words Al Woods
Stretching from Chile to Argentina, the Patagonia region should be high on your list of places to visit when exploring South America. It has been luring travellers eager to explore the great outdoors for years and offers some of the world’s most beautiful national parks, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and jaw-dropping fjords.
If you’re looking for ideas on the places to visit, we have a list of our top recommendations below. This way you can explore here with all of the best places in mind.
Perito Moreno Glacier
One of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the Patagonia Region is the Perito Moreno Glacier, a massive glacier covering an area of about 67 square miles and is about 18,000 years old. A popular way to explore this area is by partaking in a self-guided walking tour to examine the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, for thrill seekers and adventure lovers, you can also walk on the ice while using crampons, alongside some excellent kayaking voyages along the way.
Perito Moreno Glacier is open all year round, although most visitors would come between December and March when the weather is warm and sunny. One of the top things to do on your visit is to hike the boardwalk of the Perito Moreno Glacier. It’s free to do, and you don’t need to hire a guide for this activity. The trails are well-marked, and the views are stunning from every angle. This is a great way to explore independently whilst visiting here, plus there are plenty of places to stop along the way and take in the breathtaking landscapes.
If you are adventurous, you can also take a kayaking tour to explore the Perito Moreno Glacier. You will find companies offering kayaking tours that include transportation from El Calafate. But it’s important to note that there is a couple of hours of hiking before you get into the kayak, which is great for those seeking a day full of adventure!
Torres del Paine
Another top attraction when visiting Patagonia is the Torres del Paine National Park. This is a spectacular park surrounded by towering mountain ranges with hanging glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and some of the region’s most scenic hiking trails.
Occupying an area of over 695 square miles, Torres del Paine is a vast national park stretching across the southern part of Chile. With so much space to explore, it comes as no surprise that many tourists head here when venturing into Patagonia.
One of the best ways to explore the Torres del Paine National Park is by hiking through the never-ending wilderness here. Plus, with an abundance of excellent trails to select from, you will be spoilt for choice! However, if you don’t fancy putting in the leg work, but still want to admire the park, you can drive to Laguna Azul Lookout point, where you can immerse yourself in the park’s spectacular panoramic views.
Aside from hiking, you can also explore Torres del Paine on a guided horseback riding tour. This is a great way to add even more adventure and exploration to your trip. Many resorts within the park offer horseback rides, taking you to the area’s various viewing points, where you can marvel at the stunning natural scenery surrounding the park.
Patagonia is a truly spectacular region visited by thousands of tourists each year. With so much to see and do here, prior planning is a must to make the most of your visit. You will find travel companies that offer the option to book luxury adventures in Patagonia, which takes the organisation part out of your trip and allow you to see the top attractions here.
Some of the highlights of these tours include El Chalten, a mountainous village within the renowned Los Glaciares National Park, and the gateway to Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy. This is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts planning to explore all the natural wonders here by hike. One of the most popular activities in El Chalten is hiking Mount Fitz Roy. There are many trail options to roam up the mountain, excellent for a range of abilities and trekking preferences.
If you prefer a shorter hike, you can take the trail to the lookout points of Mirador Condores and Mirador Las Aguilas. From here you can admire panoramic views of El Chalten and the surrounding mountains. You will find the trailhead for these treks close to the town’s entrance, which is easily accessible. No matter how you choose to explore El Chalten, you’re sure to be impressed when visiting this stunning part of Patagonia.
Gable Island is an island in Argentina that’s part of the Tierra del Fuego Province. The island’s biggest draw is the penguin colony, where visitors can view penguins at their breeding site. When visiting here, booking a tour is the best way to get the most out of your experience as you can learn more about the island and visit the top sights during your stay. Most tours begin in Argentina’s resort town of Ushuaia, which is at the southernmost tip of South America and is often called the “End of the World.”
Aside from Gable Island, the tour will take you to the Harberton Ranch. You will also enjoy fun activities like canoeing along the river and taking a motorboat excursion towards Isla Martillo for the penguin colony. Many of these tours also include lunch, perfect for those looking to sit back and relax whilst indulging in some great food on Gable Island.
Cerro Fitzroy, also called Mount Fitz Roy, offers some of the most beautiful hikes in Patagonia. It’s the tallest mountain in Argentine Patagonia and sits between Argentina and Chile, close to El Chalten. Aside from its breathtaking views, expert mountaineers also love the challenge of climbing to the top.
If you prefer an easier stroll, the day hike to Cerro Fitzroy is perfect for anyone not looking to partake in anything too challenging. Your efforts will also be rewarded with stunning panoramic views at the top. You can start your adventure climbing to Cerro Fitzroy in the Los Glaciares National Park at El Chalten, perfect for those hoping to explore more of the area.
For those starting their hike at El Chalten, the trailhead is at the tip of Avenida San Martín, the main road of the town. There’s a car park at the trailhead where you can park your vehicle. You also have two options for your accommodation when hiking to Cerro Fitzroy, these are either camping or hostels. Discover two campsites along the trail to Laguna de Los Tres, perfect for those looking to spend some time in the beautiful wilderness here.
A good fitness level is a must when partaking in some of the day hikes here. These can take between 8 and 9 hours, with lots of hilly climbs along the way. The trail to Cerro Fitzroy is long and strenuous, however, you can guarantee amazing views for most of the route, so your efforts will be greatly rewarded.
No matter how you choose to spend your time in Patagonia, you will find a place brimming with natural beauty and exceptional things to do and see. This provides visitors with the opportunity to explore a true bucket list destination!