In the extreme south of South America there is a land where immensity reigns, where stark contrasts captivate us, and where the warmth of the people is the best protection against the cold weather: Patagonia.
This is the austral region of Argentina and Chile, where man lives with the most prodigal and contrasting environment that can be imagined. Where everything is measured for its vastness and beauty: from the vast extension of plains and forests, to the challenging snow-covered mountain peaks; from the fertile valleys, to the immense sea-coast; from the succession of magnificent lakes, to the soul-stirring glaciers.
It is an unsurpassable framework for discovery and adventure, situated in the southern hemisphere, in South America, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
This is a unique place for taking part in the most fascinating sports: small regions bordering lakes and roads, where geography, nature and culture combine to generate a mystical atmosphere, prodigal in myths and legends originated by its primitive communities.
It is a region that cannot possibly be overlooked by tourists and that you will find enriching. It is a place to fill your lungs with pure, virgin air and. to experience a new way of relating with the environment. It all depends on the intensity of your search.
Patagonia proposes a different outlook. We challenge you to start discovering...........
SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE
San Carlos de Bariloche is one of the most important tourist centers in Argentina. It is located in the west of the province of Río Negro, 1,640 kilometers from the capital city of Buenos Aires, on the banks of the majestic “Lago Nahuel Huapí” (Nahuel Huapí Lake).
The “Cerro Catedral” (Cathedral Mountain), one of the most important ski centers in the country, is visited every winter by hundreds of snow and white-sport fanatics. At the same time, during summer, it offers all imaginable possibilities: nature and city life; nautical sports, fishing, shopping, outings and excursions, numerous cafes and restaurants, walks to the “Centro Cívico” (Civic Center), visiting the “Circuito Chico” (Small Circuit), the “Museo de la Patagonia” (Patagonian Museum) and the “Catedral” (Cathedral), amongst others. However, it is also worth making visits to mythical Llao Llao, “Isla Victoria” (Victory Island) and “Puerto Blest” (Blest Port).
Bariloche is not only well-known for its ski-resorts and outdoor activities. Using the Centro Cívico as a starting point, you must not miss the possibility of going on a shopping spree through the center of the city, where you will find some outstanding hand-knitted woolen garments in addition to all kinds of handicraft souvenirs made out of wood and stones and, last but not least, you must not leave this beautiful region without having tasted the exquisite Bariloche Chocolate which is comparable to any other high-quality chocolate produced in the world. You will almost certainly not be able to resist the temptation of purchasing several boxes of these delicacies not only for yourselves, but also as presents for relatives and friends.
VILLA LA ANGOSTURA
On the northern banks of the Nahuel Huapí, in the middle of the Patagonian mountain- chain, there is a mountain village called ”Villa La Angostura”. It is a perfect setting for fishing, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, trekking, and quad-bike devotees.
This mountain village of 7,000 inhabitants is located in a natural, uncontaminated and privileged environment. Its peculiarity is the perfect differentiation between the four seasons of the year, with the marked changes of colors and hues, in the flora and fauna.
In winter, the major attraction is the “Cerro Bayo” (Bayo Mountain) a ski-resort that offers a number of sporting and recreational activities, both for experts and beginners. Cerro Bayo is visited all year round because of its varied magnificent panoramic sights and for the sporting events that take place there.
In addition to Cerro Bayo, one can visit the “Cerro Inacayal” (Inacayal Mountain) and the Belvedere.
SAN MARTÍN DE LOS ANDES
This relatively young mountain village located in the middle of the Andes, on the banks of the “Lago Lácar” (Lácar Lake) is growing very fast, and is one of the principle tourist areas in the province of Neuquén.
It is characterized by the typical mountain wood and stone construction method, and has some interesting places to visit on foot, such as the “Secretaría Municipal de Turismo, the “Museo de los Pioneros” (Pioneers Museum), “Iglesia San José” (San José Church), Intendencia del Parque Nacional Lanín and Lago Lácar Lake. Its lakes, rivers, waterfalls and mountains transform this area into a traveler’s paradise.
There are some short visits which cannot be overlooked such as the “Mirador Bandurrias” lookout point, Quila Quina, or the “Río Hua Hum” (Hua Hum River) where you can cross over to Chile and back on a “gomón” (rubber dinghy). You mustn’t miss the excursion to Lago Huechulafquen, to see the “Lanín” Volcano, either.
Esquel is the entrance to this incomparable mountain region, where nature surprises visitors all year round. Activities such as trekking, rafting, horse-riding, skiing, hunting, mountaineering, mountain bike, quad-bikes and any other activity that one can imagine are possible here, surrounded by beautiful and magnificent scenery.
There are many options that cannot be overlooked: excursions to the “Parque Nacional Los Alerces” (Los Alerces National Park); traveling on the Trochita (the famous steam- train on narrow-gauge railway tracks which is a national historical heritage item in Patagonia), and the “Museo Regional de Trevelin” (Trevelin Regional Museum) located in an old wheat mill, this being the ideal place to learn about how the early immigrants (mostly Welsh) lived, dressed and worked.
The city of Puerto Madryn is located in the northeastern region of the province of Chubut, on the shores of the Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf).
In summer, the city has a very active beach life. Lots of young people meet there to practice different sports, such as windsurfing, sailing, sand-boarding, scuba diving and beach volleyball, amongst others. The same is true in “Puerto Pirámides” (the Port of Pyramids), some 90 kilometers from “Madryn”. There are also boats that will take you to see the seals and sea elephants in the area. In addition to all these activities, it is very interesting and entertaining to arrange an excursion to “Punta Tombo” (Tombo Point) to see the quaint penguins in their natural habitat, visiting Rawson and Trelew cities on the way.
In the heart of the Patagonian mountain range, you will find El Chaltén, a small tourist village, established north of Parque Nacional de los Glaciares, where the most important mass of continental ice on the planet, excluding that of the Antartic, can be found.
The glaciers that melt and flow into the lakes in the area come from this mass of ice. The most famous glacier is the Perito Moreno, which is well-known the world over, and owes its fame to its continuous movement, causing the breaking off of enormous blocks of ice, thereby producing a formidable and unforgettable spectacle. The nearest city is El Calafate, offering all the typical activities of this region, together with all suitable hotel services.
In the extreme north of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, you will find the highest peaks which, together with the forests, glaciers and lakes, make it one of the most extraordinary sites in Argentina.
TIERRA DEL FUEGO
“Tierra del Fuego” (The Land of Fire) is the southernmost region on the planet. More than 70,000 tourists arrive every year to visit the “southest of the south”.
One gets to the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego by car or on the “Tren del Fin del Mundo” (Train to the End of the World), which runs alongside the Pipo river. There are several “compulsory” excursions in Ushuaia (the capital city of Tierra del Fuego): the summer scenery can be enjoyed on foot, by bus, on horseback, on boats or by train; in winter, the options are cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, motor sleighing or on snow sleds pulled by Huskies.
Also, fishermen should visit Río Grande, which has become the southern hemisphere capital of trout fishing, due to the enormous quantity of specimens that exist in its rivers. And, last but not least, the Antartic, that last and most fascinating frontier on the face of the Earth.
During every summer season, tourist cruisers take visitors to the Antartic, where they can disembark to explore and enjoy the impressive beauty of its scenery.