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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot