Patagonia is a region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as its dividing line.
Patagonia is divided into three regions — Aysén, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, and Los Lagos plus the province of Palena. Every year thousands of travelers visit the area for its exciting outdoor activities and seasonal wildlife spotting.
It’s a truly unique and unforgettable experience with its mountains, incredible glaciers, aquamarine lakes, and wild plains.
Chile and Santiago have been ranked by Lonely Planet and National Geographic as the world’s top country “Best in Travel 2018” list and one the “places you need to visit in 2018.”
When to Go to Chilean Patagonia?
Summer is peak season in Patagonia and you can expect there to be a bigger crowd and you might have to book a hotel in advance.
The best time to visit Patagonia also depends on the region since this is a huge area with great weather variations. Coastal regions are wetter and milder, while the inland is chillier.
Photo credit: betoscopio / Flickr
Some of the most impressive falls in South America is the comparatively little known Ventisquero Colgante Fall. Recently Ventisquero Colgante was selected as one of the 25 “most incredible” waterfalls in the world. Ventisquero Colgante is more of a challenge to get to but offers in exchange a truly powerful experience with nature
Get up close to glaciers
Chile hosts many of the glaciers in South America, and a majority of these lie in the region of Patagonia. Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the second largest ice field in the world with an area of 16,800 km² and it is part of the Patagonian ice sheet.
Grey glacier and Dickson glacier are smaller in size with 270 km² and 71 km² in size and located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
Tyndall (Geike) – In the Southern Patagonian Ice Field 331 km² in size.
There are many large lakes lining the park, reaching up to 90km² in surface area. Many are an intense turquoise colour as a result of rock flour particles left from glacial erosion, making the water look milky.
Photo credit: cordyph / Flickr
Trek in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park, in southern Chile, is a remote refuge, with roughly 500,000 acres, where you can see wildlife like relaxed and inquisitive guanacos, condors, huemuls, foxes, pumas and other animals at a close encounter. The region is known for its soaring mountains, bright blue icebergs that cleave from glaciers and golden pampas and wildlife.
This park also happens to have one of the area’s most famous panoramic views, so don’t forget your camera gear.
National Festival for the Longest Night of the Year
Every year, the longest night in the world is celebrated in Ushuaia on June 21 and the winter takes place in the southern hemisphere.
There is a cultural agenda to celebrate the longest night in the year, containing various activities in which the most outstanding national and local artists are joining in with the denizens of the City of Ushuaia. Every year thousands of tourists invade the city and became part of the celebrations.
Kayaking with whales
The most common species of whale found in the waters of Patagonia is the humpback whale. This is a unique opportunity in a lifetime you will never forget where you’ll get a close encounter with humpback whales and other wildlife from a kayak. With experienced guides, you will have the opportunity to get up close with some famous glaciers, spot whales, and navigate the historic Strait of Magellan. While some glaciers are better reached by trekking on foot, kayaking allows you to see the greatest variety of these icy landmarks.
Besides whale, you may see also orcas, a different species of dolphins.
Photo credit: Murray Foubister / Flickr
One of the most exciting things that Patagonia can offer you is an encounter with pumas in Torres del Paine National Park found in Chile. Torres del Paine National Park provides a large area where pumas are not persecuted. This has led to about fifteen individual animals not being afraid of people and you can have the privilege of seeing different pumas, some as close as ten yards away from you.
You can join a trip where you can go to Patagonia specifically to see the sleek, majestic pumas in their natural habitat. You can combine a boat trip to a spectacular glacier or kayaking with an opportunity for spotting pumas and the most stunning flora.
If you love adventure, the outdoors and photography, you’ll love this trip!
Parque del Estrecho de Magallanes
Take a look back at Chile’s history at Parque del Estrecho de Magallanes, built-in 1843. 6km trail network leads to a top of the small hill, you can enjoy the views of the rocky beach and sea below and Tierra del Fuego. This is the best museum in Patagonia. You’ll find a restored wooden fort, where a fence of sharpened stakes surrounds the blockhouse, barracks and chapel.
Want to learn more about other destinations? Check our other posts about sustainable travel.