At the southern tip of the South American continent, Patagonia is truly an end-of-the-world place. The Chilean portion has the vast and desolate steppe found in Argentina, but in the areas west of the Andes, there are also forests of conifers and beech. Here, high precipitation and cold air have combined to create the huge Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields, with massive glaciers spilling into numerous fjords. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978, the 600,000-acre Torres del Paine National Park, with its landscape of wild pampas, icebergs and crystal-blue lakes, is paradise for nature lovers.

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