5 ways to... Experience Patagonia

From tooth-like peaks to waddling penguins

Patagonia is an epic wilderness of mighty mountains, windswept plains and glistening glaciers that covers the tail end of South America, down the Andes and across both Chile and Argentina. Whether you want to gallop along with the gauchos or take in the majestic landscapes and wildlife at a more leisurely pace, there are trips to suit most inclinations. 

In luxury

Torres del Paine National Park is one of Chile’s most dramatic portions of Patagonia. The centrepiece is a crop of tooth-like peaks known as the Cordillera del Paine. In the plains below, llama-like guanacos roam, emus prance and condors soar in the skies above. The newest lodge is Awasi (00 56 2 2233 9641; awasipatagonia.com). Located in a private reserve, it stands amid a forest of lenga trees, with views to Lake Sarmiento and the mountains. Accommodation is in a series of stark, wood-and-metal cubes  scattered amid the bleak but beautiful landscape. Inside, luxury unfurls with wood-burning stoves, double beds and sunken baths. Tailormade excursions might range from climbing the Sierra Contreras to tracing the footsteps of British explorer, Florence Dixie. Three nights US$2,100 (£1,400)pp, all inclusive, with a driver and guide.

Hiking on a glacier Hiking on a glacier On a budget

For hardy trekkers, there are refugios. These simple mountain huts offer shelter around the national parks. Come bearing cash, hiking boots, a sleeping bag and lots of layers. The more sophisticated refugios offer bunks, while others have camping grounds or pre-pitched tents. Meals and drinks are provided for a small fee. La Confluencia (00 54 2944 498 329; laconfluencia.com) near El Bolsón in Argentina, is an impressive example. It has a yoga studio, spa and private rooms from 1,100 pesos (£100) or bunks from 230 pesos (£20)pp. Nearby options for creating a circuit include Refugio Hielo Azul or El Retamal ( turismoelbolson.gov.ar).

On four legs

Ramp up the majesty of Patagonia by galloping across the plains on horseback. Specialist tour operators, such as Ride Worldwide (01837 82 544; rideworldwide.com) and In The Saddle (01299 272997; inthesaddle.com), offer a range of itineraries for novices and experts. The former has a week based at Estancia Huechahue, a working cattle ranch 1,000 miles south of Buenos Aires, for US$2,800 (£1,866)pp, with  full board and activities, but  not flights.  

Close to nature 

The confetti of islands that scatter out from Ushuaia – the southernmost city in the world – to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, are brimming with curious creatures. Besuited Magellanic penguins waddle into the water, past pods of languorous sea lions lumbering on rocks. You might even see the tail of a humpback whale flick above the water. Journey Latin America (020 3355 7488; journeylatinamerica.co.uk) has a holiday that travels by boat around Cape Horn from Ushuaia in Argentina to Punta Arenas in Chile. The four- or five-day trip costs £864/£1,010pp, full board with excursions, but not flights.

Surrounded by water

The snow-capped mountains,  ever-changing glaciers and emerald green bodies of water, that together form the Lake District, fan out either side of the Andean border, around the towns of Bariloche and San Martín in Argentina, and Temuco and Valdivia in Chile. Spend time on a boat, don a wetsuit for some watersports or go fishing on Select Latin America’s (020 7407 1478; selectlatinamerica.co.uk) 11-day “Eco Chile” trip, which covers Santiago, the Lake District and southern Patagonia with flights, for £4,129pp.

Read more
5 ways to... take a cruise  
5 ways to... follow Dalí
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
News
An Apple iPhone 6 stands on display at the Apple Store
businessRegulators give iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the green light
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britain's internet habits have been revealed in a new survey
tech
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
news
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style