Sparsely populated and ruggedly beautiful, Southern Patagonia is located at the southern tip of South America and is shared by Chile and Argentina. The region is vast, covering 240 000 square kilometres, and over half of this destination is a protected wilderness area ideal for hiking and exploring. The south of Patagonia is home to Chile’s iconic Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, renowned for its rugged horn-shaped peaks of the Cuernos del Paine and pristine sand-coloured lowlands where the huaso countrymen, or baqueano, practice age-old cattle herding traditions. Enormous ice fields flank brilliant blue glaciers whilst fjords and deep channels usher penguins to their waters.
The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón, which was used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the native tribes of the region, whom his expedition thought to be giants. The people he called the Patagons are now believed to have been the Tehuelches, who tended to be taller than Europeans of the time.