In the years 1878- 79 Lady Florence Dixie a native of Scotland sought refuge in travel by an escape from daily Victorian life. She traveled and subsequently wrote her beguiling read “Across Patagonia”. To this very day people still seek that refuge in the wide-open spaces of this land at the ends of the earth. Totally Latin America are destination experts in Patagonia. We have been creating pioneering experiences for over a decade in these lands. Over this time, we have had many senior travelers in Patagonia and they often ask our advice. The prime question being, what are the best tours of seniors in Patagonia? A one size fits all approach does not enter our minds as we begin to create the memories of your lifetime. Let us together explores the possibilities.
Patagonia is situated at the end of the Southern Cone countries of Argentina and Chile and holds some majestic landscapes. Hiking for seniors in Patagonia is the main attraction and that can be adapted to your ability by your expert travel planner at Totally Latin America. Patagonia is home to eleven national parks comprised of lakes and fjords, the Andes Mountains, desert and glacial topographies. The best Parks in Patagonia to see are Tierra del Fuego, Los Glaciares, Nahuel Huapi and Torres del Paine.
The 4 Best Patagonia Tours For Seniors To Do 2021
Below are the prime destinations. Senior travelers in Patagonia should not try to make it a priority to see all four unless you have about three weeks or more. Otherwise you will spend more time in airports and transferring than living the destinations. However, the outlines below show what is possible once you do visit each region.
- Tierra del Fuego National Park
- Los Glaciares National Park
- Nahuel Huapi National Park
- Torres del Paine National Park
We would consider a minimum time to explore the region would be seven days and deeper experience requiring perhaps fourteen to twenty-one days or more. The most accessible regions for a shorter trip would be a flight into Buenos Aires and then explore the national park of Los Glaciares. Trips with ten to twelve days or so can start to consider adding Torres del Paine National Park too. With an arrival to Chile then Nahuel Huapi National Park is a great start and then maybe add Torres del Paine or Los Glaciares in a seven to ten-day adventure. There are any number of combinations and you can contact your travel expert here to create the perfect journey.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire is the end of the Earth and gateway to Antarctica. From the capital Ushuaia we journey about 8 miles (13km) to Tierra del Fuego National Park. It is a wonderful synthesis of marine life, alpine lakes and forests all wrapped in one destination. To escape the hustle and bustle of life this is pure escapism. It may not be the most visually stunning park, yet that location and remoteness offer something special in escaping the connected world we live in today. The main highlights for senior travelers in Tierra del Fuego Patagonia include the End of the World Train as a day excursion from Ushuaia across the picturesque Pisco Valley then onward to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The journey offers a stop and cultural insight of the Yámana tribe. They have settled here 10,000 years ago and today only number about 1,600 in total across lands stretching down to Cape Horn.
A less strenuous hike for senior travelers in Tierra del Fuego National Park is the De la Isla Trail. Only about a mile long it’s great for bird spotting along the Cormoranes archipelago and aside Lapataia Bay. A beautiful waterfall is a highlight along with the petrels, albatross and cormorant soaring above.
Senior hikers in good shape can enjoy the Cerro Guanaco Trail across the highlands of the Fuegian Andes. You must have an official park guide and allow 5 hours for a leisurely round trip of about four miles (6.5 km). It can be wet underfoot so good waterproof boots and gaiters are recommended. There is one steep incline with loose scree and rock. Some fine peaks on view and impressive scenery across the Beagle Channel.
Another longer trail is that of La Roca to the border of Argentina/ Chile of about six miles (10 km). Moderately challenging with some easy trails and some rocky slopes but within the capability of physically fit seniors. It takes about two hours each way and we recommend a lunch at Lake Roca. Great mountain scenery, abundant flora en route and a crystalline lake as a befitting reward.
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares National Park is within the province of Santa Cruz and has an area of 1,720 square miles (4,455 sq. km). In 1981 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site. For senior travelers in Patagonia this is a wonderful opportunity. It stretches from the base towns of El Calafate on the shores of Lake Argentino upward to El Chaltén as the threshold to access the lands of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre. This park is ideally situated with Torres del Paine close by as another additional option to any tour in this region. The distance between both towns is about three hours by road.
From a base in El Calafate or El Chaltén for a senior tour in Patagonia we recommend the Perito Moreno Glacier with a nautical safari to being close by to this magnificent spectacle of nature. We can also include a short ice trek across the glacier. Another option is a cruise across Lake Argentino. This departs from Puerto Bandera and affords stunning panoramas of the lucid blue lake. We arrive at Upsala Glacier which is the largest in South America and 230 feet high. Then onward to Spegazzini Glacier which is smaller but has towering walls up to 440 feet high and an hour’s forest walk from the Spegazzini Canal.
