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Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Miami Beach, Fl
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Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

I am hoping for some feedback on a proposed hiking plan for Torres del Paine based out of Lodge Cerro Guido (www.lodgecerroguido.com). My husband & I are keen hikers, but we still like a comfortable lodge at night. I am concerned about the amount of “commuting” time. The lodge is to the east of Torres del Paine National Park and is 40 km (30 minutes by car) to the main park entrance at Laguna Amarga. I don’t have a sense of where in the park these hikes are - if you could review the following daily itinerary and comment, it would really be appreciated! I have read the reviews of the Explora Hotel and although it would be a major stretch, I’m wondering if it’s worth the splurge since it is directly in the park. My impression is that we’d spend less time each day “commuting” and more time hiking or horseback riding.

Thanks,

Margie

Here is the Cerro Guido plan:

Day 1 (29/12/2008): Chilean Border – Estancia Cerro Guido (D).

Our Van will be waiting for you at Cerro Castillo, then we will drive north about 1 hour to Estancia Cerro Guido.

Lodging at the Estancia.

Day 2 (30/12/2008): Full day Torres Del Paine National Park (B, BL, D).

This day trip starts with a short, 15 minute drive to the crossroads that leads to the entrance to Torres del Paine National park. Then you will continue on to the Pudeto sector near the Salto Grande waterfall. This waterfall connects Lake Nordenskjöld to Lake Pehoe. A short, 15 min walk from the parking area takes one to the waterfall which allows for great views of the French Valley. Then we will drive to the administrative centre of the park where there is information and visitors’ centre. Lake Grey is further 18 km away where we will visit the beach with possibility to observe the icebergs, which have calved off Glacier Grey. Grey Glacier, a mass of ice 6 km wide and 30 m high which forms part of the Southern Ice field, can be seen in the distance. From Lake Grey we retrace our route back to the crossroads leading to Laguna Amarga entrance; weather and time permitting we will visit Laguna Azul and Cascada Paine (Paine waterfall) a great place to observe guanacos.

Lodging at Estancia Cerro Guido.

Day 3 (31/12/2008): Glacier Grey Navigation (B, BL, D)

After breakfast you will drive through the main route at the National Park until Hostería Lago Grey (check in point for navigation – 3 hours roundtrip). At the Grey II boat you will sail through lake Grey until the Glacier. Then you will drive back to Estancia Cerro Guido.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

For this excursion we will drive through the main rout at the National Park, the same road you did the day before.

Lodging at the Estancia

Day 4 (1/01/2009): Hiking at Torres del Paine NP (B, BL, D).

Option 1: PORTERÍA - PORTERÍA TREK

This is a soft trek with beautiful views of the Paine Massif, about 2.5 - 4 hours. It starts at Sarmiento Portería (park entrance) and continues through a path where you will have chances to observe condors and guanacos (lama guanicoe). Return to Estancia Cerro Guido.

Option 2: Trekking Laguna Verde – Puente Weber.

Alter breakfast you will go towards Estancia Lazo, where you will start a 5 hour (app), hike. The first 45 min. you will follow the western shore of Laguna verde, and then you will continue through the Magellanic deciduous forest - nice place to have your lunch. Finally you will arrive to the highlight of the excursion which is an amazing view of the Paine Massif, Paine river, Lake Toro and Serrano river. You will get inside the park and your transfer will be waiting for you at Weber Bridge.

Lunch: packed lunch

Lodging at the Estancia.

Day 5 (2/01/2009): Enjoying Estancia Cerro Guido (attached document) (B, D)

Alter breakfast you will have the guided visit tour around the village (1 hour), then you will enjoy lunch at our quincho. After lunch you will have a half day horse back ride at the Estancia (L)

Option 2: Full day horse back ride (lunch: packed lunch)

All our Horse-back rides include an insurance and equipment: leader chaps, helmet, dry saddlebags and our muleteers are always carrying their first aid kit and vhf radio.

Lodging at the Estancia

Day 6 (3/02/2009): Base Las Torres Trek (B, BL, D).

This day after breakfast we will drive to Torres del Paine National Park, to Las Torres sector, where we will start our trek to the base. You will be following the Ascencio River before entering the Ascencio Valley. The walk will be uphill for one hour, stopping to observe the first glimpses of the valley, then you will reach de Campamento el chileno (a very nice place to recover energies). Then you will walk through century old forests of beech (“lenga” Nothofagus pumilio), and then continue ascending through a huge terminal moraine up to the Torres Del Paine viewpoint (900m). We recommend you to stop here for lunch. Then you will start your descent following the same path back to the Hostería Las Torres, Estancia Cerro Paine (total distance 17 Km)

At the end of the hike, the transfer will be waiting for you to take you to Ea. Cerro Guido.

On this excursion the transfer will take you to Laguna Amarga sector where you will have to take another transfer to cross the Black bridge, at the end of the excursion we will be waiting you at Laguna Amarga.

Lodging at the Estancia.

Day 7 (4/02/2009): Estancia Cerro Guido – Chilean border (B)

Soutnern California
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1. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

My wife and I stayed at Cerro Guido for 2 nights and 2 nights at another estancia La Tercera.

