- Why SYMG?
- Our Trips
- Calendar & Pricing
Difficulty descriptions are by nature very subjective. The categories below represent generalized distinctions in terrain, level of commitment, time spent at elevation and overall trip duration. Level of commitment refers to the ability to opt out of activities such as peak ascents from a base camp. A committing trip requires a daily mileage to be completed each day.
These trips typically travel on groomed trails at a leisurely pace. You can expect maintained trails, gentle grades and more flexibility in terms of your destination for the day. Hikers will carry mainly the essentials in a light daypack and travel anywhere from 3 to 8 miles depending on the trip or preference.
These include hiking, backpacking, or stock-supported trips that take place mostly on maintained trails to get to camp. These trips hike into a set basecamp and then offer optional destinations with varying degrees of challenge. You can expect modest climbs on uneven terrain. Total distances are often 4-7 miles of hiking per day over 3-4 days of hiking.
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking or stock-supported trips. The trails can consist of uneven terrain with modest to difficult climbs and some steep passes (gains of 1000-2000’). These trips are typically 3-5 days in duration but can be longer. For backpacking trips, they can include carrying a fully weighted pack (30-42lbs) and travel 6-10 miles per day.
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking, backpacking or stock-supported trips with uneven terrain and steep grades and passes. These trips are more physically and mentally challenging and usually 7-8 days in duration. For backpacking trips, pack weight will consist of (30-40lbs). Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment is high. Trips in this category spend significant time at higher elevations and often cover 8-12+ miles per day with average gains/losses of 1,500-3,000’ per day. The most successful people on these trips have some prior overnight backcountry experience.
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking on uneven terrain with steep grades. These trips travel 10-12+ miles per day and can vary from 8-21 days in length. Given the mileage and duration, there is an increased amount of physical and mental challenge throughout the trip. Pack weights will consist of 35-45lbs depending on the resupply schedule. Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment to reach your destination is high. The most successful people on these trips have extensive overnight backcountry experience.
Join us for an unforgettable 10-days of guided trekking through the virgin paradise of Northern Patagonia. Along the way you’ll become intimately acquainted with this region of the Andes, which has only just recently gained the touristic appreciation it deserves. We will enjoy contact with a rich local culture, hiking through pristine temperate rainforests, and marvel at towering granite peaks reminiscent of those of Yosemite. We spend our time in the superlative Cochamó and Puelo River Valleys, using a diverse set of trails including ancient trade routes as well as tracks created in just the past few years in the building of the new park, Tagua Tagua. Our small group will head way off the beaten path through the untamed regions of Chile and do so in style as our daily efforts are rewarded with incredible scenery, fascinating people, cozy accommodation, tasty local cuisine, and delectable Chilean wines. Simply put, you’ve got to see this place!
Hike through impressive native rainforests amidst the ancient Alerce Trees
Trek beneath towering cliffs and peaks of Cochamo, the “Yosemite of South America”
Experience the rural way of Patagonian life at estancias within the Rio Puelo Valley
Boat across three stunning mountain lakes
Be among the first to explore this uniquely untamed region of Chile
Collectively the SYMG guides and staff have years of experience trekking and traveling throughout Patagonia. National Geographic has named us “Best Outfitter on Earth” and we’re renowned for our unique itineraries, exceptional guides, small groups, and attention to detail. We also work closely with local staff in an effort to support the local economy and to make sure that you get the most out of your trip from start to finish. With SYMG, every Chile trip is the trip of a lifetime and this small-group departure to Patagonia’s most unique and undiscovered regions is one of our best! To learn more about our travel philosophy and style, click here.
Includes friendly bilingual guide, with a passion for native flora & fauna, and local history & culture. All SYMG guides are professionally trained, hold advanced medical certifications and carry VHF handheld radios in case of emergency. Gratuities are accepted and appreciated for a job well done.
Moderate-Difficult (Difficult if partaking in all hiking activities, notably within Cochamo, otherwise moderate). This trip is pack horse/porter assisted which means one can expect to hike with a day pack weighing at most 15 pounds (7 kilos) for a maximum of 8.5 miles (14 km) per day over rugged trails with some steep ups and downs.
