Patagonia Argentina Articles

You will never run out of things to visit in Patagonia. Here you will find tall mountain ranges, magical forests, extensive plains, miles of sandy beaches and glacial lakes.

Wondering what things to visit in Patagonia besides activities and adventures? if you decided to holiday in the Patagonia Argentina during the winter season and you are the active, sporty type, then Patagonia has you covered. With almost 90% of Argentina’s ski resorts, with trails of different levels suitable for all ages and experience.

The Cerro Otto is postulated as the ideal place to learn to ski. Spend a beautiful day enjoying the snow and the landscape overlooking the stunning Lake Nahuel Huapi. How is that for a relaxing trip or a beginners’ ski adventure?

Things to visit in Patagonia | Skiing in the Cerro Otto

Things to visit in Patagonia | Cerro Otto Skiing

Things to visit in Patagonia: Neuquén Mapuche Tourist Route

Ever wanted to explore and live amidst a culture totally different from yours? There aren’t many Mapuche tribes left, so this is well worth visiting when bordering the Andes in the province of Neuquén.

For those tourists who choose to experience other adventures, this tourist route provides a wide variety of discovering traditions, music and cuisine between lakes, forests and mountains.

This tourism is very bohemian ethnic and where you can get to get learn to live this culture for a while everyday activities are sheep farming, land crop and food processing and handicrafts, in Neuquén is combined with adventure activities lakes, mountains and valleys. All these places invite tourists to see the customs and religion develop various services to tourists. You will leave here with a big smile and a nice experience.

Things to visit in Patagonia | Cultures

Things to visit in Patagonia | Cultures

Things to visit in Patagonia: Thermal Healing & Relaxation

If you are looking for a relaxing vacation to leave the stress of work behind, then these Hot Springs and Spas are “the” things to visit in Patagonia. Here you can practice Thermalism, considered therapeutic for good health and relaxation, as well as a synonym for wellness, beauty and vitality. Neuquén has many hot springs in their territory. Other options are Domuyo hot springs, known for its healing properties and thermal Epulafquen near Junín de los Andes, which are especially recommended to relieve rheumatism, liver dysfunction and skin problems. The spa offers treatments of all kinds.

Things to visit in Patagonia: Whale watching

Things to visit in Patagonia | Whale watching Puerto Pirámides, Argentina

Things to visit in Patagonia | Whale watching Puerto Pirámides, Argentina | Photo credit: Patagonia

During the winter and the arrival of spring, a lot of whales approach the Valdes Peninsula region. Particularly in the San Jose and Nuevo Gulfs, in the province of Chubut.

Every year, tourists from all over the world visit cities like Puerto Madryn, Puerto Pirámides and Trelew to watch the whales. You can see them from the both the ocean shores or climb on a boat that will take you up front and close to these amazing mammals. September and October are the best months for whale watching in Patagonia.

The peninsula and the magic of the whales attract tourists from around the world and everyone wants to live the unforgettable experience of approaching one of them. Whale watching lasts up to 45 minutes, as that time is regulated to avoid disturbing the animals and maximize the number of people who can watch them every day.

Who are the Gauchos? How did they come about? How many types of gauchos were there and do they still exist?

Even though it has been used all through the Rio de la Plata region and even in Brazil there is no true knowledge regarding the origins of the word “gaucho.” It is very likely that the word was transformed from a “quechua” (the quechuas were indigenous of the Rio de la Plata region) word: “huachu” – that means orphan and/or vagabond) by the Spanish conquistador who used it to call “guachos” to the orphans and “gauchos” to the vagabonds.

The Argentinean Gauchos

There is also the theory that the “criollos” and the “mestizos” begun to pronounce as “gaucho” the word “chaucho“, introduced by the Spaniards as a modification of the original arabic term chaouch or animal herder.

Argentinean Gaucho - La Doma

Argentinean Gaucho

The name was used to denominate from an ethnic (not racial) standpoint, the people bred from Spaniards or criollos and the offspring of Spaniards with indigenous population or mestizos as well as the children of European immigrants, blacks and mulatos that accepted their standard of living.

The gauchos lived in the plains that extend from the Patagonia up to the oriental confines of Argentina, all the way up to the border with the Estado de Rio Grande do Sur in Brasil where they were called gaúchos.

Who are the gauchos, then?

The evolutionary process of the gaucho and the use of that word was developed without interruption. Different types of gaucho existed in Argentina before 1810, that is before being known by that name. Field laborers existed since the first estancias began to form , even if they were few at first. The third type – which then was called gaucho alzado – existed in small numbers. But they were not the pawns nor the primitive “outlaws” who gave the gaucho characteristics strong enough to draw attention.

