The Southernmost Tip of the Continent - 4 nights, 5 days
900 USD PP
Early 2017 departure dates:
Jan 22 - 26, 2017
Feb 02 - 6, 2017
This is a true adventure in every sense of the word. To reach the southern most tip of the South American continent, a five-day expedition-style trek is the only way to go...literally! We hike along the Strait of Magellan, the channel that was scene to countless shipwrecks, and holds some of the richest history in Patagonia. This journey is only for those ready to get completely away from the masses and willing to put themselves in a place where the word ‘self-reliance’ is not taken lightly. Be prepared for an agonizing rough trail, relentless wind and two neck-high, strip-down, pack-over-the-head river crossings!
Our trek begins where the dirt road ends, and continues along the isolated beaches, coves and bays. The trek offers a variety of hiking terrain aside from many quiet beaches. We’ll pass dense forests, cross open “turba” (a cross between tundra and moss) and wade through river crossings. Our daily travel must be carefully timed to coincide with the low tides, in order to make crossing as safe as possible. Our ultimate goal is a five-story white cross that marks the tip of the South American land mass.
This trek is a self-sufficient tour, which means that each person is responsible for carrying his or her share of food and equipment. We camp each night along rivers, deserted whaling stations, abandoned ranch houses and in Patagonian forests. Roughing it is the name of the game, and this is what makes this trek a truly unique experience. There’s bird and sea life abound, and weather permitting, wonderful views of Dawson Island, the Darwin Range and the twin peaks of Mt. Saremiento. This trek isn’t for everyone, but it is guaranteed to be a memorable one.
Day 0: Gear check in Punta Arenas 5pm - night in Punta Arenas *not included
Day 1: Punta Arenas - Río Yumbel
An early morning transfer takes you, your trekking partners and your guide from Punta Arenas South - as far South as to the end of the road. Let the adventure begin! We shoulder our backpacks and start trekking right along the legendary Strait of Magellan. If you are lucky, a school of dolphins or porpoise cruises along or a curious sea lion might stick his head out of the water to check you out. From San Isidro Lighthouse, we hike for the first time into the dense, partly almost jungle-like Magellanic forest. The trail leads to Bahía del Aguila, a quiet bay, where we can find the remains of a long abandoned whaling station. Directly on the coast, passing black and blue mussel beds and wooden crosses, reminding of fishermen that were lost to the sea, we make it to Río Yumbel. Just until 1993, this place was home to the southernmost settler on the South American mainland, where he worked the surrounding land. Now, his basic house stands empty and serves us adventurers as shelter. It is here, where we pitch up our first camp to spend the night.
Day 2: Río Yumbel - Río Nodales
Today, start off with your first river crossing. Río Yumbel normally isn't much of a challenge – normally... On a regular day, it's a quick: Take off your shoes, wade through the ankle-deep water, put your shoes back on and off you go... After a few days of rain, things are different. Then, the water can be hip-deep at times. Nevertheless, it's not the current, but the water level and the typical Patagonian water temperatures(!) that make this an adventure. We continue along the Strait of Magellan. One beautiful bay is followed by another, embraced by thick, evergreen temperate rain forest. In some places impassable rock cliffs block the direct way on the beach and we circle them farther inland. Later, pass a high grown forest to arrive in the middle of an enormous peat bog. This wet passage is rewarded by great views over the Strait of Magellan. At Río San Nicolás, it's time for the second river crossing! We cross Río San Nicolas with the tide's favor. Here, everything from knee- to chest-deep, freezing cold water is possible. The latter is especially interesting – considering that you'll carry your backpack above your head. The rest of the day is easy. Continue along the foot of Cerro Pico Nodales, right on the coast to Río Nodales. We make camp in a hidden forest near Río Nodales.
Day 3: Cabo Froward - Cruz de los Mares/ The Cross of the Seas
Next day, next... river! Río Nodales in waiting for you. Again, wading through is the only option since there is no bridge. Continue on the beach to Bahía Rosas, the last bay before the cape that is used by fishermen to escape from the howling, Patagonian wind and to wait for better weather. After the shortcut through the evergreen forest, around the cliffs of Punta Sampaio, we make it to Mirador Piedra La Momia, a lookout, which offers the first view of Cabo Froward. Just before the cape, the trail heads into the forest and climbs up onto a rock that stands 1,200 feet above the sea. The metal cross that was erected here, reminds of Pope John Paul II 1987 visit to the region. It's called “Cruz de los Mares”, the “Cross of the Seas” - of course... it is here, where the Atlantic and the Pacific unite. At this place, the Strait of Magellan bends towards the Northwest, towards the Pacific. On the South American mainland, there is no place farther South! Before you, an incredible panorama! This view is amongst Patagonia's best: beneath us, the legendary Strait of Magellan, in the East, the mountains of Isla Dawson, Tierra del Fuego and -with a bit of luck on the weather-side- to the Southwest, Cordillera Darwin with the snow-covered double peeks of Monte Sarmiento that are emerging right out of the sea, one of the most spectacular mountains of Tierra del Fuego. Return the same way.
Day 4: Río Nodales - Río Yumbel
After breaking down camp, we begin the return hike to Río Yumbel. See day 2 for details.
Day 5: Río Yumbel - Punta Arenas
We retrace our steps to the end of the road, from where we transfer back to Punta Arenas, where we arrive late afternoon. See day 1.
Transportation and excursions according to program, local, bilingual trekking guide (Spanish and English speaking), obligatory gear check the evening prior to the departure, meals specified in the program (camping style), all necessary cooking equipment (stoves, pots, plates, cups etc.)
Travel arrangements/ airfare to/ from Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile, accommodation before and after this trekking tour, camping equipment.
We presume that every adventurer brings his/her own personal gear, such as backpack, trekking boots, all-weather gear, sleeping bag, sleeping mattress, tent etc. If you don't have any of this, you can rent equipment on site at ER. Please, let us know in advance.