10 things to see and do in Patagonia
Torres del Paine National Park contains some wild trekking in lesser known areas like the Baguales range, as well as the extremely popular 'W' and Full Circuit treks. The two famous routes can be incorporated into longer treks and itineraries or tackled in winter to give you a fuller, quieter experience of the park. Discover more
A road trip is possibly the only way to fully appreciate the size of Patagonia. The Carretera Austral in the western mountains and Ruta 40, that runs through the central plains, are most famous, but there are some shorter routes that link the region's volcanoes or lakes, as well as stunning drives across the Andes. Discover more
With over 1,100 individual whales counted in September 2016, the Valdes region is one of the most densely populated destinations in the world for whales, making it a very special place indeed both for conservation and encounters with the whales. Both orcas and southern right whales can be seen here, very close to the shore, allowing for incredible sightings by boat, plane, kayak and even onshore. Discover more
Aysen's rivers are a force of nature; immense bodies of water that carry glacial melt from the Ice Cap to the ocean. Sea kayking these rivers gives access to some wildly remote corners of Aysen, travelling for days without seeing any sign of civilisation. Discover more
As the southern most tip of South America, and a landmark steeped in history and mystery, Cape Horn is a destination high on many a traveller's bucket list, and an adventure cruise is one of the very best ways to access it on foot. Discover more
Take to the saddle to explore the Andes, ride through Alerce forests, on mountain sides and cross the rivers of the Lake District. Live the Patagonian life as you immerse yourself in nature and witness the spectacular scenery that the Lake District has to offer. Discover more
Located slightly out of the town of El Calafate, The Estancia Eolo offers a luxury experience combined with great excursions such as horse riding and mountain biking. The Estancia is also a wonderful place to rest, relax and unwind with great food and a glass of malbec. Go horse riding, trekking or wildlife spotting amid the great vistas of La Anita Valley and Mount Frias, knowing that a tasteful and comfortable home is awaiting you at the end. Discover more
Patagonia boasts some of the most adventurous landscapes in all of South America for mountaineering. The jagged peaks of the Andes and the remote pitches of the Patagonian Ice Cap have attracted budding mountaineers for over a century. Discover more
Patagonia is fast becoming a top destination for skiers of all abilities with its snow-covered volcanoes, vast ice caps, undiscovered backcountry and reliable snowfall. Stop off at mountain villages, hot springs, and secluded huts along the way for a truly unique alpine experience. Discover more
Cycling can take you to places inaccessible by car, and enables you to cover larger distances than by foot. Plus, for those of you that aren't horse-lovers, you can still cover a large distance in a reasonably short space of time and it means you're still being active rather than just seeing the scenery from a bus. Discover more
Guide to Patagonia
Things to do
Patagonia is shaped by some of the world's greatest geographical influences: the Andes, the fault line that lies beneath them, the Patagonian Ice Cap and the confluence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The glacier fields, mountains, volcanoes, lakes and fjords make for a vast playground for a range of different adventure activities.
Places to go
The spectrum of the Patagonian landscape runs from the crystal blue ice sheets in Los Glaciares National Park, to the red stone of Los Cuernos in Torres del Paine and the deep greens of the southern fjords. Varied regions spread over its 1000km length offering a range of adventure. It would take years to fully explore.
Getting to Patagonia
Patagonia has at least 10 major airports across the region, and these are accessed via either Santiago or Buenos Aires. For Buenos Aires there is now a direct British Airways flight from London Heathrow taking 13-14 hours. Sometimes a cheaper option is to fly via Madrid or the US. As always there are ways of saving money but if you book a decent time in advance you should be able to get to/from Patagonia for around £800 - £1200.
With the Pacific Ocean and the Andes dominating the environment, the Patagonian wind is notorious and its weather unpredictable. The comparison we often draw is with Scotland although most areas of Patagonia are actually dryer. We've analysed data from the Chilean and Argentinian meteorological offices to give you an idea of wind and rainfall in different months and regions - it's a brighter picture than its reputation would suggest.
When to Visit
The main season runs from September through to March as the days are longer, and temperatures kinder to outdoor pursuits. However, there are some excellent winter tour options when you're likely to enjoy some of the world's finest National Parks without anyone else around. In late December and early January lots of Argentinian and Chilean tourists descend on the region and certain places can get very busy. Springtime (Sep-Nov) provides hikers and flora-lovers with a beautiful variety of flowers, for example in the valleys of Torres del Paine National Park.
Patagonia History & Culture
Patagonia is more notable for its geography than its history but its heritage is rich, varied and unexpected. It has been influenced by, and itself influenced an extraordinary range of events and people: its Indigenous tribes, Magellan, Darwin, the Welsh, 19th century Argentine scientists, Bruce Chatwin, Pinochet and even Butch Cassidy.
Francisco 'Perito' Moreno is one of Argentina's heroes who was passionate about the region. Find out more about Perito Moreno.
The professional guides speak excellent English and if you're travelling in an escorted group you'll have no problem at all. However most restaurants, bus drivers, refugio owners and even hoteliers speak very little English but they do respond very well to attempts to speak Spanish. Learning some Spanish before you go is a great idea - bear in mind the Chilean and Argentinian pronunciation is very different to that of mainland Spain.
How Swoop can help you
Whether you're interested in booking a single hike or the holiday of a lifetime, we'll first spend some time talking about your ideas for your trip. We love helping people plan adventures to Patagonia, and with over 15 year's experience we can help you decide when to travel, where to go and what to see. We'll provide advice and inspiration and together, we'll help you choose the perfect trip or craft your dream itinerary.
What our customers think
Patagonia was an incredible place, so much to see, even the weather cannot dampen your spirits. Exceeded my expectations.
Steve, UK December 2016
I truly felt like I was on another planet. I've never seen landscapes like those of Patagonia, and it's so vast that there were times every day that not another person was in sight, nor roads, nor telephone wires, nor airplanes flying overhead.
Katherine December 2016
Arranging a trip with Swoop
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