In October, 2015, I was lucky to attend an Adventure Travel World Summit in Puerto Varas, Chile, in which North Face founder and billionaire Doug Thompkins delivered a keynote presentation. I remember feeling skeptical about his vision for the vast land donation his foundation was making to Chile’s government in order to create national parks. Back then he remarked to Wanderlust reporter Graeme Green, “we’re working towards a plan to make the Carretera Austral, the Southern Highway, a 2,000km scenic highway from Puerto Montt all the way down to Puerto Williams on Tierra del Fuego, with access to 17 national parks. There’d be no road like that in the world that has access to 17 national parks. That’s pretty amazing.”
It took three more years - until late 2018 - for the La Ruta de los Parques (Route of Parks) to launch, an exciting milestone for nature exploration and conservation. I’m especially a fan of an itinerary called “Route of Parks of Patagonia & Carretera Austral”, put together by my longtime colleague and new Tomorrow’s Air Champion Raffaele di Biase, a naturalist guide and founder of BirdsChile. This itinerary, focused in the Carretera Austral and the Aysén Region of the new Route of Parks, guides visitors for nine days of hiking and paddling along lakes and glaciers, with snowy peaks in the distance, sleeping at night in small boutique lodges like the Terra Luna.
When I mentioned the trip to the President of the Route of Parks committee, Ximena Castro Rojas, she immediately sent me a whatsapp message effusing about the Aysén Region, “it’s like a paradise, this place - the wildlife, plants, natural hot springs… I used to go there in my 20s, my journeys in this place transformed me and marked the beginning of a life spent traveling and exploring.”
Knowing the inspiration and work behind the Route of Parks as well as the commitment, creativity, and professionalism of people like Raffaele helping to share it, I highly recommend this experience.
As a benefits provider with Tomorrow’s Air, BirdsChile is also offering an exclusive discount of five percent in all BirdsChile departures. Tomorrow’s Air Champions will receive an additional two percent discount.
Visit the BirdsChile website to learn more.
- Christina Beckmann