This post doesn’t really need an intro. When you hear Patagonia scenes of huge jagged mountain tops, glaciers, lush green forests and fjords spring to mind…and maybe the odd rain jacket too.
Patagonia is paradise for the outdoorsman, many of who spend weeks, sometimes months, exploring it’s 400,000 square miles, which span the southern tip of Chile and Argentina. It’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful place; majestically rustic and wild and tourists flock there for epic adventures climbing immense rock formations, hiking mountains, and waterfalls. There’s lakes, rivers, flora, and fauna to excite and entice for months on end.
Equally, it’s not uncommon to see busloads of tourists entering the parks for the day only, skipping the hikes and traveling straight to the iconic miradors, Nikons and Canons at the ready. You know the kind.
It’s impossible to describe the scale and beauty of Patagonia and as always photos won’t do it justice but we’ll share a few. We’ll also share some highs and lows (yes, there were some lows) of our trip.
- Of course, hiking in Torres del Paine national park. We climbed up to the torres from our campsite, into the ice and clouds. We didn’t get a crystal clear view at the top but it was well worth the climb. The enormous granite towers are approximately 2,500 metres high, dwarfing anything else in sight.
- Camping at the Torres del Paine campsite. The majestic towers glistening in the setting sun distracted us from our delicious and not so nutritious dinner of canned pasta.
- The usual highs that come with camping: getting back to basics, fresh air, drinkable glacial water (the best in the world, according to the Chileans), and zero Wi-Fi.
- When you get a moment of being the only hikers on the track and you take in a 360 view of the dramatic landscape. Nature in all its glory.
- Our hostel in Puerto Natales (closest town to the park) was adorable. It was like staying in someone’s house. We warmed our feet by the fire on our return from the park and watched tele-novellas while the landlady did the ironing. The hiss of the iron steaming, while we were curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea, evoked nostalgic memories of watching Inspector Morse with my mum on winter days while she did the ironing. Is it weird that this was a highlight?!
- Our New Years Eve sucked. I caught a bug off Tim, that he had for a week in Santiago. As we were told they would, the Bolivia bellies had kicked in. It was hit and miss at times whether we’d make the flight down to Patagonia but made it we did I was in bed by 5pm, with Tim as my doting nurse. What a guy.
- Booking a campsite isn’t easy. You have to be super organised and willing to fork out a small fortune for “glamping”. It takes away some of the rustic charms of camping.
- So. Many. Tourist. Donning the latest and greatest hiking gear, it feels a little like an outdoor apparel fashion parade at times but hey, it’s Patagonia. What were we expecting?
We only scratched the surface of Patagonia and that was just the Chilean side. We heard that exploring Patagonia from Argentina is just as incredible and the scenery is entirely different. Yet another reason to return one day.
Queuing the get into the park. All the buses from the towns of Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales arrive at the same time, creating a traffic jam to enter the park. Better planning is needed here!
The towns of Punta Arenas & Puerto Natales…