Exploring the Prehistoric World of Patagonia: Petrified Forests, Dinosaur Fossils and Surreal Sculpted Sandstones

  • The otherworldly rock formations at La Leona

It’s time to fill the shoes of an intrepid archeologist while you venture into the prehistoric world of Patagonia, uncovering petrified tree trunks and some fossilized dinosaur bones, while hiking through a landscape of dried clay and sculpted sandstones, making for a surreal setting.

Our trip kicks off as we leave El Calafate in the morning on a 60-mile (100-kilometer) drive (lasting around an hour and a half). Our journey will take us partly alongside the giant Argentino Lake, with the backdrop of the Patagonian Steppe. If we are lucky enough we may see some rheas and guanacos, among other wildlife along the way.

We’ll make a short stop at historic Hotel La Leona, built in 1894 by Danish settlers, and once host to guests Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (legend has it they stayed at this small hotel after robbing the Bank of London in nearby Rio Gallegos, continuing their escape to Chile). From here, we’ll take a dirt road for about 6 miles (10 kilometers) along the shore of gargantuan Lake Viedma, to finally arrive at our paleontological site at around noon.

Our adventure continues as we set off on foot through a path and into a giant depression, where we’ll come face to face with 70-million-year-old petrified tree trunks, some of them boasting a diameter of up to 400 feet (1.20 meters).

After our archeological exploration, and being amazed by the geological artistry of how erosion has shaped this unique Patagonian landscape, we’ll board our bus again to finally head to our hotel in Chalten.

Important: Although weather conditions in this area are relatively stable, this tour may be suspended in the event of heavy rainfall; in that case we’ll have shorten the tour and take you earlier to you hotel in El Chalten. Tthe tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions and decisions of the tour guide to optimize your tour experience.

Difficulty: easy. The minimum age required for this tour is 10 years old.

Duration: full day (approximately 7 to 8 hours from the time you leave your hotel in El Calafate, until you arrive to your hotel in El Chalten). You’ll leave El Calafate in the morning, getting to your hotel in El Chalten around 5:30 PM.

Guide: group guide. The maximum group size for this tour is approximately 20 travelers.

Vehicle: group vehicle. Approximate traveled distance: 155 miles (250 kilometers).