In Chile, Patagonia remains pristine


With its monumental peaks, ancient glaciers and picture-perfect lakes and rivers, Patagonia is hardly a tough sell.

The region spans a small portion of the southern tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. But the majority of travelers continue to visit only the Argentine side, leaving the Chilean sections relatively pristine and untapped.

Chile’s Patagonian Magallanes region is its southernmost and least populated, made up of four provinces that include some of its heaviest hitters, like Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan. But the region is also home to Torres del Paine National Park, which, though one of the most popular parks in Chile, remains relatively undisturbed.

The main draw of the park is its Three Towers, which jut out in the distance like a crown over the park’s celestially blue glacial lakes and rivers. Hikers can opt for a day trip to the towers or walk the popular “W” route, which takes about five days.

To access the 935-square-mile park, travelers must fly from Santiago into Punta Arenas and take a three-hour drive to the lakeside city of Puerto Natales, population of less than 19,000. This, combined with limited accommodations, ensures that only an average of 150,000 visitors come to Torres del Paine National Park each year. Machu Picchu in Peru receives 400,000 visitors each year…

The Torres del Paine National Park is expected to receive 300,000 annual visitors by 2025. Photo Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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Fuente: http://www.travelweekly.com/South-America-Travel/In-Chile-Patagonia-remains-pristine#.VVx4cRdDUkY.email

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