Patagonia in December: 10 day Patagonia road trip

Rugged mountains, emerald lagoons, and majestic glaciers: Patagonia is a true paradise for anybody who’s into photography. The dramatic sceneries of this beautiful corner of South America will definitely have your memory cards filling up fast – ours certainly did!

Here is a selection of our favourite photography from our road trip to Patagonia in December.

The pictures appear in the same chronological order as our Patagonia itinerary. Hopefully, they will ignite your wanderlust and help you get a better idea of what a trip to Patagonia looks like.

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First 2 days in Patagonia – Punta Arenas and a tour to Isla Magdalena

Magellanic penguins roaming freely on Isla Magdalena in Patagonia in December

A half-day trip from Punta Arenas to Isla Magdalena is a great way to start your Patagonia in December adventure and is definitely one of the experiences you shouldn’t miss in Patagonia.

This tiny island is home to tens of thousands of Magellanic penguins. These cute little black-and-white guys walk funnily, “talk” loudly and make your camera’s memory card fill up quickly.

Magellanic penguins in Monumento Natural Los Pinguinos on Isla Magdalena.

The tour to the “penguin island” is normally available from October to April or May, during the period of Austral summer. This is when a hundred thousand Magellanic penguins flock to Isla Magdalena in the Strait of Magellan to breed.

Related: 10 day Patagonia itinerary

This couple of penguins in the front didn’t pay the slightest attention to our presence. It seems they knew the purpose of their visit very well 🙂

a Magellanic penguins entering its burrow on Isla Magdalena, a small island close to Punta Arenas.

Isn’t he cute?! Watching the penguins offers so many fun moments and so many exciting photographic opportunities.

Days 3, 4 and 5 of the Patagonia road trip – Torres del Paine National Park

View of Cuernos del Paine from Lago Nordenskjold in Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia in December

The absolutely breathtaking Torres del Paine national park in Chile is the next stop on our trip to Patagonia in December.

The sceneries are mindblowing and the colours are otherworldly and the whole park is a paradise for anybody who comes to Patagonia to do some photography.

Close-up view of Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine national park in Chilean Patagonia.

There’s no lack of beauty and drama in Torres del Paine – the jagged mountains, the fierce weather and the dramatic sky form the quintessential picture of Patagonia.

A herd of gaunaco grazing on the plains in Torres del Paine national park.

Guanacos represent the typical species of fauna in Torres del Paine. They are members of the camel family and are closely related to llamas.

But the Patagonian wildlife is much richer than just guanacos. You can find pumas, skunks, and even parakeets and flamingos in the park!

View of Torres del Paine massif from Lago Pehoe in Patagonia

The Patagonian weather is wayward and teasing.

This morning had the best weather forecast during our whole stay in Torres del Paine, so I was hoping for some beautiful light. Even though it didn’t work out exactly as planned, it was still pretty amazing.

This is a snowstorm rolling in in the middle of the summer, by the way.

A person posing in a strong wind in Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia.

The Patagonian weather knows the rule: if you blow, you do it with all your strength and passion 🙂 Winds up to 120 km/h (75 mph) are nothing unusual in Patagonia.

View from Mirador Cuernos in Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia.

Hiking in Torres del Paine can be both challenging and rewarding. But one thing is for sure, it’s better to visit Patagonia in December if you wish to hike.

From short hikes to multi-day treks, there’s something for everybody. When the sun came out after two days of rain and all the stunning sceneries showed up, our excitement soared higher than an Andean condor 🙂

Days 6 and 7 – El Chalten and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentine Patagonia in December

View of Mt. Fitz Roy from Laguna de los Tres in national park Los Glaciares in Argentinian Patagonia.

The next stop on our Patagonia itinerary is El Chalten.

They call this place the trekking capital of Argentina, and for a good reason.

Hiking par excellence awaits you, such as this hike to Laguna de los Tres with an incredible vista of Mt. Fitz Roy. Out of our 10 days in Patagonia, this was the only day when a sun lotion was needed 🙂

Related: Patagonia 10 day itinerary
View of a couple kissing at Laguna de los Tres in El Chalten, Argentina.
Romance in Patagonia: hot kisses and cold weather go nicely together 🙂

By the way, this Patagonia road trip was actually a part of our honeymoon!

view of a hiking trail in El Chalten, with a background of Mt. Fitz Roy

Hiking to Laguna de los Tres in El Chalten made for an unforgettable day for us.

The wind was light (in Patagonian slang, that means it was blowing merely at 50 km/h (30 mph) instead of the more usual 100 km/h (60mph)), the big-ass cloud sitting at the top of Mt. Fitz Roy gradually disappeared and the sun came out.

