Things to do in Patagonia

Things to do in  Patagonia

The end of the earth

Travelers in search of wide-open spaces and solitude will find both in abundance in Patagonia, which stretches over Chile and Argentina. The enormous expanse of wild South American land is home to windswept steppes, dramatic mountains, glacial lakes, and one lonely road: the famous RN 40, which runs parallel to the Andes. Explore the Perito Moreno, Upsala, and Spegazzini glaciers by kayak; visit Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares, or Tierra del Fuego national parks; or trek on the Patagonian Ice Field. You can also ride the train to the end of the world in Tierra del Fuego, or take a sailing expedition on the Beagle Channel.

Top 15 attractions in Patagonia

Beagle Channel

The narrow Beagle Channel, separating Argentina's island chain of Tierra del Fuego to the north from remote Chilean islands to the south, serves as a waterway for the world's southernmost city, Ushuaia. It’s also one of the most important bodies of water in South America.More

Tierra del Fuego National Park

When travelers make their way to the far southern reaches of Argentina, chances are they’re heading into Tierra del Fuego National Park. The country’s only coastal national park protects the Andean-Patagonian forest, a land of peat bogs, beech forests, glistening lakes, remote beaches, and snow-capped peaks ideal for outdoor adventures.More

Perito Moreno Glacier

The beauty of Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia has earned it the nickname of the "Eighth Wonder of the World” in Argentina. It’s the planet's third-largest reserve of fresh water and one of the continent's last advancing glaciers, slowly making its way in crackling celestial blue from the granite spires of the Chilean Torres del Paine into Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares).More

Los Glaciares National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares)

PaLos Glaciares National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares) protects Argentina’s wild Patagonian expanses of icy glaciers and mountain lakes. With a massive 47 glaciers, the Andean ice cap is the largest outside Antarctica and Greenland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to several natural wonders, including Perito Moreno Glacier and Mount Fitz Roy.More

Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino)

Encompassing a colossal 566 square miles (911 square-kilometers), Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino) is the largest lake in the country. El Calafate, the UNESCO-listed Perito Moreno Glacier, and the Upsala Glacier are all perched on its shores, so the lake serves as the gateway to some of Patagonia’s most impressive glacial landscapes.More

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse is often mistaken for “The Lighthouse at the End of the World,” made famous by novelist Jules Verne. Verne was actually inspired by the San Juan de Salvamento lighthouse, further east, but it’s a fitting description nonetheless: Les Eclaireurs is the last landmark many sailors see as they sail south to Antarctica.More

End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo)

For the ultimate end-of-the-earth adventure, ride the world’s southernmost train to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Leave from outside Ushuaia and follow the historic convict train route, passing beech forests, peat bogs, and reminders of the timber-felling worksites of Ushuaia prisoners from 1901 to 1941.More

Lapataia Bay

With deserted beaches, rocky isles, and glittering waters, and bordered by the snow-capped peaks of the southern Andes, Lapataia Bay serves up some of Patagonia’s most enticing views. Located at the very end of the Pan-American Highway, it’s one of the many highlights of the Tierra del Fuego National Park.More

Upsala Glacier

South America’s largest glacier, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate, measures 35 miles (56 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Upsala Glacier is among seven glaciers feeding Lake Argentino, where boats dodge icebergs the size of small islands en route to the wall of ice.More

Lago Roca

This glacial lake in the south of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego National Park entices outdoor enthusiasts with its fishing spots, Patagonian forest hikes, and shoreline campsites. Crossing the border into Chile, where it becomes Lago Errazuriz, the area is also a convenient launch point for wider Andean adventure.More

Esmeralda Lagoon (Laguna Esmeralda)

The Esmeralda Lagoon hike is a popular afternoon and evening activity just outside of Ushuaia. Set in a wide valley in the Fuegian Andes, Esmeralda Lagoon is ringed by native coihue and lenga forests. The hike traverses several peat bogs, which cover much of Tierra Del Fuego’s low-lying lands, before arriving at the shore of the lagoon.More

Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio (MEF)

Argentinian Patagonia is a massive chunk of land, extending from wind-whipped southern shorelines to snowy Andean peaks. Animals have walked and hunted this landscape for hundreds of millions of years—and much of it is documented right here in this museum of paleontology. When visiting Egidio Feruglio, stare in wonder at a dinosaur skeleton that’s 150 million years old, or the fossilized bones of an ancient turtle that lived 60 million years ago. You’ll also find the history of peoples who settled Patagonia, enduring the harsh, challenging landscape and finding a way to survive. While exhibits date back all the way to microorganisms, it’s the dinosaur fossils from the Mesozoic Era that make the museum stand out. Whenever fossils are found in Patagonia they often end up in these halls, where teams of some of the world’s best paleontologists will study them and put them together. In total, over 1,700 fossils are found inside the museum walls, from marine life and plants to early mammals and fearsome, furious dinosaurs. Add in some fun-filled children’s exhibits and a stream of new discoveries, and the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio (MEF) is a fascinating stop in Trelew.More

