Patagonia tour with bright blue icy glacier formations

Patagonia - Best Tours & Trips 2019

Encompassing the southernmost reaches of South America across two countries -- Chile and Argentina -- Patagonia is a rugged, remote, extraordinarily beautiful region of mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes, laced with hiking and trekking trails in Chile's Torres del Paine and other parks. You can also tour Patagonia by small-ship and expedition-style vessels, crossing through the Beagle Channel, stopping at the world's southernmost towns, and perhaps even landing on Cape Horn, the "end of the world" at the tip of the continent.

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Top Patagonia Experiences and Attractions


Top Patagonia Experiences

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Top Patagonia Attractions

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Patagonia Trip Reviews


128
Patagonia Tour Reviews - Summary
99% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 262 Great 79 Average 1 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0
Value
4.8 Guide
4.8 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.8 Transportation
4.7 Meals
4.8

DPF

Recommends

Great Activities and Scenery November 2018

5.0

Discover Patagonia

  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
This was our first G Adventures trip and it was a comfort (vs classic) tour. Overall we loved the tour and all it had to offer. The glaciers, National Parks, hikes, scenery, local travel options including ferry/boats all exceeded our expectations. We chose to participate in all the included activities and many optional ones including a boat ride to Perito Moreno Glacier, Teatro Colon Tour, Osorno Volcano Day hike, Tierra del Fuego NP visit, and a helicopter landing on the Andes in Ushuaia. We enjoyed all the included adventures including the Penguin experience, tango lesson, travel via catamaran, Torres del Paine NP, Glacier NP, and the lecture by the glacier expert.

We had a diverse group with ages ranging from 25-88. Everyone was very respectful of each other and we all got along well. Our CEO (tour guide) Gino did an exceptional job of tending to everyone's needs and ensuring each of us was included in as much as we wished. He made it all seem easy and always had a great temperament. He was very skilled at keeping us moving and ensuring we all had fun. When unexpected things occurred such as illness, baggage issues, special needs he handled them well.

The one area I felt was lacking was in the accommodations and in particular in Puerto Varras. The original hotel utilized Radison Park Inn was considerily below our expectations and making the situation worse was that they had a party right next to our assigned rooms until 3:00 a.m. on the second night of our stay. We were able to arrange an upgrade to a sister property that was much nicer and quieter for our second night. The Radison Park Inn was an alternative hotel due to lack of space at the primary hotel but it quality does not match the description of a comfort tour and in my opinion should not be utilized even as a back up option.
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Operator G Adventures

A

Recommends

Excellent trip! October 2018

5.0

Discover Chile

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Chile is such a beautiful country. It has a very varied landscape from
deserts to lakes to glaciers.
I loved the flamingo lakes. I felt I was on another planet and could have
stayed there all day.


Jaime Maynard was superb. I think everyone loved him. He was knowledgable,
friendly, laid back and had a great sense of humour.


Definitely pack for all weathers. We experienced temperatures from near
freezing right up to 30 degrees.


Take your binoculars. I forgot and regretted it.


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Operator Exodus Travels

B

Recommends

What an amazing Trip! Really appreciate all of the work September 2018

5.0

Torres del Paine W Trek Self Guided – 5 Day Package Lodging in Refugios

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
What an amazing Trip! Really appreciate all of the work that went into making this trip run smoothly and how everything was organized and efficient from the moment we arrived in Puerto Natales. We (my roommate and I) booked this trip hoping for a great experience, and it definitely delivered.
We were met at the beautiful hostel in PN by wonderful staff members who had our room ready and offered great advice on things to do that night. The next day, we met up with Laura, owner of the tour company, at their office and were provided with all of the passes, maps, information and tips you could ever need for the O-Circuit hike. We met our guide, Carlos, who has over 9 years of experience hiking in Patagonia. He answered all of our questions and made us feel ready for the trip. The next day, we took the bus to the park entrance and then the ferry to the first campsite. The hike is BREATHTAKING, and worth every blister, ache or sore you might experience during the hike.
I would definitely recommend the O-Circuit, as it gives you the full experience of how large Patagonia is. It was a perfect mix of hiking on our own for the first 4 days at our own pace, and then having the guide to lead us on the north side of the circuit, which is definitely not as well marked and has harsher climates and hikes. During the whole trip, all of our lodging, entrance fees, campsite fees and logistics were handled and delivered smoothly. All we had to do was hike our gear from one site to the next, show our passes and passports, and drink some delicious Austral.
This was a trip of a lifetime, and definitely worth it to have all of the logistics, including all of your food on the hike, already taken care of and planned out for you. We’re very thankful to Keteka for helping organize all of this, and would recommend this trip to anyone!
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Operator Keteka

E

Recommends

Viaje Al Fin Del Mundo August 2018

5.0

Across South America Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I was planning to travel to Patagonia for years but due to heavy work schedule, I had no chance to realize this Patagonia trip until my retirement.


