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The 7 Best Places to Visit in Patagonia

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

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!

Before we get into this list let me answer a few of the most popular questions regarding Patagonia as a travel destination.

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
(use the anchor links to jump to the section, use „Top“ to get back to this menu)

 

 

1) Bariloche, Argentina

Lakes in front of mountain in Bariloche, Argentina
The lakes around Bariloche are definitely a must-visit place in Patagonia
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

Following are my recommendations for Hostels and Hotels in Bariloche – I stayed in the Hostal Achalay as well as at the Hostel Inn:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Hostel Achalay$8.6amazing Host & atmosphere
Hostel Inn$8.0terrace with panorama view
Hotel Aspen Ski$$9.0location, value for money
Llao Llao Resort, Golf-Spa$$$9.1luxury, incredible location

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2) Futaleufú, Chile

raging futaleufu river in chile
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

Following my week in Futaleufú I have these recommendations for you if you plan on visiting this beautiful area:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Hostería Futaleufu$9.1location, atmosphere
Hostal Las Natalias$$8.8beautiful surrounding, friendly staff
Hotel El Barranco$$$9.3breakfast, upscale hotel with pool

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3) Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile

colorful Marble Caves of Purto Rio Tranquilo in Chile
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.
 
I recommend to checkout the tour companies right in the center of town where you can book excursions in this region, including tours to the nearby Northern Patagonian Icefield!
 

Accommodation

Along the Carretera Austral family owned, small B&Bs are great options. Make sure to book in advance as there is a high demand during the summer months – here are my recommendations:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Los alamos$8.2value for money, central location
APART HOME COSTANERA$$8.9hospitality, central location
Apart Hotel y Cabañas Valle Exploradores$$$7.4central location
Chelenko Lodge$$$8.4incredible remote location by the lake

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4) El Chaltén, Argentina

What a beautiful setting: Mt. Fitz Roy with Laguna Sucia (left) and Laguna de los Tres (right). 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 in El Chalten

  • From El Calafate: Full-Day Tour to El Chaltén (Day Tour)
  • Trekking tour to Cerro Torre (Day Tour)
  • Patagonia Hiking – active 9 day tour covering the highlights of Patagonia on the side of Argentina, including El Chaltén (Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre) and El Calafate (Perito Moreno glacier) including breakfast, guide, hotels, transport and flights to and from Buenos Aires
  • 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

Accommodation

El Chaltén is busy during the trekking season, therefore I highly recommend booking your accommodation well in advance to avoid a long drive from El Calafate or to be left with camping as the only option to stay in town. Because of the beautiful hiking options I also encourage you to stay at least for a few days in this picturesque setting!

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Aylen-Aike Hostel$9.4atmosphere, lovely host
Rancho Grande$8.4central location, staff
Guanaca Lodge$$8.5value for money, breakfast included
Lo de Guille$$9.5lovely staff, breakfast, location close to bus terminal
Destino Sur Hotel & Spa de Montaña$$$9.0incredible breakfast, pool & spa, comfortable rooms

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5) Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

View to the Perito Moreno Glacier from above
The Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate is definitely one of the must places to visit in Patagonia!

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 are you 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!

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!

Guided Tours in El Calafate

Accommodation

Like in El Chaltén the selection of options can be limited if you don't book your Hotel or Hostel in advance. During my multiple visits to El Calafate I stayed in Hostels as well as Apartments and Hotels – due to the competition the quality is really good in this tourist hot spot!

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Calafate Hostel$8.6value for money, central location
Hosteria Patagonia$8.4location, breakfast
El Puente Aparts$$9.0quiet, comfortable rooms
Blanca Patagonia Hostería Boutique y Cabañas$$+8.2breakfast, hot tub, lake view

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6) Torres del Paine, Chile

This park is my personal favorite among this list of best places to visit in Patagonia: Torres del Paine

For me the national park Torres del Paine is the 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, with several itineraries to use. If you're not much of a multi-day hiking & camping person you can also stay in some pretty nice hotels in the park and go on a few spectacular day trips in Torres del Paine. I also put together a comprehensive Patagonia Packing List you can use.

The starting and end point for any trip to the Torres del Paine National Park is Puerto Natales which has its own small airport. A bit further down south is the regions capital of Punta Arenas with a bigger airport that offers regular flights to Santiago de Chile.

Guided Treks in Torres del Paine

Another option is to book a complete tour – this way you can leave the organization, gear rental, transportation, 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.

Accommodation

Staying inside the park is certainly not cheap but a truly unique experience. On top of that the Lodges and Hotels you can find inside the limits of the National Park are incredible. Consider the following options for a once in a lifetime experience!

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Ecocamp Patagonia$$$9.1location, glamping at its best
Hotel Lago Grey$$$8.6close to glaciar grey, incredible viewpoints
Hotel Las Torres$$$$7.9tour options, most central location inside the park
Explora Patagonia$$$$$9.8Hands down one of the best and most exclusive places to stay in all of Patagonia!

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7) Carretera Austral, Chile

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

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 (see below) I dedicated a whole chapter to this 1200km long road which gives you access to the most remote areas in Patagonia.

Because the Carretera Austral is more or less a region on its own it'd go beyond this post to feature all destinations within this list. Therefore I put together another article where you can find all the places to visit in Patagonia that are located along the Carretera Austral:

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Full Patagonia Tours

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 Guide Books

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. Most of them are featured in my big Patagonia Documentary which you can find on YouTube.

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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!

 

Helpful? Pin me!

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.

This post is also available in: German

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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