The 11 Best Things to do in Patagonia

From hiking and kayaking to wildlife spotting and cruising - a Patagonian adventure awaits
Black and white illustration of Lily Bunker's headshot
Written by
Lily Bunker

Published on: August 23rd, 2023

Last modified: February 16th, 2024

The naturally stunning landscape of Patagonia continues to capture the hearts, minds, and spirits of travellers year after year. From the jaw dropping expanse of Torres del Paine to pristine glaciers and calming lakefronts, Patagonia’s region spans both Chile and Argentina.

Although a fantastic locale for adventurers alike (think glacier hikes, volcano mountaineering and horseback riding!) It's also the perfect getaway for exploring delicious local cuisine, abundant wine regions, and unique culture. Let’s explore some of the best things to do in Patagonia.

1. Hiking in Torres del Paine

With mountaintops dusted with powdery snow and peaks reaching the heavens, the summer months from December to February serve as the best time to visit the formidable Torres del Paine. For the true adventurer, the full day strenuous hike of the Towers serves as the ultimate trekking experience.

Hiker at Mirador Las Torres in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Patagonia, South America.

If you’re looking for something a little less robust, hikes like the W Trek and other shorter trails will suit the beginner or intermediate hikers in your group. Hikes like these are the perfect way to experience the flora and fauna of the region and truly appreciate the beautiful natural terrain. 

2. Kayaking in the Argentine Lake District

Featuring stunning, snow-capped peaks and azul waters kissed by the surrounding mountains, the Argentine Lake District is truly a sight for sore eyes and tired bodies. This tranquil and picturesque region is ideal for longer stays, especially within the idyllic Bariloche area.

The Lake District is known for its diverse range of outdoor activities. It should come as no surprise that kayaking is among the most popular. Drink in the breathtaking views of vast emerald forests, while your kayak skims across glassy lake surfaces.

3. Glacier hike in Calafate

A trip to Patagonia is not complete without experiencing the glacier region. The town of Calafate serves as the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, home to the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier. For fantastic views of the glacier, the National Park features wooden walkways for you to explore its beauty at your own pace from different angles.


Boat trips are available if you’re looking for a cruise-like experience along crystalline waters while getting up close to these icy monoliths. Glacier hikes also provide a one-of-a-kind experience for the ultimate outdoor excursion.

4. Find penguins in Ushuaia

Considered by many as the final outpost of civilization before the frozen frontier of Antarctica takes hold, the southernmost city of Ushuaia will appeal to the nature lovers in your travel group with a visit the local Magellanic penguins.

magellanic penguins

Our tours also offer boating excursions across the epic Beagle Channel, once traversed by Charles Darwin during his expedition along these icy coastlines.

5. Climb a volcano in the Chilean Lake District

The Chilean Lake District is renowned for its volcanoes, dotting the landscape and serving as a defining characteristic of the region. Osorno Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes. The scenery around this volcano on southeastern shore of Llanquihue Lake is outstanding.

If you’re eager to climb Osarno, we can arrange it for you, offering you the opportunity to enjoy one of the most incredible mountain experiences in the Chilean southern Andes. See how the lava formations from earlier volcanic eruptions were formed and soak up the sweeping views from the top.

6. Take on an expedition to Antarctica

Making the jump from Patagonia to the frozen landscape of Antarctica is not only a must-do, but also fairly easy to accomplish. Depending on how much time you have, you can either cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina, a frontier city at the end of the world, or fly from Puntas Arenas, Chile.

Condor Glacier, Seno de Agostini, Beagle Channel, Darwin Mountain Range, Alberto de Agostini National Park, Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region, Chile, South America, America

Our selection of luxury expedition cruises offers slow travel and breathtaking scenery at its finest. Or, opt for a fly-in cruise from Punta Arenas, ideal if you’re short on time, all while avoiding the arduous crossing of the Drake Passage.

7. Learn about Chile’s indigenous culture in the Lake District

Opt for experiencing a slower pace of life and immerse yourself in the local history of Chile’s indigenous culture with a visit to the Chilean Lake District. Spend time getting to know the people who live here and learn a little about their traditions. 

The Huilliche community have lived in the area for generations and are still thriving there today, keeping their traditions and culture alive. As a community, this can most frequently be observed in their language and architecture within the region.

Amerika, Südamerika, Chile, Araukanien, Temuco, Mapuche Denkmal Monumento Natural Cerro Nielol auf dem Berg Nielol, Zeichen des Friedensvertrags mit dem Staat Chile 1881

8. Go wildlife spotting on Peninsula Valdes

Widely considered one of the best places to see wildlife in the country, the magnificent Peninsula Valdes offers a glimpse of some of the region’s most spectacular marine life in their natural habitat. Boat tours here get you up close and personal with resident southern right whales, sea lions, killer whales and elephant seals.

September to mid-December is considered the best time of the year for whale watching, while September to March is the peak season for seeing the expansive penguin colonies.

9. Stay on a working Estancia in Calafate

Only accessible by boat followed by a 4×4 transfer, the journey to Estancia Cristina alone provides equally stunning views as the accommodation itself does. Spend your days here horse riding, exploring the wilderness on 4x4s, hiking and enjoying delicious meals made with the freshest ingredients. 

On the boat trip over to the lodge you’ll get to see the Upsala Glacier, and upon arrival, the majestic views of the Norte, Pfister and Moyano mountains that dot the skyline.


10. Cruise Cape Horn

Considered one of the most famous and stunning stretches of land and water in the world, a cruise of Cape Horn treats you to views of pristine lakes and breathtaking snow-capped glaciers as you sail along in comfort and style.

The beauty of Chile : Scenic cruising around Cape Horn, southernmost tip of South America. Panoramic view of Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, Patagonia, Chile, South America.

Cape Horn cruises run between Puntas Arenas, Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina, making this mode of transport the ideal way to visit both countries that share Patagonia.

Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in Chile

11. Feast on delicious Patagonian lamb in Chile

While this local delight is available all over the region, lamb is widely considered most famous in Chile, more specifically Torres Del Paine. Guests at The Singular can tuck into the delicious lamb dishes (as well as eel!) at their onsite restaurant. 

The property is also home to a fully restored post-Victorian cold-storage factory. Featuring the centennial dock that saw the departure of several hundred ships for exportation to Europe, guided tours provide you with an in-depth look at one of the most important cold storage plants in Patagonia.

The Singular, Torres del Paine, Chile

12. Horseback ride with gauchos in Torres del Paine

A visit to Patagonia and the region of Torres del Paine is not complete without a horseback ride with gauchos. These skilled horsemen easily navigate the treacherous terrain of the region, guiding you along rivers, lakes, and mountains with ease.

Two of our top picks for a fantastic gaucho experience include Awasi Patagonia and Explora Patagonia. Awasi Patagonia tailors its tours to each individual guest, so that everyone in the group can enjoy a rewarding stay. In turn, Explora Patagonia’s close proximity to the national park serves as the perfect setting for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.

Luxury accommodation in Patagonia

There are many incredible places to stay in Patagonia. Here are some of our favourites, handpicked by our travel designers:

Whatever you want from your Patagonian adventure, our team of expert travel designers are ready to help.