Weekly Postcard / Photo Friday: a weekly post with a picture that I love, of a place that is worth highlighting.
So, for a first, I’d like to highlight a place outside of Europe. Quite far from Europe, actually. But it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. National Park Torres del Paine lies in the South of Chile and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It encompasses beautiful mountains, lakes and glaciers. The park thanks its name to three granite peeks, the Torres.
How to get there
Since it lies at like the edge of the world, pretty far away from everything, it’s quite an undertaking to get there. Easiest is flying into the nearest airport, Punta Arenas. From there you can either take a bus or a rented car to Puerto Natales (254 km) and then make your way to one of three entrances (again, either by bus or car). Route 9 links to the Sarmiento (112 km) and Laguna Amarga (129 km) entrances and Route Y-290 connects with the Serrano entrance in Torres del Paine Park (80 km).
Another option is to take an overland tour through Patagonia (South of Chile and Argentina). That is how I got to Torres del Paine and all the other beautiful places in Patagonia. I figured that, since busses are very expensive in Patagonia, it was worth taking a truck tour (bonus: friends for life!). There are multiple tour operator that have truck tours in Patagonia, just google it.
What to do
Basically, you hike. The most famous hike is the “W”. If you look at a map, you can tell why it’s called that way. It takes 5 day. You either sleep in refugios or sleep in tents at campsites. You can also do the “O”- or “Q”-loop. Which, apart from doing the W as well, takes you North of the mountain range to finish a loop.
The hike itself is fantastic. Nothing too straining, but a good challenge. You’ll meet backpackers from all over the world.
Bear in mind, that there are also other hiking options. For example there is a route up Condor Hill, which gives you a great view of the mountain range. And there is a small route to a water fall. They are both hikes that take just part of a day.
You’ll probably spot some wildlife along the way. The magnificent condors are a must see. Then there are Guanacos (related to llamas, they have a shorter fur) and Rheas (which are the ostriches of South America).
No rights can be derived from this post. I did my utmost best to ensure that prices and times are correct, yet errors happen and prices change.