When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is bright and sunny in the Southern. One good way to have a winter vacation is to head to Patagonia and traverse nature at its best.
Falling mainly in Argentina with a small portion stretching into Chile, Patagonia is a realm of climactic diversity; high peaks, landscapes, glacial peaks, icebergs, and blue lakes. The primary inhabitants of the land were the ‘Patagones, (or big feet), so named by the traveler, Magellan in the 1520s to represent the native people that they saw along the coastline of Patagonia. The idea of these giants living in a unique land endured for many years until it was later confirmed that they were in fact, just over average height.
Notwithstanding, the land is still shrouded in mystery. In 2007, a lake about the area of 10 football fields completely vanished, leaving scientists theorizing that the ground must have just opened up and consumed it whole.
Exciting Places to explore in this Mysterious place:
- Wildlife Parque Nacional Patagonia: Named as the Serengeti of the Southern Cone, Parque Nacional Patagonia highlights Patagonian steppe, parks, mountains, forests, and lakes. Situated 18km north of Cochrane, this new national park was an overgrazed estancia. Tompkins Conservation began its renovation in 2004. Now it’s home to flamingo, guanaco, huemul (endangered Andean deer), puma, viscacha, and fox. The park extends from the Río Baker to the Argentine border, which can be passed in a private vehicle at Paso Roballos.
- Life-Altering Experiences in El Chaltén: El Chaltén’s encircling mountains are prime hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding territory so if you’re into outdoor adventure, this is the spot for you. Think mountain traverses, mountain ascents, and rock-climbing classes. You can go horse-riding to the pretty valley of Río de las Vueltas or take a more challenging ride up the Vizcacha hill followed by a barbecue on a legendary ranch. There are also ice-climbing courses and ice treks accessible.
- Trekking in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine: Some rituals of passage never lose their charm, so strap on that heavy pack and hike through howling savanna and winding forests to view these holiest-of-holy granite mountain spires. Las Torres may be the main draw of its namesake park, but this vast forest has much more to offer. Ice-trek the sculpted surface of Glacier Grey, traverse the quiet backside of the circuit, kayak the calm Río Serrano or ascend Paso John Gardner for cracking views of the southern ice field.
- Whale-watch in Puerto Madryn: Patagonia allows some of the world’s best whale-watching and Puerto Madryn is the place to glimpse them. It’s warm, more confined waters along the Golfo Nuevo, Golfo San José and the coastline near Caleta Valdés are principal breeding zones for southern right whales between June and mid-December.
- Glaciers at Parque National Los Glaciares: Glaciar Perito Moreno is the remarkable centerpiece of the southern sector of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Locally attributed to as Glaciar Moreno, it measures 30km long, 5km wide and 60m high, but what makes it outstanding in the world of ice is its constant advance – it creeps forward up to 2m per day, creating building-sized icebergs to calve from its face. In some ways, seeing the glacier is a very quiet park experience, but it manages to nonetheless be thrilling. The main gateway town to the park’s southern sector, El Calafate is 80km east of the glacier by road.