Ever since the maritime exploits of Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th Century, Patagonia has become synonymous with inspiring exploration and intriguing legends. Drake, Humboldt, Darwin, Shackleton and Chatwin are just a few of the famous names that have become linked to the area over the centuries and have helped to create its mystique.
• Watch the sunset over the stunning rock towers in the park
• Take a cruise up to the icy cliff face of the Grey glacier
• Trek around Las Torres on the testing eight day ‘O’ route
• Go in search of the elusive Puma with a specialist guide
• Weave around the icebergs as you kayak down the Serrano River
Nestling at the southern tip of Chile is Patagonia; a world of vast open pampas, lush forests that explode into colour in Autumn, icy green lakes and waterfalls, glaciers tumbling into lakes, unique wildlife and dramatic mountain peaks…and at the very heart of this is the country’s most spectacular, natural wonder, Torres del Paine National Park.
You can either stay in the National Park itself or in the town of Puerto Natales. The park boasts some excellent walking trails that last for anything from a few hours to over a week.
Even during a day trip into the park you can still see some of its greatest highlights including the Grand Falls (Salto Grande) where Lake Nordenskjold falls into Lake Pehoe; the views of the Cuernos del Paine; the Salto Chico where Lake Pehoe drains into the River Paine, the stunning lenga forest en route to Lake Grey where you can enjoy lovely views across the Grey Glacier. You can also visit Amarga Lagoon with its stunning views of the main Torres del Paine. The drive to and from the park will take you through a variety of beautiful pampas landscapes, where one can often see many different species of wildlife including guanacos, Darwin’s rhea, condors, water birds and foxes.
Another excellent day trip is to board a cruise boat in Puerto Natales harbour for a visit through the Last Hope Sound (Seno de Ultima Esperanza) towards the Serrano Glacier at the head of the Serrano River. The cruise takes you through some of the world’s wildest, most remote and stunning scenery with the possibility of seeing large cormorant colonies, sea lions and a host of other flora and fauna. You also cruise to the Balmaceda Glacier which offers some equally dramatic viewing of the glacier walls and surrounding landscapes.
It is also possible to cross into Argentina here to see some of the highlights on the other side of the border in the Los Glaciares National Park. At the northern end of the park is the Fitzroy Massif, which is a paradise for climbers and trekkers with some breathtaking mountain scenery. The southern end of the park can be explored from El Calafate where one of the principal highlights is the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier.