Patagonia is a region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean and from the east of the mountain range to the valleys it follows the Colorado River south towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, it includes the territory of Valdivia through Tierra del Fuego archipelago.
The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the native people that his expedition thought to be giants. It is now believed the Patagons were actually Tehuelches with an average height of 180 cm (~5′11″) compared to the 155 cm (~5′1″) average for Europeans of the time.
Established in 1934, the Nahuel Huapi National Park is the oldest national park in Argentina. It surrounds Nahuel Huapi Lake in the foothills of the PatagonianAndes. The largest of the national parks in the region, it has an area of 7,050 km2 (2,720 sq mi), or nearly 2 million acres. Its landscapes represent the north Patagonian Andean Zone consisting of three types, namely, the Altoandino (with perpetual snow above an altitude of 1,600 metres (5,200 ft)), the Andino-Patagónico (in the lower reaches of the hills) and the Patagonian steppe. I't also represents small parts of the Valdivian Rainforest.
The park and the reserve lie at an altitude of 720–3,574 metres (2,360–11,726 ft), and are designated under IUCN management categories II (National Park) and IV (Management Reserve). The park is completely protected while the reserve is partially protected. The national park is dominated by the high mountain chain of the Andes, many lakes, rapid rivers, waterfalls, snow-clad peaks, glaciers and extensive forests. It is bordered by Chile on its western side.