Patagonia: synonymous with adventure, rugged landscapes, and diversity. An amalgamation of European settlers from the 19th century and native peoples such as the Mapuche and Tehuelche, Patagonia’s geography is just as diverse. From the soaring Andes mountains to the endless expanse of plains, and from the Pacific to the Atlantic, this small region is home to remarkable variety. For visitors, this ensures a vacation of a lifetime.
Patagonia is an isolated region; it is only now becoming a prime destination for upscale adventure-seekers. With towns like El Chaltens it is easy to see why. Surrounding mountains offer a nature-lover’s playground with hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, ice climbing, and other activities. After a day defying death and extreme temperatures, relax at one of the area’s many restaurants and cafes. If you have a sweet tooth, a visit to La Chocolatería Josh Aike is in order. Sample the chocolate factory’s “hot” chocolate or fondue and wine. If you over-indulge, you can always work it off with an extra hike!
To spot some of the native wildlife, head to Punta Tombo. This 200-hectre reserve is home to the Magellanic penguin, king and rock cormorant, black oystercatchers, and other species. Don’t get too close: penguins may look cute and cuddly, but they have a pretty fierce bark! If you’re looking for something a bit larger, Puerto Madryn offers some of the best whale watching in the world. The magnificent animals breed in the warm waters between June and December and are out in numbers.
History buffs will love Cueva de las Manos. A Unesco World Heritage site, the cave features rock paintings dating from 7370 BC. A tour guide will bring you back in time as you see the evolution of the art – and of the people who created it. The tour is free, and if you pack a lunch, you have a fun-filled day that costs very little while giving you much back.
Whether you visit Cabo Dos Bahias Nature Reserve to see more penguins, marvel at the Glaciar Perito Moreno, or go to Capillas de Marmol to see the most achingly blue water and amazing stone formations, you will be seeing the best of Patagonia, and you can be assured there will always be something as exciting around the next corner. Wildlife, natural beauty, and sophisticated city life exist peacefully together and create a unique destination for the adventure traveler.