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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.
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!