Wild Patagonia Explorer

Coyhaique, Chile
5.0 (3 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Remote Patagonia Wilderness
  • Stunning Mountain Scenery
  • Wildlife, Glaciers, Waterfalls & Wildflowers
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Glacial-fed Alpine Lakes
  • Broad, Wild River Valleys
  • Unique Lodging & Camping
  • Horse-Supported Trekking

Description

Our Wild Patagonia Explorer Trek is a dream expedition for any adventurous world traveler. We have combined unique lodging, remote horse-supported trekking, cultural immersion, fantastic hiking and more in one grand adventure. We explore Chile’s newly created Patagonia National Park and the mountains surrounding it to create the trip of a lifetime. From dazzling glacially fed lakes to high mountain plateaus to expansive grasslands, this expedition will immerse participants in the beauty and solitude of the remote Aysén region of Patagonia. The wild landscapes, adventurous trails, charming locals, scenic transportation routes and unique local history are what make this region so fascinating to explore.

Our guests will learn about the rich and complex backstory of Patagonia National Park’s conservation, as well as the amazing history of the Aysén Region. We will delve into Patagonia’s natural and human history and gain a richer understanding of the uniqueness and importance of this landscape. This is a great opportunity to explore the true wilderness of Patagonia without any crowds – join us!

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From
$4800 Per Person
$300 Single Supplement  

$300 Single Supplement

This trip has hotel/lodge stays for 3 nights of the trip, and the single supplement applies to all 3 of these nights. It also includes a private tent in each of the camping accommodations for the remaining 5 nights of the trip. Otherwise tents will be double occupancy with the same gender. Different sexes will never be asked to share a tent unless they are traveling together. This trip has a limit of 6 single supplement occupants per trip date.

Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Portered Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-12 Guests
Trip Length: 9 Days
Distance: 46+MI / 74+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip is between Level 3 and 4, tending toward 4. It has long days of hiking (three days of 10+ miles) and significant elevation gains of over 3,000 feet (maximum). However, our elevation is low (0-5,000 feet) and our packs are relatively light, helping keep this trip in the moderate to strenuous range.

Hiking Distances:

Up to 13 mi

Backpack Weight:

15-25 lbs

Terrain:

Significantly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 3200 ft

Heights Exposure:

Light

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 15-25 lb backpack for 8-10 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on variable, uneven terrain
  • River and creek crossings

SOLITUDE LEVEL 5

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Patagonia hike a solitude 5. You can expect to see just a couple other groups of hikers for the duration of the trip. The horse-supported section (Days 2 through 5) have the most solitude, with Days 6 and 7 having a higher chance of seeing other groups.

BOOKING FLIGHTS

For this trek you will fly into Balmaceda, Chile on the day the trip begins and shuttle to our lodging in Coyhaique. Flights should arrive before 5 PM. All flights into Balmaceda connect through Santiago, Chile. Most major airlines fly into Santiago from many major connecting cities in the United States. It is important to leave enough time to pass through customs in Santiago. We recommend scheduling flights with a layover of 4 hours in Santiago between flights before continuing on to Balmaceda.

Transportation from the airport to our first night’s accommodation is not included, but easily obtained upon arrival.  The airport has multiple shuttles readily available that can take you directly to Coyhaique (1 hour) and our hotel.

Your flight on the final day should depart no earlier than 4 PM. Our earliest arrival at the airport will be 1:00 PM on the final day of the trip. You may choose to be dropped off at either the Balmaceda airport or at your planned lodging in Coyhaique.

Please Note: When you enter Chile, you will be issued a document called a PDI (tourism card). Please do NOT throw this away. You will need it to exit the country and nearly every lodge we stay in also asks for a copy.

We require a minimum of 4 guests to confirm this trip. If a trip date is not confirmed yet, you can register and will be notified when the trip is officially confirmed. We recommend not making final travel arrangements until your trip meets the minimum number of guests and is confirmed.

In most cases, if a trip does not reach the minimum number of guests, you may choose to transfer to another trip date or another trip, or be refunded your payments in full. We make the final determination for these trips 45 days before the departure date.

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 4-5 People: Rate x 1.5
  • 6-10 People: Rate x 1.15
  • 11-12 People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person and single supplements apply

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

On this Patagonia hiking tour, you will want to arrive at the domestic Balmaceda airport (BBA), the main airport for the remote and wild Aysén Region of Chile. (You will connect through Santiago to reach Balmaceda.) The airport has easy shuttle services to Coyhaique and our elegant accommodation on the outskirts of town, the Patagonia House. We will have dinner and an introductory briefing at 7pm. Please arrive to the airport by 5pm. Be sure to drink copious amounts of water in route, as flying and traveling will certainly dehydrate you.

