Lay of the Land
“Chile, that remote land that few people can locate on the map because it's as far as you can go without falling off the planet...[It] lies at the end of all roads, a lance to the south of the south of America, four thousand three hundred kilometers of hills, valleys, lakes, and sea. ”~Isabel Allende
As a country, Chile is as long as the United States is wide, with Patagonia in the southern tip and the Atacama Desert in the north, near Bolivia and Peru. The capital, Santiago, is located in the middle of the country. Flights to Puerto Montt take two hours and flights to Punta Arenas, the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine National Park, takes three hours.
Getting to Torres del Paine requires a long journey and most often includes a flight as well as a drive. Flights into Puntas Arenas depart daily from Santiago and take approximately three hours. Torres del Paine National Park is located an additional four-hour drive from the airport. Another option is to visit Argentina’s Patagonia first, flying from Buenos Aires into El Calafate (a three-hour flight). After a few nights there, visitors can head to Torres del Paine by car (a four-hour drive). Alternatively, there are also expeditionary cruises that depart from Ushuaia, Argentina and make their way around the tip of the continent before landing in Punta Arenas. For an up close look at Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan, there’s no better way to go.