Strategically set on the shore of Lake Pehoe, Explora’s Hotel Salto Chico was created as an exploration site. Featuring refined comfort for total relaxation and the best gear ideally suited for exploring Patagonia. Visitors at Explora can join a wide range of carefully designed explorations.
Each day you can choose from five different explorations out of a total 21 alternatives which have selected according to weather conditions, guests’ preferences, duration and degree of difficulty. Its 30 rooms have views of either the Torres del Paine massif or Salto Chico waterfall, and feature handmade timber furniture and fine imported bed linen. Facilities include open air Jacuzzi, heated indoor pool, restaurant and TV/games room.
Each season has its own charm, revealing new and distinct aspects of this remote place. At Explora, we offer more than 40 explorations: on foot or on horse, half-day or full-day, at all difficulty levels. All of our guides speak fluent Spanish and English, and are very knowledgeable of their surroundings. Every evening at the hotel bar, our guides meet up with guests to program the next day’s activities. our explorations are carried out in groups of no more than 8 people.
Mirador Pehoe (Easy)
We leave the hotel by foot, walking along the Pehoe Lake, observing the various orchids and nirre trees that comprise the local flora. We will ascend to a triangular rock from where we will be able to see the intense blue of Lake Pehoe and the Paine ridge. If the day is clear we will be able to enjoy a unique view from above, quite different from that of the hotel. Finally we will descend, observing the turquoise stones of the Paine River from afar.
Mirador Del Toro (Easy)
We leave the hotel by van and go over the Weber Bridge, from where we will walk in toward the Del Toro Lake and the park administration. Along the way we will see the abundant low-growing flora and rock, which prove that the park was completely covered in ice a million years ago. Once we reach the lookout, we will see the Del Toro Lake, the Serrano plains and the old gaucho ranches. During the descent, we will observe a small lagoon fed by rain water where birds such as tagus, pimpollos, and if we are lucky, black necked swans can be seen. We will return to the hotel by van.
We will leave the hotel by van and head towards the are of the Pudeto station. From there we will walk along a path where we will see the largest formation of the massif, called Paine Grande, with its hanging glaciers. Later we will arrive at the turquoise waters of Lake Nordenskjold. You can often hear the sound of breaking ice and the creaking noises of the mountains. Later, from the Nordenskjold lookout, we will have a full view of the lake and the Paine Massif. Finally, we will return to the hotel by van.
Laguna Large (Easy)
We will leave the hotel by van and begin our walk along a natural path made by the guanacos. We will walk along the bank of the Larga Lagoon where we will see gigantic calcium rocks. On this excursion we will probably see the guanacos that move through the park, and one of another guanaco skeleton, since we are now in puma hunting grounds. We can also see the Nordenskjold Lake, and mount Almirante Nieto. Finally, we return to Explora by van.
Sarmiento Porteria (Easy)
A van will take us from Explora to the Sarmiento gate. From there we will begin our walk through an area of low, varied vegetation with many irregularities on the path. We will see Lake Sarmiento from afar, and start descending through rocky terrains. In this exploration we will see guanacos and condors flying overhead, especially when there are carcasses in the area. We will return to Explora by van.
Lago Grey (Easy)
We will leave the hotel by van and head towards the Grey Lake station. We’ll begin the excursion by crossing the hanging bridge over the torrential Pingo River and cross and Lenga forest until we reach the shores of Lake Grey, generally quite windy, where we will be able to see the enormous icebergs that break off the Grey Glacier. After a moderate ascent, we will be able to see the Grey Glacier up close. Finally we will return to the Grey station where a van will be waiting to take us back to the hotel.
Laguna Margarita (Easy)
We will leave the hotel by van and head almost to the Grey station, where we will begin our ascent with a view of the Margarita Lagoon, and continue along a path of abundant flora until reaching the Marco Antonio Lagoon. On this trail it is possible to see huemules, since they use the same path. Later we will return with panoramic views of the Paine Massif. Return to Explora by van.