Day 2

  • Driving Duration: 6 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: minimal
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: minimal

Our expedition begins! We will meet at Patagonia House to pack our van and head south through the extremely scenic Aysén region.  We drive roughly 2 hours to Puerto Ibanez, transitioning from the lush temperate rain forest into the arid Patagonian steppe. Via ferry, we cross the immense glacial-blue Lago General Carrera, South America’s second largest lake. After crossing the lake, we drive a final 1.5 hours along the shores of the lake to a family guesthouse and ranch, where we’ll spend the first night getting oriented. (If the ferry is closed, we will drive around the lake which makes for a longer driver but adds only marginally to the total travel time today.)

This afternoon we’ll talk through systems for horsepacking and backcountry living: setting up camp, cooking and meal prep, backcountry hygiene.  To shake off our travels, we’ll take a walk around the ranch’s beautiful landscapes; those who want to swim in the clear waters of Lago General Carrera are encouraged to do so! After a meal prepared for us at the ranch, we’ll gather to share our goals for the trip, pour over maps, and get to know each other better.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles (8 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet (762 m)
  • Elevation Loss: 100 feet (30 m)

After a hearty breakfast at the ranch, we’ll pack up and head into the mountains. We meet the local families and their horses who will support our trek! After dividing and organizing food and gear for the horses to carry, we’ll set off on our adventure. We start by winding through a traditional Patagonian campo (grass plain with stunted trees) before heading higher into the mountains. The uphill makes us grateful for the horses! Our campsite is a spectacular perch overlooking the Jeinimeni Mountains, where we have the opportunity to spend time with an experienced gaucho tending sheep in the high mountains. In the evening, we’ll gather around a fire for conversation about Patagonian history and culture.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles (12.9 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 1200 feet (366 m)
  • Elevation Loss: 2400 feet (732 m)

After breakfast, we’ll begin our day climbing higher on a dramatic plateau which, on a clear day, affords sweeping views down to Lago General Carrera and across to the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. We spend most of the day hiking in the alpine zone above the tree line. The surreal landscape is full of strange colored rock formations and hanging glaciers. After a trail lunch we’ll descend to a Gaucho camp that has been used for centuries in a beautiful, lush valley. The horses meet us here to deliver our supplies, and we set up a base camp for the next two nights. In the evening, we’ll gather around a campfire to learn more about the fascinating area we are hiking in and the amazing establishment of nearby Patagonia National Park.

Day 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 5-10 miles (8-16.1 km) – optional
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 800-2000 feet (244-610 m)

Today is all about exploring the surrounding area on a day hike. Your guide will decide from two spectacular hiking options that will depend on the weather and other outside factors as to which is the best option. One option is to hike toward the toe of a nearby glacier; the other is to hike up to a high plateau for sweeping views into the park and beyond.  Once back at camp, we’ll share dinner and reflections on our own wilderness experiences & travels.

Day 6

  • Driving Duration: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 10 miles (16.1 km)
  • Elevation Gain: 100 feet (30 m)

Our final day of the horse supported trekking portion of this trip takes us through a beautiful southern beech forest and scenic glacial valleys as we make our way back toward the clear blue waters of Lago General Carrera. As we return to the land of Patagonian campos, we will meet our shuttle for a short transport back to the lakeside guesthouse and ranch where we spent the night before our trek. Here awaiting are well deserved hot showers and a celebratory dinner. Tonight’s culinary treat will be a traditional Patagonian barbeque dish, asado al palo. 

