Los Glaciares National Park
This magnificent park's name refers to the 47 glaciers originating from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the largest ice cap outside of Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland. Of these 47 glaciers, 13 flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean. The park is divided into northern and southern sections. The northern half consists of part of Viedma Lake, the huge Viedma Glacier and a few minor glaciers, and a number of mountains, like Mount Fitz Roy (picture two) and Cerro Torre, that are very popular among climbers and trekkers. Fitz Roy is perhaps Argentina’s most recognizable peak.
The southern part also has a number of glaciers including three major ones that flow into Argentino Lake: Perito Moreno Glacier, Upsala Glacier, and Spegazzini Glacier. Visitors must take a boat to visit Upsala and Spegazzini (picture three), the only way to get up close to their huge faces. Perito Moreno (picture one) may be the world’s most famous glacier, easily accessible from the town of El Calafate.
Torres del Paine National Park
Perhaps Chile’s most famous national park (at least with backpackers and mountaineers!), Torres del Paine is known for its soaring mountains, bright blue icebergs that calve from glaciers, and golden pampas (grasslands) that shelter rare wildlife such as the llama-like guanacos. Some of its most iconic sites are the three granite towers from which the park takes its name and horn-shaped peaks named Cuernos del Paine (picture one), which are some of the most expressive mountains in the world.
The park also contains the wonderful Grey Glacier (picture two), which can be seen at various points on the famous “W” trek and by kayaking to to reach its towering face.
Lake District, Chile
Though not technically part of Patagonia, the Lake District of Chile is just north of the Patagonian border and contains its own style of beauty. It is an area where active snow-capped volcanoes meet pale green lakes. The two volcanoes pictured, Osorno (picture one) and Villarricca (picture two) are some of the most majestic I’ve had the pleasure of photographing. The high rainfall and temperate climate throughout the region allows for created endless miles of virgin and ancient forest to grow - including the Fitzroya (or Alerce trees), the largest tree species in South America and a cousin to the redwoods of North America.