Undoubtedly the gaucho type that had really peculiar physiognomy – the first to be named – was the nomadic gaucho, not a criminal, it was implicit in the eastern Gaudério s. XVIII. This gaucho was more than just a bum. Acquired in Argentina, along the s. XIX well-defined traits. And when enough spread – ie, as the population grew rural – was called gaucho, as also had called the eastern countryman s. XVIII.

Skilled horsemen and breeders, they were characterized by their physical prowess, their pride, their reserved and melancholy character traits.

Almost all tasks were performed on horseback, and this animal was always his best mate and all his wealth. The throwing of the lazo, the dressage and the rodeo, the voyages made ​​by these riders, who made of the horse their best instrument. This Criollo (Creole) horse not only helped them fulfill the daily chores but helped them participate in the struggle for independence, immortalizing their name with legions of Güemes centaurs.

The gaucho was the man of our land, main stage of his legendary and real life. Always a solitary life be it in group tents like the nomadic tribes or be it in isolated rancheríos as in southern pampas.

The Tierra del Fuego city, which bills itself as the End of the World, cashes in as thousands flock to its relatively untouched terrain.

Argentina travel - Ushuaia - The end of the world

Argentina travel – Ushuaia – The end of the world

Ushuaia, Argentina — THIS is a place where “The End of the World” sells. The theme is celebrated in T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs and posters. You can’t get away from it.
“It’s the magic of ‘The End of the World,’ ” says Mayor Jorge Garramuño. “As a brand, it is very powerful.”

He’s talking geography, not Armageddon.

Ushuaia, situated along the picturesque Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego, amid a backdrop of jagged, snow-capped mountains, proclaims itself the world’s southernmost city.

Chilean officials like to make the same assertion about the town of Puerto Williams, a military settlement slightly to the south, but Ushuaia is by comparison a metropolis, home to more than 55,000. Hotels, casinos and travel agencies have multiplied in recent years like the region’s abundant, albeit nonnative, beavers.

Foreign vacationers, mostly from the United States and Europe, can’t seem to get enough of this rugged and glamorous terrain at the tip of South America.

What’s your take on the End of the World? Weigh in with your comments on our new Message Boards

Nonstop flights from Buenos Aires touch down daily. Hundreds of cruise ships now anchor here during the relatively mild months between Christmas and Easter. The number of visitors to Ushuaia approached a quarter-million last year, double the total five years earlier.

“A lot of people are surprised when they arrive here because they think they are coming to a village where penguins are waddling on the streets and Indians are riding around in canoes,” notes Garramuño, who arrived 27 years ago, when the city had less than one-fifth of today’s population. “Instead they find a modern city.”

Ushuaia’s History

Once marked on maps as Terra Incognita (Unknown Land), this is believed to be the last place on the globe that prehistoric humans reached by foot as the ice shelf retreated about 14,000 years ago.

Over the years, Ushuaia has served as an indigenous campsite, Anglican mission, prison colony and way station for corsairs, whalers, pirates and gold-diggers, among others. The indigenous peoples, convicts and shipwreck survivors are all gone, replaced by guidebook-toting, exotica-seeking sightseers in waterproof gear and hiking boots. Tourism pumps more than $120 million a year into the economy.

Argentina Travel - Ushuahia

Argentina Travel – Ushuahia

Amid the worldwide eco-awareness boom, Ushuaia has gained global traction as a base to visit receding glaciers, observe penguin and sea lion colonies, follow the path of Charles Darwin and even trek (with sunscreen) beneath the ozone hole, which occasionally extends above the city, though it can’t be seen. Ushuaia is also the southern terminus of Patagonia, another tourist brand oozing cachet.

Another lure: The deep harbor is a major gateway to Antarctica, an increasingly hip destination for the environmentally inclined.

The almost honky-tonk ambience during high season takes some folks aback.

“I was expecting a desolate place at the End of the World,” says James O’Sullivan, a New Yorker who visited this year. “But I got there and it was as jampacked as 42nd Street.”

The helicopter-and-submarine-equipped yacht Octopus stopped by in February, bringing Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, and a multitude of crew, relatives and friends. Gates’ associate Paul Allen, owner of the $200-million-plus Octopus, also was on board.

But the onslaught of world-end chic hasn’t shattered the allure — not yet, anyway. Although some unsightly development mars the town, nearby parks and waterways offer access to a largely unspoiled landscape of inlets and moorlands, forests and bays.

“There’s something here that touches the imagination,” says Gotz Bernau, violinist and concert-master of the Berlin Symphonic orchestra, seated at a picture window in a pricey hillside hotel as cottony snowflakes fell on the pines outside. “This could be Sweden or Switzerland. But you know it’s the End of the World.”

