The Depths of Patagonia

Torres del Paine - glossy photos of Torres del Paine can be found in coffee table books around the world, but no photo does the landscape justice. It is the one place everybody who visits Chile wants to see - and understandably so. The jagged granite peaks rise almost vertically up 3000 metres cutting a skyline that would strike fear into the heart of Frodo Baggins.

The park has good infrastructure and well marked walking trails. The most spectacular sights can be reached on day walks, but keen walkers can spend a week doing the complete park circuit. Besides walking there is good scope for horse riding and boat trips out to some of the fiords and glaciers of neighbouring O'Higgins national park.

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales - is the closest town to the park, about an hour's drive on the new road. It is the best base for exploring the park (other than staying in the park) and the surrounding Magallanes region.

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas - three hours south of Puerto Natales is Punta Arenas, the only city in the area and the arrival / departure point for air and sea travel. It is an attractive city, its grand architecture reflecting the huge prosperity that the wool trade brought in the early 20th century. There are penguin colonies close to the city, the largest and most spectacular is on Isla Magdelena, which can be reached by boat as a day trip.

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