The region was visited by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, in 1520. He named the region Patagonia because
he saw that the Tehuelches native wore a kind of special big shoes, made of fur, to protect themselves from the cold (spanish: pata=foot).
It has a surface of 787,291 Km2, that represents a third of the national territory,and 1,481,580 inhabitants (4,5% of the Argentinean population)
Its contribution to the national economy stands out in power matter. The Patagonia
generates 84% of the Argentine oil production, it handles the fourth part of the installed electrical power, and
extracts the 76,8% of the total national gas.
The Patagonian resources are not limited the nonrenewable. It also supplies to the national and world-wide market
with fruits (apple, pear and fruits of cob), diverse products of sea and wool.
Its productive capacity is reflected in the result of its trades balance. In 1994, the Patagonia exports reached an amount of 1,946 million dollars, that represented 10.9% of the amount exported by all Argentina. The imports for the same year were of 845.25 million dollars, 3.9% of the total amounts of the country.
The Patagonia is recognized internationally by the great variety and beauty of its landscapes. The Patagonian habitats - many of them with unique characteristics in world- are protected by the existence of 12 parks and national reserves.
Lanín Volcano - Junín de los Andes, Neuquén
Nahuel Huapí Lake - Bariloche, Río Negro
This is a land of extremes, where it is possible to feel the lowest temperatures of the continent, and also 45 degrees Celsius; where the places with higher precipitation of the country - Patagonian Andes-, and with great surfaces of dry land in the central plateau. Also it is possible to ski in the best tracks of the Andes Mountain, and to swim in the warmest beach of the Argentine coast (Las Grutas, in Río Negro province).
Briefly, Patagonia is: sea, plateau and mountain; Andean forest and steppe; rivers and deserts; whales and condors, and much, much more...
El Calafate 4 Stars
4 days/3 nights
- 3 nights accommodation with breakfast - Transfers in/out Airport - Hotel in the city - Glaciar Perito Moreno Excursion - National Park Ticket not included
Patagonia is the scene of the world's great adventures. Even if we know little of the place, the name itself inhabits our subconscious, whispering of an unknown finger of the earth, el fin del mundo. We picture large silent spaces, tempestuous seas, windblown solitude.
The first Europeans to lay eyes on this landscape were led by Ferdinand Magellan, who pioneered passage through the treacherous strait that now bears his name. His expedition named the mainland 'Tierra de los Patagones,' unwittingly spawning the myth of a race of Patagonian giants. To the south, they saw the horizon darkened by smoke from the natives' fires, and named the great island Tierra del Fuego. The legend of Patagonia was set in motion.
The indigenous groups who inhabited Tierra del Fuego deserved to be legends, as these were the world's first and greatest adventurers. In arriving on Tierra del Fuego they had completed the world's furthest human migration, arriving finally at the very end of the earth, where the Andes disappeared into the sea and glaciers flowed to the water's edge. With nowhere else to wander, they stayed and fished the coast in canoes, collected shellfish, hunted guanaco and rheas on the pampa. Photos taken at the turn of the century depict a stone-age culture where extremity had crystallized: the end of the road for the most restless wanders in history.
To the east of the Andes, the Patagonian pampa is an immense desert, by some accounts among the five largest deserts in the world. West of the Andes is another world. Here both the Central Valley and the Coast Range have sunk into the Pacific; what were once glacial valleys are now fjords, and what were once mountaintops are now islands. Hotsprings lay revealed by coastal erosion, while great glaciers further fragment the landscape, necessitating maritime or air travel. Great forests cloak the Andes from the Pacific shoreline to the continental divide, bisected by surging emerald rivers carrying glacial silt to the sea and providing habitat for fearless trout and salmon. This immense territory is best understood as two separate regions, separated by the vast expanse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Northern Patagonia is one of the world's last great expanses of wilderness, accessed by a gravel highway known as the Carretera Austral, completed in 1988. Even today, road access to the region is not complete, and travelers on the Carretera Austral must hop ferries across the mouths of the great fjords. Here the port of Chaitén provides access to the northernmost portions of the Carretera Austral, including truly world-class rafting and flyfishing, and cruises to glaciers and island hotsprings. Further south is the city of Coihaique, capital of the Aisén province and an ideal base for flyfishing and overland trips on the southern Carretera Austral, to lago General Carrera and the Northern and Southern Ice Fields.
Southern Patagonia, known as Magallanes, is a world apart, where the broad expanses of the pampa meet with the glacially sculpted spires of the Andes. Torres del Paine National Park and World Biosphere Reserve is the most famous of the vast protected areas in Magallanes, preserving habitat for guanacos, foxes, rheas and flamingos. South of the park is Puerto Natales, terminal for southbound ferries from Puerto Montt and operations base for hiking and horseback trips, glacier cruises, and overland trips.Punta Arenas is the capital of the Magallanes province. Facing the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego, Punta Arenas is the principal departure point for cruises and flights to Tierra del Fuego, to the Canal Beagle, Isla Navarino, Cape Horn and Antarctica.
“Peninsula Valdes – El Calafate – Ushuaia – Buenos Aires, awesome !”-May 23th 2012
Our trip could not have been more perfect. It was amazing how everything went so smoothly. Argentina is certainly a beautiful place. We loved the natural beauty. All of our transports were prompt and friendly. Our guides were really informative, knowledgeable and fun to get to know...