Patagonia is the scene of the world’s great adventurers. Even if we know just a bit about the place, the name itself inhabits our subconscious, whispering of an unknown finger of the earth, “El fin del mundo”. We imagine fjords, glaciers, pampas, lonely huasos (cowboys) on their horses herding the sheep, flourishing vegetation, the Andean mountain range and, of course, the world class national park Torres del Paine.
A visit to Patagonia is almost a must for every visitor. Until 15 years ago most of the land was accessible only by air and boat, or via Argentina. This changed with the construction of the Carretera Austral, connecting Puerto Montt with Villa O’Higgins in the south of General Carrera.
Geography has influenced the people of Patagonia. They are independent, refusing to be compared with other Chileans, but are friendly and helpful. If you have a flat tire on the Carretera Austral you can be sure that the next local passing by will stop his car. But you might have to wait a little as only 3% of the whole population of Chile lives in this giant area.
Geographically Patagonia divides into three regions, Chiloé Archipelago, Carretera Austral/Aisen region, and Torres del Paine/Magellan region.