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About Patagonia

Everything you want to know before you travel in Patagonia

Patagonia has an almost surreal quality to it so it's no wonder our Patagonia adventure tour is synonymous with intense rugged beauty and world-class hiking. You would struggle to find a more intensely beautiful, rugged and diverse countryside, from vivid green alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers, to glacier fields stretching as far as the eye can see.

Patagonia

Where is Patagonia?

Patagonia, ArgentinaPatagonia is a distinct geographical region at the base of South America spanning the lower sections of Argentina and Chile. On the Chilean side, it starts in the Araucanía region extending down to the extreme southern tip of the country. On the Argentine side, it begins in the province of Rio Negro and carries on all the way to Tierra Del Fuego.

The bottom of South America is also the closest landmass to Antarctica (New Zealand is the second closest), so it's a popular jumping off point for Antarctic voyages and cruises.

Area

The vast Patagonia region covers about 777,000 square kilometres (300,000 square miles) of Argentina, which is about a third the country, and another 340,000 square kilometres (131,275 square miles) or nearly half, of Chile.

Government

Both Chile and Argentina are democratic republics.

Population

Many regions of Patagonia have very low population density. The total population of Patagonia is about 2 million, which is in Argentina and Chile combined, with the large marjority living in Argentina.

Time zone

Argentina is three hours behind GMT. Chile is four hours behind GMT. From October to March both countries observe day light saving, putting their clocks forward by one hour. Basically this means that most of the time Patagonia is within one or two hours of USA Eastern Standard time. 

the Grey Glacier Torres del Paine National Park

Language

The official language of Patagonia is Spanish but there are small pockets of indigenous communities within Patagonia who speak Mapuche. In larger cities, you're likely to meet locals who know some English, but in rural areas this is rare, so knowing basic Spanish travel phrases (or travelling with a guide that knows the language) is very helpful.

Main gateway cities

Punta Arenas (Chile), Puerto Natales (Chile), El Calafate (Argentina), Ushuaia (Argentina - Tierra del Fuego)

Currency: Argentina

The local currency is the Argentinean Peso (ARS) which is divided into 100 centavos.

Currency: Chile

The local currency is the Chilean Peso (CLP), which is divided into 100 centavos.

Climate

The summer season in Patagonia runs from December to March. The highest rainfall is during the Patagonian winter (June to September) but days are changeable and can be hot and sunny one day, to wet and windy the next year round. Summer season is definitely the best time to travel to this part of the world, as winter months can be harsh and inhospitable.

Penguin in Otway Sound Patagonia

Vaccinations

You should have hepatitis A and tetanus vaccinations as well as chicken pox and measles if you've never caught them before. However, no vaccination certificate is required to enter either Chile or Argentina. Rabies and malaria medication is not considered necessary in the areas that we travel, but may be required if you are doing further independent travel.

Electric voltage

In both Chile and Argentina, electric voltage is 220 volts, 50 cycles (220v 50Hz). Most travel appliances, such as laptop computers, have an auto volt transformer (it will say '110v-240v' for example), but appliances or electric devices designed for 110 volts only will need a transformer and not just a plug adaptor.

Patagonia travel and visas

To really experience hiking in Patagonia, you have to do more than simply admire the views, and travel visas for Chile and Argentina are somewhat complicated, so it pays to work with an experienced travel professional to make sure you've got all the right paperwork and there won't be any nasty surprise fees. Please feel free to give us a call if you'd like us to talk you through it.

Torres Del Paine National Park

 

 

 

Trip Reviews

  •   4.50 out of 5 (from 1973 reviews)

    Amazing Adventure

    what an amazing adventure we had! we enjoyed every bit of our Jaguar trip and would recommend Active Adventures to anyone who asks! The trip was very well organized and the guides were all informative and amazing. Our main guide, Erick Farfan was the best! he always made sure everything ran smoothly and had to deal with many different personalities on this trip but made it all work. The Inka trail was a tough trail for me due to the altitude but what an amazing feeling once you complete it and arrive at the sun gate! We thoroughly enjoyed the jungle as well as the visit to lake titicaca and our local family that we stayed with. look forward to our next amazing adventure with you! Hoping to do Patagonia soon!
    Brigitte Rosson Review Image
    – Texas, United States
    Jaguar 2017, June 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Challenging and Fun!

    My trip to Argentina and Chile was more than I imagined it would be. I was in awe of the natural beauty of the areas we hiked in. However, the most important thing I take home with me is the personal relationships I formed with my group, especially my leader, and now friend, Mayra Callo. She was amazing. I am a "beginner hiker" so her patience and close attention on the harder treks was appreciated! She knew so much about the area and it was a pleasure learning about South America from her. In addition, her personality made all of us feel like family, with Mayra being the Mother :) She took great care of all of us. We all had so much fun together...it was sad to leave. Anyone who has any reservations about booking a trip should just do it! They won't be disappointed!!
    Tina Avallone Review Image
    – New Jersey, United States
    Condor, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Latitude 53 degrees and Loving It,

    What a privilege it was to travel to Patagonia with three generations of our family. It is such a beautiful part of the world but also, so removed from the anxieties and pressures of the modern, social media/plugged-in world, and the Trump nastiness. The trekking was especially beautiful with the wild flowers in bloom and sunshine on our shoulders.

    Active Adventures organized us perfectly in the sense that our transportation, refugios, and food were efficiently and tastefully selected. Arturo was so, so nice to our grandkids. Chem was delightful and so kind. What brilliant new friends we made and how kind and inclusive they were with the teenagers we had in tow.

    We loved the ACTIVE in Adventures. We earned our good meals and good beds by stretching our limits over our two week trek. My husband and I were by far the oldest pair on the trail, but we loved it and who knows, maybe we will be back for our 60th anniversary.
    Carolyn Johnson Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Condor, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Spectacular Time!

    We had a spectacular time in Patagonia! The venue was beautiful, challenging and exciting; Active did a great organizational job as well as Arturo our lead guide. Arturo is a multidimensional person that took great care of us at all times. Our group was very diverse, interesting spanning all age groups which got along great. Bottom line is that we had a fantastic time at a fantastic place with fantastic people. It was a very challenging trip that we are proud to have done.
    Alan Offstein Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Condor, December 2016
  •   4.48 out of 5 (from 82 reviews)

    2017 Iguana Trip

    The Peru portion of the trip was spectacular. Erick truly cares about the overall experience of his clients. He paid attention to all the details of the trip from the experiences of the country, the restaurants and the excursions. He didn't leave any stone unturned when it came to having fun and caring about his clients. I highly recommend Erick to anyone wanting to have a fabulous time in Peru.
    Will Tadich Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Iguana, September 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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