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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

From the Andes to the Pacific

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Mar 11 2016  8:00 pm >> Mon, Mar 21 2016 6:00 am
Registration Opens: Sun, Dec 6 2015 7:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Dec 6 2015 7:00 pm
Event Duration:9 Days 10 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Trip Leader(s):
Richard A. Zalik
Ann Howard
Email Trip Leader(s)
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Member Cost:$1,585.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:20
Minimum Group Size:5
Number Registered So Far: 7 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


The hike will start at Paso El León on the border between Argentina and Chile, and will follow the Manso and Cochamó rivers on their way to the Pacific Ocean. After walking for six days we will end our trek at the town of Cochamó. From there we will drive to Puerto Varas on the shores of Lake Llanquihué. If time permits and there is enough interest, once we arrive in Puerto Varas we may drive to nearby Puerto Montt, on the Pacific. The next day we will return to San Carlos de Bariloche through Paso Pérez Rosales. On this day we will alternate bus and boat travel, crossing two lakes in Chile (Llanquihué and Todos Los Santos) and two in Argentina (Laguna Frías and Nahuel Huapí), and we will see some of the most beautiful views in the Andes.

The trail follows an old indian road that was corduroyed with alerce logs at the beginning of the 20th century. In some places we will tread on some of those logs. Elsewhere we will inmerse ourselves in a magical world of gullies carved by water in the Valdivian forest. We will be surrounded by luxuriant and contrasting vegetation, from gigantic 3000 year old alerces and elegant ulmos to tiny moss and a variety of flowers. Every evening we will find shelter close to one of the settlers that live in this remote corner of the Andes.

Alerce is a common name for Fitzroya cupressoides, a towering tree species native to the Andes mountains. There is almost no telling how old these trees can get, since most of the larger specimens were heavily logged in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many botanists believe they are the second-longest living trees on Earth aside from the bristlecone pine of North America. To date, the oldest known living specimen is more than 3,640 years old. Another tree we will see is the ulmo or Eucryphia cordifolia,  which is found in Argentina and Chile. It is a very elegant tree with a thick trunk and wide crown and can become over 40 ft high. It blooms in February and March, depending on latitude and altitude. Its flowers contain a highly appreciated aromatic nectar, harvested by introduced European bees and commercialized as "ulmo honey".


Day One (Friday): Leave Atlanta to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day Two: Arrive in Buenos Aires in the morning and fly to San Carlos de Bariloche. Depending on our time of arrival in Bariloche we may do a tour. This day's meals are not included in the event price, but  lodging is.

Day Three: We drive around 45 miles to the border with Chile at Paso El León, following the Manso river for the last 20 miles. After crossing the river by boat and doing the necessary paperwork at the border we walk around 9.5 miles on its North (right) shore and have our first glimpse of the Valdivian flora. We will catch glimpses of the river far below,  and admire its characteristic turquoise color. The day's journey will end at the junction of the Manso and the Correntoso and we will set up camp at a campground run by doña Leticia by the Correntoso river. Estimated walking time: 4.5 hours. Meals: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner. 

Day Four: This is a quiet day. We have reached the valley of women settlers: Leticia, Yolanda and Luisa; all are excellent hosts, very hospitable and good cooks. From doña Leticia's house we will walk upstream on the banks of the Torrentoso, a pleasant walk with very little elevation change. Near doña Yolanda's house there are prehistoric cave paintings and a nice view of the valley below. After lunch, and after an easy walk of around 90 minutes we will start climbing a long but mild slope to the highest point of our trip, which we will reach in less than an hour. From that point we will go down to Lake Vidal Gormaz. At the end of this day's hike we will still have time to explore the area and enjoy the views, or see more cave paintings. Estimated walking time and distance: 4.5 hours and 8 miles. We will lodge in a settler's home or cabin. Meals: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner. 

