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No matter how much or how little you decide to tackle, Patagonia is a must for serious hikers.

Located at the Southern end of South America is a region shared by two countries, Argentina and Chile. The beautiful, rugged area of Patagonia is a popular destination for hikers and bikers alike. Whether hiking is a mere option for a free day or the sole focus of your holiday, the Patagonia region has something to offer.

Where to Hike in Patagonia

Level One

For a more mild trip or a hike that can be done in just a few hours, head to the El Chaltén region. Laguna Torre is a 12 km, 6 hour, gentle day hike that will lead to its namesake lake at the base of a soaring rock spire. There are also campsites at the DeAgostini camp if you would prefer to extend the trip and do several hikes or to get a more authentic outdoors experience.

Level Two

Argentina and Chile both share the Patagonia region; with such widespread majestic beauty, it would be a shame not to experience the best of both countries. Starting at El Chaltén, you can take a ferry across Lago del Desierto. You will need your passport at the dock, as you will be stamped out there. After crossing the lake, you will embark on the trail that snakes through the woods. After a few hours on the trail, you will notice the sign that welcomes you into Chile. A few hours later, you will arrive at the glacial Lago Argentina/Lago O’Higgins where you will be stamped into Chile and you can take a ferry to the Villa O’Higgins. The ferries are weather dependent so it may be beneficial to bring extra food and a tent in case you need to stay at the campsite located above the boat dock. This hike can be done in a day or extended. It is a bit more rigorous and not recommended for those wanting a simple stroll through nature.

Level Three

For the more experienced trekkers, head to Cabo Froward. This hike is best done with other people or a group as it is more of a challenge. Though the trail is well-marked, you can expect dense forests and two major river crossings that need to be timed for low-tide. This southernmost point of South America is located on the Strait of Magellan and will take two to three days to reach.

Best Times to Go

The best time to visit the Patagonia region is from November to March. This is summer for the region, and though there may be an abundance of people visiting, the weather will be best. Depending on the trek that you take on, you may still need heavier wear for some of the higher altitudes. For any of the longer trips, it is smart to pack waterproof gear, especially a canoe bag that can be used to keep your items dry and that can also be used as a flotation device if needed.

Adventure holidays come with all sorts of risks and rewards for stepping outside the norm and testing your body and its limits. With this kind of holiday though, also comes a higher level of risk for falling ill, or hurting yourself. You can train and prepare as much as possible, but when you are putting your body through a rigorous test like hiking in Patagonia, it would be wise to have an adventure sports travel insurance plan that offers medical support in the off-chance you need assistance immediately. Trust Cover-More New Zealand with your adventure-filled holiday and get back to thinking about your hike instead of about what could go wrong.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Rick McCharles