Patagonia is one of the best destinations to visit in South America filled with magical locations, impressive mountains, and crystal-clear waters - all part of an infinite experience towards natural balance and beauty.
Whether you are a city inhabitant and need a little bit of a change, or simply a lover of nature who finds great pleasure in all things free and green, Patagonia, definitely is a good fit for anyone.
So, what exactly makes this southern end region of South America so special? Patagonia ranges across both Chile and Argentina and is most famous for its unique wildlife and diverse geography. -Snow, mountains, lakes, and an endless coastline are amongst some of its highlights, but the most impressive characteristic is the sense of limitless space and freedom that one gets once there.
As a true 'museum of nature', Patagonia offers all sorts of mesmerizing views ranging from impressive peaks, plateaus, glaciers and untouched rivers to the most peaceful backwater oasis. Whether you want to head toward the Torres del Paine National Park, the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts, Peninsula Valdes, Huilo Huilo or El Calafate – all of it is a promise of never-ending beauty and permanent calmness.
You could spend an entire month in Patagonia and still be surprised every day by the amount of activities and views that you can experience in this pristine location.
For those of you who enjoy taste related experiences, Calafate liquor, is the one to bear in mind. Made from Calafate berries (Patagonia's best-known plant) this liquor will be the perfect exotic refreshment to have whilst on your trip.
Australis is an expedition cruise company with more than 25 years of sailing experience through Patagonia’s southernmost channels. Whether you would like to visit the Magellan Strait, the Beagle Channel or Cape Horn, all these are possibilities when choosing an Australis cruise as these connect the cities of Ushuaia in Argentina to Puntas Arenas in Chile.
Skiing might not sound like the most extravagant thing to do on your holiday, but skiing in Patagonia is a whole different thing. Imagine how it might be skiing on an active volcano looking down on 3 huge lakes or even skiing within sight of the sea. Those are truly unique experiences and totally available to you from mid-June to mid-October as this is how the season runs.
The Austral highway road is known for its outstanding beauty and particularly its deep forests and crystal-clear waters. The best part is that is totally self-drive which allows you to independently enjoy all of its highlights – fly fishing, trekking in one of the national parks, exploring villages, rafting in one of the abundant rivers and relaxing in one of the many natural hot springs.
Ever wondered how it feels to whale watch? Valdes Peninsula is by far one of the best places in the world to do so as the concentration of individuals per square kilometer is extremely high. As an example, during the 2016 whale season there were more than 1,100 individuals counted in the month of September. This is due to Valdes Peninsula’s own microclimate which provides an ideal location for the Southern Right Whales reproductive behaviour. All that said bear in mind that the best time to whale watch starts with June and ends in December.
If you thought there is nothing more impressive than seeing a glacier, then try to climb it. Yes, this is all possible in Patagonia. The incredible 3 mile-wide Perito Moreno gacier, in Argentina Los Glaciares National Park, is home to many hiking tours, often described as an extremely thrilling and humbling experience. Not your every day hike, but definitely one that you shouldn’t miss.
Rock climbing in Patagonia, like everything else you do there, is an exciting activity that comes with a reward - astonishing views. Depending on your climbing skills you can choose between more difficult or easier routes. Some of the most famous rock climbing areas include Piedra Parada in the Chubut region of Argentina and Chalten Massif in Southern Patagonia, also Argentina.
When in Patagonia the three lake crossing is a must. Why not take a scenic cruise through the mountains over the clear water lakes in a fantastic crossing of the Andes? On this journey, you will be able to view three Andean lakes – Nahuel Huapi, Frias and Todos Los Santos – and simply feel reenergised by the beauty and peacefulness of this experience. Those without their sea legs can obviously take the bus.
Are you ready for the best lamb you will ever taste? The Patagonian asado isn’t just a delicious meal, it’s also a throwback to the old days when sheep were quite literally the livelihood of Argentine and Chilean cowboys. Today they are a way of celebrating the end of a workday or even a special event. - Friends and family will gather around an open coal and wood fire pit and when the eating time comes, plates are not necessary as all you need is an empty belly and full openness to experience something completely new and tasty.
Located near the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz, El Calafate is home to yet another irresistible attraction - Glaciar Perito Moreno (located in the Los Glaciares National Park). This icefield is the world's third largest reserve of fresh water, and something you will definitely want to see.
Tierra Del Fuego is an archipelago divided between Argentina and Chile. The eastern part is known as 'Territory of Tierra del Fuego' and belongs to Argentina, and the western bit, also known as 'Magallanes province' belongs to Chile. Here you can do all sort of things such as - hike the glacier martial, Catamaran trips, visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park, or take a cruise to Antarctica from the world’s most southern city, Ushuaia.
This Patagonian nature reserve is located on the coast of Argentina and it's one of the best possible places to observe wildlife. If marine species are at the top of your list, then Peninsula Valdes is for you. - Be prepared to see elephant seals, magellanic penguins, armadillos, and foxes as these are almost guaranteed sightings during their high season.
This natural reserve was created in 1999, and it is an immense native forest in Chile dedicated to wildlife conservation and tourism. Some of its touristic attractions include the Huilo-Huilo Falls, year-round skiing, as well as the opportunity to do birdwatching.
Recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage site, the park is popular hiking destination. The views are breath-taking and there are a few different hiking options. Tourist can opt for a day trip to see the towers, walk the famous "W" route in about five days, or track the full circle in 8 to 9 days
Northern Patagonia is home to the Lake District, a region that integrates parts of both Chile and Argentina. It is filled with ancient forests, blue lakes, volcanoes, and picturesque Alpine villages that are sure to blow your mind.
