The region of Patagonia, in the southern cone of South America, straddles both Chile and Argentina. It begins south of the Chilean city of Puerto Montt and the Argentinian Colorado River and ends in Tierra del Fuego. A wild and dramatic wilderness, Patagonia is one of the most sparsley populated regions in the world with a population density of approximately 1-2 persons per square kilometres. It's wild natural beauty offer a wealth of experiences to uncover.
The region is packed with diverse landscapes. On the Argentinean side of Patagonia there are three regions: the very mountainouse Andean Patagonia, Central Patagonia which is mostly plains, and coastal Atlantic Patagonia. Chilean Patagonia, divided into Northern and Southern regions, is mainly mountainous with a rugged coast comprised of many channels, fjords and islands. The Northern and Southern Icefields are located along the Andes, mainly in Chile with some branches of the southern extending into Argentina.
Torres del Paine National Park, in Chilean Patagonia, is one of the largest and most visited national parks with its distinctive three granite peaks and spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes and valleys. The most common mammals found in the park are guanacos as well as foxes, the fully protected puma and the endangered Chilean Huemul or South Andean deer. There are breeding populations of 15 birds of prey including the Andean condor. Explore this incredible area on a hike, by bike, kayak or horse riding or join a guided wildlife trip to search for the elusive puma.
Whales found in the waters around Patagonia are humpback, southern right, orca and blue whales. Argentine Patagonia's Valdes Peninsula nature reserve is a hot spot for southern right whales which come here to mate and breed between early June and the beginning of November, the largest number collecting in September and October. This type of whale is differentiated from other cetaceans as it has no dorsal fin and callosities on the head. The orcas found here are renowned for beaching themselves in order to hunt sea lion pups.
There are a number of hot spots for penguins. Magellanic penguins can be seen, amongst other places, on Isla Magdalena, where you can walk amongst the colony (in roped off areas), Isla Marta, also home to sea lions, elephant seals and a huge variety of birdlife, Chiloe Island, where humboldt penguins also nest and Martillo Island, where you might see gentoo and king penguins too.