The very name Patagonia has the capability to catalyze the imagination. It is a starkly desolate region with a history of lonely ranches, mad bandits and ancient monsters. A traveler coming here can take twenty hour bus rides between settlements and see nothing but miles upon miles of plains. The brush is dotted here and there by eerily deserted ponds and lakes. There isn’t much wildlife to see except for the occasional group of guanacos, wild cousins of the llama.
The main attraction of Patagonia is the glacial region near the Cordillera range between Argentina and Chile. Enormous glaciers can be seen from El Calafate, and ice climbing/glacier hiking tours are easy to arrange. Farther north from here, where the region of Patagonia begins, are the beautiful towns of Bariloche and San Martin de Los Andes. These areas are mountainous and forested and have some of the most pristine and breathtaking hiking on the planet. The hiking season ends abruptly with the onset of Autumn in April.
Patagonia’s history full of vivid outlaws and rebel sea captains comes to life in Bruce Chatwin’s book of the same name. Philip Blazdell writes about the region, too, and you can read his piece here.