Magazine article Americas Quarterly

10 Things to Do: Patagonia, Argentina

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

10 Things to Do: Patagonia, Argentina

Article excerpt

Patagonia, the rugged, southern frontier region shared by Argentina and Chile, was once believed to be the home of a race of giants. It still looms large as a wild landscape where myth and reality coincide. The site of major hydro projects, the Argentine Patagonia also boasts four World Heritage sites. The best place to start your adventure is from San Carlos de Bariloche in Rio Negro province . Flights leave Buenos Aires daily. Don't forget to layer-the weather can be unpredictable.-Mercedes Laxague

1Travel through the Road of the Seven Lakes. The picturesque Ruta de los Siete Lagos takes you through 66.5 miles (107 kms) of unpaved road through forested valleys to view the Patagonian Andes' seven major lakes: Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Correntoso, Falkner, Escondido, Machónico, and Villarino.

2Hike up the Meseta de Somuncurá. This isolated basalt plateau in Río Negro province is the second- largest nature reserve in Argentina. Home to volcanic lagoons and the majestic condor, it is also the summer residence for shepherds during the breeding season.

3Watch the whales. Puerto Madryn is the gateway to the Península Valdés wildlife sanctuary, where you can glimpse orca and baleen whales, sea elephants, sea lions, and Magellanic penguins. (170 pesos)

4Waddle over to Punta Tombo. If you can't get enough of penguins, head to Punta Tombo, a peninsula jutting into the Atlantic from Chubut province that is home to Patagonia's most important Magellanic penguin colony. Thousands of penguins arrive at this spot between September and April to breed. (70-130 pesos)

5Discover an ancient forest. …

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