Patagonia is the land of glaciers, breathtaking views, national parks and beautiful cities. It’s such a diverse region that you can go to the beach and then climb a glacier without leaving Patagonia. Make sure to stroll among the penguins, go whale watching and play water sports. That’s in case you don’t plan to do some trekking or climbing.
Patagonia is a region in Argentina, bordered by the Cuyo and Pampas regions to the north, by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and by Chile to the south and east.
Patagonia comprises the well known region of Tierra del Fuego (the base for pretty much all excursions and treks to Antarctica).
Most important cities
Ushuaia is the largest city in Tierra del Fuego. The city is home to several interesting museums. You can get out of the town to hike Glacier Martial, which offers great views of the city and surrounding area.
El Calafate is a small town which owns its development to the travelers coming to explore the region. Close to the city you can visit Perito Moreno Glacier (read more about it below).
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Puerto Madryn is a popular summer destination thanks to its beautiful beaches. Between October and March make sure to take the day trip to Punta Tombo to visit the penguin colony. You can also go whale watching. There are boats departing from Peninsula Valdes.
San Carlos de Bariloche is located on the foothills of the Andes, surrounded by lakes and mountains. It’s famous for skiing, trekking, climbing and water sports.
What to do
There are plenty of things to do while visiting Patagonia so let’s start with the most interesting.
Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the Patagonian glaciers which are not yet retreating. You’ll find it in the Los Glaciares National Park (near El Calafate). It is the most viewed glacier in Argentina and there are plenty of viewpoint and footbridges which allow you to get a good view of the glacier. There is the possibility to take a mini trekking trail on the glacier (you do need a guide!). You can also take boat excursions within the park to see all the glaciers.
There’s another national park in the area: Nahuel Huapi National Park, which is located in San Carlos de Bariloche. It’s a great place to go mountain biking, rock climbing and paragliding. Rafting and kayaking are also popular sports.
Want to taste something wonderful? Try the cordero, which is the local lamb. It has a unique flavor because of the mixture of herbs it eats. And the desserts are also wonderful here. Try facturas — pastries eaten for breakfast — or alfajores — traditional cookies. And make sure to wash those down with mate, a bitter tea (but often sugar, milk and cinnamon are added to it).
Where to stay
There are plenty of hostels to stay in pretty much any of the cities mentioned above. The ones in Ushuaia tend to be a bit on the hefty side, for whatever reason. You should research in advance and book to make sure you’ve to a place to stay when you get there.
>>more information on Hostels in Argentina