Ribera Serrano (Easy)
We leave the hotel by van and head towards the Serrano station. From there, we will hike across the pampa Serrano, fully grasping the contrast between the flat grasslands and the granite Paine Massif. The Serrano River’s lush wildlife leads our hike. We finally meet the Explora van that takes us back to the hotel.
Ribera Paine (Easy)
We will walk from the hotel to the banks of the Paine River where we will follow a path with slight slopes, low bushes and small patches of forests, with outstanding views of the Paine River and the massif.
Laguna Azul (Easy)
This expedition begins at the Explora Quincho, from where we will take the van to the Blue Lagoon and walk along a large wetland inhabited by numerous aquatic bird species. We will then walk along the beach of the lagoon with its transparent waters where the Paine towers will gradually come into view. Finally we will stop at a lookout from where we will see one of the best views of the lagoon and granite towers behind it. At this point, a van will be waiting to take us back to the hotel.
Variacion Laguna Azul Mirador (Easy)
After walking along the beaches of the Blue Lagoon, we will slowly ascend on a path lined with lenga and nirre trees. We will hike across plains and finally arrive at a lookout with panoramic views of the. Blue Lagoon and the Paine towers. We will return on the same path towards the van, which will be waiting to take us back to the hotel.
Mirador Condor (Moderate)
We leave the hotel by foot, walking along the Pehoe Lake and the camping area. From afar we will see a mushroom shaped hill, at the top of which, the Mirador Condor, will be our destination. Along the way we will pass through lenga and nirre forests while we gain altitude, feeling the force of the wind that makes this expedition all the more challenging. Once we reach the Mirador Condor, we will have a 360-degree view of the park, observing, among other things, Lake Pehoe, the Paine ridge, the Sarmiento Lake and the hotel. On the way back we will go down a steep rocky slope until we reach the van that will take us back to Explora.
A van will take us from the hotel to the beginning of our walk, along a trail of low vegetation where we will find paramelas, a natural indigenous flower known for its vibrant yellow colour and pleasant scent. We will then descend to the beach of Lake Sarmiento Chico, crossing rocky formations of calcium, and ascend to panoramic views of Lake Sarmiento. We will return to Explora by van.
We will leave the hotel by van, and head to the eastern part of the park. This excursion is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the wildlife of the park, especially during spring, when animals are active and the vegetation more diverse. We will also visit a cave with 4000 year old paintings and see geese, ducks and swans in the lagoons along the way. The terrain has various ups and downs without too steep a slope. We will return to the hotel by van.
Pingo Chorrillo Los Salmones (Moderate)
We will leave the hotel by van and head toward the Grey Lake station. From there, we will begin to walk on a path along the Pingo River, crossing open fields and entering a dense forest of native trees. On the way, we will enjoy a different view of the Paine Massif along with its unique fauna, among which ducks and parrots catch most travellers’ eyes. We will return along the same path to the station and take it back to Explora.
La Loma (Moderate)
This expedition begins at the Explora Quincho, from where we will walk towards the Paine Towers. This exploration allows us to observe the park’s rich wildlife in all its splendor. We will cross native forests and finish the hike with a descent during which we will be exposed to the strong Patagonian winds. We will return to the hotel by van.
Mirador Sierra Del Toro (Demanding)
We leave the hotel by van, reaching the Weber Bridge where we will cross the turquoise waters of the Paine River. There, we will immediately begin our rocky, steep ascent of the mountains bordering the river. The vegetation is low, allowing beautiful views of the Del Toro Lake, Paine River and Serrano Pampa where you can often see gauchos. After arriving at the highest point, we will descend along the same path. The wind and slope allow us to completely connect with the nature of the place. We will arrive at the park administration where a van will be waiting for us.
We will leave the hotel, walking toward the Paine River until we arrive at the cliffs after which this exploration is named. As we gain altitude we will see the river and Lake Pehoe’s shades of turquoise, deep blue and green depending on the light. Once at the top we will be able to contemplate the Paine ridge and its surrounding valleys. This exploration allows us to see the park from different perspectives due to the many lookout spots.
