A 4×4 Driving Adventure in Patagonia

The Patagonia region, located at the southernmost point of Chile and Argentina, is truly one of the world’s last unexplored areas. It is primarily populated by small tribal communities, hardy fishing communities, and an astounding variety of wildlife and natural wonders that will literally take your breath away.

The majority of tourists who travel to Patagonia stay in Chile or Argentina. There is now a way to see both, though—with a surprising blend of pure adventure and pure luxury.

Quasar Expeditions, a reputable Ecuadorian travel agency, and Jeep, a household name, are working together on an eight-day tour of this wild area. Thanks to the 4×4 you’ll be driving, you’ll have access to natural wonders like the renowned Torres del Paine National Park, Los Glaciares National Park, and the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier. Additionally, you’ll discover quickly that “adventure” and “luxury” are not exclusive terms in the hotels where you’ll be staying.

Your journey will begin in Puerto Natales, Chile. The Quasar team will meet you there and give you the keys to your 2013 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon. Both an external GPS Ranger® and a built-in Garmin GPS are included in the vehicle, which functions as a virtual tour guide pointing out attractions and ensuring that the pre-programmed hotels and destinations are reached each day. You have the choice of taking the wheel while being accompanied by a guide, letting the guide take the wheel, or going it alone and without a guide.

You can go on hikes, catamaran cruises (and rides on horses) during the day, and even try sub-Arctic bird watching. You can unwind at night in luxurious hotels that have exquisite decor, fine dining, fine wine, and even spas. The drives, which last an hour to three or four hours, are not strenuous either.

The first stop on the journey is Chile’s Singular Patagonia Hotel, a newly opened (and already award-winning) 57-room luxury retreat on the shores of the Fjord of Last Hope that was formerly a 100-year-old cold storage facility. Before turning in for the evening, you can sample local fare like guanaco and conger eel here, as well as a variety of pisco sours.

The following morning, your group will cross into Argentina before traveling north through the Patagonian Pampa to Hosteria Helsingfors, a rustic retreat. Here, on the shores of lovely Lake Viedma and across from the towering Mt. Fitz Roy, two days will be spent riding horses or hiking up to a remote blue lagoon at the edge of a glacier.

The Perito Glacier and the “Iceberg Channel” will be reached the following day, and then you’ll check into Eolo Lodge, a genuine Argentine estancia close to the interesting town of El Calafate.

The Torres del Paine National Park, with its ice-blue glaciers and soaring, pointed peaks poking through the clouds, is then reached by crossing back into Chile. At an alpine lake called Toro, you’ll spend that night at Patagonia Camp, the country’s first five-star tented camp.

You’ll hike up the French Valley the following day to get to the Paine Grande Massif’s hanging glaciers. You will eat roasted Patagonia lamb in the evening prepared in gaucho (cowboy) fashion. The following day is spent driving through the park and stopping to see the three enormous mountains that gave their name to Torres del Paine National Park, as well as brilliantly colored Chilean flamingos and black-faced Ibis. Lunch will be served to you by a crystal-clear lagoon.

The Patagonia that the early explorers saw is now visible. But you can do it in a manner they would have never imagined.