Patagonia, found in the southern part of the South American continent, boasts an abundance of both plant and animal life.
For nature enthusiasts, a delightful way to explore this region is by embarking on a leisurely cruise that meanders through the fjords, starting from Punta Arenas in Chile and concluding in Ushuaia, Argentina. The cruise promises an impressive variety of marine bird species as one of its main highlights. Additionally, you can encounter whales, dolphins, several types of penguins, sea lions, and a diverse array of land birds, making it an ideal destination for those passionate about observing sub-Antarctic wildlife.
If you're in search of an adventurous spark, consider a luxurious retreat nestled deep within Chilean Patagonia. Here, you can embark on treks, explore glaciers, enjoy scenic tours, or visit nearby estancias (farms) for a unique experience. Furthermore, Patagonia serves as a launchpad for Antarctic expeditions, offering you the opportunity to explore the best of both worlds!
Australis Cruising in Patagonia: This picturesque maritime route takes you through the fjords of Tierra del Fuego, showcasing the splendor and beauty of Patagonia along with some of its most significant historical sites. These cruises perfectly complement land-based Patagonian tours, providing access to remote and beautiful destinations that can only be reached by sea. Not to mention, you'll have the incredible opportunity to spot a wide variety of wildlife along the way.
Estancia: Wine, horses, and traditional barbecues - what's not to love? When visiting Patagonia, travelers can venture to a remote estancia (farm) to immerse themselves in the authentic country life experience. It's a fantastic option for those who want to embrace sustainable travel practices.
Los Glaciares National Park: This remarkable national park encompasses some of the most magnificent glaciers in Patagonia, including the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno glacier - a 30-kilometer-long river of ice that impressively "calves" at its face. Many consider it the most impressive and accessible glacier outside of the polar regions.
Pia Glacier: Nestled in a secluded area of Chilean Patagonia, the Pia Glacier is a truly breathtaking sight while cruising through the Beagle Channel. Visitors can take a close-up journey aboard Zodiac boats to marvel at its sheer enormity.
Torres del Paine National Park: Torres del Paine offers a rugged and awe-inspiring landscape featuring electric-blue icebergs, towering mountain peaks, turquoise waters, and a diverse array of plant and wildlife species. Travelers can embark on scenic tours, treks, and glacier visits during their stay here.
When to go / useful information
When to go
The optimal time to explore Patagonia falls during the summer months, spanning from November to April, offering mild and pleasant weather. This conveniently aligns with the Antarctic cruise season, making these two destinations an ideal pairing for your adventure.
Currency: The local currency is the Argentinean Peso (ARS) which is divided into 100 centavos. Most establishments (cafes, bars, restaurants and tour operators) will accept US dollars in cash at a much better rate of exchange, saving you anywhere from 50-100% over the official rate of exchange.
Language: The official language of Patagonia is Spanish but there are small pockets of indigenous communities within Patagonia who speak Mapuche.
What makes it special:Patagonia has a wide variety of unique landscapes in the region. With virgin forests, glaciers, snow capped mountains, rivers, volcanoes and more, this remote region proves to be a true paradise for nature-lovers, adventure-seekers and photographers alike. Some other gems are (a) The penguin population here nearly matches the human population (b) Some of the planet's premier whale-watching spots can be found here (c) It serves as a gateway for Antarctic expeditions (d) There exists a distinctive community of Welsh residents (e) The largest dinosaur ever recorded was discovered here.
Weather: Generally, Patagonia is much cooler and drier due to its positioning with the South Pacific Ocean, Southern Ocean and the Andes – all combining to produce colder, stronger winds which in turn reduces the overall temperature of the region.
Social customs: A classic Patagonian barbecue entails a lamb slow-roasted on a rotating stick over an open fire. It's a special event and highly social, in which family, friends, and neighbors gather to share stories around the fire and bond over traditional food. Patagonia’s culture and traditions are a unique blend of Latin American indigenous traditions and European customs that have been shaped by variables such as extreme weather, unbelievably vast landscapes and a deep sense of isolation from the rest of the world.