Patagonia is an incredible place filled with blue icebergs, towering peaks, and golden grasslands. Such grand experiences often come with unexpected circumstances you never thought to encounter.
Right now, you might be planning your own trip to Patagonia or perhaps will be in the near future. It’s not often that people are able to make this type of excursion so you will definitely want to know what you can expect before you set out on your trip of a lifetime to Patagonia.
Well, lucky for you, we’ve asked our own LocalAventura community for feedback on how we can help YOU to prepare for the most epic adventure to Patagonia. They gave us some great feedback on the top 5 things they wish they knew before setting off to explore beautiful Patagonia.
Here we go!
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “You can get all four seasons in a day here”. We don’t know who originally said that, but it holds true for Patagonia!
During your hike you can experience anything from intense rainfall to warm sunshine to strong winds; and everything in between. What you might not expect is that it can leave you equal parts amazed and exhausted like it did LocalAventura customer, Nick, and friends.
But don’t let the weather deter you! Patagonia will have you itching to come back, rain or shine, we promise you won’t mind either way!
Another thing you can count on is the rapidness of the weather change. As LocalAventura customer Mandy found out, “They really weren’t joking when they say you can experience all four seasons in one day!”
Mandy and her husband Jeff took their honeymoon to South America and traveled extensively throughout Chile including Santiago. You can check out her travel blog on Torres del Paine (and other destinations) for more info!
So what does the weather patterns in Patagonia mean for you? Well, it’s directly related to our next useful tip:
With the drastic weather change, you can simply combat this by bringing plenty of layers. So prepare ahead of time! We promise, you can go from sweating to freezing in a matter of hours, so layer up accordingly!
Maybe you are wondering what kind of layers you need? An option is starting off with a tank top, long or short sleeve, sweatshirt or hoodie, and a rain/windproof jacket. For your own comfort, the lighter the clothes the better. It’s highly likely that you will be carrying some of these layers during the hike, so a smaller backpack for storage is recommended as well. We usually like to throw in some gloves and beanie for good measure.
As Nick says, “I cannot stress layering enough. We were constantly putting on and taking off clothing throughout the day.”
Now, if you really want to be ready for anything Patagonia can throw at you, Nick also recommends waterproof hiking shoes and wool socks. Hiking poles are also helpful, along with daypacks with water bags.
Straight from the mouth of someone who has been there!
We LOVE this tip!
What trip has ever gone according to plan? Sometimes, when we don’t stick exactly to an itinerary we get the unexpected surprise of a lifetime!
For Mandy and Jeff, that came in the form of a PUMA!
“We couldn’t do our initial hike, so we went on another. Not long into the alternative hike, we saw a puma! Even our seasoned guide, Felipe, was stoked and shocked to see it! [This experience] was a reminder that even when things don’t go as planned, there is always something else around the corner just as incredible”
“Those are the joys of travel for us, and remind us of the importance of going with the flow and not being so stuck in following an exact itinerary. Especially in a wild and unpredictable place like Patagonia.” – Mandy and Jeff
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves
And sometimes, the best experiences come from the least likely of places.
“The most surprising adventure we took was actually the horseback riding at Estancia Cerro Guido. I thought it would be a pretty slow, boring day just trotting around a stable since 3 out of the 4 of us had never ridden. Thankfully, I was mistaken! The Gauchos were great teachers and quickly gave us freedom and independence to ride. The horses were also very well trained and we felt safe. The views were absolutely amazing as well! By the end of it, I felt as though I had been riding for years!” – Nick and friends
Can we get a YEE-HAW?
Patagonia will blow you away (weather pun intended). Its spectacular scenery will be etched in your mind’s eye forever. Hiking to get closer to the scenery can be an exhilarating experience if you are up to the challenge.
“For me, the most surreal moment was getting to the top of the towers hike. It was breathtaking! I would warn those that do not hike much, that this is a long, difficult climb.” – Nick. But obviously worth it.
“We found the landscapes to be incredibly surreal. The scale of mountains and the way they changed throughout the day with the weather, we honestly can’t wait to make another trip down to Patagonia – as I’m sure every trip would bring a totally different experience.” – Mandy and Jeff.
We think you may be on to something Mandy.
You may choose to experience Patagonia with a Local Guide, and we can’t advise that enough. Felipe from Armadillo Expeditions is our go-to guide and we highly recommend him! Even our customers can confirm this:
“I don’t know how we would have managed without Felipe! He knew the ins and outs of the area. He felt the flow of our group and was extremely accommodating to everyone. He went above and beyond. We felt very comfortable with him.” – Nick
Always looking on the bright side, Mandy and Jeff said that “Any of the ‘hiccups’ we encountered, trails being closed due to weather, etc. just led us to different experiences we so enjoyed, like spending an evening drinking in a bar with Felipe and a few of the other guides and porters, sharing beers and working on our Spanish. It was a total blast and a memory that we cherish.”
How incredible does that sound?
As LocalAventura customer Kristi mentions, a good way to plan the route would be starting your hike in Torres del Paine with the towers and working your way towards the Grey Glacier, as the Refugio’s (also known as ‘hiking hostels’) get better in that direction.
For the best Refugio and hiking experience, she also recommends purchasing the food option. It means less to carry and the food amount is substantial and the quality is good.
We have a few last (but not least) tips for your trek through Patagonia. We saved the most clever tips for last!
Firstly, bring external batteries as phones and cameras can often die earlier due to cold weather. Secondly, bring a good book. Wifi isn’t guaranteed and you will want something to do in the evenings in a Refugio.
Another recommendation from a customer is to make sure to visit Chile for AT LEAST 8-9 days. Long travel will wear you out and having a stopover in Santiago to visit wineries will give you the perfect break from hiking before your return home. What great advice!
And lastly, a great tip for your hike is to leave all of your dirty clothes at the dry cleaner while you are away on the hike. Your clothes will be clean when you get back and you don’t have to pay extra money to store your stuff while on your adventurous hike! Win-win, we think!
It’s now time to leave you to book your Patagonia adventure, but before we go, heed these wise words of our own customer. If this doesn’t make you want to book your flight or tour in Patagonia right away, we don’t know what will.
“This trip is an outdoor enthusiasts dream come true! For me, Patagonia is not just a place, but a state of mind. It was refreshing and invigorating. It made me feel so alive. It can challenge you mentally and physically, but it rewards you beyond your imagination.”
Have questions? Need answers? We can help! Contact our LocalAventura travel experts for any and all inquiries about Patagonia or any other Latin American tour.