World → South America → Patagonian Andes
One of the best hiking regions in the world is the
PATAGONIAN ANDES Top 10
The very name evokes. Inspires a wild, exotic urge to explore.
AT A GLANCE
- most 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
WHY WE LIKE THIS REGION
- 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.
- 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.