Patagonia is the region at the southern end of South America, shared by both Argentina and Chile and including the southern section of the Andes mountain range. Patagonia has become the stuff of legends, and for good reason. It’s more immense than you can possibly imagine, more empty, more windswept and more beautiful. It contains some of the most famous areas for walking and trekking in South America, including Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and the area around Mount Fitzroy in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina.
There are two classic treks in Torres del Paine National Park; the Paine Circuit and the ‘W’. The ‘W’ trek, so named because of its shape, takes about four days and gets you up close to all the best views including trekking to the base of the parks famous towers. The Paine Circuit is a longer and more challenging trek, normally done over eight days.
Los Glaciares National Park is 8500 square miles, a scale matched only by its grandeur; approximately a third of its area is covered by glaciers making it the largest continental ice expanse after Antarctica. This area is less crowded than Torres del Paine and on the southern ice field there are no beaten tracks whatsoever. There are several glaciers that can be hiked on day trips, with the use of crampons, including the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate. The highest peak is Mount Fitz Roy, once named ‘Cerro Chalten’ (Smoking Mountain).