I found Across Argentina Travel Agency from internet and a young hard working man Sebastian Southwell worked very hard to fix an itinerary. He offered me a different payment plan that made me pay easily. When I arrived at Buenos Aires, Ms Carolina Simonian took care of me and she always got in touch with me during my 16 days of travel all over Patagonia.


Regarding my trip, I was highly satisfied with the selection of Point of Interest, hotels selected were very comfortable and all showed me a high degree of hospitality. Local tours I participated were selected carefully, but I like to point out one point regarding with local tours, guides were good but they were giving information in Spanish longer than English then English speaking guests needed to ask questions to clarify subjects, this to be corrected.


As a final words Across Argentina and their talented employees, Carolina and Sebastian made this trip ONCE IN A LIFETIME. I would like to thank Across Argentina and employees so much
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Operator Across South America

J

Recommends

Great Staff July 2018

5.0

Zegrahms Expeditions Company Reviews

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Awesome itineraries, great staff, best in the business.

Operator 50 Degrees North

Patagonia Tours and Travel Guide


Patagonia Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Encompassing a vast 400,000 –square- mile region of southern Chile and Argentina at the tip of South America, Patagonia is a land of jagged peaks, sprawling glaciers, pristine lakes and rivers, thick forests, remote villages, uninhabited wilderness, wind-swept steppes, and bountiful marine and other wildlife.

One of the earth’s last true frontiers, a world away from the urbanity of Buenos Aires or Santiago, it’s both an adventure traveler’s dream – for trekking, glacier walks, horseback riding and much more -- and one that can be explored by less strenuous overland tours or small-ship cruises.

Even for most world travelers, Patagonia is a place that exists more in the imagination than reality. It’s remote, harbors immense swaths of wilderness (mountains, deserts, steppes, forests), and seems to defy easy categorization.

Yet if you’re fortunate enough to go there, you’ll encounter outstanding adventure travel opportunities, surprising cultural discoveries, and a remarkable variety of landscapes and natural wonders, including some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.

To start to make sense of it all, it helps to split the region up into two distinct sections, Chilean and Argentine Patagonia.

Chilean Patagonia

Chile has a much narrower and somewhat shorter slice of Patagonia than Argentina, but the Pacific Ocean coastal scenery is stunning, ranging from snow-capped peaks to snaky fjords and inlets, deep blue lakes to sparsely populated islands, ice fields to forbidding forests. The best way to see the length of it is via small ship cruising, but there are also plenty of opportunities to go trekking, kayaking, and rafting amid the region’s mountains, lakes, rivers, and national parks.

The best known recreational spot is mountainous Torres del Paine National Park, located about two-thirds of the way down Chile’s Patagonian coast.  Besides mountains, the park features glaciers, icebergs, lakes, grasslands, and the chance to spot guanacos (similar to llamas) and condors. A four-day trekking circuit loops through the park. You can also take puma (cougar) tracking trips here and view the granite towers that gave the park its name.

To the north, Chiloé Island is a good place to view penguins and whales, as well as a number of 18th-century wooden churches built by Jesuit missionaries, some of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Small-ship cruises that explore the coast leave from the towns of Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. You can sail through the Magellan Strait and Beagle Channel into Tierra del Fuego and possibly land at Cape Horn on the tip of the continent. Landings there are problematic because of the fierce winds and high waves that have confounded sailors for centuries, but if you can land you’ll find a remote Chilean military outpost occupying a gorgeous patch of hilltop greenery; souvenirs are sold.

Argentine Patagonia

While Argentine Patagonia dwarfs that of Chile, much of it is grassland and sheep and cattle country where you expect to see gauchos riding across the plains. Perhaps surprisingly, then, you’ll also encounter huge glaciers, lakes, wildlife sanctuaries, and even scattered communities where descendants of Welsh settlers run tea houses and B&Bs.

In Argentina’s northern section of Patagonia, the standout attraction is the wildlife reserve on the Valdés Peninsula, known for its massive Magellanic penguin colonies and marine life including right whales, elephant seals, orcas, fur seals, and sea lions. The peninsula – a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- is also home to guanacos and vast numbers of seabirds. The town of Puerto Madryn, he base for trips onto the peninsula, is one of several picturesque Welsh communities first settled here by emigrants from Wales in the mid-19th century.

Several towns are of note as you head south into Argentine Patagonia, either along the inland highway that skirts the Andes or the coastal routes.

Inland, Esquel serves as a gateway to the northern section of Parque National Los Glaciares, which attracts flocks of trekkers and mountain climbers annually. In Cholila, you can visit the ranch once occupied by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid after they escaped to South America following careers as colorful outlaws in the U.S. Old West.

Cholila is near Parque Nacional Los Alerces, named for a type of tree that survives as long as four millennia. Another natural site with a human twist is Cueva de Las Manos, a cave that features rock art nearly 10,000 years old depicting guanacos and human hands.

