Friday saw the release of Patagonia, a film set in the eponymous region that covers the southernmost tip of Chile and Argentina. The film, starring Matthew Rhys and featuring the singer Duffy in her acting debut, is centred around the Welsh community that has grown up in southern Argentina.
The 165 original Welsh settlers arrived in 1865 to find a remote and uninhabited wild landscape, and because of the lack of external influence, their culture – and particularly their language – had the opportunity to thrive. Today, the 50,000-strong Welsh community is based around the towns of Gaiman, Trelew and Trevelin; and with little Welsh chapels, schools where lessons are taught in Welsh, and tearooms serving up hot welshcakes, in a bizarre way it is possibly more ‘Welsh’ than Wales.
But aside from this intriguing colonial outpost, what else does Patagonia have to offer?
Patagonia star, Matthew Rhys, said in a feature about the destination in the Daily Mail, ‘You not only have the Andes for trekking but wonderful wildlife – watching whales from the Valdes Peninsula, or heading down to the nature reserve at Punta Tomba to see millions of penguins plodding up and down to the crashing waves of the Atlantic.’
The Faro Punta Delgada is the perfect base for discovering the amazing wildlife of the Valdes Peninsula. A former lighthouse and naval base, Faro Punto Delgada is dramatically positioned overlooking the ocean.
The wildlife spotting opportunities are endless – on the shoreline you can find elephant seals, sea lions and penguins, whilst further inland are foxes, armadillos, skunks and guanacos. Visit during whale-watching season (June – December) and take a boat trip to watch orcas and Southern Right whales, or go horse-riding, trekking or scuba diving.
The Torres del Paine National Park is a highlight of this majestic region. With its dramatic glaciers, emerald green lakes and spectacular granite peaks, it offers unparalleled natural beauty; whilst the world-famous Perito Moreno glacier in the Los Glaciares National Park is simply breathtaking.
From the beautiful lakes of Bariloche to the windswept tip of the continent at Ushuaia, Patagonia offers that elusive rugged, untouched beauty through its dramatic landscapes, combining the dizzy peaks of the Andes, the vast ice fields of the Los Glaciares National Park and the arid steppes of the east: a truly unforgettable destination.