Patagonia is a sparsely populated region in the southmost tip of the South American continent. The area is running through both Argentina and Chile. The Argentine sector consists of grasslands and desserts, while the Chilean side features glaciers and rainforests. This incredible diversity of nature makes Patagonia a must-see place, especially for nature lovers. If you plan to stopover or just interested in Patagonia, here are some interesting facts about this natural paradise.
1. Has one of the most beautiful drives in the world
Chile’s national route 7, the Carretera Austral, is one of the best roads that will take you through Patagonia. Since, Carretera Austral runs through mountain ranges, fjords, volcanoes, and forests the project took years to complete after and more than one attempt.
2. Patagonia is a Hiker’s heaven
The Patagonian region has several national parks. Torres Del Paine National Park is one of the most popular national parks, especially among hikers. Every year around 100,000 visitors head over to a location known as "the end of the world." Visitors have to take a route containing glaciers, fjords, and mountains to reach the park's centrepiece, three granite towers.
3. Patagonia region had received largest private land donation in history
The Patagonia national park is another famous park in the region with more than half-a-million acres of mountains, valleys, and grasslands. This national park also a part of the largest private land donation in history. The former CEO of the clothing company Patagonia, Kristine Tompkins, donated this land to the Chilean government to preserve its wilderness for future generations.
4. Melting glaciers of Patagonia
Glaciers all over the world are facing a risk of shrinking due to global warming. The glaciers in Patagonia are a victim of it as well. The 750 square kilometre Upsala Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentine Patagonia is one of the most affected, losing about 20 meters in width every year. However, the famous Perito Moreno glacier is stable as of right now but scientists predict that will not be the case in the next few decades.
5. One of the world’s most scenic drives
Driving through Patagonia is never exhausting due to continuous picturesque sceneries you can enjoy. The snowy Andes mountain, lakes, rivers in Torres del Paine park, Penguins and other wildlife, Desdemona shipwreck, and Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world, are some of the highlights of Patagonia.
6. Home of the Argentine cowboys
Argentine cowboys known as Gauchos are a common sight in Patagonia. Gaucho is a hero and considered a national symbol in Argentina as well as Uruguay. Even with many social and cultural changes in Argentina during the past few decades, the Gaucho lifestyle remains unchanged. There are about 150,000 Gauchos and their herds thriving in Patagonia and other countryside of Argentina.
7. Patagonia was once inhabited by indigenous tribes before European arrived
Selk’nam is a native tribe that thrived in the southern part of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego. They believed to be the last indigenous tribe to encounter European invaders. By the time Europeans attempt to invade Tierra del Fuego, there were about 4000 tribe members. Unfortunately, the last full-blooded Selk’nam tribesperson died in 1974, making their culture and language a forgotten memory.
8. Patagonia and all of Argentina and Chile were close to becoming a part of British colonies
Patagonia has the most significant number of people with British ancestry outside the former British empire. At one-point, Patagonia and all of Argentina and Chile were close to becoming a part of British colonies. The Falkland Islands, situated about 300 miles east of the southern Patagonian coast, operates under British administration. There are tensions between Argentina and The UK to this date, with both claiming the islands' territory ownership.
9. Patagonia has the largest Dinosaur ever discovered
Patagotitan mayorum is the biggest Dinosaur ever found. A local farmer discovered the remains of the Dinosaur initially. The quality of the remains allows scientists to study how such large species exist.