According to a survey by USA Today, the majority of five million voters elected Torres del Paine national park in Chile’s 12th Region as the 8th wonder of the world. Those of us who have been there are hardly surprised. In fact, I have been saying for years that southern Chile is the most beautiful part of the planet, especially that national park and the western side of Lago General Carrera in the 11th Region running a close second, with honorable mention going to Lago Todos los Santos in the 10th Region.

The scenery on a sunny day is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many beautiful things there that make it special.

One can say that many places have one or two things with are outstanding, like Mount Blanc, Yosemite, Mount Cook or Banff. But I know of no other place in the world that offers so many different spectacular sites: glacier, five lakes each of a different color, waterfall, jagged and multi-colored glacier-encrusted peaks (with two very different main ranges), and interesting wildlife.

Torres del Paine is one of those interesting and wonderful benefits about life in Chile. It earns a 10 on the Cobin scale of natural beauty, with the other places mentioned earlier earning 9.9 and 9.7 respectively.

Chile has dozens of places over 9 and many over 9.5 on my scale, but Torres del Paine stands at the top. The voters in the USA Today poll certainly got it right. I try to get down there every few years and each time is just as worthwhile as the time before. Don’t miss it!

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.

Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).

Be sure, too, to visit for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.