The mysterious archipelago of Chloe is quite a fascinating one to visit. It consists of one main island, La Isla Grande, and numerous islets. Here you are almost always at the sight of the sea with dolphins playing in the bay, and on a clear day you will also be able to view Volcan Corcovado.
The Singular Patagonia is a historic five-star hotel in Patagonia located just outside Puerto Natales and it is within Latin Routes preferred list. We love this hotel because of its historic setting, world-class Spa, private museum and its gourmet restaurant with views over the Last Hope Sound and where the award-winning Chef Pasqualetto is in charge.
Preferred Hotel Benefit: Bottle of wine on arrival and 25% discount at the spa for Latin Routes guests.
Nothofagus Hotel + Spa is an impressive building right the heart of Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve’s architectural complex. Features include – welcome drinks, tickets for self-guided activities, spa facilities (heated pool, cold, wet and dry sauna, relaxation room with infrared) as well as all the comforts of modern technology. Perfect for a comfortable and magical experience.
The Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa is an absolutely breath-taking place to visit. Also on our preferred list, this hotel is famous for its award-winning architecture that complements the landscape. It also features 40 beautifully decorated rooms, all with stunning views of the peaks of Torres del Paine National Park.
Preferred Hotel Benefit: Welcome cheese platter and bottle of wine for all Latin Routes guests.
Established in 1940 this hotel in Bariloche has a dramatic setting enjoyable all year-round. The accommodation was completely refurbished in 1993 and features include - 18 hole golf course, luxurious décor, grand spaces, signature restaurant Los Cesares, and overall great service.
This hotel is located within the boundaries of Torres Del Paine and it has one of the best views in Chile. It was built to combine the comfort of a modern-day hotel while still retaining some of the charm of a traditional Patagonian estancia.
This unique eco-friendly hotel with stunning views of Torres del Paine is the first of its kind. We love its friendly atmosphere and great communal spaces as well as its four different domes all inspired by the indigenous Kaweskar people. The perfect accommodation for all of you explorers.
Patagonia camp is a luxurious location that offers designer yurts with views across a turquoise lake to the crags of Cuermos del Paine and just 15 minutes away from one of the most spectacular national parks. Other activities available to enjoy are – walks, kayaking and mountain biking. They also offer 3 and 4-night itineraries with excursions to Torre del Paine, glaciers and ranches.
Established in 1993 on the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall, this beautifully located lodge offers 50 different guided hikes and horseback rides with different difficulty levels. It has 49 rooms and a variety of very inviting spaces.
Eolo Lodge, El Calafate, is set in some of the most spectacular natural scenery in Patagonia and is an ideal base for exploring this beautiful area of Argentina. Eolo Lodge is a luxurious lodge in a remote valley outside El Calafate and within reach of the glaciers and a perfect location for your next holiday.
This peaceful accommodation features stylish rooms each of which includes a modern and private ensuite, Wi-Fi, and free parking. Some of the hotel's rooms also boast views of Nahuel Huapi Lake, while others have a private terrace. - After all, who doesn't love a beautiful room view first thing in the morning?
Climate can be described as that of an arid plateau. Rain ranges from 8 to 12 inches with no snow.
Summer (Dec-Feb): High summer is about 16°C, humid, days can stretch to 17 hours.
Winter (Jun-Aug): Average high is 5°C, humid, the sun peeks above the horizon for just seven hours a day.
Summer (Dec-Feb): Climate goes from very humid in the mountain to humid in the beginning of the plateau. Average temperature: 22°C.
Winter (Jun-Aug): Rain gets stronger towards the west and with abundant presence of snow. Average temperature: 0°C.
Summer (Dec-Feb): Pre-mountain and mountain ranges with presence of rain.
Winter (Jun-Aug): A lot of snow and the mountain ranges help to moderate the wind.
In 1520 the Atlantic coast of Patagonia was first fully explored by the Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan, who on his passage along the coast named many of its more striking features – San Matías Gulf, Cape of 11,000 Virgins (now simply Cape Virgenes), and others. Magellan's fleet spent a difficult winter at what he named Puerto San Julián before resuming its voyage further south on 21 August 1520. During this time he encountered the local inhabitants, likely to be Tehuelche people, described by his reporter, Antonio Pigafetta, as giants called Patagons.
European explorations went on until 1669 and were led by varied names and nationalities. In 1669 the district around Puerto Deseado was explored by John Davis and was claimed in 1670 by Sir John Narborough for King Charles II of England. Later, the Chilean and Argentine colonisation came (1843-1902), and only in the second half of the 20th century, tourism became an ever more important part of Patagonia’s economy. Originally a remote backpacking destination, this region has now attracted increasing numbers of upmarket visitors, cruise passengers rounding Cape Horn or visiting Antarctica, and adventure and activity holiday-makers.
For those who are curious, Monte Fitz Roy, also known as El Chalten was discovered by the Argentinian explorer Francisco Moreno in March 1877. He named it in honour of Robert FitzRoy, the captain of the Beagle, who sailed up the Santa Cruz River and charted large parts of the Patagonian coast en route to the Galapagos Islands.
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As featured in Cruise Advisor Magazine. Our special holiday cruising the end of the world aboard the new Ventus Australis, as well as visits to Buenos Aires, Santiago and the amazing Torres del Paine National Park in Chile
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16 Day Chile Holiday including Santiago, Atacama Desert, and Torres del Paine.
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16 Day Argentina Holiday including Buenos Aires, Iguazu, Bariloche & El Calafate
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14 Day Patagonia Holiday including Santiago, Torres del Paine, and Buenos Aires.
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21 Day Chile at Leisure Holiday including Santiago, Valparaiso, and the Atacama Desert.
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Patagonia works great with Antarctica. Cruises range from a minimum of 11 days to a maximum of 19 days.
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12 Day Cruise to the End of the World including Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Chile.
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