Neither country nor political province, Patagonia is a geographic territory that drapes across the Andes Mountains to encompass the southern parts of Argentina and Chile. This windswept, tip of South America is also a place of drama: there’s plenty of action in the expert maneuvers of its colorful gauchos on horseback, loads of character in its sharply gnawed peaks—Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre—and symbolism in its historic hosterias and cozy, family-owned estancias. There are “plots” of spectacular glaciers; guanaco-filled grasslands; and lush, subtropical forests dressed in vivid, crimson-flowered ceibo trees.
Join us on our small-group Patagonia adventure tour, and you’ll explore the World Heritage Los Glaciares National Park, where Upsala, Onelli and Perito Moreno Glaciers calve into the icy and azure waters of the huge Lake Argentino. In Andean-Patagonian forests and on the Patagonian Steppes, you’ll ride horses with gauchos, investigate a petrified forest and stay on a sheep ranch that’s in wide-angle view of the impressive Mount Fitz Roy. You’ll even don crampons and hike on a glacier.
Those actions alone would make seeing this region of Argentina and Chile a real event. But, as an Off the Beaten Path traveler, you may seek an added story line, much like when Bruce Chatwin wrote his 1977 groundbreaking book, In Patagonia. In that travelogue, the author focused not so much on the setting but on the people he met and the mythologized figures who had passed through the land (such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). Now imagine getting to know Patagonia in that Chatwin-kind-of-way: spending some time with those who live there on a Custom Journey. On a Patagonia private travel tour that we’ll help you arrange, you could stay in a gracious and rural estancia, affording you the opportunity to experience the authentic Argentine-ranch lifestyle. If you’re a photography buff, we’ll hook you up with a local guide and professional photographer who’ll lead your explorations to some of the most iconic sites on the planet, such as Mount Fitz Roy, the Perito Moreno Glacier and Torres Del Paine—and put you in position to shoot these scenes from lesser-known overlooks and little-visited locales. You may even decide to ride with the gauchos across the pampas, under the stunning and soaring peaks of the Andes Mountains.
Head into Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest nonpolar desert on the planet, and you’ll step on Mars-like soil into a strange, new world. In the Lake Districts of northern Patagonia, learn how to fly-fish as you wade into crystal-clear meandering rivers, cast your line and then feel that leaping, breathless moment when you hook a big, wild trout. Overhead, Andean condors surf the air currents; and around the river’s next bend, you spot wild flamingos and black-necked swans, fishing for breakfast.
You could go to Patagonia and be struck by its diverse beauty. Or you could go to Patagonia with Off the Beaten Path, and—for a while—play a part in it.