The National Parks of Southern Patagonia


Monte Leon National Park
There is much wildlife to encounter for those who travel to Argentina on Patagonia tours in Monte Leon National Park. The park provides habitat for guanacos, ostrich-like lesser rheas, wolves and pumas in addition to a wealth of marine life, including the world's fourth largest colony of Magellanic penguins and twenty species of coastal birds. The Tehuelche were the first people to inhabit the area 10,000 years ago.

The weather is cold and dry with less than fifteen inches of rain in winter. The closest town is Puerto Santa Cruz.

Los Glaciares National Park
In selecting one of our Argentina tours, you'll find that the itineraries offer different kinds of outdoor activities (some optional) including hiking, trekking, glacier hiking, bicycling kayaking, fishing and horseback riding.

Five miles wide and 196 feet tall at its terminus, the park's signature glacier, Perito Moreno, regularly launches skyscraper-size chunks into Lake Argentino with thunderous splashes. The lake's other major glaciers and Lake Viedma are also on the itinerary of most visitors who travel Patagonia on Argentina tours to Glaciares, as is majestic 11,000-ft Mt. Fitz Roy and 10,280-ft Cerro Torre at the northwest tip of the park.

The park's predominant forests are southern beech. The lenga, nire and coigue (or guindo), put on a stupendous autumn display. The park provides habitat to many wildlife species in danger of extinction. Geoffrey's cat and Andean deer that inhabit the sub-Antarctic forest are rarely seen. More commonly observed on Argentina tours are the red fox, puma and Andean condor.

The park accommodates the most sedentary to the most energetic traveler on Argentina tours. Though hiking is the major pastime for visitors to the park (including on the glaciers themselves), some of its major attractions are reached by boat or other conveyance. While some areas are inundated with visitors, those seeking a wilderness experience on their Argentina tours will find one.

Always windy, the weather in summer is warm and wet, and winters are cold. Most visitors stay in El Calafate near the south end of the park to be close to the Perito Moreno glacier, while others prefer El Chalten for its proximity to the northerly mountains. 

Perito Moreno National Park
As a destination for those who travel Patagonia on Argentina tours, the park has much to recommend it though few visitors come here. It contains many lakes, colorful mountain vistas and abundant wildlife. The park is home to such species as guanacos, Andean deer, pumas, red and grey foxes as well as Andean condors, rheas, flamingos and black-necked swans.

The park also contains the cave paintings of the hunter/collectors who inhabited the area 9,000 years ago, of interest to history buffs who travel to Argentina. A short ice age forced its Tehuelche inhabitants to abandon the region by the 18th century.

With its permanent snow, the cold dry weather of the park can be treacherous for visitors on Argentina tours. There are marked trails for hiking and backpacking, though there are no organized campgrounds in the park. The fastest way (a relative term) to reach the park is from the town of Gobernador Gregores.

Tierra del Fuego National Park
Southern beech forests predominate in Tierra del Fuego National Park. On its mountain slopes are lenga forests, and in wetter areas down to the channel, guindo forests with Magellanic orchid ground cover in some places. The red flowers of the notro (fire bush) are spectacular in bloom. Higher elevations contain high Andean vegetation.

In addition to the near-extinct southern sea otter possibly visible from shore by travelers on Argentina tours, over twenty mammals inhabit the park including guanaco and red fox. Among its many birds species are condors as well as upland, ashy-headed and kelp geese that live in open areas and along beaches. Some non-native animal species, introduced for economic purposes, have altered the landscape.

There are archeological sites in the park's Lake Roca area that can be visited on your Patagonia tours when you travel to Argentina. With the arrival of the Creoles and the white man, the indigenous peoples disappeared, decimated by new diseases or killed.

The park contains a camping zone for visitors on Argentina tours, and trails are marked for short and long hikes. Summer temperatures never climb above 50F, and winters are cold with snow and rain. There is no dry season. The closest Argentine city is Ushuaia.