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The Patagonia is the southernmost portion of South America. It extends from about the 39S parallell to the south, in Argentina and Chile.
It has two very different sceneries: the Andean zone, along the frontier between both countries, and the steppe, wich extends from the Andean basement to the atlantic coast, enterely in Argentina.
The Andean portion has mild, cold forest, with the only cold climate jungle. It is full of nice lakes, green valleys, snowed mountains, and, in the Southern portion, glaciers.
The steppes offer a semi-desertic ondulated plain; hundred of miles of almost nothing but a nice landscape, cutted with deep fertile valleys where populations are located. It is difficult to describe, but once you know that strange land, you love it; it is magic. Where the steppes joins the Atalntic ocean you´ll find wonderfull cliffs, and in the beaches ther are many reservations of birds and sea mammals, like penguins, sea elephants, sea lions, and whales.
The transition from one to other is very visible. The change occurs in only a few miles, sometimes after a mount. For example, in Bariloche, the airport (and the East extreme of the lake) are in the steppe; the city is just in the transition area, and the ski resort Catedral, Llao LLao, Villa La Angostura, are in the Andean forest zone. All, in a few minutes driving. Same happens in El Calafate.
The main places to be visited are, in the Argentinian side:
In the Andean zone; from North to South: San Martín de los Andes, Bariloche (the most important touristic place in Patagonia), El Bolsón, Esquel (Futalaufquen area), El Calafate (Glaciers area) and Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego).
In the coast; the only important touristic area is Puerto Madryn-Trelew, based in the sea faunistic reservartions and whale-watching.
Bariloche is a dreamy world-class playground for skiing, hiking and viewing nature’s splendid gifts on the border of Chile. For skiing fanatics, Cerro Chapelco in San Martín de los Andes is a hugely popular ski resort in Argentina which can get very busy in the winter months. Travelers can sail on Lake Lacar and Lake Nonthue in Lanin National Park and see the Lanin Volcano . Others choose to explore the myriad rare species of plant life and animal life that exist in the forests of Bariloche . For instance, the smallest deer in the world, called Pudu , (an endangered species), exists in these forests. It is rumored that in the Los Arrayanes National Park Disney received his inspiration to create the movie “Bambi.”
El Calafate is a small town near the Andes, where tourists stay for 2 to 3 days to relax, take in the nature, and tour the spectacular glaciers nearby. There are grand forests and impressive glaciers that come from the continental ice field. There are 13 glaciers on the Atlantic side coming from the lakes of Viedma and Argentino. For instance, the glacier Perito Moreno is stunning in its immensity and ethereality. Travelers can sail through Lake Argentino and view this spectacle.
In the center of the Patagonic Southern Mountains, at the foot of Mt Fitz Roy rests the small village, El Chalten. The town itself is actually nestled within the national Park Los Glaciers so by nature (no pun intended), it offers amazing views, climbing and trekking opportunities for the adventurous. Travelers can hike to the top of Mt. Fitz Roy in the early morning to witness a breath-taking, crisp (if cold) sunrise.
The Southernmost city in the world is Ushuaia which holds Tierra del Fuego National Park and the Beagle Channel. The city itself is touristy, containing many shops, parillas and even one casino. Travelers are sure to visit Tierra del Fuego, an island shared with Chile. This area is the gateway to Antarctica and a necessary visit for those how want to see what it is like at the bottom of it all.
The Peninsula Valdes Argentina, near Puerto Madryn and Trelew, holds a titillating array of marine animals and fauna. The peninsula is also home to thousands of Cormorants, gulls, terns and herons. Travelers can whale-watch during May and December. Large, plump Elephant seals can be seen on the northern section of the Peninsula.