Patagonia EdVenture: From the Andes to the Atlantic

Patagonia is a remote, unspoiled, and untamed wilderness, and the southern part is where nature is at its wildest. From towering granite peaks and turquoise glacial lakes to windswept steppes and the icy seas of the Atlantic Ocean, Argentina will be our host.

The centerpiece of the Argentinian part of Patagonia is Los Glaciares National Park, home of the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier. This groaning, grinding river of ice is one of the few glaciers in the world that was still advancing until the 1980s. In the north of the national park is Mt. Fitzroy Massif, named after the Beagle’s Captain Fitzroy, who sailed Charles Darwin’s expedition up the Rio Santa Cruz in 1834. To enjoy this area, we will travel to the town of El Chalten, the trekking capital of Argentina.

A visit to Patagonia is not complete without visiting the Atlantic coast to observe marine wildlife. The coast extends for hundreds of miles as unspoiled landscape and Peninsula Valdez, a Natural World Heritage Site, is the most amazing destination to enjoy the area. Wildlife in this part of the planet includes guanacos, foxes, hares, Andean deer, and pumas. Bird life is also very rich with flocks of flamingos, lesser rheas, ibis, and the Andean condor. Marine life along the coast is unique and composed of right whales, dolphins, sea wolves, elephant seals, a variety of penguin species, and amazing amounts of other marine bird species.

Activity Level:   Easy | Moderate | CHALLENGING | Difficult
Includes multiple days of hiking 3+ hours and 5+ miles; max of 8 miles and 1500 ft of elevation change

Space(s) Available: There is room for only a few more lucky travelers, so register soon! Also, if the trip is full, but you are still interested, please sign-up on the waitlist. Guests occasionally cancel their registration, leaving space available at a later date.

Date: November 4th, 2020, to November 15th, 2020
(We may leave on November 3rd and return November 16th depending on the flight schedule)
Age: Adults 21+
Cost: $4,959* per person, plus round-trip airfare

Does not include:

  • Personal items (bottle water, alcohol, laundry service, etc.)
  • Meals not indicated on the itinerary
  • Tips for guides, drivers, and hotel staff
  • Travel and medical insurance

Solo Travelers: You will be paired with another traveler for hotel rooms. If you would prefer to have your own sleeping room for an additional $680 fee per person, please register normally online and then email Kristie Nord right after you register: [email protected].  Tell her you are requesting your own room and the additional fee will be added to your order.

Deposit: A $500 deposit will be due at the time of registration. Final payments are due July 31, 2020.

Registration Deadline: July 31, 2020

How to Register

Register Online 

Accessibility and Experience: No previous experience is required; however, some of the activities within the program will require a moderate to vigorous level of physical health and mobility. Most hikes are on uneven terrain and include large rocks or boulders, and may be between 5-12 miles in length.

Flights: We will purchase flights as a group through the state travel agency once the trip is full, to ensure that everyone travels together on the same flights. The flight total will be added to your balance online.

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel your trip…

  • Prior to July 31, 2020: Full refund of land cost minus a $100 transaction fee
  • Between August 1 and October 1, 2020: 50% refund of land cost
  • After October 1, 2020: No refund

Any flight payments are not refunded.

Future Interest: If you would like to be placed on the interested list for any future trips, please email [email protected].

Itinerary
Following is a list of just some of what we’ll do over the course of our adventure! Please email [email protected] if you have any questions about the itinerary or accommodations. The accommodations are tentative.

Day 1 (D): Arrive in Buenos Aires, one of the most interesting cities in South America. Most flights from the USA arrive early; so there will be free time to rest and/or walk around the city. Late afternoon there will be an orientation and a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Lodging in Buenos Aires
Hotel Arenales

Day 2 (B/D): Flight to El Calafate, this town is the gateway to southern Patagonia. Founded as a sheltering place for wool traders in the early 20th century on the south shore of Lake Argentino it has become a tourist destination because is the closest town to Los Glaciares National Park and the impressive Perito Moreno Glaciar. Late afternoon we will visit Laguna Nimez a wildlife refuge located a walking distance from the hotel to enjoy local flora and fuana.

Lodging in El Calafate
Hotel El Quijote

Day 3 (B/L/D): This morning we board our bus and travel across the altiplano to visit famous Perito Moreno Glacier. We will walk the paths along the lake’s shore to enjoy amazing views of the glacier from many different vantage points. In the early afternoon we will take a boat cruise on the lake to get closer to the glacier. Be prepared to be awed by the moaning, creaking, cracking, and calving of the glacier face! Then we will go back to El Calafate.

Lodging in El Calafate
Hotel El Quijote

Day 4 (B/L/D): Today we will travel to the north part of Los Glaciares to the Town of El Chalten to visit Los Huemules Interpretation Center at Los Huemules Private Reserves to learn about the diversity in this part of Patagonia. We will hike the trails to the Laguna Azul for about 4 miles and enjoy our box lunch in this magical forest. During our hike we will have great views of the Mt. Fitz Roy. We will hike back to our lodge and to enjoy dinner.