Along the Atlantic coast, Puerto San Julian was the site of explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s landing, when he encountered the indigenous Tehuelches and named Patagonia after them (they reminded him of a literary work).

The town of El Calafate in southern Patagonia serves as a base for trips to one of the world’s most famous glaciers, Perito Moreno. Located in the southern section of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Perito Moreno is a comparatively rare glacier that’s actively growing, and which calves huge icebergs into Lake Argentino. Hiking on the glacier is a popular tour activity.

In the far south, the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, serves as the embarkation point for most Antarctica cruises and flights, as well as adventure trips into Argentina’s mountainous section of Tierra del Fuego.

Top Wildlife Sightings in Patagonia

Spotting the unique wildlife of Patagonia is one of the top travel highlights in this rugged region of the world. Due to its topography and often harsh climate, Patagonia’s wildlife is hearty and sometimes elusive, though the relative lack of human encroachment also means there are larger wildlife communities and better chances for us to observe them in their natural habitat.

Here are some classic Patagonian wildlife sightings to keep your eyes peeled for:

1. Guanaco - a common animal image used on tourist information for Patagonia, Guanaco are a cousin of the llama. They have an elegant shape, long eyelashes, and a light brown color. Mostly found in the Argentina portions of Patagonia.

2. Wild horses - Horseback riding is a popular activity in Patagonia. And while there are several ranches scattered throughout the region with a plethora of domesticated horses, Patagonia also has its fair share of wild horses - some of the last herds in the world. One of the best places to spot them is in Torres del Paine National Park.

3. Patagonia Puma - Probably the most elusive animal that Patagonia is famous for, the pumas in this area once were nearly extinct. Today they have made a wonderful comeback, and are a true delight to observe if you’re lucky enough to spot one. They are most commonly found in Torres del Paine or the Aysen region of Chile.

4. Foxes - There are two primary species of foxes you can find in Patagonia: the red Fueguian fox, and the Patagonia grey fox. Each have large populations, spread far and wide across Chile, and the odds of you catching a glimpse of one are pretty good. They can blend in to the environment though, so be sure to go with an experienced nature guide who can point them out!

5. Mara - If you love fluffy and adorable animals, then you better keep your eyes peeled for a Patagonian Mara. Among the largest rodents in the world, Mara’s closely resemble rabbits. For a double dose of cuteness, visit in September and October when Mara babies will be about.

6. Whales - Whale watching is an extremely popular Patagonia travel activity. And your odds of seeing one are increased due to the fact that Patagonia’s oceans attract 4 distinct species of whale, year round: Orcas, Humpbacks, Southern Right whales, and Blue whales. The best spot to see them is generally the Valdes Peninsula, though Humpbacks are best spotted in the Chilean Fjords and Strait of Magellan.

See all Patagonia Wildlife Tours »

Top Attractions & Activities in Patagonia

Patagonia is first and foremost considered an adventure travel destination, not the least of which because of its remote location. What you will see and do is closely tied to the landscape - from hiking, horseback riding, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Here are some top travel activities to not miss on your next tour to Patagonia:

1. Ushuaia - Among the most well known attractions in Patagonia, Ushuaia is the city at the end of the world, and the capital of Tierra del Fuego. Just being able to say you’ve been there is reason enough to visit. It is a meeting place for adventurous travelers from around the world, eager to check Ushuaia off their bucket list.

Ushuaia has taken its status as a tourism hotspot to heart - many Antarctica cruises stop here, and the city is a bonafide adventure capital. Many explorers have walked it’s streets over the centuries, and when you’re there you’ll feel their spirits all around.

2. Horseback Riding - One of the most popular activities for travelers in Patagonia, there are a number of horse treks and trails, suitable for most levels, through the Patagonian wilderness. If you’re interested in a more immersive experience you can even stay at old ranches, still in use today, scattered around the region.

3. Learn Some Prehistory - There was a lot of dinosaur activity in Patagonia and the Paleontology museum has an impressive exhibit of fossils discovered in the area. This is a great activity for kids and grown ups alike. You can also take an in depth “Dinosaur Walk” to learn more about the significance these fossils hold.

4. Whale Watching - Puerto Madryn offers some of the best whale watching in all of Patagonia and is a common activity included on Patagonia itineraries.

5. Penguin Watching - If weather permits, you can observe can the largest penguin colony in South America at Punta Tombo. They are in the area between September and April, and you can even walk among them! Be sure to book with reputable tour company for this activity, to ensure the animals are treated right.  

6. El Chalten - This area of Patagonia is the perfect spot for travelers of all stripes. Everything from challenging multi-day treks to simple day walks are available from El Chalten. Though, the summits and rock climbing are really where it’s at, so if you have it in you, be sure to try the more strenuous hikes. The small town of the same name is also an essential Patagonia stop, with options to stay overnight - a popular itinerary item on Patagonia tours.

Related Trips & Tours


Top Patagonia Travel Companies


All Patagonia tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Patagonia trips.

179 trips from 47 tour companies with 128 reviews

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