Travel industry experts have included Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia as one of the top travel destinations for 2014. The stunning region, located in the south of Chile, boasts breathtaking scenery and was voted the 8th Wonder of the World by VirtualTourist, part of the Tripadvisor Media Group, in June, 2013.
The nine-strong panel comprised the likes of Nick Laing, chairman of Steppes Travel; Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell, co-owner of Cazenove and Loyd; and Jill Taylor, luxury consultant at Jetset World Travel.
Torres del Paine spans 935 square miles and borders Bernardo O’Higgins National Park to the west and the Los Glaciares National Park to the north in Argentina. The park is one of 11 protected areas in the Magallanes Region and Chilean Antarctica — within which can be found beautiful valleys, flowing rivers and gigantic glaciers.
The panel explained that popular destinations like Brazil should be avoided during blockbuster events, especially in the next few years.
“We are advising clients to avoid Brazil during its World Cup and Olympic years,” said Wilmot-Sitwell. “The hotels and flights are a rip-off and the infrastructure will be creaking.”
Instead, Wilmot-Sitwell suggests a trip to Chile’s Patagonia region, where a host of stylish hotels have recently opened in remote wilderness settings. One of these, Awasi, launched as recently as November very close to the Torres del Paine massif.
“Off the beaten track self-drive is a real trend for 2014,” said Laing, who recommends the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia for road trip holidays along the Carretera Austral, a 700-mile thoroughfare connecting remote communities.
Chile’s southern region is incredibly popular with hikers, who flock to Torres del Paine to ramble the many famous routes, each interspersed with refugios and camping spots. National Geographic magazine also elected the park as the 5th most beautiful place in the world.
Among the other destinations chosen by the panel are Södermalm, an island in Stockholm’s city centre; Zimbabwe, notably Hwange National Park; and Iran.