Steve & Sarah

Steve and Sarah

Steve & Sarah

South America » Argentina » Chubut » Puerto Madryn March 1st 2010

The weather in Trelew was lovely. It was a warm and sunny day. We drove out of town a little way to see the old welsh settlement of Gaiman, set in a pretty little fertile green valley along the river and with beautiful brick-built houses. The welsh settled this whole valley, and the sight of green trees and grass, is so refreshing after the dry arid landscape for the last few hundred kilometres. From Trelew we headed 115km back south to visit South America's largest penguin colony, at Punta Tombo. As we left the car, we remembered the binoculars, imagining we would have to view the penguins from a reasonable distance. We paid our entry fee and were told not to get closer to the penguins than 1 metre. Hardly likely, we thought….as we nearly trippped ... read more
Peninsula Valdez
Me and my shadow, Punta Tombo
Baby and mum, Punta Tombo

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » Río Gallegos February 23rd 2010

So after the long road south, it was time to head north again and hopefully to the warmer weather! There is nowhere to go from Ushuaia but north. Our plan from here is to head north through Argentina up the coast to Puerto Madryn and then crossing the country to Bariloche and the lakes region, heading north again, up to Mendoza and finally crossing back into Chile around 14th or 15th March. Only 4 weeks of our big road trip left! We expected to see Liz and Phil somewhere along the road on our way north through Tierra del Fuego, and sure enough, about 40kms north of a small town called Tolhuin, we saw them and their bikes stopped at the roadside having lunch. We pulled over and made them a cup of tea and offered ... read more
Crossing Rio Santa Cruz - it's a glacial river coming straight from Lago Argentino in PN Los Glaciares
Guanaco by the roadside
The dot on the road is an armadillo!

South America » Argentina » Tierra del Fuego » Ushuaia February 21st 2010

We crossed the Magellan Strait from Punta Arenas to the small town of Porvenir, all still in Chile. It was a bright sunny day and the strait was flat calm. Not quite what we’d expected. We hadn’t planned exactly how far we would travel, but having disembarked the ferry and driven through Porvenir, we realised we’d be better crossing Tierra del Fuego into Argentina and finding somewhere to stay there. We drove around the edge of the spectacular Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay - so called by British explorers who couldn’t find anywhere to anchor or build a port). We stopped at the edge of the bay and watched dolphins swimming peacefully by and admired the spectacular snow-capped Darwin range in the far distance. The landscape was greener than we had imagined. Vast and rolling green hills. ... read more
The harbour at Ushuaia
The Beagle Channel
Dinner with new adventuring friends

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 15th 2010

After a few days settled in Argentina and Parque Nacional los Glaciares, it was time to hit the road again and head back to Chile and Chile’s first national park - Torres del Paine. It was about 4 or 5 hours drive and a border crossing from El Calafate. It was another late evening arrival and we found somewhere to camp at Campamento Torres. If we’d thought we were on the gringo trail in PN Los Glaciares, we were well and truly on the trail now. The park is full of hotels and campsites and the campsite at Torres was a sea of tents. Unfortunately, we had arrived at the park with hardly any food, due to the border restrictions when crossing over into Chile, which do not allow fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, meat etc) to ... read more
View up the valley from the mirador
Driving towards the Cuernos from the south-western side of the park
The Cuernos - view from our campsite (not bad!)

Wrapped up in our warm and cosy hotel in El Chalten, it didn’t matter about the weather so much anymore, but our first day in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares was a bright and breezy one. In the morning, we had the usual admin to catch up on, but we headed out in the afternoon to walk up the valley a little way through the lenga forests, (I think lenga is something like beech, found in temperate rainforests in Patagonian Chile and Argentina) for views of the Fitzroy range and the glaciers. We planned to venture out all day the following day for more exploration, however, a trip to the national park office and a look at the forecast and we weren’t so keen! However, Sarah had asked the park guards which were the best walks to ... read more
Iceberg, Lago Viedma
Ice climbing, Glaciar Viedma
Lago Viedma from Glaciar Viedma

