While South America is laden with beautiful countries and a plethora of fantastic tourist attractions, there is something quite remarkable about Patagonia. This large rural region is perfect for those looking for adventure, beautiful landscapes, and exploring a variety of fascinating cultures. Let’s explore what Patagonia has to offer.
The spectacular wilderness of Patagonia stretches across the South American continent between Argentina and Chile. That’s around 260,000 square miles of virtually unexplored paradise and landscapes. Patagonia is surrounded by the Patagonian Andes on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The Patagonian landscape is as stunning as it is unrelenting. While it occupies a third of the land in Argentina and Chile, very few people (less than 5 percent) call it home. Extreme weather conditions and harsh terrain make living here difficult.
Patagonia is often referred to as “The End of the World” since it extends all the way to the tip of South America. The city of Ushuaia in Argentinian Patagonia is the southernmost city in the world. Most cruises bound for Antarctica start from Ushuaia. The incredible Andes Mountains are the region’s most dominant feature. The longest mountain range in the world cuts across Patagonia from north to south and ultimately reaches the Southern Ocean. The islands off Ushuaia are, in reality, Andean mountain peaks that are now under the sea.
The region has more penguins than it does humans. While there are just about 2 million people living in the entire region, Patagonia is home to an estimated 3 million Magellanic penguins all along the coastlines of both Chile and Argentina. And to be a Gaucho (rancher) or a Bagualero (cowboy/hunter) is a badge of honor in Patagonia. Exceptional horseback riding and hunting skills are prerequisites to survive just a day in the vast and unforgiving Patagonian outdoors.