After our short stay in Punta Arenas, we hopped on a local bus and made out way to Puerto Natales. If you have been following along our travels through Patagonia then you know this is one of the major stops on our journey. Puerto Natales was our gateway to Torres del Paine National Park.
The town itself isn’t very large but you would never guess it was an important fishing port. Today it caters to tourists – sandwiched between the corrugated-tin houses you have outdoor gear shops after outdoor gear shops. As an FYI – if you wait until the last minute to stock up on your trekking clothes and gear you will most definitely pay a premium. Therefore be smart, plan ahead and bring with you what you need. Need help figuring out what you need? Watch this space for a Journeys // Patagonia Packing Guide.
Unlike a lot of other places we stayed throughout our Patagonia adventure, Puerto Natales had a focus on gastronomy. Coffee shops, wine bars and boutique restaurants were all over the place. We had dinner at Aldea one evening. Explicitly defined as “slow food,” we got taken through every item on the chalkboard menu down to each individual ingredient. Our waiter shared with us where the ingredients were sourced and even how the food would be prepared. We had a Calafate Sour (think Pisco Sour with Calafate Berries), a great bottle of wine, and some of the best food we had during our time in South America. If you find yourself in Puerto Natales and you are looking for a relaxed but nice dining experience – look no further than Aldea.
We stayed at the cute Hotel Capitan Eberhard, which sits on the shores of the beautiful Seno Última Esperanza. Our stay here wasn’t long as it served simply as our base before and after our 4 day W-Trek in Torres Del Paine National Park.
// SENO ÚLTIMA ESPERANZA
Puerto Natales sits on the beautiful Seno Ultima Esperanza. On a clear day you get some fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. We opted to walk along the banks and soak up the Patagonia vibe as we headed in and out of the town center. If you look closely you will find the ultimate postcard photo opportunity as well. So make your way to the Kau Lodge Coffee Shop and along the banks you’ll find the below to get your ultimate jumping shot. Sounds easy right? Let me know how it goes when the characteristically strong Patagonia winds are pummelling you. It took us a few times to get it right – the pic above is as good as it got. 🙂
If you find that you have more time in Puerto Natales than we did, find one of the many boats that ventures out through the Chilean fjords.
// TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
Our visit to Torres del Paine National Park is definitely one for the books. As we traveled to and through it, we couldn’t help but be stopped in our tracks by the turquoise lakes, glaciers, forests and the massifs. The park itself spans over 242,000 hectares and houses the picturesque Paine Towers, Los Cuernos, the French Valley, and Grey Glacier. Torres Del Paine offers some of the most beautiful hikes in South America and was definitely what drew us to coming to Patagonia. Trekkers flock from all over the world to take one of the many trails housed within the park to get up close and personal with mother nature.
We visited in November before the peak season kicked in and tackled the famous 3 Day/4Night W-Trek (Coming Soon DomOnTheGo // W Trek). We traded our mattresses for sleeping bags and hit the trails for an adventure we will never forget. Trekkers with a bit more time can take the option to complete the Paine Circuit, which circumnavigates the whole of the park. So – not into multi-day treks? There are tons of things to do in the park – so be sure to check the Torres del Paine National Park Website and be sure to plan ahead. I certainly look forward to coming back to this corner of the world to see the less travelled side of Torres del Paine National Park.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN AND AROUND PATAGONIA, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT DESTINATIONS // PATAGONIA.
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