Discover the Breathtaking Sights of Patagonia, Chile
If you’ve ever dreamed about traveling to the far reaches of the earth, you should add a trip to Patagonia to your bucket list. Although the majority of this region is located in Argentina, some of its most awe-inspiring sights are found in neighboring Chile. An outdoors lover’s dream come true, trekking around Patagonia, Chile, is a terrific way to embrace minimalist travel at its best.
Vast, desolate and beautiful, Patagonia is a sparsely populated region that stretches over parts of Chile and Argentina. The western side of this gorgeous area includes the southern expanse of the Andes Mountains, electric blue fjords, towering glaciers and glittering lakes; the eastern side is primarily made up of desert. Bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Patagonia boasts some of the most breathtakingly unique scenery on the planet.
Adventurous types have flocked to Patagonia for ages thanks to the range of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed there. Many come to enjoy one bag adventures that encompass trekking over vast glaciers and kayaking through gorgeous straits; others come to explore the region by horseback, motorcycle or even boat. Wherever your interests lie, you can rest assured of finding plenty to do in this stunning region.
When to Visit Patagonia
Milder temperatures and somewhat less chaotic weather tend to attract most visitors to Patagonia during the Southern spring and fall, which occurs from mid-September to early May. Although the period between December and February is the mildest, temperatures rarely exceed 70 degrees. Because temperatures can range from 5 degrees to 70 degrees in the course of a single day – and weather tends to be volatile in general – it pays to bring a quality day pack along to be as prepared as possible.
How to Get There
Most travelers to Patagonian Chile take flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas. During peak season, flights fill quickly, so be prepared to purchase your tickets at least six months in advance. A quality carry on backpack like the SWISSGEAR 2610 Mono Sling Bag is a nice choice for such trips because it can easily double as a day-hiking pack. Its roomy main compartment can accommodate books and papers, its back slot is perfect for a tablet or laptop and its front pocket can securely hold smaller items like phones and keys.
General Advice for Traveling in Patagonia, Chile
Here are some points to keep in mind for your travels around Patagonian Chile:
- Be prepared – Exploring this desolate part of the world can bring many surprises. Use a good travel backpack — the SWISSGEAR 6067 Getaway Big Backpack is perfect for travel with features like an RFID-protected side compartment — to store extra clothes and the like to ensure that you always have what you need.
- Be safe – If you’ll be traveling by car across this isolated region, stock spare food, water and blankets in case you break down.
- Follow the rules – Especially when traveling in the back-country, educate yourself about the rules and regulations and follow them to the letter.
Avoid bites – In the summer in Chile, biting midges are a big problem. Bring bug spray and wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing for protection.
What to Pack
Many people flock to Patagonia for trekking excursions, so it’s more than possible to enjoy minimalist travel in this region. You’ll want to prioritize finding a durable tote and toiletry bag to keep everything safe and organized.
Some essentials to pack include:
- water bottle
- a toiletry bag; the SWISSGEAR 2379 Drop Kit is a great solution for safely carrying along toiletries and bath supplies throughout your journey
- waterproof jacket
- trekking boots
- long thermal underwear
- water-repellant trekking pants
- light pullover or sweatshirt
- a fleece or down liner
- a sun-shielding hat
- wind-stopping gloves
- long trekking socks
- a neck gaiter
- electronic cords
- a headlamp
- sunscreen and bug spray
Food and Drink
When it comes to food in Patagonia, lamb – known locally as cordero – is the meat of choice. Cordero is said to have a unique taste because lambs here consume a mix of herbs that is only found in Patagonia. This meat is the cornerstone of the traditional Patagonian asado, or barbecue, in which lamb is slowly cooked atop an iron cross over a hot fire. Other popular local foods include dulce de leche; desserts like fracturas and alfajores; Patagonian honey; guanaco, which is closely related to the llama; South American king crab; snook-and-hake ceviche; conger eel; steamed mussels called charitos; and oysters.
No trip to Patagonia would be complete without sampling authentic mate. A popular social ritual is to drink yerba mate, a bitter tea made out of a combination of dried herbs, out of a hollowed gourd or from a wooden mate cup through a metal straw called a bombilla. Due to its bitterness, people often add lemon or orange rinds; cinnamon sticks; sugar; milk; or dulce de leche to their mate.
Things to Do in Patagonia, Chile
Some once-in-a-lifetime experiences to enjoy in Patagonian Chile include:
- Torres del Paine National Park – With its otherworldly landscapes and wildlife like pumas, guanacos, Andean condors, flamingos, penguins, foxes and reahs – an ostrich-like bird – Torres del Paine is one place you don’t want to miss when visiting Patagonia. A durable travel backpack like the SWISSGEAR 2610 Mono Sling Bag and good trekking shoes are a must when hiking the world-famous W circuit, a 43-mile trek that can be completed over four to five days.
- Puerto Natales – Roam around this charming and colorful fishing village to enjoy local shopping. Make sure to visit the wharf, where you can take in views of the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers.
- Punta Arenas – Head to the shores of this vibrant city to view incredible examples of Patagonian wildlife. You’ll find penguin colonies at Seno Otway and Magdalena Island, which are also prime places for watching sea lions and whales.
- Do Some Kayaking or Skiing – Rent a kayak to explore the Strait of Magellan or the labyrinth of fjords that stretch across the region. If you’re really ambitious, charter a boat to Clarence Island to enjoy some private skiing time.
- Explore by Boat – Another fun thing to do is to embark on a zodiac cruise across shimmering Grey Lake, which allows you to take in up-close-and-personal views of enthralling Grey Glacier. Bring along your carry on backpack – the SWISSGEAR 6067 Getaway Big Backpack is a great choice thanks to its sleek profile and lightweight design – to keep everything that you need at the ready.
Hike Mirador las Torres – The most famous day hike in Torres del Paine National Park, the Mirador las Torres trail takes you across stunning Pehoe Lake and grants you unforgettable views of French Glacier. Again, keep a day pack with you to keep essentials on hand as you make your way around.
Patagonia: A Prime Place for Unforgettable One Bag Adventures
If you’re the adventurous sort who prefers setting out on foot to see the far reaches of the world, an excursion to Patagonia, Chile, is sure to be right up your alley. With your SWISSGEAR 2379 Drop Kit for toiletries and SWISSGEAR 2610 Mono Sling Bag for day treks, you’ll be able to discover the joys of the local landscape, including old-growth forests, shimmering glaciers, towering granite peaks, frosty-blue fjords and a dizzying array of local flora and fauna. Thanks to the first-rate design of these bags, they’re sure to serve you well not only throughout your explorations of Patagonia but through countless future adventures too. Most importantly, their lightweight designs allow you to enjoy minimalist travel at its best.