Best Things To Do in Patagonia – The vast territory of Patagonia, divided between Chile and Argentina by the Andes Mountains, includes several national parks and claims a large number of mountains, lakes, valleys, rivers, and animal species. Due to the area’s natural beauty, the number of things to do in Patagonia is wide and varied. Patagonia is the paradise of the intrepid explorer with endless options for trekking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, and boat trips.
Find Below Best Things You Can Do in Patagonia
Both Chile and Argentina host the great attractions of Patagonia and no trip is complete without experiencing these two states. If you’re wondering what to do in Patagonia, look no further. Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of the top nine things to do in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia.
Hike the W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
The first Best Things To Do in Patagonia is Offering about 60 kilometers of stunning terrain, the W track touches on most of the attractions of Torres del Paine National Park and is considered one of the best things to do in Patagonia. Over the course of 5 days, trekkers will gaze at some spectacular glaciers, the most famous of which is Glacier Grey, find serenity in the stillness of glacial lakes and vast valleys and trek to a stunning vantage point to see the iconic Tower (Los Torres) after the park.
Additional information: Make reservations for campsites and Refugio please book in advance (between 6 – 12 months). Accommodation within the park is always in demand.
Walk with the Penguins on Isla Magdalena, Chile
Located in the southernmost part of Chilean Patagonia, Isla Magdalena is a one-stop-shop for penguin viewing. More than 120,000 Magellanic penguins flock to the island and visitors can see them by following a trekking trail around the island. Penguins are known to be friendly and curious, most visitors enjoy the intimate interactions and close-up views.
Additional information: The island is accessible from Punta Arenas via a 1.5-hour boat ride. A round-trip ticket costs around USD 70.
Visit the End of the World in Tierra del Fuego, Chile
The authenticity of the region has captivated explorers for years. Everyone from Charles Darwin to the Portuguese pioneer, Ferdinand Magellan, researched the treacherous waters surrounding the famous archipelago. Today, the area is famous for trekking and fishing. Explore the capital, Porvenir, once inhabited by Europeans during the gold rush of the 1800s, the city now offers an eclectic mix of cultures and ethnicities.
If you want to go fishing, head to Lago Blanco, a popular fishing spot in the area. See also Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. Here you can feast on a variety of world fusion dishes and learn about the ancient inhabitants of the region in its several small museums.
Good to know: Book a boat to explore Cape Horn, the famous dark cliffs off the coast of Tierra del Fuego. Several previous visitors have described the cliff’s rounding as an almost spiritual experience.
Sailing Through the Strait of Magellan
The waters in the Strait of Magellan are known as the most dangerous in the world. Take yourself back in time to when Ferdinand Magellan first discovered the region by sailing through a complex network of channels, fjords, and islands. Boat trips vary, but travelers can visit a penguin colony, take off on a sea kayak tour, admire the dozens of historic lighthouses and take in the surrounding landscapes that dominate.
Additional information: Most boat tours depart from Puntas Arenas, the main center and tourist city in Chilean Patagonia.
Get a Change of Scene in Coyhaique, Chile
More than 1,000 kilometers north of Punta Arenas, the quaint little town of Coyhaique offers Patagonian beauty. Surrounded by cliffs, hills and dotted with sparkling emerald lakes, fishermen flock to this town known for its salmon and trout. Join in the fun of fishing, or start on one of the other excursions to explore the city further. Sea kayaking through the Marble Cathedral and horseback riding and rafting trips along the Simpson river are popular activities.
Good to know: Check out Feria Artesanal, a craft market in Plaza de Armas, for authentic locally made goods. You’ll find lots of merchandise made from sheep, including sheepskin rugs and woolen clothing.
Explore the Lake District from the Charming Historic Center of Bariloche, Argentina
Argentina’s lake district is arguably the most beautiful in the country. Stretching along the northwestern region of Argentina’s Patagonia, this region spans thousands of square kilometers. It is boxed on three sides by the Andes Mountains, Chilean Patagonia, and Atlantic Patagonia and lined with frozen mountain peaks, sparkling lakes, dense forests, trekking & biking trails, and white water rapids. Obviously, there are many ways to spend your time here.
Set up camp in Bariloche, the bustling city center. The city itself will captivate you with its European architecture and delicious local cuisine. Visit Nahuel Huapi National Park just 24 km away. For days of kayaking, rafting, trekking, and mountain biking. One of the best ways to explore the region is on horseback. Full day tour with a lead guide around the area and includes a homemade lunch at a local estancia (farm).
Good to know: Sample South America’s premier beers at Bariloche’s microbreweries. Bariloche is also the chocolate capital of the country. Be sure to stop by some of the city’s famous artisan shops and enjoy some of the most beautiful treats in the country.
Whale Watching on Peninsula Valdes, Atlantic Patagonia, Argentina
Animal lovers find refuge in Atlantic Patagonia, a sanctuary for endangered species such as orcas, elephant seals, sea lions, and Magellanic penguins. Peninsula Valdes is declared a protected UNESCO site and is home to many animals. In addition, this place is also very beautiful with fine powder beaches bordered by jagged cliffs.
While there are plenty of wildlife excursions to take part in around the peninsula, one of the main experiences is whale watching. As one of the most populous whale areas in the world, southern orca whales can be seen from boats, kayaks, and even from the beach.
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Discover Southern Patagonia from El Calafate, Argentina
One of the most popular centers for exploring Southern Patagonia, El Calafate is a picturesque town bordered by the Andes Mountains, the Santa Cruz highlands, and Lake Argentino. Its scenic position between mountains and lakes makes it an obvious choice for nature-loving travelers. A day trip from the city center includes kayaking through the Upsala Glacier Zone to see the highest glacier in the country.
Spend the day experiencing life at a traditional estancia (farm), exploring the Mars-like landscape of La Leona Petrified Forest, or getting your workout in with the many outdoor activities on offer at Calafate Mountain Park. You could easily spend a week keeping yourself busy on all the day trips and excursions in and around El Calafate.
Good to know: After long days of great adventure, what’s better than relaxing at the only Glacier Bar in town? Head to GlacioBar and see the only bar in the area carved entirely from glacier ice in the region.
Conquer Mount Fitz Roy in El Chalten, Argentina
Famous for its hiking and hiking routes, Mount Fitz Roy has a jagged tower over the town of El Chalten. There are several trails worth walking on Mount Fitz Roy, but one of the most rewarding is the Laguna des Los Tres. This trail leads past a stunning blue glacier lake while providing stunning views of Mount Fitz Roy.
While the trail can be challenging, it brings trekkers close to the top of the impressive and tallest mountain in Glacier National Park. There are also longer two or three-day trips that appeal to those who want to spend more time in the wild.
Additional information: Mount Fitz Roy is a common trek from El Calafate. El Chalten is approximately 3.5 hours north of El Calafate and is most easily reached by bus. There are three bus companies that offer twice-daily trips between the two cities. The most prominent companies are Culture, Chalten Travel, and TAQSA.