Patagonia is a magical and deceptively large area at the world’s end in South America. The area of Patagonia occupies 260,000 square miles spanning Argentina and Chile. Covering the desert, mountains and two oceans it’s no wonder that this part of the world is fastly being stamped onto backpackers bucket lists. Oh and how could I possibly forget the glaciers, lakes and wonderous wild life?
Patagonia is, as Bruce Chatwin famously wrote, “the farthest place to which man walked from his place of origin,” and to this day it retains near-mythical status in the minds of the world’s adventurers.
The area of Patagonia spans a massive 1,043,076 km squared, occupying almost half of Chile and Argentina and yet only home to less than two million inhabitants.
Visit a National Park or Two
There are six national parks located in Patagonia, each with their own unique charms: Torres del Paine (Chile), Los Glaciares (Argentina), Laguna San Rafael (Chile), Nahuel Huapi (Argentina), Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) and Alberto de Agostini (Chile)
Torres del Paine is one of the largest and most visited parks in Chile.
Peeking at the penguins.
Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. Whilst the town is overly expensive and suited more for Antartic explorers if you can’t afford a cruise (like us) then take a day trip out to Haberton Estancia and pop by the penguin colony. Piratours is the only company who has the rights to do visit the penguin colony.
Patagonia is home to the famous Magellan penguin. Named after Ferdinand Magellan who stumbled across the continent in 1520. These penguins are incredibly cute, curious and cranky. All at the same time.
Measuring 30km long, 5km wide and 60m high, the Perito Moreno Glacier, located in the southern region of Los Glaciares National Park, is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the Argentine side of Patagonia. The glacier is also constantly moving, it inches forward up to 2m per day and is one of the world’s few glaciers that is still growing.
If you’re wondering how to best visit the Perito Mereno Glacier here’s a complete guide.
Watch the Wildlife Walk On By
The region of Patagonia has some of the most unique wildlife on the earth. While some species are rare to spot, a typical day at hiking in Patagonia provides hikers with plenty of wildlife viewings. With many of the plants endemic to the region, so too are the wildlife. Thankfully there are quite a few wonderful programs to save the wildlife that make this part of the world their home.
Reconnect with Nature
Whether your camping, hiking or just taking a few happy snaps Patagonia is the perfect place to reconnect with nature.
How to get around Patagonia?
The easiest way to get around Patagonia, if you don’t have a car, is by bus. Especially on the Chilean side. The region of Patagonia is huge so you might want to consider flying into a town like Punta Arenas and making your way from there. Seriously though the buses are amazing, fairly cheap and do get you around. We travelled from Puerto Natales to El Calafate (Argentina side) to El Chalten (Argentina side) back down to Puerto Natales and further down to Torres Del Paine. Eventually flying to Ushuaia. The bus drivers are lovely and do help you at each border crossing. It’s literally their job and they do it on such a regular basis. The buses have toilets on board. Just BYO snacks.
Don’t worry too much about safety in Patagonia. The local residents are lovely and fairly helpful. Hitchhiking is a thing if you need it.
Have we inspired you to go explore Patagonia? Let us know in the comments below.
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