Patagonia is the most southerly part of South America. Part of it is in Argentina and part of it is in Chile. It is made up of the Andes mountains to the west and south and plains to the east. This area also has beautiful lakes and rivers. There are two National Parks. Torres del Paine National Park which is situated in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park which is situated in Argentina.
The least populated area of Chile is the Magallanes and Chilean Antartica Region. The area includes Torres del Paine, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego Island, the Straits of Magellan and the Antarctic territory claimed by Chile.
On the Pacific coast of southern Chile the Laguna San Rafael National Park is named after the San Rafael Lagoon. This is an area of 6,700 square miles and includes the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. A 10 mile long fjord is the park’s main attraction.
The Northern Patagonian Ice Field, located in Chile is the smaller of two remnant parts of the Patagonian Ice Sheet. Over a million years ago an ice sheet covered most of Patagonia and is the largest continuous mass of ice outside the polar regions.
The Southern Patagonia Ice Field is located at the Southern Patagonic Andes between Angentina and Chile and is the bigger of two remnant parts of the Patagonic Ice Sheet. Part of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field is in Chile and part is in Argentina.
The tip of South America has an extreme southern latitude and Cape Horn is about 4,000km from the South Pole. Since its discovery by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, joining the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, the Straight of Magellan offers a short cut through South America rather than the icy and windy route around Cape Horn.
Tierra del Fuego is an Argentine province entirely separated from mainland Argentina by the Straights of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island and a group of smaller islands. Half of this island, and the islands west and south of it, are part of the Megallanes and Antartica Chilena Region, the capital and chief town of which is Punta Arenas. The eastern part of the archipelago belongs to Argentian being part of the Tierra del Fuego, Antartctic Territory and South Atlantic Island Province. Its capital is Ushuaia.
A ferry service through the fjords of southern Chile links Puerto Montt with Puerto Natales, a centre near the Argentine border for tourists visiting the Balmaceda and Torres del Paine national parks. Most of the boat trips that travel the passage leave from Puntas Arenas, Chile and travel through Patagonia, and the island of Tierra del Fuego via the Beagle Channel, and arrive in Tierra del Fuego's capital, Ushuaia.