Patagonia, Chilean Style!

Torres del Paine RiverTorres del Paine National Park in Chile is an incredible region with raw beauty at every turn with ice fields, glacial lakes, unique wildlife, and extreme mountains. We were lucky enough to spend four days here at EcoCamp and experience a sampling of all the park has to offer.


Vicuña in PatagoniaTo get a grasp on Torres del Paine National Park, our guides gave us a driving overview, pointing out the various peaks, available hikes, lakes and animals. The terrain had us spellbound and to add to the magic, fall turned the grasses along the lakes a beautiful mix of autumn colors.


Vicuña in Patagonia up closeGuancos are one of the few mammals ready to handle the extreme climate of Patagonia and they thrive here in abundance. Perhaps it’s because they know they are a protected species and irresistibly adorable, but they weren’t at all bashful. This one even batted her eyelashes at me.


Torres del Paine mountain rangeRun-off from the numerous glaciers that crown Torres del Paine cut through the landscape in snake-like fashion. The three sharp thin peaks jutting out in the distance are the “towers” that give the park their name and the place we would be hiking in days to come.


Almirante Nieto peak off Grey LakeDay 2 had us on a wild and bumpy boat ride toward the park’s second biggest attraction: Glacier Grey. En route, the amazing Almirante Nieto peaks were calling us to climb them.


Anne Howard driving a ship through a glacier fieldLucky for us, our EcoCamp guide Paulo was good friends with the boat captain, so he got us VIP access to the control room. After chatting it up in en Español for a while, the captain insisted that Anne take the wheel. With the feel of the strong winds and a glimpse of the upcoming icebergs, Anne quickly handed back the reigns.


Glacier Grey right sideThe face of Glacier Grey is split in the middle with a large black island (which about a century ago was fully engulfed by the glacier). This view is of the right side– the “daintier” section of the glacier.


Glacier grey - blue iceThe blue hues of the glacier were so intense they looked surreal.


Pisco Sours and Whisky on GlaciersFor the sunset sail home, we enjoyed pisco sours and whiskey on the rocks (the “rocks” are icebergs, of course). In the distance you can see the island splitting the glacier in half.


Cloud formations over Torres del Paine, PatagoniaOn our return back to the mainland we marveled at these amazing cloud formations hovering around the mountains. Later we realized this was no freak instance…the skies of gusty Torres del Paine never cease to amaze.


Cloud spaceships in PatagoniaWe had a hard time agreeing if this was a space-ship, a hen on a bed of straw, or just another crazy wind-whipped creation from Torres del Paine. Huge thanks to David Carillet who shared some knowledge in the comments below “They’re known as lenticular clouds, which normally form at very high elevations and have been mistaken for UFOs at times”


Start of hike up to Torres peaks, PatagoniaDay 3: The time had come, the Torres would be ours! (Well, at least to the base of them. Climbing to their peaks requires about a week, not to mention the 10-15 years of winter climbing experience). A gorgeous, and incredibly windy, morrain (Patagonia vocab word meaning a U-shaped valley shaped by a glacier) led us toward the Torres for a real Patagonia adventure.


Mike Howard and Anne Howard at Torres del Paine, PatagoniaWe made it! This photo (as with all of those previous) does a fraction of the justice the Torres deserve. This sight was so magnificent. The vista literally takes your breath away as you stare at the raw cliffs, lakes, snow peaks, and massive boulders.


Sunset over Torres del Paine from EcoCampBack at Ecocamp, we watch the sun go down behind and with a little Chilean red wine toast an unforgettable adventure through Torres del Paine.

Have you been to wilds of Southern Chile, what was your favorite part? If not, would you love to visit?



Torres Del Paine

26 thoughts on “Patagonia, Chilean Style!

  • May 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Love those clouds. They’re known as lenticular clouds, which normally form at very high elevations and have been mistaken for UFOs at times. A rare sight indeed for most people.

  • May 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I love the shot of you two toasting on the boat with ice berg rock’s glasses! haahaha awesome …. you just keep amazing me back here in Jersey.  all the best, keep it going, take care of each other

  • May 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    As usual the photography is awesome!

    • June 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

      You the man Ken. It is easy to be a good photographer down here, everything is so ridiculous, jagged, amazing, colorful….i can only take so much credit 🙂

  • May 7, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Simply put – AMAZING. 

      • June 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

        I only wish.  But thanks to you guys my list is very long now lol!  I definately have envy happening on this side of the computer.  🙂

        • June 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

          kim, if you have any questions at all, totally ask them. we totally want to facilitate friends visiting these places. and you can totally do it cheaply!

  • May 7, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Wow- The story just keeps getting better. 

    • June 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Thanks so much Rabbit! and honestly thanks for the comment, we love seeing everyones face in the comment section, and replying to you guys. It was also super nice seeing you in NYC.

  • May 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Your pictures are amazing.  What kind of camera do you have?  I love the blue glaciers!

    • June 2, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Thanks so much Pattie for the compliments on the photos. I am shooting with a Canon T2i Digital SLR with a 55-200mm lens. Very affordable (compared to its quality) camera. Highly recommend it, or its newer brother the T3i.

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  • October 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    How did you travel from one tip to the other? We’re finding that flights are bit pricey, but drive times are 40-50 hours! Any advice?

    • February 22, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Sorry for the delayed reply. We took two flights in South America for two reasons. #1. They are expensive. #2. Because we love travelling overland. Slow is the way to go, you get to see the countryside, meet the locals, and just enjoy the fresh air. Our advice is to pick a region and hit that hard, travel overland and see the sights….rather than try to tackle all the “highlights” in one whirlwind.

  • March 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Chile is such a beautiful country, and so diverse as you travel it’s length.

    • March 19, 2014 at 11:41 am

      @danloveridge:disqus, thanks for the comment. We totally agree, Chile from top to bottom was so different. From massive glaciers to the driest place on earth. I wish we had 3 months and a boat to cruise it’s amazing coastline. Ever thought about it? Or done it 🙂

  • March 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Hey Mike, my fiance and I are strongly considering a trip to Patagonia for our honeymoon. We’re trying to make it happen without spending way over our budget, but I’m a little nervous about going with a cheaper company. For instance, the trip through Viator looks amazing, but its so much cheaper than the rest it seems too good to be true. Who did you go through for your trip. Was it Cascada travel through the Ecocamps? Thanks!! Kendra

    • March 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Kendra, how long will you be spending in Patagonia? We spent approximately 3 weeks on Honeymoon in the region, and our budget was under $200 per day (for both of us, all in, food + hotels + excursions + transportation). That said we didn’t go luxe. If you want to jump on a call we would be happy to help you guys plan out some destinations and tell you about all the places we went and how they differ, and which were the best. Our page for consultations is over here – who know’s maybe you just might want to keep extending your honeymoon….

      • March 21, 2014 at 9:11 am

        We’ll probably be there 10-12 days total. We’re thinking of doing the Patagonia United tour through the Ecocamp, Cascada Expediciones, then maybe staying a few more days after in Patagonia or spending a few days in Buenos Aires before we have to fly home. We’re not looking for anything too luxe, just want to be able to experience the beauty of Patagonia and do some trekking.

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