Patagonia is a spectacular piece of land which is situated in the southernmost part of South America. Owing to its beautiful natural landscape, Patagonia is one of the most coveted travel destinations for tourists from all around the world. Patagonia is a visually entrancing and captivating location for its vastness, breath-taking and haunting natural beauty, and hidden secrets. The territory is shared by Argentina and Chile and encompasses the Andes mountains range situated in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean. The natural beauty of visibly striking glaciers, mountains, rivers, and lakes found in Patagonia can be owed to the geological and glaciological transformations that took place millions of years ago.
If you would like to learn more facts about Patagonia, the beautiful yet inhabited land in South America, then keep on reading this article.
Here Are Some Intriguing Facts about Patagonia
1. Patagonia is shared by Argentina and Chile
Chile and Argentina are democratic republics who share the region of Patagonia. Both countries have divided the region into non-equivalent administrative subdivisions of provinces and regions in Chile and Argentina. Argentine provinces have elected governors and parliaments while the Chilean regions have government appointed members.
Most of the Patagonia region has been divided among the two countries but the region’s southern ice field, which is situated to the north of Mount Fitzroy, remains a bone of contention between the two countries ever since the delineation of 1881. There have been attempts to claim the land as their own with militant attacks and light protests with persuasive bumper stickers.
2. Patagonia has an interesting mixed population
The total population of Patagonia is about 2 million in total, which is a combination of the population in the Argentine and Chilean regions. Most regions of Patagonia have a low population density, with the highest number of people found to live in the Argentine region. Argentinians are people with a strong national pride and a passionate temperament. They have been influenced greatly by Europeans, specifically Italians, which has allowed them to develop a distinctive culture among Latin American countries. Chilean people on the other hand have a reserved nature but are friendly and hospitable to visitors.
3. Most people in Patagonia speak Spanish
The official language of Patagonia is Spanish but there are small territories of the region with an indigenous population speaking Mapuche. If you are looking for English-speakers, you will be able to find some in larger cities, but it is rare to find English-speakers in rural areas. It can be highly beneficial for tourists to learn basic phrases and sentences in Spanish to help them navigate the area better.
Patagonia also has a large Welsh population in addition to a small European and indigenous population. Almost 150 Welsh people sailed from Liverpool to Argentina in the mid-19th century, fearing for the loss of their culture and language. The Welsh settlement was looking for a utopia but finally found it after years of struggle in the region. A new dialect of Welsh is spoken in Patagonia called the Patagonian Welsh.
4. Patagonia is a vast region
Patagonia is a very large region consisting of 1,043,076 square kilometers of area. The lack of population is due to the region’s harsh and inhospitable winter climate. The lack of population is definitely nature’s gain as there is plenty of space for untouched wildlife and unexplored landscapes.
5. Patagonia is home to the world’s southernmost settlements
It is believed by many people that the Patagonia region is one of the southernmost settlements in the region. Ushuaia is proud to claim the title of the city at the “End of the World” as its location lies 54.8° south latitude. The city was founded by British missionaries in 1870 and has been the boarding point for cruises to Antarctica and Cape Horn.
6. The beauty of Torres del Paine in South America is unparalleled
Torres del Paine is one of the most attractive regions of Patagonia. The crest of Chilean Patagonia was almost chosen as the eighth wonder of the world and has been selected by the National Geographic as the fifth most beautiful place in the world. The World Travel Awards deemed the place to be the “Best Natural Attraction in South America”.
Torres del Paine National Park is known for its massive mountains, bright blue rivers, and icy glaciers. The most iconic sites at the region are 3 granite towers after which the park is named and horn-shaped peaks of Cuernos del Paine.
7. Patagonia is full of deep ancient history
Patagonia has a rich archeological history owing to its unique formation millions of years ago. The unique region of Patagonia hosts human archeological finds from thousands of years ago. The signs of first human habitation in the region date back to almost 12,000 years ago. Cuevas de las Manos, Cave of Hands, has been a popular archeological discovery that dates back to 8000 BC. Neuquén in the Argentine region has been the site of many dinosaur fossil excavations. The fossilized skeleton of the largest dinosaur to walk the Earth, Argentinosaurus, has been dug up by archeologists in Patagonia.
8. The Magellanic penguin was found in Patagonia
The largest population of Magellanic penguins can be found in Patagonia in Punta Tombo, on the Argentinian side. Almost one million of Magellanic penguins visit the region in mid-September to mid-August in order to breed, nest, and molt to migrate to the moderately warmer climate of South Brazil.
The penguins are named after the famous Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who discovered the species when he arrived in South America in 1520. These species of penguins can grow up to 76 cm (about over 2 feet) and have a cute way of waddling.
9. Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia keeps growing instead of shrinking
An interesting fact about Patagonia is that the region has a glacier that keeps growing despite rising global temperatures. The Perito Moreno glacier is a popular site in Patagonia located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Los Glaciares National Park. Glaciologists cannot figure out why the Perito Moreno is still growing instead of shrinking. Tourists can visit the glacier easily and walk on the giant icy glacier to have an utterly unique experience.
10. Patagonia is home to the world’s second longest living species of tree on Earth
The Alerces Tree is almost 2600 years old and has been deemed as the world’s second longest living species on the planet. The oldest species living on the planet is Methuselah, which is situated in the White Mountains of USA, dating back to almost 5000 years ago. The Alerces tree is situated in Alerces national park in Argentine Patagonia. The National Park was founded in 1937 in order to preserve and protect this ancient family of trees.
11. There is an interesting origin story to the name “Patagonia”
The region was first discovered by the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan who was a Portuguese explorer and the first to set foot in Patagonia in 1520. Magellan encountered the Tehuelche natives and called them to be giants that reached up to ten feet in height. The explorers considered them to be giants and the Pentagon, or ‘big feet’ after which the region is named. Archeological ruins from the region tell us how the ancient inhabitants of the region were nomads and were exceptional hunters and gatherers.
12. Patagonia has a magical berry that calls people to Patagonia
The region of Patagonia has a unique fruit called the calafate berry (called Berberis Microphylla). It is also known as the Magellan barberry and can be made into a delicious jam. There is a famous local folklore that anyone who eats the sweet little bluish black berries in jam or fresh form will be sure to return to Patagonia.
13. Whales often visit Patagonia to give birth
Whales often visit the east coast of Patagonia to give birth in the safe and quiet waters around Peninsula Valdes in Chubut. The whales come to give birth every two to three years. The best places to see baby whales is in Puerto Madryn or from Puerto Piramides around the time from May to December when they come closer to the shore to give birth and raise their young. The region also has a variety of wildlife including penguins, seals, orcas, and sea lions.
Patagonia Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
Patagonia, the fabled ‘edge of the world’, spans the southernmost regions of Chile and Argentina and can be rugged and desolate as well as breathtakingly beautiful and inviting. This last frontier of South America is a colorful mosaic of snow-capped mountains, icebergs, volcanoes, glaciers, forests, lakes and vast steppe plains. On the Argentinean side, the scenic Road of the 7 Lakes takes you from San Martín de los Andes to Villa La Angostura and finally San Carlos de Bariloche, a popular ski resort on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. On the Chilean side of Patagonia, the regional capital Punta Arenas attracts visitors with its colonial architecture, cultural attractions, and hospitality.
Patagonia is a beautiful and intriguing vast land full of breath-taking natural landscapes. The region is shared jointly by Argentina and Chile which welcome tourists from all over the world to visit this desolate territory and explore the unique mixed culture, archeological history, and beautiful natural sites. We hope that you learned a lot about the region with these interesting facts about Patagonia listed in the article.
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