Ten Top National Parks Around the Globe

by , SmarterTravel Staff - July 9, 2007 See all photo galleries
Herd of guanacos in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine

Many adventure travelers flock to America's national parks, but the U.S. doesn't have a monopoly on spacious skies and purple mountain majesties. You can find protected lands, natural beauty, and exotic wildlife around the globe. The next time you want to see our planet at its most breathtaking, hop a plane to one of these 10 international parks.

The iconic peaks of Torres del Paine National Park reach for the sky in Chilean Patagonia. Many visitors snap photos of glacial lakes and rocky slopes from tour buses, but to see the real park, pack your gear and set out on the Torres del Paine Circuit, an eight- to 10-day hike through forests, bogs, and gullies. Keep an eye out for guanacos (relatives of the llama) and rheas (ostrich-like birds).

For those short on time, G.A.P Adventures offers a five-night tour for $855 a person, which includes three days of trekking, a visit to the Salto Grande Waterfall, and a catamaran cruise on Lake Pehoe. At the end of the trek, toast your travels with Chile's national drink, the pisco sour.

Herd of guanacos in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile (Photo: D. Mathies,

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