Patagonia relies heavily on tourism for its economy. It is steeped in traditions which can be a great advantage for visitors wishing to have an authentic local experience. Many towns and villages have celebrations and festivals which tourists are welcomed and encouraged to participate in.
El Calafate boasts an ice festival for three weeks during the months of July and August. Redonda Bay in El Calafate is the largest natural skating area in all of South America. Skates are available to rent in order to participate in the festivities which include skating, ice hockey, and a torchlight parade. Displays of sleds, ice sculptures, model airplanes, and international and local musicians and poets are all among the varied delights of the festival.
VISITING THE PARKS
Visiting the parks in Patagonia is a must do. However, the national parks are not like what you might experience in the United States or Canada. There are no search and rescue teams available to find you if you get lost or injured. Be prepared and equipped to get yourself back out.
Patagonians are a traditional kind of people in attire. Shorts are acceptable if you are playing sports or trekking, but not in public places like cafes or restaurants. Shirts are almost always worn. Taking off your shoes in public is not well accepted. Nudity is not accepted in either Chile or Argentina.