Pictures from Patagonia: The Road to Torres del Paine

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I’m finally ready to share some of my pictures of Patagonia!  I started with this week’s Picture of the Week and it only keeps going from here.

(in case you’re curious all of the pictures below were taken with my Sony a7rII camera with the 24-70 G Master lens attached to it)

Getting to Torres del Paine

Getting to Torres del Paine National Park is a beating, there’s really no way around it.  I flew from Dallas to Santiago, then connected on a domestic LATAM flight to Punta Arenas, about a 3 hour flight south.  In Punta Arenas I rented a car and decided to drive to the park.

Punta Arenas is one of the southernmost cities in the world and is the southernmost city on the American landmass (North, Central, and South America).  It sits on the Strait of Magellan, an incredibly important shipping lane which used to be the only way of passing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

From Punta Arenas you need to head north to get to Torres del Paine.  It’s a long and mostly straight road and is about as remote of a road as I’ve ever seen.  I pulled over for a picture in one of the many bus stops dotting the landscape.

After about 2.5 hours you get to a town called Puerto Natales.  Puerto Natales is mainly a tourist town now that sits on a beautiful sound (it reminded me of Queenstown, New Zealand) and is the last place to get gas before Torres del Paine.  This was the first place I pulled out my camera to get some shots of the beautiful water with mountains around it.

Puerto Natales is a great place to get supplies (and you must fill your gas tank here, there’s no gas in Torres del Paine) for your excursion to the national park.  There’s a Unimarc grocery store that’s easy to find with a decent selection of fruits, deli meats, etc.  I did a little bit of damage here, got a crepe (like a real man) at a coffee shop down the road, and set off for the park, which I was shocked to find out was another two hours away!

The road after Puerto Natales is a mix of paved and unpaved, and by “unpaved” I really mean “potholes”.  The reason it takes so long to get to the park from Puerto Natales isn’t necessarily the distance rather the speed you’re forced to travel at because road conditions are so poor.  But the views are worth it as you get closer to the park.

Just outside the border of the park I happened upon a huge pack of alpaca dotting their way up a hill.  The alpaca were ever present and sometimes right in the middle of the road (another reason you couldn’t go too fast on the dirt roads).

I finally made it to one of the entrances to Torres del Paine National Park, where I was told by the park ranger that I had another hour of driving until I reached my hotel!  So basically what I thought was going to be a 3.5 hour drive ended up taking 6 hours!  But man the views were worth it.

I finally made it to the shores of Lake Pehoe, which has the classic view of the torres (towers).

It was at this point that I realized the entire trip had been worth it.  It took two days to get here, but before I even made it to my hotel I had already had my breath taken away by this incredible and raw place.  I sat my camera down, set my exposure the way I wanted it, and snapped one of my favorite pictures ever.

I had finally made it to Torres del Paine.

 

Stay tuned for more pics!

 

Which of these was your favorite?  Have you been to Torres del Paine?  Tell me in the comments below!

8 Comments

  1. Amazing photos Andy!

    Must get down there soon. I always say it every time I am in South America.

    Look forward to the rest of the trip photos/vlogs!

    Reply
  2. Great article and superb pictures!

    Reply
  3. You’ve inspired me to go there – thanks!
    Where did you stay in Torres del Paine?
    Do you need an International Driving Permit in Chile or is driver licence enough?
    Any other practical info you can think of?
    Happy travels!

    Reply
  4. You’ve inspired me to go there! Thanks 🙂
    Quick questions – where did you stay and is Intl Drivibg Permit needed in Chile?

    Reply
  5. Hi there! I am going to do the O Circuit over Christmas. I was wondering what lenses you took? What you found you used the most? If you wished you’d taken something else etc?

    Right now I will be travelling with an A6000. My 12mm Rokinon is going with me mostly for some astrophotography. I also own a 30mm 2.8 Sigma (but may upgrade to the 1.4), I also own the 55-210mm. But I am interested in buying a better lens to fit in somewhere instead to have the perfect set of equipment, but would like to still try and keep my equipment fairly light.

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa! I had two lenses with me: the 24-70 GMaster and the new 12-24 f4. Both are full-frame lenses. I really wish I would’ve brought my 70-200 (your 55-210mm should cover that need) and actually intended to but somehow forgot it.

      I had the 24-70mm on my a7rII the entire time and every single one of these pictures was with that lens. I’d look into something like the Sony 10-18f4 to go with your Rokinon as a walk-around lens with autofocus.

      Reply
  6. I forgot to mention, I will be bringing my rx100 as a back-up and my husband has his older gopro 3 black+

    Reply

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