Chile 2018 Part 1 Far Southern Chili
We have arrived in the most southern part of Chile and while the Map refers to it as Tierra Del Fuego the locals tell me it is the province of Magallanes and the capital city is Punta Arenas. Our first stop Lake Blanco followed by the Parque Penguino Rey. According to the ranger this is the only place in South America where you can see King Penguins. The other 2 areas are Antarctica and South Georgia. (Falkland Islands) From Porvenir we boarded a ferry to Punta Arenas crossing the strait of Magellan. We have stated before that we have great respect for bike riders do the round the world trip on bikes. Here in Patagonia we added the cyclist to this list. Amazing how they conquer the fierce wind and cold nights in a small tent. Having said this also credit to all those in land cruisers and either pop-tops or roof top tents. We must be getting old as we enjoy the comforts of our truck and park where we like without having to worry about wind breaks, toilets and high cost of camping’s.
Once we left the Ferry we did some shopping and moved south to the end of the road on Mainland America. En route we visited Fuerte Bulnes, Puerto Julian and Centro Geografico de Chile Monument. This marks the geographic centre of Chile and from here to Peru is the same distance as to the Chile most southern part of Antarctica. During the night the weather changed and a gale force wind and rain made the return trip to the main road a challenging trip. The rain never stopped until we arrived in Puerto Natales. For us a disappointing town hence we decided to continue and look for a nice camp spot half way to the National Park. We parked at a great spot right on Lago the Sarmiento De Gamboa. Arriving at 6PM the views where not the best but we could see Torres Del Payne. Another night with gale force winds but we woke up with a mix of sunshine, sleet, snow and rain. During the morning it became sunny allowing us some great views while driving around The National park Torres Del Payne. 3 days we spend in this nice park, the area shows a variety of landscapes such as the Pampas, Magellanic Forest, lakes and lagoons with icebergs in them and nice glaciers. It also has lots of wildlife, but we are still looking for the elusive, Puma But we were lucky to see 2 Condors at Lake Grey. At 300 USD for 2 people to cruise the lake we decided to walk instead. While we walked we did see the icebergs and the glacier in the distance, we even spotted Flamingo’s.
Cost of entering the park for a foreigner is very high at 21000 Peso’s vs 6000 for a local? (45 AUD dollars per person) The highlights of the park included Cuernos and Torres massifs, Laguna Azul, Laguna Amarga and Lake Grey. The last night we camped again at lake Sarmiento and had the company of a herd of guanacos. From here we backtracked to the very small border town Cerro Castillo from where we crossed back into Argentina for our next destination El Calafate and the Perito Moreno glacier.