The faraway land of Patagonia rests in both Chile and Argentina and boasts dramatic glaciers, mountainscapes, waterfalls, and an eclectic mix of flora and fauna. To gain a true intimacy with this region it’s best to see it on foot, and in a kayak, with a bit of driving thrown in. A guided tour through this rugged paradise departs from El Calafate, Argentina, with the first stop being the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Andes. Rest your feet during the 5-hour scenic drive to El Chalten, where you’ll hike through Los Glaciares National Park, exploring dramatic rock spires, clear streams, and the flourishing bird community. While in the park, hop in a kayak and paddle past Mount Fitz Roy and Upsala Glacier.
Prepare yourself for endless miles of beauty as you drive to the fishing village of Puerto Natales, situated on the Ultima Esperanza Fjord, also called Channel of Last Hope. Then, go from car to kayak and cruise towards Torres del Paine National Park where the mammoth Balmaceda Glacier tumbles down from the mountains. Before returning to Calafete, complete Torres del Paine’s 5-day W Trek, discovering granite pinnacles, spellbinding lakes strewn with icebergs, and the mesmerizing French Valley.
While you can fly into El Calafate International Airport which is located approximately 21 km east of the city of El Calafate, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, most visitors coming from North America and Europe will need to catch a connecting flight in Buenos Aires. Nonstop flights from the United States leave from New York City, Miami, Houston, and Atlanta. Canadian travellers can fly to Buenos Aires, with one connection along the way, from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa. Those flying out of Europe can hop on a direct flight in Madrid, London, Paris, Rome, and Frankfurt. Wondering if you have to hire a guide? Patagonia doesn’t require a guide in most locations, but you’re likely to have a richer experience with a Patagonia-pro leading the way. There are numerous high quality guided tours offered in this region.