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5. Great National Parks


Argentina and Chile: Patagonia Your Own Way

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui   Photograph courtesy of Geographic Expeditions
Photo: Patagonia's jagged peaks
PEAK SENSATION: Taking in Patagonia's spectacular view

WHAT'S NEW: "Fewer and fewer travelers are taking scheduled group departures—the baby boomers and twentysomethings want individualized trips," says Jim Sano, president of Geographic Expeditions. "We're taking private trips into places like Patagonia, where there are incredible national parks in the making in Argentina and Chile." Next year the 25-year-old San Francisco–based outfitter will lead custom treks into areas where nonprofit Conservación Patagónica is turning enormous estancias into protected public reserves and national parks. The goal, says Sano, is to create sustainable tourism projects—such as El Rincón, a 35,000-acre (14,164-hectare) former ranch along the spine of the Andes that is now a beautiful preserve with a nearby guest lodge—in locations that are breathtaking and virtually trail-less. 

ON THE GROUND:
 Your options are based on group interest and physical ability and can include exploring Torres del Paine National Park and the Fitz Roy massif, trekking up peaks that have rarely been climbed, or fly-fishing for Patagonia's behemoth 13-pound (6-kilogram) trout. GeoEx will eventually develop fixed itineraries to some of these locales; going now means that you can choose your own path through the untrammeled wilderness.

Vitals

Outfitter:
Geographic Expeditions (www.geoex.com)

Length:
14 to 21 days

Price:
$5,600 to $9,500

Difficulty:
Moderate

Departs:
January through March


Cover: Adventure magazine

Our November 2006 issue features the best new adventure travel trips; an exclusive look inside Iran; a Greenland global warming report; backcountry spas; digital cameras; travel Web sites; weekend getaways; and more.

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