New Year's at the End of the World: Patagonia 2004-2005

A Student-Only GeoTrip

     This is the third time that the Society has offered a student-only trip. The first two went to Iceland in the summers of 2002 and 2004. This trip will take us to the wild, nearly uninhabited reaches of southernmost South America. For many it will be the first international experience as a geologist. Patagonia will provide a magnificent gateway to the geology of the world.
     Patagonia is a beautiful and fascinating part of the planet. Covering southern Argentina and Chile, spectacular scenery awaits around every turn. Glaciers, pampas, mountains, and waterfalls are only part of the variety Patagonia has to offer. Birds and wildlife abound. You'll see hundreds of guanacos (a wild llama species) and rheas (the South American ostrich species) as well as numerous smaller animals and birds.

  Trip Leader:     Dr. Jim Reynolds, Brevard College, Brevard, NC 28712; 
(Phone: 828-884-8377) 

List of Participants


See the Map at the bottom of this page.

For more information and the application form, visit the Geological Society of America Geoventures site at:

  Travel Arrangements:  Contact Edna Collis at the

Geological Society of America

(Phone 1-800-472-1988 ext. 1034). 


Travel services will be provided by:

Sumaj Kay Travel Agency of Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina

An Argentine company that has worked with Jim Reynolds and GSA since 2000.


Telephone: 011-54-2965-474619

There may be updates to the itinerary as the departure date draws near. Check back here often! 

10/13--Instead of flying into Calafate on December 28th, we will fly into Río Gallegos. We'll then drive across the Patagonian pampas to Calafate. It's a nice drive!

10/13 Airline time change! Our return flight to Miami is now getting in at 6:25 AM. We still return on January 12th.

9/21--Change of itinerary! If you registered before Sept. 21st, please note that the departure and return dates have changed due to a shuffle in the airline summer scheduling. We will now depart from Miami on December 27th and return on January 12th.


































New Years' at the End of the World

Patagonia 2004-2005 Itinerary










Buenos Aires

Leave Miami at 8:30 PM on an overnight Aerolineas Argentinas flight. The flight is about 10 hours long. Arrive in Buenos Aires' Ezeiza Airport 7:30 AM.




Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

Sumaj Kay meets the group at Ezeiza. We transfer to the city center to the 8th of October Hotel. Lunch in a restaurant along the pedestrian mall in the city center. Students are encouraged to rest. In the late afternoon, we'll take a bus tour of the city. In the evening we'll attend a dinner/tango show to complete the introduction to Argentine culture. Sleep some during the day; this will be a late night!




Buenos Aires


Transfer from Hotel to Jorge Newberry Airport for an early morning 4-hour Aerolineas Argentinas flight to Río Gallegos. The bus will then take us across the Patagonian pampas to Calafate.We'll stop at an overlook above the Río Santa Cruz. After lunch in Calafate, we'll go to the Perito Moreno Glacier to view the icebergs calving into Lago Argentino, an Andean finger lake. We'll also take a boat ride to view the glacier up close and observe the structures exposed along the lake. This excursion lasts about an hour. We will then visit the glacier overlook for an entirely different perspective. We will camp and eat dinner in the National Park campground near the glacier.






We'll leave for Punta Banderas in the morning to embark on a day-long boat trip to Upsala Glacier at the western end of the lake. The boat will glide past numerous icebergs. The mountain walls above us provide a magnificent cross-section of a fold-thrust belt. Then, we will hike from Estancia Cristina, climbing 600 m, up to an overlook of the glacier where it enters Lago Guillermo, the Patagonian Andes, and the Patagonian Ice Sheet. Along the way, we'll inspect Jurassic ammonoids and various glacial features. We'll eat lunch on the trail and return to the estancia by the same route (a total of 10 km). The hike will last about 6 hours. At the Estancia, we'll reboard the boat and return to port and the campground for dinner.





El Chalten

We'll leave the National Park and drive northward to El Chalten on Lago Viedma, another Andean finger lake. This village, officially founded in 1985, is the departure point for andenists (alpinists) who climb Mt. Fitz Roy and is the national center for andenismo. We'll take a short hike to a petrified forest. Then, we'll continue our trip, seeing the Viedma Glacier calving into the lake. We'll have a special New Year's dinner in town at a restaurant. Camping in the El Refugio campground.




