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The Cycling Adventurers Dream: Planning a Trip to Patagonia




BY Matthew Hecht

A born outdoorsman, Matt shares his adventures with readers on a variety of blogs.

The region of Chile and Argentina called Patagonia is an outdoor traveler's dream, with beautiful mountainous views, striking glaciers, charming coastal villages and abundant wildlife.

Patagonia is a touring cyclists paradise with opportunities for camping, culture, interactions with locals, swimming, and hiking. An adventure vacation here is void of the traffic of busy highways, traffic barriers, safety poles like single post bollards and aggressive drivers.

As you start to plan for your Patagonia excursion, keep in mind the following travel tips and Patagonia destinations:

Make Adequate Preparations in Advance

  • Travel Medical Insurance: Prior to any international trip or outdoor excursion, proper preparations with your health and safety in mind are top priorities. Travel medical expense insurance or emergency evacuation plans ensure that you'll receive expert and quick medical attention during an unexpected accident. International as well as adventure travel insurance keeps you protected while trekking mountains and exploring the villages of Patagonia.
  • Money-saving Tips: For anyone who's jetting to Patagonia for months, taking advantage of opportunities to save on cash are highly welcomed. As you plan for your trip, keep in mind that its off-season is between March and June as well as September and November. Patagonia traveler Pam Bryan told that "in April the autumn leaves are turning colors, the wildlife is more active, and the summer crowds are gone."
  • Get your bike and gear ready: This region is known for its strong winds. Although some days may be easy, other days winds can nearly push you off of the road. Be prepared to do some traveling by foot. The roads are mostly  corrugated and gravel. One blogger suggests to bring the "best rear rack you can find," and maybe some cables for emergencies. 

Book travel arrangements into Buenos Aires or Santiago in a timely fashion to avoid steep last-minute costs. also suggests using the bus for long-distance traveling, make purchases in local currency and research homestays and host families on Craigslist and Home Stay Web for accommodations.

Plan & Research Destinations to Explore

There are only two main roads that go through Patagonia, one through Argentina and one through Chile. The Argentinean route goes east of the Andes and is generally dry and stark. The road through Chile is exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The options are very different, so plan a trip with sites and stops that overlap. 

  • El Chaltén: The El Chaltén, at the base of the snowy Fitz Roy mountain range, is an intimate village that attracts world travelers. Drawing in camping and hiking enthusiasts, the Cerro Fitz Roy summit and surrounding peaks are gateways to expansive, breathtaking views.
  • Camarones: Camarones is a coastal village embracing nature's beauty and a quaint, leisurely lifestyle. Retreat to Camarones for meditative and laid-back village explorations. Saunter to nearby nature reserve Cabo Dos Bahías to be entertained by Magallanic penguins in their natural habitat.
  • Perito Moreno Glacier: Perito Moreno, located at the southern tip of Glacier National Park, is a stunning glacier and spectacular natural tourist attraction. Visit Hielo & Aventura in the city of El Calafate to take a mini-trekking excursion and experience the outstanding viewpoints, amazing crystal ice blocks and wondrous floating icebergs up close and personal. 
  • Argentine Lake District: Nestled in Northwest Argentine Patagonia, the Lake District is the center of the magnificent Andes mountains.  boasts that the Lake District "contains breathtaking vistas from nearly every angle." Venture to San Carlos de Bariloche to experience European architecture or journey to Cerro Catedral for a world-class skiing.

Other Patagonia must-sees include Argentina's diving destinations Madryn and Peninsula Valdés. Tourists in Peninsula Valdés can expect close encounters with marine wildlife and go on whale-watching tours. Travel to the Patagonian Cave of Hands for an exploration of mysterious ancient cave art, hand-printed etchings and wall murals. Cape Horn and the Punta Tombo wildlife reserve are also major Patagonia attractions, offering astounding, panoramic views and unique outdoor experiences. 

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