For many centuries, this was the end of the known world. The subject of legends, a strange, far-flung land, home to gigantic beings with odd habits. Patagonia travel meant sailing across one of the world’s most perilous seas. In ancient times, seafarers arrived here believing they had arrived at the gates of Terra Australis Incógnita, a legendary continent at the southernmost point of the globe. Five hundred years later, Patagonia continues to be a wild, unknown land at the end of the world.

La PatagoniaLa Patagonia


The first European to arrive in Patagonia was Hernando de Magallanes. In 1520, at the southern tip of America, he came upon the straits which today bear his name.

His chronicles include tales of meeting men of great stature and describe his surprise upon finding huge human footprints near the coast.

Magallanes' big-footed giants were given the name “Patagones”. Some say that this name came from the word "pata”, a colloquial word in Spanish meaning "foot".

Shortly afterwards, the “land of the Patagones” became known as “Patagonia”.

Notable explorations of Patagonia

1520: Hernando de Magallanes, Portuguese seafarer
1616: Jacob Le Maire, Dutch explorer
1766: Louis Antoine de Bouganville, French seafarer
1799: Alexander von Humboldt, German naturalist
1830/31: Robert Fitz Roy, British sailor and scientist
1831: Charles Darwin, British scientist
1879: Florence Dixie, British adventuress and feminist
1895/1896: Otto Nordenskjöld, Norwegian scientist
1901/1908/1914: Ernest Shackleton, Irish explorer