El Chalten

El Chalten

Hike to Laguna Torre, leaving in the morning: an 11 km hike that climbs 200 m and lasts about 6 hours. The trail passes through the upper part of the Fitz Roy river valley. We'll cross an outwash and morainal area that was deposited in the past few centuries by the retreating glacier. The hike also passes through a lenga and ñire forest, which is typical of the Patagonian Andes. In the afternoon, we'll return to El Chalten. If time permits there is an optional boat ride on Lago Viedma, the cost which is not included. Camping and dinner in El Refugio campground.




El Chalten

El Chalten

An all-day hike to Lago de los Tres: 13 km, climbs 750 m, 8-9 hours. Box lunch. We'll pass the Piedras Blancas Glacier as the bus drives us the 12 km from Chalten to the Hosteria El Pilar. We'll hike to the Poincenot and  Río Blanco Base Camps before beginning our ascent to the lake at 1300 m above sea level. There, we'll visit the glacier up close and Mt. Fitz Roy. If weather conditions prohibit the hike, we'll spend the day in Chalten.




El Chalten

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

This day will be spent traveling between El Chalten and Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. We'll stop for a picnic box lunch somewhere en route. The border crossing is easy sometimes and very time consuning at others. Arrival in the park will be in the mid- to late afternoon. We'll do a short hike and then go to the campground at Estancia Cerro Paine. Dinner in the campground.




Torres del Paine 

Torres del Paine 

A full day of hiking to observe the various tectonic, igneous, and glacial features exposed in the park. Box lunch; dinner in campground.




Torres del Paine 

Torres del Paine 

We'll visit Laguna Azul in the northwestern part of the park in the morning. Then, after lunch back at the campground, we'll break camp and head to Lago Pehoe, in another part of the park, visiting the waterfall at the outlet from Lago Nordenskjold. There will be a short hike back to the shore of the lake which lies at the base of the towers. We'll camp on the shore of Lago Pehoe with a tremendous view of the famous towers.




Torres del Paine 

Punta Arenas

We'll break camp and head to southernmost mainland Chile. Lunch will be served at the Hostería Río Verde, located on the Fitz Roy Channel which connects Skyring and Otway Sounds. In the afternoon we'll finish our journey to Punta Arenas, stopping at a penguin rookery, if time permits. We'll spend the night in a hotel. Dinner will be at Sotito's Bar, my favorite place.




Punta Arenas

Lago Fagnano, Argentina

We'll leave Punta Arenas and take the ferry across the Straits of Magellan to Porvenir on Tierra del Fuego. We'll then take the road along the north side of Bahía Inutil. Lunch will be on the bus, probably at the border crossing. From there, we'll head south to Lago Fagnano which sits in a pull-apart basin on the plate boundary between the South American and Scotia plates. Camping will be at Cabecera del Lago Fagnano with dinner in the campground.




Lago Fagnano

Tierra del Fuego National Park

We'll cover the last stretch between Lago Fagnano and Ushuaia in the morning, traversing the Cordillera Darwin and several older plate boundary faults, modified by glaciation. Lunch will be in a restaurant in Ushuaia. In the afternoon, we'll take a boat ride on the Beagle Channel which will take us to sea lion and sea bird rookeries, the Lighthouse at the End of the World, and great views of the Cordillera Darwin. It will also bring us to our southernmost point on the trip: 55º S. After a short visit to the city, we'll head to Tierra del Fuego National Park, camping in the heart of the park. Dinner in the campground.




Tierra del Fuego National Park

Tierra del Fuego National Park

A full day of hiking in the national park along various trails. We'll have a box lunch while hiking and our final campground dinner.




Tierra del Fuego National Park


We'll do our final hikes until midday and then head back to Ushuaia where we'll have a free afternoon for shopping and exploring. The night will be spent in a hotel and there will be a farewell dinner and show.





Buenos Aires

In the morning, we'll take a bus out to the airport and fly to Buenos Aires. Upon arrival at Jorge Newberry Airport, we will transfer to Ezeiza Airport and depart for Miami in the evening.




Buenos Aires

Miami and HOME!

Our flight will arrive in Miami at 6:25 AM. The trip ends when we pass through customs in Miami and the group breaks up to head for home destinations.



Map of the Route

The map numbers correspond to the night numbers on the itinerary.


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Last modified 9/07/05

Lago Argentino Icebergs Monte FitzRoy Hike Torres del Paine N.P. Seno Otway Pinguiera Tierra del Fuego N.P. Beagle Channel Cruise