Cordillera del Paine, Patagonia Chile
Torres 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 Patagonia
To 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 close
Guancos 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 range
Run-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 Lake
Day 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 field
Lucky 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 side
The 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 ice
The blue hues of the glacier were so intense they looked surreal.

 

Pisco Sours and Whisky on Glaciers
For 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, Patagonia
On 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 Patagonia
We 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, Patagonia
Day 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, Patagonia
We 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 EcoCamp
Back 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 PaineSEE MORE PHOTOS IN OUR PATAGONIA CHILE SLIDESHOW >>

  • David Carillet

    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.

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      Thanks for the intel David, i updated the blog with your insights, and gave you a shout out as well. You rock!

  • JimSteere

    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

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      “Drinking whiskey w/ ice cubes from a glacier is a great reason to fight global warming!” -MPH

  • KenWeb

    As usual the photography is awesome!

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      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 :)

  • KimRogers2012

    Simply put – AMAZING. 

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      thanks so much Kim, have you been to Patagonia?

      • KimRogers2012

        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.  :)

        • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

          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!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tj-Raab/1253107707 Tj Raab

    Wow- The story just keeps getting better. 

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      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.

  • pattiecolgan

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

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      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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  • Wife with Baggage

    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?

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      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.

  • http://www.blueplanetexpeditions.co.uk/ Dan Loveridge

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

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      @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 :)

  • Kendra

    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