Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The Colorado and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia. Tierra del Fuego, and sometimes the Falkland Islands are included as part of Patagonia. Most geographers and historians locate the northern limit of Chilean Patagonia at Reloncaví Estuary, To the South Chilean Patagonia is usually extended to the Straits of Magellan or prolonged to the Cape Horn.
In the second half of the 20th century, tourism became an ever more important part of Patagonia's economy. Originally a remote backpacking destination, the region has attracted increasing numbers of upmarket visitors, cruise passengers rounding Cape Horn or visiting Antarctica, and adventure and activity holiday-makers. Principal tourist attractions include the Perito Moreno glacier, the Valdés Peninsula, the Argentine Lake District and Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. Tourism has created new markets locally and for export for traditional crafts such as Mapuche handicrafts, guanaco textiles, and confectionery and preserves.
A spin-off from increased tourism has been the buying of often enormous tracts of land by foreigners, often as a prestige purchase rather than for agriculture. Buyers have included Sylvester Stallone, Ted Turner and Christopher Lambert, and most notably Luciano Benetton, Patagonia's largest landowner. His Compañia de Tierras Sud has brought new techniques to the ailing sheep-rearing industry and sponsored museums and community facilities, but has been controversial particularly for its treatment of local Mapuche communities.