Picture this: you wake up next to your partner in a cozy bed at a luxury hotel in the middle of the Chilean wilderness. You spend the morning drinking rich, creamy coffee made from locally-grown coffee beans, looking out your floor-to-ceiling window at the phenomenal mountain range in front of you. Once you’ve stepped into your elopement attire, you head out on an adventure to explore the jagged mountain range, visit a vibrant blue glacier, soak in natural hot springs, or all of the above. You say your carefully-written vows to each other in a symbolic vow ceremony, promising a forever love as the mountain peaks glisten in the sunshine behind you. This is what your Patagonia elopement could look like, my friend. A day, a weekend, a week full of enchanting locations, unforgettable adventures, and the joy of committing to your person forever.
Or maybe you’d rather find yourself waking up with the sun after spending the night under the stars, snuggled up in your coziest sleeping bag, in a spacious tent next to your partner. You cook hot camp food and relax by the fire before packing up your backpacks & heading off to start a multi-day trek through the Andes Mountains. You say your vows in the middle of nowhere with nobody watching but me & Mother Nature as you embark on the rest of your trip through the trails, knowing you’ll never forget these days.
Eloping in Patagonia brings an incredible variety of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels, whether you’d rather go on a day hike and have a luxury hotel room waiting for you at the end of the night, or pack up your things and live out of your backpacks for a few days. This Patagonia elopement guide will walk you through everything you need to know to elope in Patagonia, from locations to visit to the best things to do all the way to the legalities.
Ready to open your mind up to the possibilities that come with eloping in one of the most stunning regions on the planet?
First, let’s clarify what Patagonia is and where in the world it lies!
Patagonia is one of the most unreal regions on this planet, filled with more geological wonders than you could dream of. From green rainforests, to barren deserts, to jagged mountain peaks, to glacial fjords, to ancient rocks, and countless more diverse landscapes, this region truly has it ALL. Some might say it’s equal to heaven for the outdoor enthusiasts among us – whether your soul is filled by leisurely activities such as relaxing in hot springs with panoramic views around you, or you prefer the challenge that comes with something like rock climbing or backpacking, Patagonia truly provides the perfect fusion of all things outdoor adventure. For everyone.
Patagonia is a region encompassing over 250,000 square feet of the southern end of South America, flowing into both Argentina & Chile. Divided by the natural border the Andes Mountains provide, the two sides of Patagonia offer vastly different (but equally incredible) landscapes to its visitors; the Argentine side featuring a more arid climate, wide grasslands, and open deserts, while the Chilean side boasts magical glacial fjords and lush rainforests.
Nope! Patagonia isn’t a country, but rather a region that covers land in two separate countries, Argentina & Chile. When you look at a map, you can see that the majority (around 90%) of Patagonia occupies an area in Argentina, versus around 10% in Chile. These regions are aptly named Western Patagonia (Chile) and Eastern Patagonia (Argentina).
To travel to Patagonia, you’ll want to fly directly to the main airport, Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ), located in Punta Arenas, Chile. Because this is a smaller airport, you’ll most likely have to be okay with longer layovers in other cities/countries such as the Santiago International Airport (SCL) in Chile’s capital.
For example, if I look into flights from Seattle (SEA) to Patagonia (PUQ), the top recommended route involves a layover in Mexico City (MEX), then a connection to Santiago (SCL), and finally, a direct flight to Punta Arenas (PUQ).
Despite the remoteness of the Patagonia region, there are many options for transportation (depending on, of course, where exactly you’re staying & traveling to)!
The Lonely Planet has a great, in-depth article about getting around in Patagonia via plane, car, boat, and public transportation – I’ll sum up your major options below, and you can also read that article here.
If you’re planning to travel a longer distance, look into domestic flight routes within either country. In Chile, domestic routes are offered by Sky Airlines & JetSmart, domestic routes in Argentina are offered by Aerolíneas Argentinas, Andes Líneas Aéreas, & LADE, and LATAM offers flights in both countries.
For any travel along the southern Chilean coastline, you have the option to travel to & from some locations by boat! Ferry travel is a bit limited outside of peak travel season, so I’d recommend booking your ferry tickets as far in advance as possible to make sure your trip is guaranteed.
If you’d like to go a more frugal (albeit time-consuming) route, the long-distance buses offered in Chile & Argentina are actually some of the most comfortable in the world, and are known for being on time! Pay careful attention to the stops that certain bus routes make, and that you get your tickets ahead of time + take peak travel season and visitors into consideration.
Finally, the best option (in my opinion) is to rent a car at the airport or around Punta Arenas. Having a car to drive gives you much more flexibility to do what you want & go where you want, when you want, without having to rely on any form of public transportation! It’ll also allow you to take in the scenery from Patagonia’s not-very-busy roads, and make stops wherever you’d like along the way. You already know I’m a big fan of pulling off to see stunning landscapes whenever I get the chance (hello, Iceland!) – so I recommend you take the opportunity to do the same during your time in Patagonia!
Weather is one of the most important factors when planning your Patagonia elopement! Here’s some information about the climate & seasons in Patagonia to help you decide when to elope in Patagonia.
