The Wild Lands Of Patagonia Await
Patagonia. The mere mention of its name conjures images of truly wild landscapes and ancient, vibrant cultures. On this journey you will get an intimate look into the life and history of the Gaucho people of far southern Chile. After which you will discover the treasures of the famed Torres Del Paine National Park via foot. Allow the true manifestation of wild take you deep into your own soul and the world around you.
This experience allows for ample time to connect with the Gaucho people and experience first hand their life and history. You will also walk for 5 days through the towering granite spires and sapphire blue waters of Torres Del Paine. Camp under the stars and listen to the rushing waters as you drift into a dream world of discovery.
Experience Authentic Gaucho Culture
Originally a nomadic horseman and cowhand of the Argentine Pampas, hundreds of years of history, legends and ballads have helped define the cultural traditions of gauchos imbedding their influence deeply into Argentine and Chilean cultural tradition. Gauchos were and remain proud and skilled horsemen. Typically, a gaucho's horse constituted most of what he owned in the world.
The Gaucho lifestyle revolves around all that is connected to the Earth. They rely heavily on their livestock to sustain them and help them work the land. They grow food and cultivate the land according to the seasons. Gaucho people typically prefer the company of the mountains and a warm camp fire. Spending time with these amazing people will give you a new found respect for the rhythms of life and the breath of the earth.
Your lodging during this time of your trip will be the amazing Estancia Mercedes. Both a family home and estancia; it is cozy, with home cooked food and no internet or phone signal. There are lots of cats, dogs and horses allowing you to enjoy a true Patagonian gaucho experience. Situated in the wild lands of Patagonia a short boat ride and horseback ride from the small town of Puerto Natales, this working ranch will expose you to all the Gaucho way of life has to offer.
Puerto Natales; The Gateway To Patagonia
Now it is time to make your way to the wild land of Patagonia. After a delicious breakfast catch a short flight to the city of Punta Arenas, then grab a bus to the seaside town of Puerto Natales. This is the gateway to the Torres del Paine, a beautiful and quaint town where adventures begin and life is simple. Walk the coastal boardwalk and take in the sites and sounds of life. Begin to immerse yourself, both outward and inward, in the natural landscape and all it has to say. Enjoy a free evening.
Overnight: Puerto Natales
A Chance To Learn The Gaucho Way
It is in the intimate company of our fellow human beings that we find the most profound connections and meaningful experiences. This is especially true when we seek to connect with others whose life is much different than our own.
Over the next three days you will walk in the footsteps of the rugged and warm-hearted Gaucho people of Southern Chile. This is a rare opportunity and something that can manifest in experiences you will never forget.
Ways To Connect
For truly transformative experiences to take place it is important to be intentional about connecting with people and place. A few ways to open up that opportunity are:
- Dive In: Open yourself up to new experiences and always be ready to something new, even if it feels foreign or unfamiliar
- Be Open: Share your story with your hosts, be open about your life and share who you are with the people you meet.
- Listen And Ask: Travel experiences are best when they are reciprocal so make sure to leave room for your new friends to share their story as well.
- Reflect: Make time in your day to reflect on what you are seeing and doing, to make meaning from your experience. This is a chance for personal growth and transformation to take place.
You will have the opportunity to experience a totally different way of life, to immerse yourself in a culture and a land that has so much to offer. All that is required is for you to be open to it.
Daily Life On The Ranch
Over the next three days you will engage in amazing adventures with a people who live in intimate relationship to the land. This is a chance to connect to something greater.
Day 1: You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to Estancia Mercedes, a living, breathing Gaucho Ranch in the wilderness of Patagonia. Upon checking in you will waste no time in getting your hands dirty. Accompany the herders as they head off on horseback to tend to their sheep. Learn the Gaucho Way of living and working on the land. Once the evening sets get ready to enjoy a traditional Patagonian barbeque called "Asado al Pato." Sit beside the camp fire and engage with your hosts as you enjoy a delicious meal.
Day 2: After a hearty breakfast you will head out into the lush native forest to learn about the land and how the Gaucho people care for it, and it cares for them. The culmination of the day will be a trip to Mirador Hill which is a nesting site for the Andean Condor. You will observe them and learn about the vital role they play in the ecosystem.