Estancia Harberton

Overlooking the icy waters of Beagle Channel, Estancia Harberton offers a glimpse into the history and wildlife of Tierra del Fuego. The oldest residence in the area, the still-working property dates back to 1887 when it was established by English missionary Thomas Bridges and remains in the hands of his descendants.More

Lake Escondido

Lago Escondido, which translates to Hidden Lake, is surrounded by the Fuegian Andes just north of Ushuaia, Argentina. Many tourists choose to visit on a day-trip from Ushuaia; however, Hosteria Petral provides a lakeside basecamp for anybody interested in taking advantage of its status as a popular sport-fishing destination.Brown and Rainbow trout can be caught in the lake itself, while brook trout are most often landed near stream inlets or around the many beaver dams that surround the lake.Other popular activities in the area include horseback riding along the lakeshore, boat and kayak tours on the crystal-clear waters, and, oddly, Canadian-style wildlife watching. Lago Escondido is an excellent place to watch Canadian beavers, which were introduced to southern Patagonia in 1946 with false hope to spur a declining fur trade.More

Lake Fagnano

The largest lake on Tierra del Fuego Island, Lake Fagnano (or Lake Cami stretches more than 62 miles (100 kilometers, all the way across the Chilean border. Flanked by virgin Patagonian forest and rolling steppe to the north and the steep peaks of the Fuegian Andes to south, it’s a thrilling introduction to Patagonia’s wild landscapes.More

Top activities in Patagonia

Torres Del Paine Full Day Overland Truck 4x4 From Calafate
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Torres Del Paine Full Day Overland Truck 4x4 From Calafate

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Perito Moreno Glacier Day Trip with Optional Boat Ride from El Calafate
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Peninsula Valdes Tour from Puerto Madryn With optional Whale Watching
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Full-Day Perito Moreno Ice Trek from El Calafate
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One day in El Chalten with Trekking

One day in El Chalten with Trekking

Gourmet Glaciers Navigation

Gourmet Glaciers Navigation

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All about Patagonia

When to visit

Summer (December through February) is the most popular time to explore Patagonia’s wild landscapes, with daytime temperatures reaching 70°F (21°C) in the north. It’s the best time for hiking and glacier cruises, and in the far south, cruise ships set sail for Antarctica between November and March. Temperatures rarely bob above freezing in winter (June through August), especially in the far south, but if you don’t mind braving the cold, it’s prime ski season and whale-watching season along the coast.

Getting around

Whether hiking across glaciers, horseback riding along the Andean steppe, or long-distance cycling along Ruta 40, traveling in Patagonia is all about getting outdoors. You’ll need wheels to get around, but if you don’t fancy renting your own 4x4, take a local bus or shuttle, which link the main towns and national parks. Patagonia’s coast is best admired from the water, and regular boat cruises and ferries set out to explore the rocky shores and coastal islands.

Traveler tips

Skip the tourist hub of El Calafate, which can get overcrowded in season, and head to El Chalten instead—it’s the base camp for numerous hikes around Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. Further north, one of Patagonia’s most thrilling hikes winds its way through Nahuel Huapi National Park to reach the lesser-known Cerro Tronador glacier, where you can camp out at the edge of the glacier.

Local Currency
Argentine Peso (ARS)
Time Zone
ART (UTC -3)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Patagonia famous for?

Patagonia is famed as South America’s last frontier. It has a reputation for being vast, untamed, and beautiful. The region encompasses diverse landscapes, which include icy glaciers, soaring mountains, turquoise lakes, and lush forest. It is also home to one of South America’s top attractions: Torres del Paine National Park.

Is Patagonia better in Chile or Argentina?

Whether it is better to visit Patagonia in Argentina or Chile depends on preferences. Patagonia is bigger in Argentina, offering more activities and diverse landscapes, such as the less-visited Los Glaciares National Park. However, Chilean Patagonia is easier to get around and includes the must-see Torres del Paine National Park.

Is Patagonia worth visiting?

Yes. Patagonia offers magnificent, diverse landscapes, and it is an especially good destination for adventurous travelers who love to explore the outdoors. Activities include glacier trekking, visiting a penguin colony, and hiking through forests and to lakes. The Patagonia region is distinctive and well worth making the effort to visit.

How many days do you need in Patagonia?

Getting to and around Patagonia can take time, so you’ll want to dedicate at least seven to 10 days to fully experience the region without rushing around. A 7–10 day trip is long enough to hike some trails in Torres del Paine National Park and explore Los Glaciares National Park.

What airport do you fly into for Patagonia?

There are two. To reach Chile Patagonia you would depart from Santiago and fly into the Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ) in Punta Arenas. To reach Argentine Patagonia, you would depart from Buenos Aires and fly into the Comandante Armando Tola International Airport (FTE) in El Calafate.

What is the best month to visit Patagonia?

With its warm weather and long days, the summer season (November to March) is the best time to visit Patagonia and enjoy its many outdoor adventures. January and February are peak tourist months, so you can avoid the biggest crowds by aiming for a visit in November, December, or March.

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