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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)

    Best Ever!

    Just returned from the Jaguar trip/Lares Trail option and can't say enough good things about the whole experience. We had some mishaps along the way...sickness, stolen/lost passports, etc, and our experienced guide, ZAC, was steady, kind, and sure (and had a great sense of humor). We were well taken care of, well-fed, had great sleeping accommodations, and had so much fun... I highly recommend Active Adventures! You will not be disappointed!
    Cynthia Vander Ark Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Jaguar 2017, October 2017
  •   4.48 out of 5 (from 82 reviews)

    A stellar bucket list trip with outstanding guides. The Peru part of our trip was complicated by a local strike causing havoc with our original itinerary but Zac and the Active Adventures folks were amazing in rearranging the itinerary, lodging, meals, etc. Pepo was super in the Galagagos. Both parts of the trip were great fun and very professionally run. Very active but doable for four of us in our 60's.
    Jim Miller Review Image
    – Illinois, United States
    Iguana, October 2016
  •   4.55 out of 5 (from 1341 reviews)

    Outstanding Adventure with the Best Guide Ever!

    The Tortuga trip was phenomenal. From the moment I arrived, my every need was met and all with grace and professionalism. The trip was well planned, we saw and did so many things, from adventures like hiking and biking, snorkeling and kayaking, to learning all about the Galapagos in a way a book will never tell you. What brought everything off the pages of a book, and from the land in front of us was the knowledge and the passion of our guide Pablo. What a treasure he is! He could answer anything, and it was all shared with enthusiasm, passion, caring, love for this land. I felt so honored to have had him as our guide. Thank you! The food was outstanding, the accommodations perfect. I could not fault a single thing!
    Laurie Kelley Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Tortuga, December 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 937 reviews)

    Better than expected

    I had done one group tour before and lots of hiking with my local hiking club, but this tour was beyond what I was expecting. The people, the guide, the coordination and logistics - all were fantastic and well done. Of course, what truly made the trip was the amazing location and breathtaking adventure.
    Amy Linsky Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Condor, January 2017
  •   4.55 out of 5 (from 1341 reviews)

    Amazing Trip

    My wife and I joined this tour as part of our honeymoon trip and we couldn't of been happier. Everything was unbelievably well organized, the accommodations exceeded our expectations, the size of the group was great and there was a good range of activities that enabled us to get a good feel of all the diversity found in the Galápagos Islands.

    We have never used a tour company before when travelling as we like to have flexibility, choose our own accommodations, avoid crowds and be active. However, I would definitely recommend Active Adventures to anybody and would definitely do another tour with them.

    Thanks for everything!!
    Mark Wong Review Image
    – Alberta, Canada
    Tortuga, January 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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