The Best of Patagonia – Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego
Best for: hiking, cruising, camping, luxury hotels
Route: Puerto Montt – boat to Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine National Park
When to Go? During the austral summer and shoulder months, from November to March
South of Puerto Montt, there are all kinds of options, including driving the San Rafael glacier (a piddling 1,124km, and you’ll have to bring the hire car back unless you’re very rich), luxury cruises to the San Rafael glacier, a flight-hop down through Aysén or – the journey that we recommend here – a budget five-day boat trip down to Puerto Natales with Navimag.
The company uses basic vessels but the voyage is truly sublime, through jagged coasts, into silent fjords (the one stop Puerto Eden, boasts a population of around 170 native Kaweskars), past ice-fields and soaring Andean peaks that plunge directly into the ocean. On arrival in Puerto Natales, enjoy a few days R&R in the plush Singular Patagonia hotel, set in a renovated former cold storage plant, before setting off for Torres del Paine NP, one of Chile’s most dramatic parks. Here, excellent long and short hiking trails, stunning glaciers and well-equipped campsites await.
If visiting during summer, take advantage of the newly launched LATAM flight between Santiago and Puerto Natales to get back to the capital for your flight home.