We will spend the first night of the trip in a quaint B&B in Puerto Varas, Chile. Night two we will spend in the remote but luxurious Petrohue Lodge near the Osorno Volcano. The next two nights are spent off the grid in the quaint Mountain Lodge of La Junta, Cochamó. Nights five and six we spend at the Campo Eggers Bed & Breakfast in Llanada Grande. Then we will enjoy two nights of off the grid ‘‘glamping’’ inside the cozy refugios of Parque Tagua Tagua. The final night of this trip is again spent at a B&B in the town of Puerto Varas.
We supply all group gear (water filters, group first aid kit, etc.). Sleeping bags are only needed for the two nights in Parque Tagua Tagua. Participants may choose to supply their own sleeping bag (20F or warmer), but don't need to. Participants will bring their own clothing and footwear. A detailed gear list will be sent to you upon registration.
All meals included as indicated in the program below. We can adapt the menu based on medical needs. (9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners and trail snacks). We take pride in providing excellent meals even in remote surroundings.
All transportation is included from airport on day 1 to airport on day 10. That includes round trip van transport to/From Puerto Montt Airport (PMC), van transfer from Puerto Varas to our wilderness playground, round trip ferry to cross Lago Tagua Tagua, van transfer to and from Llanada Grande, small craft ferries on Lago Azul and Lago Las Rocas, van transfer to Cochamó.
Meals (as noted above), group camping gear (as noted above), personal camping equipment (as listed above), accommodations (as noted above), mule and porter support, transportation (as noted above), applicable permits, professional mountain guide(s), all incidental gratuities for local staff (this does not include your trip leader), pre-trip planning packet, and trip support from our friendly office staff.
Round-trip Airfare to Puerto Montt, Chile, Personal clothing and footwear, personal gear not listed under “Equipment” above, tips for main guide/trip leader (10-15% of trip cost is customary), alcohol on Night 1 dinner, Dinner on Day 9, and optional (and highly recommended) trip insurance.
Training is paramount to the enjoyment and success of your trip. We recommend exercising in the months prior to your trip to bolster sustained cardiovascular/aerobic activities as well as core and leg strength. Day hikes with a full backpack, preferably on hilly, off road terrain, is the best way to train for our trips. Activities such as cycling and step-master type machines are also excellent and preferable to a routine comprised solely of running.
DAY 1: Arrive to Puerto Varas
Our transport awaits at the Tepual International Airport in the southern city Puerto Montt (code: PMC). You’ll meet your guide and ride through scenic farm roads to the town of Puerto Varas, about 30 minutes away. After checking in to our quaint hotel we’ll gather at 6pm for a short orientation of the trip where you’ll meet your fellow travelers and hear more about the trip from your guide. A group dinner follows, just a short walk away through town. (D)
DAY 2: Puerto Varas to Petrohue Lodge
Our hiking adventure begins! After breakfast we’ll load up our van and depart Puerto Varas heading toward the Andean volcanoes that dot the skyline. The views become more spectacular as we proceed and it feels as if we are leaving the modern world behind. Today’s journey takes us almost completely around the iconic Osorno Volcano, hiking up and over one of its flanks while enjoying incredible views of its geomorphology and the stunning lakes which surround it. We arrive on foot to the Petrohue Lodge where we will unwind for the evening. After settling in, we will have the option of touring their ‘‘Pioneer Museum’’ which tells the story of the adventurers who have passed through the area throughout the millennia. 8.5 miles of hiking with 1300 ft of ascent and 2800 feet of descent (14 km/400m up and 850m down) (B, L, D)
DAY 3: Heading up the Cochamó Valley
We set off in the morning on a 1-hour van transfer through more spectacular Andean landscapes. We reach the coastline of the Reloncaví Estuary and discover the fishing village of Cochamó. Here we meet our packhorses, lace up our boots and hit the trail. We will make our way up the Cochamó Valley along an ancient trade route created by the original inhabitants of the area as a conduit to Argentina. It’s even rumored that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ran cattle on these same trails. In the late afternoon the forest canopy begins to open and offer us some well-earned glimpses of the peaks of Cochamó. We arrive to an expansive clearing called La Junta and finally understand why this valley is referred to as the ‘‘Yosemite of South America’’. We meet our hosts at the Campo Aventura Mountain Lodge who invite us to kick off our boots, uncork the wine, and take in the Patagonian evening. We finish the day with a meal cooked on the wood-burning stove while discussing the possibilities for tomorrow. 8 miles of hiking with 1200 feet of ascent (13 km/350 m) (B, L, D)
