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On South America’s southern frontier, nature grows wild, barren and beautiful. Spaces are large, as are the silences that fill them. For the newly arrived, such emptiness can be as impressive as the sight of Patagonia’s jagged peaks, pristine rivers and dusty backwater oases. In its enormous scale, Patagonia offers a wealth of potential experiences and landscapes.Rising within the snow-capped ridges, the landscape of Patagonia turns from dramatic backdrops to a spellbinding reality.
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Coastal treasures, ancient forests, dazzling glaciers and incredible wildlife - Patagonia's captured your imagination, but where do you start? We've cherry picked a few Patagonian delights f to get you started:
Explore Cueva de las Manos
The incredible rock art of Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands) was proclaimed a Unesco World Heritage site in 1999. Dating from about 7370 BC, these polychrome rock paintings cover recesses in the near-vertical walls with imprints of human hands, drawings of guanacos and, from a later period, abstract designs. Free guided walks are given every hour by knowledgeable staff. There’s an information centre and a basic confitería, but it’s best to bring your own food.
Stay at a Ranch
Estancia Telken offers a welcoming stay in the pretty countryside of Los Antiguos. This 1915 working sheep and horse ranch 25 km south of Perito Moreno has about 210 sq km of horseback riding and hiking possibilities, including a worthwhile meander along a creek bed up to the basalt plateau Meseta de Lago Buenos Aires.
Escape from it all in Camarones
Camarones takes home the gold for Patagonia’s sleepiest coastal village. Empty beaches are perfect for strolling and the sociable townsfolk are masters of the art of shooting the breeze. It is also the closest hub to the lesser-known Cabo Dos Bahías nature reserve, where you can visit 25,000 penguin couples and their fuzzy chicks. The very helpful oceanfront tourist office offers maps, good tips on scenic outings and lodging information.
Watch Glaciers at Parque Nacional los Glaciares
Glaciar Perito Moreno is the stunning centrepiece of the southern sector of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Locally referred to as Glaciar Moreno, it measures 30km long, 5km wide and 60m high, but what makes it exceptional in the world of ice is its constant advance – it creeps forward up to 2m per day, causing building-sized icebergs to calve from its face. In some ways, watching the glacier is a very sedentary park experience, but it manages to nonetheless be thrilling. The main gateway town to the park’s southern sector, El Calafate is 80 km east of the glacier by road. This is where you’ll find all the operators for tours and activities too.
Dive into watersports
With interesting shipwrecks and sea life nearby, Madryn and the Península Valdés have become Argentina’s diving capitals. Lobo Larsen and Scuba Duba are both quality PADI-affiliated operators and the former offers a special excursion for first-time divers. More into windsurfing or kayaking? In high season a hut next to Bernardino Club de Mar offers lessons and rents out regular and wide boards and kayaks by the hour. South of Muelle Piedrabuena, Playa Tomás Curti is a popular windsurfing spot.
To experience good weather, visit during the spring when the flowers are in bloom, or fall when the leaves are a fiery mosaic of red, orange, and yellow. The summer months (December—February) have the mildest weather, but keep in mind that temperatures rarely go above 70 degrees and the winds are strong.
Travelers should be aware that weather in Patagonia is highly unpredictable, particularly in spring and early summer. Weather and temperatures can fluctuate without warning and violent storms can sweep in from the Pacific. It’s helpful to pad your schedule with additional days in case you encounter inclement weather.
Patagonia is home to some of the most luxurious accommodations in South America. A collection of high-design villas created by Chilean architect Felipe Assadi, Awasi is scattered across a hillside facing the Torres del Paine peaks. Interiors borrow inspiration from gaucho culture and feature raw-wood accents, floor-to-ceiling views of cerulean lakes, and private outdoor hot tubs from which to view wildlife. During the day, select from 40 different guided hikes and horseback rides at explora Patagonia, or do some pampering at Tierra Patagonia’s spa.
It’s nearly impossible to leave Patagonia without indulging in a hearty dish of lamb or steak accompanied by one of Argentina or Chile’s highly-regarded wines, grown in the lush vineyards of Mendoza and the plentiful wine valleys outside of Santiago. Along with popular staples like Malbec and Syrah, be sure to try under-the-radar grapes like Torrontes from the Salta in northwestern Argentina and País from Chile’s Maule Valley, which both pair perfectly with signature Patagonian dishes like rich lamb raviolis topped with truffle oil.
Patagonia is a region in Argentina and Chile. Depending on your country of origin and which country you plan to visit will determine if you will need a passport.
