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We approached Torres del Paine National Park from the east, entering Chile from Argentina. Many people drive down the Chilean coast and enter the park from the west, so their perspective would be a little different than ours.
Our trip took us through large stretches of hilly and uninhabited grasslands (the pampas). The first views of the National Park are among the most memorable of any mountain region I’ve ever visited (and I’ve seen many in my days). Torres is a popular tourist destination, with good reason. Among its most iconic sites are the 3 granite towers from which Torres del Paine derives its name.
Came across this rather unusual van parked in the shadows of the granite spires of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. The park is an amazingly beautiful place and the van definitely seemed a little out of place.
Wicked is a company that rents uniquely decorated minivans to function as transportation and sleeping accommodations for tourists. A little cramped for me but I can see it being popular with a lot of travelers. Certainly it was memorable and therein lays an important lesson in advertising.
Our terrestrial journey in Patagonia was near its end, but we were leaving for a memorable four day cruise through the labyrinth of fjords and waterways off the Chilean coast. It was a journey we would never forget.
We departed the harbor at Puenta Arenas aboard the adventure ship, Stella Australis, and were accompanied by the Harbor Master. The wonderful rainbow in the distance seemed a good omen of things to come.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)
It’s hard for many people from the “Old World” to envision the vast people-less places of the Americas, especially the closer one travels to the poles. It’s equally empty in northern North America (Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories) as it is in southern South America (Patagonia).
There are stretches of road in these remote areas regions where you might not encounter a petro station for hundreds of kilometers (don’t worry, signs will warn you in advance so you’d need to be a fool to run out of gas). No towns, often not even a rancher, to be found as far as the eye can see.
When visiting Patagonia, we made a rather long drive from Argentinian Patagonia to Chilean Patagonia. A …
Situated on Chile’s southern coast, just north of Tierra del Fuego, the small city of Puenta Arenas is well off the main tourist paths in South America. The city is the capital of Chilean Patagonia as it is a gateway to Torres del Paine, and is a port for tourist ships that cruise the Patagonian fjords, the Beagle Channel (and some ships even go on to Antarctica). Puenta Arenas is a frontier town and a tax haven (to encourage migration and its growth), so it offers lots of shopping. Many Chileans travel here for the low prices.
We weren’t much interested in shopping for toasters or jackets, and had just a few hours to explore Puenta Arenas before taking a memorable …
In scenes reminiscent of the Old West, these gauchos are rounding up the herds of horses at Torres del Paine National park in Chile.
Trail riding is popular in Chile, and the hotel where we were staying had a large stable of horses for hire. In the evening the horses were turned into a large pasture to graze and in the morning they were rounded up and brought back to the stable.
While young, these gauchos were very skilled and the horses respected and listened to their commands. It was fun to watch them work!
I love mountains and perhaps the most amazingly shaped mountain I’ve ever seen is the Paine Massif in Chilean Patagonia. Very distant from major cities, the Paine Massif is about 2000 km (over 1200 mi) south of Santiago. The park in which it’s situated, Torres Del Paine National Park, is one of the treasures of the natural world. There are two very worthwhile mountain formations to see in the park, one being this peak (my favorite) and the other being the three towers the park is named after (Torres Del Paine). These two formations are in quite close proximity and from the right angle you can see both in one field of view.
I’d been aware of this region for …