Patagonia consists of the provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, which is separated by the American continent by the turbulent Strait of Magellan. Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut constitute Southern Patagonia. Its geography combines sceneries as different as the Atlantic shoreline, the central steppe and mountains and forests which reach the Andean Mountain Range on the borderline with Chile.
In this section, Trips to Patagonia, you will find different options to travel to all the most renowned attractions in Patagonia and you will discover other appealing though less visited - or less touristic- spots in Patagonia. To this end we have divided Patagonia into 3 main regions:
- Southern Patagonia Region
- Northern Patagonia Region
- Atlantic Patagonia Region
SOUTHERN PATAGONIA REGION
This region includes Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego where glaciers El Calafate and El Chaltén are located. Also in this region, Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas are located. Immense glaciers are typical of this region of Patagonia: Perito Moreno in El Calafate, Upsala (the largest glacier in the area), Bolados, Onelli, Spegazzini, etc.
Points of interest in the region:
Los Glaciares National Park in the province of Santa Cruz includes Calafate and Chaltén. The main attractions are Perito Moreno Glacier in Calafate and Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in Chaltén. Los Glaciares National Park, world heritage by UNESCO, is composed by impressive granite spires that emerge from the ice fields, with indigo colored icebergs falling down into the surrounding lakes. The emerald green southern beech woods on the mountain slopes complete the view. The Perito Moreno is one of the few glaciers which continues advancing, when most of these giants are retreating due to global warming. Chaltén welcomes extreme skiers and hikers from all around the world. The options for trails are numerous. The main one is Laguna de los Tres, which reaches the foot of Mount Fitz Roy. Other roads reach Laguna Capri, Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, Laguna Torre, Lagunas Madre e Hija. Travelling north from El Chaltén on a narrow gravel road, you will ascend along the edge of Río de Las Vueltas as far as Laguna del Desierto. At the end of the road there is a short trail leading to Laguna Huemul, where you will see the Huemul glacier which reaches the lake shore.
Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and its National Park compose an old and remote archipelago that is the gateway to Antarctica and a natural reserve for the marine birds of the Beagle Channel. Tierra del Fuego is an extension to Patagonia’s land; however it has its own identity as the “End of the Earth”, according to explorer Lucas Bridges. Ushuaia is located at the end of the Andean mountain chain, where the Americas’ civilization ends at the Antarctic boundary. The main attractions are Tierra del Fuego National Park, the old estancia Harberton (Harberton Farm), the Austral lakes Fagnano and Escondido, the Beagle Channel and Isla Martillo, Laguna Amarga (Esmeralda) and Glacier Martial.
The tours of the area are:
NORTHERN PATAGONIA REGION
This region consists of Junín de los Andes, San Martín de los Andes - where the Seven Lakes Road starts - Villa La Angostura, Villa Traful, Bariloche and Esquel. According to our surveys, this is the most beautiful region in Patagonia. It includes extreme vegetation, crystal clear lakes and impressive mountains.
Points of interest in the region:
Nahuel Huapi National Park, which includes the cities of Bariloche, Villa La Angostura and Villa Traful. This is the best known region in Patagonia and it is known as the “Argentine Switzerland.” Points of interest in Bariloche and its surroundings are Victoria Island, Arrayanes Forest, Ventisquero Negro. On the way to Villa Traful the main attraction is Valle Encantado. In Villa La Angostura you should visit Bahía Manzano.
Lanin National Park includes San Martín de los Andes and Junín de los Andes, where there is a chain of volcanoes, lakes and legendary araucaria forests, where the main attractions are Volcán Lanín and lakes Huechulafquen, Epulafquen, Lolog and Lacar. On Lacar Lake you will find the interesting village of Quila Quina. Travelling south beyond Bariloche, in Valle de Quemquemtreu, El Bolsón is located. This city is the capital of the counter-culture, where you will meet talented craftsmen sharing their pieces at the town’s central market. Then you will travel south to Esquel to find the entrance to Los Alerces National Park and discover crystal clear lakes, such as Futalaufquen, Verde, Menéndez and Rivadavia Lakes. You should visit the old express train of Patagonia: La Trochita. On the other side of the continent, in the Atlantic shore, the provincial reserves of Chubut, in Península Valdés and Punta Tombo are located. There you will find and amazing diversity of marine life: southern right whales, Magellan penguins, sea lions and elephant seals, cormorants, etc. In the same province of Santa Cruz, you can visit Monte León National Park, which offers impressive capes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The tours of the area are:
ATLANTIC PATAGONIA REGION -BLUE ROUTE
This region is located in the Atlantic shores of the provinces of Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz. From Península Valdés, travelling to Gaiman, Trelew, Punta Tombo, Camarones, Bustamante Bay, Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto Deseado, Puerto San Julián and Monte León National Park as far as Río Gallegos. This area of Península Valdés is famous for the presence of the southern right whale. It is a very interesting region to explore due to the diversity of marine flora and fauna, which can be appreciated on the whole trip. It is also known as the Blue Route.
Points of interest in this region:
The Atlantic winds beat the arid shores extending from north to south over the provinces of Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz where rich marine life, amphibious life and land life coexist. Magellan penguins (in Península Valdés and Punta Tombo), yellow crested penguins (in Ría Deseado and Puerto San Julián), sea lions, elephant seals and southern right whales abound. The Natural Protected Area Peninsula Valdés is an uncultivated land with saline depressions and dense thickets on the slopes. The ocean is shelter to sublime marine life on its beaches. In Puerto Pirámides, in Golfo Nuevo, you will catch sight of the whales that arrive between June and November for reproduction. Points of interest are Península Valdés, Doradillo, Faro de Punta Ninfas (Punta Ninfas’ lighthouse), Valle Inferior, the Welsh colony of Gaiman, Dique Sarmiento and the sighting of Commerson’s dolphins in Rawson.
Travelling south in the Area Natural Protegida Punta Tombo (Punta Tombo Natural Reserve) you will find the largest colony of Magellan penguins in South America and the Reserva Natural Cabo Dos Bahías (Cabo Dos Bahías Natural Reserve) in Camarones. Bustamante Bay is located on the north margin of Golfo San Jorge. This town is famous for its rich biodiversity and it is the only algae town in the world where nature is the focus of attention as it shows itself openly and spontaneously. You will feel transported by the monotony of Patagonia’s landscapes and will open your senses to get taken away by infinity. Another point of interest is Reserva Natural Provincial Ría Deseado (Ría Deseado Provincial Natural Reserve), an estuary where wild life abounds. For example in the penguin colony site Isla Chaffers, Commerson’s dolphins and the most distinctive spot: Isla Pingüino, habitat of the yellow crested penguin. Afterwards, we recommend visiting the Reserva Provincial Islas Cormorán and Justicia in Puerto San Julián. Finally the Ruta Azul (Blue Route) leads into Monte León National Park, which offers wide beaches, incredible capes and a great diversity of fauna and marine birds.