Feb 2019 – Next stop in Chile- We were in Torres Del Paine national park in Southern Chilean Patagonia which are three distinctive granite peaks of the Paine mountain range. The turquoise lakes, glacier-fed roaring rivers and waterfalls, ice fields, snow covered mountains are the predominant landscape inside the park.
Along the way to the park, we stopped at Cerro Castillo, a small village located in the Aysen Region. The Chilean Rodeo is celebrated here in February and in December they have the Shearing Ceremony, where approx. 1500 sheep are shaved in public.
Our next stop at Lake Sarmiento and Blue Lagoon overlooked some spectacular views of Torres Del Paine towering in the distance. Here we saw a timeless view – the flight of the Condors – these majestic birds flying amidst the gorgeous scenery of this remote area of Patagonia. It was so thrilling to see the way them fly and circle back above with gracious ease. Only in Chile!
Once Inside the park, there are various viewpoints and hikes, all offering magnificent chances for nature viewing and wildlife. It’s a short and scenic drive from Lake Sarmiento to Lake Amarga, where a perfect reflection of the Torres Del Paine is visible in the still waters. Colorful flamingos wade in its shallow water. We made stops at the Waterfall (Salto Grande) which is between two big lakes, Pehoé and Nordenskjöld . The lookout points were some of the most magnificent and beautiful landscapes which we have seen.
Hiking is one of the top activities in this park. Lodges within the park offers various options- from day hikes to several days. The two most popular multi-day hiking excursions are the W-Circuit and the O-Circuit, named after the shape of the trail.
Equally exciting was to see the local wildlife, birds and Patagonian mammals. One of the most awesome sightings was of the Laser Rhea, a large flightless bird like the ostrich and emu. We also saw a ton of Guanacos in the Park.
On our way back from the Park we stopped at the Milodón Cave, a natural monument located on Benitez Hill, 25 kilometers from Puerto Natales. In 1895, remains of extinct animals like Sabre-Toothed Tiger, American Horse and a large mammal known as Milodón were found here. It took us about half an hour to go into the cave and observe the stalactites, remains and a replica of Milodón.
After a full and invigorating day in the national park we headed back. The clear, glorious day gave us some marvelous views of evening skies above the Strait of Magellan.
Puerto Natales is a cute, quaint town with enchanting views of skies, Strait of Magallen and deep-blue waters and friendly locals. Located along its picturesque waterfront are
- Muelle Historico – Sunken dock with rows of spindly wooden pillars into the water.
- Monumento al Viento – sculpture of a man and a woman flying along the coast line.
- Monumento de la Mano – Sculpture depicting five human fingers in the Earth.
A charming square in the center of the town, Plaza de Armas, is a lovely place for a stroll, watch the locals, get a feel of the city, see Paróquia Maria Auxiliadora (main church of the city), and check out the nearby restaurants, cafes, and souvenir stores.
My recommendations for some of the eating options in the town (Detailed reviews are on my yelp page) – Lenga (Chilean food with a modern twist), Restaurant Angélicas, Kosten Restaurant, Mesita Grande Pizzería, El-Living, Creperia Cafe & Te.
Thanks to our friendly and informative local guide Benjamin, we got to explore the rocky terrains of Torres Del Paine National Park and add it to our memories. Chile is full of epic things and from here we’re ready for our next adventure and stop Atacama Desert