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén February 9th 2010

Having spent a very noisy night in Camping Municipal, at Los Anitguos, we got off to an early start with a long day ahead of us. Our route took us east to a small town in the middle of nowhere, called Perito Moreno (nowhere near the glacier of the same name) and then we began our toue south on Ruta 40, ‘La Cuarenta’, famous as Che Guevara’s route down the country in his motorcycle diaries. Ruta 40 runs over 3,000kms from way up on the northern border with Bolivia, right down to the Atlantic coast at Rio Gallegos. La Cuarenta is an incredible road across arid steppe, stretching for endles miles of empty nothing, with huge skies and crazy-shaped clouds blown by the Patagonian winds. Every 50kms of so you may see another vehicle, but it ... read more
Tarmac stops - ripio begins
Miles and miles of absolutely nothing!
Driving down towards El Claten and the Fitzroy massif

South America » Chile » Aisén » Carretera Austral February 6th 2010

The Carretera Austral runs for over 1200 kms from Puerto Montt southwards through Chilean Patagonia along the Pacific edge of the country. In order to see the island of Chiloe as well, we had decided to miss the northern section of the Carretera and cross from Chiloe to Chaiten, further down. We arrived at the ferry port at 10.30pm in plenty of time for sailing at midnight. After a long sit in the car - it was far too cold and windy to get out; we all finally drove onto the ferry, the Don Baldo, with the final unlucky drivers having to reverse their cars up the ramp. The ferry would sail overnight, due in Chaiten back on the mainland at 6am. Having booked only a few days before, there were no cabins available, so we ... read more
Ventisquero Yelcho
Lago General Carrera
Looking towards Argentina, Lago Buenos Aires

South America » Chile » Los Lagos » Chiloé Island January 29th 2010

So we found ourselves in the busy and not especially pretty town of Puerto Montt and in apparently the best hotel in town. (Described in the Lonely Planet as a ‘boutique hotel’. We are pretty sure they meant hoStel) However, it was a base for a couple of days. On the day we arrived, which was Sunday, we took an afternoon trip to the fishing port of Angelmo, just along the coast, wandered around the fish market and feasted on fresh salmon. Monday was a washing and shopping day, ready to head off to the beautiful island of Chiloe. Chiloe, is Chile’s misty, emerald isle, off the west coast of the mainland, and we expected, maybe a bit like being in Scotland or Ireland. We took a short 20 minute car ferry across the water and ... read more
Tricky finish
Pacific shoreline, PN Chiloe
The Alien in amongst the giant rhubarb

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Pucón January 25th 2010

After leaving Santiago for the second time, we headed straight for the Colchagua Valley, one of Chile’s big wine growing regions. Being on a tight schedule, we only had enough time to find the most expensive hotel in town (best intentions to check into a hostel, but it was full - shame!), head out for a huge steak and some local wine. We set off again the next morning on our long route south, travelling down Chile’s major central autopista, Ruta 5, paying frequent and expensive tolls on our way. We ended the day in a lovely spot, called Valle de las Trancas, just down the hill from the upmarket winter ski resport of Termas de Chilan. We stayed in a very novel place called Ecobox Andino - shipping containers converted into cabins. They were really ... read more
This is an ecobox
Lago Tinquilco at dusk
Volcan Villarica

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region January 19th 2010

We headed out of Santiago, with our first destination being the Pacific coast, and our first campsite. We found a spectacular setting for our first camp, at a place called Las Gaviotas, perched high on the cliff, with the sound of the Pacific crashing on the rocks below us. With no-one else camping around us and magnificent views, it was the solitude we've been hoping for. And with the campsite facilities being pretty awful and unusable, it was almost like wild camping! Down the coast a few kilometres, we found a quaint little fishing village called Quintay, with brightly coloured wooden houses perched all around the steep rocky cove. We had a fantastic lunch of 'Curanto' (a Chilean seafood stew) in a restaurant by the quay. After a couple of nights in the tent and having ... read more
Cerro La Campana

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