One of My Favorite Adventure Travel Trips – Patagonia

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, a hiker, and like “off the beaten path,” Patagonia is a must.   Located in the southernmost tip of South America, the Patagonia region is shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as the dividing line between the two. The terrain ranges from grasslands and deserts to temperate rainforests and glacial fjords. The hikes are challenging but the scenery is worth every step.

The beauty of a trip to Patagonia is that you can bookend your hiking adventure with a few relaxing days pre-hike in Santiago, Chile and post-hike in Buenos Aires.

Fly into Santiago for a night or two; wander through the Cerro Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Hill) and admire the fountains, gardens, and wonderful view. And make sure you check out Santiago’s bustling market, La Vega.

From Santiago, fly south to Punta Arenas and transit to Puerto Natales which is the closest city to Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  A lot of hikers come to Patagonia to hike the famous “W,” a w-shaped 46-mile trek, typically 4-5 days, between Refugio Las Torres in the east and Refugio Paine Grande in the west.

After you’ve conquered the W, cross the border into Argentina for more epic hiking and amazing scenery.  El Chalten is Argentina’s trekking capital and hikes on Mount Fitz Roy and the Perito Merino Glacier are spectacular.

Take a few days to relax at an Estancia (ranch) after your hike – horseback riding amidst the most incredible, wild, and remote scenery in the world is one of my most memorable experiences from this trip.

At the end of your trip, spend a few nights in Buenos Aires, the “Paris of South America.”  Book a dinner and Tango show and spend time visiting the National Historic Monuments at Recoleta Cemetery.  And if you have a day or two to still play around, take a quick flight up to Iguazú Falls on the Argentina/Brazil border and one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

When to visit Patagonia: late November to early March. Hiking trails are more accessible, and the winds are not as gusty. But be prepared to be cold nonetheless!