Chile
The Route

CHILE

Chile is the country in South America occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.  It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south.  Along with Ecuador, it is one of only two countries in South America that do not border Brazil.  Chilean territory includes the Pacific island of Easter Island.  Chile also claims about 1,250,000 km2 of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

The shape of Chile is a distinctive ribbon of land 4,300 km long and on average 175 km wide.  Its climate varies, ranging from the world's driest desert – the Atacama – in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a rainy temperate climate in the south.  The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper.

Patagonia – Patagonia is known as the end of the earth.  Patagonia is a region located at the southern end of South America, a territory shared by Argentina and Chile, which comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains, the longest mountain chain on earth to the southwest towards the Pacific Ocean.  To the west, it includes the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.  (An archipelago is a chain or cluster of islands).

Home of the South Patagonian Icecap located in Los Glacier National Park is the world’s 3rd largest icecap.

Los Glacier National Park – Los Glacier National Park is a national park in the Santa Cruz Province, in Argentine Patagonia.  It comprises an area of 4,459 km2, of which 30% is covered by ice.  In 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The national park was created in 1937, is the second largest in Argentina.  Its name refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes range that feeds 47 large glaciers, of which only 13 flow towards the Atlantic Ocean.  The ice cap is the largest outside of Antarctica and Greenland.  In other parts of the world, glaciers start at a height of at least 2,500m above mean sea level, but due to the size of the ice cap, these glaciers begin at only 1,500m, sliding down to 200m above mean sea level, eroding the surface of the mountains that support them.

Tierra del Fuego – Tierra del Fuego is Spanish for "Fireland" is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan.  The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of 48,100 km2, and a group of smaller islands including Cape Horn.

Torres Del Paine (Towers of Paine) – Torres Del Paine is a national park encompassing mountains, a glacier, a lake, and river-rich areas in southern Chilean PatagoniaTorres Del Paine is famous for its granite pillars soaring almost vertically more than 2000m above the Patagonian steppe.

Torres Del Paine is considered South America’s finest national park.

And there you have a summary of my Longest Road South through 24 countries in 2 1/2 years.