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Patagonia by Aerolineas Argentinas

In Argentina’s south, lies the gorgeous and infamous Patagonian region. Known for its exquisite beauty and breathtaking adventures, Patagonia is a must see to those visiting Argentina.

The Patagonian region of South America also includes Chile, although most of it resides within Argentina. Patagonia was named by Magellan, referring to the Tehuelche people’s large moccasins, which made their feet appear huge. Charles Darwin’s account of the native wildlife in Patagonia is still considered as relevant today as it was back then. This gives an indication of how authentically wild Patagonia remains 170 years later. In the “little known fact” category, Patagonia is also the final resting place of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

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60-Second Geography

Patagonia

Because of Patagonia’s size, it can be a trip all in its own rather than a side excursion. This stunning region of Argentina is known as some of the best traveling in the world, albeit a bit rustic. The summer months are the most popular for travel in Patagonia, because of the temperate weather. Early summer can still be very cool and the nights can be downright cold. Cruising throughout the region is an outstanding choice as it is one of the world’s most pristine and magnificent areas. On many itineraries, you will sail through the Straits of Magellan and the Beagle Channel and through the land of fire called Tierra del Fuego. You can experience the magnificent views of glaciers, awesome Patagonian scenery, penguins, whales and the other abundant flora and fauna.
  • Bariloche is a gorgeous town on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, a glacial lake over 60 miles long. Bariloche is the gateway to Patagonia. The clear turquoise blue waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake are backed by soaring mountains and lush forest. Here, you will find ample opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, camping and cycling. The city center will appease the tourist in us all with chocolate shops, souvenir stores, craft markets, boutiques, and restaurants ranging from casual to gourmet.
  • If hiking is your thing, the national trekking capital of Argentina is the small town of El Chalten. El Chalten is located at the northern end of Los Glaciers National Park and situated at the foot of the Fitz Roy mountain range. The trails in El Chalten are well marked and well maintained and are usable by hikers of every skill set.
  • Located about 50 miles from Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate serves as a great starting point for visits to the park. The southern area of the park is home to one of the world’s largest ice fields–second to Antarctica and Greenland. The park’s main attractions are the enormous glaciers that flow down from the Southern Continental Ice Cap. One “not to miss” spectacle is the towering blue obelisks of ice known as the Perito Moreno Glacier. A visit to this glacier will undoubtedly be the highlight of any visitor’s visit to Patagonia.
  • Be sure to take a side trip into neighboring Chile to visit the Torres del Paine national park. The park is renowned for the Paine Massif, a very small mountain range that is completely independent from the Patagonian Andes Range. The scenery in the park is beyond compare with turquoise lakes, glaciers and icebergs. It is possible to visit the park on a day trip from Puerto Natales, but a partial day will not do it justice. If possible, plan to spend a full day or more and take advantage of some of the park’s lodges or campsites.
  • As long as you have come this far, a trip to the southernmost point in South America is also well worth the time spent. Head south to Ushuaia which is located on the southernmost tip of Argentina. Ushuaia is the capital city of Tierra del Fuego and is situated along the coast of the Beagle Channel, the channel that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Since Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, you are quite literally at the edge of the world. Ushuaia is considered the gateway to Antarctica, a mere 60 miles away. While here, the “must sees” include a visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina’s southernmost protected area, and a voyage along the Beagle Channel which is a rare opportunity to experience being at sea at the end of the world–one of the world’s most notorious straits for sailors. Many will have their passports stamped in town as proof that they indeed were at the end of the world and returned alive!
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