Where to Ride in Patagonia

Divided between Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is a stunning landscape tucked away at the southernmost point of South America. This charming location is a refuge for equestrian riders and cyclists, offering breathtaking scenery and plenty of adventure choices. 

While riding, discover the ideal spots in this enchanted region to take in its breathtaking splendor.

Biking Excursions

Carretera Austral

This 1,240 km (770 miles) route in Chilean Patagonia is a favorite for cycling enthusiasts. The Carretera Austral takes you through dense forests, alongside stunning rivers, and up close to some of the world’s most beautiful glaciers. 

Highlights of the route include the Cerro Castillo National Reserve and the Queulat National Park with its hanging glacier.

The Seven Lakes Route

This scenic route in Argentina covers 107 km (66 miles) through the Andes, connecting the towns of San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura. 

As the name suggests, the route takes you past seven mesmerizing glacial lakes and showcases snow-capped peaks and dense forests. It’s an easy-to-navigate journey suitable for riders of all skill levels.

Tierra del Fuego

At the southernmost tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego is an island shared by Argentina and Chile. Cycling on this mysterious land will allow you to experience pristine landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and unparalleled isolation. 

The city of Ushuaia, the Beagle Channel, and Tierra del Fuego National Park are must-see destinations in Tierra del Fuego.

Torres del Paine National Park

A visit to Patagonia would only be complete with exploring this iconic national park in Chile. While many visitors opt for hiking the trails, cycling offers a unique and unforgettable experience. 

Be prepared for challenging stretches and incredible views of the park’s most famous sights, such as the Torres del Paine massif and the Grey Glacier.

Horseback Adventures

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Adventurous equestrians should take advantage of the opportunity to explore the rugged yet charming Torres del Paine National Park. As riders navigate open pampas and steep mountains, they’ll be captivated by the jaw-dropping sights of glaciers, lakes, and soaring granite peaks.

El Calafate, Argentina

Dubbed the Gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, this quaint town is home to the renowned Perito Moreno Glacier. Although horseback riding is not a conventional route here, Patagonian ‘estancias’ (ranches) offer unique equestrian experiences, often accompanied by a traditional Argentine barbeque or ‘asado.’

The Andes Mountain Range, Argentina, and Chile

For an unforgettable multi-day horseback journey, traverse the Andes Mountain Range. Traveling from Argentina to Chile, you’ll encounter diverse terrains, from high-altitude mountains to lush, verdant forests.

General Information 

Shared by Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is a vast territory that spans around 1,043,076 square kilometers (402,730 square miles). The Andes Mountains provide great riding routes and a natural barrier separating the two nations. 

Little towns and villages are strewn throughout the main riding routes, reflecting the area’s limited population. Both nations are mostly Spanish-speaking, so even though most tourist attractions have workers who speak English, it’s a good idea to brush up on your basic Spanish before visiting.

What to Expect

  • Breathtaking Beauty: One of the biggest draws of cycling in Patagonia is the chance to witness some of the most awe-inspiring and remote landscapes on Earth. Expect to be continually amazed by the sights nature offers in this part of the world.
  • Limited Amenities: Riders should prepare for long stretches with limited access to food, water, and accommodations. Self-sufficient camping is the norm, but some hotels and hostels are also available along the popular routes.
  • Physical Challenges: Cycling in Patagonia can be demanding, especially on more remote and undulating routes. Adequate physical preparation is essential to make the most of your experience.
  • Unpredictable Weather: Patagonia’s unpredictable weather means planning your trip well, carrying appropriate gear, and remaining flexible with your itinerary is essential.

Pre-trip Preparations

Preparation is vital for cycling comfortably in Patagonia. Wear suitable cycling gear, use sunscreen, carry plentiful water, and bring a basic first aid kit. Ensure your bike is in good condition, and double-check the weather forecast before leaving.

Bike Rental

Many towns in Patagonia, like El Calafate, Puerto Natales, or San Carlos de Bariloche, offer bike rental services. The rates vary, but expect to pay around $20-$30 per day for adult bikes.

Main Patagonia Bike Route: Carretera Austral to Tierra del Fuego

One of the most popular routes starts at Carretera Austral in Chile, traveling through rugged terrain with turquoise rivers, rainforests, and dramatic mountain ranges. From there, ride to El Chalten, Argentina’s trekking capital, with jaw-dropping views of the Fitz Roy mountain range.

Continue your journey to El Calafate, home to the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Then, cycle to Puerto Natales, the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park. Your journey ends in Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, which is said to be the southernmost city in the world.

Extraordinary Side Trips

Along the route, consider detours to Mount Fitz Roy, Los Glaciares National Park, and even a boat trip to see the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, just outside Puerto Natales.

Post-trip Relaxation

After the ride, unwind with a feast of traditional Patagonian lamb, fresh local seafood, or a glass of Argentine Malbec. For the ultimate relaxation, drop by a local ‘estancia’ or ranch for an authentic gaucho experience.

Final Words

Riding your bike through Patagonia and experiencing its awe-inspiring natural beauty firsthand is thrilling. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or simply looking for a unique way to explore this immense region, the Patagonian routes await you. 

Patagonia is a cycling journey that is as rewarding as the destination, from its fascinating fauna, flora, and majestic landscapes to its cozy little towns.

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