Day Five: We enter the Valdivian forest. Although we will walk only 8.5 miles or so, the terrain is more complicated. After crossing Lake Vidal Gormaz by boat, we will enter an area of gullies and mud. Our efforts will be rewarded by an ever increasing variety of trees, which will delight the lover of nature. We will cross streams and minor rivers, while ascending steadily towards the shores of Laguna Grande, where we will have lunch. We continue our ascent a short while longer until we reach a pass and begin our careful descent to the Cochamó valley. We will advance through a thick forest, fording rivers and walking through long gullies, a very unusual landscape. We will finally reach Refugio El Arco. We will camp on a prairie close to this mountain hut. Estimated walking time: 6.5 hours. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.

Day Six: We continue walking towards the heart of the forest, fording several streams along the way including the Traidor and La Junta rivers. Near the start of this day's trek we will pass by the arch that gives Refugio El Arco its name. This section of trail offers very beautiful and varied landscapes. We will start seeing the granite mountains that form the "big wall" of the Cochamó valley. After leaving the deep forest the valley widens, the views become impressive, and soon we arrive at the hospitable Refugio La Junta or Cochamó, where we will camp have a hot shower and enjoy home-made food. Walking distance: 7.5 miles. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.

Day Seven: This is a day of rest. We will stay put and enjoy the views of granite masses, huge forests, and the incredible Cochamó river. If we feel up to it we may do day trips. There are a variety of alternatives: short walks to see cascades and runnels or, if weather allows, climb to the Cerro Arco Iris viewpoints, which requires using several fixed ropes and an endless four hour climb. Other less demanding alternatives are approaching the "Amphiheater" (a little over three hours) or going to Cerro Trinidad (three to four hours). If it rains we can visit the "Dry Wall", where climbers train when it is raining. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.

Day Eight: It is approximately 6.5 miles from La Junta to the end of the trail. This part of the trail is wide and very frequented and goes down through prairie and forest, very close to the Cochamó river. Here we will say goodbye to the white-flowered ulm trees, and  after about four hours we will reach a gravel road where our vehicle will be waiting. We will make a brief stop at the town of Cochamó to admire its old church and continue to Puerto Varas, where we will sleep in a hostel. If there is time and interest we may do a side trip to the town of Puerto Montt on the Pacific Ocean. Meals: Breakfast and box lunch.

Day Nine: After breakfast we make our way to the harbor, where we start our journey back to San Carlos de Bariloche, where we will arrive in the afternoon. The tour operator's services end upon arrival in Bariloche.  Meals: Breakfast. Lodging for this night is not included in the event cost. 

Day Ten: Leave for Buenos Aires in the morning, and from Buenos Aires to the US in the evening.

Day Eleven: Arrive in the US early in the morning.




For additional information on this itinerary search the web for "Travesia Rio Manso". I was unable to find any information in English.

Required Items to Bring:

- Passport with validity of at least six months beyond your expected departure date from Argentina. Citizens of most American or European countries do not need a visa to enter Argentina or Chile, but Argentina charges US citizens an entry fee of approximately 160 USD. This amount has not been included in the event cost.

- Duffel Bag. You will put your gear (up to 8 kg) in the duffel bag, and it will be loaded on the pack horses. You will only carry a day pack. (I have a couple of duffel bags that I can lend/share).

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

- Day pack and rain cover

- Hiking boots

- Eating and drinking utensils (plate, cup, knife, fork and spoon)

- Sleeping Bag (20 to 32 degrees)

- Sturdy sandals (suitable for fording streams)

- Sun hat

- Warm hat

- Spare set of trousers

- 3 t-shirts and one shirt, or 4 t-shirts

- Rain gear 

- Gloves

- Thermal underwear (1 pair trousers, 2 tops)

- Extra socks (1 pair woolen, 1 pair liners)

- Extra underwear (2 sets)

- Toiletries: TP, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrush, glycerin or Castile soap or detergent

- Small towel

- Baby wipes

- Sunglasses

- Sunscreen and insect repellent

- Lip balm

- Personal First-aid kit

- Head lamp and spare batteries

- Water bottle 

- thermos

- lighter (may be bought in Bariloche)

