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By Kate Springer | April 14th, 2016

Where to? Patagonia, Argentina

Why you’ll love it: Few places beat the nature and wildlife of Argentinian Patagonia. Discover dinosaur fossils in Trelew, then get up close with southern right whales, elephant seals, and Magellanic penguins on the Valdes Peninsula.

Further south, Bariloche is the perfect base for trekking, camping, and exploring Nahuel Huapi Lake. Finally, drive south down Ruta Nacional 40, an iconic highway that skirts the Andes. There’s no lack of space out here, where it seems the silence just carries on forever. It’s a welcome respite, and a back-to-nature experience for city dwellers craving some peace and quiet at an incredible scale. 

The farther south you go, it seems the more otherworldly the surrounds become. The stunning ice fields of Glaciar Perito Moreno inside the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares are almost unbearably beautiful at 30 kilometers long and 60 meters high. Every day it moves forward about 2 meters, shedding enormous icebergs from the facade on the way. You can watch — and hear — the dramatic movements from steel bridges nearby.

For hikers, too, the southern peninsula is a dreamscape. From the steep craggy mountains to the glistening glaciers and far-out fields, there’s much to explore by foot. The El Chaltén mountain village, Cabo Froward, and Torres del Paine areas are home to some of Argentina’s most photogenic — and challenging — hikes. 

Fun fact: On the southern tip, the most important landmark is Puerto San Julian, where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in 1520.

Get there: Fly to Buenos Aires with Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Emirates (via Dubai), Delta (via Atlanta), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), or British Airways (via London). From Buenos Aires, grab a bus with Andesmar, Condor, Don Otto, or El Pinguino to one of the main towns in the area, such as Puerto Madryn, and get going.

Click here to return to The Loop’s 30 Days of Travel Inspirations series.