Why People Flock to Ushuaia

The Berlin Symphonic was the big draw at Ushuaia’s third International Festival, a classical music extravaganza that is the centerpiece of the city’s aggressive attempt to push the tourist season into the gray and chilly autumn, when an early dusk beckons and the streets empty. The orchestra played to packed audiences at a hotel ballroom in a city that still lacks a proper concert hall.

“People in Europe even want to have their honeymoons here,” says Margarita Uliarte, a festival promoter from Austria.

World’s End festivals — arts, food, film, theater — are metastasizing as city promoters sell a Third World alternative to Salzburg, Cannes and Sundance.

“We have broken the artistic stranglehold of Europe and the USA!” declares Leonor Amarante, Brazilian curator of the recently ended 1st Biennial of The End of The World, contemplated as a regular event. “The End of the World is the ideal place for artists to express concerns about the fate of humanity and our planet.”

Exhibits included a stylized sunflower sculpture, dubbed a “sentinel” of climate change, and the Polar Project, a video installation featuring clips of humans standing on icebergs.

THERE are in fact no icebergs here, still some 700 miles from Antarctica, but these extreme latitudes have long conveyed a sense of wildness.

“The mountains … rose in one unbroken sweep from the water’s edge, and were covered to the height of fourteen or fifteen hundred feet by the dusky-colored forest,” Darwin wrote nearly two centuries ago in what is believed to be a description of Ushuaia.

Argentina’s Ushuaia rides eco-tourism wave

Today, the busy main drag boasts an Irish pub, sundry boutiques, rough-weather outfitters and the inevitable proliferation of seafood eateries, cafes and the ubiquitous parrillas, or barbecue restaurants.

A jumble of boxy buildings marches up from the water’s edge, while an industrial strip, the product of a 1980s industrialization drive, sits at the shore of the Beagle Channel, named after the brig sloop that carried Darwin here in the 1830s.

In the harbor, factory fishing ships mingle with cruise liners, sailboats, tour vessels and the occasional research skiff.

Argentina Travel - Ushuahia Government Palace - Tourism in the end of the world

Argentina Travel – Ushuahia Government Palace – Tourism in the end of the world

“If people want to spend all that money to come here and see some penguins, that’s fine by me,” says Javier Adaro, who works as a deckhand on a catamaran that ferries visitors through Tierra del Fuego.
The first Europeans to arrive in these parts were 16th century navigators and explorers, such as Sir Francis Drake and Ferdinand Magellan, rounding Cape Horn. Magellan, commenting on the eerie fires and smoke that emanated from unseen native camps, gave the land its current name, Tierra del Fuego, or Land of Fire.

More on Ushuaia

In the 19th century, Anglican missionaries experienced mixed success in converting the Yamana, one of Tierra del Fuego’s indigenous peoples, whom Darwin had decried as “miserable degraded savages.” Ushuaia takes its name from a Yamana word meaning “the sheltered site.”

Thomas Bridges, the most acclaimed of the British evangelist wave, chronicled the Yamana language and the catastrophic demise of Tierra del Fuego’s tribes to illness after the Europeans’ arrival. Bridges’ descendants turned to sheep ranching, still a Patagonian mainstay. In the early 20th century, Ushuaia was a Siberia-like outpost, and Argentina built a notorious prison compound here, with convicts put to work building roads and other infrastructure. The prison is now a museum, its former cells exhibits on former inmates, Antarctic voyagers and others whose paths have crossed the town.

The Argentine government was keen to spur development after the prison was shut down, but had mixed results over the years.

In the 1980s, several Japanese-owned factories opened in Ushuaia, assembling televisions and other electronic goods. But the industrialization drive floundered, leading to shutdowns, labor disputes and factory takeovers.

Authorities hope that tourism, spurred by the peso’s loss of value during the 2001-02 Argentine economic crisis, proves more lasting. There are promising signs. Today, even during the dark and chilly winters, visitors are drawn to the End of the World ski runs.

Residents, many of them migrants from other Argentine cities, seem mostly upbeat about the tourist influx. The city enjoys a relatively high standard of living and low crime, though prices are high since many products must be brought in.

“This town runs on tourism now,” says Gerardo Rouan, a sound engineer from Buenos Aires who drives a taxi here and enjoys the tranquillity with his wife and two young children. But “in a few minutes, I can be in the woods with my children, looking at wild animals.”

Others worry that the tourism frenzy and unchecked building boom, now featuring multi-story hotels, may obliterate Ushuaia’s small-town essence and further degrade the environment — the very features that draw visitors.

