Private luxury Patagonia travel
Rugged, windswept, and permeated by a lands-end aura, Patagonia’s wild terroir is a destination that calls to the wild at heart. Book-ended by two oceans and spanning both Chile and Argentina, with the sawtooth Andes Mountains running down it like a spine, it is alluringly isolated, remote, and vast. Patagonia’s mountainscapes are among the most famous in the world, but there’s more to the region than its glaciers. From gauchos to guanaco, Patagonia offers incredible opportunities for wildlife tracking, coastal cruising, strenuous adventure or contemplative, rustic-luxe relaxation. Not to be overlooked, the region’s history is an enthralling one, stretching from its indigenous peoples through to the Age of Discovery and European settlement. Although the region’s modern roots are influenced by ranching culture, a movement toward conservation and rewilding is centering sustainable travel. From newly inaugurated national parks to a sweep of fully inclusive, luxury eco-lodges, it’s an exciting time to make your next extraordinary journey a luxury tour of Patagonia.
What is Patagonia best known for?
Patagonia is known for awe-inspiring landscapes, toothy mountain peaks, glaciers, wildlife like pumas, Megallanic penguins and the llama-like guanaco, and a land’s-end wilderness vibe. It is a rugged region with summits begging to be hiked, but there is plenty of soft adventure and hygge-luxe lodges to relax into.
Patagonia travel highlights
- Hiking in Los Glaciares National Park or Ventisquero Colgante (“hanging glacier”) of Queulat National Park.
- Kayaking, hiking, or biking in Torres del Paine National Park
- Puma tracking
- Walking the boardwalks at Perito Moreno Glacier; adventurous travelers can hike across it or kayak below it.
- Whale watching in Puerto Madryn
- Cruising Chile’s Patagonian fjords
- Road-tripping Chile’s scenic Carretera Austral (Southern Highway)
- Fly fishing and whitewater rafting in Bariloche & the Lake District
- Visit Ushuaia, the southernmost city known as “The End of the World”
What to expect on a luxury trip to Patagonia
- High-caliber guiding: Just like going on safari in Africa, high-caliber, personable guides make a world of difference when it comes to appreciating and understanding place and people. An Extraordinary Journeys luxury trip to Patagonia will always include an English-speaking guide who will help you navigate and wayfind, decipher flora, spot wildlife, guide you through an activity, and offer color and context to Patagonian culture and history. Upon arrival at your lodge, you’ll meet with a concierge to coordinate your activities based on your interests; excursions may be shared or private. When staying in a hotel, we’ll arrange a local expert to lead your special-interest day tours.
- Custom itineraries: Our itineraries are never copy-and-pasted. Your trip will be custom-tailored to your interests, preferred pace of travel, and where possible, we’ll add a dash of surprise and delight.
- Memorable luxury lodges: Patagonia may be rugged, but that hardly means roughing it. From five-star, architecturally intriguing eco-lodges to geodesic domes, your accommodation might just be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. Wherever you slumber, you’ll enjoy sweeping views, attentive service, and gourmet food made with regional ingredients. All-inclusive wilderness lodges will include fully guided excursions.
- Seamless, worry-free travel: Traveling within Patagonia can be challenging thanks to its varied topography, remoteness, and weather conditions that can turn on a dime. A luxury trip to Patagonia booked through Extraordinary Journeys will include all local transfers and connections for seamless, worry-free travel.
- 24/7 in-destination support: Our job doesn’t end when your boarding pass is printed. Extraordinary Journeys is always by your side—even while traveling. We have reliable boots-on-the-ground support and a 24/7 concierge just a phone call away.
This is like asking which is your favorite child, and with the incredible diversity of this vast region, it’s difficult to choose just one part. Chile offers the storybook Patagonia views of Torres del Paine National Park, while Argentina will please foodies and hikers who want to venture off-the-beaten path while sleeping in incredible lodges.
We like to say, neither is better or worse, just different, so it very much depends on what you’re looking for.
Chile is great for wildlife viewing and is home to the famous W Trek thru-hike in Torres del Paine National Park. Generally speaking, its travel offering is a more built out for tourism, and there is a good selection of luxury lodges and hotels.
Argentina is home to Perito Moreno Glacier, a landmark that often inspires travelers to visit Patagonia. It’s also home to the village of El Chalten which sits at the base of Mount Fitz Roy—the toothy peak reflected on fashion retailer Patagonia’s logo—which appeals to independent hikers and off-the-beaten-path travelers
However, that’s not to say you can’t have all of these in either country. Consider visiting both on a luxury Patagonia trip, cherry-picking the best of both.
Hiking, climbing, road and mountain biking, glacier climbing, and rafting will appeal to active and adventurous visitors. For equal fun and less exertion offerings include photography, wildlife viewing, history-focused tours, boat tours, and gentle hikes. Kayaking might appeal to both.
No, Patagonia is a destination for everyone. And, while enjoying Patagonian luxury, you might just want to soak in a wood-fired tub or spend a couple of hours reading next to a fireplace on a blustery day while glancing out on the wind-swept steppe.
We recommend a minimum of six to seven nights if you want to explore both Torres del Paine and El Calafate. Still, it’s such a big place. Stay longer and you can experience so much more. Plan for three weeks if you’d like to combine a luxury Patagonia trip with an Antarctic cruise.
Yes, guided tours are the best way to experience Patagonia. A knowledgeable expert will give invaluable context, from the geological phenomenon that molded the landscape to the history of the region and how it shapes the culture that exists today.
