- Hike the Refugio Frey trail, one of South America’s most popular routes, enjoying spectacular views of the glistening lakes and towering peaks of Bariloche.
- Embark on the fabled Andean Lakes Crossing, sailing from Argentina to Chile by catamaran, and arrive on the shores of Puerto Varas, Chile's “city of roses.”
- Navigate the breathtaking Reloncaví fjord by kayak, keeping your eye out for sea lions and Austral dolphins, and raft the rapids of Futaleufú, one of the world’s premier white-water rivers.
- Trek through the temperate rain forest of Pumalín National Park, part of Chile’s spectacular Ruta de los Parques.
In the pristine Lake District of Argentina and Chile, jagged, snow-dusted volcanoes preside over dense forests and sparkling sapphire lakes. On this exhilarating exploration of northern Patagonia, experience the region’s natural beauty while hiking, kayaking, and white-water rafting, and sample its renowned wines along the way. Journey from the idyllic countryside near Bariloche, Argentina to the dramatic fjords surrounding Puerto Varas, Chile. Cap off your trip with an adrenaline-charged rafting adventure on the mighty Futaleufú River.
Arrive in the beautiful town of Bariloche and transfer to our rustic estancia set beside a lake in Nahuel Huapi National Park—Argentina’s oldest national park. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner.
Set out to hike the pristine hills and forests of Nahuel Huapi. Enjoy stunning views of Gutiérrez Lake and the surrounding peaks as you ascend, and take a refreshing dip at one of the waterfalls you encounter along the way. Continue hiking on the southern slope of Mount Catedral, skirting past incredible drops as you gaze out over the cobalt blue Mascardi Lake and Mount Claussen. Break for a picnic lunch at one of the park’s most breathtaking viewpoints, enjoying panoramic vistas of the entire valley, and keep an eye out for condors soaring overhead. Spend the evening at leisure in Bariloche, enjoying the town’s quaint German architecture and renowned chocolate. (8 miles hiking, 6 hours)
Today, tackle one of the region’s most popular hikes. Arrive at Catedral Alta Patagonia ski resort, situated at the base of Mount Catedral, and ride a chairlift to the top of the ridge. Thread your way along the western edge, taking in views of the majestic Rucaco Valley and the imposing, glaciated Mount Tronador. Zigzag across varying terrain, and arrive at a dramatic lagoon nestled in an amphitheater of granite needles. Take a break at the cozy Refugio Frey shelter, then follow a creek downhill to Gutiérrez Lake and return to our estancia by boat. (10 miles hiking, 7 hours)
Begin the day with an optional yoga class, then explore the wooded trails around our estancia on horseback with a local guide. After lunch, kayak the azure waters of Gutiérrez Lake, surrounded by coigue woods and mountains. Round off the day with a barbecue, a tango lesson, and a glass of Argentine wine. (1–2 hours horseback riding, 2–3 hours kayaking)
Embark upon the famed Cruce Andino, or Andean Lakes Crossing, connecting Argentina and Chile through a network of volcano-lined, crystal-clear lakes. Board a catamaran from Bariloche and sail across the waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake, Lake Frías, and Todos los Santos Lake, experiencing one of the most memorable border crossings in the world. Arrive on the shores of Chile and transfer to our hotel, situated on Lake Llanquihue near the picturesque town of Puerto Varas.
Venture into Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park—the oldest national park in Chile—and follow the Desolation Pass route. Ascend to the pass between Osorno Volcano and Mount La Picada, observing the glacially sculpted landscape and the towering summit of Osorno—one of Chile’s most active volcanoes. Take in incredible views of Todos Los Santos Lake and the surrounding snowcapped peaks, then head downhill to a beach, where our hike culminates. (7 miles hiking, 4–5 hours)
Drive to Ralún, the verdant meeting point of the Petrohué River and Reloncaví fjord, for a day of kayaking. After a brief demonstration and safety talk, we take to the waters, paddling south towards the small fishing village of Cochamó. Soak up the serene surroundings as you glide past salmon farms; sea birds; and, with luck, sea lions and Austral dolphins. Stop for lunch at the edge of the fjord, enjoying a meal prepared by a local family. (4–5 hours kayaking)
Fly south to Chaitén, then drive to Pumalín National Park. Formerly a private reserve owned by the late Douglas Tompkins—the founder of The North Face—Pumalín came into being in January 2018, when the Tompkins Conservation donated the million-acre wilderness to the government of Chile. It now forms part of Chile's Ruta de los Parques, connecting 17 national parks over 1,700 miles of pristine landscape. Immerse yourself in the park's striking scenery as you trek through temperate rain forest, taking in views of snow-dusted peaks. Later, drive to our alpine-style hotel on the banks of Lake Yelcho. (3-5 miles hiking, 3-4 hours)
After breakfast, head south to hike the Ventisquero Yelcho trail within Corcovado National Park. Delve into fern-laced temperate rain forest teeming with bird life en route to Yelcho Hanging Glacier, a massive wall of ice suspended between two peaks with waterfalls flowing from it. Then, drive to our lodge—a magnificent mountain retreat situated at the confluence of the Futaleufú and Espolón rivers. After time to settle in, take a guided walk to the organic farm where much of the lodge’s fresh produce is sourced, and encounter grazing sheep and alpaca. (3 miles hiking, 2 hours)
Enjoy a hearty breakfast as you prepare to raft the mighty Futaleufú—"big river” in the indigenous Mapuche language—one of the finest white-water destinations in the world. Ride Class II-III rapids below forested mountains, cascading waterfalls, and granite cliffs, then enjoy a relaxing float downriver. This evening, explore the charming town of Futaleufú, a mecca for adventure-seekers. (3-4 hours rafting on Class I-III rapids)
Venture again onto the famed “Futa” to experience one of the most exhilarating stretches of white water on the continent. Raft thrilling Class III–IV rapids, zipping over frothy waves and churning eddies. Alternatively, go for a hike in the scenic Azul River Valley, looking out over the volcanic spires of the Tres Monjas peak, and enjoy a typical Chilean lunch. Later, set out on a trail to Inferno Canyon, one of the steepest gorges on the Futaleufú River, and look down upon its forbidding rapids. Cap off your adventure with a farewell dinner accompanied by fine Chilean wines. (2-4 hours rafting on Class III–IV rapids or 2-5 miles hiking, 2-4 hours; 2-5 miles hiking, 1-3 hours)
After breakfast, transfer to the Esquel airport and connect with your flight home.