Patagonia is shared across Argentina and Chile.This may sound really obvious, but if you’re not used to land-border crossings, it can be easy to board a bus forgetting that you’re heading to another country. And, depending on your route, you may cross the border several times between Chile and Argentina. Chile, in particular, is very strict with their border controls. You’ll go through a thorough screening process to keep invasive species out, to protect their fragile flora, fauna, and agricultural industries. As travelers, it’s normal to stock up on snacks for long journeys, but make sure you consume anything that isn’t permitted before you get to the border, like meat, fruit, and dairy products.
A word to the wise: you’ll want to be at top of your fitness game before visiting Patagonia. With an abundance of mountain ranges and treks perfect for beginners and experts alike, the region offers a range of heart-pounding outdoor adventures (so be sure to pack your trekking poles). For those travelers who prefer multi-day treks, opt for the W trek in Torres del Paine National Park with an outfitter like EcoCamp, or, if you’re limited on time but still want to see the grandeur of one of Patagonia’s peaks, go for a day hike to Laguna de Los Tres in Chalten with an operator like Say Hueque.
Patagonia is safe, high standards of hygiene keep out serious diseases away. Chile and Argentina do not require any type of vaccination. Anyways, find here some advice to keep you safe and foresee any trouble.
It is not recommended to start trekking from zero. Even if it is a short trek, it is good to prepare your body at a reasonable level. It is good to fit at least a month before, doing some intense walks of 1 hour twice a week. If you plan to do hard activity, fitness is essential.
Insurance is essential when coming to Patagonia. If you have a personal health plan or a travel insurance, check it covers activity such as trekking and outdoor walking and does not consider it as dangerous. It is good to be covered against theft and delays also. If something happens, remember to notify to a police station and get a written report otherwise insurance companies would not pay.
If you plan to go trekking out there it is good to bring a small first aid pack with you. It will be useful in case of blisters or some minor hurts.
Once here, it is important to keep hygiene. Washing your hands before having a meal is basic.
Water & Food
Water has no problem in Southern Patagonia. In fact water can be taken from pipes or streams but if you prefer to purificate it, boil water for 5 minutes to kill all pathogens. If you prefer to have natural water, Mineral Water can be found in stores anywhere. Food in the south of Chile and Argentina are prepared and served with high hygiene standards and eating vegetables is safe. Carrying supplementary dried fruits and vegetables is good for excursions and walks.
As Patagonia is shared by Argentina and Chile, the Argentinian and Chilean customs are mixed here.
The “cheek kiss” is an aspect of the Argentinean culture that cannot be forgotten. Aside from business interactions, which consist of the generic handshake, all other interactions require the cheek kiss. The cheek kiss is actually not a kiss at all, but more of cheek touches. Waving is considered rude, so when you leave a social gathering, be sure to cheek kiss everyone before you head out.
Americans eat quickly. We are always in a rush to get to our main destination. In Argentina, it is important to relax, slow down, and enjoy the company of those who you are dining with. If you are not in a rush, then there is no need to eat quickly.
Restaurants charge a fee for “services” – essentially, for the place setting – that is often functionally equivalent to a tip, but most Argentinians will add 10% of the bill to the total as a gratuity.
Chileans are friendly and hospitable, and they tend to be forgiving of mistakes made by foreigners. Even so, if you are familiar with the basics of Chilean etiquette, you can avoid many embarrassing and awkward situations.
Chilean culture tends to be more openly affectionate than what you might be used to. During conversations and greeting one another, a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or an enthusiastic pat on the back are all common things. This is especially true among close friends and relatives.
Clothing in Chile is conservative and formal. A person is often placed within a social hierarchy based on how they dress, so presenting yourself appropriately is important. Avoid wearing any revealing clothing, such as sleeveless tops, short skirts/shorts, or low-cut tops.
We the leisure team brings a wide range of customized Patagonia tour to offer you a perfect hassle-free vacation. The plans are tailored keeping in mind your requirements and benefits. Whatever might be your choice; an adventurous vacation, a luxury vacation, a family vacation or a romantic one, we are ready with the perfect plan for you. We value your safety as well as respect your privacy, and the tour experts plan your tour accordingly, either a packaged group tour or an independent tour. In all cases we ensure a hassle-free experience with magnificent accommodations, authentic local guides, and unimaginable excursions. So whether you wish to relax in a spa while enjoying scenic beauty or immerse yourself in the extreme trekking adventure, write to Leisure and we will bring you perfect tour from the top tour experts.
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