Lodging in El Chalten
Hostería El Pilar

Day 5 (B/L/D): Hike to the forest along a beautiful glacier river with great views of the Mt. Fitz Roy including a stop at Laguna Capri (8 miles, 1500 feet elevation change). For those who want a more  strenuous and spectacular hike, there is the option to depart about half way along the previous trek and climb up a steep trail to Laguna de los Tres and the very base of Mt. Fitz Roy (12 miles, 3000 feet elevation change). This is one of the most spectacular hikes in the area.

Lodging in El Chalten
Hostería El Pilar

Day 6 (B/L/D): Today we drive back to El Calafate stopping for wildlife viewing opportunities along the way. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a very special activity, a visit to an authentic Patagonia Estancia where we will witness a sheep shearing and an equestrian race/demonstration, and have a guided tour of the ranch and nearby area. An optional horseback ride (on your own) up into the foothills above the ranch is also available. We’ll enjoy a traditional, lavish asado (barbecue) with lots of grill vegetables for dinner.

Lodging in El Calafate
Hotel El Quijote

Day 7 (B/D): Today we have transfer to El Calafate Airport and fly to Trelew, and then drive to Puerto Madryn. Puerto Madryn is the gateway city to this part of Argentina, famous for the marine life of the Atlantic Patagonia Coast. The calm waters of the gulfs and the cut-out coastline make this area a true sanctuary for marine life; composed among other species by right whales, dolphins, sea wolves, elephant seals, penguins, and an amazing amount of other marine bird species.

Lodging in Puerto Madryn
La Posada Hotel Boutique

Day 8 (B/L): Day tour to Punta Tombo Nature Reserve that protects the largest colonies of Magellanic penguins in South America. We will marvel at the penguin colony spread across 3 km of clay and sand beach, home to over 500,000 penguins and thousands of nests where the Magellanic penguins lay their eggs and raise their chicks. We will walk the pathways through the beautiful reserve, getting up close to the penguins and witness how they coexist with other species, such as sea gulls, giant petrels, cormorants, guanacos, maras, and armadillos. After the tour we will return to our hotel in Puerto Madryn. Dinner will be on your own tonight.

Lodging in Puerto Madryn
La Posada Hotel Boutique 

Day 9 (B/L/D): Today we will travel by bus to Peninsula de Valdes located on the Atlantic coast of Patagonia. The area is a World Heritage Site recognize by UNESCO in 1999 due to the fact that is the habitat of many different species; specially of marine fauna such as the right whales, killer whales, dolphins, sea wolves, elephant seals, penguins, and many others.

On our way we will visit the Carlos Ameghino Interpretation Centre, which has an excellent and informative collection on the history of this specific area of the Patagonia, as well as the ecosystems and the regional flora and fauna; then we will visit the viewpoint from where we will look at Isla de Los Pajaros (Birds Island). This island is located a few hundred meters from the coast of Golfo San Jorge. The place is home of hundreds of species of marine birds such as cormorants, terns, oystercatchers, penguins, biguas, and herons.

We will continue our journey to Punta Norte, an area of outstanding natural beauty with a wide range of both marine and land wildlife such as sea lions, elephant seals, and orcas. We will have opportunities for short hikes along the coast. On the way will you will stop by the Great Salt Depression, one of the deepest land depressions in South America.

We will stay overnight in Puerto Pirámides, a small traditional village on the south Atlantic shores of the Peninsula Valdes and an important tourist attraction for spotting whales, which migrate to these shores from May through to December.

Lodging in Puerto Pirámides
Hotel Oceano Patagonia

Day 10 (B/L/D): Today we will embark on a whale watching cruise in the bay, where we will get a privileged view of the magnificent southern right whales in the bay. The tours start from the beach, where the boats are put into the water with tractors. From here you sail for a few minutes until you get to see the whales, including the females and their young (calves).

The southern right whale is a cetacean that inhabits the seas of the southern hemisphere. The males reach up to 15 meters long and the females 16 or 17 meters. The weight of an adult specimen reaches 40 tons. Whales spend much of the year in the Antarctic waters where they feed, then migrate to more temperate waters of the north, such as Peninsula Valdes, for breeding. In Argentina, Right whales are protected by law and have been declared a Natural Heritage. Free afternoon to enjoy the area around Puerto Piramídes. You will be able to take hikes following the trails along the coast. From the coast it is possible to observe whales. Dinner on your own

Lodging in Puerto Piramides
Hotel Oceano Patagonia 

Day 11 (B/L/D): Today we leave this amazing place and drive back to Puerto Madryn stopping at Punta Delgada for short walks along the coast for possible Orcas sighting and more wildlife viewing opportunities. We will enjoy our farewell dinner and share memories that night.

Lodging in Puerto Madryn
La Posada Hotel Boutique

Day 12 (B): Today we will transfer to the airport in Trelew and fly back to Buenos Aires. Late afternoon you will to catch a flight back home.