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The 6 Best Places to Visit in Patagonia

Patagonien Rundreise - hier 6 Orte die du unbedingt besuchen solltest (Im Bild: Seengebiet bei Bariloche)

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If you're traveling to South America in summer you should have Patagonia high up on your list of things to do. With this list I show you the best places to visit in Patagonia and give you more information how to plan a trip to this gem in South America!

Find more information about the region in the related travel guides for Backpacking in Chile and Backpacking in Argentina. Moreover you should checkout my Patagonia Packing List if you're planning to go for some outdoor adventures!

With this list I show you the best places to visit in Patagonia and give you more information how to plan a trip to this gem in South America!
With this list I show you the best places to visit in Patagonia and give you more information how to plan a trip to this gem in South America!

The Route
The Route for traveling to all the spots described within this post leads from Bariloche in Argentina (north of Patagonia) along the Panamericana (Ruta 40) to the south and ends up in Punta Arenas, Chile. Both cities are very good connected to the rest of the country via air-transport. If you wish you can also do the tour the other way around.

Where is Patagonia located?
The Region “Patagonia” is situated in the south of the continent and describes the area between Rio Colorado (Argentina) / Rio Bio Bio (Chile) and the Strait of Magellan in the very south – this means also that Patagonia has a chilean (west) and argentine side (east).

When is the best time to travel to Patagonia?
The climate down there is pretty rough, especially in the very south – if you plan to do hiking/climbing and camping the best time for a trip is between the end of November and the beginning of March.

 
Best Places to visit in Patagonia – Navigation
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1) Bariloche, Argentina

Die Seen von Bariloche musst du gesehen haben!
The lakes around Bariloche are definitely a must-see
As mentioned above the region Patagonia starts a bit further north of Bariloche. The fact that Bariloche is well connected (airport, direct bus to and from Buenos Aires) makes it to the perfect starting point of a roundtrip through Patagonia. But more than that: the combination of mountains, lakes and green forests result in a beautiful scenery.
 
The largest ski resort of South America transforms into a paradise for hikers and climbers (mountains around “Cerro Catedral”) in summer. The lake region around Bariloche calls for a roadtrip to explore all 7 lakes in 1-2 days.
 
Accommodation:
Pablo is a great character and an awesome chef: be it the homemade bread for breakfast or a delicious Asado for dinner at his Hostel Achalay. When I came back 2 years later the Achalay was unfortunately completely booked, therefore I stayed at the Hostel Inn which is located close to the center and overlooks the lake.

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2) Futaleufú, Chile

Eines der etwas schwierigeren Ziele einer Patagonien Rundreise ist Futalefú - aber die beschwerliche Anreise lohnt sich!
It is one of the spots which is hard to reach, but for sure it is one of the best places to visit in Patagonia – the rafting experience is worth all the efforts!

Further down south and a bit harder to access is the small chilean village Futaleufú which is located at the border to Argentina. The easiest way to get there is to use a gravel road from Esquel up there. This is why it is totally of the beaten path!
 
The reason which makes it worth it: the Futaleufu river which is often referred to as one of the best white water rafting spots in the world. The landscape along the river is unique and due to its location still pretty much untouched.
 
For rafting- and kayak expeditions I recommend ExChile – I have been on a 2 day rafting tour with Chris and his guides and it has been great: the camp as well as the guides. We had a lot of fun!
 
Accommodation:
The Hostal Las Natalias offers privates as well as dorms and is located in a beautiful surrounding.

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3) Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile

Von Puerto Rio Tranquilo kommst du per Boot zu den Marmorhöhlen im Lago General Carrera
From Puerto Rio Tranquilo you can book boat expeditions to the marble caves

If you want to get there quickly you should travel through Argentina and cross over to Chile Chico as this place is also very remote. The reason to do so: the marble caves in the General Carrera lake.
 
Here I recommend Explorasur – the owner Pato and his family are experts for excursions in this region, they also operate tours to the nearby Nothern Patagonian Icefield!
 
Accommodation:
Along the Carretera Austral family owned, small B&Bs are your only option. Make sure to book in advance as there is a high demand during the summer months – the Don Hugo is a great option in Rio Tranquillo.

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4) El Chaltén, Argentina

Der Fitz Roy nahe El Chaltén gilt als Wahrzeichen Patagoniens
The Fitz Roy near El Chaltén is one of the landmarks of Patagonia

The trekking capital of Argentina is also the youngest village of Patagonia. Also for non-hikers the well marked trails are comparably easy to hike. Checkout my related hiking guide for the best tours!
 
The Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre are the most popular mountains in this area, also and especially for climbers. Another Highlight is the Viedma glacier.

guided Tours, via GetYourGuide:

 
Accommodation:
If you want to stay at a hostel the Aylen Aike is highly recommendable – Sebastian is a big fan of Rock’n'Roll music and has a big selection of music DVDs to choose from. During my last visit I stayed at the Lo de Guille – a family run B&B (one of the few places in El Chaltén which offer a basic breakfast). Very friendly staff & affordable prices, comes with a locked storage room (to use when you are trekking) and a kitchen for everyone to use.

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5) Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Der Perito Moreno Gletscher nahe El Calafate
The Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate

El Calafate is located just a few hours from El Chaltén by bus and the base for excursions to the famous Perito Moreno glacier. Nowhere else in the world you are able to come up as close to a glacier as here. The view from the several platforms is extraordinary as you can see ice collapsing in front of you without being in danger (the platforms are located on a peninsula facing the glacier). Beside that you can also opt-in to do a boat tour or even an ice trek on the glacier!

guided Tours, via GetYourGuide:

Tip: If you don't have as much time you can also consider doing a shorter patagonia round trip by using El Calafate as starting/end-point of your trip, there are regular flight connections to Buenos Aires. To squeeze in also Torres del Paine you could consider the previously mentioned day tour!
 
