Patagonia Travel Guide
Owned mostly by Argentina, this southernmost region of South America is also the coldest due to its relative proximity to Antarctica. In the very south, Tierra del Fuego is a large, scenic island that marks the end of the mighty Andes and the beginning of the southern hemisphere’s Antarctic climate, with its snowy winters and sparkling fjords and glaciers.
With its generally cold but still varied climate, Patagonia offers numerous skiing possibilities, particularly at Cero Bayo, Chapelco and Cerro Catedral. At the southern tip of the continent, Rio Negro province, the largest province in South America, features numerous national parks, idyllic trout fishing spots and in areas, dinosaur remains which can be viewed at the Carmen Funes Museum in Neuquen. It is also possible to rub shoulders with the local penguins in southern Patagonia and go whale-watching in the crystal clear waters of Puerto Piramides.
Patagonia also has some great beaches, even if the cold means most cannot be exploited to the full; however, places like Puerto Madryn are popular seaside destinations in the summer. Those looking for a little slice of Switzerland should head to Alpine-esque San Carlos de Bariloche with its idyllic mountain setting and numerous chocolatiers.
Ushuaia: considered by some to be the southernmost city in the world, the largest city on Tierra del Fuego is surrounded by mountains and a glacier. The adjacent Beagle Channel is a beautiful stretch of water and home to penguins and sea lions.
San Carlos de Bariloche: with its abundant chocolate-makers, this ski-resort is a popular winter getaway in the foothills of the Andes, encircled by clear lakes.
Puerto Madryn: a UNESCO World Heritage wildlife reserve, this is Patagonia’s answer to a summer beach resort, set in the north on the Atlantic coast, close to Peninsula Valdes.
El Chalten: is a trekking heaven and a gateway to the twin peaks of Cerro Torres and Mount Fitz Roy, both among the most impressive in the Andes.
Perito Moreno: is home to a breathtaking glacier, a gigantic wall of ice that drops off into the perfect blue waters below.
Los Arrayanes National Park: home to the unique arrayan trees, some of which are more than 600 years old, as well as eagles, condors and deer.