Day 7

  • Driving Duration: 2 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 10 miles (16.1 km)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 2000 feet (610 m)

Today we will venture into the core of Patagonia National Park. Driving through the Park’s scenic highway we’ll reach the campground trailhead for the the Aviles Trail, halfway to the East in the Chacabuco Valley toward Argentina. The hike brings us up a beautiful glacial river valley with outstanding views of the surrounding high mountains. This is one of the Park’s most spectacular hikes, and the trail has an exciting hanging bridge over a deep gorge cut by the rushing waters of the Aviles river at our halfway point.  After our hike we’ll be dropped off at our scenic, grassy campground for showers

Day 8

  • Hiking Mileage: 13 miles (20.9 km)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 3200 feet (975 m)

Today we’ll have a deeper exploration of Patagonia National Park, and begin hiking right from our camp in the Chacabuco Valley, the center of this newly-created park, where expansive grasslands are home to a unique diversity of native species, including guanacos, Andean condors, pumas, vizcachas, and Chilean flamingos. Our hike today is the spectacular Lagunas Altas loop, the park’s flagship hike with spectacular panoramic views. The route takes us directly from our campground into the mountains that tower above the Valley, where we weave higher and higher past spring-fed lakes, exciting ridge lines, stunning views and pristine forests. We will enjoy a picnic lunch high on the peaks before descending back to camp.

One last, delicious meal prepared by your guide(s) rounds out the day, which we will enjoy as the sun sets behind the mountains we traversed earlier today. After dinner we will start preparing for an early departure in the morning for Balmaceda.

Day 9

  • Driving Duration: 6 hours

Today we will do the amazingly scenic road trip from day 1 back to the north! We wake early to head up the Carretera Austral, or “Southern Highway,” often called one of the world’s greatest road trips. We’ll drive along the turquoise waters of the Baker River, and then near the eastern border of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. The views along this route are truly breathtaking.

Regrettably, this day marks the end of our adventure, but we leave with our hearts and minds full of special memories of one of the world’s most miraculous and stunning conservation projects. The final logistical point is that we can either drop guests at the Balmaceda airport in time for a 4pm flight or take you to Coyhaique to your preferred lodging. What a phenomenal experience it’s been!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: lodging/campground availability, extreme weather, political or bureaucratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 2 and ending on the final day at either the airport or your planned lodging in Coyhaique
  • Lodging and camping accommodations
  • Meals beginning with dinner on Day 1 through dinner on Day 8 (meals on Day 9 are on-the-go and the responsibility of the guests)
  • Backcountry cooking equipment
  • Use of a backpacks, dry bag, sleeping pad, tent and trekking poles
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to Balmaceda, Chile
  • Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $30,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (currently required in Chile)
  • Arrival airport transportation (easy shuttles are available from the airport to our first night’s accommodations)
  • Sleeping bag (rated for 0-20° F)
  • Clothes, rain gear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Lightweight, durable backcountry mug, bowl and spoon/fork
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Bar bills, drink bills, extra snacks, telephone bills, wifi bills and other personal expenses (shopping/ laundry)
  • Meals on Day 9
  • All expenses due to unavoidable events e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc. (we recommend trip insurance coverage for these variables)
  • Gratuity for guide(s) and crew (industry recommendation is 10-20% of total trip cost; please tip your lead guide and they will distribute responsibly to the crew. USD or Chilean Peso is recommended.)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

This remote Patagonia hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guides. We’ll have dinners at carefully selected, wonderful restaurants in Coyhaique and Parque Patagonia as well as meals prepared on the trail as a group.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail snacks* (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, & cookies) to eat at your own discretion.

We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Non-gluten diets can be challenging in this region of Patagonia due to a lack of gluten free friendly products and restaurant meal options being available. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you’re interested in.

*Common trail snack brands and items found easily in the US are not readily available in this destination. (i.e. protein bars, trail bars, beef jerky, etc…) We recommend guests that prefer these types of trail snacks to bring a few of their own choice items from home.

Gear We Provide

  • Backpack
  • Trekking poles
  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Dry bag 30-40L (for packing gear on horses)
  • All group cooking gear
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency communication device carried by trained/certified Wildland guide

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Important required packing list item unique to this trip:

  • Sleeping Bag – rated to 20° Fahrenheit or cooler

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

We will meet you at the Patagonia House hotel in Coyihaque, Chile at 7:00 PM on Day 1, where we’ll conduct an orientation meeting the first evening (your flight should arrive before 5PM). Your guide will be in contact approximately 45 days before your trip to coordinate your rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

In the interest of your safety, it’s important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.

Guides

Our approach to international travel is to combine the best of two worlds: the dialed-in details, professionalism and consistency Wildland trips are known for; and the cultural immersion and intimate regional knowledge that only locals can provide. To excel with this approach, we vet and hire the best local guides, welcome them into the Wildland family and train them to meet our standard of excellence with every aspect of a trip. But along with managing logistics and safety, your guides will teach you about the area’s history and culture, and provide a level of familiarity and intimate detail only locals can.

Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 15 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Trip Insurance

Field evacuation (minimum coverage of at least $30,000), repatriation, and medical trip insurance is required on all Chile trips as a condition of partnership terms with our Chilean vendors.

If you wish to purchase trip insurance, we recommend IMG/iTravelinsured. They are one of the world’s leading providers of travel insurance.

For information on recommended IMG/iTravelinsured policies please click here.

For even greater information, or if you simply prefer communicating with a real, live person, feel free to contact our exclusive agent Michael Bennett. Michael will help you identify the best product for your needs, and there is no cost associated with his assistance. You may contact him at:

Email: [email protected]
US by Phone: 877-305-9083
Direct/International by Phone: 702-448-3664

If you already have insurance or wish to purchase from anyone other than IMG/iTravelinsured, we recommend careful consultation with the provider to ensure appropriate coverage. This is because many providers have a number of policy exclusions.

Weather in Patagonia

Chile is a long, thin country extending North-South more than half the length of South America which gives it a tremendous diversity of climates. The Patagonia region of Chile, where we operate our trips, is at the far southern tip of South America, relatively far from the equator and close to the South Pole. It is a generally cool climate with potential for year round inclement weather including rain, snow, sleet, and very strong winds.

The average temperatures and precipitation in the Patagonia region are:

Month Hi Low Precip
October 51° F 37° F 5 in
November 55° F 40° F 5.6 in
December 57° F 42° F 7.2 in
January 59° F 44° F 5.1 in
February 58° F 43° F 3.8 in
March 55° F 41° F 4.9 in
April 50° F 38° F 5.8 in

Accommodations

Accommodations

PATAGONIA HOUSE

1 NIGHT

This is Patagonia’s newest and most exciting boutique hotel in Coyhaique, the capital of Aysén, Chile’s remote region with stunning forests, rivers, lakes, glaciers and peaks. This hotel is perfectly situated for our jumping off point into Parque Patagonia, and offers us a relaxing, scenic home for the night.

Patagonian Ranch Guesthouse

2 Nights

This family owned and operated guesthouse and ranch is a perfect introduction into the local culture of the remote Aysén region of Patagonia, and a highlight for many guests. Sitting very close to the massive Lago General Carrera we know you will enjoy the beautiful setting of this unique Patagonian accommodation.

TENT CAMPING

5 NIGHTS

For most of this trip our accommodations are tent camping in the backcountry. All of the campsites are in intensely scenic locations that put us right in the action to make the most of our Patagonia trek. Two are outfitted with rustic amenities such as bathrooms and solar-heated showers, but most are primitive.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (3 reviews)
Noah K.
5.0

Incredible Trip!

7 months ago

Absolutely amazing experience! The vastness and variedness of the landscape is incredible. Wetlands, steppe, grasslands, subalpine and alpine hiking. One of the most unique treks that I have even been on. Also, there was amazing support from the Wildland team! Would travel again with them anytime!

Randy M
5.0

This trip was Epic

7 months ago

Truly amazing and the best trip with Wildland that I have taken and I have taken many. From the accommodations, guides, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural experience, this trip was epic and one I will cherish for a long time. This is one of those trips that you will be challenged to answer the inevitable question you will get from your family and friends - “So how was your trip?” - because the experience was as vast and mind blowing as the landscapes. This trip easily receives my highest recommendation!

Scott C.
5.0

One of a Kind Trip

7 months ago

I'm one of the founders of Wildland, and I joined our inaugural departure of this trip in February, 2022. Normally - as a member of the Wildland team - I don't review our trips, but I want to describe my experience of this one because many people have never heard of the Aysén Region. First, this region of Patagonia is probably the most breathtaking area I've ever visited. Vast, wild and stunningly beautiful, the landscape is characterized by broad valleys with glacial-fed rivers; towering mountains that stretch far above the tree line and are adorned with many glaciers; deep, subalpine deciduous forests; massive turquoise-colored lakes and small towns separated by large distances. Overall, the trip is, in my opinion, one of the most unique offerings we have in the entire Wildland repertoire. It combines wonderful night 1 lodging with unique, ranch accommodations, 4 days of horse-supported trekking (horses provided by a 6th generation Gaucho family and wonderful, kind people), a traditional Patagonian sheep bbq, and phenomenal hikes in the new Patagonia National Park. In short, I can personally not recommend this tour enough. It is one of the best trips I've ever done. I'd like to do again, and next time bring friends and family along!

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