Amazing Places: Patagonia - Best Destination in Chile

Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes, and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean and one of the amazing destinations for relaxation.

Patagonia - Chile

Chile’s Patagonia sits at the bottom of the world: the farthest south that you can go without needing an Antarctic icebreaker. Few places have captured the imagination of explorers as this breathtaking and windswept landscape, shared between Chile and Argentina.

The Colorado and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia.

Tierra del Fuego, and sometimes the Falkland Islands are included as part of Patagonia. Most geographers and historians locate the northern limit of Chilean Patagonia at Reloncaví Estuary, To the South Chilean Patagonia is usually extended to the Straits of Magellan or prolonged to the Cape Horn.

The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the native people that his expedition thought to be giants. It is now believed that the people he called the Paragons were Tehuelches, who tended to be taller than Europeans of the time.

The Argentine researcher Miguel Doura observed that the name Patagonia possibly derives from the ancient Greek region of modern Turkey called Paflagonia, possibly the home of the pentagon personage in the chivalric romances Primaleon printed in 1512, ten years before Magellan arrived in these southern lands. The hypothesis was accepted and published in the New Review of Spanish Philology in the 2011 article.

Why Go To Chilean Patagonia? Is Patagonia worth visiting?

After seeing so much of South America, Patagonia is still my favorite place. Incredibly vast, unbelievably diverse, and stunningly beautiful, it's a region made of superlatives. But with high prices, unforgiving weather, and frustrating infrastructure, it's not the easiest of destinations to navigate.

With its aura of remote romance, wind-whipped Chilean Patagonia attracts those travelers with an eye for beauty and a zest for adventure. Icy glaciers plunge into emerald lakes; wild fjords snake through hardwood forests; and the Andes' dramatic peaks ascend into swirling clouds and mist. It's hardly surprising that Chilean Patagonia's fabled lands have lured Magellan, Darwin, and even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Spend a day getting acquainted with the quirky Magellanic penguins congregating on Isla Magdalena. Then, continue south for jaw-dropping views of Tierra del Fuego's sky high mountains, pristine glaciers, and verdant forests. When you're ready for some R&R, retreat to your cozy lodge to get energized with some fresh Patagonian air and a hearty supply of seafood and wine.

Torres del Paine - Patagonia, Chile. Image source: ChrisGoldNY/Flickr.

With so much to see and do, getting oriented in Chilean Patagonia can be a challenge. The territory's incredible size (consuming Chile's lower third) and diverse landscapes force you to be selective about where you explore. There are three distinct regions. In the north, the awe-inspiring Lake District extends from Puerto Montt to Aisén. The Southern Coast, a 620-mile strip of land, sits between the Lake District and Southern Chilean Patagonia. This southernmost region includes Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas, and Tierra del Fuego—three noteworthy places. You may not see everything, but be sure to take in the rugged spirit of this breathtaking natural setting.

What is the best time to visit Patagonia?

The best time to visit Patagonia is in the austral Spring and Summer, between September and March. Days are longer and warmer and there's less rainfall than at other times of the year. However, the few who are lucky enough to visit in winter tend to experience less wind and more blue sky days.

What is the best way to transport in Patagonia?

Renting a car gives you the most flexibility

Patagonia's roads are very lightly trafficked and incredibly scenic. Hiring a car gives you the most flexibility, and you'll need your own wheels to get to remote national parks and attractions, particularly off Chile's Carretera Austral.


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