Patagonia

Patagonia is like nowhere else in South America. This part of the world stretches over the southern regions of Argentina and Chile; a land full of epic mountains, lakes and glaciers. Everywhere you look, you see yet more jaw-dropping views that have you breathlessly exclaiming ‘wow’. It’s a special part of the world not to be missed when travelling to South America, and yet it was the last place I visited on my travels of that continent. It was certainly worth the wait though.

Perrito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

We spent about 11 days visiting Patagonia, which gave us just about enough time to visit El Calafate, pop over to Puerto Natales in Chile and do a 4-day hike in the National Park Torres del Paine and then head back over the border to the charming town of El Chaltén.

We visited in December, which is said to be one of the best times to go. Due to its extreme weather conditions, you’re advised to visit during the ‘warmer’ spring and summer months of October to March. I emphasise ‘warmer’, because as well as reaching above 30˚C some days, still, the temperature can drop below zero and still, you can encounter snow. The weather is renowned for being hard to predict and ‘completamente loco’, particularly its super strong winds that can knock you over. So, it really is important to be careful and come prepared for all 4 seasons in a day. Being from England, this wasn’t too difficult for us.

Patagonia is notoriously expensive; even more so than the rest of Argentina. The average Argentinian will not have visited this part of their country as it’s way beyond their means. You will notice when you arrive, it is overwhelmingly full of foreign tourists, mostly from Europe and the US. Having said that, as with all the trips on The Mini Explorer, we have tried to do it on a budget. I will give you a breakdown of costs and information on where we stayed and what we did, so hopefully it won’t break the bank for you.

Our trip to Patagonia was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to plan, particularly the hike in Torres del Paine. There really is a lack of information available (especially in English) and so I relied a lot on reading various blogs, contacting people who had done it previously and in the end, keeping our fingers crossed that things would simply turn out right. So, I hope this page can be of use to you, save you some time and give you some reassurance. Patagonia was definitely one of our highlights of South America – up there with the Galápagos and Machu Picchu – so it really was worth all the preparation and planning!

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