The most beautiful scenic route already exists – and it’s in Chile.

Imagine a route featuring 2,800 kilometers (1,700 miles) of pristine landscapes, connecting the Carretera Austral with Patagonian Channels and the Ruta del Fin del Mundo: The route to the end of the world. Covering 11.5 million hectares (28 million acres), there are 17 stunning national parks stretching from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn, one of the wildest corners of our planet. Here you will find untouched and pristine landscapes, diverse ecosystems and local flora and fauna - combined with the rich history and cultural heritage maintained by the more than 60 local communities living in the region. The "Ruta de los Parques" is a unique destination in the south of Chile, truly one-of-a-kind. But that's not all - the idyllic route has many benefits: 


       Protecting Nature

The park features 11.5 million hectares (28 million acres) of pristine ecosystems, home to species at risk of extinction, such as plants like the Alerce (Fitzroya) tree, or animals like the Canquén Colorado (Ruddy-Headed Goose), the Pudú Deer, the Huemul (South Andean Deer), and the Huillín (Southern River Otter), among others. But not only endangered species find their protection here. Rather, you might also see pumas, Chilean forest cats, sea lions, guanacos, dolphins and penguins in the various national parks. Discovering those impressive animals in their natural environment is truly a breathtaking moment.


        Local Economic Development

A long time ago, Patagonia has been settled by native people. Among them, the "Chono", nomadic people, who sailed the islands and canals of Patagonia with their canoes. They hunted sea lions and fished and collected shells and algae along the coast. The "Aonikenks" were nomads who traveled Patagonia by foot. They were experienced hunters and used spears, bows and arrows to hunt guanacos and ostriches. The “Yámanas” were the southernmost inhabitants of the world, fishermen and collectors who sailed the waters in the south. Nowadays, those aboriginals hardly exist anymore - but the traditions and customs are still partly to be found in the approximately 60 local communities in the region. The "Ruta de los Parques" assists in the economic development of these communities, through sustainable and ecologically-minded tourism that spurs investment as well as the local job market.  


        Connecting Far-Flung Regions

The Route of Parks stretches along one-third of Chile, connecting 17 National Parks and spanning three regions of Chile (Los Lagos, Aysén, and Magallanes). It includes the Carretera Austral, the Patagonian Channels, and the Ruta del Fin del Mundo. On the way to the end of the world one will discover the differences and peculiarities of the diverse regions with their breathtaking nature and landscape.


        Developing Chile’s International Image

Chile has been voted South America's premier adventure travel destination by the World Travel Awards in recent years. It is truly a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Route of Parks strengthens Chile’s image as a world-class destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, bringing increasingly more tourists to the country. In 2016, over half of foreign visitors to Chile were attracted to the country for its outdoor and adventure offerings, and in 2017, tourism in Chile increased 14%.Within the National Parks you will find a variety of landscapes, including volcanoes, fjords, islands, lakes, glaciers and forests. Every outdoor heart beats faster here.


National Parks are the oldest and most enduring conservation strategy. It is the highest category of protection for a geographic area and the strongest guarantee that an ecosystem will be cared for and preserved not only for today, but for generations to come. National Parks play many different roles, including providing sanctuaries for biodiversity and thus maintaining the natural cycles. Moreover they help bolstering local economies, protecting natural and cultural heritage, and offering ideal spaces for recreation and scientific research. But not only that: Those spaces––open to everyone, equally––provide visitors with a beautiful, wild environment that encourages reflection on the relationship between nature and society while raising awareness of our nature. National parks are therefore particularly important for combating climate change and preserving our impressive planet.


The Creation

The "Ruta de los Parques" originated as an initiative of Tompkins Conservation. In March 2017, Tompkins Conservation signed an agreement with the Chilean government. The foundation donated more than 408 thousand hectares (one million acres) to create 5 new national parks and to expand 3 existing ones. The Chilean government contributed nearly 995 thousand hectares (2.5 million acres) and reclassified 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres) of of nature reserves as National Parks, the highest protection category for a geographical area. These new National Parks, along with those already in existence, helped to form the Patagonian "Ruta de los Parques": 11.5 million hectares (28 million acres) of protected land in 17 National Parks––the equivalent of three times the size of Switzerland.



To be recognized as the most important conservation route in the world, promoting Chile as a pristine natural destination for outdoor tourism as well as becoming an international model for ecologically-minded economic development.



Promote and protect the natural and cultural heritage of the Chilean Patagonia and the 17 National Parks that make up the route, in addition to fostering economic development through tourism that safeguards the natural riches of this special place.



To become the route connecting the largest number of National Parks in the world, thereby strengthening Chile’s international image, creating opportunities for economic development, and inspiring local communities to value and protect their natural heritage, viewing it as a source of belonging and pride.



Tompkins Conservation 

Kris and Doug Tompkins have laid the foundation for the Tompkins Conservation Foundation, a group of nonprofit organizations that have been working to create national parks for more than 20 years. Kris and Doug Tompkins founded or managed well-known companies such as The North Face, Esprit and Patagonia, and are known for their efforts to acquire and donate private land to create new national parks. 

When Kris and Doug moved from the US to Chile, they fell in love with the landscape and rich wildlife of the country. In addition, Chile offered them great potential for both recreation and conservation. Before his death in 2015 Doug has worked to recover imperiled wildlife, demonstrate organic agricultural practices, promote healthy local communities, and support leading-edge activism.He also built national parks in Patagonia: with his personal wealth, Doug has bought more than 324 thousand hectares (800 thousand acres) of wilderness. He turned this land into publicly accessible nature reserves, since he wanted to ensure the protection and rescue of biodiversity in this region. Under the continuing leadership of his wife Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, these pioneering efforts continue through the Tompkins Conservation umbrella of nonprofit organizations and through the support of other like-minded organizations.

The rehabilitation of wild animals, the implementation of ecologically-oriented cultivation methods and the promotion of the well-being of the locals always come first. Thus, the "Ruta de los Parques" stands for environmental activism and the support of the local communities and is clearly worth a visit.

You have questions about Chile and its incomparable nature or would like to send your customers to the "Ruta de los Parques"? Our South America Specialists are happy to help.



These information can be found at  Ruta de los Parques & Tompkins Conservation.

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