Choosing to take a tour in Patagonia is a no brainer, with its exceptional mountains, bright blue glaciers, twisty fjords, deep forests and glassy lakes. Deciding whether to visit Chilean or Argentine Patagonia, on the other hand, is much trickier. So we resolved to settle the debate once and for all and pit these big hitting tourist attractions against each other in the ring. Here they go head to head to see which country comes out on top!
In the blue corner we have the larger, broader of our two contestants, Argentinian Patagonia! And in the red (and blue and white) corner, our tall and thin contender, Chilean Patagonia!
Round 1: The Paine Towers vs. Cerro Torre
The centrepiece of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, the awe-inspiring Paine Towers are the ultimate goal of both the classic W Trek (check out our full guide about that epic trek) and the longer Paine Circuit. These mysterious pillars of granite are often shrouded in cloud, teasing visitors hoping to witness a spectacular sunrise or sunset, where the sky’s orange glow frames the peaks in all their glory. Not to beaten to the punch, the Cerro Torre, or the Hill Tower, in Argentina is another magnificent example of sharp, soaring granite peaks of Patagonia. It is seen at its best from the viewpoint of the peaceful glacial lake of Laguna Torre, where the wind gently pushes small icebergs along the surface of the still waters.
Round 2: Grey Glacier vs. Perito Moreno Glacier
Sapphire, cobalt, azure, turquoise... there just aren’t enough words to describe all of the many and varied shades of blue that emanate from the depths of the Grey Glacier in Chile. A trick of the light transforms this craggy expanse of ice into a masterpiece that has to be seen to be believed. But if the Grey Glacier is all about cool beauty, Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier is famed for its power and theatrics. Huge chunks of ice relentlessly sheer off the glacier’s face, each with a deafening crack and a boom as the new bergs splash down into the Argentine Lake. Every few years the ice forms a bridge all the way across the lake, which eventually collapses in one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena.
Perito Moreno, Argentina
Round 3: The Paine Horns vs. Mount Fitz Roy
The Paine Horns can be viewed from the French Valley, which is considered by many to be the most beautiful valley in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Although the hanging glaciers will give you a thrill, the real treat here is the knockout view across to the natural rock formation of the Paine Horns, resembling an enormous amphitheater. Argentina’s Mount Fitz Roy more than measures up however, at an impressive 3,405 metres. This rugged peak dominates the surrounding landscape and is visible for miles around, changing colour throughout the day as the sun tracks across the sky.
The Paine Horns, Chile
Result: It’s a Tie!
Well at the end of three rounds there have been no knockout blows and there’s just nothing to choose between these two thrilling regions. This one’s a split decision, so you’ll just have to visit both and cast the deciding vote yourself!