The world has changed since Chatwin published his classic travelogue, ‘In Patagonia’ in 1977. But Patagonia itself hasn’t changed much. Amid the hustle and bustle of modern life, Patagonia remains a refuge for all things wild.
It can take some time to adjust to the slow pace of life in this windswept archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America. The din of planes and iPhones fades away, replaced with the sweet sound of the breeze rustling in the beech trees, the sea lapping on rocky shores, the thunderous roar of a glacier calving into gleaming blue waters.
Intrepid travellers have been drawn to Patagonia since the 19th century. Bruce Chatwin experienced it on foot, Charles Darwin by sea, and each of them returned home with rich tales of voyages in an untamed wilderness.
Here’s our top 4 reasons to trek Patagonia:
You like to test yourself physically
For the physically adventurous, there are few places on Earth more invigorating and inspiring than the Patagonian Andes. The howling winds, sheltered forests and beautifully savage pinnacles transport you into a world far removed from the daily routine.
Hiking in Patagonia requires a moderate level of fitness, and you can expect to spend 5-8 hours walking, often on consecutive days. In the evening you will return to your cosy, comfortable lodging to replenish and reflect on the sublime landscapes and experiences of the day. If you’ve been looking for a reason to start training, this could be it!
You prefer small group travel
While our expedition cruises can accommodate up to 120 people, on Patagonia hiking trips you will travel with a small cadre of like-minded, adventurous travellers*.
Accompanied by our wonderful local expedition leaders and guides, our small groups allow you to enter the Patagonian wilderness and feel delightfully insignificant. As our numbers are small, unexpected and exciting encounters with furry or feathered friends can occur, so keep an eye out – Patagonia is home to Andean condors, charismatic guanacos (native South American mammal similar to a llama), rheas, flamingos and the elusive Patagonian puma!
You have your heart set on visiting Los Glaciares National Park
Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is an extraordinarily beautiful region that lends itself perfectly to exploration on foot. It is the home of the Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre peaks and the radiant Perito Moreno glacier. To get a sense of the enormity of Perito Moreno, consider this: this glacier covers 250 square kilometres (155 square miles), and it’s the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water. The only way to truly appreciate its scale is to approach it on foot and stand back in awe as great chunks crash into the water below.
You have already booked an Antarctic voyage, and you want to make the most of your time in this remarkable part of the world
Flying to South America is a long journey and, for some, a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Many find the temptation to explore the wild southern reaches of South America on Ushuaia’s doorstep irresistible and extend their trips to enjoy the riches this region has to offer.
Hiking in Patagonia might be the best way to shake off the jet lag and stretch your legs before embarking on the two day crossing of the Drake Passage. Alternatively, a hike in Patagonia at the end of your voyage is a fantastic way to readjust to life on land before flying home or continuing your travels around South America.