Chilean Patagonia: Torres del Paine & Punta Arenas

We came to Chilean Patagonia to hike in the famous Torres del Paine National Park. We chose to do the 5 day W trek, a long hike throughout the park. This means walking over 80km in 4 days.

Day 0: Getting to Torres del Paine park from Puerto Natales by bus, and taking a ferry to Paine Grande Camping.

View on the Torres from the national park’s visitor centre

We needed to take a ferry to cross the lake to Paine Grande Camping, where we would start our trek. Only we were 1.5 hours early. So we decided to walk towards the Salto Grande viewpoint while we waited for the ferry. It was a great decision. We saw many guanacos up close, as well as a beautiful waterfall and wide views on the mountains.

Photogenic guanacos! National Geographic eat your heart out:)
Salto Grande view point
Salto Grande view point

Then we took a chaotic and overpriced old ferry to get to Paine Grande Camp site.

View from the ferry on the mountains with the small Torres visible as well.
Paine Grande campsite. Our tent for the next 2 nights.
This is what we slept on for 3 nights. All kinds of pain you never knew you had will show their face.
View from Paine Grande on the Torres

Day 1: Hike to Glacier Grey and back to Camping Paine Grande:

After a night of no sleep, due to wind, rain, cold and having no mattress, we started our hike towards the Grey Glacier.

Lots of birds along the route
Photographed our first owl! So cute:)
Grey Glacier, our goal for the hike of day 1

It was hard to still have to walk all the way back from the Grey Glacier to Paine Grande Camp site. There was lots of wind, but in the end it went better than expected.

Day 2: Hiking to viewpoint Britanico and on to Camping Frances:

Britanico viewpoint
Britanico viewpoint
Britanico viewpoint
Britanico viewpoint

Day 3: From Frances to Camping Chileno.

And can you believe it; we had no wind for once! This is extremely rare for Patagonia.

View from Windy Pass (not so windy today:P). Almost made it to Chileno.

Day 4: Hiking from Chileno to the Base de las Torres and down to Camping Central.

Horrible sand and rubble climb to the top, while extreme winds push and pull you around
Dangerously windy at the top
Tooo windy!
The Torres up close

Day 5: Waiting at Camping Central for midday bus back to Puerto Natales

A type of eagle that stays at Camping Central. We saw him up close as well!
Goodbye Torres del Paine!

After arriving back in Puerto Natales from the park, we showered (unlimited and hot water!) and relaxed. The next morning, we took the bus onwards to Punta Arenas, from where our flight to Santiago would leave.

We had one full afternoon in Punta Arenas, and planned to take a boat to Isla Magdalena. This is an island where tens of thousands of penguins are staying! Unfortunately due to some dispute, the afternoon boats were cancelled for the time being. Fortunately, Punta Arenas turned out to be a nice city. As it was a windless day, we had the perfect conditions to discover it. We went to the sea side, visited the Zona Franca, and took in some sights. The Zona Franca is a tax free zone with lots of shops. It truly is cheaper here. We spotted lots of good quality alcohol for prices lower than a bottle of Pringles. Guess this is needed sometimes in order to cope with the cold and the winds. Anyway, we cheaply restocked on snacks (and socks), and had a great day despite the initial penguin setback.

Cormorants covering an old pier.
The seaside of Punta Arenas is just as nice as the town itself!

It’s time to say goodbye to Patagonia, and fly back to civilization known as Santiago!

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