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Where In The World Is Patagoinia?
So you’ve added Patagonia to your vacation bucket list, but you realize you aren’t entirely sure what areas of South America tours to Patagonia cover. The quick and dirty answer is this – Patagonia is located at the southern end of South America and is a territory shared by two countries, Chile and Argentina. Both countries are often frequented by adventurous tourists, but we are going to focus on Argentina!
In Argentina, the area referred to as Patagonia covers nearly all of the southern portion of mainland Argentina. There are many reasons to plan a Patagonia Tour. The region boasts fjords, mountains, grasslands, glaciers, lakes, rushing rivers, and wildlife. In fact, Patagonia is said to have more wildlife and open land than actual people! If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and escape to a magical, pristine wilderness, an Argentina tour may be just the thing for you.
Make Your Travel Plans To Patagonia
No matter where you are coming from, you will most likely stop in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Many tour operators and solo adventurers begin their trek into Patagonia from this city. No matter where you are planning to travel on your Patagonia tour, stopping in this major hub is your best bet. From there, you can travel to Bariloche, which is approximately 1,000 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. Most people book a small charter plane from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. This two-hour flight takes you to the entry point of Argentine Patagonia!
What Can I Do In Patagonia?
Many travelers come to Patagonia for one reason: to hike across the region’s spectacular glaciers. If glaciers are on your travel list, there are two main parks that you will want to visit on your Patagonia tour. The first is Los Glaciares National Park and the second is Torres del Paine National Park.
- Los Glaciares National Park – Located in the Southwest of Santa Cruz Province, this park covers nearly 2,316 square miles. The park owes its name to the numerous glaciers covering almost half of this massive area, including the Perito Moreno glacier. This glacier is one of the most important tourist attractions in Patagonia and covers 97 square miles! On your trek across this amazing natural formation, you’ll encounter icebergs, glaciers, glacial lakes, and lush wood valleys, as well as spectacular views of the Andes Mountains.
- Torres del Paine National Park – Tours to Patagonia just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this national park. The park is home to massive mountains, where many tourists come to hike. But it is also home to the Grey Glacier, which is part of the larger South Patagonian Ice Field. Many visitors consider trekking across the top of this glacier to be the highlight of visiting Torres del Paine. At its highest point, the ice towers over the landscape at 100 feet. The glacier itself is nearly four miles wide. If you are looking for adventure on your Argentina tour, this is a great place to start!
- Bonus Trip Tip – if you like hiking, Los Glaciares National Park is the place to be. One of the most popular hikes in the park is the Mount Fitz Roy hike. Located in the northern part of the park, the hike up to Mount Fitz Roy features incredible scenery. The path is lined with river valley views, mountain panoramas, shady forests, and sparkling lakes. For most adventurers, the highlight of this hike is seeing Mount Fitz Roy looming over Laguna de los Tres at its base. Although the route can be challenging, the hike is one of the most popular ones in the park as well as the most rewarding. Experienced hikers have completed the trek in a day, but if you want to take your time there are campgrounds along the route.
Visiting The Wineries of Mendoza
Tours to Patagonia would not be complete without a visit to the city of Mendoza! Mendoza is the main wine producer and exporter in Argentina, and is responsible for 70 percent of the country’s wine production. The area surrounding the city is home to approximately 800 wineries, some of which are considered the best vineyards in the world. The city has become a hot spot for wine aficionados, emerging as the basecamp for tourists who want to explore the wineries located along the Argentina Wine Route.
Mendoza is also the closest city to Aconcagua Provincial Park, where you will find the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Aconcagua Provincial Park 114 miles away from the city of Mendoza, near the border the country shares with Chile. Here you’ll find the Aconcagua Mountain, which is 22,000 feet high. This peak is an icon for tourists who are interested in climbing it! In fact, the legendary mountain attracts serious mountain climbers, trekking tourists, and ecotourists alike. Trekking is one of the most developed activities within the park and there are several paths available for less experienced hikers. Most of the trails are better suited to mountain climbers, however, although the more adventurous (and fit) soul can try one of the “easier” trails located in the park.
Whether you want to hike a glacier, summit a mountain, or relax with a good bottle of vino at an exclusive winery, tours to Patagonia have it all! So pack your poncho and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in one of the most beautiful places in South America.