If there's an alpine paradise on earth, it could just be Patagonia. Patagonia in its entirety is the whole southern part of South America governed by Chile and Argentina (mostly Argentina). This is a wonderland full of eye-watering lakes, fjords, glaciers, the southern end of the Andes Mountains.

The region is also home to deserts, steppes, and tablelands. The region has a varied heritage with influences from Indigenous groups, Germans, Croats, Italians, Mestizo, Criollo, and Welsh. It is rich in marine life including whales and penguins as well as many of South America's most famous animals in the mountains. If one is looking for solitude and truly a wild doors experience, this is the place to go.

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About Patagonia

This can be regarded as South America's southern frontier and the landscapes here are incalculably beautiful and wild. The spaces are large and the population is sparse. The jagged peaks, lush forests, and pristine rivers inspire awe in tourists from around the world. Here one can find ancient petrified forests, Welsh settlements, massive glaciers, and teeming penguin colonies.

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  • Size: Patagonia Covers Some 400,000 Sq Miles
  • Countries: Chile And Argentina

The main tourist locations in this vast wilderness are centered on Torres del Paine in Chile and the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. But whether one is in the national parks or not, the wilderness reigns throughout the region. While the Chilean Patagonia is characterized by fjords, inlets, many islands, and labyrinthine channels, the Argentinian Patagonia is dominated by ranching country, steppe, and empty vast tracts of land (and also mountains with glaciers).

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Marine Wildlife

It's impossible to exaggerate just how diverse this massive region is. In Argentinian coastal Patagonia, one finds a sea teeming with marine life. Here is it perfect to go whale watching and see these magnificent marine mammals frolic and feed. There are the Southern Right Whales who calve in the winter, pods of orcas (aka Killer Whales), sea lions, elephant seals, fur seals, Magellanic penguins, rockhopper penguins, Commerson's dolphins, and the list goes on and on.

  • Number Of Magellanic Penguins: 210,000 Breed Pairs In The Species' Largest Colony At Punta Tombo

The Welsh Influence

Besides the whales, there's also the Welsh from Wales. In a few settlements like in Rawson, Puerto Madryn, Trelew, and Gaiman, one will find Welsh heritage from settlements of Welsh to Argentina in 1865. In these towns, there are Welsh-themed teashops and even people speaking Welsh.

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National Parks

Tourism is concentrated in and around the Valdes Peninusla the Argentine Lake District, Perito Moreno Glacier, and Tierra del Fuego. Historically, this region has been a remote backpacking location, but today tourism is developing and there are more and more upmarket visitors.

  • Fun Fact: Tierra del Fuego Is One Of The Main Gateways To Going To Antarctica

Los Glaciares National Park

One of Argentina's main national parks in this region is the Los Glaciares National Park and has been listed as a World Heritage site since back in 1981. It is located in the far south of Argentina and boasts Magellanic subpolar forests, west Patagonian steppe biodiversity, and breath-taking glaciers.

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  • Size: 2,806 Sq Miles or 7,269 Sq Kilometers

The park earns its name from the giant ice cap in the Andes that feeds some 47 large grinding glaciers. While in most other parts of the world, glaciers start at an elevation of around 8,200 feet, here they start at only 4,900 - due to the sheer size of this ice cap. The glaciers then grind their way around 660 feet, down the mountain. The Los Glaciares National Park is adjacent to the Chilean Torres del Paine National Park which is one of Chile's crowning Patagonian jewels.

  • Largest: Largest Ice Cap Outside Of Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland

Perito Moreno National Park

Another of Argentina's popular national parks in this region is the Perito Moreno National Park also in the south on the border with Chile. The park is one of Argentina's oldest having been established back in 1937 and is situated at a high elevation. There are a series of mountain chains traversing the park in both directions - this makes it resemble an imposing amphitheater.

When To Go

The best time to go for most activities is summer. This is when the weather will be warmer and the trails are more likely to be open after the melting snows. But there are also many winter sports to be enjoyed all through this stunning region of Argentina. One can visit all year. If one wants to see whale watching or the penguin colonies, then it is best to see when they are calving and nesting.

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