Day 1 – Origin of an adventure
Arrive to Punta Arenas, capital of the XII Region of Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic. Our transfer will take you to the Cabo de Hornos Hotel where we will be waiting with a Calafate Sour and a lamb shank or a salmon with potatoes and rosemary. If you’d rather go for the green, ask for the Caesar salad. To put us in context, attend the presentation about the trip that awaits us: going Deep in Patagonia. Later, have a nice rest for the early adventure that starts next morning.
Day 2 – Going deep
Early check out. The day begins at dawn to take the ferry that will take us to the other side of the Magellan Strait, in the eastern side of Tierra del Fuego. We’ll stop by Porvenir, a small town of 6,000 people, to visit the Municipal Museum. Heading south, the road will take us around Bahía Inútil (Useless Bay). Its name comes from the impossibility of docking ships. We’ll pass through the Estancia Caleta Josefina. An absolute must is the King Penguin Park where, for unknown reasons, these birds established their colony at the end of the Bay. Let’s hop on again and drive south through Cameron, continuing on the route Y-85 to Pampa Guanaco. We will view Cauquenes, Caiquenes and different kinds of birds, in addition to the daring guanacos that will cross our road just a few meters from the van. We’ll drive through historical monuments that adorn the steppe’s flatness, which talk about a past that wants to be forgotten. South of Pampa Guanaco the planes disappear as the trees gradually grow taller. Try recognizing the different species of Nothofagus. We’ll get to the deepest and most unknown zone of Tierra del Fuego, where only a few brave explorers adventure this far south. The day will finish as we arrive at the Deseado Lodge, beside the lake of the same name. They will be waiting for us with a truly deserved welcome dinner, at the heart of the island.
Day 3 – Following guanaco tracks
Wake up with the stunning nature that blooms around you. Enjoy a delightful breakfast before joining our morning yoga on the lake. Feel free to explore the area following the steps of the Onas through the different treks that start at the entrance of the lodge. If you prefer paddling, take one of the double kayaks to discover the beauty of the shore. In the afternoon we’ll put on our trekking boots to do a 7 kilometer hike up the mountains of the eastern lakeside. At the end of the path a Zodiac will be waiting for us. We’ll use it to explore one of the few lakes that are shared by Chile and Argentina. To finish the day, we’ll enjoy a Cordero al Palo, the Patagonian way of cooking lamb over coals, around a warm fire.
Day 4 - Wild and Unexplored
At first light, we’ll board the van to keep going south. We’ll pass along Kami Lake, as the original inhabitants named it. Nowadays it is commonly known as Fagnano Lake in honor of the Salesian priest. Following the Azopardo River, twelve kilometers west, we’ll get to Caleta María, where a part of the Magellan Strait appears as the Almiralty Sound. Only one person lives here, who is in charge of taking care of the cove surrounded by unexplored mountains, rivers and valleys. Prepare to get wild. Go on board the Zodiac and take out your cameras. We’ll navigate around the only continental albatross colony in the world. Afterwards we’ll visit Jackson Bay, part of Karukinka Park owned by the World Conservation Society (WCS). Here we’ll approach an elephant seal colony. We’ll find a place to disembark and walk into the Park to a breathtaking waterfall. We’ll follow our own steps and take the Zodiac back to Caleta María. Before returning to the lodge, we’ll follow the road being built which, in a few years will connect the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego with the Beagle channel. Back in the lodge we’ll enjoy our last dinner together and have a presentation of all the places we had the chance to explore.
Day 5 – Recalling where we come from
Our way back will take us through the places we saw a few days ago, but now we can understand the history hidden beneath the many stones and trees that keep Tierra del Fuego unpopulated. Each guanaco runs away as they were still being hunted. Each Estancia has its own story written on its walls… a story that tries to be forgotten.
Despised and Desired extension: 30 K’s and one night in the wild
For those looking for a more active journey, there’s a perfect extension of your trip. On Day 4, we put on our backpacks and begin the trek called Sendero La Paciencia (Patience Trail), inside Karukinka Park, which starts at lago Despreciado (Despised Lake) right next to lago Deseado (Desired Lake). The path goes around seven valleys that descend from the Valdivieso Mountain Range following the Sanchez River from East to West. The well-marked trail will take us through different kinds of forests. If we are quiet we’ll be able to recognize the species of birds around us and follow the tracks of the guanacos. Half way through we’ll spend the night next to a shelter. The next day we continue our path as we walk through the last three valleys and arrive to the Aserradero La Paciencia, an old sawmill that has been unused for many years. A Zodiac will be waiting for us and will take us to see the albatross colony and the elephant seal colony, before we disembark in Caleta María and return back to the Deseado lodge.