Mirador Ferrier (Very Demanding)
We leave the hotel by van and head to the Grey station, where we will immediately begin a very demanding ascent. We will gradually be able to see Lake Grey and the enormous ice barrier of the Southern Ice Fields, until we enter a very dense forest. After crossing the forest we will reach the final point of the exploration, usually quite windy, but with outstanding views of the Grey and Pehoe lakes. We will return from the station to Explora by van
Sierra Del Toro (Moderate)
We leave the hotel by van to reach a steep path facing the Paine River, Lake Toro and the Serrano Plain. Up in the mountains, the path goes into an old-growth forest of lengas and nirres, where the trees creak and the wind howls as if speaking to us. Finally we will ascend to a lookout exposed to the strong Patagonian winds, with unique views of the Paine Massif and its surrounding lakes. We will then begin our descent to where a van will be waiting to take us back to the hotel.
Valle Del Rio Pingo (Moderate)
We will leave the hotel by van and head towards the Grey station, walking alongside the Pingo River and crossing the park’s oldest lenga forests. We will cross the Salmon River and emerge among mature forests full of clearings through which we can see parts of Paine Grande. We will then return along the same path to the Grey station where the van will be waiting to take us back to the hotel.
Grey Glacier (Moderate)
We begin this exploration by crossing the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoe on board the Explora catamaran towards the Paine Grande lodge. From here, we will walk towards the Grey Refuge along the border of the massif. Halfway up the ascent we will be able to observe the Grey Glacier and the extraordinary extension of the Southern Ice Fields from above. Later we go down a steep path to the Grey Lake beach, from where a boat will take us closer to the towering walls of the glacier, navigating through the icebergs that float throughout the lake. This exploration is particularly interesting for geology and glaciology enthusiasts. Finally, we will cross through a forest and over the Pingo River hanging bridge to meet the van that will take us back to the hotel.
Valle Frances (Moderate)
We will cross the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoe on board of the Explora catamaran and head towards the Paine Grande lodge where we will begin our hike. We will enter the Valley del Frances, surrounded by dense lenga forests and native bushes. We will cross the hanging bridge over the El Frances River, and reach the Italian camp. From within the valley we will be able to observe the Glacier del Frances and the amphitheatre of granite peaks that frame the area. On the way back we will return along the same path to the hotel.
Laguna Stokes O Smoke (Moderate)
We leave the hotel by van and head towards the Laguna Azul Ranch. We will hike across valleys, brush lands and nirre forests, with panoramic views over the Baguales Mountains. Later we will arrive at the deep blue Stokes lagoon, with views that stretch all the way over to Punta La Proa, Punzon and the Ohnet Hills near Lake Dickson. On the way back we will return among lenga and calafate trees, following the base of the Sierra Masle until the quincho area. We will return to the hotel by van.
Sierra Masle (Moderate)
We will leave the hotel by van and head towards the Laguna Azul Ranch. We will begin our hike at La Estrella Ranch crossing fields and forests, and then beginning our steep ascent towards the ridge of the Sierra Masle. From here we will see the Blue Lagoon, the granite Towers and the Baguales ridge. After an hour’s walk we will be able to see the Sierra del Toro and the Almirante Nieto mountain as well as parts of the turquoise Nordenskjold and Sarmiento lakes. Later we will reach a second lookout from where we will see the Paine Lake and the beginning of the Southern Ice Fields. We will gradually come down in the direction of the Explora Quincho where we will meet the van that will take us back to the hotel.
Glacier Grey Campamento Guardas (Demanding)
On this exploration we will follow the same path as the Grey Glacier exploration. From the Grey Glacier shelter, we will ascend towards the Park Ranger camp lookout, from where we will be able to truly grasp the glacier’s size. Later we will return along the same path to the shelter, from where we will board a boat that will take us up close to the glacier walls. As in the previous expedition, we will cross a lenga forest and the Pingo River hanging bridge to take a van back to the hotel.
