Patagonia is an area of South America, spreading across Chile and Argentina. It boasts diverse landscapes including the Andes Mountains, deserts and grasslands. This region has coasts on three oceans as well, including the Atlantic to the east, the Pacific to the west, and the Southern Ocean to the south.
Running from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean are the Colorado and Barrancas Rivers, and sometimes Tierra del Fuego, which is an archipelago, is considered part of the Patagonia region. There are few inhabitants in this remarkable region, and it’s become a popular travel destination. The following are some things to know and keep in mind.
When it comes to Patagonia, even for a seasoned traveler, it can be a challenge to plan. The area is large, and knowing how to get from place-to-place can be difficult.
It can also be expensive, which obviously won’t work if you’re a budget traveler. Using a company or a guided tour can sometimes be your best option for Patagonia. This takes the guesswork out of the logistics and helps you know the most efficient routes to travel, and how to get from place-to-place. This will save you a lot of time, especially if you have a relatively short amount of time to spend in Patagonia.
When you’re traveling through South America, buses are the most affordable way to do it. There also aren’t a lot of flights to most areas of Patagonia.
Most Popular Places in Patagonia
There are certain areas in the massive expanse of Patagonia that are pretty popular with travelers. Some of these include:
Los Glaciares National Park: This park is in Argentina and on the south side of the park is where you’ll find the Perito Moreno Glacier. The north side of the park is where there are Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy.
Lakes District: The northern part of Patagonia is the Lake District, in both Chile and Argentina.
Torres del Paine National park: Located in Chile, this is probably the most popular of the national parks in the region. There’s the W here, that is a one-way 31-mile hiking route allowing you to see Grey Glacier and the Torres.
Tierra del Fuego: In Argentina, this is the Land of Fire. It’s a wild, adventurous part of Patagonia where you’ll find the Beagle Channel and ski resorts like Cerro Castor. Cerro Castor is the most southern ski resort in the world.
There are some limitations to be aware of Namely, budget travel is a real challenge in the region just because it is so remote and options are limited. There are few places to stay, and they are in-demand during peak season so owners can charge a premium.
Also, the food is imported to Patagonia, which makes it more expensive as well. The prices in Patagonia are higher than any other part of South America in most cases.
There are also seasonal limitations. It’s best to visit Patagonia in its summer season, December through February. Patagonia is far from the equator, which is why visiting during its winter season isn’t recommended. With that being said, there will be a lot of temperature variations depending on where you are, since it’s such a massive region.
One budget-friendly accommodation option you might explore is a cabana, although these are mostly in Chile. These offer kitchens and bathrooms. Hostels are available, but the further south you go in Patagonia, the more expensive they are. Of course, if you’re on a strict budget, you might think about camping.
Packing for Patagonia can be a challenge since the weather can fluctuate, and you’ll likely be doing a lot of outdoor activities. You will need some basics like a universal adapter, and a battery pack so you can charge your devices when you’re on-the-go. You’ll also want extra batteries, a medical kit, and a reusable water bottle.
You’ll likely be doing some hiking, so you’ll need to consider your equipment for that as well such as your inner and outer socks, hiking boots and trekking poles.
Beyond that, whether you need camping equipment and similar things will depend on what you plan to do while in Patagonia. If you do a guided tour, your operators can help you more with a specific packing list so that you’re fully prepared.