Patagonia, beautiful diva sitting off South America’s Argentina is a wonder and a blunder at same time. It’s a wonder of nature and to not see this beautiful & nature’s own carved place is a blunder. Patagonia is spread across 400,000 Sq. miles (1.5 x UK’s size). Tourism flourishes around Los Glaciares National park, Torres del Paine National parks, Argentina and Chile. A simple glare at map shows that while Argentinian Patagonia is mainly empty space, it is the Chilean Patagonia that has islands, water inlets and alleys with labyrinths.
Essentials – It’s easy to travel Patagonia independently with hostels, good vehicle movements around the premises. (buses, minibuses, campsites). English is widely spoken language. Currency is Argentine peso (weaker than pound sterling)
Food and drinks are of excellent value. Patagonian cuisine serves everything as weird as cured wild boars so the safe bet is parrillas (grills) and that too most local to the vicinity.
Patagonia – Essential places
Argentina’s Patagonia, Coast –
The land to the south of Rio Negro meeting Viedma town between sea is what you define as Argentinian Patagonia. The Ruta 3 National highway helps to explores the Atlantic coast of Patagonia is an easy manner. Many economical long-time buses connect to the main towns. Wales & whales on the northern coast tell a different story and towns like Rawson, Trelew, Puerto Madryn are connected to all major routes. Down the road it’s the “Egidio Feruglio Museum of Paleontology” famous for dinosaur’s fossil all through.
Southern right whales –
Typically seen & found around south Atlantic port off Puerto Madryn (can be seen calving around). Best place is Puerto Piramedes, Valdes peninsula where one can roam on smaller boats. Also one can see Orcas, Elephant seals, sea lions.
Punta Tombo, South of Madryn – Around 2 Million Breeding pairs of Magellanic Penguins can be seen (largest colony) from Sept to March.
Puerto Deseado – One can see rock hopper penguins, Commerson’s Dolphin, Huge seal colony at Cabo Blonco, Cormorant dolphins.
Puerto San Julian – Ferdinand Magellan, very famous Portuguese explores set his foot here. The southernmost tip from here is Cabo Virgenes, at Southeastern most point. Can be avoided though. Estancia Monte Dinero runs the Al fin y Al Cabo café bar near bottom of lighthouse.
Rio Negro & Neuquén are most populated here. Other less occupied towns of Junín de Los Andes, San martin de Los Andes & villa are some of the good bases for camping, hiking, horse riding, quad biking & trout fishing.
The 7 lakes route is another option in the vicinity that covers 110Km in the vicinity. It covers various beaches & mountains and myrtle forest.
Bariloche, is another town located on the banks of a massive Nahuel Huapi lake. Bariloche is a decent town and a hub for activities like trekking & mountain biking. Bariloche can also be the initial starting point for drive to Argentina’s Ruta Nacional or go for Puerto Varas in Chile. Other important towns are named as follow-
- El Bolson – A former hangout places popular within local campers
- Los Alerces National park – Home to finest campsites of Patagonia
- Esquel & Trevelin – This is a Welsh themed area & followed by nada and the Ruta Nacional passes through various towns in backwater.
- Cueva da las Manos – UNESCO listed place. 9000-year-old art and painting, must see.
Los Glaciares national park –
Massive area surrounding glaciers, ice fields, various forests & trees. Along the way are famous tourist attractions like Fitz Roy massif, Lago Argentino & large lake glaciers, Perito Moreno (world famous for a weird tsunami like natural production). Don’t forget to relax in the towns of El Chalten, La Vineria (both famous for beers and wines respectively).
Chilean Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego – Much of the south here is coastline, islands (barren & uninhabited), Roads (dead ends), Ice fields & Forests (impenetrable).
- Puerto Octay & Varas (Adventure Activities hub with some churches and houses in frutillar)
- Puelo Valley (Horse riding adventure)
- Carretera Austral
- Torres del Paine national park (Centerpiece of Chilean Patagonia. The main way is 130Km circuit and also various short rides.
Parque Patagonia – This is very beautiful & provide a residence for rhea, pigeon, Tinamou, burrowing owl. This newly made and maintained place is mesmerizing.