Hear what our own staff have to say about our programs in Argentina - for a limited time now 10% off!
At Cascada Expediciones, our goal is to give you the best quality travel programs possible, showcasing the marvels of Chile and South America through experiential and life-changing trips. We believe in our trips so much, in fact, that we have members of our own team go on them as well to experience all the fun and adventure for themselves! Then, they can share their experiences with you to help you pick your dream vacation.
Today, in honor of our current Unlimited Patagonia special offer, we’re taking you on a behind-the-scenes trip to Argentine Patagonia with Anna Vagts, an adventurous member of our hard-working sales team here in the Cascada offices and our resident Trekking and Adventure Specialist. Here’s a look at what she experienced during her time in Argentine Patagonia:
Day 1: Trip to El Calafate and El Chalten
After a long trip by bus, we arrived in El Calafate and were taken to the center of town which is full of souvenir shops, chocolate, and more. Rolando (our guide) wanted to leave for El Chalten around 6 in the afternoon, so we decided to try Argentinian pasta at La Cocina restaurant and stroll through the center of town until then.
In the afternoon, we went to El Chalten. Rolando told us that El Chalten essentially didn’t exist a few years ago, and was built by and for tourism. Now, it is the base for all types of trekking and adventure in Los Glaciares National Park.
We were very excited to get to know the town that is so well known around the world. On the way, we stopped at La Leona cafeteria and had coffee. The place supposedly was the refuge of a great gringo thief who fled from the police and hid in this place. What an incredible story!
At least an hour before arriving at El Chalten, we could already see Mount Fitz Roy on the horizon. With each kilometer, the mountain always appeared a little bigger. It was already sunset when the town of El Chalten appeared and Rolando told us that we were already inside Los Glaciares National Park. El Chalten is super small and it shows that everyone is dedicated to tourism. There are almost more hotels and hostels than houses.
We stayed at the Hosteria Senderos which is located at the entrance to the town in front of the bus terminal. It is a new small house, but very cozy. When we went inside, there was a nice, warm fire going.
Day 2: Laguna Los Tres Trekking and Fitz Roy
We got up early in the morning and got ready for a long day of trekking. The guide Marcelo picked us up from the hotel and we were transferred outside El Chalten to the starting point for our trek.
The first part is flat and easy to walk. The group was ten people plus the guide. We went fast and we had some nice views of the mountain, a glacier and the forest. According to Marcelo, getting to the Fitz Roy base camp of Poincenot would be 8 km of hiking. We walked through the forest without much climbing.
When we arrived at Poincenot camp, we could already see the path leading to Laguna Los Tres, and we were all a little nervous. The path ahead was very steep, so we decided to take a break to recharge the batteries before beginning the climb.
Marcelo told us that it was only one kilometer to the viewpoint, but because of the steepness of the slope, the path was going to take about an hour ... and honestly, it looked difficult! But we all want to climb it and make to the lagoon.
At first, the road was not so steep. But after 20 minutes, we got to the rocks and the slope got much steeper. We had to be careful not to fall, but we were all motivated and finally, at the end of the path, we were all so happy! In front of us, we got to enjoy the view of Fitz Roy with the still-frozen lagoon, while eating our box lunch and resting a while. It was well deserved! We were also lucky to have the sun out and a blue sky, which made everything even more beautiful.
The descent was much easier, but also more unsteady. You have to be careful with where to put your feet, and trekking poles were very useful. Arriving at Camp Poincenot, we took another road back to the village, which was flat but we are all a little tired and want to get to the town as fast as possible. On the shore of Laguna Capri, we made a final stop to eat what remained of the box lunch.
At 06:30, we arrived back at El Chalten .... finally! We were all tired and more than happy to return to the village.
Day 3 - Trekking Cerro Torre
After the long day yesterday, we were happy that we could sleep in a bit. Marcelo was going to pick us up at 9 am, so we had time to have breakfast and prepare for the next day of trekking.
Today, we were going to Cerro Torre. The trekking is much shorter, and according to Marcelo, much less demanding. We started the tour directly from the hotel. (This, in fact, is one of the best things about El Chalten .... one does not have to take a transfer for hours to get to the starting spot to do the trekking. We just left the hotel and took the road to Cerro Torre.)
The first hour we just hiked up (but it was nothing compared to the climb up Mount Fitz Roy!). The day was super pretty (again!!) and the hike was not very demanding so we enjoyed the nature and the wildlife we saw along the way.
We arrived at Laguna Tower after about 3 hours. We were a bit surprised because the lagoon had many pieces of ice floating in it, and Marcelo explained that they are honestly more than normal this day. We rested for a while and we enjoyed our box lunch before returning the same way to the town. Again. we were very lucky with the time and we took some incredible photos.
Before the trip, I had prepared myself for everything: snow, rain, wind, cold ... but who would have thought that we would have such incredible, clear, sunny skies every day, and temperatures of 20 degrees!
We arrived back at the village around 4 or 5 pm, and took advantage of the time to walk around and eat something before taking the bus back to Calafate at 6pm.
Day 4: Ice-Trek on Perito Moreno Glacier
Last day in Argentina! Yesterday, we arrived by bus to El Calafate and slept at Hosteria Los Hielos. Today, we were going to be doing the Ice trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier. I was a bit anxious because I could not imagine what it would be like.
The first view of the glacier is breathtaking! We went down to the lake to take the navigation boat to the other side of the lake to begin the ice trek. At the beach, the guides explained everything about the ice-trek and we put on crampons. The feeling of walking with these crampons is strange and a bit complicated. When you set foot on the glacier, your feet feel so heavy and you need some strength to walk, but it was not as difficult as I imagined.
We walked with the whole group on the glacier and took pictures. After an hour and a half, we enjoyed a whiskey with ice from the glacier and some chocolate .... it was a short but interesting experience. Then, we left the crampons and we had some time to rest on the beach. We were impressed that more and more people arrived to do the ice-trek.
After eating our box lunch, we returned in the navigation boat to the other side of the river. There, we took our bus to the footbridges to see the glacier from another perspective. From there, you can see the immensity of this glacier! In addition, we are fortunate to see giant pieces fall off the glacier! We are all impressed but also sad because we never imagined seeing so much ice falling into the water. Then, we took last photos and returned to El Calafate.