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North America might have the Yosemite Valley as a showcase for its high granite features, but the south of the continent is not left out, with the spectacular Cochamó Valley in the northern tip of Patagonia. Just a few strides from the Osorno volcano or the Reloncavi fjord, these dizzying big walls have only recently captured the attention of rock climbers the world over. But who said that getting up close and personal with these titans wasn’t also a dream for hikers? The cypress forests, interspersed by tall ferns and clear blue rapids at the foot of these walls make for a superb approach. We’ll lay down our hats for three nights in the valley, long enough to stretch our explorers’ legs.
In this little-known valley in the north of Patagonia, our journey then takes us to the far south of the Andes mountain range and a traveller’s ritual that has been strangely neglected in more recent years: a full circuit of the Torres del Paine mountains. Eight fun-packed and varied days taking in primary forests, massive granite walls, turquoise-blue lakes, suspended glaciers and a majestic and windswept summit.
This is a journey like returning to your roots. A back-to-nature trek that will take you from the northern to the southern tips of this wild yet fascinating region, so grandiose and desolate that you will be filled with the sense that you are reaching the ends of the Earth.
This is a group trip, led by a French-speaking guide, in collaboration with the Karavaniers agency in Quebec. www.karavaniers.com.
If you are an English-speaking group and would like an English guide or to travel at different times, please get in touch.
Arrival in Santiago, connecting flight for Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas.
Free time at the end of the day to lounge around the lake shore and look out on the Osorno volcano.
Transfer to and hike through the Cochamo Valley, to reach La Junta (4-5 hrs)
Settle in to the valley for three nights of camping.
This is a vast playground: beautiful, dense rainforests, weathered by cypress trees separate us from spectacular lookout points on the valley’s big walls. If the weather allows, you can’t miss out on a dip in the water by La Junta’s waterfalls!
Our path follows the pounding river before reaching a track where the vehicle will be waiting to take us back to Puerto Varas.
Flight from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas and by road to the Torres del Paine National Park, the jewel in the crown of southern Chile! Camp in the park.
Seven-day trek through the national park. This trek has mistakenly fallen out of favour these last few years, though it is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular on the American continent! We will first trek towards the northern face of the mountains and the Dickson lake area before climbing alongside the Perros river, bounded by primary forests. Then on to an unforgettable descent from the John Garner summit with the Grey glacier below, followed by some of the most spectacular geological formations you can find: Paine Grande, Cuernos, Aleta del Tiburon and, last but not least, Torres del Paine.
Suspended glaciers, huge ice tongues, magical forests criss-crossed by rapids, not to mention the shadows cast by the big granite walls that have made these mountains famous and the ever-looming condor of the Andes. Whilst trekking, we’ll alternate nights in the tent with nights in mountain lodges.
We will round off our trek in style by ascending the Las Torres vantage point before being met by our vehicle to drive us to Puerto Natales for the night.
Transfers to Punta Arenas and return flight to Santiago.