Patagonia is a vast empty expanse that cannot be truly understood until you’ve tried to cross these great distances. It is very, very big. Patagonia is located inside of both Chile and Argentina, occupying the southern point of South America. This massive desert is where the world ends and the frigid extremes of the Antarctic begin. It is bound by water on three sides – Atlantic, Pacific and the Straight of Magellan – while down the middle runs the Andes mountains, which marks the boundary between the two countries. It is intimidating and incredible.
After driving across this vast mostly uninhabited realm in 2005 and came to the conclusion that it is even bigger than I could have expected. Looking at the map does not do the distances justice. We drive 8700 km in 15 days and barely made it back to Buenos Aires in time to return our rental car. The large distances meant that we spent a lot of time spent driving, but we were able to successfully drive to the bottom (Ushuaia) and back again. We were able to see some of the most incredible landscapes and national parks along the way, and it is one of my most memorable travel experiences.
This trip was exhausting, but the memories we created (and friendships made stronger) were priceless. Places like Torres del Paine and Pietro Moreno Glacier were the most incredible rewards for our efforts. Looking back through these pictures has been a lot of fun, so we hope that you’re able to enjoy this selection of photographs inspiring.
What makes Patagonia so amazing?
The size of things in Patagonia are amplified; the mountains, the lakes and the skies are all much bigger because of this magic. This includes the massive distances between places. We drove south from Buenos Aires, on the Argentina side of the Andes, towards Ushuaia, one of the furthest south cities in the world. It was a long drive, but the things we saw along the way made it worth it.
This trip to the bottom was only part of the adventure, we had to go back again! For the return journey we followed the Andes, driving along rarely used roads visiting lakes, mountains and glaciers on our way to Buenos Aires. Two of the most incredible attractions on the continent can be found along this route; Pietro Moreno Glacier (Argentina) and Torres del Paine (Chile). While there were many great things to see along the way, these two stand out as the two “can’t miss” things we got to see on the way.
There is still much of Patagonia to experience, especially on the Chilean side of the Andes. The mountains here are endless and the crystal blue lagoons filled with glacial meltwater is something that needs to be seen with your own eyes before they can only be found in the pages of a history book.
Where is Patagonia and how do you get there?
Patagonia is located inside two countries; Chile and Argentina. The loose boundary between these two sides is the Andes mountains, which were violently created by the tectonic forces at play underground. These incredible landscapes was a pretty great place to explore and includes several world-class hikes and treks.
Patagonia is a pretty big place so we really recommend this trip be done with your own car. The distance between Buenos Aires and Tierra del Fuego is probably too big for most people to reasonably attempt. The best way to do it would be to skip the middle bit and fly south to Rio Gallegos (Argentina) or Puerto Natales / Punta Arenas (Chile).Just be aware that there are several times you need to cross the border and your rental car will require Il Poder (The Power) to cross borders.
This trip took place way back in 2005, so these long distances spent in the car have faded into a fuzzy haze and the highlights stand out as some of the greatest memories i’ve ever filled my head with. We can’t wait to go back and take another look at this wonderful place with fresh eyes and more time. We’re pretty sure after taking a glance through these pictures that you will agree to bump up Patagonia a few notches on your bucket list.