Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Oct 17, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer

Having the opportunity to visit this icon of Patagonia for the day is one of the many highlights of our expedition, and it didn’t disappoint. This landscape has been shaped by glaciers thousands of years ago with the vestiges of that era still clinging to the surrounding peaks. Winds and water have been putting the finishing touches on it since the last Ice Age ended, and one can only expect that when exploring the Patagonia steppe, or Pampa, you’ll be touched by both. At just under 500,000 acres or 700 square miles, Paine (blue) sees almost a quarter million visitors each year. The Paine Cordillera is the central feature with its torres (towers) of granite reaching over 2,500 meters. Not part of the Andes Mountains, the Paine massif is only 80 million years old and is a distinctive geologic formation. Today we set out to get the most of our time here. Half set out on a near 5 mile hike through the steppe, where guanaco roamed along the trail, Andean condors soared overhead, and even an elusive puma was spotted rested under a granite cliff face observing its domain. The remainder of our guests set out to see more of the park, stopping at the various points of interest to take it all in.  

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About the Author

Doug Gualtieri


Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For over seven years he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park.

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