The Patagonia Region is one of the most sought after trekking destinations in the world. Nestled in a very remote location in the southern part of South America, more and more visitors are finding it easier to make the journey to see the “8th Wonder of the World”. As you can imagine, with over 250,000 visitors a year, the limited number of accommodations during the main summer trekking season fill up very fast. The park authorities are strict, and once the lodges and campsites are fully booked, they will not allow any additional trekkers to sleep inside of the national park. With this in mind, it’s important to know when to book and how far in advance you would need to plan your trip. .
Each year around May, the main lodging companies release their prices for the year, and begin accepting bookings for the upcoming season. If you are planning to take a trip during peak trekking season (November 15th through March 1st), booking as early as possible is always recommended. Many people expect that giving a few months advance notice is ok, and are often disappointed that either the type of accommodation they are looking for or the dates are sold out. The lodges, known as “Refugios” are going to be the first to sell out, so if you don’t fancy camping then booking in advance is extra critical.
So, as a traveler who’s life goal is to make the infamous W Trek a reality, what are your options? Luckily, Patagonia Hero has a great relationship with the two main companies in Patagonia, and has specific dates blocked off each year during the peak season. That means for those who are a little too late to the party, you can join one of our existing groups as long as space is available. You still don’t want to wait too long as those dates are going to be highly sought after as well, but for those who think planning ahead takes away from the adventure, this is some great news.
For those folks who have set dates available to travel or have missed out on our open dates, you have three alternatives to consider.
1. Patagonia is worth the wait. Since a lot of you have had this on your bucket list for a while, those who have some patience can always put this trip aside for the year after knowing how the bookings work. I know, I know, it’s almost unthinkable to have to wait a whole year longer to make the hike up to Glacier Grey, but since this is a once and a lifetime visit for many, Patagonia is surely worth the wait. We also run great treks in the Himalayas as well as the climb up Kilimanjaro, and this can be a great alternative for Patagonia if you decide to hold off until next season as dates are much more flexible.
2. Trek during the shoulder season. If you have some flexibility on your dates, they options number two would simply be to look at some of the months just before or after the peak season. September and October are not quite as busy, and the closer you get to the main season, the better weather you’ll most likely encounter. Also look towards mid March through mid April, another time where the crowds are lower and the bright blue skies can fully be appreciated.
3. Day trip the National Park. The final option for those who have missed the booking deadlines will require some hardcore motivation and impeccable logistics, but if this is your one shot to make this trip happen, multiple day trips from Puerto Natales can be arranged. This would mean starting and finishing your day with a two hour bus ride in and out of the National Park, as well as some full days of hiking, but for the adventurous spirit this itinerary can certainly be a great option.
Now that you know all of your options, hopefully you can start your plans for the trip of a lifetime and join us in Patagonia!