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Overview

It's hard to choose among or even name all of Chilean Patagonia's highlights, simply because this panhandle of islands, channels, fjords, forests, mountains and icefields has enough for a lifetime. It's subjective whether the granite pinnacles and basalt-capped horns of Torres del Paine National Park comprise the world's most beautiful mountain range, but for anyone who's seen them, they're unquestionably in the running. Without a doubt, the park is Chile's top attraction, but all the territory south of Puerto Montt, stretching to Cape Horn, holds an infinity of equally wild landscapes that only a relative handful of visitors ever ...

It's hard to choose among or even name all of Chilean Patagonia's highlights, simply because this panhandle of islands, channels, fjords, forests, mountains and icefields has enough for a lifetime. It's subjective whether the granite pinnacles and basalt-capped horns of Torres del Paine National Park comprise the world's most beautiful mountain range, but for anyone who's seen them, they're unquestionably in the running. Without a doubt, the park is Chile's top attraction, but all the territory south of Puerto Montt, stretching to Cape Horn, holds an infinity of equally wild landscapes that only a relative handful of visitors ever see.

Along the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway), Pumalín Natural Park's lush temperate rainforests may be the world's most ambitious private conservation project, while the Futaleufú River is, by consensus, one of the world's top five whitewater rivers. The three-day ferry from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales (the gateway to Torres del Paine) offers modest amenities but cruise ship scenery at a fraction of the cost, while passengers on the legitimately luxurious cruise from Punta Arenas through the fjords of Tierra del Fuego enjoy even more stunning wildlands.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: South America, in southern part of Chile. Chilean Patagonia begins at the Pacific ocean in Valdivia through río Calle Calle towards the cordillera of the Andes up to its highest peaks.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Chilean Peso
  • Research: Coyhaique | Chilean Patagonia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer (October to April), but the season is lengthening