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Top 10 things to see and do in Patagonia

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marble caves Chile

Top 10 things to see and do in Patagonia

Patagonia has so much to offer – so this week we look at some of the less well-known Top 10 things to do in Patagonia in both Chile and Argentina.

The classics on the Chilean side are the famous Paine W hike and Circuit trek.

On the Argentina side, Fitzroy and the specatcular, calving Perito Moreno glacier.

Alan, Kathy and Tom share some of their favourite alternative Patagonia experiences, from penguins to beers.

 

 

Chilean side (by Alan)

 

La Marmita Restaurant Punta Arenas

https://www.marmitamaga.cl/

A mix of home style cooking with a touch of poetry – local ingredients galore – a must try is the guanaco.

 

Punta Arenas Chile

Punta Arenas, Chile

 

Magdalena Island Penguin colony

A short sailing tour from Punta Arenas takes you to Magdalena Island, home to more than 120,000 Magellanic Penguins from mid-October to mid-April.

 

Balmaceda & Serrano glacier day cruise

Take a full day tour from Puerto Natales sailing the Last Hope Sound to get up close to the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers.

 

Marble Caves – Cuevas De Marmol – Lago General Carrera

Near Puerto Tranquilo, Lake General Carrera in Chile’s Northern Patagonia, you can find the Marble Caves.

More than 5 billion tonnes of marble have been at the mercy of the lakes vivid blue waters over thousands of years, slowly dissolving the marble to create a stunning maze of caves and pillars.

 

marble caves Chile

Marble caves, Chile

 

Carretera Austral

A 1,200km road, in parts track crossing Chile’s Northern Patagonia, the least densely populated part of the country from north to south. Indescribable beauty that only the privileged few have had the chance to witness.

 

Argentina side (Tom and Kathy)

 

La Cerveceria Microbrewery, El Chalten

La Cerveceria is a wooden-clad microbrewery, perfect for a fine beer after trekking around Fitzroy.

Meals served alongside the two homebrews, and a small garden if the sun is shining.

 

Glaciarium

An informative and interesting glacier museum, Glaciarium is just outside El Calafate.

It is a great way to learn more about the ice structures you’ll see in the region. There’s an ice bar next door, too.

 

Kayak Upsala

Up close and very personal – kayak next to giant icebergs and glaciers in the Upsala channel, on Lago Argentina. Great day out, any level.

 

Whale watching off Peninsula Valdez

Between May and December southern right whales come to breed off the Peninsula Valdes. Take a 90-minute whale watching boat trip where you are guaranteed an amazing experience.

This whole peninsula is rich in Patagonian wildlife: guanaco, rhea, mara, foxes on land and sea lions, elephant seals, orcas, southern right whales and dolphins at sea.

Patagonia’s largest Magellanic penguin colony is nearby at Punta Tombo (penguins are there from late September to April).

 

Coastal walk in national park Lapataia near Ushuaia

This is one of my (Kathy’s) favourite walks in Patagonia, a gentle walk through southern beech forests along the shores of the Beagle Channel.

The scenery is beautiful, there are very few people and masses of sea birds such as Flightless Steamer Ducks, Albatross, even penguins, plus Shell Geese, Upland Goose or Magellan Goose, Ashy-headed goose and Kelp Goose.

Once I bumped into David Attenborough down here filming the spectacular Magellanic woodpecker.

 

Beagle Channel Ushuaia Argentina

Beagle Channel, Ushuaia, Argentina

 

And a bonus one…

 

Perito Moreno

Vast in scale (over four miles wide and 60 metres high at its face!), this almost surreal spectacle is set amid a labyrinthine system of iceberg-filled waterways, and backed by deciduous beech forests and snow peaks.

Spectacular even by the standards of the Los Glaciares National Park, this glacier also represents an anomaly: The Perito Moreno, unlike the other glaciers of the region, is still growing. Periodically (every so many years) its advancing edge reaches the near shore, cutting off and damming up the Brazo Sur ice-berg channel.

When this occurs, the steadily-building water pressure forces a breach in the ice and eventually a huge volume of water bursts forth and surges through to Lake Argentino. A feature of the glacier is the frequent, ear-splitting calving of ice-bergs.

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