For those who don’t already know, the national park that hosts Hotel Las Torres wilderness lodge and Fantástico Sur trekking outfitters is special for a number of different reasons.

Torres del Paine National Park was created in 1959 and declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reverse by the UNESCO in 1978. It’s also been named one of Chile’s Seven Natural Wonders and was ranked as one of the world’s top five most beautiful places by National Geographic.

The parks sprawls across more than 227,000 hectares (876 square miles) at altitudes that vary between 50 and 3,050 meters (150 and 10,000 feet). The terrain is just as varied, a mosaic of forest, tundra, mountains, ice fields, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and rocky moraines.

Humans discovered Torres del Paine around 12,000 years ago, when the first prehistoric peoples arrived in “Austral” (southernmost) Patagonia followed by the Tehuelches (“People of the South”) who inhabited a large area of the park.

During the Spanish colonial period and first century of Chilean independence, cattle ranching degraded some areas that now lie within the park. When the Chilean government and average citizens became concerned about preserving such an ecologically rich and attractive it was declared a national park.

Hotel Las Torres offers full- and half-day excursions to discover the wonders of Torres del Paine National Park, while Fantástico Sur expedites treks along the park’s legendary “W” and “O” trails.