Stretching across southern Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is a land of rugged and untamed wilderness. You can fly to the southerly city of Punta Arenas, facing the Straits of Magellan and drive for approximately 3 hours to the town of Puerto Natales on the shores of the Last Hope Sound. From there, it is another 2.5-hour drive to the world famous Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most iconic and unspoilt places of this windswept region. The soaring granite towers and cuernos (horns) of the park are surrounded by shimmering lagoons and glaciers, dense forests and tumbling waterfalls. This strikingly beautiful area is home to a wealth of wildlife including guanacos, flightless rheas, condors and flamingoes, and can be explored by vehicle, on foot or by boat. There are plenty of hiking opportunities ranging from easy nature walks around the milky Lake Grey or Lake Azul to the more arduous hike up to the base of the famous towers to see them at close range.
The wild and pristine landscapes of northern Patagonia are the least populated and least visited parts of Chile. The remote Aysén region straddles the Andes in a fragmented wilderness of mountains, fjords, islands covered with ancient forests and interspersed with turquoise lakes, vast ice-fields and glaciers, and grassy steppes. The largely unpaved Carretera Austral highway winds its way through this breathtaking area and offers the one of the most challenging and rewarding self-drive journeys on the continent.
At the southernmost end of Patagonia is the Chilean Tierra del Fuego, once settled by the Yaghans. Visit the Island of Navarino for excellent treks in this most remote region and take a boat trip through the Beagle Channel.
Patagonia cruises sail through the countless Chilean fjords and austral channels and offer 3- to 4-night journeys to the northern and southern ice fields, including the stunning San Rafael glacier, across the Strait of Magellan in search of humpback whales, and around the southern tip of the continent to the infamous Cape Horn and Ushuaia, in Argentina.