pumalin chileLast week we posted a travel feature story on Pumalin Park, located in the Patagonia region of Chile. Sometimes luxury means truly getting away from it all and finding real wilderness apart from crowds and bustle. This “Yosemite of South America” delivers, covering 740,000 acres that are seldom occupied by more than a fraction of the visitors the big North American national parks see.

A typical tour of Pumalin goes four or five days, and many begin it by getting there on a boat ride that starts out from the southern city of Puerto Montt. This recommended boat trip navigates through the park’s often windy but stunning fjords, with stops at a natural hot springs and an organic farm once inside the park boundaries. The boat trip eventually arrives at the park lodge in Caleta Gonzalo, which boasts seven tasteful, rustic–looking cabins capable of holding as many as 5 people.

This is not a place like the Galapagos where anyone who can fog up a mirror is able to obtain a tourism license to sponsor trips. The park was enabled by Douglas Tompkins, the founder of North Face, who bought up the land to keep it pristine. Tourism concessions are limited on purpose and you won’t find megaresorts flying people in by private jet. This is the other side of luxury travel: keep things unspoiled so that your grandchildren can also find a place for quiet contemplation later…

Eco-touring Pumalin Park in Chilean Patagonia