PATAGONIA DESTINATION GUIDE
People are almost always aware of the clothing brand named after this beautiful place (it also happens to be my favorite) but often can’t really place where it sits on a map. Patagonia is vast and makes up almost half of both Chile and Argentina boasting some of the most picturesque natural beauty you will ever see.
Patagonia has a handful of very unique National Parks for you to enjoy – most you will find featured in this Patagonia Destination Guide series, including Glacier, Torres del Paine, Nahuel Huapi and Tierra del Fuego National Parks. These treasures offer its visitors jagged mountain peaks, dramatic ice fields, brutal glaciers, unpredictable weather and some of the best trekking in the world.
Patagonia was on my travel bucket list for years and to say that I was excited about venturing through was an understatement. When we travelled through Patagonia – we knew we wanted to get off the beaten path and put some miles into our hiking boots. Due to its remoteness you’ll find pockets of established tourism throughout region. Anything outside of that – you are on your own.
You are looking at combinations of trains, planes, local busses, boats, border crossings, hiking routes, trail guides, accommodation etc. It can be done on it’s own, but to ensure that we maximized our time (and limited the number of travel mishaps along the way) we relinquished control and got local expertise involved. With an idea of what we wanted to experience in this vast land, we found and booked the perfect three-week trip for us as part of a small group tour. There are a lot of local and international tour companies that specialize in this region. Read through the various destinations, get an idea of where you would like to go and what you are keen to see and you’ll easily be able to find the the one that ticks your boxes. Then what? Get prepared to have the trip of a lifetime.
In this Patagonia Destination Guide, I share the seven Patagonian destinations we visited and the adventure filled activities that await you in each of these adventure hot spots. We made our way from the northern Lake District of Argentina and worked our way down to the southern most cities in the world – crossing the Chilean border a few times along the way. This fantastic journey combined all of our Patagonia highlights (and then some), 100% of the logistics, a fun group of likeminded adventurers,and loads of free time to pick and choose the adventures along the way.
This is Patagonia.
During our stay in Bariloche we were at the Soft Hotel. Simple, ski lodge-type of accommodation but was within walking distance of tons of shops and restaurants.
//PUERTO VARAS, CHILE
We opted to stay a couple nights at the Hotel Park Inn which overlooked the views of Lake Llanquihue and the Osorno Volcano. You’ll have plenty of acrivities to choose from, but our mission was to get up close and personal with geology. Doing the same will see you trekking up and around the ice-clad Orsono volcano. After your big trek, head over to the six kilometer Sondero El Solitario trek into the Petrohue River Valley. We arranged to meet with a local fisherman who took us out on the water and prepared a lovely trout lunch for the group. Really cool experience to look into.
//PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE
During our time in Punta Arenas we stayed at the no-frills Hotel Patagonia Bed & Breakfast.
//PUERTO NATALES, CHILE
If you partake in the trek (and you should), you’ll trade your mattresses in for sleeping bags and hit the trails for an unforgettable adventure. Jagged mountain peaks, glacial lakes, suspension bridges, and refugios stocked with craft beer. Is there anything better? Check out W Trek – Torres Del Paine National Park – Part 1 and Part 2 for deep dives into the actual trek.
After your trek hop on the ferry and cross Lake Pehoé for one of the most picturesque boat rides you’ll ever take. With a sense of accomplishment, head back to Puerto Natales to get some much-needed rest.
//EL CALAFATE, ARGENTINA
It’s in the park that you can visit the gorgeous Perito Moreno Glacier. Take advantage of the boat tour in the park to marvel at the size of the glacier and watch for the calvins breaking off into the water. There are also a series of walkways that allow you to get different vantage points of the glacier as you make your way through the park.
//EL CHAlTEN, ARGENTINA
Pack a lunch and picnic under the Cerro FitzRoy/Chaltén. If you are a fan of the Patgonia clothing brand, then you will very quickly recognize the mountain range as the one used in the logo. The impressive granite pinnacles spiral upward from the third largest ice filed on the planet.
If you are keen to push your adventure limits, opt to go ice climbing on the nearby Viedma Glacier. With ice picks, crampons, a harness, and meters upon meters of rope I tested some of my fears. This experience will have you leaning backwards over and abseilng into some of the gnarliest ice crevasses you will likely see. Amazing.
Visit the Harberton Ranch Penguin Colony or opt to take a cruise on the Beagle Channel. Whatver you do, take the opportunity to soak in as much of the panoramic views of this beautiful region as possible. While simple, our accommodation Hotel Ushuaia was quite central and was a great base for exploring the rest of the town.
If you find yourself exploring your own trip to this part of the world be sure to do your research so you get everyhting you want of your experience. This DomOnTheGo Patagonia Destination Guide and corresponding posts in the series is a comprehensive take of my experience, but is admittedly only a fraction of all the amazing things you can see and do while adventuring the region. If you have any questions or suggestions for other great things to see and do – be sure to get in touch or leave a comment for other readers below.
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