Valle Frances Plateau (Demanding)
The hike from the Valley del Frances to the Plateau involves reaching the Italian Camp and the lookout from where we will have privileged views of the granite peaks, the Pehoe Lake and the glacier. The hike is on a steep rocky path that runs along the moraine left by the glacier.
Laguna La Cal Y Lago Sarmiento (Demanding)
We will walk from the hotel, up a light slope towards a lenga forest, where we will see the devastating effects of the last fire. Continuing our hike, we will arrive at a lookout from where we will see La Cal Lagoon and probably be able to spot some condors flying above as they nest in this area. Later, we will descend to the lagoon where we will take a path used by the Aonikenk and finish at the tranquil banks of the Sarmiento Lake. We will return to the hotel by van.
We will leave the hotel by van and head towards the Cerro Paine Ranch, from where we will begin our hike around the base of Almirante Nieto, with its brush land and grasses. Later, we will hike along the Nordenskjold Lake, crossing nirre forests and small ponds, and start a demanding ascent to the beginning of the Bader Valley, with breathtaking views of the horns, Lake Pehoe, Lake Sarmiento, Lake Nordenskjold and the Southern Ice Fields. We will return along the same path to the van that will take us back to the hotel.
Base Torres (Very Demanding)
We will leave the hotel by van and head towards the Cerro Paine ranch. From here, we will ascend to the Ascencio River Valley and then to the Albergue Chileno Valley from where we will begin a steep ascent towards a lookout at the base of the Paine Towers. Once at the top we will be able to grasp the magnitude of the granite towers after which the park is named.
Valle Frances Britanico (Very Demanding)
This excursion takes us deep into the Valley del Frances, ascending towards the lookout located in the centre of the granite peaks. From the plateau we will ascend very steeply going in and out of lenga forests and gradually approaching the Paine Horns. We will continue to gain altitude until practically arriving at the base of the horns.
Valle Del Silencio (Very Demanding)
We will leave from the hotel by van andhead towards the Cerro Paine Ranch, where we will begin our ascent into the Valley del Ascencio to the Chilean Camp. Later we will cross hundred-year-old forests of lenga, as well as numerous springs and creeks, along a landscape of moraines and small clearings. The ascent ends when we reach a lookout with panoramic views of the Valley of Silence and Fortaleza Hill.
Laguna Negra (Easy)
We will leave the stables and ride across rivers, forests and pampas before ascending toward the Black Lagoon lookout. During the ride we will come across several lagoons, ideal for spotting bird species such as teros, and caiquenes.
Puntilla Del Toro (Easy)
We leave from the stables, riding across the Serrano Plain, crossing creeks and rivers with the Paine Massif behind us. We will ride along the banks of the Serrano River and the Toro Lake, crossing parts of it. We return over the plain, with a full view of the Paine Massif ahead of us.
Laguna Linda (Easy)
This ride is the hardest of the beginners explorations, due to its climbs and descents. We leave from the stables and ride across an area of small hills, gaining altitude until we reach the Linda Lagoon, with panoramic views of the Paine Massif. Throughout this ride we will see small lenga trees and birds such as taguas and teros.
Buena Vista (Easy)
We begin riding over a plain from where we will be able to see the abundant flora and fauna. As we continue the ride, we will ascend a hill to scattered lenga forests, gradually gaining altitude until we reach the Buena Vista lookout, from where we will see the mouth of the Paine River, with its vibrant shades of turquoise and the Massif behind it. We will return to the stables on a steep but steady path.
Rincon Del Puma (Easy)
We begin this horse ride at the stables through a partially flat and open area until we arrive at a lenga and nirre forest. We will ride through the forest on narrow paths and climb a hill with moderate slopes, but completely exposed to the strong Patagonian winds. Once we reach the highest point we will be able to see del Toro Lake and the Paine River. After this stop we will begin to descend on a steeper path to return to the same forest and then to the stables.