Accommodation:
The I Keu Ken Hostel – is probably the best hostel in the very touristic El Calafate, great view! If you want to stay in a double room the El Puente Apartments are a very good budget option: we only paid 40€ per night with a basic breakfast.

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6) Torres del Paine, Chile

Das absolute Highlight einer Patagonien Rundreise: Torres del Paine
This park has the best places to visit in Patagonia: Torres del Paine

Personally the national park Torres del Paine is my number 1 attraction in Patagonia – you should take some time and do a multi day trek to experience as much of it as possible: glaciers, forests, impressive mountain ranges, lagoons and rivers.
 
Use my related Torres del Paine Trekking Guide to prepare, here you'll also find several itineraries to use. The starting and end point for this adventure is Puerto Natales, from there you can take a bus to get to Punta Arenas where you'll find several regular connections to Santiago de Chile. Another option a day hikes which I describe in this post including a range of accommodation options in the area.
 
If you still have some time left I highly recommend to go to Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego!

Find more information about the region in the related travel guides for Backpacking in Chile and Backpacking in Argentina. Moreover you should checkout my Patagonia Packing List if you're planning to go for some outdoor adventures!

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Bonus: Carretera Austral, Chile

On the Carretera Austral you can find the hidden gems of Patagonie

If you have more time to spend this one should be high up on your list of places to visit in Patagonia! In my Chile guide book I dedicated a whole chapter to this 1200km long road which gives you access to the most remote areas in Patagonia.

Find more places to visit in Patagonia that are located along the Carretera Austral in this article:

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Guided Tours in Patagonia

As you can tell there is a wide range of things to do & places to visit in Patagonia. The remote location of this area makes it hard to come up with a suitable itinerary for those who only have a limited amount of time. In this case a guided tour is often a great option to visit a number of attractions as you leave the organization, the transportation between spots, gear rental, food and booking of campsites to local experts. Though you pay more you'll get the full package this way including porters and a knowledgable guide.
 
After working with them in Africa (Kilimanjaro), Costa Rica, Peru & Cuba I highly recommend the tours offered by G Adventures as their philosophy and focus on sustainable travel are in line with my personal values. With many years of expertise you can expect a well organized, fun trips in small groups with like-minded travelers:

  • Hike Patagonia in depth – active 14 day tour covering the highlights of Patagonia, including the Torres del Paine W trek, El Chaltén (Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre) and El Calafate (Perito Moreno glacier) including meals, guide, camps & tents, hotels, transport and porters
  • W-Trek in Torres del Paine – 6 day trek including meals, guide, camps, tents/hotel, transport and porters
  • Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego – active 14 day tour covering the highlights of Patagonia, including the Torres del Paine W trek, El Chaltén (Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre), El Calafate (Perito Moreno glacier) and Ushuaia. This also includes meals, guide, camps & tents, hotels, transport and porters.
  • Discover Patagonia (NatGeo Tour) – complete 14 day Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego tour covering all the highlights in the north (Bariloche, Puerto Varas), the south (Torres del Paine – day tour, Calafate, Chalten) and Ushuaia including exclusive National Geographic expeditions and talks.
Guided Tours are a great option to see as much as possible!

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My Travel Guides

After many trips to Chile & Argentina I published to comprehensive Travel Guides which will help you plan your adventure in this region. Both book are available as eBooks, the Chile travel guide is also available as paperback!

My Chile Guide incl. TdP itineraries

 
backpacking in chile ebookBackpacking in Chile: my Chile Travel Guide
 
This is a clear and concise guide book based on my experience from 6 months traveling through Chile.
 
It includes travel guides for each region of Chile as well as a complete trekking guide for Torres del Paine, plus route itineraries. Checklists are included to help make sure you don’t forget anything.
 
This book is designed to save you a lot of time & make your trip much easier. Download it now or buy the paperback and take it with you!
 
more information >>


 
If you want to continue traveling through Patagonia you should also checkout the Argentinean part:
backpacking in argentina ebookBackpacking in Argentina: my Argentina Travel Guide
 
This is a clear and concise 100 page eBook based on my experience from 3 months traveling through Argentina.
 
The book includes travel guides for the several regions of Argentina as well as a tiny trekking guide for El Chaltén and Ushuaia. Checklists are included to help make sure you don’t forget anything.
 
This eBook is designed to save you a lot of time & make your trip much easier. Download it now and take it with you!
 
more information >>

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Videos

I visited all places mentioned in this guide on several trips. As always I also filmed a video series about my time.
 

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What are your best places to visit in Patagonia?

Did I miss any important spot? Tell us your favorite spot in the comments below and feel free to share this article with your friends!

 

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The 6 Best Places to Visit in Patagonia
The 6 Best Places to Visit in Patagonia
 
Disclaimer: This post contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend them. By using these links you won’t pay any additional fees! All recommendations, opinions, and ironic remarks are, as always, my own.

4 Comments

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  • How do you recommend getting to all of these places, is there a way to travel in between them?

    • In general you can use buses and combine it with planes for the longer distances – always try to fly within one country (either Chile or Argentina) as the plane tickets are much cheaper this way. In Chile you should use Sky Airlines and in Argentina Aerolineas!

  • Wow they all look incredible. A few places I didn’t have on our list but have added them now. The Glacier looks amazing. I think we will definitely do some ice hiking there. Thanks Steve

  • Yes, you can do day hikes – e.g. the hike to the Torres is a great day hike.

    Depending on where you stay and if you have a car you can also do other treks – just check out the map to plan it. I’m planning on writing an own article on that topic.

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