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Sailing to the Antarctic Peninsula,
South Georgia, Cape Horn,
Falklands & Tierra Del Fuego

On this virtual tour you may see:
Majestic mountains dipped in snow...
Crystalline waterways...
Whales, seals, Soaring Andes condors...
Ice-blue Glaciers that shimmer like jewels...

A Refreshing Cool Summer
Enjoy the Glaciers & Fjords
of Tierra Del Fuego in Winter

Victory Adventure Expedition's

Mini Market in Tierra Del Fuego



The map above shows the full
extent of Tierra Del Fuego &
also the Torres Del Paine area

Satellite Map of Tierra Del Fuego
Straits of Magellen above left
and the Beagle Channel below right
Cape Horn is in right bottom corner
The highest mountain in the area,
Mount Darwin, is highlighted near center



Patagonia, the southern 30% of South America, lies poleward of 40 deg south latitude. Most of this arid region is in Argentina between the Andes and the Atlantic Ocean. Patagonia means "big feet," referring to the TEHUELCHE Indians who, when first seen by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, were wearing oversize boots.

The area is estimated at 673,400 sq km (260,000 sq mi) and consists of plateaus rising from about 90 m (300 ft) near the ocean to 1,525 m (5,000 ft) in the Andean foothills. Patagonia has a cool to cold temperature and is swept by strong winds called pamperos. The mean annual temperature is 12-20 deg C (54-68 deg F) in the north and 6-13 deg C (43-55 deg F) in the south.

Rainfall amounts to less than 255 mm (10 in) a year, and only a few rivers, such as the Chubut, Deseado, and Chico, reach the Atlantic. The dominant vegetation is scrub grass and tuftlike bushes. In higher elevations steppe grass and desert shrubs grow. Wildlife includes foxes, rheas, and plovers.

Patagonia is primarily a sheep-raising area. Fruits, cereals, and potatoes are grown in irrigated areas, especially along the Chubut River. In 1907 petroleum was discovered near Comodoro Rivadavia, the principal city of Patagonia. Some iron and coal is mined.
After Magellan's coastal explorations, the Spanish dominated the area until British sheep ranchers settled there in the 1880s. In 1833, Charles Darwin discovered and explored the Chubut River while on his travels aboard the H.M.S. Beagle.


Tierra del Fuego

{tee-air'-uh del fway'-goh}

Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago with a land mass of about 73,740 sq km (28,470 sq mi), separated from the southern tip of the South American mainland by the Strait of Magellan. The islands are sparsely populated by three Indian tribes as well as by Chilean and Argentinian settlers.

The eastern third of the archipelago belongs to Argentina (1989 est. pop., 58,881); the western two-thirds is Chilean (pop. unavailable).

Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago's largest island, accounts for about two-thirds of the land area. Mount Sarmiento, the islands' highest mountain at about 2,300 m (7,550 ft), is located to the west, where the mountains are an extension of the Andes range. The archipelago's eastern portion is in part a continuation of the Patagonian plateau.

Some lumbering, livestock raising, fish canning, and mining takes place. Petroleum was discovered in the Chilean section in 1945. The climate is moderately cold, with high winds and variation in rainfall.

The area was discovered in 1520 by Ferdinand Magellan, who named it "land of fire."

The Indian inhabitants remained largely undisturbed until the 1880s, when Chileans and Argentinians started sheep ranches and discovered gold in the archipelago. In 1881 a boundary dispute was resolved by assigning roughly the western two-thirds of the archipelago to Chile and the remainder to Argentina.

(From The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)

Trekking, climbing and sailing in Patagonia
(Torres Del Paine area)

See Dientes de Navarino for trekking in Tierra Del Fuego

Patagonia has been known as an area of perpetual winds and a land of impenetrable ice and rock above the final cape of Chile at the "ends of the earth" since it's discovery by Magellan. It extends to both Argentina and Chile and reaches Tierra Del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America. It consists principally of glaciers, mountains, fjords, and pampas. Each is unique in itself and even more awe inspiring in combination.

Along the west coast of this land runs a series of archipelagos containing hundreds of rugged islands which eventually give way to a mainland cut deeply by intricately twisting fjords. These may be reached by boat. East of the fjords is the massive Patagonia Ice Cap. This is over 200 miles long and 50 miles wide in places and is the world's biggest ice cap outside of the polar regions. Low pressure systems come to the ice cap from the west and provide heavy snowfall for the glaciers that flowing spectacularly into the fjords.

On the eastern side of the ice cap, the ice runs up to the crest of the Patagonian Andes, where it covers huge knifed-edged ridges, high passes, and scores of towering summits. Beyond the crest, glaciers fall abruptly towards the pampas in dramatic ice flows and ice falls that sometimes end in the midst of alpine lakes. To the east stretch the wind-swept pampas and the smaller Patagonia peaks with their steep walls and severely broken glaciers. The larger peaks are awe inspiring, reaching skyward thousands of feet, with great sheer-walled towers often capped with ice.

Near the fjord area of Tierra Del Fuego and the Beagle Channel one may visit the famous Torres Del Paine National Park on the southern edge of the Patagonia Ice Cap. Here you may go backpacking and trekking, or you can join programs to do the mountain climbing as well. Backpackers should have experience with overnight trips in rough country; those who desire to make ascents should have mountaineering ice and snow climbing experience.

Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia is like entering into another dimension. It's a country of rosy towers, immense glaciers, yellowing peaks capped with snowy black horns, and poetic valleys which welcome visitors to view grasslands and many lakes. There is a lake giving a great view of the three marvelous Towers of Paine with beautiful colors at sunset.

You may hike into the western side of the park, over open meadows and may have an opportunity to see condors soaring while enjoying the view of the horned peaks. Here you may see guanacos, a kind of camel, hundreds of Andean geese as well as great grebes, buff-necked ibis, southern lapwings, plumbed rails, black-chested buzzard eagles, the rhea, a large ostrich like bird and black necked swans. To the northwest are hundreds of square miles of unexplored ice cap and mountains.


Victory Adventure Travel can obtain reservations for you in Torres del Paine and information on trekking in Tierra Del Fuego.


The "Towers of Paine"


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Antarctica, South Georgia, Cape Horn, and Tierra Del Fuego"
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