In a ceremony that took place in Lima, Chile was recognized for the second year running as the leading destination for adventure tourism in South America in the World Travel Awards. This recognition was issued via a direct public vote and nomination defined by experts, placing us in a privileged international position.
To receive the award for Best Adventure Tourism Destination in South America, Chile had to compete against important leaders in the tourist industry, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay.
Since 1993, the World Travel Awards has highlighted excellence and awarded prizes to the industry’s best, which is why today it’s recognized as The Oscars of Tourism.
This recognition allows Chile to differentiate itself as a tourist destination across the world. It also provides a valuable opportunity to create an impact within the adventure tourism sector, sharing its attractions and naming the activities that can be experienced.
Debbie Feldman, executive director of Turismo Chile, the institution responsible for the promotion of Chile in international markets -and the organizers of ATTA Summit 2015- stated that “this new recognition strengthens our promotional efforts abroad. The Adventure Travel World Summit held in our country last year, showed Chile as a one of the countries with the greatest potential in the world for developing adventure activities, thanks to its diverse natural environments. “
The large geographical barriers that keep Chile isolated from the world, including the Atacama Desert in the north, the Pacific Ocean along the western coast, the imposing Andes Mountains to the east and the Patagonia, with its Antarctic territory, in the extreme south, blesses it with a distinctive character that allows for the practice of adventure activities in places where man has barely laid foot.
To place Chile in the spotlight and encourage people to develop a preference for our country when it comes to prizes, the Fundación Imagen de Chile led a digital campaign in coordination with the Undersecretary of Tourism, Sernatur and Turismo Chile that reached more than 2,7 million social media users between March 22 and Mayo 6th this year.
Adventure Tourism, all across Chile
The north and the Atacama Desert
For specialists in paragliding, the city of Iquique is considered to be one of the 10 most spectacular places in which to fly. In this area, between the Atacama Desert and the Pacific Ocean, not only can you find the best conditions for flying, but you can also enjoy a temperate climate that invites you to enjoy the beach and outdoor life.
A few kilometers south is San Pedro de Atacama, a town located in the middle of the driest desert in the world and base for exploring the landscapes of these incredible surroundings. Places including the Atacama Salt Lake, Moon Valley, the Geysers del Tatio and the Mountain Range of Salt, are geographic phenomenons that inspire exploration and adventure.
Volcanoes that surround these landscapes act like permanent watchmen over the landscapes. Climbing them is an experience that requires at least two days travel. Highlights include Licancabur, Láscar and Llullaillaco.
Glaciers and skiing in the Central Valley
Even though they’re in danger of extinction, Chile is home to more than 2.000 glaciers; most of them completely unknown. Close to the capital city, Santiago, it’s possible to reach some of these glaciers via walks that last between four and five hours. El Morado Glacier is located in Cajón de Maipo. Along the route to its entrance, you can see how the urban landscapes are rapidly exchanged for Mediterranean vegetation in little more than an hour.
During the winter, the snow that falls in this central zone of The Andes Mountains gives way to the best ski slopes in the southern cone. Activities are available for experts, beginners, hikers and adventure junkies all along these imposing mountains; the vertebral column that runs along the length of Chilean territory. Obvious highlights include skiing, but also cover snowboarding, tubing, randoné and treks using snow shoes.
The extreme south and the Patagonia
The Carretera Austral (The Southern Highway) runs for more than 1.200 kilometers from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins. The mayor part of the route is gravel road, requiring an adventurous spirit and plenty of patience as the journey can be tough. However, the effort that it takes to explore is well worth the sacrifice, as each kilometer of road offers incredible places to take photographs: forests, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, fjords, mountains and glaciers.
The Torres del Paine National Park is located in the extreme south of the Chilean Patagonia. It was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. It’s a protected space of 227.000 hectares, with an incredible interweaving of ecosystems that include lakes, glaciers, rivers, extensive meadows, waterfalls, forests and its very particular granite towers, which have positioned Chile as one of the best natural destinations on the planet, according to the magazine, National Geographic Traveler.
One of its most famous circuits, the W circuit, was selected by the Lonely Planet magazine as the best destination in the world for trekking across a number of days, without being too challenging in terms of altitude. The circuit was selected owing to its wide variety of spectacular views and for being one of the best ways in which to explore the Chilean Patagonia.