If you want to take your children to a place they’ve probably never seen anything like before, take them to Patagonia. The “wild” south of Argentina is a magical place with plenty of space for exploring. Check out the penguin colonies, the whales, and the massive glaciers. You can hike, bike, ski, and eat as much chocolate as you can manage. Here are some ideas for planning a Patagonia trip with children.
Where to Visit
Patagonia is a huge expanse and you’re going to have to decide where to base yourself unless you have a considerable amount of time to explore. Bariloche and the Lake District is where you can find the pretty Alpine-style villages, lakes, valleys, skiing and chocolate. El Calafate is the base for the Perito Moreno glacier, Puerto Madryn is for whales and penguins, while Trelaw is the place to be if your kids love dinosaurs.
Bariloche / Image via Danielle Pereira/ Flickr
Hiking with the Kids
Hiking is a beautiful way to see the area in the spring and summer, and now as we get into winter the terrain is still navigable. Older children and babies that can be easily carried will be most happy with longer hikes around the region. Try a walk in Los Arrayanes near to Bariloche. Toddlers may be more problematic, so plan a short trip close to the hotel – or leave young children in the safe company of one of our babysitters or travel nannies while you head off into the wilds.
Bariloche is chocolate heaven and your kids will love a stroll through the main street where countless chocolate shops are displaying their wares and even giving away free samples. Bariloche is also home to many different stores, boutiques, eateries, and pubs – an ideal place to shop, eat, drink, and have fun.
Watch the Penguins
If you are on an adventurous trip in Patagonia with family, you need to visit Punta Tombo National Reserve, the largest sanctuary for Magellan penguins, located 154 miles south of Puerto Madryn. While younger kids may not appreciate the amount of time it takes to travel to Puerto Madryn, then the length of the tour itself, older children will adore seeing the penguins in their natural element. You can also check out the whales and sea lion colonies around Puerto Madryn.
Penguins of Patagonia/ Image via Liam Quinn/ Flickr
Sightseeing at the Glacier
Head further south to El Calafate and you can use this small town as a base for a day tour of the Perito Moreno glacier. This natural wonder will delight children large and small as they watch for pieces falling off into the icy blue water. You can also take a boat trip in the lagoon.
The natural history Palaeontology Museum at Trelaw is a one-of-a-kind place with life-sized dinosaur models and over 1,700 fossil exhibits that will entrance dinosaur-loving kids. Take a guided visit to see the best of the museum and take the nature trail past the exposed fossils.
The tourist areas of Patagonia are very family-friendly and you will not have problems finding a hotel or guesthouse that caters for kids as well as adults, or a self-catering cabaña or chalet for a family group. If you want to splash out, try the Llao Llao Hotel about half an hour from Bariloche with its kids’ club, games room, and lovely pool.