Made up of vast deserts, wide steppes, lush grasslands and frozen glaciers, as well as the southern stretch of the mighty Andes Mountains, Patagonia is a land of dramatic scenery, wild landscapes and breathtaking experiences. The stunning natural beauty of its vast, empty landscape attracts lovers of the great outdoors from around the world.
Where is it?
Straddling vast stretches of Chile and Argentina, Patagonia covers the entire southern portion of the South American continent, an area of around one million square kilometres. From its northern border on the Rio Colorado to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia has some of the most beautiful and unspoilt scenery in the world.
Nature lovers will be in heaven exploring the region’s many national parks and viewing its wildlife. In the Chilean part of Patagonia there are a number of penguin reserves – home to large colonies of Magallanic penguins. These endearing birds have little fear of visiting humans and waddle across the paths as they go about their daily lives. Stand back and be thoroughly enchanted by their antics.
Out in the steppes, a sparsely populated expanse of scrubby vegetation punctuated with rocky outcrops, wildlife thrives. Herds of Guanaco (a member of the llama family) graze on the summer grass, always on the lookout for puma who count them amongst their favourite prey.
Thrill seekers can find all of the adrenaline-packed activities they can handle in the vast wilderness of the steppe and mountains, and culture vultures will have the chance to experience one of the most unique cultures in the world, a fascinating mix of Chilean, Argentinian, Native American and, surprisingly in some isolated spots, Welsh!
When is the best time to visit?
With a cool, dry climate, long winters and short summers, the tourist season in Patagonia is mainly centred around the high summer from December to February, when the daily temperature averages 15˚C.
If you are going to Patagonia to go walking, the weather is generally favourable November to April while birdwatchers should focus on December to March.
If you do decide on a once in a lifetime visit to this beautiful region, there are some places that simply shouldn’t be missed.
Apart from the spectacular scenery that will be your constant companion on your journey through Patagonia, one of the most memorable highlights is the picturesque village of El Calafate, set on the shores of Largo Argentino, one of Patagonia’s most picturesque lakes. Calving glaciers provide a ready supply of ice which bobs along in the turquoise water in all manner of sizes and shapes. From El Calafate it’s a short journey to the Perito Moreno Glacier, a 30km long frozen landscape that in some places, rises more than 70m above the walkways.
Anther highlight is the Torres del Paine National Park, a spectacular network of glacial lakes, green valleys and rugged mountains, perfect for trekking and a paradise for photographers. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is most famous for the Paine Massif – the towers of grey rock which loom over the turquoise lake below.
And no trip to Patagonia is complete without a stop in Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago located across the Strait of Magellan. Home to the southernmost city in the world, its national park offers a spectacular and rugged landscape in which to go hiking.
With its sparse population and dramatic landscape Patagonia is a region like no other and no globetrotter’s bucket list would be complete without a trip to this vast, isolated and wild part of the world.
To find out more or book a holiday, call 0844 875 1890. Our tailor-made team will be happy to help you put together an itinerary which takes in your favourite Patagonian highlights.