Flaked between Argentina and Chile on both sides, this unblemished place is the sparsely populated area. Originally famous for its Andean peaks, it has also had many other attractions such as windswept steppes, crackling glaciers, and distinct gaucho culture.
For the adventure enthusiasts, this place is a nirvana as it offers unmatched hiking and multi-day trekking routes through some of the world’s most rugged and unforgiving landscapes in the world.
Generally, the tourist season in Patagonia starts in the month of October and goes up till the month April.
The tourism is at the peak of the summer (ranging January and February), so much so that the trails some times gets overcrowded as it the season in which both the local tourists and international tourists flock in. It is therefore recommended to book campgrounds and lodgings in advance before heading out on a trek.
In a place that has so much to offer, how does one decide what do and what not to visit? To help you with this conundrum, we present the list of some of the top hiking trails in the region.
1 The W Trek
A five day around the W trek, through the Torres Del Paine National Park is one the fulfilling experience that highlights the reel of Patagonia. Trekking on this path is one of the one in life time type of experiences that Patagonia has to offer.
Another thing worth noticing here is the safety of the hikers, especially female solo travelers, as they can meet other hikers to walk the way with, making it a nice place to meet new people sharing an interest. This experience can be made as rustic or as luxurious as one decides, by choosing to decide whether to carry one's own camping equipment or bunking with the refugios (bedding provided along with three cooked meals a day).
The best way to enter the place is on a bus from the regional hub of Puerto Natales and to begin the 71-kilometer W Trek at Refugio Las Torres. Heading in the northern direction from there up till the base of the Las Torres before heading to the French Valley. From there you continue onwards to the second U of the W and over the region of Grey Glacier, a part Patagonian Ice Field.
Contact Details are given below
Address: Las Torres 1, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Contact Number: +56 2 2663 0000
2 The O Circuit
If the W-Trek wasn't enough to feed your appetite, one can continue on the 9-day trek along the edge of The Grey Glacier, to complete a complete O-trail.
The completion of the trail will add an additional 50 kilometers to the hike and provide an elevation of about 750 meters after climbing the Paso John Gardner up until you reach the beguiling photogenic view near the Campamento Los Perros.
After this one reaches this place, then the descent into the far side of the park takes place and one crosses the Rio Paine passing through classic Patagonian steppe leading right back to the starting point completing the O.
Contact details are as below
Address: Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
3 The Lago del Desierto Border Crossing
Although Carretera Austral is the only connection through Northern Patagonia on the Chilean side of the Andes, however this infamous highway, famous among the road-trippers and bikers, is the only one way connecting the world to the quaint and secluded town of Villa O'Higgins.
The way of reaching to the place is a four-hour long ferry across the sapphire Lago O'Higgins, taking a stop at the O'Higgins Glacier before finally arriving at the remote Chilean outpost belonging to the Candelario Mansilla. after reaching here, one would have to get the passport stamped before heading out of Chile, traversing by foot up until the next border post at the Lago del Desierto, where the passport will be stamped again for the entry in Argentina and camp in the evening.
For reaching the southern shores of the lake, one has to travel for about 15 more kilometers. After reaching here one can take the regular buses shuttling tourists to the El Chaltén lying about 37 kilometers away.
One thing one should heed before heading out is that it is very common for the boats passing over Lago O'Higgins to be delayed due to the travel made unsafe by strong winds flowing in the region.
4 The Laguna Torre Trek
This little wind-gifted village of the El-Chaltén, is considered as Argentina's premier trekking capital. Presenting one of the most scenic hikes in the Southern America, the most famous one day hike from the place is the Laguna Torre.
This is a 20-kilometer route provided the travellers with a several numbers of miradors overlooking the icy spires of Cerro Torre present at the height of 3,128 above the sea level.
Following up on the path leads to the edge of Rio Fitz Roy until the starting of the glacial lake of Laguna Torre, leading up to a small campground. After reaching this point, one comes face to face to the most stunning face of mother nature, Mirador Maestri, where the icy folds of the Glacier Torre fade right into the horizon.
5 The Ice Hike on Perito Moreno
Though it doesn't count as one of the largest glaciers lying in Patagonia, this is most definitely the most famous ones out of the lot. It is said to be increased by up to two meters in size every day, leading to thundering roars of cascading ice as it calves truck-sized icebergs into Canal de Los Tempanos.
Originally this is a 30-kilometer long and five-kilometer wide glacier, giving panoramic view fit for post cards and also worthy of Instagram shots.
One of the most recommended way to experience it is through the frozen contours.
El Calafate is the main hub for lodgings and tourist services, serving as the base for exploring the place in a guided or an unguided tour.
Most of the guided tours include a boat ride across Puerto Bajo de Las Sombras along with a walk through a lenga forest before heading on to the ice.
Contact details are as given below
Address: Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Contact number: +54 2902 49-2850