you’ll meet up with the rest of your group and continue on to El Calafate for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
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    Day 6
    El Calafete
    You’ll head out today to see one of the most famous sights within Glacier National Park, and one of its namesakes—the Perito Moreno Glacier. You’ll explore the glacier and the enormous 935-square-mile lake next to it, Lago Argentino, on a guided tour with an optional boat ride for a closer look at the glacier.  

    Unlike many glaciers in the world today, Perito Moreno is growing—a source of much discussion among climatologists and geologists, as most glaciers in Patagonia are shrinking. This 19-mile-long, 3-mile-wide, and 180-foot-high river of ice pushes its way into the lake, dividing it in two. This occasionally leads to ruptures, when the water on one side of the glacier bursts through. While you’re unlikely to witness that event (which occurs only once every four to five years), you will marvel at the imposing wall of bluish ice and the spectacle when pieces of it calve into the lake.  

    If you want a closer look at the glacier, take an optional boat tour, which approaches the southern wall. Make sure you have lots of memory free on your camera!
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    Day 7
    Explore El Calafate and Laguna Nimez
    You’ll have a free day today, which you could use to go on an optional tour of Laguna Nimez or wander around the town of El Calafate.  

    The Laguna Nimez tour is a must for birders. Located on the shore of Lago Argentino, and just to the north of El Calafate, some 80 different species of birds can be spotted here. It’s famous for its flamingoes, but other species that you’ll be able to check off on your birding list include upland geese, silvery grebe, and red-gartered coots. 

    You can also use your free day to explore El Calafate. The town is modest in size, home to just over 6,000 people, and life is centered around one main commercial strip with a mix of restaurants, bars, and souvenir stores. The town is known for its chocolate shops, and whether you want a hot chocolate, chocolate candies, or an alfajor (a dulce de leche–filled cookie), you’ll find a few stores ready to satisfy your sweet tooth.  

    Just outside of town (and served by free shuttles), the Glacarium is a dramatic museum by architect Pablo Güiraldes that provides an introduction to the Perito Moreno glacier and others in Patagonia and around the world.
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    Photo By Sasha Stories
    Day 8
    Return to Buenos Aires
    You’ll have this morning in El Calafate for any last-minute shopping or a final hike before you depart Patagonia and return to Buenos Aires.  

    You’ll arrive in Buenos Aires in the afternoon and have time to do some exploring on your own, or perhaps take a city tour if you didn’t join one at the beginning of your Patagonia adventure. Among the popular sights in Buenos Aires, the Museo Evita covers the fascinating and still-controversial figure of Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina from 1946–1952. The Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Argentina’s most famous politicians (including Evita) and cultural figures, in mausoleums that are remarkable works of architecture. Or you may simply want to wander the streets of Palermo, Buenos Aires’s liveliest neighborhood, with its many boutiques, cafes, and bars.

    Tonight you’ll enjoy a final meal with your fellow travelers—and perhaps share one last bottle of Malbec. Make sure to exchange emails so you can forward any great photos you find as you review the hundreds of images you’ve likely taken over the course of your trip. There’s also an optional Tango Dinner show tonight, where you can watch the signature dance of Argentina while dining on steak, empanadas, and other local dishes.
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    Day 9
    Return Home
    While the G Adventures trip ends this morning, try to get a late-night flight back home so you have a full final day to explore Buenos Aires. If time allows, take advantage of one of the optional excursions you didn’t get around to at the beginning of your trip, like visiting the Teatro Colón, La Boca, or exploring the city by bike. You can also head out on your own. And, if you can get an extra vacation day or two, G Adventures can assist with arrangements to extend your Argentinian holiday.