Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Our 5 hour coach journey took us to into Chile (technically for the 2nd time on our trip but the first was spent in an immigration office). More specifically into the town of Puerto Natales, a small holding set in the Patagonian Andes.
We stayed for 6nts (some for rest after our whistle stop tour of El Calafate and El Chalten). Our host, Diego, from Last Hope Hostel could not do enough for us and made our stay, one of the most comfortable yet!
On our first day, as has come customary on our year away, we toured the local area, making a beeline to the river where we were treated to some exceptional coffee (at the CoffeeMaker) and these views, capped by a beautiful sunset!
On the advice of our new friend Diego, we took a taxi out to Cerro Dorotea. It costs CLP$5000 each way. Be careful of the weather. It was windy when we went and could feel it taking your legs from beneath you, especially at the top. The views over Puerto Natales however are breathtaking! At the end of the walk the farmer who owns the land at the beginning of the path and tends to it, invited us into his house, called a taxi and offered tea, warm bread and jam - we tipped CLP$5000 each for this (about £5)
The reason Puerto Natales brings in thousands of tourists each year, is due to it's proximity to the iconic Torres del Paine National Park. About 2 hours and CLP$15,000 each on a coach will get you there. Park entrance is CLP$21,000, seems expensive but it is well worth it (also gives you 3 days access). We were lucky, the weekend we went was a national holiday so we got free entry!
The most popular activity, here is the 'W' trek, a 25 hour hike with camping in the park (4-5day). I have alot of respect for those who do this. Our first day took us along the Salto Grande trail, where you are surrounded by turquoise rivers and lakes, colourful mountain peaks and the noise of glaciers - the cherry on the top is the turquoise rich waterfall. The colour truly needs to be seen to be believed. This trail is farily easy and takes 2-3 hours.
The second day however was a totally different scale! The rough terrain and undulating terrain had us walking for 7 hours, over 29km, clocking 40,000 steps and over 350 floors to the stunning 3 towers. It is by far the hardest but also most rewarding trek we have ever done!If you are ever this side of the world, this park is an absolute must!!
It was then time to say goodbye to Puerto Natales and make way to Punta Arenas by a 3 hour coach (£9 each on busbud). The southern most city in Chile, it sits on the Magellan Strait, home of the Magellan Penguin.
We had a short time in Punta Arenas, due to our unscheduled trip to El Chalten, so we only really had one day to see Penguins and unfortunately the port was closed due to weather conditions.
Our advice if you want to do this, is to do it later in the year (November-April) and also book as it is super popular. Be prepared to pay £70 for the privilege though.
We were blown away by Punta Arenas, quite literally with winds at 60mph which on our last day blew in snow and ice as well. Apparently this is normal here.
We managed a walk round and also some Patagonian lamb at Parilla Los Ganaderos we weren't here really long enough to see much more.
We say goodbye now to Patagonia, after nearly 4 fun filled weeks to warmer climates in Santiago.
Cost for 7 days in Chilean Patagonia = £548
Flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago = £40 each
Believe it or not, we did all this with 10kgs of cabin baggage. Find out why
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