Literature

Our Top Reads

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This Thing of Darkness - Harry Thompson

The incredible tale of two hugely influential men - Captain Robert Fitzroy and Charles Darwin, the voyage of the Beagle and the plight of the native indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego. An excellent read for those that don't want heavy history but a wonderfully told story.

Of Love and Shadows - Isabel Allende

Written by one of Chile's most famous authors, her second book, set during the dark days of the Pinochet dictatorship, tells the story of two journalists prepared to risk everything for justice and truth.

Mischief in Patagonia - H. W. Tilman

An extraordinary story from a classic old British sailor and explorer or sailing the Atlantic, negotiating the Magellan Strait and crossing the Southern Patagonian ice-field.

Chile: Travels in a Thin Country - Sara Wheeler

A light hearted and entertaining read of travelling the length of Chile; the book also lends itself to gaining some background knowledge on Chilean history and culture.

A Wildlife Guide to Chile

This beautiful guide full of maps, charts and diagrams is a must have for anyone with an interest in Chilean wildlife. Learn about the best places to view wildlife; with information enabling quick field identification, you will have the best chance to spot as much wildlife as possible while in Patagonia.

An Englishman in Patagonia - John Pilkington

John Pilkington beautifully details his 8 month backpacking trip along the Andes and through Patagonia. Spurred on by the tales of legendary adventurers such as Ferdinand Magellan and Captain Fitzroy, Pilkington sets out to lift the veil on the mystery surrounding Patagonia.

Read Tom's full review of An Englishman in Patagonia in our magazine.

In Patagonia - Bruce Chatwin

Of course no list is complete without this classic. In Patagonia, although more of a literary phenomenon then something hugely insightful about the kind of places you'll see in Patagonia, has some wonderful descriptions of characters and experiences.

Other Reading

Early exploration

  • Across Patagonia (Lady Florence Dixie, 1880)
  • Where Tempests Blow (Michael Mason, 1931)
  • At Home with the Patagonians (George Chaworth-Musters, 1871) – Muster’s own tale of travels in Patagonia and living with the indigenous Tehuelche people during 1869.
  • Voyage of the Beagle (Charles Darwin, 1839)

Classic Travel Literature

  • The Old Patagonian Express (Paul Theroux, 1979) – a classic.
  • Motorcycle Diaries (Ernesto Che Guevara, 1952)

Modern Travel

  • The Trail to Titicaca (Ruppert Attlee, 2001)
  • Thunder and Sunshine (Alastair Humphreys, 2007)
  • Between Extremes (Brian Keenan & John McCarthy, 1999)
  • Bad Times in Buenos Aires (Miranda France, 1999)
  • Indigenous History

The Uttermost Part of the Earth (Lucas Bridges, 1948) – a captivating account of the early days of Ushuaia and life amongst the, now vanished, indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego.

Chilean & Argentinian Literature

  • My Invented Country (Isabel Allende, 2003)
  • The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende, 1985)
  • Daughter of Fortune (Isabel Allende, 1999)
  • Ines of My Soul (Isabel Allende, 2006)
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Pablo Neruda, 1924)
  • Labyrinths (Jorge Luis Borges, 1962)

Language

Most Chilean and Argentinian people in the tourism industry will speak very good English, and your guides will always be Spanish-English speaking unless otherwise specified.

If you're travelling more independently then some basic Spanish skills will serve you well, particularly in arranging things like transport and accommodation. 

If you don't speak Spanish, we'd recommend coming prepared with a good English Spanish dictionary, as well as some knowledge of some basic phrases.

Chloe says

Films

Wildlife Safari - Cascada 2

The trip is booked, you're fantasising about the new trekking gear you should get, and you're hungry to find out more about Patagonia. Here are a few recommendations to inform and inspire you before your big trip.

In Patagonia

In Patagonia charts the journey of an elderly Argentine lady exploring her roots in Wales, and a Welsh couple visiting Patagonia. It is filmed mainly in northern Patagonia, around the Chubut Valley with some incredible shots of the steppe, and in the beautiful landscape of Wales. It received mixed reviews, but the shots of northern Patagonia are stunning and we certainly enjoyed it. 

Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race 2011: The Last Wild Race

The 10 day race may not be everyone's cup of tea, but this is a good one to enjoy from your armchair. The race is run in southern Chilean Patagonia every year, through both iconic national parks and areas that are very rarely seen. You'll be wowed by the landscapes as much as by the endeavours of the participants of the race.

A Story for Tomorrow

A short video of Chile and Patagonia filmed by a couple whilst on a 5 week trip exploring the country. With some beautiful landscape, scenery and wildlife shots, this film has a personal feel and lets you experience what your own trip might be like.

A Line Across The Sky

This film follows two elite rock climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold, in their attempt to climb the The Fitz Roy Traverse: one of the most sought after achievements in modern alpinism. This entertaining and inspiring film is a must see for its stunning views of the Fitz Roy Range and surrounding areas.