Chilean Patagonia is “one of the planet’s last great wild places”

An extreme guide to top destinations in Patagonia, from the national parks of Torres del Paine and Pali-Aike to the Chilean Fjordlands and Strait of Magellan.

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The lure of Patagonia’s extravagant natural beauty and extreme conditions attracts brave souls from around the world to crash through her rivers, stomp up her mountains, and paddle through her waters.

Indeed, Patagonia is home to several “expedition races,” multi-day, multi-disciplinary races that require individuals and teams to brave the wilderness of the southern tip of the world for a chance to win. One of these, the annual Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, is next scheduled for February 2012 and requires participants to hike, rock climb, sea kayak and mountain bike through a 10-day course.

After the 2011 Wenger race, one intrepid reporter wrote of his experience competing in the grueling event amidst the stunning natural scenery.

“I have spent almost two months in the region, most of it outdoors and immersed in lands so wild that few humans will ever see them,” writes U.S. reporter Stephen Regenold for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“Patagonia is one of the planet’s last great wild places.”

Regenold’s adventure guide to regional highlights includes well-known attractions like the fabulous Torres del Paine national park, the crown jewel in Chile’s extensive national park system and host to thousands of visitors a year, as well as lesser known attractions like the Pali-Aike national park and Isla Navarino.

Headed to Torres del Paine? Be sure to check out the adventure guide’s recommendations for sea kayaking in the Patagonian fjords, accessible from the backpackers’ town of Puerto Natales near the entrance to the national park.

Stuck with extra energy and an extra day in Punta Arenas? Head to the Pali-Aike national park a few hours away, where “worn dirt roads lead to craters and vague trails, rarely traveled and little-known.”

For many, reading an adventure guide just isn’t enough – the only option is to get out there and experience it for yourself. Check out our information on transportation in Chile, and start planning for your next big adventure in the untamed beauty of Patagonia.