While Bruce Chatwin may have introduced the beguiling secrets of Patagonia to the world stage, various other novels and travelogues have attempted to capture the magic of this region.
Step into a world of Welsh villages and valiant voyages with our choice of five classic books about Patagonia, all of which are guaranteed to take you on a journey to the heart of these wild lands.
“In Patagonia” – Bruce Chatwin
The seminal text that brought Patagonia and her secrets to readers across the globe, Chatwin’s “In Patagonia” is essential reading. Telling the story of the author’s trip to Patagonia in the late 70s in search of Welsh settlers and Butch Cassidy’s long-forgotten log cabin, it paints a captivating picture of the people he meets along the way, all of whom have managed to etch out a life in this hostile – albeit mesmerizingly beautiful – territory.
“The Old Patagonian Express” – Paul Theroux
Another classic travel book about Patagonia from award-winning writer Paul Theroux, “The Old Patagonian Express” charts the author’s journey by train from Boston to Patagonia, as he describes encounters with the people and the places that he passes through.
Rich in history, evocative descriptions of the countries along the way and Theroux’s own straight-talking analysis of the world as he sees it, this travelogue is an enthralling account of South America as it was over thirty years ago.
“Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” – Alfred Lansing
Written using the first-hand accounts of ten survivors, “Endurance” tells the incredible story of Ernest Shackleton’s ultimately fateful voyage to Antarctica aboard the Endurance. This detailed account of the journey relates how the crew was forced to survive for a year on the ice after their boat became trapped and then sank and describes Shackleton’s heroic voyage across the ocean to reach South Georgia before his crew was finally saved by a Chilean steam tug.
“Enduring Patagonia” – Gregory Crouch
Written by a seasoned mountaineer, “Enduring Patagonia” is a book that explores the author’s experiences of climbing in the wild, harsh Patagonian territory.
He describes his successes, such as the first ever winter ascent of Cerro Torre’s west face in Los Glaciares National Park, as well as showing the reader how perilous it can be to explore and adventure in such a rugged, untamed environment.
“The Voyage of the Beagle” – Charles Darwin
Darwin’s “The Voyage of the Beagle” details the English naturalist’s experiences aboard the HMS Beagle on its second journey. Opening in Cape Verde, the book follows the ship’s route along the coasts of Brazil and Argentina before rounding Cape Horn and continuing north to The Galapagos Islands and back to England via Australia and New Zealand.
Although the novel is most famous for its comments on the adaptations of species he noticed on The Galapagos Islands, “The Voyage of the Beagle” also provides a fascinating account of Patagonia as it was in the 1830s. Darwin spent time collecting fossils of ground sloths and armadillo shells from the coasts of Patagonia and describes the crew’s experiences of violent storms when they rounded Cape Horn and their relief at escaping the tumultuous seas, unscathed.