Patagonia spans the southern third of Chile and Argentina. It is probably the most famous and romanticised region of either country, it is also the most sparsely populated. It is a land of immense beauty, filled with turquoise lakes, mountains, volcanoes, fjords, icebergs and native forests.
Northern Patagonia is lush and green, the views of lakes and forested hills against a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes, is stunningly beautiful and easy on the eye. This changes the further south you go as the environment becomes harsher and assumes a more rugged beauty, culminating in the ice fields and glaciers of the Torres del Paine and El Calafate national parks. In Parque National Laguna San Rafael towering cliffs of ice break off the San Valentin glacier and crash into the lake forming icebergs. If you see a picture of these icebergs you might think that their bright blue colour were a trick of the lens, but it is not. It is the result of ten thousand years of glacial compression.
Patagonia is also teaming with wildlife , with many endemic species such as the Huemul, a small deer that is the national emblem of Chile. Round the coastline there are penguin and seal colonies and great opportunities for whale watching (May to November).
It is an outdoors paradise with all nature of activities: horseback treks, rafting, summer skiing, kayaking, walking, climbing, etc. The area is also peppered with hot-springs due to the vigorous geothermal activity, which provide the perfect way to relax and recover after the rigours of travelling.
Andrew Chaundler worked and travelled in South America for many years before setting up Optimundo, a travel company that specialises in holidays in Chile and Argentina that are designed with expert knowledge of the region. See our website to find out about Patagonia and our tailor-made travel services.