Tag Archives: national

Fire in Torres del Paine: Update 2nd Jan

[Latest update 27th Jan: Patricio Salinas, Regional President of CONAF announced on Twitter on 27th Jan: @Pato_Salinas ‘Catamaran’s working, refugio Paine Grande open but not at full capacity, Refugio Grey open, Valley Frances and the rest of the park is normal’]

[Update as of 25th Jan – Torres del Paine reopens fully: http://chile.travel/en/news/parque-nacional-torres-del-paine-reabre-todas-sus-zonas-tura-sticas.html]

[Latest update as of 13th January: Sernatur released information about open routes at 9th January (in Spanish) http://www.sernatur.cl/noticias/rutas-turisticas-disponibles-en-parque-nacional-torres-del-paine

We also have a map of the affected areas in the park as of 7th January:

[interim update at 6th January: the majority of the park has re-opened as anticipated, but the French Valley is currently closed to tourists. Further updates to follow.]

[latest information from the Chilean Tourist Board: http://www.sernatur.cl/torres-del-paine-update/situacion-en-torres-del-paine]


Following on from our original announcement about the fire in Torres del Paine, there’s now further clarity and some positive news:

The President has announced that the northern part of the park that has not been affected by the fire (including the majority of the ‘W Circuit’) wil reopen on Wednesday.

source: http://www.elpatagonico.cl/?p=27871

This map shows clearly the area affected by the fire. You’ll note that the main trekking area is to the north of Lago Nordenskjold.

Source: http://especiales.latercera.cl/INFOGRAFIAS/2012/incendio.html

What has happened to the Eastern shore of Lago Grey (the western strand of the W Circuit), and the southern part of the park is a terrible tragedy. However, it’s a blessing that the two other strands of the W Circuit (French Valley and Ascensio Valley) are unaffected.

Latest estimates are that 13,000 hectares of the park have been affected. In total the park covers over 240,000 hectares. So whilst the news is devasting it’s good to know that visitors will still be able to enjoy the majority of what this incredible destination has to offer.

More updates will follow.


Perito Moreno: the man, the glacier, the town, the national park

The first time you try to get to grips with Patagonian geography Perito Moreno can be the cause of great confusion.
Why on earth is the National Park 332km from the town! And why, oh why, is the town 695km from the Perito Moreno Glacier!

Why is the National park by the name of Perito Moreno different to the National Park that he was responsible for creating in 1903, and the first of its kind in Argentina. See all of these places on our Perito Moreno map.
The main answer to all of the above is that he was a spectacularly impressive bloke who achieved so much that his namesakes span far and wide, and well beyond just one place.

Francisco Moreno is one of Argentina’s great heroes. He was given the title Perito (an official title that translates, fairly poorly, to ‘expert’) in 1902, having successfully defined and gained international acceptance for the border with Chile, through a combination of extensive exploration, expert geography, careful diplomacy and pure passion for the region. The fact that there was no defined international border between these countries in the 20th century is testament to Patagonia’s incredible geography.

                                                                    (Glaciar Perito Moreno)

It’s fair to say that over the quarter century that preceded this award he discovered the majority of the Patagonian landmarks that draw visitors today: Mount FitzRoy, Lago Nahuel Huapi, the glacier that was, many years later, named after him. It’s difficult to imagine the hardships 19th century explorers into Patagonia endured. His first journey south from Buenos Aires to Nahuel Huapi took 4 1/2 months. The terrain ranges from semi arid desert to glaciers, vast lakes and rivers and 4,000m mountains. [Today you can cover the 1,600km journey from Buenos Aires to Bariloche by bus in 19 hours].  And it wasn’t just the environment that presented challenges – at one point he was captured by Indians and sentenced to death (he managed to escape the night before his execution). And yet he remained sensitive to the needs of the indigenous people and a vocal critic of the War of the Desert.

He was awarded land in Patagonia by the the Argentinian government in recognition of his services to his country, and in 1903 donated the majority of this to form the first National Park in Argentina, Nahuel Huapi. Some 18 years after his death, The Perito Moreno national park was also established  in his honour. The town of Perito Moreno several hundred kilometres north was given its new name in 1952, and whilst small (population less than 4,000) it is an important access point for the Cueva de Los Manos.

It’s humbling to think that one man could be so many things: explorer, geologist, paleontologist, diplomat, museum director, anthropologist, historian, teacher; and perhaps easier to see why the places named after him are several hundred miles apart.