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Hike in a canyon of fossils

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Hike from Estancia Cristina in a crimson and gold, fossil-stamped canyon among the icy peaks of Argentine Patagonia. 

If you are staying in the El Calafate region, and enjoy walking, you shouldn’t miss this scenic hike from one of Patagonia’s most remote historic ranches, Estancia Cristina. This property, founded by an English pioneer over 100 years ago, is dwarfed by towering ice-capped peaks, and has one of the most beautiful and breathtaking settings in the Patagonian Andes.

You depart by boat from a jetty not far from El Calafate to sail on iceberg-strewn Lago Argentino, with superb glacier views. Disembark at the estancia and jump into an all-terrain vehicle to ride up into the mountains, to be rewarded by a fabulous panorama of the eastern side of the Upsala glacier, the southern Patagonian icecap, Lago Guillermo and - of course -the snowy crests of the Andes.

From here, it's a superb, if somewhat challenging downhill trek (you do need to be fit) back to the ranch through the Cañadon de los Fosiles (Fossil Canyon) where the erosive effects of glaciation has revealed an open-air museum of sea fossils. The canyon’s strata of crimson, russet, gold and pewter rocks create a dazzling display as you climb down.

Activity Rating: easy

Argentina
El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Expert

    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

Meet the team