Where In The World Is Patagonia?
There are many tour companies that offer guided trips to Patagonia, but many people are not even sure where to find Patagonia! The trick is knowing that Patagonia is not a country – instead, it is a huge, geographical region shared by Argentina and Chile on the south end of the South American continent. The region we call Patagonia covers an area of more than 409,500 square miles. Its landscape ranges from steppes to deserts to lakes, and from mountains and glaciers to fjords. The region is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and the Pacific Ocean in the west. Many guided Patagonia tours will take you to Tierra del Fuego, which lies at the southern tip of Patagonia and is considered the southernmost point of the world.
How Do I Get To Patagonia?
If you’re taking one of the many tours to Patagonia from the US, you will need to book an international flight to Patagonia. No matter where you are flying from, you will most likely need to catch a connection for Patagonia in either Santiago de Chile (in Chilean Patagonia) or Buenos Aires in Argentina. If you are traveling on your own (without the help of a tour company), search for flight tickets to the capital of Chile or Argentina and then book a connecting domestic flight. Once you land at either of these cities’ airports, you can continue on to Patagonia by way of connecting flights to Puerto Montt, Chochrane, El Calafate, Punta Arenas, or Ushuaia.
Booking A Tour Versus Going Solo
Patagonia is known for its pristine nature and unspoiled wilderness, epic views, and almost endless hiking trails. And as beautiful as it is, it’s practically impossible to see everything Patagonia has to offer in one visit. Planning a comprehensive itinerary that packs in everything you want to do and see, as well as arranging all the logistics of travel and lodging in a foreign country, can be a daunting task. For this reason, many tourists prefer to book with a reputable company that offers tours to Patagonia from the US.
Patagonia isn’t your average destination. Even seasoned travelers can benefit from the help of a travel company. Here are some of the benefits guided trips to Patagonia offer:
- A professional tour operator will help you piece together your dream trip based on the amount of time you have for your trip as well as your budget.
- A tour operator will arrange visits to the places you want to see, and will offer suggestions to visit similar locations that you might not know about – but won’t want to miss!
- Once you decide what you want to do and see on your trip, a professional tour operator will help you put together an itinerary that makes the most of your time in Patagonia.
- Your tour operation will plan all of your international flights (if you need them to do so), arrange your transportation in the country, and book all of your lodging to create a seamless adventure for you.
- Once you are happy with the trip’s itinerary (and the cost), your tour operator will book everything for you and provide you with a day-by-day itinerary.
- When you book with a professional tour company, they will be available to you before, during, and after your trip with advice and support when you need it.
Most guided trips to Patagonia will allow you to either choose from a trip with a standard itinerary, or the tour operators can help you customize a dream vacation from scratch. Of course, they are more than happy to offer suggestions to make the trip even better – they are experts and want to ensure that you have a great experience on your once-in-a-lifetime trip.
What Types Of Guided Patagonia Tours Are Available?
With so much to do in Patagonia, the types of trips offered are seemingly endless. Here are a few examples of the types of guided trips to Patagonia that professional tour operators offer:
- Puma tracking – the elusive puma is the largest predator in Patagonia. Hunting this magnificent creature is illegal, so its numbers have gradually increased. They can live in the cold, warmth, forest, and mountains. This hard-to-track cat is most often seen at dusk and dawn, hunting guanaos. A professional tour operator with seasoned puma trackers will give you the best chance of spotting one of these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
- Whale watching – Patagonia’s waters are home to the orca, humpback, southern right, and blue whale. You can reserve a spot on a whale-watching cruise or boat trip to protected marine parks within the fjords and bays of Chile and Argentina, to see these magnificent creatures up close.
- Patagonia Penguins – Patagonia is home to five penguin species. Travelers can see Magellanic, Humboldt, Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper, and King penguins anywhere from Punta Arenas to Tierra del Fuego on day trips to rocky hillside nests or boat landings at giant colonies.
- Glaciers - Patagonia's glaciers carved the region’s jagged landscape as they pushed out from their source, the massive South Patagonian Ice Cap. The glaciers now hang crumbling over cliffs and sweep down valleys to calve into lagoons and bays. Many guided Patagonia tours include boat trips, ice hikes, kayak trips or ski tours to explore these frozen surfaces.
- Polar ice cap – the world’s second-largest polar ice sheet can be found in Patagonia! More than 18,000 years ago, a vast ice sheet covered most of Chile and Argentina. Today, only the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields remain. Visitors can summit the ice field’s outlying peaks or practice ice climbing skills, or simply admire the vast expanse of ice from a safe distance!
Whether you are visiting Patagonia to hike one of its many mountainous trails, track wildlife, visit its wine country, or take in the capital’s nightlife, there’s no shortage of tours to Patagonia from the US to reserve. So, get your hiking boots ready and start planning your trip abroad. If you plan wisely, you may even be able to visit Tierra del Fuego and stand at the end of the world.