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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

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    BEST TRIP EVER!!!

    First of all, I want to say what a FANTASTIC "Jaguar" trip we had with Active Adventures in Peru. After talking with many other travellers we meet in Peru, Active Adventures were head and shoulders above other tour groups. They meet and exceeded my expectations. Thanks to the best guides "Eric" and our 4 day Inca hike Guide "Puma". They started as our guides and we finished as friends.
    Kathleen Bowser Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Jaguar 2017, November 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    BEST TRIP EVER!!!

    This trip was a dream come true with a BIG unexpected surprise...I swam with a whale shark. Active Adventures has thought of everything. You need to bring your clothes, quick dry is a must, and personal items. All activity amenities are supplied, including a long or short sleeve wetsuit. If you use a prescription mask in the water, bring it along. All the work is done for you. Your guide will let you know what time to be ready and off you go. Everything ran on time, no waiting for anything (once we did wait 4 minutes at the airport for the van). Even meals were ordered ahead and served within a few minutes of sitting down. We ate at many of the best restaurants. I felt like a princess. The Galapagos animals even did their part by 'posing' for great pics. We saw all the great sites while our guide educated us on the topic. Our guide, Pablo, is amazing.

    The whale shark...while boating between islands, we saw a group of dolphins. Then, we saw the whale shark. Pablo handed out mask a few of us gently jumped in the water to 'swim' with the 30ft long animal. Yes, we have videos thanks to our boat captain and one person with a go pro.

    Active Adventures does it right.
    Kim Tetzner Review Image
    – Texas, United States
    Tortuga, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    Amazing trip, well run operation by people who love what they do

    Overall, a great trip! Patagonia is everything imagined and more. No picture represent the feeling of being there with eyes closed. Treks little harder on two days of the trip: First day (Torres Del Paine) and Mount Fitz Roy trek (25kms), but rewards outweigh the effort.
    All guides, Cynthia, Gem, Paula were outstanding.
    Vijay Sharma Review Image
    – Ohio, United States
    Condor, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    Thank You Active Adventures!

    Excellent trip, great guides and new friends!
    Marisa Magrino Weldon Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Condor, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16032 reviews)

    Incredible experience

    We had an amazing time in the Galapagos!
    Everything was perfectly organized for us. All we had to do was show up - just as it said in the description of the tour.
    Our tour guide Zambo would always tell us well in advance what we would be doing on the next day, what we had to bring, what we should wear.
    The food was always organized for us; they would always ask us beforehand what we wanted to eat.
    Everywhere we went they were expecting us and everything went smoothly.
    Zambo was an amazing guide! He was extremely knowledgeable. He had an answer for everything and he was very patient with our kids. One could see that he enjoyed showing his home to us.
    The encounters with the animals were truly amazing. We saw blue footed boobies, frigate birds, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, sting rays, penguins, hundreds of sea lions, sea iguanas, etc.
    The animals seemed at ease with the humans around them in some cases almost curious.
    Pirko Hamer Review Image
    – Sai Kung, Hong Kong
    Tortuga, April 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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