“We welcome tourists,” says Leonardo L. Lupiano, a writer who has lived here for nearly three decades and who bemoans how construction hammers now overwhelm the calls of seagulls. “But what we worry about is that Ushuaia will become like a little Las Vegas and lose its essential identity as the End of the World. That is a great risk.”

Source: Los Angeles Times– By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The breaking of the Perito Moreno glacier usually occurs in the summer months and people camp at the site for days to see it happen.

P. Dee Boersma, a University of Washington conservation biologist, is the Jane Goodall of penguins. As director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Penguin Project, Dr. Boersma, 62, has spent the last quarter of a century studying the behaviors of some 40,000 Magellanic penguins, inhabitants of one stretch of beach in southern Argentina. We spoke at last month’s American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago and again later by telephone. An edited version of the interview follows.


Socializing penguins

Socializing penguins


A. In the early 1980s, a Japanese company went to the Argentine government and said, “We’d like a concession to harvest your penguins and turn them into oil, protein and gloves.” There was a public outcry. This was during a military dictatorship when dissidents were being thrown into the ocean from airplanes. And yet people said, “We object to having our penguins harvested.”

So the military regime did what any government facing a controversy might do — they said, “Let’s have a study.” Not long after that, the Wildlife Conservation Society entered into an agreement with the Argentine Office of Tourism and the Province of Chubut to set up a research project at Punta Tombo where there was the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins. Once that agreement was in place, it was the end of the concession idea.

I came to Punta Tombo in 1982 to determine how many penguins were actually there. I didn’t think I’d be doing a long-term study of them. But we didn’t know how long wild penguins lived. With time, we discovered that penguins are quite long-lived, 30 years, more. So I’ve ended up going to Argentina every year since 1982.


A. I’m a kind of census taker of the 200,000 breeding pairs of penguins at Punta Tombo. I track who is at home, who gets to mate, where the penguins go for the meals, their health, their behaviors.

On a typical day, I’ll get up before dawn. The penguins rise early, but they spend the morning calling to each other from their nests and socializing. Around 8 or 9, they head down to the beach. Once they’re out, we check the nests, see who’s stayed behind, weigh the babies, band them, and we put satellite tags on some birds so we can track them while they’re swimming.

I’m interested in where they go. Through the tagging we’ve been able to show that in the last decade, the birds are swimming about 25 miles further in search of food. They’re having trouble finding enough fish to eat. That costs a penguin energy and time while their mate is sitting on the egg, starving. So when they return to the nest to relieve their mate, they arrive in poorer body condition. And then, the mates also have to go farther to find food.

These penguins are now laying eggs on the average three days later in the season then they did a decade ago. That means that the chicks may leave for sea at more inopportune times, when fish may not be close to the colony. Many will not survive to come back and breed. The Punta Tombo colony has declined 22 percent since 1987. That’s a lot. This type of penguin is considered near-threatened. Of the 17 different penguin species, 12 are suffering rapid decreases in numbers.

Q. Why is this decline occurring among the Magellanic penguins?

A. Changes in the availability and abundance of prey. And we think that’s due to both climate change and exploitation of the penguins’ food sources by commercial fisheries.

There’s also oil pollution in the South Atlantic. There’s dumping from ships. For a while in the 1980s, 80 percent of the dead penguins found along the coast were covered in oil. In 1994, we were able to get the Chubut authorities to move the oil tanker lanes further from the coast. That’s helped.

But as the birds take these longer migrations in search of food, they sometimes find themselves outside of Chubut’s protected areas. Some of our tagged penguins have been located as far north as Brazil. When they’re in the waters of northern Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, where the laws against oil dumping are less enforced, they’re encountering problems.


A. We’re seeing that conservation areas that we’ve set up to protect penguins are not going to work. If we’re going have penguins, I think we are going to have to do ocean zoning and try to manage people.

I also think that our information about the penguins’ migratory patterns means we must try to anticipate the next place they might move to. Right now they are on public land in Punta Tombo, but as the birds look for new food sources, they might end up colonizing beaches that are privately owned. What then?

The big thing is that penguins are showing us that climate change has already happened. The birds are trying to adapt. But evolution is not fast enough to allow them to do that, over the long term.


A. Because people can identify with penguins. These birds are curious. They walk upright. They dress well. They’re highly social. They know their neighbors. They mate. And some of them even get divorced.


A. When we do our census, we find individuals with mates other than those they had the year before — and they are living within meters of the old mates. That’s more likely to happen, by the way, if the couple has failed at raising a chick; they’ll move to another mate.

And yet, we find other pairs with great fidelity. We have one pair that stayed together for 16 years. What’s really interesting is that if the penguins keep the same mate, they raise more chicks. Fidelity gives them greater evolutionary success.

Source: New York Times