Puente Grey (Easy)
We begin the ride from the Explora stables and head toward the Grey River. The path is mostly flat and windy as it is quite exposed. We will arrive at the banks of the Grey River, ride along it, and finally return along the plain towards the stables.
We leave the Explora stables and ride across the Serrano plain until we come to a path that leads to the the Grey River. Thehorse ride has some elevation changes and depending on the rider’s expertise we can gallop over the plain and feel the intense wind behind us.
We will leave from the stables, riding across the plain and along the Serrano River. As the ride continues, we will cross some roads and ascend to a lookout from where we will be able to see a small town on the outskirts of the park and the vastness of the plain around us. On the way back, we’ll cross a small nirre forest before returning to the Explora stables.
Donosito (Very Demanding)
We leave from the stables, riding across the Serrano plain, crossing the Grey Bridge, and riding along the riverbank. From here, we will ascend a hill with dense vegetation, going in and out of lenga and nirre forests. We will see wetlands and swampy terrain until we reach the Donosito lookout, from where we will be able to see the Serrano River, the Grey River, the plain and the Paine Massif behind us.
We’ll ride from the stables over the Serrano plain and cross the Grey River. We will ascend a densely vegetated hill, crossing creeks, lagoons and plains where we will be able to gallop depending on the rider’s expertise. We will ride across wetlands until we arrive at the Donosito lookout where we will see the Serrano River, the Grey River, the plain and the Massif behind. We will go up a narrow, pronounced path crossing lenga and nirre forest until we arrive at Los Choros lagoon where we will gallop along the shore. After lunch in a nearby forest, we will continue our ride back to the stables.
We’ll leave the stables, galloping over plains and rocky terrain, reaching the Grey riverbanks until we reach a hill. We will ascend abruptly toward the Tempanos lookout from where we will be able to see the Grey Lake, its ice fields and glacier in the distance.
Sierra Del Toro (Demanding)
We leave the stables and ride across the Weber Bridge, immediately ascending over sand and loose rock, until reaching panoramic views of the Toro Lake, the Serrano Plain and the Grey and Serrano Rivers. After the ascent we will find a lenga forest on rocky and relatively flat terrain to later on on toward the Sierra del Toro. After crossing a lenga forest, we will make a steep descent, and stop for lunch. We will return along the ridge toward the stables along unstable terrain, often having to dismount in order to continue safely.
Canadon Macho (Demanding)
We ride form the quincho toward a large lenga and nirre forest spread over several hills. Upon leaving the forest we will have panoramic views of the waterfalls below us, and the Las Chinas River. We will continue riding along a more open path until we return to the Explora Quincho.
2 De Enero (Demanding)
We leave fro the Explora stables, and ride up a pronounced slop toward the banks of the Dry Lagoon, which look similar to a salt flat. Later we will come to a lookout, from where we will be able to see the 2 De Enero Ranch, where the gauchos will welcome and treat us to a warm meal by an open fire. We will return through forests and unstable terrains toward the Explora Quincho.
Santa Gemita (Demanding)
From the Explora Quincho, we will ride across Las Chinas River and begin a strong ascent, towards the feet of the Sierra Jara. We will ride across the ridge on unstable terrain and arrive at Santa Gemita. From there we will have clear views of the Blue Lagoon and the Paine Towers behind it if the skies are clear enough. Finally, we will ride down a steep slope and return to the Explora Qunicho. We do not recommend this ride for travellers who are afraid of heights.
We leave the quincho and ride across the Las Chinas River, toward the valley of the Mercado Ranch. We will be able to gallop and trot because this excursion is flatter than Santa Gemita. On our way back to the quincho we will cross Las Chinas River, which can be quite deep and strong. We do not recommend this ride for travellers who are afraid of heights.
- Transfers from/to airport. Time of the transfer is subject to availability.
- Lodging, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (includes soft drink and coffee), bar.
- Daily excursions from a menu. Use of pools at the hotel.