Patagonia – the great and sparsely populated region shared by Argentina and Chile - stretches from Atlantic to Pacific coasts, from the Lake districts in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south. The topography is diverse: Andean peaks, immense glaciers and ice fields, fjords, lakes, temperate rainforest, steppes, deserts and rugged coastline. Wildlife equally diverse: marine mammals, seabirds, guanaco, Andean Condor; endemic species include the Patagonia Maras, lesser Rhea, huemul (Patagonian deer), pudú, to name just a few.
In Southern Patagonia there are the premier areas of Los Glaciares National Park, Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine National Park. Perito Moreno, Upsala and Viedma are just three of the spectacular glaciers that can be visited up close (and explored on foot). Southern Patagonia is home to expansive sheep ranching estancias. Many of these historic estancias have opened their doors to travelers who wish to experience authentic life much like the ancestors and original settlers of past centuries. Accommodations range from rustic homesteads to high-end luxury.
The Lakes districts in Northern Patagonia straddles Chile and Argentina. Bariloche, the principle city of northern Patagonia in Argentina, is the base for exploring the lakes and national parks on the eastern side of the Andes. To the west, the Chile Lake District from Pucon to Puerto Varas, is dotted with scenic lakes and shadowed by volcanoes. The splendid Lakes Crossing between Argentina and Chile is one of the highlights to any trip to Patagonia.
Remote and long-range overland routes span Patagonia on both sides of the Andes. The Austral Highway in Chile stretches from Puerto Montt in the Lakes District south for 770 miles past the tiny town of Villa O’Higgins to the border with Argentina. The Austral Highway is a prime destination for adventure travelers whether by bicycle or 4x4 vehicle. The route passes through the Aysen Region, one of the most beautiful in Patagonia with fjords, waterfalls, hiking trails, mountains and glaciers. Argentina’s National Route 40 runs along the eastern side of the Andes the length of Patagonia to Rio Gallegos, its southern terminus.
In Patagonia a lifetime of adventures are at hand, and foot: hiking, overnight trekking, sea kayaking, fly fishing, horseback riding, river rafting and mountain biking.