The wild and stunning landscapes of Patagonia will remain imprinted on your mind forever – incredible mountain peaks,spectacular lakes, glaciers and forests. This wilderness is so remote and unspoiled that a walk within its landscape is sure to change your view of the world. Separated by the continental ice fields, two regions comprise Chilean Patagonia – the northern regions of Aysén and the Carretera Austral, and the southern regions of the famous Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes, and Tierra del Fuego (shared with Argentina).
For those with a little more time Patagonia offers some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery and a range of walks and hikes to suit most people’s abilities. Here are three wonderful properties that offer quite different views, and experiences, of Patagonia. All require internal flights to Punta Arenas, Chile (or to El Calafate, Argentina, depending on your travel plans) from where you can be met and transferred to the lodge or EcoCamp.
To find out more about the options in Patagonia please visit www.southamericatravelcentre.com.au/patagonia
Torres del Paine National Park is considered one of the most beautiful natural areas in the world. It is home to 15 peaks over 2,000m, the most famous being the vertical granite spires that give the park its name, the ‘Towers of Paine’. And Torres is not just for trekkers but for anyone with a sense of adventure who likes to experience the outdoors – there are walks suitable for people of all ages and all levels of fitness.
There are many stunning properties from which you can explore the region, by vehicle, on foot and on horseback, including Tierra Patagonia, Awasi Patagonia, The Singular Patagonia, Cascada Ecocamp and Explora Patagonia.
This is one of the largest national parks in Argentina, stretching over 200km from north to south. It offers you the opportunity to see a part of the huge ice sheet of the Continental Ice Cap, origin of the area’s 47 ice flows. Among them are 13 of the world’s most impressive glaciers that descend from the Andes mountains to end at the Argentino and Viedma lakes. And the most spectacular of all is the Perito Moreno Glacier, a river of ice 5km wide and 60m high – a series of walkways facing the glacier head-on allow you to watch as each day colossal slabs of ice shear from the front of the glacier to collapse in a thunderous roar and create icebergs in the lake.
The small and remote town of El Chalten is the gateway (accessed by road from El Calafate) to the northern section of the Los Glaciares National Park and the awe-inspiring Fitz Roy massif.
The Carretera Austral (Austral Road) is officially the name of the the road from Puerto Montt to villa O’Higgins 1240km to the south. Vast and untouched areas of forest, gigantic ice fields, river and stunningly beautiful wilderness are the hallmark of this area. It’s ideal for anyone who’s looking for a wilderness experience as well as some activity including; fishing, hiking and rafting.
One of the many highlights of this region are the stunningly coloured caves found on the edge of Lake General Carrera.
A range of voyages cruising south from Puerto Montt all the way to Ushuaia in Argentina. There are 3,4, 5 and 7 night options that sail through channels and archipelagos and pass tiny fishing villages, see snow-capped mountains and emerge amongst the icebergs and ice floes of the many glaciers flowing down from the Andes. Small zodiac boats afford a closer look to many of the glacial walls as well as landings to allow exploration on foot.
There are a number of quality vessels we know and have experience of please talk to us so we can find the best voyage and ship for you.
Awasi Patagonia is spread out like a classic estancia, with just 12 deluxe villas dotted throughout native forest, Awasi’s lodge is set in a private nature reserve just outside the national park. It has a rustic vibe but with all modern comforts, and each villa is carefully positioned to ensure the utmost privacy while also offering the best views.
The villas are very spacious, with a king bed, large bathroom, a cosy wood-burning stove and capacious sofas in front of a panoramic window – and a private hot tub under the stars! The main building, with the restaurant and comfortable lounge, is no more than a 5-minute stroll or short golf-buggy ride from the furthest villa.
Cascada EcoCamp is nestled in a beech forest inside the eastern edge of the park, facing the three granite monoliths known as the Torres del Paine, Cascada is camping in style – this very comfortable, environmentally friendly eco-camp is the perfect compromise between a hotel and camping and offers a superb way to get closer to nature.
The camp is made up of large, windowed dome tents where you can stand up straight inside, lie in a real bed and look up at the stars, and eat good food in the dining tent. Resistant to the strongest weather, all offer cosy beds, warm blankets and feather quilts, while the Suite Domes have private bathrooms and low-emission wood stoves.
The Tierra Patagonia is situated on a bluff where the pampas meets Lake Sarmiento, on the north-eastern edge of Torres del Paine National Park. This stunning hotel is almost invisible until you arrive, the contemporary design blending so perfectly with the rugged surroundings in its use of the natural materials of the region. Casually luxurious with lovely public spaces and guestrooms boasting handcrafted furniture and uniquely Patagonian details – and everywhere those incredible big-sky views.
Gourmet chefs wine and dine you, and after your excursions into the wilderness, take advantage of the Uma Spa with an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath.