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 after days on board ship 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

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.

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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.

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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.

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Zoe says

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.

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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.

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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. 

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