Western Patagonia © David
Adventurous travellers are drawn to the savage beauty and rich wildlife of Patagonia. This region of contrasts and extremes, stretching across Argentina and Chile, runs from the Colorado river, south of Buenos Aires, across to the southern tip of South America. Many people visit the famous wildlife reserve of Peninsula Valdésgo between July and April, where southern right whales, elephant seals and other rare marine mammals come to breed in their thousands. However, those going further south should visit only in the summer months if they wish to avoid temperatures that plummet to -13°F (-25°C).
In villages along the valley of the Río Chubut, visitors can explore the cultural legacy of the Welsh pioneers, and nearby at Punta Tombo lies the continent's largest penguin colony. Keen fly-fishermen come from around the world to test their skills in the region's rivers, the best known of which is the Río Gallegos. On the western fringe, along the Andes, you will find the most impressive of Patagonia's great lakes and national parks. The Parque Nacional Perito Moreno, home to the aquamarine gem of Lago Belgrano, has excellent trekking possibilities, as does the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Here visitors will find one of the world's natural wonders, the vast Perito Moreno Glacier, a great river of ice that breaks off into Lake Argentino.