Traveling to Patagonia during this season is going to be the highlight this year. Get prepared for the experience with this article. Learn where Patagonia is, which destinations to stay in, and what kind of animals you can see. Plus a couple of trip experiences told by travelers.
Updated to November 2023
1. Is Patagonia a country?
The answer is no, Patagonia is not a country. It is a frequent question among travelers. However, you will soon realize that Patagonia is spread between two South American countries, Argentina and Chile. Consequently, it is rather easy to travel between both countries and visit Patagonian national parks.
2. Where is Patagonia located?
Patagonia is located in the southern part of Argentina and Chile. In Argentina, the Patagonia region starts in the province of Río Negro whose capital is Bariloche known by locals as the Argentine Lake District. Many called it Argentine Switzerland because of the many lakes, woody vegetation, and mountaineering atmosphere. Bariloche is also the departure point to the Route of the Seven Lakes, an amazing self-drive experience unique in the region.
Traveling south of Río Negro, Patagonia continues through Santa Cruz and Chubut and ends in Tierra del Fuego whose capital is Ushuaia, the “end of the world” city crossing the Andes Mountain Range. From Ushuaia, visiting Tierra del Fuego’s stunning natural park is very easy and a recommended activity if you stay in Ushuaia.
3. What is Patagonia famous for?
There is no simple answer to this question. But, let’s say that Patagonia is famous for its legendary history and untamed landscapes.
Unesco Heritage National Parks and wildlife reserves could be a good answer to this question too.
Most travelers coming to Patagonia end up understanding the spirit of the area and its unclassified nature.
Of course, each destination in Patagonia is famous for specific attractions like giant glaciers to endangered species of animals.
However, just by immersing yourself in the Patagonian culture, you will discover there is much more to Patagonia than amazing landscapes and how this region has been crucial to the History of Earth.
In Patagonia walked some of the most giant dinosaurs the world has seen!
4. Penguins in Patagonia & Native Wildlife
Penguins are probably the most famous animal in Patagonia. In Argentina, there are at least two popular destinations to see the Magellan Penguin, a typical kind of Patagonia Argentina.
You can see Magellan penguins rather easily without spending big money. Regular tours to watch their natural habitat are common in Ushuaia for example.
However, Patagonia features other amazing animals. First, is the Southern Right Whale which comes to breed on the Argentine Patagonia coast once a year.
During that time, October through April, whale-watching tours are available in the region, but you can also see whales and calves from the coast.
But you haven’t finished yet.
Going hiking to southernmost national parks like Torres del Paine in Chile chances are that you spot a puma!
Don’t worry, the truth is that pumas tend to avoid humans. But mountains are its natural habitat.
Although you may not see all these animals in one trip, you can spot a lot in Península Valdés natural reserve and its surroundings, and enjoy special experiences like snorkeling with sea lions.
Península Valdés is also a great place to enjoy self-driving in Argentina. You can drive from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn. The road is fine and the landscapes are great. It was not even difficult to travel during the pandemic when fewer people were traveling o the region.
5. Patagonia’s must-see destinations
Patagonia’s must-see destinations are spread all over the region. However, you can divide your trip between northern and southern Patagonia.
Why? Because landscapes, and especially weather change a bit.
For example, northern Patagonia in Argentina is called the lake district. While you can visit this destination any time of the year, others like Torres del Paine National Park in Chile close during the snow season.
Another way of organizing your trip to Patagonia is by type of trip and interests. You may travel alone and enjoy hiking, or travel with the whole family and need to book a car to manage your schedule at your pace.
Hiking trips are our favorites. During a hiking travel experience, you can safely discover untamed Patagonia. You can divide your time between visits to the most famous national parks, or the kind of hike you want.
If you are into something new in the region, Parque Patagonia is your choice.
Patagonia is not only for experienced hikers. There are many easy hikes with stunning views you can enjoy.
7. Where to stay in Patagonia?
You can also visit the jaw-dropping destinations of Patagonia by choosing exclusive accommodations, like 5-star hotels in the mountain, traditional estancias (ranches), or premium domos in glamping areas inside national parks.
The accommodation offered is huge almost anywhere in Patagonia because is an international destination. This is why it is easy to find options for all kinds of budgets.
Even for family trips when accommodation is not easy to choose, Patagonia features ranches and resorts, and spas in the most popular cities and landscapes of Patagonia.
If you have a limited budget and plan to visit Patagonia in Chile, you can stay in some of the best budget-friendly hotels we recommend.
8. Patagonia travel told by real travelers
There is no best way to start planning a trip to Patagonia than reading about first-hand experiences.
We have hit the road to bring you insider tips!
Like Cinthyas’ recommendation to travel to Patagonia alone as a woman.
She is a travel specialist from our team.
She has never traveled alone before, so she took a flight to El Chaltén and spend a couple of days hiking the area.
This is what she learned during this Patagonia travel experience.
9. To sum up
As you can see, Patagonia is a challenging destination but not impossible to tackle! Information comes first to organize any trip.
So, you must know where and when to go, which kind of trip you want to enjoy, and which highlights you feel unmissable.
Trip length is also crucial to decide before starting planning. It is very easy to travel through Patagonia highlights in 9 days for example but to get a real grip on the area, try to travel for at least 13 days. Either way, the most important if you want to live the experience.
Other details (type of accommodation, transportation, activities) run for us. It is sometimes better to book a Patagonia travel package if you don’t have the time to go through the details. But, honestly, tailored trips are the best!
Ask for a trip quote whenever you want. You can chat with us too. Or tell us about your dream trip.
This season, travel Patagonia is waiting for you.