When we hear the name Patagonia, what comes to mind is disorder. It is as if it is an imaginary place that has never existed. Indeed, Patagonia is like a dream.
When Magellan went to the region in 1520, he called it “Lands of Fire” because of the Native American fires he saw. Then the locals’ feet look bigger because of the sandals they wear, and he named them ‘Patagon’, starting from ‘pata’ meaning ‘foot’ in Spanish, and ‘Patagonia’ to their hometown.
Having gained its freedom in 1810, Chile started to send settlers from the north to its own part of Patagonia. With sheep brought from the Falkland Islands, animal husbandry, then fishing, forestry, coal, a serious movement started in the region. Tourism is one of the most important sources of income today.
Patagonia, the southernmost point in the world, located between Argentina and Chile and above Antarctica, is a place to be visited just because of the appeal of its name. Hundreds of different creatures live in the region, which is the center of attention with its natural beauty, from penguins to whales, from sea lions to cormorants, a kind of water bird. Millions of tourists enjoy a visual feast in Patagonia every year, from lakes to waterfalls, from glaciers to snowy peaks.
End of the world: Ushuaia
The Anglo-Saxons came to Ushuaia (read Uşuaya), whose name means “the gulf to the west”. While English was dominant first, then Spanish took over the flag.
30 percent of tourists arrive in Ushuaia by cruise. In the city, which is leaning against the Fuegan Ant Mountains with its glacier-covered 1500-meter peaks, everything is indexed to the “end of the world”. When you take a catamaran tour on the Beagle Channel, they first take you near the World’s End Lighthouse. At the port, a sign “Welcome to the port of the end of the world” welcomes the visitors. “Ushuaia is the end of the world, the beginning of everything” writes enormously on the beach. There are writings about the end of the world in all souvenirs. My suggestion is to remember the motto “Ends are new beginnings” and enjoy the nice shops on the main street San Martin.
Fifteen minutes from the city, there is the Tierra del Fuego (Lands of Fire) National Park. You can tour the park with the “end of the world train” inside. The park is a green paradise where animals from foxes to ducks, llama-like guanako and beavers roam around in peace. Roca Lake enchants you with its blue.
Two hours from Trelew, Punta Tombo is the home of Magellanic penguins. These penguins living off the coast of Brazil in winter migrate to the beaches of Patagonia in the spring. Magellanic penguins, one of the 18 penguin species, are around 45 centimeters tall and live for 20 years. Seasonal changes due to global warming make it more difficult for these animals to return to the south every year and unfortunately pose a serious danger to their species.
On the way to Punta Tombo, there are generally stunted trees and different animals due to the strong winds. You see guanacos roaming in droves. Their wool is very valuable because only 300 grams of wool can be produced per year from a guanaco. The hares they call Mara are also wandering around. The females of the ostrich-like rea’s escape after the spawning period and leave the father alone with the eggs. If you see a parent rea walking around with cubs, understand that he is the altruistic father.
Valdes Peninsula, about an hour from Puerto Madryn, is an interesting place. On one side is San Jose Bay, which inspired Antoine de Saint Exupéry when he wrote “The Little Prince”. On the other side is Nuevo (New) Bay, which is a place where you can go whales watching. From Puerto Piramides, 100 kilometers from Puerto Madryn, you can see 30-ton, 16-meter-tall whales that sail on boats and teach their babies to swim. In Caleta Valdes, at the tip of the peninsula, there are also seaflies, these are giant seals.