Austral Contemplation (5 days Patagonia expedition)

By Madre Roca Patagonia
Puerto Natales, Chile
from $3000 USD

These day trips are for flora and fauna enthusiasts, amateur photographers, twitchers and bird lovers, or simply people with time who want to meditate, absorb, ponder upon, and take in all of beautiful and mystical Patagonia. Madre Roca invites you to come appreciate Patagonia through the lens...

Day 1: FAUNA TRAIL

This short wildlife trail is the perfect introduction to Torres del Paine National Park. It offers breathtaking views over the Paine massif and Sarmiento lake, as well as taking you to cave paintings and other paleontological attractions. And... wildlife sightings guaranteed! Have your camera and binoculars ready!

© Felipe Sunkel

The 6km hike will take you through the Patagonian steppe ecosystem, where you will be exposed to all the weather elements. Patagonia is famous for assembling four seasons in just a few hours. Witnessing all of it will allow you to better understand the landscape, but also the flora and fauna of this southernmost part of the world.
Guanacos (Lama guanicoe) love open spaces due to their good sight but poor hearing, so you will find many of them along this trail. Who says guanaco grounds also says puma (Felis concolor) hunting grounds, Condors (Vultur gryphus), Andean Foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus), and many more species. This is one of the few trails in the National Park where you will most likely have the chance to observe many wildlife interactions.

Difficulty: low
Time: ~3 hours
Distance: ~3 km (~3.7 miles)
Elevation Gain: ~200 m (~650 ft)

© Felipe Sunkel

Day 2: PEHOÉ LAKE

A day around Pehoe Lake will take you through several shades of blue, from a milky grey to a deep sea passing by a splendid turquoise. You will encounter lakes, lagoons, rivers, wetlands, and waterfalls. The 30 minutes catamaran ride across Pehoe Lake should be the most beautiful boat ride of your lifetime.

"He who hurries through Patagonia is wasting his time"

After a visit to Salto Grande waterfall, a short trail will bring you at the bottom of the imposing Cuernos formation. The spectacular landscape will leave you breathless. The famous Patagonian expression says it all. This is the time to stop, contemplate, and take it all in.

Difficulty: low
Time: ~3 hours
Distance: ~6 km (~3.7 miles)
Elevation Gain: ~50 m (~150 ft)

Day 3: PINGO

Due to the 2011-2012 forest fire that burned about 20% of the park, Pingo's access is restricted to the general public. The trail follows the Pingo river for 4.5km until it reaches a pristine waterfall. Walking through these woods will make you feel like you are back in the times when the park had barely any visitors, long before the landscape had been affected by their activity.

This protected area is one of the last rain forests in the National Park. Many species of animals and plants found refuge in this area, making for a hike rich in flora and fauna. In particular, you might have the chance to find Huemules, the critically endangered South Andean deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus), and several types of orchids, depending on the time of the year.

Difficulty: medium
Time: ~4 hours
Distance: ~9 km (~5.6 miles)
Elevation Gain: ~200 m (~650 ft)

Day 4: GREY GLACIER

Come enjoy this 3 hours catamaran ride on Grey Lake! It will bring you very close to each of the three faces of Grey Glacier. Even if you have already been or are planning on going to Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, this one is also worth the detour. Not only are all glaciers very different from one another, but moreover Grey Glacier is renowned for its deep, blue color. Like Perito Moreno, it is another arm of the Patagonian Southern Ice Fields, this vast stretch of ice of about 350 km long and 40 km wide that extends throughout Patagonia!

Difficulty: low
Time: ~1.5 hours
Distance: ~4 km (~2.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: ~50 m (~150 ft)

Pisco sour included on the boat... Our personal recommendation: wear one life jacket per glass!

Day 5: LAGUNA AZUL

The last day is to relax... Enjoy a short wildlife hike on your way to the beautiful Blue Lake. Guanacos (Lama guanicoe in the picture below), Andean Foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus), Skunks (Conepatus humboldtii), Armadillos (Zaedyus pichiy), Lesser Rheas (Rhea pennata), and Condors (Vultur gryphus) are on the menu! From Laguna Azul, if weather allows, you will enjoy the Towers from afar accompanied by a tasty picnic. More hikes are available around the lake for those who do not need a nap after lunch!

Difficulty: low
Time: ~2 hours
Distance: ~4 km (~2.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: ~100 m (~330 ft)

Share this tour:

Offered by Madre Roca Patagonia
We are an adventure tourism company based out of Puerto Natales, in southern Patagonia, Chile. We offer private excursions and expeditions around the region. Madre Roca was born out of an effort to expand tourism horizons in Patagonia. Its founders, Claire and Felipe, believe that the tourism industry has been detrimental to the environment in Torres del Paine National Park, due to the lack of environment friendly infrastructures, but also the lack of options accessible to the fast-growing number of travelers. Claire and Felipe are both certified guides with much experience in the region. We strive to deliver to our guests a differe... Read more