Day 3: A day of horseback adventures awaits you. Ride the countryside with no particular agenda, just exploring the land and learning about the plants and animals of the area. This last day in the wilderness will be a chance to truly take in the experience and let it transform your inner self. Enjoy the evening with your new friends and the bittersweet realization that your journey will end tomorrow with them.
Prepare For A Journey Into The Wild
The next two days your will spend resting and preparing your gear for your trip into the wilderness of Torres Del Paine National Park. Take this time to gather your needed supplies, pack your backpack, and enjoy a hot meal in one of the beuatiful restaurants.
Journey Into The Wild Lands Of Patagonia
Today you begin you journey into the remote and wild back-country of Patagonia: Torres del Paine National Park. Your day begins early and will end sleeping among the granite giants of the Torres Range.
Begin the day taking the bus from Puerto Natales to the Laguna Armaga gate of the park. From there a shuttle will bring you to the Las Torres lodge to begin your walk. Spend the afternoon making your way uphill deep into the heart of the Torres Range, ending at Base Los Torres camp where you will spend the night.
It is important to get a good night's sleep because tomorrow begins before the sun comes up and will be the longest day of trekking on the tour.
Reflections Of The Soul
Word can't possibly do justice to the scene you have the chance to take in today. If weather and time break right, this will be an experience you will never forget.
Arise in time to get on the trail at least 2.5 hours before sunrise. Hike by light of your headlamp up, up, and up some more into an enormous cirque below the Torres Range on the shores of a sapphire blue lake. Find the perfect spot near the shore but up high enough to look down on the water, and then wait...
For fear of diminishing the soul-stirring event we won't try to describe it. There are few gifts of nature that rival this scene and you will be witness to all its glory.
Make Your Way To The Next Camp
Once you have been moved by the experience it is unfortunately time to leave. There is a long day of hiking to make the next camp before dark. Head down and retrieve your gear from camp and make your way back down hill. You are hiking toward the French Valley, skirting below the massive peaks above impossibly blue lakes.
Arrive at Los Frances Camp and rest your weary feet in your luxury tent that will be all set up for you. Enjoy a hot meal and get some rest.
Overnight: Los Frances Camp
Another day in Patagonia, another other-worldy landscape. At this point your conception of time and space will be altered by the sheer magnitude and splendor of the world around you. It is in truly wild places and deep contemplation of our own existence where we begin to find the transformation we seek.
Today you will hike up the French Valley toward Mirador Britanico, a true spectacle of rock and ice. Enjoy the view and head back down to retrieve your gear.
Make your way to the next camp at the Paine Grande campground. Settle in for some rest and a grand adventure tomorrow.
Up Close With Grey Glacier
As time passes and our world feels the effects of climate change all around us, the presence of truly massive glaciers is being threatened. Few places are left in the world where we can feel small and insignificant against the ancient power of flowing ice. Grey Glacier is one of those last remaining places, and your day is spent in her presence.
After enjoying the hike and views return to Paine Grande camp and reflect on your time in the wild as your last night in the warm embrace of nature is upon you.
Reflect on how you feel being in such close relationship with the natural world. Ask yourself how you are changed from this experience and what you can do to aid in preserving wild places. Perhaps write down in your journal what has been stirred in your soul from this amazing experience. For tomorrow you say good-bye to you new friend.
Return From The Journey Something New
Arise early and enjoy the sunrise. Take in your last morning in the park and begin your trip back to civilization. Once arrived in Puerto Natales enjoy a hot shower and meal and take stock of what you have seen and felt.
Overnight: Puerto Natales hotel
The Hero Returns Home
For true transformation to take place our journey does not end once we return from the adventure, it is only the beginning. Make your way back to Santiago via Punta Arenas and enjoy a couple days in the city to explore and reflect.
As you begin to look around you and see the world in a new way it is important to take time to process and make meaning from what you have experienced. Here are some steps to take in your return:
- Remain in contact with us for your post-trip process and support in coming home
- Take time to truly reflect and take stock of the experience, don't rush too quickly back into "normal life"
- Follow up with contacts you have made and keep in touch with those you met on the way
- Be patient with yourself and with those around you, it is possible you are not the same person who left home at the beginning.