Landscape photography in Patagonia is like nowhere else in the world
Patagonia is a region spread across two countries, Argentina and Chile. It’s the tip at the very bottom of South America.
The area is known for its vastly contrasting landscapes primarily made up of mountains, deserts, grasslands and glaciers.
In other words, it’s heaven for landscape photographers.
Patagonia also borders the Pacific Ocean on the west side and the Atlantic Ocean on the East side, which cements its reputation for having one of the most diverse landscapes in the world.
Since the Andes mountain range runs right through the middle of Patagonia, I think it’s appropriate we start with one of its most famous mountains.
Mount Fitz Roy is maybe one of the most popular subjects when it comes to landscape photography in Patagonia, second only to the Perito Moreno Glacier (more on that later).
Although by no means the tallest mountain on Earth, it is one of the most technically challenging to climb because of its almost vertical peak. But it’s this feature that makes Fitz Roy so popular with photographers.
Getting to Fitz Roy
The main town near to Mount Fitz Roy is called El Chalten. Most people use this small town as their base and hike towards Fitz Roy, which is highly recommended as the hikes are some of the best in South America.
The main hike will take you around 7 hours and is roughly 25km long, so it’s a full day trip. As you can imagine it’s not a Sunday walk in the park, but neither do you have to be some kind of experienced mountaineer. If you have a reasonable level of fitness, you’ll be fine.
The “Fitz Roy Trek” will ultimately lead you to Laguna de los Tres where you’ll have stunning views of the mountain behind a beautifully glassy lake. This is probably the best place to set up your camera and fire away.
Cerro Torre is another stunning mountain peak that is located just west of Fitz Roy. It’s actually found in a disputed region, both Argentina and Chile claim the land is theirs.
Cerro Torre is characterised by towering rock formations that seem to be stabbing at the sky.
Getting to Cerro Torre
Like Fitz Roy, you get to Cerro Torre by hiking from El Chalten. The two hikes are the most popular routes leaving the village so there are plenty of signs to follow.
Perito Moreno Glacier
Probably even more famous than Fitz Roy, Perito Moreno Glacier is a stunning sight to see.
The 250km2 glacier is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which holds the world’s third largest body of fresh water.
Getting to Perito Moreno Glacier
It’s extremely popular so there are many different bus services that will take you there. You just have to book a ticket and make sure the bus stops off along the way so you can pay the entrance fee which is about 450 ARS (Argentine Peso).
Torres del Paine National Park
The Torres del Paine National Park is situated on the Chilean side of Patagonia. It’s named after the “Torres del Paine” which are three granite peaks found in the centre of the park.
The Torres del Paine National Park has a lot of grassland and forest areas that surround the mountains which provides great opportunities for wildlife photography as well as landscape photography.
Getting to Torres del Paine National Park
Like most of the national parks in Patagonia, one option is to stay in the closest town or city and travel in for the day from there. In this case that would be Puerto Natales. It takes about four hours by bus from Puerto Natales to the national park, and again four hours coming back.
If you don’t like the sound of an eight-hour round trip there is another option. You can camp in the Torres del Paine National Park itself at either a free campsite or a fee-charging one. It all depends on the level of comfort you want. You can see more about camping in the park itself here.
There are so many opportunities for landscape photography in Patagonia
These are just a sample of the big hitters. The best way to discover Patagonia is by car so you have the freedom to explore and find angles/locations that aren’t on the itinerary of pre-planned tours.
If you use the examples above as a starting point and as a way of heading in the right direction, you’ll be driving through one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, sure to find something quite special along the way.