Blogs from Torres del Paine, Magallanes, Chile, South America

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South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine March 6th 2019

It is a sad fact of life that as I have got older I have developed a greater fear of heights. I stood a few steps on to the narrow suspension bridge as it swung above the steep ravine. The cable sides look no more than knee high from my warped perspective. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on. I smiled as best I could for Jane to take a photo. I knew it was irrational and I had to cross this bridge to get the glacier ‘mirador’ on the other side. I bent my knees to keep lower and focused on the bridge ahead. Jane waited patiently at the end. Half way across I started to hum and the demons in my brain seem to start to dissipate. I moved on to the old ... read more
Walking back from Grey refugio
Paine Grande camping
Base of the Torres

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 31st 2019

Thursday 31 January What a day we had today! We spent from 4.30am (waking) to 9.30pm on a tour to Torres del Paine, a beautiful National Park in southern Patagonia which encompasses mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. The park is located 112 km north of Puerto Natales where we stopped for morning coffee and 312 km north of Punta Arenas where our guide picked us up. Throughout the day we drove over 800kms stopping at many view pints. The scenery was spectacular, so I hope you enjoy the photos. There were 10 other tourists with us, and we were the only ones who didn’t speak Spanish. However, our guide who was born in Punta Arenas spoke very good English. We certainly needed our duck-down coats even though the sun was shining. At ... read more
Torres Del Paine National Park (251)
Torres d'Agostini, Torres Central and Torres Monzino
Torres Del Paine National Park (249)

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 24th 2019

On Tuesday, lunch was put on by our hotel for everyone that was going on the cruise. It was the first chance to meet some of the other passengers, which I did (dad wasn’t hungry so didn’t join us). I was also sitting near Christopher, the bird guy. He is a guide on the ship, but he is also a biologist that specialises in birds and is very knowledgeable! With lunch out of the way, we boarded our buses. Dad and I waited until last and got on a nearly empty bus because everyone had rushed to get on the first two buses for some reason. We didn’t mind as this gave us the opportunity to spread out. Along the way, our local guide, Anna, gave us some information about where we were and what we ... read more
Me, Waiting to Board the Akademik Ioffe
Cloud Forming Over the Horns
Dad, Waiting to Board the Akademik Ioffe

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 18th 2019

Actually, it was not one, but two Pumas. But I get ahead of myself… I started Thursday morning feeling better after a night’s sleep, but still not hopeful for the day ahead. We had breakfast and as I was grabbing something from my bag at the entrance to the reception/restaurant building when a staff member interrupted me. I managed to overcome my foul mood and be respectful despite myself. I’m glad I did as she was to be our guide for the tour. Her name was Mayi (pronounced like “magic” but without the “c”) and it turns out she had given up her day off to run the tour. And what a difference a guide makes! Mayi made the excursion a much more enjoyable experience than our Pingo trek. In fairness to Nico, some of this ... read more
A Great Tour Group
Sophie and Dad
Guanaco Beneath the Paine Massif

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine January 16th 2019

After a pleasant dinner we headed back to the yurt and dad quickly went off to sleep. I was less sleepy so decided to spend some time reading. By 11:30pm I thought I would be fine to get to sleep, and I did. Until about 2am when I was wide awake thanks to jetlag. On the plus side, I realised that the skylight at the top of the yurt was giving a fantastic view of the clear night sky. It looked great and I even caught site of a satellite going overhead. Eventually, with the help of a sleeping pill, I managed to get back to sleep. Dad apparently woke up at 3am but was not so fortunate to get back to sleep. I awoke to my alarm going off at 6am and after a quick ... read more
The Paine Massif
Waterfalls
The Paine Massif

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 17th 2018

There is no way I can share the last 6 days in detail, it would make pretty sad reading. I knew the trek was going to be “jolly hard work”, maybe “a physical challenge of unprecedented proportions”, or maybe even “dreadful”. So why and how did I come to be on it at all when I had said quite clearly and loudly last September when the subject first reared it’s troublesome head in the Lowe household those immortal and much ignored words: “I AM NOT DOING THE W TREK”. Now I am not a difficult person and have used this sort of direct language only rarely in the last 30 years and one would like to think that my clear and unenthusiastic response would at least have been noted. But somehow (and I have yet to ... read more
And it really was this colour...
Me and my friend Glacier Grey (he's about 200 feet high above the lake)
Still together, just don't mention the iceberg!

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 16th 2018

The "W" trek via day treks... Due to a lack of forward planning on our part and being quoted crazy prices to camp in the Torres del Paine (TDP) National Park, we decided to base ourselves in Puerto Natales and do the "W" trek via day treks (as opposed to staying in the National Park). When we started researching day treks we really struggled to find any good information online. For this reason we have decided to put some tips together based on our experience that might be of some help to other backpackers / hikers considering day hikes to the TDP National Park. We did three day hikes in the park: - Base de Las Torres - Frances Valley Lookout - Glacier Grey Lookout Note: All of the bus times, catamaran times, ticket prices, etc. ... read more
You've made it!
Hike towards Chileno Refugio
Base de las Torres

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 14th 2018

Booking accommodation in the Torres del Paine National Park has been an ordeal. There are three providers, all of which operate in complete isolation of the others. All have websites and all of these are unrelated to reality. The threat is that if you arrive at a site without a booking then you will be fined and thrown out of the park. The reality is that if you get to a refuge in an evening there is nowhere else to go.... so they book you into one of the many “fully booked” vacant rooms and campsites. All this for £160 a night for a fully kitted out tent and food. Staff generally behave as if they are doing you a big favour to acknowledge your existence and service requires perseverance. One of our nights we were ... read more
Grand Paine
Las Torres
Such a happy chappie!

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine February 5th 2018

The sky was clear when we left Calafate. We were driving East however, and fast, so it was highly likely we would meet up again with the storm which we had watched go over us earlier that morning. We did. It was cold. We rose up to meet it, climbing onto the high Patagonia plateau. The temperature dropped to 45 degrees F ( 6 degrees C). The fog came down. We plunged on into the mist, all lights blazing, not knowing quite what would come next. After an hour or two of misery, we watched the clouds lift and drift off to the East. We motored on South to Esperanza (Hope), not even considering a wet gravel short cut down Route 40 to the Chilean Border. Been there. Not doing that. The Westerly winds were good ... read more
We come in sight of the mountains again
The gas station we should have visited
Argentine side of the Chile border

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Torres del Paine March 2nd 2017

We sailed through the Straights of Magellan to reach Punta Arenas for 2 pm and it was a murky day so not much to see. From there we headed to Ushuaia with the morning cruising through Glacier Alley. This is a channel with many hanging glaciers visible whenever the clouds / rain lift. Glimpses of them were sufficient to get photos. In all we had 3 days at sea. The first was a trip around Cape Horn. We reached there just before dawn and I was thrilled to see the Rock out of our porthole about 5.30. I woke Paul with this exciting news only to receive a grunt so took myself up to the back deck where others had gathered to film as as we sailed by. Around 6 the captain announced that we were ... read more
Cape Horn Close
Glacial waterfall
Cape Horn from porthole




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