We began our trip to Patagonia by flying into Punta Arenas, the southern most city in the world. It’s an incredible near-arctic climate to experience. It’s easy to find nice lodging there and to find your way around because the city isn’t gigantic, and the people are some of the friendliest in the country. It’s like they’re all in it together when it comes to living in the sometimes harsh conditions. We stayed in a hostel during our visit, and like many tourists here, we used Punta Arenas as a jumping pad for a hiking trip through Parque Torres del Paine. Before entering the park, though, we took a bus to Puerto Natales, a nearby smaller village that is a short ride from the park entrance. Natales was a great, small town experience, with super nice people who are excited to host hikers from around the world. It’s a charming area with mom&pop shops all over the place. We stayed the night there and then entered the park after another short bus ride. Torres del Paine is world famous for its trails and magnificent views. The park is a bus ride away from the town, and it drops you off in the ranger station checkpoint. There several hikes you can take, and they range in length (from a couple to several days). Before you go, though, recognize that these hikes are no simple day trips. They are very strenuous, demanding trails that can be dangerous for the underprepared. At the time of our visit me and two buddies were in our early 20s and were truly tested physically on our journey. Despite the difficulties, though, the views you earn are absolutely worth it.
Filed under: Latin America, South America Tagged: | Chile, friendly, friendly folk, hikes, hiking, juror #14, National Park, Parque Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Puerto Natales, Puntas Arenas, strenuous Latin America