Drawn to its emptiness, its wind-swept horizons, and its promise of discovery, many adventurers are driven to Patagonia by the sense that it's the end of the world. A traveler can drive for days without seeing another soul on the vast Patagonian Steppe. The unrelenting wind spins your head in circles, and conspires with the emptiness of the landscape to warp your perception of time and distance and convince you that you're the only human left on the planet. It is a seduction, but also an illusion; people do live here, after all -- though just a scant few hardy survivors. Sheep still outnumber humans here.

Patagonia's harsh, blustery climate and curious geological circumstances have produced some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the world: the annual congregation of the Southern Right Whale at Península Valdés, the granite towers and expansive glaciers of Los Glaciares National Park, the Southern and Northern Patagonian Ice Fields with their colossal glaciers, and the flat steppe, broken by multicolored sedimentary bluffs. Wildlife lovers and divers explore the rugged coastline of the spectacular Península Valdés; mountaineers stage elaborate excursions through rugged territories, only to be beaten back, like their predecessors, by unrelenting storms.

The area has a fascinating human history as well. Native groups eked out a life in this vast land. European explorers, such as Magellan and FitzRoy, put it on the map. Brave and gutsy settlers turned the emptiness into home. Recently, mountaineers and adventurers have reached amazing heights here. The ample presence of gauchos further heightens the air of romanticism that distinguishes the region.