If like many other Brits, you only really get the opportunity to go on holiday during the summer months and you really want to visit Patagonia, don’t fear. Although May-Sep is the winter season in Patagonia, there are local operators running a range of different winter trips in southern Patagonia in order to cater to European visitors.
Winter trips are designed to take in as much as possible in the region whilst also avoiding getting caught up in the harsh weather. Patagonian winter brings with it snow & rain and temperatures of well past minus 5 at night (not great weather for camping). Although one bonus to visiting Patagonia is the beautiful snow covered trees and mountains and the fact that you avoid the infamous Patagonian wind which is only around during the summer months from October to March.
Winter tours are organised around short treks, van transfers to key highlights in the national park that you’re visiting and some of them include horse riding trips, as Argentinian and Chilean criollo’s tend to be a little hardier than us humans! This type of trip is popular in Torres del Paine National park as you are still able to get up to see the torres if you’re lucky, and in el Chalten you can try day hiking into Los Glaciares National Park.
See our favourite winter trips here:
Total no. of days: 7
Dates: 16 – 22 April 2011* Special Full Moon Departure; 20 – 26 May 2011; 23 – 29 June 2011; 18 – 24 July 2011;
11 – 17 August 2011* Special Full Moon Departure; 15 – 21 September 2011
Where: Torres del Paine National Park, Southern Chilean Patagonia
Highlights: Boat trip to Serrano Glacier, Grey Lake, Hike to Torres del Paine look-out, Horse ride to Laguna Azul
Price: USD$ 2,745 per person (based on 2 people), USD$ 2,595 per person (based on 3 people), USD$ 2,310 per person (based on 4+ people), USD$ 300 single supplement.
Accommodation: Day 1&2 Hotel Weskar or Hotel If, Day 3 Hosteria Tyndall cabins, Day 4&5 Estancia Tercera, Day 6 Hotel Rey Don Felipe
*This local operator is the first to introduce special trip departures to take advantage of the incredible southern full moon
Total no. of days: 9
Dates: 23 April – 1 May 2011; 6 – 14 May 2011; 10 – 18 June 2011 * Special Full Moon departure; 29 July – 6 August 2011;
19 – 27 August 2011; 23 September – 1 October 2011.
Where: Torres del Paine and El Chalten, Argentinian Patagonia
Highlights: Grey Lake, Trek to the Towers, Laguna de los Tres & Cerro Torre base camp, Viedma Glacier, Perito Moreno Glacier
Price: USD $3,795 per person (based on 2 people), USD $3,365 per person (based on 3 people), USD $2,845 per person (based on 4+ people), USD $350 single supplement
Accommodation: Day 1 Hotel Weksar or Hotel If, Day 2&3 Estancia Tercera, Day 4&5 Hotel Poicenot, Day 6&7 Hotel Kapenke, Day 8 Hotel Weksar
In the Argentinean lake district, snowshoeing and skiing is popular, just a 30 minute drive from Barloche you’ll find the ski resort ‘Cerro Catedral’ which is a key skiing destination in Argentina. Some hundred kilometres across the border into Chile you can visit the Chilean Lake District, which although too rainy for most, does offer some ski trips on Volcano Osorno which is snow-capped during the winter.
This hard-core winter skiing trip takes place on volcano slopes – some of which are still active!
Total no. of days: 11
Dates: 7 August – 17 2011; 3 September – 13 2011; 2 October – 12 2011
Where: Chilean Lake District, Patagonia
Highlights: Skiing down Antuco volcano, Malalcahuello hotspring day 3, Skiing down the active volacano; Villarrica Volcan, Climbing Volcan Osorno with crampons and skiing back down
Price: USD $3,950 per person (based on two people)
Accommodation: Day 1&2 Cabin in Antucalhue, Day 3&4 Mountain refuge, Day 5 Hostal in Pucon, Day 6&7 Hotel near Panguipulli Lake, Day 8 Refugio in Osorno, Day 9 Hostal in Puerto Varas, Day 10 Hotel in Santiago
Remember that although the weather is unpredictable and you may be graced with a few rays of sun, it will definitely be cold at night and this means camping out under the stars is a no-no.
Also bear in mind that all refugios in Torres del Paine National Park are closed during the winter months, save for Refugio Paine Grande (TBC). This means it’s pretty difficult doing a self-guided trip during winter and you’re much better off travelling with an operator, to ensure you’re safe during your trip.
If, however, you’re itching to do the W Circuit, a local operator that we work closely with and have had great customer feedback from runs this Winter Torres del Paine trip:
Total no. of days: 5
Dates: No dates, set up a date of your choice.
Where: Southern Patagonia, near Puerto Natales, Chilean Patagonia
Highlights: Hike to Grey Glaciar and Valle Frances, Hiking up to the Torres viewpoint in the above photo
Price: USD $1,495 per person (based on two people)
Accommodation: Day 1, 2, 3 at Refugio Paine Grande or other if this is closed. Day 4 TBC and Day 5 Hotel in Puerto Natales
Looking for more trips? Why not try some kayaking and cross-country skiing:
Kayaking the Beagle Channel - Paddle in fast-moving waters in the wilderness, you’ll be surrounded by mountains & kayak up to a colony of sea lions and penguins.
Backcountry skiing Barioche – Ski down snow-covered volcanoes and mountains in the Argentinian Lake District and relax in the spa and ski at the exclusive Cerro Catedral resort.