Patagonia is one of South America's most inspiring wilderness regions. This vast and sparsely populated plateau covers much of southern Argentina and Chile, and is a hugely popular destination for trekking, watching wildlife and luxury cruises. Much of Patagonia is treeless, flat and windswept, but as you travel south and west the terrain becomes far more dramatic. Here the landscape is blessed with towering Andean peaks, fjords and glaciers, and straits and sounds frequented by penguins, whales and seabirds.
Patagonia has long held an allure for explorers, naturalists, writers and other travellers. Charles Darwin, Ferdinand Magellan and Bruce Chatwin are a few of the famous names associated with this part of South America. It was Magellan who first used the name Patagonia, deriving from the word patagon - in reference to the native Tehuelches people, whom he believed to be giants. As then, Patagonia retains an almost mystical appeal for many travellers and so often features in tailor-made Chile tours.