PATAGONIA - Amazing Southern Tip of The Americas

Patagonia is a geological wonder, including the arctic Cape Horn, glaciers running into the sea, fjords, and magnificent mountain parks.

 

TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK, CHILE

Majestic mountains and great hiking abound.

THE SINGULAR LODGE

While traveling to Torres Del Paine Park you might want to stay at The Singular, a wonderful lodge on the way from Punta de Arenas.  It is an inventive structure built in the remains of an old meat refrigeration plant, juxtaposing old brick, wooden beams and plant equipment, against modern glass and steel architecture.  The dining area, bar, spa and rooms were dramatic and beautiful. 

TIERRA PATAGONIA RESORT

We left The Singular and arrived at Tierra Patagonia. where we stayed for our hiking excursions in the Torres del Paine National Park.  Tierra Patagonia was an even more remarkable architectural wonder with beautiful vistas. 

On our arrival day we hiked with a French couple up and along the edge of this escarpment descending at the other end.

Along the way a condor flew along with us, just below us from up on the escarpment. We also spotted an eagle perched at the highest point, and then snuck up and got some nice pictures.

The views are dramatic. And you can match profiles with the Indian in the Rock

The all day hike up 6000 feet to the base of the famous three towers in the mountains is challenging but rewarding.

Another hike visits mountain lakes, and a waterfall. On the way you encounter fabulous wildlife like this red fox and puma.

On our final day, we took a hike over beautiful terrain to a hilltop cave where ancient Indian paintings and hand imprints are still visible.  A guanaco bids us adieu.

USHUAIA to PUNTA DE ARENAS

We cruised on the Australis from Ushuaia to Puntas De Arenas through fjords and channels, past glaciers flowing into the sea.  A dramatic part of the world, close to the Antarctic.

USHUAIA 

The southernmost city in South America, Ushuaia is itself a charming town surrounding my majestic scenery of mountains, cliffs, icebergs and sea.  We sailed off with Ushuaia’s lights and snowy mountains in the background.

AUSTRALIS CRUISE

In the morning we visited Cape Horn, the southern tip of the continent. We boarded zodiacs for the visit on a rainy windy day. Not unusual at this point in the world.  But we made it to the the monument at the top of the island. Thankfully, the conditions were never that bad the rest of the voyage. Later that day, we hiked on a beautiful island.

On the ship we could follow our voyage on chart-screens updated as we went along. We traveled through channels lined with snowcapped peaks.  We became very good friends with a father, David, and son, Jeremy, traveling together.  Here’s Jeremy, Sarah, David and Chris on one of the expeditions.

The next day we visited our first a glacier (left), a loudly cracking and creaking calving hunk of ice, oozing down the mountain at a meter per day and 7 kilometers long. Later that day we visited another glacier with a glacial lake behind it.

The next day started with a Zodiac ride through fields of ice to visit a beautiful glacier having a waterfall and remarkable towers of jagged ice.  We took some shards of the glacier.  Then we hiked to another glacier mirrored in the water.

On our final cruise day, we visited an island populated with penguins, delightfully amusing creatures to watch.  Emerging from their burrows, they stand around or gather for “meetings”, or re-enact the cover of Abbey Road (a great picture taken by Jeremy).  Then waddle down to the sea for a dip and breakfast.

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