Welcome to Última Esperanza
With a name that translates to Last Hope, the once-remote Última Esperanza fills the imagination with foreboding. Storms wrestle the vast expanse and the landscape falls nothing short of grand; after all, Parque Nacional Torres del Paine and part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field are in the back yard. Often lumped together with neighboring Magallanes, Última Esperanza is a separate southern province. While it can... Read More
Top experiences in Última Esperanza
Última Esperanza activities
Full-Day Tour of Torres del Paine National Park
After hotel pickup in Puerto Natales, travel with your guide north to the mountain of Cerro Benitez and arrive at Milodon Cave Natural Monument.Walk inside a cave and encounter a life-size replica of a prehistoric giant sloth called the mylodon, which looks like a large bear standing on its hind legs. During a guided tour, learn about the 1896 discovery of this extinct creature, believed to be twice the height of an average human and to have inhabited the area more than 10,000 years ago. Then visit several stalactite-studded caves and a massive rock formation called Devil’s Chair (Silla del Diablo). Back in the vehicle, continue north and enjoy a break of coffee and snacks (own expense) at a villa in Castle Hill (Cerro Castillo), before entering Torres del Paine National Park, whose name means 'Towers of the Blue Sky.' Spanning more than 447,000 acres (181,000 hectares), this nature wonderland located in southern Chilean Patagonia was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978. Drive along the banks of Sarmiento Lake, created by a glacier and situated on the Patagonian steppe, and stretch your legs at a vista point to fully appreciate the lake’s deep blue center fringed in white formed by calcium deposits. From here, your guide points out snow-drizzled mountains of the Cordillera del Paine that cut through the middle of the park.Continue westward to Nordenskjöld Lake, where you’ll walk for 20 minutes and come upon the roaring Salto Grande Waterfall, the outfall of the river-fed lake. From this viewpoint, scan the panoramas for herds of guanaco, which may strike you as a mix of llama and camel. Then travel to the center of the park toward rustic Hosteria Pehoé, located on an islet in Lake Pehoé. Cross a footbridge to reach the hotel and dig into lunch in its inviting restaurant (see sample menu in Itinerary below). Afterward, stroll about in wonder at spectacular views of turquoise waters and what are referred to as the 'horned' peaks of the Cordillera del Paine. Following this leisurely break, head to the north end of Grey Lake. After an easy 30-minute hike, behold the glacier mass that feeds into the lake, nearly 4 miles (6 km) wide and towering 90 feet (30 meters) high. From a distance, the ice floes resemble an immense spread of frothy ocean waves frozen in time, their various hues of blue combining at certain points into a grey sheen, lending the lake its name. During your return to Puerto Natales, travel along Amarga Lagoon and capture views of the famous Paine Towers. Admire the three towers of granite with jagged peaks that spike skyward, the perfect image to finish a day of memorable sights. Note: Entrance fees to Milodon Cave Natural Monument and Torres del Paine National Park are your own expense.
Full-Day Hike at Torres del Paine National Park
After early morning hotel pickup from Puerto Natales, travel by minivan with your guide north for about 70 miles (112 km) and enter the eastern side of Torres del Paine National Park (entrance fee at own expense). Located in southern Chilean Patagonia, the 447,000 acres (181,000 hectares) that make up the park abound with mountains, glaciers, lakes and valleys. With its broad diversity of vegetation and animal life, the park was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1978.The crown jewel of your guided hike is a close-up view of the three granite towers that give the park its name: Torres del Paine, meaning ‘Blue Towers of the Sky.’ To get there, tackle a moderately difficult trek full of wondrous sights.During the first 90 minutes or so, huff your way up a series of switchbacks over Ascencio Valley; your efforts are rewarded with views of pristine Nordenskjöld Lake. Then walk under the hanging glaciers of snowcapped Mount Almirante Nieto, reaching 8,760 feet (2,670 meters) above sea level. Your guide ensures you take plenty of breaks as needed along the way. The trail levels off eventually, but can dip and climb up to 200 feet (61 meters) as it snakes around a mountain, with the Ascencio River gurgling below. After several hours of hiking, enjoy a well-earned 20-minute stop at Refugio El Chile, where you can purchase snacks and beverages (own expense).Refreshed, return to the trail and enter a lenga forest. Experience a sense of well-being and calm as you trod on soft ground amid the tangle of beautiful beech trees. After about an hour in the woods, emerge onto a moraine, a mass of rocks piled on top of one another. Your guide informs you that your destination lies ahead . . . and up. Watch your footing on the gravel trail during this arduous ascent of switchbacks, lasting approximately 45 minutes. Suddenly, a glorious example of nature appears within sight: a turquoise-colored glacial lake, surrounded by the three jagged towers.Follow your guide to the lookout point, and capture amazing views of the Paine Towers and Cerro Nido de Cóndor. The northern tower stands 8,530 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level, the central tower at 9,186 feet (2,800 meters), and the southern tower at 9,350 feet (2,850 meters). Plant yourself on a boulder in this majestic landscape and dig into the boxed lunch provided, which typically includes two sandwiches, a bar of chocolate and one bottle each of water and juice. During your quiet period of appreciation here, you may glimpse condors swooping high over thermal currents.Then take one more look at this nature wonderland before taking the same route back to reach the minivan. Relax your tired legs on the return ride to Puerto Natales, knowing that the trek was worth every sapping breath.
Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers Sightseeing Cruise
Arrive in the morning at a centrally located meeting point in Puerto Natales, where your guide takes you to the wharf. You also have the option to upgrade your tour to enjoy private pickup from your hotel.Climb aboard the boat and begin your cruise northwest through Ultima Esperanza Fjord, or ‘Final Hope Fjord,' an inlet bridging Eberhard Fjord and Balmaceda Mountain. The fjord was named by Spanish explorer Juan Ladrillero, who hoped that crossing the sound would take him to the Strait of Magellan. Instead he arrived to find sheer walls of ice blocking his path.Today, your captain is at the helm for three hours to reach the same glaciers that thwarted Ladrillero. Enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or juice on deck. For something with an extra kick, sip a glass of whiskey or pisco sour mixed with ice broken off from Serrano glacier.Pass by forests and waterfalls trickling down green hills, and scan the sky for condors. As the boat hugs the coastline, spot dozens of cormorants on rocky outcrops that might be spreading their wings or stretching their slim graceful necks to a soundtrack of ducks and geese squawking nearby. Sea elephants may even lumber out of caves to lounge under the sun. When you reach the eastern face of Balmaceda Mountain, 6,676 feet (2,035 meters) high, see mists swirling around the ice-capped summit. Disembark for an easy hour-long hike through the forests of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Follow your guide to an overlook mere steps away from Serrano glacier — a wide frozen river of ice cascading down a crevice between hills. Then trek to the western side of Balmaceda Mountain and capture views of the massive hanging glacier. Here, sapphire- and turquoise-tinted floes deluge the rocky terrain and end at a lake.Head to local lodging at a traditional cattle ranch, where you’ll tuck into a Magellanic lunch of generous portions, typically featuring a rich savory stew and roasted lamb. (Vegetarian meal available upon request.)Your appetite for delightful sights and food satiated, climb aboard your boat for a speedy 90-minute return ride to Puerto Natales. Arrive at the wharf in the early evening. If you’ve opted for the upgrade, relax as you’re taken back to your hotel. Sample Lunch Menu (subject to change):Carbonada (traditional hearty soup with meat and vegetables)Roast lamb with potatoesSaladDessertWine, soft drinks, water
Torres del Paine Day Trip from Puerto Natales
The first stop will be made in the thousand-year-old Milodón cave. A enormous natural accident with an incalculable anthropological value where is believed that the Patagonia primitive man lived close to the Milodón, a extinct herbivorous animal.After a 30 minutes trek, we will have another stop in El Castillo hill, cafeteria service available. A whole preamble before arriving at Torres del Paine National Park along the area of Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lagoon). A real spectacle in which species of red foxes and condors use to join the beautiful panoramic sight of the Paine´s massif.A short distance ahead the Norsdenskjold and Pehoé lakes can be observed in company with guanacos and rheas. The tour continues with a 10 minutes trek which will let you discover the marvelous Salto Grande (Grand Jump) where you will also face the imposing cuernos (horns) and get the Gray Lake. In the afternoon the outing goes to the area of the glacier. Here we will take a break for 1.5-hour and after the trek through the lengas (native three) forest and on the Grey Glacier´s floes.The return trip ends when we arrive at Puerto Natales and leave the passenger at bus terminal or hotels.
City Bike Tour in Puerto Natales
After being picked up by shuttle, and taken to your meeting point, embark on your 3-hour bike tour. With use of a helmet and use of binoculars, cycle along-side your knowledgeable guide. You will be visiting the main viewpoints of Puerto Natales, including various monuments, streets, and avenues. Discover the new Waterfront, by making your way through the southernmost parts of the city. Relax, as you stroll along Braun Blanchard pier, with light snacks, including the craft village of Ether Aike. In conclusion, your experience will end in Arturo Prat main square, where you will be shuttled back to your hotel. As this tour is a group of no more than eight people, you will enjoy a more personalized experience.Puerto Natales is located on the coast of Señoret channel between Almirante Montt Gulf and Última Esperanza Fjord. It is the capital of Última Esperanza province, baptized with that name by the navigator Juan Ladrillero.
End of the Earth
Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience one of the world’s most pristine wilderness settings, this challenging two-week adventure packages the region’s essential highlights into one incredible journey. Explore Torres del Paine, encounter the Perito Moreno Glacier and hike Glacier National Park. With years of local experience, we employ the region's best guides to reveal the extraordinary, bringing you to campsites that provide stunning views of Patagonia. Prepare to be awed.