Tetamanu Village & Sauvage

Located at the far end of the Cristina Channel on the northwest coast of Lake Argentino, Estancia Cristina stands on a remote corner of the “Los Glaciares” National Park. Founded in 1914 by Joseph Percival Masters and his wife Jessie, the Estancia still conserves its essence, maintaining alive the history of this pioneering family who through enormous effort and perseverance, turned this inhospitable and solitary place into a small piece of paradise.

Accessible only by boat on Lake Argentino and then on the Cristina Channel, Estancia Cristina stands on an exclusive and privileged setting in the Argentine Patagonia. Strategically built on a glacial valley formerly occupied by the Upsala Glacier, one of the area’s most spectacular natural settings, the Estancia is surrounded by picturesque views of snow-capped mountains, lakes, rivers and hanging glaciers.

An enchanting place of great warmth and Patagonian hospitality, the Lodge has 20 comfortable rooms distributed in 5 stylish cottages. The lodge offers exquisite Patagonian cuisine, a museum and a variety of programs to enjoy this wonderful region. The rooms are decorated with simple elements to integrate the austere history of The Estancia and the stunning simplicity of the landscape. Estancia Cristina is a mixture of beauty and tranquillity which offers hiking, horseback riding, fishing, bird watching, historical tours and four wheel drive touring. A perfect combination of nature, history and pleasure along the Upsala Glacier.

A collection of 20 cozy guest rooms split between five cottages (each with a shared living room). The lodge offers an inviting fire-lit lounge and superb gourmet restaurant in the main building. The Lodge offers a comprehensive, all-inclusive program, which includes transfers between the city of El Calafate and Punta Banderas Port (departure and return point of our boats), the panoramic navigation of the northern area of Lake Argentino – North Arm and Canal Uppsala -, an extensive menu of activities in the valley area, full board including non-alcoholic drinks.

All included activities take place on the Estancia’s grounds and surroundings. The Estancia offers short self-guided walking or mountain biking circuits, and also longer tours where bilingual guides will accompany guests on treks, horseback rides, and four-wheel drive (FWD) or fishing expeditions.

Trekking options offered by Estancia Cristina vary in duration and level of difficulty. Our aim is that those guests who walk this enchanted Valley take home a piece of it in their hearts and minds. All trekking tours are done with Estancia guides certified by the National Parks Service. We also have three self-guided circuits in which guests can take their time or use our bicycles, another eco-friendly way to interact with this unique natural setting.

Cascade of the Dogs (Cascada de los Perros)
Level of difficulty: Low  / Duration: Half Day.
This hike begins in the Octagon and can be done with a guide or as a self-guided activity. We leave behind the Estancia, heading northeast, crossing the Caterina River and its well. As this trail begins its ascent between forests of Nire and Lenga trees, guests can appreciate first-hand vegetation typical of the Patagonian steppe. We will travel through loose stone terrain long ago used by the land’s pioneers to reach other strategic points in the area. Once at the first lookout point, we will behold the immensity of the Valley extending from Lake Argentino to Lake Pearson.

We will continue the climb flanked by forests of Nires up to the Cascade of the River of the Dogs. This is a place to rest and take in the picturesque views nature shares with us. This trek can be combined with biking for those who prefer it.

Given this excursion’s duration, guests may return for lunch at the Octagon and coordinate another option for the rest of the day. In order to optimize time spent at the Estancia, we suggest doing this activity in the morning or after lunch.

Fishing Lagoon (Laguna de la Pesca)
Level of difficulty: Low / Duration: Half Day
This trek starts from the Octagon heading north. We will enter through the back end of the Caterina River Valley, following a trail featuring the terrain’s varied local flora and fauna. This activity is ideal for both bird and photography lovers, as often spotted specimens include common and royal geese, black-necked swans, “coscoroba” swans, and spectacled ducks, among others.

When we arrive at the Fishing Lagoon, we find an enchanted setting where the Masters Family long ago planted rainbow trout for personal consumption, and which also served as a recreational space for the family and hired hands during summer Sundays. Guests can enjoy a moment of relaxation and contact with nature while the towering sentinel, North Peak (Cerro Norte) guards this unique space from above. Upon request, guests can add to this experience a picnic or snack.

This excursion can be done in the morning or afternoon. Given its duration, guests may return for lunch at the Octagon or spend the day in the lagoon with a picnic provided by our kitchen.

Carnero Peak (Cerro Carnero)
Level of Difficulty: medium; guests must be in good physical condition / Duration: All Day
This trek starts from the Estancia’s main house and heads southeast, following a path that was originally used by the livestock owned by the Masters family. We will travel on a unique mixed stone trail, the only one with a view of the lake at all times. This trek consists of a gradual ascent whose emerging views will surprise us. As we climb, we will have sweeping views of the Cristina Channel, the Estancia’s main house and the picturesque valley.

After crossing a Nire and Lenga forest and waterfalls of newly thawed glacial water, we will reach our destination, Carnero Peak. From this summit we can contemplate the immensity of the valley, and take in the imposing Andes mountain chain and the glaciers that descend from it, as well as the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and the Mariano Moreno cordon. The descent takes a different path, bordering the Cristina Channel on Lake Argentino until arriving back at the Estancia.

