Stunning Ushuaia on the faraway island of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America bills itself as the southernmost city in the world. Though there is a bit of back-and-forth about whether the Chilean town of Puerto Williams (which is south of Ushuaia on Isla Navarino) holds this distinction, Ushuaia is way more visited and set up for tourist visits. It’s also much easier to get to, with international flights, overland routes and many cruise ships, often on their way to Antarctica.
Pucón is the undisputed capital of adventure and outdoor tourism in Chile. High season is summer, and the area fills with mostly Chilean tourists, who come to enjoy sitting by the sparkling lake and the extremely long days of southern Chile’s summers. Near Pucón there are hotsprings and waterfalls ziplining, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking and [...]
Patagonia is known for its wide-open steppe, dense forests, glaciers, vast lakes, changeable weather and towering peaks. These conditions are perfect for human exploration (so long as the human is ready for the weather), with long walks through pristine wilderness, and long drives through unpopulated areas where the local fauna thrives. If you ask most people what the most distinctive wildlife is to them in Patagonia, many people will choose the lesser rhea, or ñandú, pictured above. They run very fast and congregate in groups. Look for them on Peninsula Valdes in Argentina, and near Torres del Paine national park in Chile.
In addition to providing a scenic backdrop, whether looking east from Chile, or west from Argentina, the Andes provides the southern part of the two countries with something many travelers to this part of the world may never have seen before: glaciers. All of the glaciers in Patagonia are a result of heavy snows in [...]
Patagonia is wild land, the southern part of Argentina and Chile, where glaciers and mountains come together for some stunning landscapes. It is no surprise then, that it also has some world class rafting, with chutes and rapids navigated by capable guides, many of whom chase spring and summer year round, guiding in Norway and the United States in the northern summer, and switching to Chile and Argentina’s impressive rivers for the southern spring and summer, roughly from November through February, though rivers run highest at the beginning of the winter.
If you’ve ever thought about going whale watching, penguin peeping or checking out some sea lions, Puerto Madryn in Argentine coastal Patagonia is a great place to use as a jumping off point. It’s at the edge of the Valdés Peninsula, an area extremely rich in wildlife, with good viewing conditions. In addition to sea creatures, you’re also likely to see small herds of the fuzzy, camel-like guanaco, and rheas (a close relative to the ostrich) as well as other wildlife.
Puerto Montt, the largest city in Chile’s Lakes Region is, in a way, the end of the road in Chile. It’s the last city of any size in continental Chile before the country breaks up into the land of islands of fjords, minor roads and the Carretera Austral, or southern highway, a mostly unpaved highway extending down to the tiny hamlet of Villa O’Higgins.
High on most travelers’ what-to-see list in Patagonia is the extensive glaciers. Jagged ice lakes spilling down valleys, and hanging in the mountains, and even calving into a lagoon while you sit and watch are just some of the experiences you can have in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia if you play your cards right. The [...]
It should come as no surprise that Punta Arenas, Chile’s last settlement of any size on the continent, and one of the world’s southernmost cities that sits on the Pacific ocean, is a great jumping-off point from which to see penguins. There are a couple of nesting colonies of magellanic penguins not far from Punta Arenas, and by far the most accessible is Seno Otway (the Otway sound), which is about a 45-minute drive away, on dirt roads.
El Calafate, Argentina is located deep into Patagonia, and has a wild-west feel to it, in that it’s windy and tends to be dry. But as one of the most important cities in Patagonia, it is also full of good lodging and dining options, serving local specialties, including desserts flavored with the calafate berry, a small purplish berry for which the city is named. The city is called the glacier capital, owing to the fact that it is the jumping-off point for trips to the world famous Perito Moreno glacier.