DAY 4: Cochamó Valley
The Cochamó Valley offers a multitude of hiking options for our second day here. We will discuss these options considering personal preferences, skill levels and weather during a hearty breakfast. From 3000 feet (900 m) up, the valley’s real beauty unfolds before our eyes – sheer granite cliffs and peaks that are a simply unforgettable sight to take in. These dramatic vistas will be our goal for the day, and we’ll lighten or loads to carry just the bare essentials up one of the steep mountain trails. We eat our lunch while contemplating the significance of being in a forest of redwoods older than Socrates. Once our cameras have their memory cards full of keepers, we will begin our descent back to the cabin for more cozy comfort and good eating. 5 miles of hiking with
+/-3000 ft of ascent & descent - easier options are also possible (7 km/900 m) (B, L, D)
DAY 5:Cochamó and the Puelo River Valleys
After breakfast we pack up and say goodbye to our hosts at the Mountain Lodge. Today we descend the Cochamó Valley and head to the next valley to the south, named for the mighty Puelo River. ‘‘Puelo’’ in the native language means water from the east, and our afternoon transfer will follow this magnificent river through the mountains almost reaching the border of Argentina. After crossing a lake on a speedboat, we will eventually arrive to a quaint town of 400 people called Llanada Grande. On the outskirts of town we find Campo Eggers, a cozy bed & breakfast run by Sergio and Blanca Eggers. After settling in, we will take a short hike to see El Salto de Llanada Grande, a roaring waterfall from which the entire town gets its electricity and drinking water. We return to Campo Eggers where we will enjoy a lovely home-cooked meal made of almost exclusively local ingredients. 8 miles of hiking with 1200 feet of decent (13 km/350 m) (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Lakes and Culture of the Puelo River Valley
After a hearty breakfast we’ll lace up our walking shoes and hike along the local trail to Lago Azul. There are no misnomers here as the lake’s glacial waters shine crystal blue in the noontime sun. Miguel Gallardo awaits us on the lakeshore to ferry us across in his boat. We will accompany him to his home on the southern shore where we will enjoy a nice Patagonian style lunch. After our meal we will hike another couple of miles through a unique forest, discussing the history of the colonist families that arrived here just a few generations ago. After a couple of miles, the forest opens up and we find ourselves on the shore of Lago Las Rocas. Here Miguel meets us once again to ferry us across to a trail that will lead us back to the main road to Llanada Grande. We meet our van, and take a short shuttle back to our lodging at Campo Eggers. After settling in we will spend some time with Sergio learning about his farm. He’ll tell us about life on a working ranch in rural Patagonia, and if we’re up for it we might even have the chance to participate in some fun chores, depending on the farm’s needs. 8.5 miles of hiking, mostly flat (14 km) (B, L, D)
Day 7: Parque Tagua Tagua - Refugio Alerces
In the morning we say goodbye to our lovely hosts at Campo Eggers as well as to the Puelo River Valley. After a 45 minute van ride the road comes to an end at Lago Tagua Tagua. A short but beautiful boat ride across the lake sees us to the remote and unexpected entrance of Parque Tagua Tagua. We begin our hike up the valley and through a pristine temperate rainforest recently protected within the borders of this private park. We will arrive at Refugio Los Alerces by late afternoon, a charming off-the-grid cabin bordering a stunning lagoon. We get settled in, share another lovely dinner cooked on a wood-burning stove, and retire to the cabin’s tiered lofts to pass the night. 4.5 miles of hiking with 1200 feet of ascent (7 km/350 m) (B, L, D)
Day 8: Parque Tagua Tagua - Refugio Quetrus
Today we will enter a portion of the park that is truly incredible. Stunning waterfalls abound and as we proceed along the trail we begin to notice a change in the composition of the forest. We now enter a huge grove of a very special tree, the mighty Alerce. These redwoods are the cousins of the giant sequoias of California and are the second longest living seed-born trees in the world. Parque Tagua Tagua exists to protect these old-growth temperate rainforest groves, and we’ll encounter many individual trees over 2,000 years old! As we travel up the trail, we encounter a climb up a system of stair-like ladders and are instantly rewarded by the natural gem that is the upper step of the valley. Words simply do not express the beauty of this unforgettable place. We will arrive at our quaint lakeside cabin at about lunchtime and have the rest of the afternoon for short hikes to explore the Alerce rainforests, Laguna Quetrus and its surroundings. This is Patagonia! 3 miles of hiking (more is optional) with 800 feet of ascent (5 km/250 m) (B, L, D)
