Chile is one of my favourite south american countries. I spent three days at the Remota Lodge, in Puerto Natales, which was a great base to explore Chilean Patagonia, it was magical. If you are thinking of a trip here you could easily fill a week of exploring and still only see a fragment of the area. Chile was part of the 105 day, 14 country trip, I did in 2016. The photos were taken on a cheap phone so are not great but will hopefully give you inspiration.
Day 33 May 20 2016
Countries 5 Hotels 13 Cars 32
Flights 8:flying time 40.12 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 2 Elephant 1 Boat 1
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 4 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 12 Coach 2 Catamaran 1
Torres Del Paine National Park
Because it’s low season here there are not many tourists, so it was just me, the driver and Gonzalo my guide, in the minibus to Torres Del Paine National Park today. The scenery on the way is like something out of a cowboy movie, huge expanses of dirty yellow plains, with the mountains in the background. Flimsy wire fences ensure sheep, cattle and horses, stay in their spaces and dotted along these vast open area are estancias, (ranches).
It took about 90 minutes to get to the park with a couple of photo stops on route. At one of the photo stops, at this lake in the middle of nowhere, Gonzalo offers me a coffee, it seems they have brought a mini kitchen with them, and even though it is instant, it is very good coffee and just at the right time, perfect. He even manages to get me to pose for a, (rare) photo!
As we got nearer the park we passed a couple of baqueanos, (Chilean cowboys) with their dogs, moving cattle. The baqueano, are a symbolic character of the Chilean countryside, people of the land with detailed knowledge about the vast expanses of Patagonia. Skilful riders with an almost telepathic connection to their horse, they wear a ‘uniform’ of long riding boots, baggy trousers, a beret and neckerchief, and sometimes a wool poncho for warmth, as demonstrated in these photos.
The park is huge, 935 square miles of utterly stunning mountains, rivers, lakes and glaciers situated in Chilean Patagonia.
There are also herds of guanacos, (lamas) wandering around, they are protected here.
We stopped to let me admire the view and take photos, however my little camera phone was never going to capture the vastness of the park. Gonzalo tells me the names of the mountains, rivers and lakes, and also stories about the park. We go for a short walk and then pull into a picnic place for lunch. Gonzalo shows me where the lake is and says I can take as long as I want taking photos and to come back for lunch when I am ready.
When I got back to where the minibus was parked, the bare little picnic hut had been transformed. Seafood kebabs were being cooked on a gas fire, one table had been laid out with salads and drinks and one table had been laid with nibbles, wine, glasses, and cutlery. I really was very impressed, especially as I could eat everything, the whole lunch had been catered to my food intolerances by the hotel. This wasn’t a picnic this was a proper lunch, it was really enjoyable to sit together and talk about the park. A couple of caracara birds, came over hoping for some scraps from our table, we gave them some nuts.
The guys packed everything up and we continued on our journey through the park, we travelled from the east to the west of the park. A really good day.