While many discoveries and breakthroughs have been made in this scientific treasure trove, Patagonia continues to hold her secrets close. This Argentinian region never stops delighting visitors with its natural wonders, from multiple towering and glistening glaciers, to waddling penguin colonies on the shores, to impassioned experts sharing their knowledge in dedicated spaces. Patagonia inspired awe and myths from the first navigators who set foot here in the 16th century, and she continues to do so today with every new visitor, be it from cruise ship or plane, who disembarks onto her shores.
While Patagonia has been inhabited by humans for at least the past 12,000 plus years, the ecosystem continues to flourish. In the early 16th century, European navigators made their way to the region and believed the taller native Patagonian people were “giants”. By the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists and explorers from all over the world were arriving to Patagonia to study the flora and fauna, eventually resulting in a war between Chile and Argentina in the late 19th to early 20th centuries for control of the region.
Patagonia’s climate stays relatively steady, with the temperatures cool and the humidity low. The average yearly temperatures for the region vary between 52° and 59°F (11° and 15°C). Rainfall levels depend on which area of Patagonia a visitor is currently in; the western side often sees some of the heaviest rainfall in the entire country of Argentina, while the east will hardly see any.
A critical nature reserve for Patagonia’s whales, penguins, and sea lions, the Peninsula Valdes is a designed UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is perfect for whale-watching during the season from June to December, or getting the perfect photo of the local Patagonian penguins from October to March. The local seal population also brings orcas near the shore to feed, so you might get lucky and see one on your outing.
One-third of Los Glaciares Park is covered in ice and divided into the northern and southern ends of the park. The northern end has Lake Viedma and is a popular area for hiking and trekking along Patagonia’s natural flora. Some of the more popular areas for hiking in the north include Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, and the north is also home to the Viedma Glacier. In the south, Argentina’s largest lake, Lake Argentino, flows in the Santa Cruz River and has a few smaller glaciers. These include the Spegazzini Glacier, the Upsala Glacier, and the Perito Moreno Glacier.
A brilliantly sparkling museum lighting up the world of ice, the Glaciarium is dedicated to educating the public on climate change and the formation of glaciers. The museum offers documentaries and exhibitions on the region and the impact the ice has on Patagonia. Adults can dress in a furry ensemble and order a drink in the below-zero Glaciobar serving drinks and sodas in ice glasses. Everything in the bar is made from glacier ice, including the seats, tables, bar, and couches.
Travel to the End of the World with Yampu Tours
$100 booking bonus on all trips to Patagonia booked by October 15, 2016
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