Given the global pivot to al fresco fun, we’ve seen an influx of interest in our more outdoorsy excursions. One trip we’re definitely excited about is our Patagonia Gay Hike through the rugged wilds of Argentina and Chile. Discover local wilderness by foot, gaze upon imposing glaciers, and hike up your shorts to flaunt your thickened-up, sinewy calves; after all, is said and done. Before you pack your Gore-Tex and flannel, read on to peruse the rustic places we’ll rest our heads along the way.
PS – You can pair this trip with our much more lavish (but equally ambitious) Hiking, Biking, Wining & Dining trip through Chile, and/or live the Latin high life on our Argentina: Buenos Aires to Mendoza gay tour.
Kosten Aike Hotel, El Calafate
Kicking off our trip in style.
The Alpine-style lodge features a spa with a hot tub and sauna, fitness centre, and buffet breakfast. The city centre is only 200 metres away, and it’s a 9-minute walk to picturesque Argentino Lake (the nation’s largest freshwater lake). Outside, you can wander through the fragrant garden. Inside, your room is a spacious private escape with cable TV, a minibar, and heating (a selling point on such a rustic trip). All bedspreads, curtains, folders, and fittings were custom-made by prominent Argentine artists. The designs are inspired by the ancestral work of the town’s indigenous Tehuelche people, recognized for their distinct aesthetic and perfect geometry.
Destino Sur Hotel, El Chalten
Rustic and refined with a tasty breakfast buffet.
This mountain valley retreat, in the vicinity of Mirador del Fitz Roy mountain, is built with cypress, beech and local stone. Decor highlights include hand-woven rugs, wood floors and colourful accents. Welcome creature comforts include free Wi-Fi, TVs and minibars. Having kicked off our hike, the spa and sauna should help soothe your weary muscles.
El Chileno Refugio, Torres del Paine
Let’s get camping!
Ready to get rustic? On Day 6, we find ourselves in true wilderness. No more hotels or lodges because it’s time for some camp (and not the gay kind of camp that was the theme for Lady Gaga’s Met Ball). The tents are on platforms, so you need not fret about sleeping on rocks, and you’ll be sharing bathrooms – but they have hot water! From here, we’ll hike to Torres del Paine, the three magnificent blue-hued granite towers that preside over the region.
Refugio Vertice Paine Grande, Torres del Paine
Simple surroundings with sublime views.
Bring on the summer camp vibes! At this lodge, on the shores of Lake Pehoé, we’ll sleep in bunk beds, with 4 fellows per room and shared bathing facilities (spoiler alert: hot water is limited, so keep your showers short…but it’s not like you came here for bubble baths). The 2nd-floor pub serves views of the lake and mountains, but if you just want a place to curl up with a book, there’s also a heated living room. Beware, there’s no cell service and no electricity at night. Rustic realness!
Hotel Lago Grey, Torres del Paine
End your hike on a high note.
After a short and sweet day of hiking (think a breezy 6 kilometres), we’ll find ourselves on the shores of Grey Lake…and at our soothing final stop. Hotel Lago Grey is an experience in and of itself – the perfect place to regroup after a week of trekking through some of the world’s wildest wilderness. The vibe is rustic minimalism. Understated rooms and picture windows let you soak up incredible mountain views. The rooms aren’t even equipped with TVs (though they do have WiFi) because it’s just not the kind of place you want or need to watch the telly. Since our tour ends with an unstructured day, you could head out for a kayak on the lake or a hike around the property on your own. Or just enjoy delicious Chilean food and wine in the restaurant. By this point, you’ve certainly earned it.