Patagonia Fjords

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Patagonia fjords lie along the waterways of southern South America, which are dotted with small and tiny islands, and one large one--Tierra del Fuego. Patagonia is the southernmost region of Chile and Argentina, but its boundaries are disputed and remain undefined. Without a doubt, however, it is one of the most spectacular areas in the world, and one reason for this is its awesome fjords and glaciers.

The stunning, ice-capped Andes Mountains drop straight to the ocean. The Chilean coast is a labyrinth of islands that create a sheltered passage of fjords and twisting waterways, which stretch over a thousand miles, curving around the tip of South America in Tierra del Fuego. Voyages along this impressive coast either begin at Ushuaia, the world's most southern city, or ports toward the northern end of Chile's lengthy coastline.

Patagonia Fjords Via the Beagle Channel

The Beagle Channel takes boats past some of the most majestic fjords and glaciers in the world, along the coast of Tierra del Fuego and the smaller Hoste and Gordon Islands on the southwest branch of the channel. Longer voyages reach around to the west coast of Chile to Puerto Natales, considered a gateway to the world-famous park, Torres del Paine. Along the southwestern shore of Chile lies the Charles Darwin Range, which boasts some of the most interesting Patagonia fjords, channels, and glaciers for sea kayaking.

The magnificent Patagonia fjords of this southernmost edge are approachable only by way of the sea, and are sheltered from the fierce westerly winds by the Darwin mountains that rise abruptly to heights of over 8,000 feet. Nevertheless, the entire region is subject to the "Williwaws," strong winds that result from sudden differences in atmospheric pressure. Navigating these incredible waterways on cruise expeditions will never cease to inspire amazement at the beauty and contrasting deep green forests that line the fjord shores.

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