Chile makes New York Times top 2012 destinations – twice!

Two natural gems, Chiloé and Chilean Patagonia, are ranked in the top 45 by the leading U.S. newspaper.

Chiloé. (Photo: Monitos en la pared/Flickr)
Chiloé. (Photo: Monitos en la pared/Flickr)

Last year, Santiago de Chile was the number one place to visit in 2011 for the New York Times, in honor of its glittering cultural scene and unbeatable mountains-and-coast location.

But in 2012, the Andean nation goes one better with not one but two appearances on the newspaper’s “45 Places to Go in 2012.”

In at number eight is Chilean Patagonia, with its “snowy peaks, pristine rain forest and network of virgin national parks” making it “one of the world’s adventure hot spots.”

The report highlights the wide range of top adventure lodges which give access to the region’s stunning natural landscapes, such as Tierra Patagonia in Torres del Paine (“horseback riding over the steppes and boat outings on a glacial lake”) and Puma Lodge (“heli-skiing through miles of untouched powder).”

And the touches of luxury, like spas and heated indoor pools, make Chilean Patagonia “proof that adventure doesn’t have to mean roughing it.”

Close on the heels of Patagonia is the beautiful island of Chiloé, popping up further down the list at number 37.

“Just off the west coast of Chile,” says the Times, “where the land starts to look as if it had been broken apart by a jackhammer, Chiloé Island — known for its stilt houses, Unesco-anointed churches, nature preserves, unusual wildlife and raw natural beauty — is getting a facelift.”

Chiloé is the largest island in Chile and famous for the unique local culture and rich landscapes that it offers. The newspaper notes that, in recognition of Chiloé’s powerful tourist appeal, the Chilean government is investing in the island’s infrastructure, such as “new paved roads, a new ferry terminal and the soon-to-open Mocopulli Airport in the town of Castro, which will offer direct flights to Santiago.”

For more information and (if a trip to Chile isn’t enough) the full list of 45 destinations, check out the original New York Times article.