Reasons to visit Patagonia
- Step into completely different landscapes; mountains, pampa, deserts and rainforests that contrast beautifully with the icy territories of your cruise
- Stretch your legs before or after days on board your ship getting to Antarctica, with a few days hiking in the mountains or kayaking your way through lakes, rivers and lagoons
- Discover some unique, architecturally stunning luxury hotels, lakeside lodges or boutique accommodation
- A few days is enough to get a taste of Patagonia's best spots, or take a few weeks and explore the world-famous national parks
Top 3 places to visit from Punta Arenas
All flights to Antarctica depart from Punta Arenas, so if you are flying to the Peninsula, the Falklands or the South Pole, it would be well worth building a few days into your trip to embrace Patagonia's stunning landscapes and explore the region more fully, rather than simply passing through.
1. Torres del Paine National Park
Rugged and remote, Torres del Paine is one of Patagonia's highlights. Magnificent granite towers, jagged mountains, glaciers, endless pampa and turquoise lakes make it a haven for hikers and adventurers.
There's no shortage of activities, from kayaking amongst icebergs to trotting between estancias on horseback, not to mention the W Trek, one of the world's greatest multi-day hikes. In the evening, you can come back to a luxury spa hotel, glamping pod, refugio or hotel, and watch the region illuminate under the setting sun.
2. Santiago wine region
Almost all travellers getting to Punta Arenas will need to fly via the vibrant city of Santiago, so stop off for a few days to break up the journey and taste some of the region's finest wines. The Casablanca valley is renowned for its Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, and the contrasting Colchagua valley is known for being a full-bodied red wine paradise.
Swoop Patagonia partners with some of the region's most unique, innovative wineries and can arrange both stays and short tours, to enjoy the best of the region's offerings before or after your voyage.
3. The Atacama Desert
A short flight north brings you to this land of extremes, where the scenery looks like it belongs more on the surface of the moon than in Chile.
Hot springs, mystical salt flats, lagoons packed with flamingoes and world-class stargazing make the Atacama the perfect contrast to your time on the White Continent. Technically outside Patagonia, the Atacama is one of the most popular destinations to add on to Antarctic cruises.
As one of Swoop's Patagonia specialists, it's my job to help you get a flavour of this colourful, diverse region. Whether it's hiking, scenery, relaxation or wildlife you're after, taking just a week before your cruise to settle in and explore will add a whole new level to your trip.
Zoe Winterbotham Booking Coordinator
Experience Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego
Once you've seen how much there is to see and explore in and around Ushuaia, you'll understand why we recommend you spending at least a couple of days there. With Tierra del Fuego right on the doorstep, host to incredible remote hiking, stunning scenery and fascinating wildlife, Ushuaia is much more than the southernmost city, it's a hub for adventures of every shape and size.
Things to do in Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego
Top 3 places to visit from Ushuaia
1. Los Glaciares National Park
Named after its 356 glaciers, Argentina's most famous park is packed with highlights. It is something of an adventurer's heaven, host to a myriad of world class day hikes which start from the mountain town of El Chalten.
Walk from your hotel front door up into the mountains, stumbling across bright blue hidden lagoons and awe-inspiring rocky towers. The most famous glacier is Perito Moreno, where you can watch ice crumble from the 70-metre high glacier face, or don crampons to hike across its icy surface.
2. Tierra del Fuego National Park
The very southern tip of the continent, this is a wild, isolated and wind-swept land. Dominated by untamed forests, glaciers, fjords and the end of the Andes mountains, the scenery here is unique in Patagonia. Take a day trip out to infamous Cape Horn, or visit the two places who claim the title of 'world's southernmost town', Ushuaia and Puerto Williams, and decide for yourself who deserves the title!
You can base yourself in Ushuaia to explore the wilderness on a hike, cruise or by 4x4, or head south to Isla Navarino where you can explore the island with even fewer people.
3. Iguazu Falls
Taller than Niagra Falls and twice as wide, this is the largest waterfall system in the world. It's also wonderfully accessible: boardwalks snake over the falls so close you'll have to protect your camera from the spray, and a boat can take you right up to the 'Devil's Throat'.
The sound of the cascading water dominates the surrounding rainforest, where you can walk a maze of trails and go wildlife spotting.
What our customers think
Have a day or two in Buenos Aires, well worth a visit.
Mick UK March 2018
It was great to have Swoop organise transfer on our arrival in Buenos Aires and the half day excursion the next day was perfect for us - they did an excellent job, thank you all!
Sue Australia February 2018
Go to Patagonia after your cruise! It's incredible!
Jill & Family Texas December 2017
Book through people who have been there repeatedly; Swoop was an excellent choice.
Marc Renzema United States Of America November 2017
Have recommended Swoop to all our friends; more than happy with your service before, after and during our trip.
Pauline Australia December 2017
We had the time of our lives. We really put very little effort into the research of Antarctica and Patagonia, we relied totally on you both, and we were not let down. I can't thank you enough.
Richard & Claire UK January 2016
Swoop's overall service, including the land portions, was excellent. No complaints, only kudos!
Jim Tietjen Malaysia February 2019
Swoop was terrific from the first contact through checking on our flight back from Ushuaia!
Donna & Ralph Briskin United States Of America November 2018
Logistics for the trip to Patagonia before the sea journey, and the travel from Chile to Montevideo, were perfect. I appreciated the detail of the notes: what to do with the short times I had in different places, where to eat and stay.
Jane Amara United States Of America October 2018
Our trip was in three parts. For me one of the highlights was completing the W trek, the variety of terrain and the smooth organisation of Chile Nativo added to this. We then visited Los Glaciares where a highlight was seeing thePerito Moreno Glacier. Antarctica offered us the opportunity to reflect on a wonderfully different world.
John Roff United Kingdom January 2019
Excellent service from Swoop - not least the arrangement of our Chilean tour (Chiloe Island) as well!
Alison Murdoch United Kingdom January 2019
Thanks for all your help! We had an absolutely amazing honeymoon in Antarctica. I'm sure we'll never forget it.
Tish & Obadiah Scolnik United States Of America December 2017