If you’d like to have the warmest temperatures possible, and love the idea of having plenty of daylight to explore, the best time to visit Patagonia is during the summer months, from December-February. During these months, average daytime temperatures range from around 40°F – 65°F, so definitely don’t be expecting a warm, tropical summer vacation! The most important thing to note about visiting in the summer is that although you’ll be met with the warmest weather, you’ll also likely run into the most visitors. So if you’re wanting to elope at a popular tourist spot, you may want to consider another season when it’ll be less crowded!
Fall is an absolutely breathtaking time to visit Patagonia, with foliage boasting stunning changing colors through the months of March, April, & May. You won’t get quite as strong of wind as you would in the spring, and temperatures average in the 40’s & 50’s.
If you’re opting for a more leisurely elopement, with less outdoor adventures planned in the wilderness, then you can absolutely elope in the winter in Patagonia between June & August! The landscape will be covered in snow, and this is when you’ll experience the coldest temperatures, potential freezing rain, and cold winds. Winter is NOT the best time to elope in Patagonia if you’re looking to explore the region’s hiking trails, though, as many popular trails & longer treks are inaccessible due to winter conditions.
Finally, spring in Patagonia (September-November) is a beautiful time to visit, boasting vibrant wildflowers and rising temperatures. The cold wind is one of the biggest reasons you wouldn’t elope here in the spring, so be sure to consider whether or not you’d realistically be comfortable outdoors on a chilly, windy day – even if it meant less tourists + crowds.
Of course, the weather & climate differs depending on where exactly in Patagonia you’ll be visiting, so do your research ahead of time for conditions around the time of year & at the location you’ll be eloping at!
Nope – and we’re not talking about one of my favorite IG-famous outdoor enthusiasts + advocates, @pattiegonia, either 😉 However, the ever-iconic Patagonia clothing brand name did come about thanks to the Patagonia region of South America. As the brand itself puts it, “Patagonia brings to mind. . . ‘romantic visions of glaciers tumbling into fjords, jagged windswept peaks, gauchos and condors.’” So you can tell why this brand, which every PNW resident adorns themselves in at one point or another, chose its name: to honor the stunning section of the earth that is Patagonia.
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the gems of the Patagonia region, known for its iconic jagged mountain peaks, bright blue glaciers & lakes, and massive granite towers. It’s one of the absolute most phenomenal places to elope in Patagonia (in the country, the continent, the world?), encompassing over 400,000 acres that boast some of the most otherworldly views you’ll ever see. It’s located in the southernmost part of Chile and is truly a hiker’s dream come true!
For couples looking for a longer, more challenging adventure through the Patagonian wilderness, the W Trek is the most famous hiking route in Torres del Paine! Along this route, you’ll get to witness viewpoints that’ll make you feel like you’re on another planet, or in some sort of fantasy show (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, you name it). This trek does not require you to be a pro hiker, and the altitude isn’t too high – you just have to be prepared for a 4-5 day adventure to complete the entire 47 miles!
The Puyuhuapi village in the Chilean region of Patagonia, an underrated stop along the scenic Carretera Austral road, is home to one of the most popular attractions in the area: Hanging Glacier. The village leads you into Queulat National Park, where you’ll find not only the phenomenal glacier, but also scenic fjords, forests, rivers, waterfalls, & more. Eloping in these glacier-capped mountains would be absolutely magical!
El Chaltén is known as the “National Capital of Trekking in Argentina” and for good reason! This small mountain village is located within Los Glaciares National Park and offers panoramic views of a picture-perfect mountain landscape, as well as countless trails to take you through a gorgeous forest, more views of the towering mountain peaks, & glistening glaciers. It’s one of the best places to find a day hike that fits the level of challenge + fitness you’re looking for, and no matter what, you’ll get magnificent views!
FInally, Lagunas de Los Tres is one of the most iconic treks in Patagonia, taking you on a 12.9-mile out & back journey to the base of El Chaltén. You can make the trip in one day or camp near the vibrant blue lagoon – either way, this challenging hike will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!
Yes, this is a thing – if you’re worried about flying with your wedding dress, you can call your airline ahead of time to ask if your plane might have somewhere you can hang your dress during the flight!
If you’re hiking to your ceremony location, bring a garment bag with you for your elopement outfits, that you can attach to the outside of your backpack while you make the trek.
If you’re going to pack your elopement outfits in a suitcase, and/or in a backpack for a hike to your ceremony location, make sure you pick dresses/suits/etc. that are easy to fold + make compact, and are made of materials that won’t wrinkle easily!
Finally, make sure you prepare for any & every situation when packing for your elopement. Think about every possible weather condition you could be hit with, think through everything that could go wrong during your travels, etc. and make an extensive packing list with items that will ensure you’re safe, comfortable, and prepared through your whole trip to Patagonia!
One of the most important parts of getting married abroad, outside of your home country, is doing careful research into the legalities of getting married as a foreigner. Let’s chat about what it looks like to get married in Patagonia if you’re not from Chile or Argentina!
While you could technically go through the process of getting legally married in Argentina or Chile, I’d recommend instead opting for a symbolic ceremony for your Patagonia elopement.
