Road to paradise

Chile’s plans for an ambitious new tourist route in the south

Joint project with Argentina will stretch for more than 170 miles across the andes taking in the mountain scenery of both countries

Friday, October 04, 2013  
The planned route will take in parts of Chile’s Carretera Austral region as well as several province The planned route will take in parts of Chile’s Carretera Austral region as well as several provinces of Argentina. Photo via Sernatur

 

Winding through valleys full of evergreen trees, alongside crystal blue rivers and around the mighty snow capped Andes mountains, this is the aim for a new tourism trail set to run for nearly 200 hundred miles and through both Chile and Argentina.

The trail will run through Chilean provinces Alto Palena and Futalefú — famous for the world-class rafting offered by the eponymous river — located in Chile’s wild, beautiful Carretera Austral region as well as several adjoining provinces in Argentina.

The initiative — known as El Paraíso del Encuentro, a name alluding to the paradise of the adjoining regions — is a joint venture between both private and public groups from Chile and its neighbor.

Representatives of all the regions met recently to promote plans for the ambitious new project. Discussing the initiative, Director of Tourism for the Los Lagos region, Nancy Vera, expressed her optimism for the planned route’s potential to allow visitors greater freedom to enjoy this rich and diverse area.

“It is important to remember that for tourists district limits of each region are only a piece of data because the travelling experience transcends geographical limits,” said Vera.

The Chilean tourism director also stressed the advantages of a joint project with a neighboring country.

“In this sense the fraternal union that has been developed between representatives of the public and private sectors from both sides of the [Andes mountains] is a good example of a joint, cooperative project that will certainly bring benefits due to the enormous potential of the region,” explained Vera.

Asides from the rich Patagonian landscapes and the range of activities available, this part of the world, specifically around the mighty Futalefú river, is also famous as the place where US outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid from the law during their journeys through the continent in the late 19th Century.

Although previously overshadowed by other world famous parts of the Chilean Patagonia, the Carretera Austral region has seen a recent boom in the numbers of adventurous travelers keen to experience the area's unique landscapes first hand.

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