Los Dientes de Navarino, Chile
Fly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams at the tip of Chilean Patagonia to trek the southernmost circuit in the world. Spend a night on the shores of Navarino Island at Lakutaia Lodge, preparing for a 4-day/36km trek along Los Dientes de Navarino. The challenge isn’t steep ascents or descents, but traversing incredibly uneven terrain – often rocks or shale, which gives the trek its tough reputation.
Considering the island’s isolated location, there’s virtually nobody on the route (it sees around 200 visitors a year) and is likened to trekking through Torres del Paine National Park 50 years ago. For those in search of pristine wilderness, this is as remote a trek as they come. Dec-March is the best time to travel, although Patagonia is known to receive weather from all seasons in a day. We’d highly recommend this for adventure-lovers seeking an off-grid challenge and a rare sense of solitude.
Each day involves 4-6 hours of hiking (weather/experience dependent) and nights are spent camping out in different locations, with hearty suppers cooked over an open fire. The trek takes in spectacular scenery, varying from forests and valleys thick with colourful vegetation, to a more Alpine ecosystem where moss and lichen grow in abundance. Expedition guides point out native orchids and wild fruits, assisting trekkers through the more challenging sections of the circuit along the rocky massif.
On day 1, ascend towards Salto Lagoon, taking in views of the Beagle channel, one of Patagonia’s most impressive natural waterways, and Puerto Williams, the island’s main town and key fishing harbour. Day 2 is the most challenging section of the circuit, but visually, the most striking, crossing the Dientes de Navarino Cordillera (‘dientes’, meaning teeth, describes the jagged shape of the mountain peaks).
The rocky mountain spine provides an amazing vantage point over Nassau Bay and the Wollaston archipelago (both part of Cape Horn); then passes alongside several pristine lagoons and fast-flowing rivers, followed by a climb up the Ventarron path to gaze back over the Dientes and Mount Codrington.
Reaching the summits can be difficult if there’s still snow, but trekking poles are provided and an expedition guide determines the final route based on weather conditions. A final full-day trek through the Guerrico Valley’s forests enjoys breathtaking views of Montes Lindemayer, followed by a climb up Virginia pass for sensational panoramic views across the mountains and sea of Tierra del Fuego.
Descending on the final morning to arrive at Lakutaia Lodge in time for lunch, trekkers are greeted with a well-deserved feast, hot shower and comfortable bed. It’s worth spending another day or two relaxing here – the lodge arranges horseback riding along the banks of the Beagle Channel, kayaking, mountain biking and heli-fishing for Brook and Brown Trout. Stroll through Puerto Williams to get a feel for urban life in Patagonia and visit the OMORA Ethno-Botanical Park to see beautiful native flowers.
Not ready for the adventure to end?! Why not combine your Patagonia trip with a wildlife cruise to Antarctica’s white desert?