Argentinian Patagonia is also known as the Switzerland of Latin America. It is a very remote part of South America, in the southern most tip of the continent, where the climate is mostly cold. Winter lasts for about 10 months and it even snows during the Summer sometimes. The Andes Mountain serves as a barrier between Chile and Argentina and splits up Patagonia between these two countries. On the Argentinian side there are deserts, steppes and grasslands. The archipelago, Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) is considered to be part of Argentinian Patagonia. The word “patagon” comes from Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who first discovered the region in 1520. He described the local native people as giants with large feet. Pata means feet, Patagonia signified the land of people with large feet. This sparsely populated region is very difficult to reach for tourists, but it is one of the most picturesque places any tourists will ever see. Visitors can see wild animals, king penguins, whales or seals in Patagonia. They can visit crystal clear rivers, national parks, glaciers. Tourists can ride the snowmobile around in the Winter time. Patagonia is a real winter paradise. My top three tourist destinations of the region are the following:
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the World and it is the closest town to Antarctica. The town has permanent winter almost all year long. I visited the town in the summer when the temperature was between 0-3C and it was snowing. During the winter, it snows heavily and is even colder. It is the ideal place for winter activities, as Ushuaia has beautiful surrounding mountains. It is a very expensive city compared to other parts of Argentina as everything needs to be delivered here from the Northern cities of the country. Skiing, snowboarding, dog-sled riding, snowmobiling are popular winter activities that attract many tourists during the Winter months. It is also fun to take a cruise on the Beagle Canal to see the penguins and the sea lions and the southernmost lighthouse in the world. Adventurous travelers should do some hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park to discover the beautiful lakes and mountains. In Ushuaia, visitors should try the local king crab (centolla) as it is a local specialty here. They make empanadas stuffed with the meat of the king crab. In downtown Ushuaia, many restaurants are specialized in king crabs or steaks. The best way to explore the mountains and lakes nearby is by renting a 4×4 car and drive it through the rivers and the picturesque mountains.
Perito Moreno Glacier in el Calafate
Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most stunning places I have ever visited. It looks like a blue icy vast mountain. It is the most important tourist attraction of Patagonia, a 250 km2 ice formation that keeps on melting every day. It is nice to be standing near the glacier and listening to the pieces falling into the water. The glacier is 5km wide and the ice has a 74 meters height above the surface of the water. Trekking on the glacier is the best way to experience it. Visitors tie crampons on their trekking shoes and walk on the glaciers for about an hour. The fun part about it is that visitors can fill their glasses with ice from the glacier and they can drink it as it is crystal clear. In the end of the tour, our tour guide opened a bottle of whiskey and served it with ice from the glaciers. The Perito Moreno Glacier was my favorite site of the Argentinian Patagonia.
Hiking in el Chalten
El Chalten is a small mountain village within the Los Glacieres National Park at the base of the Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy Mountains. It is a good place to reach the nearby mountains and lakes. El Chalten is considered to be Argentina’s Trekking Capital. Chalten means smoking mountain in the local native language. It was believed that there was a volcano there hundreds of years ago. El Chalten is an ideal base to do hikes from to the nearby mountains. The most sought trek is the climb up to the Laguna de los Tres. It takes about 5 hours to reach the lagoon, where travelers can take beautiful pictures of the lake and the Mt Fitz Roy in the background. The first 4 hours of the climb is fairly easy. The scenery is very beautiful. The last hour becomes very steep. The temperature drops and it is very windy and cold when you reach the top. The view from up there is really spectacular. It is the closest you can get to Mount Fitz Roy. There are many other treks to other stunning cites around El Chalten. I also visited the nearby waterfalls. It was only about half an hour hike away from the village. The challenging part about hiking around el Chalten is that the weather changes and a sunny weather can quickly turn into a storm in a second. It is recommended to always carry around a raincoat.
Argentinian Patagonia is highly recommended to tourists, who love nature and adventure. The scenery and the mountains are breath-taking. The glaciers and the mountains provide an unforgettable experience for people who want to see wild life and natural scenery.
Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger of www.jet-settera.com. She left her country when she was 17 to conquer the world as a model. Ever since she has lived in seven countries and visited 68. She blogs about exclusive destinations and the some of the most prestigious events around the World such as Venice, Cannes, San Sebastian Film Festivals, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris, yacht parties in St-Tropez as well as Prince Albert’s wedding in Monaco. She also writes about adventure travel across Asia, South-America and Europe. Read about her latest adventures to Indonesia on her blog. Find Barbara on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.