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Winter sun: 3 warm weather destinations

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Torres del Pain and the Chilean Fjords

“Cruising the Chilean fjords and Patagonia means [exploring] off the beaten track,” says Maren Stünkel of Buckingham Yachts International. “You are offered dramatic landscapes, from the Andean plateau to spectacular glaciers. [And you’ll] spot wildlife in its natural habitat and connect with nature.”

One of the best adventurous destinations to visit by superyacht, Chile’s coast is long, nearly 6,500 kilometres and the Chilean fjords can be divided into three main cruising areas from north to south: the Chilean Lake District and Chiloé Island; Torres del Paine and the Chilean fjords; and Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. If you have three weeks to explore, you could visit all three; however, if you only have a week or so, it’s best to concentrate on one region.

For the Torres del Paine cruising area, begin with a land program in Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve with hiking opportunities ranging from several hours to a week or more. Afterward, join your explorer yacht in Puerto Natales and begin your fjords journey with the challenging Kirke Narrows, known for its powerful currents. “You can easily spend several days in this area, discovering hidden bays and untouched islands,” says Stünkel.

Next, continue south east to Chile’s third-largest national park, Alberto de Agostini, with its islands, peninsulas, channels, glaciers and snowdrifts. While here, “take the opportunity to experience Patagonia’s ‘cold rain forest,’ ” recommends Stünkel. In nearby Karukinka Natural Park, at the edge of the Tierra del Fuego, scout for condors, albatross and petrels, as well as elephant seals.

Finally, cruise north into the Magellan Strait to Magdalena Island National Park, home to approximately 60,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins, before disembarking at Punta Arenas.

*When to go: *December through February offers the most favourable weather conditions.

*Where to eat: *Travellers should visit the Shackleton Bar in Punta Arenas, recommends Stünkel. The bar is located in the luxurious José Nogueira hotel, Don José and wife Sara Braun’s former mansion. It was 100 years ago that Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton came here seeking help to rescue his trapped men.

*Insider's tip: *“No taxes are applicable to yacht charter in Chile and Argentina,” says Stünkel. However, “foreign-flagged yachts will need to either start or end outside of Chile to be legal.”

Picture courtesy of Tourismo Chile

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