A day in Chile–Torres del Paine

24 March 2012

Today I decided to do a day trip to Chile.  It meant a 5am start for breakfast with the bus picking me up at the hostel about 5.45am.  Needless to say, I dozed on the 5 hour drive there – however I did notice the amazing stars – had forgotten how fantastic a night sky can look when there are no street lights or anything.  We also had an amazing sunrise, and drove through so much SPACE – the estancias of Argentina go on forever!  I think living in London I had forgotten what it is like to see nothing for miles.

Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 009

After crossing the border to Chile – which meant leaving Argentina and then 7 km later, entering Chile (not sure what that middle ground was), our tour guide joined the bus.  From this point, the roads were gravel again – quite bumpy.

We passed the local wildlife even before entering the park – a local type of ostrich and llama (forgot to write the names down)

Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 013  Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 040

Glimpses of the mountains started before we arrived in the park – and the landscape was stunning!

Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 026Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 047

Once we entered the park we had a number of stops for small walks to see different views of the towering mountains – the different lakes – both rain and glacier water – and the damage done to the park about 3 months ago by a huge fire that claimed hundreds of hectares.  It must have been a really different place before the fire – though still stunning.

Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 055  Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 122

We passed flamingoes on a lake and got lots of photos.  It was funny – the guides seem to like taking photos until you got one that was just right – but he did know the right places to sit to get the good ‘panoramas’.  After a number of short stops, we were then able to do a longer walk – about 2 hours.  The wind was sooo strong – we were actually struggling not to be blown over at many points.  However my Antarctic jacket cut that out.  Apparently we had the perfect day – with lots of sun.

Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 178  Torres del Paine, Chile 2012-03-24 228

The second last stop was an incredible waterfall – apparently 10,000 litres of water flow through it per minute – beautiful, and then we had one more stop to see final views of the towers and pick up some passengers who had spent time in the park hiking – that is on my list for next time!

The drive back was about another 5 hours (well one hour was the border again –  interestingly, coming back to Argentina there was n customs – whereas going in to Chile they had scanned all of our bags for fruit, meat etc – a bit like Australia).

We then had the most stunning sunset I think I have ever seen – the sky changed colours and it was beautiful to watch it change for about an hour!  Shame I was on the wrong side of the bus as the picture above doesn’t do justice.  The sky went from blues and purples through orange and pink – incredible when the only thing for miles is land.  I guess this is one of the benefits of the long bus trips in Argentina (though I am not doing so many).

Arrived back here at the hostel about 9.30pm and decided to do the hostel thing and cooked a packet of soup here.  Not sure I want to cook in a hostel ever again (or at least not this one), but it was easier than walking in the dark to the town.

Loved my taste of Chile – as that is all of it I will see this time, but it is on the list for future travels.

Tomorrow am heading further north to El Chalten for a couple of days.

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2 thoughts on “A day in Chile–Torres del Paine

  1. So pleased you liked Chile – I’m pretty sure I have that same photo of me & the Torres del Paine sign :o)

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