The 40th anniversary of Bruce Chatwin’s first visit to Patagonia and Top Gear’s recent controversial trip there have drawn attention to this stunning part of the world.
Towards the end of 2015, a new national park is due to open in the Aysén region’s Chacabuco Valley – promising to protect an ecologically important corridor through the Andes between Chile and Argentina. Founded by conservationists Kris and Doug Tompkins (of North Face and Patagonia clothing company fame), it’s the fruit of a long struggle to turn a huge estancia back to its natural state. Pura Aventura has an 11-day trip to Parque Patagonia and Mallin Colorado from £2,552pp, including internal flights from the Chilean capital Santiago, but not international ones.
Where is the Patagonia
Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The Colorado and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia. Tierra del Fuego is sometimes included as part of Patagonia. Most geographers and historians locate the northern limit of Chilean Patagonia at Reloncaví Estuary,