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Patagonia, Chile

A Hiker’s Paradise

Allergy-friendly Travel Rating - 6Calling all wanderers, adventurers, and lovers of the outdoors. Pack your bags—we’re headed to a hiker’s paradise! Patagonia, Chile, located on the east coast of South America, is the adventure of a lifetime. With 402,700 square miles of diverse landscape to explore (it even extends into Argentina), Patagonia has virtually anything you could be seeking on your vacation (making it the perfect destination for indecisive travelers). Once you’re surrounded by snow-capped mountains and sparkling fjords, you’ll start looking for excuses to extend your vacation!

Patagonia has an oceanic climate, with temperatures ranging from 32 degrees fahrenheit to 72 degrees fahrenheit. Along with your allergy medications and sublingual drops, you’ll want to pack for a wide variety of weather conditions—it can be rainy, snowy, windy, and sunny all in one day! (Talk about an exciting trip!) Dr. Pasha and his team rated Patagonia a 6 out of 10 on the Pasha Allergy Scale, but don’t sweat it. We’ll tell you which allergens to watch out for, offer you some pointers on the best time to travel, and even highlight some of the must-do and must-see attractions while you’re there. Even with the unpredictable weather and higher than average allergy rating, Patagonia is definitely one location you’ll want to add to your travel bucket list.

Pollen and Mold – Patagonia’s Allergens and What to Do About Them

Many people visit Patagonia for the backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor activities, so it’s likely that you’ll spend a lot of time outside while on your trip. In Chile, a common tree native to South America called the Lithraea Caustica (also known as the litre), is a major cause of allergies, especially for those who haven’t been exposed to this tree before. If pollen tends to set you off, avoid traveling to Patagonia in the summer months (December through February) because winds can reach up to 74 miles per hour. (That’s seriously windy. Hold onto your hats, people!)

Mold is another allergy aggravator to look out for. Mold spores are present year round in Patagonia (the biggest culprit is Cladosporium), but are especially prevalent in the winter months (June through August), so you might want to avoid this time period if you usually start sniffling and sneezing when exposed to mold spores.

Many Patagonia visitors plan to camp out under the stars or in a cozy tent, but if your allergies are severe, you might want to opt for a hotel room and enjoy the sights of Patagonia during the day instead. If you’d rather be one with nature by sleeping in a tent, consider bringing a portable dehumidifier geared specifically toward camping. Take your shoes off before entering into the tent to avoid transferring pollen to your sleeping bag, and pick a dry, non-grassy area to plant your stakes.

If you choose to go the hotel room route (it might be a little less outdoorsy than you were hoping for, but hey, there might be room service!) use a dehumidifier in your hotel room (because mold thrives in humid environments) and keep the windows closed to avoid exposure to mold spores.

Be sure to pack your antihistamines, and if you plan to be outside for most of your trip, consider bringing along a face mask to wear while outdoors.

Now That Your Allergies Are Under Control, Let’s Have Some Fun

Patagonia is world famous for its hiking and spectacular views. Lace up your hiking boots and head to Torres del Paine National Park, a must-visit for those who love the feel of the mountains beneath their feet.

Strait Of Magellan, Puerto Natales, Patagonia, ChileYou’ll definitely want to add Cape Horn to your itinerary. This point marks the place where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collide. Learn about its rich history and check out some nearby lighthouses. You’ll want to bring a jacket for this activity—you’ll experience strong gusts of winds and you’ll even get to see some icebergs.

Palacio Sara Braun in Punta Arenas in ChileIt’s not everyday you get to go whale watching. Visit Punta Arenas to see these majestic beauties up close. For the best chance of seeing a humpback whale, visit Patagonia from December through April.

Every allergy sufferer knows there are days when symptoms seem to be through the roof. On a day like that, head indoors for some activities to limit your exposure to allergens that can worsen your symptoms. The Maggiorino Borgatello Museum is a great option. It offers an insightful look into the history of Punta Arenas. With four floors, you’ll be able to stay busy while staying away from the allergens.

The Palacio Sara Braun is an extravagant mansion, once home to Russian woman Sara Braun and her husband, Portuguese entrepreneur José Nogueira. Though it is now used as a hotel and a place for business people and politicians to meet, tourists can still visit the palace and marvel at its stunning architecture and antique 19th century artifacts.

What to Know Before You Go – A Guide to Medications in Patagonia

Before traveling internationally, it’s important to take note of any medication restrictions your destination country may have. When traveling to Chile, be aware of the following restrictions:

  • Prescription drugs require proof of a prescription
  • Medicine should be carried in original containers
  • A doctor’s letter listing any known generics or alternatives of your medications is useful should you have trouble finding the brand name of your prescriptions

Something important to note is that while you may be able to run to your nearest grocery store and pick up some over-the-counter medication in the United States, you won’t be able to do so in Chile. Medicine is only sold in pharmacies, so be aware of that should you need to purchase any medications.

From mountain views to ocean breezes, from national parks to grand palaces, Patagonia, Chile has everything you need for an exciting adventure and a break from the daily grind. With these allergy tips in hand, you’ll be all set for the trip of a lifetime. Don’t forget your windbreaker! ¡Buen viaje!

Be sure to check out the Pasha Travel Guide to see this year’s top 12 travel destinations, and learn tips for traveling allergy-free. Next week, we’re featuring Nantucket, Massachusetts, and covering allergens to watch out for, fun activities to do while you’re there, and important medicine restrictions for travelers. Stay tuned later this week to learn how to avoid indoor allergy attacks in your hotel room while you’re on vacation. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!