Patagonia Sea to Mountains
Our Patagonia Sea to Mountains 14-day adventure is the only one of its kind where you can experience the best in coastal Patagonia's marine natural history from the intimate level of a kayak, in conjunction with trekking amongst what many consider to be the finest mountain scenery in the world and marveling at immense glaciers spilling into sparkling lakes.
Your introduction to Argentina begins with an overnight stay in the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires before departing on a southbound flight to Patagonia the following morning to begin an incredible whale watching and sea kayaking journey on the wild coast of Patagonia, where you can gape in awe at the enormous Southern Right Whales nursing their 20-foot-long newborn calves in the brilliant-blue waters. The Peninsula Valdes, a spit of the Patagonian steppe that juts out into the South Atlantic Ocean, is a protected nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site teeming with endemic wildlife. The lagoons here are the calving ground for the endangered Southern Right Whale. On shore, armadillos, ostrich-like rheas, maras (Patagonian hares) and llama-like guanacos roam the sweeping landscape.
Starting from Puerto Piramides, an Argentine village situated inside the reserve, your guides take you on a four-day paddle following the rugged shoreline of Gulfo San Jose. You’ll paddle six miles a day in stable sea kayaks, past the nursing levithans, playful sea lions, and giant petrels, and camp under towering cliffs of fossilized marine life, where the guides fill your glass with malbec wine while tender beef and piles of sausages sizzle on a wood-fired grill. Afterwards, the hollow resonating blows of the whale lull you to sleep.
On the fifth day you’ll tour the peninsula’s wildlife hot spots including a visit to a nearby Magellanic penguin colony before an evening of dinner and lodging at a historic turn-of-the-century sheep ranch located in the park. The final highlight of our tour of Peninsula Valdes is visiting a nearby elephant seal rookery before leaving Peninsula Valdes for a night in the beach side city of Puerto Madryn.
The second half of our Patagonia Sea to Mountains adventure begins the following morning with a flight further south almost to the bottom of the South American continent, where you'll experience firsthand some of the most spectacular hiking and breathtaking mountain scenery in southern Patagonia on this trekking adventure in Argentina's famed Los Glaciares National Park. You may find yourself spellbound by close-up views of immense rivers of blue ice juxtaposed against Andean peaks, sculpted into thin spires by the tremendous force of glaciers. Towers and pinnacles of every size and shape punctuate the skyline here while enormous condors soar above cascading-river canyons in the valleys below.
Starting from El Chalten, a small village catering to trekkers inside the Park (think Banff Alberta), for three days you'll hike with light packs on mountain trails through windswept groves of twisted beech forest, past milky-blue glacial lakes, andaire sloping moraines that will lead you to base camps tucked below the towering granite spires of Mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre. You'll return to our lodge each afternoon, with the exception of one overnight at a comfortable base camp where you can catch the rosy-glow of sunrise lighting up the Fitzroy massif and surrounding peaks.
The final day in El Chalten begins with a short boat journey on Lago viedma to the pristine Viedma glacier, where you'll don crampons and hike on the glacier before going overland to El Calafate to visit yet another highlight of Patagonia: the Perito Morena Glacier. A spectacular day excursion brings you right to the front of the massive glacier for an up-close perspective of its 200-foot-high icewall calving blue-white icebergs into beautiful Lago Argentino. You'll bring home a lifetime of memories of Patagonia's surreal landscape and endemic wildlife.
- Professional guiding service for each activity
- Lodging in Trelew, Puerto Madryn, El Chalten, El Calafate and Buenos Aires
- Group equipment and / or technical gear for each activity
- All camping gear including tent, sleeping bag and pad
- All transport services during the trip (shuttle service), including hotel/airport transfers in Buenos Aires.
- Three meals daily (B, L, D)
- Welcome dinner
- Any extra meals and accommodation not outlined within this itinerary.
- Alcoholic drinks with meals at restaurants.
