Final Thoughts: Patagonia

Penguins
An adolescent King penguin stands out amongst thousands of Magellanic penguins on an island outside Ushuaia.

If I did my job well, then the last few months worth of dispatches from Patagonia have sold you on the region as a top-notch destination.

I had a blast. And I want to thank G Adventures for allowing me to join them on an End of the Earth tour.

The itinerary lived up to my expectations, and the actual locations exceeded them.

The trip began when we met Nadia in Buenos Aires, and by early the next morning, we were meeting Christian, our mountain guide, and Chief Experience Officer (CEO) for most of the trip.

Fitz Roy Mountain looms over the village of El Chalten
Fitz Roy Mountain looms over the village of El Chalten

The active stage of our trip began with a hike around Fitz Roy mountain, whose summit remained hidden much of the time.

However, it did not distract in the least from the day.

If you go to Patagonia expecting perfect weather for every hike, you’re going to be disappointed.

Ice Climbing on Viedma
Ice Climbing on Viedma

The next day, I fulfilled a childhood dream when I went ice climbing on Viedma Glacier.

The morning started out overcast, but by the time we reached the glacier, the skies had cleared.

The surprise ending to our day was something none of us saw coming.

Searching for a connection at Perito Moreno Glacier
Searching for a connection at Perito Moreno Glacier

Our next big adventure was a visit to Perito Moreno Glacier (photo essay).

The sheer size of the glacier left everyone in awe. It was one of the most spectacular natural sites I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit.

Hearing and watching ice calve off the glacier only added to the excitement.

Patagonian lamb in Calafate sauce
Patagonian lamb in Calafate sauce

In addition to the physical activities, we also ate surprisingly well.

I threw caution to the wind, and dined on the best food in Patagonia with most of our 10-person group every night.

The skies cleared just in time for us to see the summits of all Three Towers
The skies cleared just in time for us to see the summits of all Three Towers

Upon reaching Torres del Paine National Park, we hiked to the Three Towers, and the following day, to the glacier in the French Valley.

The signs of last December’s wildfire did little to detract from the park’s natural beauty.

Cessna
The Cessna I flew

The trip wrapped up in Ushuaia, where we walked amongst three species of wild penguins, and I flew my first plane over the skies above the Beagle Channel.

I can’t recommend this region of the world highly enough. The key is to visit during the (South America) Summer season, otherwise the normally unpredictable weather is even worse. Plus, you’re less likely to see the mountain tops.

I’ve been overhearing travelers in hostels talk about their experience visiting Patagonia more recently, and I don’t envy them. I get cold just thinking about the weather down there now.

Is Patagonia on your travel wish list?  Share your questions below and I’d be happy to help answer them.

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Disclosure: This Patagonia tour was in partnership with G Adventures. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Comments

  1. says

    Patagonia is on top of my list! Just waiting to land there some time soon! Working on it! Will use your articles for more inspiration!

  2. Sara says

    Hello Dave

    I would like to go to patagonia but I’m a bit woried about the prices of the internal flyghts and accommodation. Do you think we can do it with a resonable budget? How do you travel from calafate to ushuaia and buenos aires?

    • says

      Hi Sara, my tour was with G Adventures, so I’m not familiar with the prices for each leg of the trip, nor the cost of accommodation (though that’s easy to find on Hostelworld).

      I do know there are plenty of budget-conscious backpackers that make the journey every year. It’s not the cheapest destination, which is why you don’t hear as much about it, but the scenery is amazing.

      Taking buses vs flights is the easiest way to cut costs. I think some of the longer bus routes can run $100 – $150, but the buses themselves are quite comfortable, and efficient. If you do take flights, going in the shoulder seasons might save you some money.

      We flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. We then took buses all the way down to Ushuaia, via Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas. From Ushuaia, we flew back to Buenos Aires.

  3. Cecy says

    Patagonia has been one of the most beautiful places that I have known of chile, the warmth of the people, care in restaurant and above all the wonderful landscapes, torres del paine, the Penguin colonies, glaciers, all of them like movie landscapes.

    I leave all you a small video that makes me remember what marvel of the Chilean patagonia.

  4. says

    Stunning photographs ! I love everything about Patagonia ! My friends and I are planning on going to South America next summer and we definitively want to tour some of these areas. The ice climbing is quite interesting and I would hope that my friends would be interested in participating with that. I see that you have a twitter and facebook page, but by any chance do you have a Pinterest account I could follow ? I love following and seeing all things travel related.

  5. Susan says

    Hi Dave,

    Loved reading about your adventures, and your pictures are outstanding.

    Question I have: we will also be flying from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, and then travelling into Torres del Paine by bus. We will have be living out of 50L day packs and will have everything in there, from shampoo to trekking poles. Did you have a lot of gear on your flight from BA to EC, and did you have to check your gear, or were you able to carry a backpack on board?

    Thanks!

  6. Susan says

    Hi Dave, Loved reading about your adventures! Question: we will also be flying from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, and then travelling into Torres del Paine by bus. We will have be living out of 50L day packs and will have everything in there, from shampoo to trekking poles. Did you have a lot of gear on your flight from BA to EC, and did you have to check your gear, or were you able to carry a backpack on board? Thanks!

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