Let’s go back in time. May 13th, 1959.
Only a few European scientists and explorers had visited the remote forests and valleys of the area known today as Torres Del Paine. Some of them were already settled there as land owners. These farmers agreed to set up limits between their private lands and public areas. “Parque Nacional de Turismo Lago Grey” (Grey Lake National Tourism Park) was born. The incredible Grey Glacier gave its name to the park.
There was an increasing interest both for the fragile landscapes of the area and the stunning granite formations of the mountain range. In 1970, the park was given its present name “Torres del Paine National Park”. The highlight of the area was the granite spires and some world-class trails were built to go and see them. However tourism really started booming in the 1990’s and tourists quickly started to understand Torres del Paine actually had lots of highlights. Social Media certainly helped and nowadays Torres del Paine National Park is amongst the most visited National Parks in Chile.
Some call it “the crown jewel of Patagonia”.
In 2013 5 million people voted for the National Park that was named the “8th Wonder of the World” (Source : VirtualTourist.com). I am personally convinced this is amongst the most beautiful places on the planet and this birthday is much more than a celebration: it is a time to remember the importance of protecting this natural paradise. We at EcoCamp believe conservation and tourism go together.
Even google celebrated Torres del Paine's birthday
Here’s why we believe it’s so important to celebrate Torres del Paine:
1. Its Variety of Landscapes is Unique
Torres Del Paine encompasses beautiful lakes, mountains, glaciers, forests, plains and waterfalls. Hike just a couple of hours and you may cross different worlds. The landscapes change all of the time and the trails are a world of colors. There is just so much to see in “only” 181,411 hectares, which is why we think this is amongst the most interesting places in South America. Spend a week there, you’ll never get bored.
2. Its Mountains are Incredibly Beautiful
In 1880 Lady Florence Dixie - the first tourist who ever visited the area - called the three granite towers “Cleopatra Needles”. It is true there is something romantic in such picture-perfect mountains. The truth is that the towers are just some of the numerous peaks that make this park so special. Take your time to observe Mt. Paine Grande, Los Cuernos, Mt. Fortaleza, the Shark’s Fin or Mt. Almirante Nieto and you’ll get what I mean by “picture-perfect”
3. Its Waters are Pure and Delicious
Few places on Earth have water in such big quantity. This is one of the main reasons why Torres del Paine (and the whole Patagonia!) must be protected. Its water is not only pure, it is fresh and tasty. I tend to say every water source has its own taste. This is true as you hike in the park. You will want to stop as often as possible to refill your water bottle because it feels so good.
Also, water here has lots of “faces”, whether it is in its solid (thank you, Southern Patagonian Ice Fields) or liquid form (all the lakes and waterfalls have something unique).
4. Its Hiking Trails are World-class
You will hardly find hiking trails as impressive as the W Trek and the Torres del Paine Circuit. Here nature literally dwarfs you and every single hike has lots of rewarding views. This is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with nature while hiking along majestic mountains. There is some infrastructure, so that’s a good balance between remoteness and comfort on a multi-day hike. There are also daily hikes that can be done. The towers’ base trek is for some reason the most famous hike in Patagonia, while you will also find less demanding trails here and there.
5. Its Wildlife is Abundant
If you are an animal lover or wildlife photographer, Torres del Paine is Heaven on Earth. The animals that inhabit the area are well protected so you will be happy to find the highest density of pumas in the region and hundreds of guanacos grazing in the plains. Torres del Paine is also a birdwatching paradise and it is common to see dozens of Condors flying together with incredible mountains in the background. Also, the endangered Southern Andean Deer (Huemul) inhabits the forests of the park so you might even spot a very rare animal while wandering in the lush green forests of the area.
6. Its Photography Spots are Amongst the Best on Earth
I am a photographer myself and believe me, I have seen few places on Earth with such a complexity of lights, colors and scenery. There are dozens of off-the-beaten-path spots to capture the immensity of Torres Del Paine and you can use a great variety of subjects to make your pictures shine. It is not for no reason this National Park became the most photographed place in Patagonia: this is just too perfect to be true.
7. Its vastness is perfect for the outdoors
You don’t necessarily have to be a hiker to enjoy Torres del Paine. Here, there are surprises for everyone and the park is huge enough to visit it as many times as possible and still find new things to do. You can fish in the Serrano river, kayak along icebergs in Grey Lake, mountain bike in the hilly plains of Laguna Azul, ride a horse at the foot of mountain range, hike on Grey Glacier or just meditate while contemplating the beauty of the land. Here there is no boredom, only adventure.
8. Its Energy is Incredibly Powerful
This is hard to define with words, but Torres del Paine has an incredible attraction on everyone who visits the area. I would say this is a matter of energy and for some reason the area is great if you want to connect with fellow travelers or practice Yoga or meditation.
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