- Personal belongings and gear listed in 'Clothing and Gear List'
- Life, personal accident or travel insurance.
- Airport departure taxes, entry or reciprocity fees.
- Tiipping of guides
- Domestic and International flights.
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival to Buenos Aires.
Transfer to hotel. Day excursion in city. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 2: Arrival to Trelew
Early morning transfer hotel to airport for flight to Trelew. Guides will meet you at the arrivals gate and transfer to Puerto Piramides. Check in at Eco Lodge before your 2 hour whale watching cruise. Welcome dinner and orientation.
Day 3: Sea Kayak trip into Peninsula Valdes nature reserve.
Morning transfer from hotel to put-in at Gulfo San Jose. Kayak orientation on the beach, load the kayaks with gear and food, then launch kayaks and paddle to first campsite at “Magic” Beach (it’s magic because the whales come right up to the shore). Nearby sea lion
colony attracts close encounters with sea lions. Overnight in tents on beach.
Day 4: Full Day Paddle
Paddle to a beach for lunch. Continue paddling to beach 39 for camping. More encounters with sea lions and whales. Cliff hike to old research station. Happy hour. Dinner is an asado of beef, pork, lamb and sausage cooked on a grill over hot coals. Served with malbec wine. Overnight in tents on beach.
Day 5: Day paddle to Punta Conos.
Paddled to Punta Conos and to a beach for lunch. Nearby sea lion colony attracts interest from the sea lions. More close encounters with whales. Return to Beach 39. Sunset paddle in evening. Overnight in tents on beach.
Day 6: Full day tour around Peninsula Valdes nature reserve.
Break camp and transfer by van to visit the magellanic penguin colony at San Lorenzo Ranch. Check in at Estancia Rincon Chico. Dinner and overnight at Estancia.
Day 7: Visit the Elephant seal colony at Rincon Chico.
Transfer to hotel in Puerto Madryn.
Day 8: Morning transfer to airport for flight to El Calafate.
Meet guide upon arrival at El Calafate and transfer to El Chalten. Check in to hotel where our guide will brief you on the program for the following days. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 9: Hiking to Laguna Torre
The trail begins from back of the hotel and crosses a Lenga forest towards the valley of Cerro Torre. After an hour walk the mountain shows with all its majesty. Two and a half hour more walking and lunch will be taken by the side of Laguna Torre facing an outstanding display of mountains and glaciers like Mount Egger, Standhart, and Cerro Torre. At the shore of this lagoon are icebergs from the glaciers. In the afternoon, we’ll return along the same trail a short distance to Torre Base Camp, located below the edge of a moraine in, the forest protected from the strong winds. Overnight in tent at base camp. There is a kitchen shelter, large dining dome and outhouse at the base camp. Hiking time: 4 hours. Difficulty: easy with 200 meter ascent.
Day10: Hiking to Fitzroy Base Camp and Laguna de Los Tres
Today we will hike 2.5 hours via the Madre y Hija trail to the Fitzroy base camp. From there we have an hour and a half of steep climbing to reach Laguna de los Tres. The effort is well compensated with a close-up view to Mount Fitzroy. We’ll have lunch while overlooking Laguna de los Tres before 2 hours descending along the Piedra Blanca trail to the road access at El Pilar where we meet our shuttle van and transfer to the Eco-Lodge. Overnight in cabins. Hiking time: 6 hours. Difficulty: easy – only the last ascent to Laguna de los Tres
is medium rated.
Day 11: Hiking to Loma del Pliegue Tumbado
Walking from El Chalten, through the Patagonian steppe, Lenga forests and crossing marshes you reach the top of Plieque Tumbado at 1,550 meters above sea level. The view from there is overwhelming, starting from Lago Viedma to the east, continuing with Cerro Solo and the peaks on the Patagonian icecap including Cerro Torre and Fitzroy to the
west, and glaciers running down to Laguna Torre. Lunch at the viewpoint, afterwards, we’ll return along the same trail to El Chalten. Overnight at hotel. Hiking time: 7 hours. Difficulty: easy.
