It’s been a while since I last wrote about our travels in Patagonia, but I promise this next post will be worth the wait.
After 2 weeks in Argentina, it was time for us to drive south to Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile.
Patagonia Diaries – Torres Del Paine – Part I
We left El Calafate early knowing we had a long drive ahead of us. As we drove away from the town, we headed out into what seemed to be baron nothingness. We left the mountains in the distance behind us as the land grew flatter and drier. We filled up the tank at the last gas station on the Argentinian side and kept our eyes open for signs for the border to Chile. The signs sent us off the main highway and down a dirt road that seemed to lead nowhere. But after ten minutes of driving, we came across a barrier and a small building that looked like a border. We pulled up the car outside and went in with our papers. The room was empty, so we knocked on a door where we could hear voices. A man came out, pointed at the clock (it was 12:10) and explained to us in Spanish that the border was now closed until the next day. We would need to drive further south to the next border crossing that would take us over the border to the town of Puerto Natales in Chile, meaning we had to do a lot of extra miles and would arrive much later in Torres Del Paine than we planned.
Our accommodation for our first 2 nights in Torres Del Paine was one of the things that we were looking forward to the most. We were booked to stay in the Eco Camp, a luxury, 100% sustainable hotel situated in the national park. We checked in and explored the camp and our incredible suite dome, which was awesome.
Our first full day in the park, we woke up to cloudy skies, so we decided to do some a few shorter hikes instead of the long hike to the Torres base. We took a drive through the park and down to Lake Pehoe and the Salto Grande waterfall. As we arrived, snow started falling heavily and as we walked to the waterfall, we passed a group of guanacos who were happily grazing away despite the blizzard. In the afternoon, the snow eased off and we decided to do a short hike that had been recommended to us by one of the park rangers, away from the main trekking routes of the park.
The next morning we woke up again to snow but decided to hike up to the Torres base lake anyway since it was the last day that we were going to be at that end of the park. The clouds had already started to lift, so we set off for the long hike up to the base. The trail was still covered in a lot of snow, and the final part of the steep ascent sometimes had us scrambling up over rocks. But we made it up to the base of the lake, which looked so different than most of the pictures we had seen, now frozen over and covered in snow. We took a while at the top, taking in the view (and of course lots of pictures) and then we turned around for the hike back down. As we headed back to the valley, we were surprised at how many people were still on the way up to the lake, especially since it wouldn’t be long before it started to get dark.
The next morning we checked out of the amazing Eco Camp and headed back to Lake Pehoe, where we stayed for the next 2 nights at the Hosteria Pehoe, situated on an island in the lake. During the days we explored more of the stunning national park, but took it fairly easy in preparation for the next few nights when we would like out to Rifugio Grey.
Since this post has already gone on pretty long, I’ll save the hike to Rifugio Grey for next time.
If you’d like to buy prints of some of my pictures from Patagonia, you can find them in my
Missed the first two chapters of our Patagonia adventure? Catch up on them here: