Patagonia

Mountains, islands and virgin forests; a wild and indomitable territory. Nature at its most magical, untouched and purest greatness.

Monday, July 27, 2009  
Patagonia Patagonia (Photo:Turismo chile)

Few territories in the world possess the magnetism of Chilean Patagonia. A land of aboriginal peoples, adventures and secrets still to be unveiled in the southernmost area of South America and what some people call the end of the world.

The Chilean Patagonia is a subregion of Patagonia which lies between the 41.5 º and 56 º latitude south and includes the regions of Los Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes. It is one of the most extensive areas of the country and yet the least populated: 1.3 inhabitants per square mile. The natural surroundings are practically virginal.

In this wild and challenging geography, vast masses of ice and pristine forests rise majestically. Human beings do not dominate nature in these parts, they live and coexist with it. The indigenous peoples who inhabited the area centuries ago covered their bodies with sea lion oil and used pelts to protect themselves from the rain and extreme cold. It is perhaps for this reason that human warmth is so powerful and evident among the small towns and cities of Patagonia.

The history of the southernmost point of the continent has always been linked to seamen and adventurers, frontiersmen and mythical native inhabitants such as the Patagones or “Patagonian Giants”. The Portuguese seaman Hernando de Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan) arrived at the area in 1520 and baptized it with the name Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire), after observing the bonfires the Onas or Selknam natives kept burning in their canoes to navigate by night and keep themselves warm. This is an area of vast indomitable landscapes, islands and channels that maintain their legendary characteristics of old.

312 kilometers north of Punta Arenas is the Torres del Paine National Park, with its imposing peaks, called “horns” that reach up to the sky. Slightly over 240 thousand hectares of untouched and protected land that receives numerous visitors from the entire world from year to year.

Patagonia is the territory nearest to the Antarctic continent and South Pole, which can be considered a great advantage. Ships and aircraft cross the southern seas to land in Antarctica and visit scientific bases and trek across the territory to observe the native fauna. The area offers unsuspected attractions that make this trip a lifetime experience.

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