The internet is rife with small-group guided travel with set departures and shared transportation. However, these are not the trips we sell. At Extraordinary Journeys, we work with you to create a trip customized to your interests, travel style and time frame.
When it comes to guided tours in Patagonia, most all-inclusive luxury lodges have in-house guides. Guests sit down with them each night to plan out the following day’s excursion. Excursions are often shared (in small groups) and guides help guests select the best options based on their interests, activity level, and weather conditions.
On the days you’re not staying at an all-inclusive lodge, our South America travel specialists will include privately guided experiences tailored to the your interest and ability, be it history, photography, wildlife, hiking, biking, or so many other options.
When is the best time to travel to Patagonia?
Unless you are traveling specifically for winter sports, spring, summer, and fall are the best months to visit Patagonia. (Keep in mind, Patagonia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are the opposite of North America.)
- Peak season is December, January and February, when temperatures are the warmest. (Still, there’s always a chance of rainy weather whenever you go. ) Rates are higher, and inventory can be scant during “festive season,” (December 20 through January 5), so book well in advance to secure your preferred accommodations.
- Shoulder season runs from March through April and October through November. With springtime wildflowers and fall foliage in some parts of Patagonia, it can be quite colorful. The weather is generally nice, and rates are slightly lower with fewer tourists.
- Low season runs from May through September. The shorter days can be cold and sometimes snowy, and even inaccessible, depending on the destination. Still, it’s a great time to take advantage of winter sports in Bariloche and Ushuaia. Lodges in Torres del Paine are staying open further into the low season, presenting a unique opportunity to enjoy it with no crowds, clear skies, and easier wildlife spotting against the white snow.
- October to April is considered the best time to visit northern Patagonia which includes the Lake District in Chile & Argentina.
- The weather in southern Patagonia is famously unpredictable. Spring, summer, and fall will give you the best chances of pleasant weather. No matter when you go, there is an element of luck, and you should always expect four seasons in a day.
- If combining Patagonia with Antarctica, know that the cruising season on the white continent is limited to November through April.
Click to read more about The Best Time to Visit Patagonia, including a month-by-month guide.
Where to go on a luxury Patagonia trip
Given the size of the region, one could explore Patagonia for months and still leave stones unturned. Planning a trip there is like write-your-own-adventure book where you can combine any number of destinations and experiences. From a three-to-five-day trip in combination with other areas of Chile and Argentina, to a week(s)-long trip combining a few Patagonian destinations to a longer visit weaving throughout northern and southern Patagonia, we’re happy to work with you to design your ultimate luxury Patagonia trip.
El Calafate, Argentina
Sitting on the shores of Lago Argentino, El Calafate is the gateway to the UNESCO-inscribed Los Glaciares National Park, where visitors view hundreds of glaciers, including the impressive Perito Moreno.
El Chalten, Argentina
Sitting in the shadow of Mount Fitz Roy, the small town of El Chalten offers big adventures for hikers. Trails can be found on almost every corner of town, so it’s easy to hike on your own or with a guide.
Torres del Paine, Chile
A stay in Torres del Paine places you at the center of some of the most epic scenery in Patagonia. This national park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has some of the best nature the world has to offer, as well as its wide variety of ecosystems including pampas, mountains, forests, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. It’s also well developed for tourism, with some of the best lodges in South America.
For travelers who want to head off the beaten path, Aysén is a crowd-free destination. This region, situated between the Lake District and Torres del Paine, boasts one of the most famous road trips in the world, the Carretera Austral. A visit to Aysén brings you to both the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. It’s also where you’ll find the Marble Caves.
Chilean Lake District
With its snowcapped volcanoes, pristine glacial lakes, lush mountain views, and natural hot springs, Chile’s Lake District can feel as if you’ve walked into a painting. After a full day of river rafting, mountain biking, SUP, or woodland hiking, you can enjoy some German-inspired dishes and admire the Bavarian architecture imported by a large German community that settled here in the mid-19th century.
Argentine Lake District
Larger and dryer than the Chilean Lake District, the Argentine Lake District, offers many of the same activities in a different setting due to the varied flora and fauna and jagged mountain peaks. The Alpine feel is complemented by a visit to the largest town, Bariloche, where you can stroll down the “Avenue of Chocolate Dreams” to taste the local specialty of this city known as the “Chocolate capital of Argentina.”
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Known as the gateway to the Atlantic coast of Patagonia, Puerto Madryn, and nearby Peninsula Valdés might just be one of the best places in the world to enjoy a parade of marine life. You may encounter elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, sea lions, and orca whales plying these waters, in addition to a wide variety of bird species. Don’t forget to look up at the fantastic scenery with dramatic cliffs hovering overhead and vast plains stretching further than the eye can see.
Known as the jump-off point to Antarctica, Located in Argentine Tierra del Fuego and known as the jump-off point to Antarctica, Ushuaia has a distinct land’s-end persona. Indigenous Fuegians, European settlement, and the establishment of a notorious penal colony offer a fascinating account of Ushuaia’s history. Visitors should cruise the Beagle Channel, hike wilderness trails leading to picture-pretty glaciers and emerald lakes, and dine on the ultimate surf and turf: asado and king crab.
Some of our favorite luxury Patagonia trip itineraries
Dramatic landscapes in Patagonia and the untouched Antarctic realm
The untamed beauty of Patagonia: from Tierra del Fuego to the Northern Lake District
Glaciers, Lakes and Peaks Of Patagonia