What to do in Argentine Patagonia

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Patagonia is a land of wisdom and legend. Whether you’re planning to tick off some of the most well-known sights, or prefer to get lost in the wild nature of the pampas, Patagonia is an unforgettable destination and a must-see for anyone who wants to visit Argentina.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Argentina’s largest national park, Los Glaciares , was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 and is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which feeds an impressive 48 glaciers. One of the most visited areas of Argentina, the biggest draw here is the Perito Moreno Glacier, a gigantic ice cap that covers a staggering 250 km2 (96 square miles) and is 30 km (18.6 miles) across, making it the third largest largest freshwater reserve in the world. Stick around to listen and watch the deafening glacial breaks and watch the blues and whites intensify as the daylight changes.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

In Tierra del Fuego there is the city of the end of the world: Ushuaia . Famous for being the southernmost city on the planet, Ushuaia is often the last port of call for people on their Patagonian mission, whether they are travelers who have ticked all the boxes or adventurers who have come to discover the secrets of this remote corner of the world. Ushuaia encompasses many of the region’s defining traits: remote, enchanting, inimitable. Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and navigate the Beagle Channel, and send your loved ones a postcard from the end of the world.

Whale watching in Puerto Madryn

The Southern Right Whale is one of the most majestic beasts that can be seen in Argentina, and the ideal place to do it is from the Patagonian town of Puerto Madryn . The protected waters of the Golfo Nuevo bay provide the perfect breeding ground for these incredible mammals that come here to mate between June and December, which is the best time to visit. The sighting tours depart regularly from the town and last around an hour and a half. Bring your camera and catch the whale in full leap!

Whale watching in Puerto Madryn

Nibepo Aike Ranch

Live like a gaucho for five days on this incredible horseback ride through a vast Patagonian estancia. Located within Los Glaciares National Park and on the shores of Lake Argentino, Nibepo Aike Estancia is the dream of every aspiring cowboy. Founded by a Croatian immigrant in the 1920s, the ranch remains in the family and visitors can partake in a day of backcountry activities or, for those with equestrian skills, follow the old cattle trails through the incredible scenery and stay at the gaucho outposts on the way to the hidden glaciers.

hiking in autumn

The seasons are reversed in Patagonia, as it is located in the southern hemisphere. Known for its stunning mountain ranges, steppes and grasslands, the region is perhaps best visited in the fall, from April to June, when the landscape transforms during the transition between seasons. A symphony of reds, yellows, and greens flow over the landscape, and added to the unpredictable weather, you may find yourself walking through a veritable snow globe of Patagonian beauty during any of the fall months.

hiking in autumn

Penguins in Punta Tombo

Penguins are some of Argentina’s friendliest inhabitants, and nowhere is it better to see them than on the Punta Tombo peninsula. This stretch of land covered in gravel and sand is home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in South America, with more than a million and a half of them coming to breed each year. Coming from Brazil in September, they stay until April and are happy for tourists to walk among them, but remember not to touch them! They are wild, after all.

Bariloche and the Seven Lakes

Bariloche is an alpine dream located in the impressive lake district of Argentine Patagonia. Famous for its chocolate, skiing, and of course the lakes, Bariloche is a must-see on any trip to Patagonia. Rent a car and explore the region at your own pace, stopping, if you dare, to swim in any of the many glacial lakes. Bariloche is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, so prepare to be rewarded with world-class views after hiking or trekking one of the many trails the area has to offer.

Bariloche and the Seven Lakes

El Chaltén

One of the best places in all of Patagonia is El Chaltén . Whether you’re looking to take simple day hikes, longer hikes, try amazing food and drinks, or have fun in an absolutely stunning natural setting, the small town of El Chalten has something for everyone. Spend a few days and discover the wealth of trails, waterfalls, forests and lakes that the area offers. You won’t be disappointed.

The Baggins

Connect with your inner hippie in El Bolsón, a quaint mountain town 75 miles (120 km) south of Bariloche . With a local economy that thrives on tourism, but also locally produced food and crafts, El Bolsón is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape the city and feel part of a community for a while. Equipped with hiking trails and picturesque landscapes, a trip to El Bolsón will introduce you to a different Patagonian way of life.

The Baggins

Bustamante Bay

Argentina doesn’t exactly rival its northern neighbor Brazil when it comes to beaches, but Bahía Bustamante is something else entirely. Dotted with small coves nestled between rock formations jutting out into the sea, Bahía Bustamante is also known for being a town of algae. Previously nicknamed ‘Rotten Bay’ due to the amount of rotten algae found there, don’t let its previous nickname put you off as this natural plant is now harvested for medicinal purposes. Explore this idyllic marine wildlife sanctuary by bike or horseback for an authentic experience.

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About the author

I am Matias, born in Patagonia, and a lover of my land.

For more than 20 years I help foreign travellers to organise their trip to Patagonia.

I also manage this exotic accommodation on the Atlantic coast.