The rescue of the Chilean miners isn’t the only good news coming out of the South American country. There are bright spots on the travel front too, including everything from new eco-resorts to the world’s largest telescope.
The amazing rescue of the 33 Chilean miners had the world transfixed on this vast and varied country. As the celebration of that dramatic episode winds down, we felt now was as good a time as any to direct your attention to some of the amazing new travel opportunities awaiting in Chile as well. Following is a round-up of our Top Three Chilean Travel Experiences:
Seeing is Believing: Chile gets the World’s Biggest Telescope
Northern Chile has been touted by experts as having “the cleanest skies in the world,” making its astronomical potential unlimited. Underscoring the area’s importance, the largest telescope in the world, VISTA, was recently installed by the intergovernmental science and technology organization ESO (European Southern Observatory) in Cerro Amazones in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The telescope is capable of capturing, at every shot, a section of the sky equivalent to ten times the area of the full moon. You won’t be able to gaze through the VISTA, but Chile and ESO boast an Astronomical Route that allows visits to other observatories in the region including La Silla, Cerro Paranal.
Pure Patagonia: New eco-luxe hotel opens in Torres del Paine
Tierra Patagonia, a new luxury property developed by the owners of the renowned boutique hotel Tierra Atacama, is currently being developed on the shores of Lago Sarmiento, in the dramatic setting of Torres del Paine National Park. An intimate, 40-room property, Tierra Patagonia is being designed to be in harmony with the environment and blend in with the spectacular surroundings. Scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2011, the hotel will be constructed entirely of local materials and will also feature a spa.
Cruise of a different nature: Cruceros Australis
Adventure-seekers looking for a new option to experience a few days at the bottom of the world will be excited to learn Cruceros Australis will have a new expedition cruise ship in operation for the 2010 – 2011 season. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the small-ship cruise line sails in one of the planet’s most virgin territories: Chilean-Argentine Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Just under 300 feet, the new vessel, Stella Australis, features 100 cabins and holds 210 passengers. Stella Australis will have three lounges equipped with modern audiovisual equipment, a dining room, an exercise room, and a spacious open deck area where passengers can observe the spectacular Southern scenery. Cruceros Australis navigates between the Argentine city of Ushuaia and the Chilean city of Punta Arenas, passing through the Strait of Magellan, and the Beagle Channel in the extreme South of the American continent.