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Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

California
Level Contributor
187 posts
28 reviews
Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Hello

We are family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids - 11 and 15 years old) arriving in south america in Dec. We have seen glaciers in Alaska and New-Zealand so trying to figure out best parts of Patagonia in short time we have. Also we are not great hikers as well - 2/2.5 hours round trip hiking is ok.

We are doing horse riding in BA for full day Polo game watching/playing so don't know if we want to do another one on these glaciers... plus we are also doing minitrek.

I'm trying to see how to split our itinerary between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine. Here is our current appx plan in December:

23rd Fly into El Calafate

24th - Mini Trek on Galcier - very excited about this.

Does this include enough glimpse of the glaciers such that we can skip visiting the National Park ourselves?

25th - Options:

o Estancia Cristina or Hielo for Upsala and Spegazzini - not too keen as we have done boat rides with close view of glaciers.

o Or, visit National Park ourselves and spend time there.

o Or, go early to Port Natales.

o Any other?

26th Bus to Port Natales

27th Full day tour on Torres del Paine - may be pick some tour company; some lite hike.

Option may be extra day here for Glacier Grey boat ride which requires 2-3km walk to the boat.

28th Strait of Magellan’s shoreline; Arrive in Punta Arenas; and Fly to Santiago

Thank you so much.

Angel

Santiago, Chile
Level Contributor
1,202 posts
71 reviews
1. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Hello December is high season,,,you must made reservations if you like to go to Torres del Paine,,,best regards,,,Arturo

California
Level Contributor
187 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Thank you arturo for this insight. I'll do that soon. Thanks

Asia
Level Contributor
108 posts
167 reviews
3. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

HI there, re Mini Trek, the tour include time on the boardwalks overlooking Perito Moreno glaciers, then you will go on a short boat ride and be taken to actually walk on a part of it. So you will have more than 'glimpses' of the glaciers.

I did the Rios de Hielo boat ride for Upsala and Spegazzini, since you already done something similar and not that keen, definitely skip it, out of 5 things I did in Patagonia, this is by far my least favourite.

Whether to go to Puerto Natales on 26th, maybe you can decide when you get there. Cuz if the mini trek is one of the things you most look forward to, it is probably a good idea to have an extra day just in case the weather is not great on 24th, then you still have 25th as buffer.

I also joined a tour for Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales, it's alright, not much walking. Only remember 1 place where we walked 20 mins or so to get there and then another 20 mins back.

Not sure whether you are interested but my favourites were definitely kayaking on Lago Grey and hiking to Laguna Torre in El Chalten. I am not sporty at all but managed both without problems.

California
Level Contributor
187 posts
28 reviews
4. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Thank you missvontravels for great information. Sorry for the late reply.

Your pointers are very valuable.

May I ask you which tour company did you use for Torres del Paine from Puerto Natales?

Thank you

Asia
Level Contributor
108 posts
167 reviews
5. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

No problem. I went to Patagonia Adventure (www.apatagonia.com/en/torres-del-paine.html) and joined the TDP tour through them. They were also the one that managed to find me the Lago Grey kayak tour despite I went before the season started officially. They are a hostel and also tour agency and can arrange activities, the owner and staff were helpful so I recommend them. I believe all the TDP day tours are standard / the same, but I think (not 100% sure) it is more expensive to book through a hotel.

Btw, just thought I will mention, on the TDP day tour, you head to this Milodon Cave which you will have to pay entrance fee, I went in but was so underwhelmed, lol. It's just a cave and not even a mildly interesting one, so maybe search photos to see if you are interested, if not really then can just skip.

California
Level Contributor
187 posts
28 reviews
6. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Thanks missvontravels. I had exact feeling looking at Caves photos and didn't want to go but apatagonia standard tour does stop there, so I'll have it anyway.

Thank you for all the information

Angel

Asia
Level Contributor
108 posts
167 reviews
7. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Welcome, glad to help. Yeah, on one hand, it's not an interesting stop. On the other hand, the entrance fee is not a lot, so I guess can just go in for the purpose of killing a little time and a stroll rather than waiting in the car park for about 45 mins.

California
Level Contributor
187 posts
28 reviews
8. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

Thank you missvontravels

9. Re: Split between El Calafate vs Torres del Paine

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