A first timer’s guide to Patagonia

photo by CC user Bryan Freeman on wikipedia.org

Want to explore the wildness of one of the world’s most southerly places? If you are looking for a first timer’s guide to Patagonia, this post will get you started planning your itinerary…

1) Chiloe Island, Chile

Begin your adventures on the pastoral island of Chiloe, where the simple lifestyle practiced here will severely tempt you into hanging up your boots. From the sublimely beautiful harbor town of Ancud, to the overwater palafitos of Castro, the settlements that you will find in this place will charm you within moments of arrival.

Before you eventually move on, make certain that you check out some of the wooden shingled churches (which are recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site) scattered across the isle, as well as making arrangements to go on a penguin tour and to tour wild Pacific coast on the western side of Chiloe.

2) Puerto Natales, Chile

Next, buy tickets for a southward bound ferry that will take you through channels and fjords that rival the scenery of British Columbia’s and Alaska’s Inside Passage on the other side of the world. While the journey is an attraction in and of itself, you’ll be even more impressed at what you find when you arrive at Puerto Natales, your end destination.

Located at the doorstep of breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park, you’ll spend a couple of days gearing up for a week of trekking and camping beside crystalline lakes, fields of golden grass, and twisted peaks of sculpted granite. Pure bliss awaits you here.

3) El Calafate, Argentina

Standing in stark contrast to the lushness of the western side of the Patagonian Andes is the dusty yet inspiring foothill town of El Calafate, located on the Andes’ eastern slope in Argentina.

The lack of precipitation here is apparent in the sparse grasslands that unfold to the east of the mountain front, yet beauty is everywhere here, as the electric blue pallor of the waters of Lago Argentina hint at the presence of glaciers.

Indeed, when one takes a tour bus an hour to the west, you’ll come upon the most awesome wall of ice that you will have seen in your life. It calves ice on a regular basis, but don’t get too sucked in and miss your return trip back to town!

4) Ushuaia, Argentina

Finish your Patagonia adventure in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city. Surrounded by unspeakably beautiful mountains, this place offers opportunities for recreation in every month of the year.

From the obligatory trip to the end of the world’s most southerly motorable road, to skiing at the world’s most southerly ski resort, you won’t be bored in this marvelous place.

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