If you get legally married in your home country before heading abroad, it will make the process much easier, and you can avoid the sometimes complex, time-consuming process required to get married in a foreign country!
A symbolic ceremony could look like the two of you exchanging your vows in Patagonia after getting legally married at your local courthouse back home. Or maybe you want to bring two of your closest friends along for the adventure, and invite them to speak at a symbolic ceremony in the mountains, sharing the special moment with you. You could also participate in some sort of unity ceremony such as handfasting in front of a beautiful lake in the Patagonian wilderness, and have a legal ceremony afterward, once you’re back from your trip.
Because you’ve already taken care of the legal stuff in your home county + country, you’ll be free to create some sort of ceremony that feels best and most meaningful to you! I promise it won’t be any less meaningful, even if you’re already “legally” married on paper 🙂
I’m incredibly passionate about encouraging couples to include activities & excursions in their elopement that would make it extra fun, meaningful, and unforgettable. No matter the level of challenge or thrill you’re looking to enjoy, here are 7 of the top things to do in Patagonia that would be amazing additions to your Patagonia elopement!
Patagonia boasts a vast range of accommodations & places to stay during your time in the region, whether you’re looking for a primitive campground in the mountains, a unique adventure lodge with backpacking guides, a bougie resort & spa, or a chic, modern Airbnb. While I could spend hours writing out all of the amazing accommodation options in Patagonia, I narrowed it down to a few of my favorites for you.
Here are 3 of the best places to stay in Patagonia for your elopement, both in Chile & Argentina!
EcoCamp is one of the most unique spaces available in the region – dare I say the world? – for outdoor enthusiasts looking for somewhere to spend the nights. A self-described “geodesic dome hotel,” this award-winning, sustainable dome hotel in Torres del Paine National Park offers cozy, eco-friendly amenities, leisure activities such as yoga, and all-inclusive programs to trek the W or go on any number of other excursions. Recommended by companies like REI, The Guardian, & TIME Magazine for its highly-regarded amenities, community, and activities, I cannot suggest EcoCamp enough as a phenomenal place to stay in Patagonia!
Also located in Torres del Paine National Park is the gorgeous Awasi lodge, which offers 14 peaceful, cozy villas, a main lodge, and plenty of excursions. The best part about staying at Awasi? Each villa is assigned a private guide and 4WD so that you have all the tools you need to go on the adventure of a lifetime out into the Patagonian wilderness! Awasi is situated on a private reserve in the national park and is truly the perfect example of a man-made structure being built to blend into the landscape naturally, safely, & sustainably. With secluded views of the Torres del Paine Mountain Range, the Patagonian Steppe, and Lake Sarmiento, as well as phenomenal excursions & delicious gastronomy, Awasi is heaven on Earth – in the heaven on Earth that is Patagonia.
Last but definitely not least, Llao Llao Resort, Golf & Spa in Bariloche, Argentina provides an unforgettable 5-star experience to each one of its guests. This exclusive resort is home to both studios & suites with breathtaking mountain views, a large indoor & outdoor pool, a peaceful golf course, and a luxury spa – meaning it’s truly got something for everyone. Enjoy an amazing fine dining experience at one of the on-site, gourmet restaurants & bars, soak in your room’s private bathtub while looking out at the water & mountains, and head out on your choice of a variety of fantastic outdoor excursions!
Because I know you’re now ready to plan the most incredible Patagonia adventure elopement to celebrate your love & commitment, I want to make sure you hire the perfect Patagonia elopement photographer to document it all for you.
That’s where I come in – I’m Emma, a Patagonia elopement photographer ready to help you plan a curated elopement experience in one of the greatest regions on Earth, filled with not only adventure but ease. My goal as a photographer is to be a resource from start to finish; a guiding hand to help you plan your dream elopement in the life-giving outdoors; a friend to encourage you to plan a day that is authentic to you.
I’ll be spending time in Patagonia next winter of 2024, and I can’t wait to help you create the most fantastic Patagonia elopement and to document it all. If you’re interested in connecting about that time frame, touch base with me here!
Whether you’d like to go on a backpacking excursion through the Andes Mountains, go horseback riding next to heavenly views, or take a day hike to a great spot to set up your tent for an evening under the stars, I’ll be right there with you.
Fortunately, I already have plans to be in Patagonia this upcoming winter of 2024, and I’d love nothing more than to bring an adventurous couple along with me for a custom-tailored, breathtaking Patagonia elopement!
To learn more about me and what it would look like to hire me as your Patagonia elopement photographer, click here. If you already feel like we may be a good match, and want to reach out to ask questions, inquire about your elopement, or simply dream up all the possibilities together, you can contact me here – I can’t wait to meet you!
As a Patagonia adventure elopement photographer, I offer custom, all-inclusive international elopement packages at $10,000. These packages include all of my travel fees for our journey abroad, a full elopement guide, full-day elopement coverage, extra adventure session the day before or after, and so much more. You can read more about this package by scrolling down a little bit on this page, or reach out to me to inquire about what your dream elopement package could look like.
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