Travel Diary: Patagonia

Around this time last year I heeded Expedia’s slogan to “escape winter” and took off for the southern hemisphere, where snow was replaced with sunshine, and parkas were replaced with summery dresses and a healthy application of SPF. I didn’t actually do my travelling with Expedia (sorry gnome buddy!) but with a combination of G Adventures and some solo trip planning, and it was one of the most incredible travel experiences of my life to date.

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I started my South American adventure with 11 days of hiking in Patagonia (the place, not the store – it’s amazing how many people were confused when I told them about my trip). I picked  
G AdventuresThe Best of Patagonia trip because it had everything I was looking for – lots of hiking, a little camping, and the chance to stretch my legs and explore someplace I’d never been before. That exact trip no longer exists (bummer, it was amazing), but their End of the Earth itinerary looks pretty similar, minus a few days and an Ushuaia boat cruise.

It’s hard to accurately capture my experience in Patagonia, but this excerpt from an email I sent my mom comes pretty close, “I wake up every morning and think I’ve stumbled onto the set of Lord of the Rings. We hike through four seasons and a million different landscapes in one day. It’s literally unlike any place I’ve ever seen before and I’m so thankful to be here now. It takes my breath away.”

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I’ve posted a few shots from my trip below. For anyone who has any inclination to visit Patagonia, I can’t recommend it enough. It was an incredible experience and I hope to return some day soon to explore more. If you do make it to that very special end of the earth, here are some sights and stops not to miss.

  • El Chaltén, a small hippie village in Argentina. Make sure to hit up La Chocolateria, an artisanal chocolate shop, and La Cerveceria, where you can cop a squat on a Muskoka chair in the open air.
  • La Tablita, an authentic Argentinean restaurant in El Calafate where you can satisfy your carnivorous cravings with an enormous parrilladas (mixed grill). 
  • The Perito Moreno glacier. If you’ve never seen a glacier up close before (and I hadn’t), this is a pretty spectacular way to start. 
  • Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Despite the fact that it rained the entire time we were there, it was still an incredible experience and a must-do for the adventurous camper. 

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Like this post? Watch for another Travel Diary coming next week on Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America.

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