The very name Patagonia holds a special fascination for many travellers - especially the armchair type - and conjures up all kinds of romantic images.
This is Chile's 'last frontier' - vast tracts of untouched wilderness, with soaring, snow-capped mountains, Ice Age glaciers, bottle-green fjords, turquoise lakes and rivers and one of the world's largest swathes of temperate rainforest. Here, the Andes breathe their last, dramatic breath before plunging into the ocean.
It's still pretty much the same as it was when described in Across Patagonia, published in 1881:
"Nowhere else are you so completely alone. Nowhere else is there an area of 100,000 square miles which you may gallop over, and where, while enjoying a healthy, bracing climate, you are safe from the persecution of fever, friends, savage tribes, obnoxious animals, telephones, letters and every other nuisance you are elsewhere liable to be exposed to."
Little did the author realise what was to follow in the way of nuisances by the 21st century!
This region was only opened-up in the early twentieth century, and only as recently as 30-years ago was the inception of the the Carretera Austral, or 'Southern Highway', stretching for over 1,000km through this, the wildest part of Chile, ending its mammoth journey at the tiny settlement of Villa O'Higgins, a long, long way from anywhere (the nearest gas station is 225km away).
Patagonia is a world of its own, and thankfully, far enough removed from the rest of the world to still enjoy a relatively unspoiled and tranquil way of life.
According to legend, Patagonia owes its name to the native Tehuelches. They were very tall, with well-developed bodies so the Spaniards called them Patagones, relating them to a giant called Patagon in a novel popular at the time. Another version related to the origin of the word Patagonia, also makes reference to the Tehuelches, but in this version the name comes from the huge tracks left on the snow, due in part to their physique but also to the fact that they covered their feet with animal skins.
We welcome you to enjoy Patagonia through the pages of this website and then, perhaps, with a visit to share the joys of this region with us. Northern Patagonia's unparalleled setting for adventure makes this one of the most sought after destinations for selective travellers.
- Mark Twain -