World → South AmericaPatagonian Andes

One of the best hiking regions in the world is the


The very name evokes. Inspires a wild, exotic urge to explore.


  • Patagonian Andesmost famous is the double adventure: Paine and Fitz Roy
  • but Patagonia offers much, much more
  • great variety: arid desert, lush tundra meadows, rich rainforests, smoking volcanoes, towering granite spires, some of the largest ice fields on Earth
  • here are the world’s most southerly established treks
  • parts are similar to south island New Zealand and the Coast Range in BC, Canada
  • 5 hiking districts (North to South):
    • The Araucania
    • Lakes District
    • Central Patagonia
    • Southern Patagonia
    • Tierra del Fuego
  • most of the best hikes are challenging
  • independent, self-sufficient hikers will love it
  • hiking season is Nov-Apr. Feb-Mar is the best weather
Paine Circuit

Paine Circuit


  • South American Explorers club 
  • sparsely inhabited. There are places here never ever seen by any man.
  • travel in Argentina is still relative inexpensive. Chile, not so much.
  • glaciers at low elevation (no risk of altitude sickness)
  • some treks have alpine huts (refugios) providing meals & basic supplies. But most require you carry a tent.
  • steaming thermal springs
  • easy-to-climb volcanoes
  • The Lake District called “Switzerland of South America”
  • few biting insects at higher elevations
  • few dangerous animals of any kind


  • conversational Spanish almost essential
  • Argentina is less expensive and more welcoming than Chile. (Be aware that Chile charges an expensive reciprocal tourist visa fee for some nationalities if you arrive by air.)
  • access to The Lake District is easy by bus from Santiago, Chile. Or, better, from Bariloche, Argentina.
  • transportation to distant southern Patagonia, however, can be problematic
  • check the map for airports. Most hikers fly via Santiago, or, better, Buenos Aires.
Fitz Roy

Fitz Roy

  • the more time you have for your trip, the better, in this part of the world. Logistics are time consuming.
  • the trails are busiest Jan to mid-Feb
  • the west coast is too WET, even for us. Stay inland.
  • In fact, the major downside to Patagonian hiking is the weather. Wind, cold, rain. Be prepared for everything.
  • Public transport is limited to some of the best hikes.

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