Highlights of Patagonia
On the southern frontier of South America lies one of the most rugged and pristine environments of the world: Patagonia. Despite the fact it has been the playground for die hard adventurers for decades, adventure tourism has made it possible to explore this extensive part of the world in comfort as well, making it possible for every traveler to put Patagonia on the to-visit list.
Not to miss when visiting Patagonia
Perito Moreno Glacier
Visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier often starts in the small and charming village El Calafate, serving as the gateway to several hotspots including Los Glaciares National Park, Lake Argentino and Canal de los Tempanos. The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the most impressive sights as it is the largest, still active, glacier in the world. Because of its beauty, this natural wonder is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It simply is a place you don’t want to miss out on while traveling through Patagonia.
El Chalten is often regarded as the trekking capital of Argentina. It is located within the borders of the Los Glaciares National Park and serves as an important starting base for hikes and multi-day trekkings. The village itself is located in a remote area, only accessible by a 3 hour bus journey from El Calafate. Situated at the base of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy, the Fitz Roy trek (26km) and the Cerro Torre trek (24km) are popular day hikes. For those who wish to see some panoramic views of both iconic mountains, a hike to the mountain Loma del Pliegue Tumbado is not to be skipped.
Torres del Paine
Located in the southern tip of Chile, lies the Torres del Paine National Park. Dominated by granite rock formations, huge glaciers and turquoise lakes, this landscape is spectacular to say the least. One of the best activities to explore the national park is by going on a trekking, you are abandoned to the forces of nature. The W-trek is by far the most popular one and takes about 4 to 5 days to complete. Not only will you see impressive viewpoints, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes and the Grey glacier, but the option to spend the night in a refugio instead of facing the harsh conditions in a tent, gives you all the comfort while enjoying the beauty of this region.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego which is Spanish for ‘Land of Fire‘, is an archipelago is the southernmost tip of South America. Only a small part is accessible for tourists but it’s well worth traveling to. The landscape is rough and diverse with forests, mountains, lakes and fjords as the setting for a great adventure. It’s an ideal location for travelers who love rugged and pristine nature.
There are numerous reasons why you should visit Ushuaia during your holiday in Patagonia. As the southernmost city in the world, it is the ultimate base for expedition journeys and cruises to Antarctica. For this reason, Patagonia is often referred to as ‘Land at the end of the world’. Ushuaia is located in a beautiful setting surrounded by mountains, the Beagle Channel and the Tierra del Fuego Parque Nacional that offers several opportunities for hikers. Horseback riding, hiking and biking tours are also possible to join in the city. When visiting in winter season, snowmobile tours or skiing trips are well worth the money.
Besides impressive nature, Patagonia is home to wildlife as well. For those who want to see a whale in real life, Puerto Madryn is the place to be. This modern city located at the coastline bordering the Atlantic Ocean is the best place to start if you want to explore Peninsula Valdès, Gaiman and Punta Tombo, where the world’s largest colony of penguins is to be found. Your chances of an unforgettable whale watching experience is highest in the waters of Golfo Nuevo, Golfo San José and the coastline near Caleta Valdès.
Pucón, Bariloche & Lakes District
Pucon is not the most relaxing place in Patagonia, as it happens often that the earth trembles here a lot when the volcano Villarrica erupts once again. The volcanic activity, however, has made this territory one with an unsurpassed beauty. The landscape of Pucon is diverse with volcanoes, mirroring mountain lakes and forests stretching as far as the eye can see. From Pucon, it is easy to visit the nearby Huerquehue National Park, a journey back in geological time. Same, Bariloche & the rest of the Lakes District in Chile and Argentina, offer spectacular views worthy to enjoy!
Practical information about Patagonia
When to go
Patagonia’s weather is characterized by unpredictable weather, though December to February brings warmer and longer days on an average. Therefore the summer season from the end of the year through to March is regarded as the best time to visit. Springtime in November tends to be less crowded and April is ideal if you wish to capture beautiful autumn colours and incredible sunsets without the crowds. No matter when you decide to come, it is advisable to bring waterproof and warm layers.
The best way to reach Patagonia is by taking a flight from Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile to any of its main hubs, such as Bariloche, Ushuaia, El Calafate, Comodoro Rivadavia, Trelew, or Rio Gallegos (from Buenos Aires), or Punta Arenas and Puerto Mont (from Santiago de Chile).
Book the Patagonia Trekking Tour
Beyond BA offers you the opportunity to explore one of the most rugged environments on this planet while enjoying luxury facilities in full camps or refugios during your trekking. Highlights of this trip are a visit to Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate, hiking the W-trek in Torres del Paine and the Fitz Roy trek in El Chalten, and a visit to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia. For more information, please visit http://latam.beyondba.com/tours/fitz-roy-trek-patagonia-tour/