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Gear Up for Patagonia: Preparing for the Trip of a Lifetime

Samantha Kern
by Samantha Kern

July 05, 2023

4 minute read

Patagonia Ship

Patagonia is an amazing destination that offers a unique combination of stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. It’s been described as the edge of the world for a reason – it’s so remote and untouched, wildlife abounds, and you’re surrounded by mountains, ice fields and ocean. Patagonia truly is a trip of a lifetime.

In my role as a Product Design Manager at Collette, I have the challenging but highly rewarding task of creating dream tours for our travellers. A lifelong adventure seeker myself, I am passionate about connecting people and cultures in impactful ways.

My personal travel style is hands on and active, so for me, designing our tour of Patagonia was a thrill. We created a journey that begins in Buenos Aires, continues into Chile to the Patagonian countryside, then sets off on a 4-night expedition cruise through the fjords of Patagonia, immersing travellers in pure nature.

Recently, I was able to experience the final product by joining the tour alongside other travellers, and I’m here to report back with some tips for anyone who is planning a Patagonian adventure in their future.

What to Pack for a Trip to Patagonia

Weather in Patagonia is highly unpredictable. You can end up getting all four seasons in a single day. The biggest factor? The wind.

Pack in layers and bring waterproof gear. With the expedition cruise, at times, you’ll step into water as you climb in and out of the Zodiacs – that’s something that surprises a lot of people. So, waterproof shoes are good idea. On my trip, I’d say the single most important piece of clothing I had with me was waterproof pants. Whilst some outerwear may be available from the on-ship store, it’s best to bring your own waterproof gear to guarantee you’ll have what you need.

It’s also important to remember basics like gloves, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Maybe you wouldn’t think those things all go together, but they do on this tour. Last but not least, bring binoculars – there will be endless opportunities to use them throughout the journey.

One more note on packing: Be strategic with your clothing items. The size and weight allowance on luggage can be quite limited due to restrictions on the local flights. Luckily, a little can go a long way. Think versatile layers and comfortable athleisurewear. You really can go with just one or two nice dinner outfits for this tour.

What to Expect on the Expedition Ship in Patagonia

Many want to know what it’s like to go on an expedition cruise. You could make comparisons to classic pleasure cruises, but really, this kind of cruise is made for the explorers at heart. Your nightly entertainment involves learning about the natural world surrounding you. All your off-ship excursions are with a naturalist guide because you’re exploring in the remotest part of the world. The cabins are all exceptional, as are the views outside your window.

Expect full and enriching days throughout the cruise. Most days, there will be two excursions – one in the morning, one in the afternoon. You’ll wake up, have breakfast, and then get all your gear on, including a life vest, and head to the disembarkation area for your adventures that day. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to use stairs between levels of the ship to board and disembark, as there are no elevators. The boat ride between ship and land aboard a Zodiac is typically a 10-minute ride or so. Back on board, your daily evening briefings will get you ready for the next day’s experiences, and then it’s time to relax and enjoy educational talks and incredible dining each night.

Must-Do Experiences in Patagonia

There’s so much about our Patagonia: Edge of the World tour that makes it a trip to remember. I leave you with a few highlights that are sure to stand out when you go.

At Torres del Paine National Park, brace for the incredible natural beauty of the mountains, teal waters, and expansive grasslands – and keep an eye out for wildlife.

During a Zodiac expedition, get the chance to see penguins and other birds up close and in their element. It’s such a wild experience!

At Perito Moreno Glacier, take in the gigantic tower of vibrant ice resting against blue-green waters – it’s breathtaking.

If conditions allow for it, venture into the stunning landscape of Cape Horn to hike the “End of the Earth.”

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