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Overview

South of Argentina's Colorado River, this vast, thinly populated land of beaches, headlands, steppes, forests, lakes and icefields has fascinated armchair travelers ever since Magellan's crew returned to Spain with 16th-century tales of southern giants. In recent years, growing numbers have abandoned their armchairs to behold the Moreno Glacier, near the town of El Calafate, but it's just one of myriad highlights that give good reason for multiple trips. At one time, this was a summer only destination, but now it gets visitors year-round.

The shoreline and seas around arid Península Valdés, for instance, have abundant ...

South of Argentina's Colorado River, this vast, thinly populated land of beaches, headlands, steppes, forests, lakes and icefields has fascinated armchair travelers ever since Magellan's crew returned to Spain with 16th-century tales of southern giants. In recent years, growing numbers have abandoned their armchairs to behold the Moreno Glacier, near the town of El Calafate, but it's just one of myriad highlights that give good reason for multiple trips. At one time, this was a summer only destination, but now it gets visitors year-round.

The shoreline and seas around arid Península Valdés, for instance, have abundant wildlife almost all year, including elephant seals, sea lions, and penguins, but the star is the southern right whale — a midwinter arrival. Brushing the Chilean border, the city of Bariloche on Lake Nahuel Huapi is a destination for snow sports, but there are also areas for skiers and snowboarders near San Martín de los Andes, Villa la Angostura and Esquel.

Argentina shares the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego with Chile, but Ushuaia, the largest city in this "uttermost part of the earth," is home to an improving winter sports scene.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Now Happening in Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego (Winter)

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay
  • Language: Spanish, French, English
  • Currency: Argentinian Peso
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July to October for snow sports and for whales