Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, El Calafate, Torres del Paine

Punta Arenas, located on the Strait of Magellan, is a unique blend of grandeur from the old days and neglect. Several villas from the heyday of world trade in the center face many poor houses on the periphery. The city is not accessible by land from Chile and has nevertheless developed splendidly in recent years.

Punta Arenas is home to one of the most fascinating cemeteries in South America with imposing mausoleums. Huge boxwood trees offer some protection from the icy winds. Unfortunately, monuments were also smeared here.

From the Mirador you have a magnificent view over the whole city and the Magellan waterway.

Here too, the shop windows and the facades were full of graphite. You could only enter the store through a small door on the side.

On the promenade a nice playground was built and a ten-storey hotel skyscraper with Skybar and casino would not expect here at the end of the world. In the skybar we met a Dutchman who had just returned from a marathon in Antarctica.

Near the shore a colony with hundreds of cormorants

After two days we took the public bus to Puerto Natales and then drove by car to Torres del Paine. Andre visited Torres del Paine in 2012 and hiked the W Circuit. We have now driven on a road directly at the feet of the mountains and enjoyed the overwhelming scenery from below. Unfortunately, the weather was not so good. The most striking points are: the Totter (towers) that gave the name to the whole mountain landscape and the Cuernos, peaks that look like they have a chocolate topping.  And there are hundreds of guanachos.

On a fire in 2012 (when Andre was there) huge areas burned down. Nature has not recovered to this day and probably won’t. We went for a walk on Lago Grey and found ice from the glacier of the same name on the shore.

The glacier is at the other end of the lake.

The next day we took the bus from puerto Natales to Calafate in Argentina. It is always a special pleasure to pass the border between Argentina and Chile: if you wait only half an hour to show the passes you have been lucky. Apart from that, no fruit or vegetables are allowed to cross the border. The border guards checked the bus and removed several bags of food from the bus. Calafate is a very touristic city.The main street is full of outdoor shops and tourist restaurants.

We participated in two organized excursions, the first was to the very impressive glacier Perito Moreno. One stands on a very well developed platform directly opposite the glacier and one has a very good view over the entire glacier. The PM is one of the very few glaciers in the continental world that is still growing and calving. From time to time pieces of ice fall into the water with deafening noise and the tourists scream in delight. The platform on which one stands is very well developed, provided on several floors with stairs and lifts and allows a very good view of the glacier.

. The second trip was on a boat trip on the azure Lago Argentina, in a breathtaking mountain landscape, past several glaciers. As soon as the icebergs appeared, the bow was lined up with tourists to be photographed in front of the iceberg. And the whisky with glacier ice tasted excellent.

Laguna Nimiez on Lake Argentina is located on the edge of Calafate and is a nature reserve for fish and birds on the edge of Lake Argentina. These are calafate berries that are made into a delicious jam. From wooden huts you can watch the birds comfortably without wind and rain with binoculars or photo camera. Back to Puerto natales we eagerly waited for the embarkation to the cruise to Puerto Montt. This cruise should have been one of the highlights of the trip.