Patagonia is a huge land of extreme, with ocean, glaciers, mountains, forests, volcanoes and valleys, and it takes up one third of southern Argentina (and spans the Chilean border). One of the most famous areas is Tierra del Fuego, also known as the “Uttermost End of the World,” which is where the intrepid traveler can find the mountains that meet the sea at the gateway to Antarctica.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Entry requirements: Passport and you must pay a $160 reciprocity fee before arriving (more information here )
Flight time (to Buenos Aires): 11 hours from New York City; 15 hours from LA; plan on an additional 2 to 4 hours from Buenos Aires to various cities in Patagonia, such as Trelew (a 2-hour flight) and Ushuaia (a 4-hour flight)
Currency: Argentine peso
Getting around: Car, boat, bus, horseback
When to Go: Patagonia at its best
Best weather: The seasons are the opposite of ours, so head to Patagonia during its summer: November to March. Temperatures depend on what region you visit, but you can expect the summer to go from the 70s to 50s (and the days are long, with the sun sometimes not setting until 10 p.m.!).
What to Do
See amazing landscapes: Los Glaciares National Park covers 1,722 square miles, much of which is covered by ice fields that connect 47 glaciers. The Perito Moreno Glacier is a nearly 200-foot-tall wall of ice framed by snowcapped mountain peaks — and it’s still growing every day. The Walichu Caves have authentic Paleolithic cave drawings that give you insight into life in Patagonia nearly 4,000 years ago. The remote Torres del Paine National Park has a huge range of environments to explore, from scrublands to tundra and forests — all home to diverse animals and birds.
Walk the ends of the Earth: Remember studying the explorer Magellan? Well, now you can walk where he did: He discovered the area know as Tierra del Fuego in 1520 (that’s why it’s called the Strait of Magellan). If you never considered glaciers to be exotic, the icy landscape will change you mind. Waddle along with penguins, watch condors soar and hike across this “Land of Fire.”