See our full list of Where to Go in 2015.
In a single day in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, we were lucky enough to see herds of guanaco, baby ostriches, and condors gliding through the sky. The clouds parted to give us a glimpse at the famous "towers" and "horns," and we gazed at the gigantic Grey Glacier from afar, while enjoying the views of several large icebergs from up close. We also visited the section of the park destroyed by the wildfire and are happy to report that it is slowly coming back to life. We were graced with a mild, partly cloudy November day for hiking, although our traveling companions told us the day prior they experienced snow. One of the charms (and challenges) of Patagonia is the opportunity to experience all four seasons in one day.
For us, Torres del Paine more than lived up to its reputation of being one of the most stunning places on earth. Since we only had a single day at the park, we chose to do a series of shorter day hikes so we could see more of what the park had to offer. We stayed at the Singular Patagonia hotel in Puerto Natales, and we had a fantastic guide and van transport that allowed us the flexibility of doing one-way hikes.
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Sunrise at the End of the Earth
I saw the best sunrise of my life at the End of the Earth. Torres Del Paine National Park in Southern Patagonia is one of the world's most beautiful places. Located at 51°S & 73°W, about 200 miles north of Punta Arenas, Chile, this park is truly a wonder of fire and ice. It also boasts one of the best hotels in all of the Americas—the famed Explora Lodge (http://www.explora.com/explora-patagonia/). It's expensive but worth it. If the weather cooperates, the mountains and sky make for some of the most amazing sights on Earth. This photo was shot about 300 yards from the back of the Explora, looking out over a small lake onto the Cerro Paine range. The fist day I tried shooting the sunrise, nothing happened. I sat out in the cold for two hours and barely saw a hint of red. The next day, I almost gave up and slept in, but, at the last moment, packed up my gear and climbed a nearby hill. I could hardly believe my eyes when the sky exploded into the best sunrise of my life.