I left home on December 16th, flying first to Santiago, Chile, then on to Punta Arenas, near the tip of South America. Then I took a bus to Puerto Natales, where I took several day trips into two national parks, one in Chile and one in Argentina, on the east side of the Andes Mountains. I've been to both parks before, but they are so fantastic that a return trip was warranted. Then on Christmas Day I flew back to Santiago before flying to Easter Island, a couple of thousand miles west in the Southern Pacific. Where else would an inveterate traveler go on Christmas? Maybe next Easter I'll go to Christmas Island.
Torres del Paine Nacional Parque, Chile
Los Glaciares Nacional Parque (Glacier National Park), Argentina
This park is on the east side of the Andes Mountains, basically opposite to Torres del Paine. This park is drier and less windy, so one is less likely to die of exposure. It is my 11th favorite natural place in the world, so I also get real excited visiting it.
Patagonia, just sounding out its name should inspire one to visit it. Is it too far away to visit, so close to Antarctica? Well, it does take many flights and bus rides to get there. But the good stuff it has is so very, very neat, the payoff so big, that to me it's a no brainer. Just have to go.