Trekking in Patagonia

By Clare Davissen In March 2019, I took a whirlwind trip to Patagonia for ten days of trekking with Intrepid. It was an incredibly enjoyable, if slightly fast-pace, tour that ticked off one of my big bucket list items! I arrived in Santiago two days ahead of when our tour was supposed to begin. This gave me a few days to get over the jetlag and explore this cosmopolitan, safe and dynamic city.  Two days later ready to go, I meet the rest of the team, shared dinner together in Santiago and off we went on a very early morning flight to Punta Arenas followed immediately by a bus to Puerto Natales. There were a LOT of early mornings on this trip – with so much to see in such a short period of time, there was no other way!  

The Trek

We arrived in Puerto Natales and spent one night, giving us a chance to explore this quaint little trekking town. Bright and early on the next morning, we boarded the bus to head into Torres Del Paine National Park to meet our trekking crew – Juan Cho & Garazi. After a spectacular ferry ride across Lake Pehoê with perfect sunny skies, we arrived at Refugio Paine Grande, our camp for the next two nights.  The weather was just magical the whole time we were there. Our guides kept reminding us how lucky we were as we had no wind and only a little rain throughout the entire journey! We camped here in comfy tents all set up by our camping crew and had access to the facilities inside the Refugio, which included a canteen and bar with stunning views.  That afternoon we trekked up to the Grey Glacier. Just a short three hour round trip to this beautiful viewpoint overlooking the glacier. The following day was more challenging travelling to the Francês viewpoint and for those who were keen to continue to the Britanico viewpoint.  This was the most beautiful day for me, with a different, unexpected view around every corner.  About half of the group continued all the way to Britanico and although it was an exhausting 10hr day we were rewarded with stunning forests, imposing mountain views and beautiful blue lakes and streams.  The forest had also just started to turn from luscious green to glowing oranges and golds. How beautiful it would be in just a few weeks.  Maybe my next trip will have to be in April when the colour change is in full swing! On this slightly amended version of the traditional W trek we cruised back across the Lake to the other side of the park so we could tackle the base of the towers. This last day trekking in Torres Del Paine was just incredible, the scenery was just beautiful making this 10hr day so fulfilling.  Today we got a little taste of the famous Patagonian weather with some cooler temps and some rainy moments but when we reached the top the Base of the Towers we were once again rewarded with clear skies and just wow what a majestic view!!  A great way to finish off a great few days of trekking. Another early start the next morning was needed to travel north into Argentina to the cute, tourist town of El Calafate.  A great place to stay so we could trek strap on the crampons and walk on the blue blue ice of the Perito Moreno Glacier. A truly unforgettable experience… and great selfie opportunity with an ice axe!! We spent our final day and night of the tour in Buenos Aires, soaking up the culture and nightlife of this vibrant city.

Final Thoughts

Despite the whirlwind itinerary, this ten-day adventure was just the break I needed! I got to experience something I’ve wanted to tick off my list for many years and enjoy the beauty, culture and trails of Patagonia.  There is still so much to see so I’m definitely going to be returning – hasta luego mi amigo!!

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