Patagonia

Read our guide and learn about the best time to visit Patagonia, the must-see attractions and things to do in one of the most adventure destinations in Argentina and Chile.

When you hear the word “Patagonia” you think of a vast, virgin and distant territory. Patagonia has an unique magic and mystique, which makes it the favorite destination of many travelers. Patagonia was recognized as one of the best destinations to visit during the pandemic. Discover its deserts and its forests, its seas and its lakes, its plains and mountains. 

Patagonia is a region shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as it´s dividing line. The Argentine side has arid steppes, grasslands, and deserts, while the Chilean side has glacial fjords and temperate rainforests. The famous Argentine highway RN-40 passes near Mount Fitz Roy and the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. And in Chile the most iconic attractions are the Torres del Paine and the Carretera Austral.

Attractions
Attractions

Attractions

Eating & Drinking
Eating & Drinking

Eating & Drinking

Tours You Might Like

Tips & Advice

Tips & Advice

When to visit Patagonia?

The first thing to know when you visit Patagonia is the specific destination you want to go to. It is not the same to plan a trip to Ushuaia as to Puerto Madryn. For example, if you want to see whales in Puerto Madryn you should go between June and December, but if you want to see penguins, it’s better to travel from September until March. However, if you want to visit Ushuaia, Bariloche or El Calafate, it’s easy to travel all year round. But keep in mind that the best time to visit southern Patagonia is summer, when most of the hiking trails and tours are available. 

What is the weather like?

Patagonia is a region that presents different types of climate. The air masses of the Pacific shoot almost all their humidity to the Chilean side of the Andes, returning to the arid and semi-desert Argentine territory. 

The island of Tierra del Fuego, located close to the South Pole, features up to eighteen hours of light in summer , while only seven to eight during winter . The Cordillera de los Andes, which curves from northwest to east through the archipelago, causes abundant rainfall in the western and southern islands, and less-humid weather in the northeastern plains.

In the northern sector of southern Chile, rains are abundant throughout the year, creating a humid and wooded weather. However, in the extreme south of Chile weather is drier and colder.

How to get to Patagonia?

Flight: You can take a direct flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, Trelew (to visit Puerto Madryn), El Calafate (and from there visit El Chaltén too) and Ushuaia.  From Buenos Aires to these destinations there are daily flights. There are also flights (but not daily) between these destinations. To Torres del Paine and Puerto Varas it is best to fly from Santiago de Chile. You should fly to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales to go to Torres del Paine and to Puerto Montt to go to Puerto Varas.

Self-drive:  Patagonia is perfect for self-drive trips. You can rent a car and explore the major attractions on your own and at your own pace. 

Bus: The bus connection in Patagonia is very good. We recommend buses for short distances or sections for which there is no other alternative. The most common buses are: El Calafate to El Chaltén, El Calafate to Puerto Natales or Torres del Paine, Torres del Paine to Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas and finally the bus that connects Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. This trip is not short but it is the best option to connect both destinations, as there are no flights connecting these cities. 

What to include in your luggage?

Patagonia’s weather is unpredictable. It may be warm and sunny, and suddenly cloudy and cold. In addition, Patagonia stands out for having quite interesting gusts of wind.  Taking all this into account, it is recommended to pack all kinds of clothing: T-shirts, thermal shirts,  sweaters, divers, jackets, windbreakers, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen (since the sun beats quite hard in this region), stockings, gloves, trekking boots etc. We highly recommend having water proof clothes. In addition to that, we recommend taking a reusable bottle of water with you and a small backpack for day tour explorations.  

Do I need to speak Spanish to travel to Patagonia?

You don’t have to speak Spanish to visit Patagonia. Both in Chile and Argentina everything is prepared for tourism, and therefore, guides and people who work in the tourism industry  are fluent in English and other languages. Anyway, it is true that not all people speak English and if you want to go to a more remote and non-touristy place we recommend downloading an offline translator, it will always help you.  

Security

Life in the Patagonian region is very quiet. You always have to pay attention to personal belongings but not like in big cities. 

National Parks Entrance Fee

Unless otherwise stated, entrance fees to National Parks are not usually included in itineraries. Furthermore, these fees are usually paid in banknotes and in national currency. Therefore, try to have change on hand.

Chilean or Argentine Patagonia?

Patagonia is a very large region and sometimes, unless you have a lot of time, you will have to choose to visit only a part of it. The choice will depend on your preferences. 

If you are looking for rainforests, fjords and mountains, we recommend you to visit Chile. On the other hand, if you are more inclined to desertic Patagonia, stunning and lonely, and also green and lakeside places, we recommend Argentina.

How many days do I need to visit Patagonia?

More days will always allow you to do more things, explore more areas and in greater depth. But think of a minimum of 3 nights to visit Patagonia. 

Pick ups

Pick up at airports will be upon arrival of your flight, that’s why it is so important to have the most accurate and updated flight information. Our guide or driver will be waiting for you, outside baggage claim area, you will only have to look for a sign with your name on it. Pick up for tours will be at the reception desk/lobby of the hotels. At the end of your itinerary you will find the name and telephone number of each of our local representatives and our emergency phone number, where you can call if you have any urgency or a mismatch, so we can assist you during your trip.

Medical attention

Any foreign consulate can provide a list of area doctors who speak English. If you get sick, consider asking your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor — even his or her own. You can also try the emergency room at a local hospital. Many hospitals also have walk-in clinics for emergency cases that are not life-threatening; you may not get immediate attention, but you won’t pay the high price of an emergency room visit.

Travel insurance

We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance. Travel insurance helps protect against unforeseen emergencies which can occur at any time. It also helps protect you against other circumstances like travel delay, lost or stolen baggage and personal items, missed connections and so much more.

Sustainability

Sustainability

Patagonia

How to help

 

  • Rewilding Argentina

It is a foundation created to confront and reverse the extinction of species and the resulting environmental degradation, recovering the functionality of ecosystems and promoting the well-being of local communities. You can learn more about Rewild here

 

  • AMA Torres del Paine

In November 2004, the AMA Torres del Paine Environmental Group was formed, with the aim of supporting and financing research for the development of programs aimed at environmental care and preservation. AMA’s goals include supporting conservation, scientific research, and environmental education. These activities within Torres del Paine National Park and surrounding areas can minimize negative impacts and reduce the risk of future environmental problems, while maintaining the area’s natural and cultural resources. You can learn more about AMA here

  • Torres del Paine Legacy Fund

This project seeks to ensure a sustainable future for Torres del Paine National Park and its surrounding communities. At Torres del Paine Legacy Fund they see the growth of tourism as an opportunity to create a positive impact, uniting travelers, residents, the public and private sectors to carry out local sustainability initiatives that strengthen the long-term health of the region. 100% of all donations go directly to sustainability initiatives that preserve, support and celebrate the park and its surrounding communities. To make a donation, please follow this link

 

Sustainability Tips

Useful tips to be a responsible travel:

  • Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping.
  • Choose to consume local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Travel the city on bike or foot, it is healthy and does not leave a carbon footprint.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you to carry..
  • Don’t feed native wildlife.
  • Use rechargeable batteries..