Patagonia is a distinct geographical region at the end tip of South America, shared by Chile and Argentina – an extensive territory of more than one million square kilometers. It is a very geographically diverse region, including the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes, grasslands, and coasts. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The region is known for dramatic mountain peaks, an abundance of glaciers and an array of unique wildlife. Explore amazingly diverse and fascinating Patagonia, a magnificent “off-the-beaten-path” region spanning portions of Chile and Argentina.
Patagonia’s glaciers can be explored on boat trips, ice hikes, kayak trips or ski tours, in areas throughout the region. Patagonia is one of the most uninhabited areas of our planet and home to an incredible variety of wildlife and plant life, many of which is endemic to the region.
Perito Moreno Glacier
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Argentinian Patagonia.
The glacier stretches out for miles on end before coming to an abrupt stop at a sheer icy face. The enormous Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park contains the third largest reserve of freshwater in the world, and it’s still growing. Every day the glacier expands and creeps forward another 2 meters (6.5 feet). This phenomenon baffles scientists, as most of the world’s glaciers are shrinking because of climate change.
Watching this glacier is a very thrilling experience.
Photo credit: Liam Quinn / Flickr
Viedma Glacier is a large glacier that is part of the huge Southern Patagonian Ice Field and it is the longest glacier in South America.
it runs in a canyon formed between the Huemul and Campana hills. You can see the glacier on boats from Lake Viedma. The glacier is 2.5 kilometers wide by 50 meters high with a total area covering 977 km².
The Viedma Glacier is largely unknown in comparison to Perito Moreno.
Cracks are formed from the stress arising between ice along the valley walls and the relatively fast-moving ice at the glacier’s center. On the southwestern side of the glacier terminus, the calving of ice is visible.
Photo credit: Liam Quinn / Flickr
Grey Glacier, Patagonia
One of the most spectacular places in the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park is Glacier Grey. The glacier is 6 kilometers wide and over 30 meters high.
There are morrenas on its sides and multiple shades of white and an island in the middle of the glacier.
Its waters covered by ice sediment and huge floating icebergs will leave you breathless.
The glacier lies in the west of the national park and it can be seen by boat or by hiking.
Photo credit: V.T. Polywoda / Flickr
Often overshadowed by the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier also located in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, Upsala Glacier deserves more recognition for its unique and record-breaking traits. Stretching out over 870 km², the glacier is actually the biggest of its kind in South America.
The Upsala Glacier is well known for its rapid retreat, which many see as evidence for global warming. Known for the extensive calving of ice at its foot, Upsala Glacier has actually been mostly inaccessible since 2008.
It’s one of several glaciers that feed into Lake Argentino.
Photo credit: Cat / Flickr
San Rafael Glacier
The San Rafael Glacier is one of the major outlet glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field in southern Chile.
As a result of climate change and increased global temperatures, scientists believe that in the past over hundreds of years, San Rafael Glacier has shrunk by 12km in total and if it continues it could disappear by 2030.
Photo credit: Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero / Flickr
Pia Glacier is embedded in the Darwin Range, and it gradually runs down into the waters of Pia Bay, on the east slope of Craddock Massif and flows between Mount Mohl and Elfring Peak.
The glacier is massive, about 480 km2 and is one of the longest glaciers in the southern hemisphere. Pia Glacier is only accessible from the sea.
Photo credit: Carlos Moffat / Flickr
Jorge Montt Glacier
The Jorge Montt Glacier is a tidewater glacier in southern Chile and it lies at the north end of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, within Bernardo O’Higgins National Park.
It was estimated from the data that the glacier has retreated by 20 km over the period 1898 – 2011, with the retreat rate, rapidly increasing over the last decades.
Photo credit: Fanny & Greg / Flickr
It is one of the principal glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The summit of the active Lautaro volcano is the top of the accumulation zone of the glacier.
It has a length of 45 km and a width of 3.5 km and it covers an area of 820 km, between the Lautaro Volcano and ends at Lake O’Higgins.
There were concerns about the disappearing rate of the walls of ice and contrasting blue colors, which has experienced a regression of 15 kilometers in the past 100 years.
The geography of the place allows visitors to carry out various tourist activities, including trekking, mountain biking and hiking on ice.
Don’t forget to check some of our other articles about South America