As this excursion lasts about 5 hours, we suggest requesting a packed lunch or snacks. Unless weather conditions require a more sheltered spot (which will be determined by the guide), this lookout point is a perfect place to rest, eat and enjoy the sweeping views.

Sky Lookout Point (Mirador del Hielo)
Level of Difficulty: Medium/high (there is a steep climb the last 40 minutes) / Duration: All Day
This excursion starts from the Octagon in all-terrain vehicles, riding northwest on the Feruligio cordon to the Monte de los Loros (Mount of the Parrots), where the trekking will start. We will walk along a stone path, and the last forty minutes will be a steep climb. This effort will not go unrewarded, as it will bring us face to face with the imposing Upsala Glacier and Lake Guillermo. It is a unique sensation to stand atop this summit among some of nature’s greatest masterpieces, with the Patagonian wind as our only companion. From here we can also appreciate the Andes Mountain range, especially the Bertrand, Cono and Murallón Peaks and their individual Upsala Glacier-fed tributaries, and part of the Southern Patagonian Ice areas. After taking in this unique perspective of Upsala Glacier and its surroundings, guests will enjoy a lunch service.

The descent will take a different route, walking by pampas grasslands decorated by foals, as well as lagoons and Cachuchas Peak, before arriving back at the Estancia. Given this activity’s duration, guests will have breakfast in the Octagon and will be provided with packed lunch services and snacks for the rest of the day. Guests will return to the Estancia in the afternoon for much deserved nourishment and refreshments at the Octagon.

Fossil Canyon Trail (Cañadón de los Fósiles)
Level of difficulty: Medium/high; must be in good physical condition /  Duration: All Day / Min age: 12 years old
This excursion starts from the Octagon in all-terrain vehicles, climbing northwest on the Feruglio cordon. This cordon, running north-south, extends through the northern sector of Lake Argentino east of the Upsala Glacier valley, where guests will be able to enjoy a wide variety of Patagonian flora, shrub vegetation, and Nire and Lenga trees. During the 9.5 km route, we will be able to appreciate different points of interest: the base of the institute of the continental ice, the “Lengas Cemetery” and “Parrot Forest”. We will also stop at a lookout point with sweeping views of Anita Lagoon, North Peak and Estancia Valley. We will descend from our vehicle on a spot where the Upsala Glacier once stood, to witness first-hand ancient evidence of glacial erosion: unearthly black and red colored rock that looks to have been perfectly polished by the sheer force of this giant’s passage. Ancient geological treasures in the form of marine fossils further decorate this enchanted setting.

We will hike for approximately 20 minutes always assisted by our staff in the ascent, and our first stop will be the Upsala Base Camp, used by explorers on expeditions into the ice area. Finally we will arrive at the Upsala Glacier Lookout Point, panoramic point par excellence of Estancia Cristina and the “Los Glaciares” National Park. We will take in the immensity of the Glacier and its eastern front, its tributary glaciers Lake Guillermo, the Cono and Murallón Peaks, and the Southern Patagonian Continental Ice Field. All of this under the watchful eye of the area’s soaring guardian: the Andean condor.

From here a 14km trek will begin. We will enter Fossil Canyon, an area with a great concentration of unique marine fossils. Millions of years ago, the Pacific Ocean covered this area, and its passage during the ice age has left these geological treasures uncovered.

The giant Upsala Glacier itself once stood on this ground, and as if to forever remind us of its grandeur, it left us perfectly polished if irregular terrain, covered in unearthly shades of yellow, black, orange and red… one of the Masters family best kept secrets. The trek is in constant descent until the end of the Canyon that meets the Valley.

We will continue down this trail until we arrive back at the Estancia, perhaps contemplating how nature still has some ancient secrets to share with those who venture out far enough. Given this activity’s duration, guests will have breakfast in the Octogon and will be provided with packed lunch service and snacks for the rest of the day. Weather permitting, guests can enjoy lunch in the Fishing Lagoon. In order to optimize the stay at the Estancia, we suggest starting this excursion early in the morning.

Cristina Lookout Point (Mirador Cristina)
Level of difficulty: Medium/high; guests must be in good physical condition / Duration: All Day
This excursion begins in the Octagon. We will leave behind the Estancia, crossing the Caterina River with its well, heading northeast. On this trail we can appreciate vegetation typical of the Patagonian steppe, flanked by forests of great Nires and Lengas. We will travel through loose stone terrain originally used by the Estancia pioneers to reach other hidden points of the area. We will then arrive at the first natural lookout point, from where we will be able to take in the immensity of the Valley from Lake Argentino to Lake Pearson. We will continue the climb surrounded by forests of Nires until we reach the Cascada del Río de los Perros (Cascade of the River of the Dogs), a place to rest and enjoy the picturesque views nature gives us.

We will continue climbing on the western slope of Peak Mesón until finally reaching the Cristina Lookout Point (Mirador Cristina) featuring sweeping views of the surrounding peaks, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and the Upsala Glacier. This unique setting lets us simultaneously enjoy breathtaking views while also contemplating the sheer force of nature’s ancient movements in this great valley. Given this excursion’s duration, guests will have breakfast in the Octagon and will be provided with a packed lunch service and snacks the rest of the day. In the afternoon guests will return to the Estancia to enjoy hard-earned refreshments or snacks.