Day 12: Viedma Glacier Ice Trek
The Viedma Glacier is an ideal place for ice trekking and ice climbing. Its walls and crevasses are ideal for a full-day exploring. This is a very attractive option for anyone who simply loves adventure and would like to experience something unique. Duration: 9 hours. This is recommended for travelers in a good physical condition. You have the option to skip ice climbing for ice trekking excursion (6 hours). Return to El Chalten and transfer to El Calafate. Overnight at hotel in El Calafate.
Day 13: Excursion to the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier.
When visiting Argentine Patagonia, a trip to Perito Moreno Glacier is a must. Starting around 8:30 AM at the hotel, return at about 5 PM. Overnight in El Calafate.
Day 14: Morning transfer and flight to Buenos Aires, then international flight home in the evening.
About The Operator:
Sea Kayaking Adventures, Inc.
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Since the beginning, Sea Kayak Adventures has created simply outstanding sea kayaking trips and incredible wildlife encounters for outdoor-minded travelers by offering not only fun and excitement, but also inspiring adventures designed to rejuvenate your body and spirit. We're all about getting away from everything, learning new things, observing wildlife, meeting great people and introducing you to a new way of travel. So that you can experience the dream vacation you deserve, we emphasize unparalleled customer service, superb sea kayaking and whale watching destinations, and unbeatable support and camaraderie from each of our SKA guides. We serve gourmet meals and provide all the equipment needed.
Sea Kayak Adventures is actually three companies- we are fully licensed and permitted by the Mexican and Canadian governments to operate in their waters, including national parks in Mexico and provincial parks in BC Canada. We maintain offices in these countries, pay all the required fees and taxes and we are committed to the hiring, training and development of local personnel. Our office in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA handles your reservations and takes care of you before and after your trip.
In 1993 Terry Prichard and Nancy Mertz Prichard, after working as sea kayak guides for many years in Baja and the Pacific Northwest, created Sea Kayak Adventures. We wanted to share our love of nature and exciting work with others in our own way. Meeting great people, kayaking close to whales, sleeping under the stars. Being intimate with nature. It's an incredible experience.
We operate at all times with environmental ethics in mind. We hire local highly trained guides exclusively in Canada and 90% local in Mexico (some of our Canadian guides lead our tours in Mexico) well on track to our goal of grooming fully certified marine biologist guides and Mexican trip leaders for all tours in Mexico. We put as much money as we can into the local economy of our destinations. We were the first company to design and implement porta potties for double kayaks, which is now standard in the industry in Loreto, Baja and first to go carbon neutral. We run mostly self-supported tours (ie no motorboat support) thus rely on the greater carrying capacity of double kayaks. Some of our Baja tours are motorboat-supported - i.e. a motorboat goes along, usually going ahead to camp each day with the camp gear, which can carry more amenities than a self-supported trip, so you do have your choice there. We have 1-2 single kayaks on each trip for guests to rotate into (we do not guarantee exclusive use of single kayaks). Our guides are eager to help you learn and develop your paddling skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is the hiking in the Fitzroy area?
A moderate level of physical fitness is necessary for hiking the mountain trails. Most days, you'll return to your lodge in the afternoon. Expect to walk between six to seven hours per day with breaks.
What do I need to bring for hiking in the mountains?
Day pack, hiking shoes, warm clothes including warm hat and gloves, gators.
What can I expect to spend on round trip international flights to Buenos Aires and domestic flights to Trelew and El Calafate?
Airfare on international flights from the United States to Buenos Aires range in price from $1280 to $1580 USD. Domestic airfare for flights between Buenos Aires and Trelew and El Calafate then return to Buenos Aires on Aerolineas Argentina cost around $700 USD.