Epic Patagonia

6 Places on the Map You Can't Miss 

 

Torres del Paine

Explore this stunning national park, home to Andean condors, pumas, herds of guanaco. The iconic mountain range here—its razor-sharp peaks resembling great granite horns—presides over the flat Patagonian steppe and is one of region’s most recognizable features.

 

The Chilean Fjords & Pio XI Glacier

Patagonia’s ice-carved coast is lined with spectacular fjords. Marvel at Pio XI, one of the few advancing glaciers in the world. At nearly 41 miles in length, it’s the longest glacier outside of Antarctica.

 

Karukinka Natural Park

Since 2004, more than 730,000 acres of this private reserve encompass and protect wind-bent forests and carnivorous plants, blue-tinged glaciers, and southern Andean peaks—plus, more than 90 animal species. Explore it all with our special access.

 

Chiloé Island

This tranquil island has deep Native American roots and old traditions that still hold strong. The wooden churches feature distinctive architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries and are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

Cape Horn

At the southern tip of South America, where the great Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet, this point marks the northern end of the infamous Drake Passage. Before the Panama Canal was built, trade routes rounded the Horn and sailing vessels often encountered treacherous conditions.

 

Argentina’s Staten Island

Spot Magellanic penguins, fur seals, and a plethora of birdlife at this rarely visited nature reserve where tourism was banned in 1923. National Geographic Explorer was the first ship to explore the remote island and is one of the few ships allowed to visit there now.



 

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"These are rare places where albatross breed in protected waters; Andean condors soar above them; and elephant seals bask on sandy beaches. Here you can also find glaciers, and typically Antarctic leopard seals, resting on a nearby ice floe!"
   —Santiago Imberti, Naturalist

  

The Patagonian “Big Five”

Meet the wildlife that call this near-mythic wilderness home.

 

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Guanaco

Part of the camel family, guanaco roam open spaces in Torres del Paine National Park, searching for food. Between September and April, spot them in herds or look out for the individuals that perch on high ground from where they can keep watch for predators.

Puma

This big cat, also known as a cougar, lives in the Patagonian steppe or the forests. Sightings of the elusive creature have recently become more frequent near Torres del Paine National Park—where guanaco, their main food source, roams.

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Darwin’s Rhea

This large, flightless, ostrich-like bird is found on the Patagonian steppe where it’s common to see them moving among grazing herds of sheep.

Andean Condor

The largest of the condor species and one of the largest flying birds on the planet, Andean condors effortlessly ride the wind while flying and seldom have to beat their wings. With their keen eyesight, they scan huge distances for prey. Spot them in the mountains from September through April. 

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Penguins

Magellanic penguins, characterized by markings on the face and upper chest that give them an almost striped appearance, are found all along the Patagonian coast and on Staten Island. Rockhoppers, with their beautifully unique feathered crests, can be found on Staten Island.

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