The landscapes of Patagonia are one of the world’s final frontiers. A region of immense untouched natural beauty, Patagonia covers the southern part of South America, in both Chile and Argentina. Be prepared to confront some of the most jaw-dropping natural wonders imaginable if you travel to Patagonia. From idyllic lake districts to rugged mountain ranges and icy glacier fields, a trip to Patagonia is a dream for adventure travellers. Here’s our pick of the top natural sights in Patagonia.
Marble Caves, Chilean Patagonia
Formed over the last 6,000 years, Chile’s Marble Caves are one of the most spectacular landscapes in Patagonia. Situated in the middle of General Carerra Lake, the caves are accessed by boat or kayak. Melting glacier water slowly shaped the rocks, creating intricate caves, columns and tunnels. Furthermore, the mineral-rich glacier water caused the discolouration of the marble, resulting in the green and yellow hues that make these caves unique. Kayak and boat tours leave from the nearby town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentinian Patagonia
Of all the impressive Patagonia landscapes, the Perito Moreno Glacier stands out. It is located within the Los Glaciares National Park, one of the most impressive ice fields on earth. This giant glacier is one of the top sights in the country. Furthermore, the Perito Moreno draws visitors from across the world to see its dramatic ice falls as it constantly creeps forward by an average of 2 metres per day. 30 kilometres long, 5 kilometres wide and 60 metres high, this mega glacier is an unmissable sight.
Cueva de los Manos, Argentinian Patagonia
Translated to ‘Cave of Hands’, this UNESCO World Heritage sites is one of the most unique Patagonian landscapes. Cueva de Los Manos is a complex of caves, famous for this ancient rock art. Amazingly, these stencilled hand paintings date back to between 11,000 to 7,000 BC. Therefore, it is considered one of the most important pieces of evidence of South American hunter-gatherer society. The paintings were created by blowing mineral pigments through a pipe onto and around the hand, creating a silhouette once the hand is removed. Situated in the province of Santa Cruz, you cannot miss this fascinating relic left behind by our ancient ancestors.
Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentinian Patagonia
Located in Southern Patagonia, it is the go-to destination for hiking in Argentina. At the edge of the Andes mountain range, this UNESCO protected national park is home to diverse landscapes of mountains, glaciers, lakes, peat bogs and forests. The national park covers an area of 170,000 acres. Undoubtedly, the dramatic landscapes and unpredictable weather of Tierra del Fuego National Park make it one of the most spectacular wildernesses on earth. The closest city is Ushuaia, nicknamed the ‘End of the World’. Furthermore, the nearby Beagle Channel offers exceptional marine wildlife viewing.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia
For unforgettable Patagonia landscapes, Torres del Paine is the place to go! With its soaring granite peaks and glacial lakes, it is one of the most popular destinations in Patagonia. The rugged Cordillera del Paine mountain range is at the heart of the national park, with its ‘Paine Horns’ peaks. Furthermore, Torres del Paine is considered one of the best places to go hiking in Patagonia. Additionally, a number of different hiking circuits mean anyone can experience the spectacular landscapes here, with trails to suit all levels.
Patagonian Fjords, Chilean Patagonia
Of all the landscapes in Patagonia, perhaps the most alluring is its spectacular fjords. The Pacific coast of Chile is a wonderland of jagged fjords and glaciers, which many travellers choose to discover by boat. Weaving through a landscape of ice-capped volcanoes, penguin colonies and icy glacier fields, the fjord lands of Patagonia are simply unmissable. The wildlife of this remote region is equally as impressive. For example, you can expect to see plenty of Magellanic penguins and dolphins. Furthermore, if you travel at the correct time of year you’re likely to spot migrating orcas and blue, grey or humpback whales!
Punta Tomba, Argentinian Patagonia
A narrow peninsula on the coast of Argentina, Punta Tombo is one of the most charming landscapes in Patagonia. If you like penguins, you’ll love Punta Tombo! In fact, this nature reserve is home to the biggest Magellanic penguin colony in the world! Additionally, a vast network of boardwalks and trails allow visitors to get up close to the playful sea birds and see them frolicking in and out of the water. A wildlife-lovers paradise, other animals to see in Punta Tombo include foxes, gulls and cormorants.