At the northern end of the park stand the towering peaks of Fitzroy and Cerro Torre. These can be accessed from El Calafate, but a better option is nearby El Chaltén. There are a myriad of day treks of any difficulty you choose including the iconic Laguna de los Tres trek of 15 miles. This is magnificent but recommended only for hikers in particularly good condition.
However, for seniors at El Chaltén Patagonia there are a host of less difficult treks. Examples being the route across the Vespignani Glacial Reserve with a couple of hours of trekking and yet stunning panoramas of the Fitzroy’s lofty northern aspect. Another is the Mirador del Torre Trek of about 4 hours. It meanders along the valley of the Fitz Roy River to the observation post of Mount Solo across the Adela and Cerro Torre massifs. Total trek distance about 4.5 miles. In summary Los Glaciares offers a great diversity of accessible outdoor activities for senior travelers in Patagonia.
You can view a sample tour which includes El Calafate and the glaciers here.
Nahuel Huapi National Park
Nahuel Huapi was designated as Argentina’s first national park in 1934 and has an area of 2,900 square miles (7,510 sq. km). The park has dense forests, crystalline rivers and lakes, waterfalls and high lofty peaks. Bariloche town is a great access point to Nahuel Huapi National Park. From here you can access a host of lake excursions, watersports, cycling and hiking. For senior travelers in Patagonia this region is excellent as it has a myriad of very accessible short treks with exemplary views. Cerro Campanario (chair lift available) 360-degree views and Cerro Llao Llao require minimal effort (2- 3 hours) for huge enjoyment. Cerro Campanario has the most impressive views but Llao Llao is less touristic and quieter: you can do both short treks in a day. Alternately begin at Puerto Pañuelo and combine Llao Llao with the beaches of Moreno or Tacul, Escondido Lake or the forest at Arrayane. This is one of the most enjoyable days adventure for seniors in Patagonia.
Cerro Bella Vista is one of the most challenging hikes of about 5 miles, but it has 3,000 feet of ascent and so is only for seasoned hikers. It begins through the forests and rises above the town and lake to the expanses of Mount Tronador. Refugio Frey is another trek with many routes. It is typically 4 hours or 7.5 miles each way. So, a difficult prospect for seniors hiking in Patagonia but you could stay at the lodge and make it a great two-day excursion. The refuge has basic rustic accommodation but is set in a wonderful location to savour the best of mother nature’s gifts (Refugio Frey must be booked in advance).
Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is classic Patagonia to many visitors with the famed regal towers of Monzino, Agostini and Central. Lady Florence Dixie in 1878 christened them as Cleopatra’s Needles. Also, there are the beautiful Lakes of Pehoé, Sarmiento, Grey and Nordenskiöld to be explored. Encompassing 700 square miles (1813 sq. km) the national park can be accessed on the Chilean side from Punta Arenas (5hrs.) or from El Calafate in Argentina (4 ½ hrs.). You can allow a day in and a day out and we recommend a minimum stay of 2 to 3 days at the park. In the months of December and January there are limited spaces in the park. Booking a year out would be common.
For senior travelers in Patagonia we would advise consideration on what you choose to do dependent on your fitness. The boat excursions to Lago Grey and Grey Glacier is very accessible as are the Condor Lookout or Los Cuernos (2 hrs. each) at less than 3 miles each.
In our experience the Salto Grande Waterfalls and Lookouts Trail is the most rewarding and accessible 7 ½ -hour experience. It can be completed by senior travelers in reasonable physical shape and does not require any specialist skills. The nomenclature alone sets your heart racing with the Salo Grande Waterfall, Paine Grande Mountain, Lago Nordenskjöld viewpoint, Amarga Lagoon, Laguna Azul (Blue Lake) and a picture perfect sunset at Hostería Pehoé lookout.
Best Time to Visit Patagonia – Weather in Patagonia
Patagonia is best visited in the period of October to April. The months of December to February are peak season and especially in Torres del Paine early booking is a must. Weather is always changeable in Patagonia and it can be four seasons in one day. Strong winds and showers of rain or snow can appear from almost nowhere. Always venture out prepared with warm and waterproof clothing. Your expert travel adviser will advise on specific regional variations in weather and packing advice in addition to the above guidelines.
Senior travelers in Patagonia can feel confident to make that first step in our trusted hands. Escape today and let your adventure begin. Contact your Totally Latin America expert here.
…nowhere else are you so completely alone. Nowhere else is there an area of 10,000 square miles which you may gallop over, and where…you are safe from the persecutions of fevers, friends…telegrams, letters and every other nuisance you are elsewhere liable to be exposed to.”
Lady Florence Dixie, Across Patagonia (1879).
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