Discovery of the Colossal Upsala Glacier & Adventure Trek
by the Valley of the Sea Fossils in Patagonian Estancia
- Navigating to the largest glacier in the national park: the Upsala Glacier
We’ll embark on a journey of discovery to admire the second largest glacier in South America: the Upsala Glacier, a Patagonian ice giant accessible only by boat. Our navigation will also take us to Estancia Cristina, a ranch founded by an Englishman and his wife in 1914, which tells the fascinating story of pioneers in the Patagonian region. Here, we’ll have the chance to take part in a variety of activities; including a ride in our all-terrain vehicles to a panoramic balcony from where we’ll enjoy a majestic view of the eastern face of the Upsala Glacier, to finally trek down the "Cañadon de los Fosiles"; a valley filled with sea fossil remains.
The tour unfolds as follows: In the morning we’ll take a 1-hour ride to Punta Bandera port to start our 3-hour navigation to Estancia Cristina. As we navigate towards Upsala Glacier, we take in the beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding us; great opportunity to get out your camera and start creating memories!
We’ll navigate to the western face of the Upsala Glacier from a distance. As we reach Upsala Channel, we may see icebergs of different shapes and sizes floating in the frigid waters, which will be the prelude to the beautiful views we’ll enjoy of the magnificent Upsala Glacier - the second largest glacier in South America.
After a ride by boat from the Upsala Glacier, we’ll find Cristina Canal and Estancia Cristina. We’ll spend 6 hours exploring the estancia. First, there will be a guided tour of the Costumbrista Museum, which was originally the old shearing shed. Here, we’ll learn about the history of the estancia and the traditional life on the estancias during pioneer times.
Next, we’ll hop onto our all-terrain vehicles and drive for about 1 and a half hours through the mountainous roads of the estancia. After that, we’ll commence a 20-minute walk until we get to a panoramic balcony, where we’ll spend approximately 30 minutes appreciating the awe-inspiring views of the Eastern face of the Upsala Glacier, along with the seemingly infinite Andes Mountain Range, the largest mountain range on the planet!
Later, we’ll start our 9 mile (14 kilometer) trek descending through the "Cañadón de los Fosiles", a deposit of sea fossil remains. This is a valley with unique characteristics, surrounded by the typical fauna and flora the region boasts. You’ll be given a lunch box with 1 bottled water to enjoy during the tour. This is a 7 mile (14 kilometers) trek mostly done downhill. The trek duration is about 5 hours. Finally, we’ll board our boat for a 2-hour ride back to Punta Bandera for a transfer back to our hotel, as the sun begins to set on our day of navigating and glaciers exploration, with a camera full of fresh memories to share with friends and family back home!
PLEASE NOTE: This tour takes up an entire day, it is long, with a departure of 7 AM approximately and a return at 8 / 8:30 PM approximately. Also, please note that the rides to Estancia Cristina and back have a total navigation time of 5 hours (3 hours to get there, and 2 hours to get back). Weather conditions in this area normally allow for smooth navigating, but can also be very windy, causing the boat to move, as it isn’t very large in size. So, if you are prone to seasickness, we would advise booking a different tour, which also offers you the chance to enjoy navigating among glaciers and icebergs in full-VIP fashion. In it, you’ll witness the splendor of the Upsala glacier (the largest glacier in Patagonia Glaciers National Park) as well as the Spegazzini glacier (the tallest glacier in the national park), among others.
Please note that the all-terrain vehicles used travel on a bumpy road, and may therefore cause some discomfort to those who are prone to car sickness.
Important: the tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions. We’ll have the chance to enjoy a beautiful view of the Eastern face of Upsala Glacier, from the exclusive viewpoint of Estancia Cristina, but not closely from atop the boat.