Day 9: Parque Tagua Tagua to Puerto Varas
After breakfast we pack up and say goodbye to the granite peaks of the park’s upper steppe. Heading back down the hill, we descend with a deeper understanding of the park’s secrets and an appreciation of the artistic design of its trails. After a short rest by yet another waterfall, the valley widens and opens to a spectacular view above Lago Tagua Tagua. At the bottom of the hill we drop our daypacks for the last time and board our transport back to the ‘‘real’’ world. We will be pulling in to Puerto Varas in the late afternoon, a bit tired, but in that good way. After a shower and rest in our hotel, we meet for a celebratory ‘‘pisco sour’’ and we discuss the option of sharing a group farewell dinner at a local restaurant. 7 miles of hiking with 1850 feet of descent (11 km/550 m) (B, L)
Day 10: Departure day
You’ll meet with your guide and transport one last time in the morning, who will escort you to the airport. You’ll then start the journey home, content in knowing that there are still a few tucked away corners of the globe where rivers run free and people are working hard at the simple life. (B)
**Note: We offer an extension to Torres del Paine National Park that begins this day, transferring to Punta Arenas (PUQ). Combined, these two itineraries cover everything Patagonia has to offer, from the unique temperate rainforests, blue lakes, and culture of this trip, to the classic sights like Torres del Paine.***
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! Maybe the best vacation ever!
-Dottie Eddis, Feb 2018
If there was a category beyond excellent I would use the to describe our guide. From the moment we met at the airport until our final departure he was 100% engaged with us. His love of Chile, the people and the land came through in all of our activities. From hiking through Tagua Tagua, identifying flora & fauna, identifying native birds and discussing the history of Chile (both environmental and cultural). His interaction with all of our hosts, drivers and those we met on the trail was always carried out in a very kind, joyful and expert manner. Jason's attention to detail was amazing. There were a lot of connections to make, with our combination of hiking, boating and van rides, which were all carried out in a seamless fashion. His meal planning was great, always had plenty of food. Many delicious dinners in the Refugios (one even including salmon). He far exceeded our expectations as a guide. He felt like a good friend by the end of the trip and his love of the Chilean forest and mountains will always be with us.
-Russ & Karen Swinehart, 2018
Jason was amazing!! We couldn't have asked for a better guide. He was friendly, kind, amazing with the children (and us parents), sweet, honest, trusting, forthcoming, flexible, and always had plan B in the back of his mind. We always felt comfortable, safe, taken care of, and happy. He went above and beyond and helped our children with their homework, and also taught them valuable lessons through amazing stories. We are so fortunate to now call him our friend.
We had an amazing time on the trip, and it was such a wonderful bonding and learning experience for our family. We are so grateful to SYMG and Jason for agreeing to take our children - we have a hard time finding companies that allow children, even on private trips. (Despite ours hiking as well as many adults!) Our travel with Jason was very smooth, and we enjoyed some excellent meals and lodging. "Hidden" (Northern) Patagonia is a very special place, and we loved exploring it.
-The Brener Family, New York. Feb, 2017
SYMG and their in-country guides know the pristine valleys, the random hidden trails, and the local treasures, including the gracious and happy people, that make Patagonia come alive. Whether you explore the temperate rainforest of northern Patagonia, or the awe-inspiring mountains, rivers, and glaciers of Torres del Paine in the south, or both, as we did, SYMG provides a wonderful mix of hiking exercise, unforgettable experiences, and full adventure.
-Don L. from Santa Barbara, 2015
Patagonia is an amazingly awesome place to visit. Nowhere is the land, the culture and the accessibility still so capable of evoking a 19th century experience as the upper reaches of the northern Lake District. But if adventure of this sort is what you want, guides are a must. The logistics are daunting, access permission is required (many of the special places are on private lands), and the range of vehicles required is diverse (boats, trucks, cars and mules). And thus, retaining an experienced guide is a must. I can't think of a service more experienced and capable than SYMG. Unless you want the brain damage of OJT, then seek out SYMG and have the time of your life! These guys really know how to do this. Oh, and one more thing. You're going this far for adventure? Then, GO TO TORRES DEL PAINE IN THE SOUTH! As unique a mountain range as exists on the planet! Just Do It!
-Charlie W, 2015