Torres del Paine
National Park

"The Paine massif is unrivaled...In its colors and form it is without doubt one of the most fantastic and spectacular sights that human imagination can concieve."
-- Salesian missionary Padre Agostini

From the wind-bent grasses of the plains to the sheer, frozen cliffs of the Andes, the 935 square miles of Torres del Paine National Park rank among South America's most stunning and diverse. Not only does Torres del Paine boast several distinct ecosystems; each ecosystem contains a wealth of landscapes, flora, and fauna found nowhere else in world. More than 40 mammals make their home in the park, including the guanaco, puma, and Patagonian gray fox. Some of the world's rarest bird species -- the Andean condor, crested cara cara, and black vulture among them -- are found in Torres as well.

The Legend of the Mountains
In particular, the mountains of Torres del Paine -- jagged granite ridges and spires capped with shale -- have held significance for the region's native inhabitants. According to local myth, an evil serpent called Cai Cai caused a massive flood to kill the warrior tribe that lived in Torres del Paine. When the flood waters receded, Cai Cai took the bodies of the two largest warriors and turned them to stone -- thereby creating the twin horns that crown the mountaintop of Cuernos del Paine.

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