Patagonia Facts vs. Legends

Fact vs. Legend

Our spiritual home has a myriad of events, truths, tall tales and stories that all add up to make this the mystical land it is. The magical aura, carried by the immense beauty of the region, attracts dreamers, adventurers and explorers who delight in the tangled web of legends of debatable veracity. But maybe you’re looking to separate fact from fiction? We’ve got a a few of our favorite Patagonia facts, with their accompanying legends, to help you decide what’s legitimate and what is just delightful deception.

The name Patagonia comes from the legend that inhabitants were giants. As the shorter European explorers returned to their homelands the small truth that natives were taller became embellished until they were supposedly 10 feet tall! While this is obviously ficta stretched truth, the area was home to some of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered, including a yet-to-be-named dinosaur measuring 42m in length and weighing in over 76 tons. So not exactly giant people, but definitely giant dinosaurs!

The calafate berry is said to grant a mystical power to anyone who eats the berry: they ensure their return to Patagonia. Legend has it the berry came from an old woman from the nomadic Tehuelche tribe. Unable to carry on with her tribe one winter to warmer lands, she stayed behind and turned into a bush, offering protection to birds and tribe members - who would return every spring and summer to feast upon her berries. What do we really know is true? This berry only grows in the Patagonia region and is only available in late spring and summer. Lady Florence Dixie, the first “tourist” to Patagonia in 1878, recounts her delight with the berries in her book "Riding Across Patagonia". It is also the namesake for the town El Calafate, Argentina.

Kris and Douglas Tompkins, American conservationists, were the subject of recent legends across Chile and Argentina. Buying up over 2.2 million acres of land in the region led to rumors swirling about their true intentions. Kris, the former CEO of outdoor wear Patagonia and Douglas, the owner of Esprit and The North Face, were thought to be CIA operatives. Or perhaps they were buying enough land to form their own country? Were they looking for oil or other natural resources that would destroy the beauty of the region? Following the death of her husband, Kris donated the land back to the countries of Argentina and Chile, under the condition the land be left as pristine national parks, for generations of visitors to marvel at the wild splendor of Patagonia.

Have you heard any other Patagonia facts or legends? Tell us in the comments some of your favorites!

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