A perfect day at a perfect place 🙂

A view of couple hiking in El Chalten, Argentina.

Jagged mountains, glaciers, lagoons, grey clouds, white clouds, lenga trees, and two happy hikers.

Here in the picture above you can see the glacier Piedras Blancas. It’s actually quite an easy hike that you can do in Los Glaciares, and it’s part of the Laguna de los Tres trail.

This was before the hardest part of the Laguna de los Tres hike was still in front of us, so we weren’t even that tired yet!

A close-up view of Mt. Fitz Roy with dramatic sky in El Chalten, Argentina.

The raw beauty of Patagonian nature. We could spend hours just enjoying the views.

A view of a person contemplating beautiful views in national park Los Glaciares in Argentina.

Kristīne enjoying the warm sun and a stupendous view of Laguna Sucia. Laguna de los Tres is also visible from this spot, even though it’s not captured in the picture.

Days 8 and 9 in Patagonia – drive to El Calafate and visit Perito Moreno

a View fo Perito Moreno glacier in Argentinian Patagonia.

The last stop on our Patagonia road trip is the wonderful Perito Moreno glacier, one of the very few advancing glaciers in the world.

Situated about 80 km west of El Calafate, visiting this amazing place is fun for the whole day.

And going on a glacier hike, whether it be Perito Moreno like we did or some of the other hikes, is definitely one of the things you must do in Los Glaciares National Park.

View of Perito Moreno glacier in Argentinian Patagonia.

The front wall of Perito Moreno glacier is 60 – 70 metres tall. And the glacier itself moves at an incredible speed of 2 metres every day.

Ac lose-up view of a piece of ice calving off the front wall of Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia.

Huge chunks of ice regularly calve off the front wall of Perito Moreno, causing a little “tsunami” as they fall into Lago Argentino – a natural spectacle that is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine 🙂

The viewing platform is an incredible spot for some landscape photography – perhaps you would catch one of those falling chunks of ice in a picture as well!

Just make sure to dress warmly, as the wind is strong here as well. We spent a couple of hours just enjoying the glacier, the noises, and the ice moving, but it did make us freeze to the bone.

Even if you go to Patagonia in December, which is theoretically the middle of the summer.

A view of a floating iceberg on Lago Argentino, detached from Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina.

A small iceberg is seen from the boat while sailing towards Perito Moreno. There are several ways to enjoy the beautiful glacier. Watching it from the viewing platforms is great, sailing around it in a boat is superb, and putting on the crampons and walking on it is the best!

A close-up view of pure glacial water in Perito Moreno glacier

Incredibly blue and pure glacial water of Perito Moreno. The glacial water has an extremely low mineral content and one would eventually die of lack of minerals if he/she drank only such pure water. So don’t make such a mistake and have a whiskey with glacial ice instead while trekking on Perito Moreno 🙂

A view of couple doing ice trekking on Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia

Crampons on, happy smiles on! Here we are after finishing the ice trekking on Perito Moreno, an unforgettable experience that we definitely recommend. The whiskey didn’t make it to the picture 🙂

And this was the end of our road trip in Patagonia in December. Already on the next day, we enjoyed swimming in the ocean in Santiago! A real summer!

So thank you for coming for the ride.

Do I have to go on a photography tour in Patagonia?

I’d say it’s not necessary to go on a tour to take incredible pictures in Patagonia.

The nature is such that it doesn’t matter where you point your camera, the landscape will be perfect.

On the other hand, if you’d like someone to guide you to the spots, you know, those quintessential ones, and help you with selecting the best possible settings on the camera, a tour might be a good idea!

Some tours even have themes, like animal photography. So, make sure to look through what’s on offer at the time you are visiting!

Where to book a Patagonia photography tour?

There are local companies such as To Do Patagonia that do multi-day photography tours to Torres del Paine.

There are different tours through TourRadar available as well, like this 9-day Patagonia tour, or a 12-day tour.

But – there’s a high chance that you can find a photography workshop that will be run by some famous or even your photographer as well!

So check out their websites or just google “Patagonia photography tour” and their name. As I could see, there are LOADS of tours planned.

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  1. We want you to come with “wanderlustdesigners” on this trip, by reading stories. You can imagine the world around you through someone else’s eyes and hope to inspire you to experience the world yourself.

    Like you I dreamed of visiting the place of the beautiful, I save it to spend time! As I said, I heard from several people now that driving there is insane. I and my friend used to on the Canadian wide street so I do not know how well we will do in haha ​​haha. Still, worth trying exactly as I said. Beautiful shots in this post By the way, you really capture the beauty of places. Look forward to your next publication!

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