Last October, our Operations Coordinator, Fernando Ponce, had the opportunity to travel to Torres del Paine, described by him not only as one of the most beautiful places in Chilean Patagonia, but also from the world! After that important definition, we felt the curiosity to go after his steps, to discover what was it that made him consider it among the most beautiful destinations in the world. Join us on this journey, and take note of his recommendations!
My trip started at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Ezeiza), in Buenos Aires, where I took my flight to Santiago de Chile. After a brief connection there, I took a second flight to Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost cities in the world, on the shores of the Strait of Magellan. The planned itinerary began with a night in this city, more precisely in the Estancia Río de los Ciervos, where the warm attention of its owners made us feel like at home.
The next day, very early, we set out on a navigation towards Magdalena Island, where one of Chile’s largest penguin colonies is settled. This island is located in the Strait of Magellan, 35 km north of the city of Punta Arenas. The excursion began by crossing the waters of the mythical Strait. Once we arrived at the island, we went on a hike among hundreds of penguins that came out to meet us, a truly exciting experience. The walk extended until we reached the lighthouse, to which we climbed to get the views from height, the whole island and surroundings can be seen from there, really beautiful.
At the end of the visit to Magdalena Island, and back in the harbor, a car was waiting for us to drive us to Torres del Paine. After traveling for about 2 hours, we arrived at the thousand-year-old Mylodon Cave. This cave owes its name to the fact that here were found fossils of the Mylodon, a large herbivorous mammal that roughly became extinct 5,000 years ago. After the brief visit to the cave, and approximately another hour of travel, we finally arrived at the Torres del Paine National Park.
In Paine, I stayed at the Hotel Del Paine, located in the Villa Serrano (next to the Serrano port), and with an unparalleled view of the Paine Massif, with its famous horns, the main attraction of the Park.
I must recall that Torres del Paine National Park is located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the 3rd largest ice area in the world, only exceeded by Antarctica and Greenland. This ice field hosts a large number of beautiful and huge glaciers. The Park is also renowned for its high probabilities to have the 4 climatic seasons in a single day: it might go from being under a warm and pleasant sun to a windy and rainy day in a few minutes, very surprising!
The third day of our journey started very early, aiming to visit the most important and recognized areas of the Park. Among these places I must mention: Sarmiento Lake, Paine Waterfall, Laguna Amarga and Gray Glacier. All of them have got a unique charm, an indescribable beauty, places that are really worth visiting someday. After this long day, we returned to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.
The next day, we had the difficult task of choosing which activity we were likely to enjoy. It turns out that the menu of activities is very varied and that all of them are truly very attractive; therefore, choosing (if you have a reduced number of days) becomes difficult. Among the most remarkable I’d like to mention horseback riding, trekking and navigating.
I made my mind for a walk towards the Aonikenk’s painted caves, ancient settlers of Patagonia. On the way, it is common to bump with the wild hosts of the Park: guanacos, huemules, swans and condors. The luckiest ones also find the most wanted host: the cougar.
To conculde this trip, we’ll give one last recommendation, referring to the ideal season for the visit to Torres del Paine National Park. The most advisable option is to visit it between November and March, when temperatures are more benevolent, and flora and fauna shine in their greater splendor.
To get a more complete trip through Patagonia, you can consider destinations such as Puerto Varas and Punta Arenas in Chile; and Ushuaia, El Calafate, El Chaltén and Bariloche, in Argentina. In this link you can see a suggestion to combine these destinations in a 16 day trip. You can count on our advice to get a bespoke trip!
Thank you for joining us here, hope you have enjoyed our article! You may continue reading our travel articles across South America now, and hope to have your visit again in our next edition!