Patagonia was one of the top things on our list of places to visit when Dan and I started planning our Latin America trip. The outstanding beauty of the region is out of this world, and we felt very lucky not only because we got a chance to see it, but also that we were able to go there with Jane and Steve.
We flew from Puerto Montt down to Punta Arenas and got a 3 hour bus to the town of Puerto Natales, where we had decided to base ourselves for our Patagonian adventure. The closest town to the famous Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales is packed full of tourists preparing to hike, bus or boat to the huge variety of stunning landmarks that the park and surrounding areas have to offer.
For our first full day there we took a boat trip around the fjords and lakes, where we got to see giant glaciers, cormorants (birds that look very similar to penguins but can fly) and sea lions, all while enjoying whiskey on board the boat served with pure glacier ice. We also got to take a short hike along to see one particularly impressive glacier up close, surrounded by water and floating icebergs. After the tour we were treated to an incredible lamb BBQ lunch, served with Chilean wine – and then promptly fell asleep for the boat ride back to Puerto Natales!
On the second day we decided to do a full day bus tour of Torres del Paine National Park, the jewel of Chilean Patagonia. If you want to explore Torres del Paine there are many opportunities to do so on foot, with hikes ranging from one day to several days. However if you are tight on time or don’t want to hike, taking a full day bus tour is a great option. At nearly 12 hours it is a long day out, but you get to see all of the main sights that would take you at least 3 days to see if you decided to hike it. So for us, taking the bus was the best option – and it was an incredible day. As well as the famous towers of Torres del Paine themselves, we also saw beautiful turquoise lakes, bright blue glaciers, enormous craggy mountains and a whole host of wildlife, including condors floating high up in the wind – side note, Torres del Paine is SERIOUSLY windy – and a curious Patagonian fox who approached us while we were eating lunch and posed for some photos.
The landscape and scenery of Patagonia is mesmerising, and even better than we could have ever imagined.
After our amazing day out we only had a bit of time the next day to wander around the town, visit the waterfront and stop for a coffee before we began our long journey back up to Santiago. Patagonia was a perfect end to an unforgettable trip, and we had all completely fallen in love with Chile. From desert all the way down to ice and snow, Chile has so much to see, do and experience, and we would all love to go back. Unfortunately, after a couple more nights in Santiago it was time for Jane and Steve to head home, while Dan and I ventured back into Argentina.