Dubbed ‘land of the giants’, due to the vastness of the region’s immaculate natural setting, Patagonia’s centrepiece is Torres del Paine National Park, where foxes, horses, eagles, condors and the odd puma roam. Adventure tops the to-do list here: visitors can ride horses, trek through the dramatic terrain and even track pumas. Huasos (Chilean cowboys) also wander the plains; and – oenophiles rejoice – vine-strewn valleys and clay-rich soils produce celebrated wines, so there’s ample opportunity to taste rich Chilean reds.
When to go
November to early March have the best weather for exploring the Torres del Paine National Park and Tierra del Fuego. From June to August, skiers flock to the snow-capped Andean slopes.
PlanesThe nearest international airports are Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in Punta Arenas, Chile and Comandante Armando Tola in El Calafete, Argentina. There are no direct flights to Chile’s capital, Santiago, from the UK, but Latam Airlines run a service from London via São Paolo; Alitalia connects via Rome and Aeroméxico via Mexico City. Fly to Buenos Aires with British Airways then hop on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight to reach Comandante Armando Tola, it’s around a three-hour journey. Latam also runs seasonal flights from Santiago to Puerto Natales (the closest airport to luxury hotel Awasi) from December to February.
AutomobilesThere are car-hire booths at both Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo and Comandante Armando Tola airports. However, drivers should ready themselves for considerable toll charges on main highway, Ruta 5, and unkempt roads. It’s advised to carry an International Driving Permit (unless arriving from the US, Canada, Germany or Australia).