We highlight the best experiences and adventures during exciting Patagonia tours with Viva Expeditions. See what our adventurers have been up to in Patagonia!
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Best Patagonia Tours
The season of 2017/2018 was an exceptionally stellar season with the idyllically mild climate facilitating excellent hiking, sightseeing and wildlife watching on all our small group overland, land and cruise tours. Temperatures were well above average this year between November and April, with only a couple of below-average days recorded each month during the tourist season in Patagonia.
With gorgeous daytime temps in the low to mid-20s C, guests on all our active Patagonia tours took full advantage of the array of hiking options in the region and immensely enjoyed driving to and visiting the best national parks. Yes, Patagonia may well be renowned for being a harsh and inhospitable place but let us tell you, on a gloriously sunny summer day, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more magnificent destination to explore.
Just look at that dreamy skyline!
Sceneries in Patagonia are unforgettable
We’ve had a bumper season this year and although at first, we had an inkling that people the world over must’ve had insider info on the upcoming superb climate, we came to the conclusion that what greatly contributed to the popularity of our Patagonia tours was the fact that Chile, thanks to LonelyPlanet, became the hottest ‘it’ destination on everyone’s lips.
Being named Top Destination in the World for 2018 catapulted not just Chile but all of South America into the limelight and the extensive coverage given to the country’s Patagonian highlights has certainly helped boost visitor numbers. For the year 2017, Chile received a record-breaking number of tourists (almost 7 million) and if the first few months of 2018 are anything to go by, the sharp increase is expected to continue. It seems the whole world is infected with Chile fever!
Interestingly enough, our longer Patagonia tours seemed to garner the most attention with the highest number of guests opting for more immersive experiences rather than quick visits. Our best sellers this last season have been our 27-day Wild Patagonia and our 13-day Southern Explorer although there was also considerable interest in adding one of our shorter tours (like our Essential Patagonia, Fjords of Tierra del Fuego and Pure Patagonia tours) to expedition cruises to Antarctica. Not all that surprising considering the time and expense of reaching this remote region of the world in the first place.
Ask anyone who’s travelled extensively through Patagonia and they’ll be hard-pressed to pick just a couple of favourites. With so many awe-inspiring landscapes to admire and so many unique experiences, picking favourites is hard work. Nevertheless, a few crowd favourites set themselves apart from the pack.
Hiking in Torres del Paine
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Considered the absolute cherry on the Patagonian cake, Torres del Paine is stunning every season but when the weather is that good it becomes absolutely resplendent. The lack of rains for most of the season made hiking here an absolute delight, continuing to highlight the fact that Torres is Patagonia’s prime trekking destination.
Aside from the fact that Torres del Paine is home to inarguably the most photographed and beloved peaks in all of Patagonia, what sets this park apart is the array of options which suit everyone, from active visitors eager for multi-day adventures to less-active explorers who prefer to enjoy shorter yet equally rewarding outings.
Torres del Paine has a high concentration of unique Patagonian wildlife (this also happens to be the best national park in the region for wildlife watching) Torres offers the most comprehensive experience of all so if you’re short on time and can only visit one corner of this very huge region, make it this one.
Wildlife-watching in Tierra del Fuego (and everywhere else!)
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Patagonia’s astonishing wildlife really put on a show for us this year, with Tierra del Fuego proving to be particularly popular with penguins, southern elephant seals and sea lion colonies providing plenty of entertainment on our tours. On land, highlights included sightings of the rather hefty and incredibly cute Patagonian Mara, Patagonian foxes and an abundance of guanacos, the region’s most prolific wildlife species. During migration season, the coasts of Puerto Madryn and the Valdez Peninsula abound with humpback whales and orcas, who head to these spots favoured by nesting elephant seals.
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If there’s one highlight on Patagonian tours that don’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves, it would have to be the excellent cuisine. Varied and delicious, and incorporating many ingredients unique to the region, the local cuisine is one of Patagonia’s quietest achievers.
We go to great lengths to introduce our groups to local specialities and incorporate special epicurean experiences whenever we can. From authentic Welsh tea houses which have been operating here for almost 200 years to gut-busting Cordero al Palo, a spit roast meal featuring Patagonian lamb that’s cooked over hot coals for hours on end, resulting in a crispy outer skin and melt-in-your-mouth meat, foodies visiting Patagonia can look forward to some out-of-this-world meals.
Carnivores may delight their taste buds on guanaco fillets which feature extensively on menus of higher-end restaurants, and shellfish lovers won’t want to bite past King Crab Pies when visiting the coastal hubs.
Oh…and don’t even get us started on the Patagonian wine…
Overland journeys in Patagonia
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We’ll be the first to admit that the lure of plane-hopping, in Patagonia, is considerable, given the extensiveness of the region. Yet although taking internal flights certainly saves travel time, this isn’t the kind of boring travel-time that needs saving.
Road travel in Patagonia is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding experiences of all. It’s no coincidence that the Carretera Austral is one of the most coveted road-trip destinations in the entire continent. Moreover, road travel allows you to reach remote destinations and gifts you the freedom to stop at a stellar viewpoint and visit isolated estancias. By all means, utilize the convenience of air travel in Patagonia to visit both sides of the region but do include some drive days too, to have as comprehensive an adventure as possible. It’s for this reason that small group tours are a genius way to see Patagonia.
The Patagonia tours season may well be over for 2017/2018 but that just takes us one step closer to the next! The question now is...will you join us?
Visit our Patagonia Tours page for a detailed list of all the amazing tours and cruises we offer to this magnificent part of the world and check out our VivaBlog for more useful guides to better help plan your trip.
Discover our tours in Patagonia
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