Argentine Patagonia covers all of southern Argentina south of the Rio Colorado. To the west lie the majestic Andes, to the east an Atlantic coastline rich in marine life and to the south, legendary Tierra del Fuego. The vast Patagonian steppes are sparsely populated, largely treeless and governed by a harsh, cold climate with a dry wind blowing continually from the west. Rainfall is only high in the foothills of the Andes which are covered by primeval forests of sub-Antarctic beech trees.
The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the larger of the two remnants of the ancient Patagonian Ice Sheet which covered all of southern Chile and parts of Argentina during the Quaternary glacial period. Among the glaciers found in Argentina are Upsala and Perito Moreno in Los Glacieres National Park, the latter a rare example of an advancing glacier. To visit the area is to get an inkling of what it might be like in Antarctica, especially when visiting the iceberg-filled lakes such as Upsala.