Patagonia is a region that encompasses the vast southern tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as its dividing line. The Argentine side has arid steppes, grasslands, and deserts, while the Chilean side has glacial fjords and temperate rainforests.
Updated to November 2023
1. Where is Patagonia located?
The distant and mythical Patagonia is located in the south of Argentina and Chile. Exploring it is not easy, therefore, we can say that it saves its most precious treasures for the most intrepid travelers. Where is Patagonia specifically and what do you need to know to know it?
How can you get to Patagonia?
- To get to Argentine Patagonia, you must fly to Buenos Aires and then make internal connecting flights to the different cities in the southern region.
- To travel to Chilean Patagonia, you must fly to Santiago de Chile and also travel internally until you reach this region.
Patagonian provinces in Agentina
It covers the Argentinean southernmost provinces: Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands, with their own characteristics that differ from other regions. It also includes a very small portion of the south of La Pampa, Mendoza and Buenos Aires (Patagones party).
Provinces of Patagonia Chilena
In Chile, Patagonia includes the province of Palena and the regions of Aysén and Magallanes (without the Chilean Antarctic Territory). Currently it is preferred to differentiate from the territory located further north of the Corcovado Gulf (Lake region), limiting this with the territory of Chilean Patagonia. However, from geology, studies show the condition of conjunction and geological unity of the South Patagonian massif with the North Patagonian massif, determining, consequently, the northern limit of Patagonia in the Huincul fault, thus incorporating the Los Ríos Region , and the Araucanía Region.
2. Patagonian landscape
The east is the place of the plateaus. The extra-Andean Patagonia subregion enjoys a cold and dry climate and a steppe biome. The relief is of stepped plains cut by river valleys.
The west is the terrain of the mountains. The Andean subregion agrees with the Patagonian Andes. The vegetation is divided into an Andean Patagonian forest and a Magellan subpolar forest; also an area rich in lakes. Most of this territory is made up of national parks. There are still some remains of the last ice age in the ice field continental, from which come numerous glaciers such as Perito Moreno, among others.
The area traditionally known as the Southern Zone of Chile is a region of glaciation, which is covered by two large masses of ice, the northern ice field and the southern ice field. It is characterized by the presence of cold climate perhumid forests such as the temperate forest and the southernmost Magellanic forest, with fewer species.
3. Patagonian weather
At the same time as the seas, the Andes Mountains play an important role in the climatic disposition of the Argentine regions and, due to this, Patagonia is a region with an arid and semi-desert climate.
The air masses of the Pacific shoot almost all their humidity to the other side of the Andes. Subpolar air can be seen from the south to the north of the country.
The island of Tierra del Fuego, due to its location close to the south pole, in summer has up to eighteen hours of light, while in winter there are only seven to eight hours. The days are clear and radiant and with not very low temperatures as in areas of the same latitude in the northern hemisphere, due to the island’s profile of the province. In winter the cold is very intense, as are the snowstorms and the winds are from the west, which is why the Patagonian coasts are usually calm waters, which make up a panorama worth appreciating.
In the south, the vicinity of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, unlike the rest of the country, contributes as a temperature regulator and in some areas you can see green grass.
The Cordillera de los Andes, which curves from northwest to east through the archipelago, causes abundant rainfall in the western and southern islands, and less humidity in the northeastern plains.
In the northern part of southern Chile, rains are abundant throughout the year, for example, Puerto Aysén has an average annual rainfall of approximately 3,000 mm, well distributed in each month of the year, in fact, the average of the summer months is of about 200mm per month, while in the winter months it is about 300mm per month.
The extreme south of Chile is drier and colder. In the Punta Arenas region, summer temperatures (December-February) reach maximum values of 14 ° C and minimum values of 5 ° C, while in winter (June-August) the average maximum temperatures stop at 3 ° C and the average of minimum temperatures to -1 ° C. The precipitation is scarce, but distributed in each month of the year with an annual average of 400 mm, the winds that blow from the Pacific Ocean are particularly cold.
4. Tourism: Chilean Patagonia vs. Argentine Patagonia
The beauty of Patagonia is shared by two countries: Chile and Argentina. Both sides are beautiful and have spectacular landscapes, which will take your breath away, and although this region shares its name between these two countries, the landscapes in each of them are completely different from each other. We could talk about two Patagonias, with different experiences and different infrastructures for tourism.
Both options are blessed with the most spectacular views and the most incredible mountain landscapes: glaciers, lakes and virgin land. But each side has a different appeal, we could summarize it in that the route in Chile is much greener, with thick forests and many waterfalls, while in Argentina the route crosses a more arid landscape similar to the desert.
Choosing what to visit in Patagonia will depend a lot on your mood and expectations for a dream road trip.
5. Chile: National Parks in Patagonia
- National Park Torres del Paine
- Laguna San Rafael National Park
- Isla Magdalena national park
- Guamblin Island National Park
- Pumalín Park
- Bernardo O’Higgins National Park
- Alberto de Agostini National Park
- Pali Aike National Park
- Cape Horn National Park
- Yendegaia national park
- Patagonia national park
- Hornopirén national park
6. Argentina: National Parks in Patagonia
- Los Alerces National Park
- Lago Puelo National Park
- Nahuel Huapi National Park
- Lanín National Park
- Laguna Blanca National Park
- Perito Moreno National Park
- Los Arrayanes National Park
- Lihué Calel National Park
- Jaramillo Petrified Forest National Park
- Isla Pinguino Marine Interjurisdictional Park
- Los Glaciares National Park
- Monte León National Park
- Tierra del Fuego National Park
- Patagonia National Park