Patagonia covers 400,000 miles (that's more than 256 million acres). The region stretches from south Chile to Argentina and includes the Andes Mountains, windswept plains, glittering glaciers, and unspoiled coastlines. This is a paradise for outdoor adventure lovers, but it's not possible to see everything in one trip unless you have several weeks or months. These five locations will provide the sights, wildlife and adrenaline-pumping thrills that you desire.
Many adventurers begin their Patagonia journey at Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Argentina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is where Perito, one the last-surviving glaciers in the world, can be found. It continues to grow in its size. It covers 97 miles and is fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This has created a dam against Argentino Lake. You can watch pieces of ice melt into the water from a viewing platform, or better still, take a glacier hike to see the surface up close.
The Torres del Paine National Park is a microcosm for Patagonia. It's located in southern Chile. You'll find snowcapped granite mountains, sparkling glaciers, iceblue rivers, lakes, rolling grasslands, pampas, as well as some of the region's most prized wildlife like condors and pumas. This park is home to one of the most iconic panoramic views in the region: the Torres range below the Salto Chico waterfall at Lake Pehoe.
Chiloe Island is a popular destination for travelers who have done their research. It takes some effort to reach the mist-covered archipelago, which is off Chile's west coast. However, there are many reasons to make it worth the effort. Because the island is so remote, its seafaring inhabitants have created their own language, mythology and building style. Just look at its palafitos (stilted homes built over water) and UNESCO listed wooden churches. It is a destination that's not like the rest of South America. The island's most famous hotel, Tierra Chiloe, makes it a unique destination.
The tip of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego archipelago is the world's most southern city. It's fittingly known as "The End of the World." Ushuaia offers a gateway to Antarctica. However, you can also get a glimpse of the arctic via Martillo Island. Here a few penguin colonies call home. It's a great place to eat, with a variety of local cuisines such as Fuegian lamb and seasonal king crab at restaurants like Kalma and Kaupe. You can burn calories by taking a walk along the steep streets of the town lined with colorful homes that lead to the harbor.
The Marble Caves in Cuevas de Marmol is one of the most surprising, but not less impressive, places on this list. It's located in Chile's Lake General Carrera. These smoothed-out stones, which can only be reached by boat, are formed from thousands of years worth of erosion. They take on unique shades depending on the year and the water level that leaves minerals behind.