Both were great experiences - Cerro Guido is much larger and much nicer accomodations. You are correct, Cerro Guido is approx 30-45 minute drive to main attractions within the park. If this commute does not bother you I would recommend staying there -we really enjoyed our stay there. We were always up early and hit the road proptly and had a great time in the park(we just budgeted extra time for the drive) We visited the Explora lodge and it is a very nice place (and very expensive). If money is no object then you may find Explora to you liking.

Lloyd Mansfield

Miami Beach, Fl
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2. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I was thinking that Cerro Guido might provide a more authentic Argentine experience and window into a real estancia with an interesting history. In studying their website, I was thinking that maybe we wouldn't do the Grey Glacier boat ride on day 3, but substitute a horse-ride to the Indian Cemetery, "an archaeological gem, located on the summit of the Cerro Contreras" - the day would also provide excellent views.

Did you do the do the glacier boat ride and what did you think of it?

Thanks again,

Margie

Soutnern California
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3. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Margie

Yes, we did the Grey Glacier Cruise - we enjoyed it, but also went to El Calafante and visited the Perito Moreno Glacier and went glacier treking for several hours. --- we enjoyed the Perito Moreno experience more than the cruise to Grey Glacier. Having said that we feel that we missed out on the true Patatgonian experience of horse back riding on an estancia. Not knowing your viewing experience of glaciers - I'm not sure how to advise you.

Lloyd

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4. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Hi Lloyd,

As you did, we are planning on also going to El Calafate to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and then on to El Chalten to hike in the Fitz Roy area. I was thinking about the full day glacier mini-trekking experience - is that what you did? I also read about the full day boat excursion to Estancia Cristina & was considering that. By your comment then, maybe it would be a good idea to get the glacier experience out of El Calafate - maybe the horseback riding experience would be special at Cerro Guido.

May I ask where you stayed in El Calafate, how many nights and if you would recommend it? Also, did you got to El Chalten and hike the Fitz Roy area - and where did you stay/how many nights? Any other comments you care to share?

Thanks bunches for replying,

Margie

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5. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

TripsAgain

Can you tell us a little bit more about your experience of the lago grey cruise (grey II?)

What time do you leave and back? what do you do on the boat?

I think I am going to take the one-way trip from glacier back to hotel, do you see this boat picking up any hikers in grey glacier? thank you for your help!

how did you make the reservation?

Soutnern California
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6. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Hello Margie

In El Calafante, we stayed for 2 nights at Hosteria Los Helios - nice place on the lake just outside of town. Only downside is that it is too far to walk to town - we used taxis which worked well.

Yes we also went to El Chalten and stayed at Los Cerros for 3 nights - this is a “very nice” place situated up on a small hilltop overlooking the town. They have their own restaurant which was very good. We enjoyed this area a lot.

Here is our itinerary for our trip - we left home on 2/12 and returned on 3/5 - if you have questions about any other parts of our trip - let me know.

Santiago 2 nights

Serro Guido estancia 2 nights

La Tercera estancia 2 nights

El Calafante 2 nights

El Chalten 3 nights

Ushuaia 3 nights

Buenos Aires 1 night

Iguasu 2 nights

Buenos Aires 3 nights

I am curious - are you planning your own trip or are you working with a tour company? We used Southern Explorations out of Seattle. We used them last year for a 17 day trip to Peru - they did such a great job we went with them again this year to Chile/Argentina. Both trips were with private guides which has really spoiled us.

Regards

Lloyd

Soutnern California
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7. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Bxaio

The boat to Grey Glacier does not pick up anyone during the trip - you cannot ride back one way from

the glacier area. As I recall, we departed approx

1 pm and returned approx 4 pm. This was booked by our travel agent.

Regards

Lloyd

Miami Beach, Fl
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8. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for the information on your trip! I had looked at the Southern Explorations website & liked their Patagonia hiking options. In addition to hiking in El Torres del Paine, El Calafate and El Chalten, we are also planning on 12 nights in the Argentina lake district, Iguasu 2 nights and 5 nights in Buenos Aires (my husband is really into music and he wants to go there specifically for that). The Southern Explorations website didn't mention anything about these areas, so I assumed that they wouldn't have the knowledge in those other locations. Is that so?

I found a travel agent, through referrals on TripAdvisor, that is based in the Lake District. She is very knowledgeable about that area, Buenos Aires, Iguazu and has recommended lodging in the other areas, including Cerro Guido that seems like a good option for us in Torres (we like hiking and horseback riding). But, now that I took another look at the Southern Expeditions website again, I see that they have a lodge based trip in Torres that goes to several areas in the park & that looks interesting. So, there I go...I get myself confused with options!

By the way, I've noticed that some hotels in Argentina post their rates on the internet and some only by request. I wonder about those properties that don't post their prices...any ideas of what this says about those properties & how they price a particular guest?

Soutnern California
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9. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Hello Margie

Our itenerary was was not an "0ff the Shelf" one - it was a custom one that evoled over time as we did further research and discussion with Southern Explorations. They have a policy that they will not book a customer to a facility they have not personally stayed at themselves. The guides as well have one on one contact with the personell in Seattle.

You have lots of time until you go, so it might be worth your while to check them out to see if what they have to offer is for you -- if you do, ask for Jonathan. He has traveled and hiked extensively in these areas.

Regards

Lloyd

Miami Beach, Fl
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10. Re: Day hikes from Lodge Cerro Guido vs Explora

Hi Lloyd,

You're right that we've got lots of time before the trip. I'll check them out!

Thanks,

Margie