There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the scenery in Patagonia, with the glaciers, lagoons and snow-capped mountains speaking louder than words ever could. The sheer scale of this region is overwhelming, which means it can be difficult for travellers to know what areas and which activities to take in: this requires a specialist. At cazenove+loyd we believe that the best trips to Patagonia are based on fantastic guiding, activities that are perfectly suited to each client and memorable places to stay. This is how we get the very best out of Patagonia.
One of our favourite guides we work with is Jakob, who we first met when he was working in Kenya, but who has since returned to his homeland to lead inspiring (and incredibly popular) horse treks. A real-life gaucho, there is no one better to guide you on horseback around the picturesque Lake District and wild cowboy-countryside. Even though his treks are often booked up months in advance, we can ensure that our clients have the chance to explore with Jakob.
The best hiking in Patagonia is around the small town of El Chalten, where a three-hour trek with our top guide Vincente will lead you through woodland, across streams and up and down varying inclines, until you reach the postcard-perfect Laguna de los Tres, a green-y blue (no one can quite agree on the colour) lagoon at the base of the imposing Mount Fitz Roy.
There are few better ways to quench your thirst than filling up your bottle with the lake’s delicious ice cold water, which comes straight from the glacier. Walking back to base camp, Vincente will tell stories of the aboriginal people of Southern Patagonia and their legends and point out red-headed woodpeckers nesting in the trees.
When choosing where our clients stay in Patagonia, we look for understated, beautiful properties that sit well in their surroundings. Aguas Arriba, near El Chalten, is one of our all-time favourite places to stay. Set on the edge of Lago del Desierto, all five-rooms in the lodge look out over the spectacular Glacier Vespignani.
A real home-away-from-home, there is always a roaring fire lit and homemade snacks provided throughout the day. The lodge is also the perfect place to completely switch off, as there are no TV’s or Wi-Fi signal.
There is a fantastic guided hike from the lodge which takes in sights such as “the enchanted wood”, a beautiful area of tall twisty trees. On this trail, there are several viewpoints with benches so you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake, which the guide will have brought along for you. Our clients often tell us on return that this was one of the highlights of their trip to Patagonia.
There are also many Estancias (large farms) dotted throughout the region, which are fun, rustic places to stay, but often the accommodation is rather basic. By far our favourite is Estancia Cristina, which is very remote, only accessible by a three-hour boat trip from Puerto Punta Banderas.
But wilderness and stunning secluded spots are the hallmarks of Patagonia, and once you arrive you are rewarded with a full view of the otherworldly Upsala Glacier, which is the largest in South America. Founded one hundred years ago by an English family, the lodge is elegantly designed but still retains an authentic charm.
There are endless things to do here, and we can arrange fishing, horse-riding, trekking, 4×4 trips and more. There are so many ways to explore this rural landscape and, as we have tried and tested it all, we can choose exactly the right level of activity for you.