If you are planning your next vacation and looking for a new and exciting destination, Patagonia is the place for you. This vast region, located in the southern part of South America and shared by Argentina and Chile, is a true natural wonder that offers unique experiences for visitors. In this article, we will provide more details and expand on the highlights of Patagonia, so you can plan your trip with ease and confidence.
What to Do
Patagonia is a paradise for nature lovers, and there are many activities you can do to experience its beauty. Hiking is one of the most popular activities, and there are trails for all levels of difficulty. You can choose from a day hike to a multi-day trek, depending on your interests and fitness level. In addition to hiking, you can also go camping, kayaking, and exploring the glaciers.
Patagonia is really huge, is two times bigger than Spain, so if you want to explore Patagonia but don’t know where to start, it´s always good to look for Patagonia tours. A tour company can help you plan your itinerary and take care of all the logistics, so you can focus on enjoying your trip. There are many tour companies that offer different packages, from hiking tours to glacier tours. You can choose the one that best suits your interests and budget.
Torres del Paine
One of the most famous places to visit is Torres del Paine National Park, located in Chile. This national park is a true gem of Patagonia, with breathtaking landscapes that will leave you speechless. One of the park’s highlights is the Grey Glacier, an impressive ice formation that you can see up close and appreciate its beauty. Another highlight is the French Valley, a stunning natural amphitheater surrounded by mountains and glaciers. And, of course, you shouldn´t miss the famous Torres del Paine, three granite peaks that rise majestically above the park.
If you want to see the glaciers from a different perspective, you should consider taking a boat tour. There are several companies that offer boat tours to the glaciers, such as Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers (at O’Higgins National Park, from Puerto Natales). Boat tours are a great way to appreciate the size and beauty of the glaciers and learn more about their formation and history.
Los Glaciares National Park
Another must-visit place in Patagonia is Los Glaciares National Park, located in Argentina. This national park is home to some of the most famous glaciers in the world, such as the Perito Moreno Glacier. This glacier is a true wonder of nature, with its massive size and unique blue color. You can walk on the glacier or take a boat tour to see it up close and appreciate its beauty. The park also has other impressive glaciers, such as Upsala Glacier and Spegazzini Glacier, which are also worth a visit. You should also visit at least one “Estancia”, to have a glimpse of how the original settlers lived more than 100 years ago
If you are looking for a more adventurous activity, you can go hiking in El Chaltén, a small town located in Argentina. This town is known as the trekking capital of Argentina and has many trails for all levels of difficulty. The most famous hike is to the base of Mount Fitz Roy (aka Cerro Chaltén), one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in the region. The hike takes about 8 hours round trip and offers stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding landscape.
Right at the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia rises as a great hub to get to know the “End of the World”. Some of the attractions in the area are the Beagle Channel (with the Lighhthouse Les Ecleireurs), National Park Tierra del Fuego, Lakes Fagnano & Escondido, and the penguin rookery at Isla Martillo.
UNESCO site and ocean’s wildlife sanctuary, Peninsula Valdes is home to incredible species, such as Southern Right Whales, Penguins, Killer Whales (Orcas), Rheas, Armadillos, Sea Elephants, Guanacos, etc.. The peninsula is next to Puerto Madryn, a city on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Bariloche is right in the heart of the Argentinian Patagonian Lake District, surrounded by beautiful mountains and pristine lakes such as Nahuel Huapi. The lake district counts also with other great destinations such as Villa La Angostura, San Martin de los Andes, El Bolson, Lago Puelo, and Los Alerces National Park. Likewise, Chile has its own lake district, with highlights such as Puerto Montt & Puerto Varas.
Ruta 40 & Carretera Austral
These two are among the best scenic tours in South America. Ruta 40 joins the Lake District with Los Glaciares National Park, and Carretera Austral gathers dramatic landscapes distributed across the Andes range and the Chilean Fjords. Queulat National Park, Marble Cathedrals, Cerro Castillo, and San Rafael National Park, are just some examples of the attractions you can find along the Austral Road.
What to Eat
Patagonia has a unique cuisine that you should try during your visit. One of the most famous dishes is the Argentinean asado, a barbecue with different cuts of meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb. This dish is a staple of Argentinean cuisine and is a must-try for meat lovers. You should’t miss the Chilean salmon, which is fresh and delicious. In addition, you can taste the Patagonian lamb, which is roasted with herbs and spices, giving it a unique flavor.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can try the alfajores, a traditional Argentinean dessert made with dulce de leche and covered with chocolate or powdered sugar. This dessert is a true delight and is perfect for a snack or a dessert after a meal. Another dessert to try is the Calafate berry jam, which is made from a local berry that grows in Patagonia. Tradition indicates that if you try Calafate candy, you will eventually return to Patagonia.
Where to Stay
There are many options for accommodation in Patagonia, from luxury hotels to camping sites, you will surely find an option that suits your pocket. Some of the best places to stay are Explora (with three luxury hotels across Patagonia), Eolo, Llao Llao, Rincón Chico, and Los Cauquenes.
If you are looking for a more rustic experience, you could do camping into the wild, with different options, from glamping to traditional tents.
Staying in Patagonian Ranches (Estancias) are also preferred among travelers that want to know the Gaucho’s culture more in depth. It allows you to combine beautiful landscapes with the experience of living as one of the ancient settlers. This is an amazing option if you want to be close to nature and experience the true Patagonian lifestyle.
Patagonia is a region that offers endless possibilities for adventure and exploration. We hope this article has inspired you to visit Patagonia and experience all the beauty and wonder it has to offer.