We’ve always wanted to travel to Patagonia and explore the awe-inspiring Torres del Paine National Park. That’s why while being in Santiago, we decided to book flights with the Sky Airlines to get to Punta Arenas and then we took a bus that drove us to the small town of Puerto Natales.
It’s a popular tourist destination that’s a perfect geteway to explore the real Patagonia. Perto Natales is a picturesque town that resembles Norwegin cities a lot. It’s also a place that’s located nearby the famous Torres del Paine National Park.
We described one of our hikes here. We still wanted to explore more wonders in the chilean Patagonia before we cross the border to Argentina. We decided to book a one day tour that took us all around the Torres del Paine National Park and its mountain ranges. We could explore its emerald lakes, wild guanacos, glaciers and fantastic summits. The whole day was an unforgettable experience.
Torres del Paine entrance
The Park is located about 2-hour drive away from Puerto Natales. As we were getting closer to its entry, we could already admire the famous three towers Torres del Paine that are resposible to the park’s name. We also stopped by the Lake Sarmiento, where we could marvel at three granite peaks we hiked to, the day before.
Wild guanaco and Amaraga Lagoon
As we were driving towards the Park, we could notice wild guanacos – the cousins of lamas and alpacas that are very popualar in Peru. This species lives in the rough conditions of the Southern Patagonia and it is used to harsh winters and howling winds Patagonia is famous for. Even the trees that have been planted by the streets are bent from the constant force of the winds. Fortunately, our guide made sure we can get off the bus and take some pictures in the meantime. The next viewing point was located by the Amarga Lagoon, on the small hill. The colours of the water is pure emerald because it’s sourced from a glacier and is full of minerals and dust from smashed rocks.
Cuernos del Paine
As we drove further into Torres Del Paine National Park, we saw that the views behind the window change rapidly. From each side, the mountains looked differently, but equally impresive. We left the Towers behind us and now it was time to marvel at Cuernos del Paine – the Horns. Those summits were carved by the mighty glaciers back in the days. They seemed to be in a variety of colours.
Salto Grande Waterfall
Later on, we took a short walk to Salto Grande waterfall. It was powered by the melting glaciers as well, so it had the same intensive colour as the lakes we had seen before. Right next to it, there was a splendid view of the mountains and the glaciers covering their tops. We could not stop staring at it. Finally, the strong wind convinced us that it was time to go.
Next, we headed towards the camping grounds at the lake Pahoe, where the lunch break was planned. You needed to have your own food or pay way too much for some snacks at the bar. The place was unbelievable. It was one of the best views of Cuernos del Paine. If we ever come back here, we would love to stay at this campground to peacefully enjoy sunrise and sunset by the lake. The mountain range on the opposite side of the azure lake is so neat it makes you forget about all the world outside of the National Park.
The third part of the park that we visited was the Grey Lake – Lago Grey. From the parking lot we had to take a 15 min walk. The path led us through the forest and soon enough we could enjoy the view of the lake. There were some deep-blue ice bergs floating in it. Such a stunning sight! Even though we could not see the Grey Glacier itself, we could see the bits of it that fell off and drifted away.
The entire lake was created as the glacier retreated. It is a part of the Southern Patagonia Icefield. This is the third largest icefield in the world. Smaller only than the one in Atarctica and one Greenland.
We could walk all the way to the edge of the water. Except of the big ice bergs, there were also small ice floats that were pushed to the beach by the weves. The neat peaks of the Paine Range were amazing backdrop for this view. Incredible!
After exiting the National Park, we stopped by the Lago del Toro to enjoy the view of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the World, for the last time. In the distance the peaks of the Cuernos del Paine were towering above this azure lake. This is the picture we won’t forget. There were much more attractions and things to do in Patagonia. On the next day, we were going to catch a bus to Argentina. Mountains on the other side of the borders are supposingly just as great. We had to go and see it all with our own eyes!