Patagonia is a huge land of extremes -- with ocean, glaciers, mountains, forests, volcanoes and valleys -- which takes up one third of southern Argentina (and spans the Chilean border). One of the most famous areas is Tierra del Fuego, also known as the "Uttermost End of the World," which is where the intrepid traveler can find the mountains that meet the sea at the gateway to Antarctica.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
To Buenos Aires, 15 hours from NYC, 22 hours from LA; plus 8 hours from Buenos Aires to Patagonia
Car, boat, bus, horseback
When To Go: Patagonia at its best
The seasons are the opposite of ours so head to Patagonia during its summer: November to March. Temperatures depend on what region you visit but you can expect the summer to go from 70s to 50s (and the days are long: the sun sometimes doesn't set till 10 p.m.!)
What To Do
See amazing landscapes:
Los Glaciares National Park covers 2,300 square miles, much of which is covered by ice fields that connect 13 major glaciers. The Perito Moreno Glacier is a nearly 200-foot-tall wall of ice framed by snow-capped mountain peaks -- and it's still growing every day. The Walichu Caves have authentic Paleolithic cave drawings that give you insights into life in Patagonia nearly 4,000 years ago. The remote Torres del Paine National Park has a huge range of environments to explore, from scrublands to tundra to forests -- all home to diverse animals and birds.
Walk the ends of the Earth:
Remember studying the explorer Magellan? Well, now you can walk where he did: He discovered the area know as Tierra del Fuego in 1520 (that's why it's called the Strait of Magellan). If you never considered glaciers to be exotic, the icy landscape will change you mind. Waddle along with penguins, watch condors soars and hike across this "Land of Fire."
-- Alonna Friedman