- Camera

- Plastic bags for clothing and garbage 

- Sleeping pad

- Duck tape (wide)

- Trekking poles 

- Bathing suit or shorts

- Gaiters


A deposit of $525.00 must be received by the organizer by the date indicated below. Please make the check out to Richard Zalik and mail your payment to: Richard Zalik, P.O. Box 29732, Atlanta, GA 30359. You will pay the balance in Argentina. I will take the money when I travel to Argentina in February and pay the deposit to the tour operator. The cost of the event includes a 25 USD nonrefundable AOC user fee. The rest of the money will be paid to the tour operator. You will pay the $1060.00 balance once you are in Argentina, either by credit card at the tour operator's office in Buenos Aires, or by cash in US dollars in San Carlos de Bariloche to a tour operator's representative. The tour operator is Hielo Azul Aventura and it accepts Amex, MC and Visa at its office in Buenos Aires.

Medical and health information: No vaccinations are needed for this trip. Tap water in both Chile and Argentina is safe to drink. There is no giardia, so water from mountain streams is usually safe to drink. The maximum altitude we will reach should not exceed 5000 ft, so we do not need to worry about altitude sickness. The guide(s) will have wilderness first aid training. Don't forget to bring your meds and medical records if needed. 

1. Registration Requirements: To participate in this event you must be either an AOC trip leader or be recommended by an AOC trip leader. This requirement is in place to verify that you have the necessary level of fitness and, most important, that you are a sociable person that will get along with the rest of the group and will not engage in disruptive behavior. Please put yourself on the waiting list. I will check whether you qualify, and, if you do, will move you to the list of participants, provided the maximum number of participants has not been reached.  People that put themselves on the waiting list before you will have precedence.  

2. After I move you to the list of participants, and only then, mail me your deposit. If I don't receive your check by February 5 I will move you back to the waiting list.

Trip leaders' web page:; email address:

 DISCLAIMER: The Trip Leader for this event has elected either to personally collect the funds that event participants are required to pay, or to require participants to pay funds directly to a third party. No funds will be paid to the Atlanta Outdoor Club for this event, except for the $25.00 AOC user fee. Therefore, by registering for this event, you acknowledge and agree to the following: (1) the monies paid by registrants will not be monitored, managed, or otherwise accounted for by the Atlanta Outdoor Club; (2) that the Atlanta Outdoor Club bears no financial responsibility for this event; and (3) you waive any and all claims against the Atlanta Outdoor Club, and hold the Atlanta Outdoor Club harmless for the loss of any monies you paid for this event.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, any paying registrant may request directly from the Trip Leader, prior to the event, a breakdown of funds collected, estimated expenses, and deposits made in anticipation of the event. Following the event, the Trip Leader must complete his or her financial accounting for the event, with supporting documentation, within 30 days of the completion of the event, and a paid registrant may request a breakdown of funds collected, money spent and supporting documentation after that time. If you are unable to obtain requested documentation, please contact the Director of Paid Events.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$1,585.00/Person
Cost Includes:

- Lodging: two nights in hostel, one night in a settlers home or cabin, 4 nights in campground.

- Transportation: between the local airport and the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, from San Carlos de Bariloche to Paso El León, and from Cochamó to Puerto Varas. Return to San Carlos de Bariloche by boat and bus through Paso Pérez Rosales.

- Medical Insurance

- Trekking Guide(s)

- Meals while in the tour (7 breakfasts, 6 box lunches, 4 tea time snacks and 6 dinners).

- Equipment: two person igloo tents, kitchen tent, dining tent, folding chairs.

- Horses to carry food and equipment.

 Cost does NOT include:

- Airfare.

- Lodging for the night of March 19 in San Carlos de Bariloche (I can take care of booking a hotel/hostel for that evening).

- Personal Expenses.

- Meals not mentioned in program.

- Argentina and Chile reciprocity fees. (see "Required Items to Bring", above).

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

If you cancel before the deposit has been paid to the tour operator your deposit will be refunded in full, except for the $25 AOC user fee. Otherwise, no refund is possible.