For a part of the world that includes some of the most beautiful and spectacular landscapes in the world, it is not surprising that there are unlimited opportunities for hiking in Chile and Argentina. Those who are tempted by the idea of putting on their boots and walking: deserts, jungles, native forests, steep coasts and ice fields, should think about planning a trip to this part of the world.
Summer (November to March) is the best time of year to undertake a trip of this type if you are considering going to the Patagonia, but if it is not, you can take sensational walks throughout the year.
Both countries have an organized system of national parks and national monuments that protect and manage large areas of great natural beauty. Some of these parks, like Torres del Paine (in Chile) and Los Glaciares (in Argentina) are well known and are filled in high season, but most are little known and rarely visited and exceptionally beautiful. A good example of the latter is the Isluga Volcano National Park, near the border with Bolivia in northern Chile.
This park, along with other parks in the region, covers areas of the Altiplano of great natural beauty and those who venture here will be rewarded with unspoilt views of spectacular landscapes and sightings of many animals that are rare elsewhere, such as: guanaco, ñandú, vicuña, vizcacha, alpaca and llama, to name a few, and all this away from the crowds. In addition to the landscape and flora and fauna, this park is of great human interest. The Aymara people and their ancestors have lived here for at least 6000 years and nowadays the remote villages of the park are still populated by Aymara communities, which preserve many pre-Columbian traditions. The economy of the villages is based on livestock, agriculture and textiles (not tourism in the near future). Keep in mind that if you plan to go hiking in this park or any other in the Altiplano, you should take some time to acclimatize, unless you are from this region or from Nepal – at more than 4000 m above sea level, the park It will literally take your breath. far.
In many parks there are also spectacular opportunities to climb, and you do not need to be an experienced mountaineer to undertake some of the most amazing expeditions. There are many non-technical climbs that require a good level of fitness and an adventurous spirit; An example of such an ascent is to the top of the active volcano Villarica, in southern Chile. It is an ascent of 5 hours to the peak of 3000 m that requires the use of crampons and an ice ax. From the crater of the volcano, the views over the Lake District are impressive: green forests, lakes and other snowcapped volcanoes to the north and south. But what is truly unforgettable is the view from inside the crater: a swirl of molten rocks at 1000 degrees Celsius. One can not imagine being allowed to be near a volcanic crater overflowing with lava in Europe or North America – fortunately, that mime has not yet reached South America!
A backup in the north of Chile is the giant volcano Ojos del Salado. At just under 7,000 m, it is the largest volcano in the world and the second highest mountain outside the Himalayas. It is a non-technical climb but requires a very high level of physical fitness. It is curious that most people have never heard of this volcano that dwarfs Kilimanjaro, but their anonymity is a blessing since there is no tourist trail to Ojos del Salado.
The national parks of Chile and Argentina have much to offer and it is remarkable that many of them are still off the beaten track, perfect for those who love adventure vacations in nature.
TAGS: argentina, walk, Chile
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