Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales – El Calafate – travel day

Once again a travel day. On we go to Argentina. At 10:00 o’clock our bus started to Puerto Natales. In 3.5 h we reached the bus station to take the 14:30 bus to El Calafate, where we arrived at 20:30. At the Chilean border we got an exit stamp and at the Argentinean border an entry stamp. Both very uncomplicated and without much control.

In El Calafate we sleep in the America del Sur.


Punta Arenas – King Penguins – Tierra del Fuego

From 8:00 am we rented a car today to go to Tierra del Fuego! So at just after 7:00 we took a cab to the Car Rental Station at the airport. SUV with four-wheel drive to get ahead on the dirt roads at the “end of the world”. We barely caught the ferry to Porvenir at 9:00, as we had to buy tickets in the terminal beforehand. The approximately 32 km ferry crossing the Maggelan Strait took 2 h. We had our breakfast sandwiches and coffee in the SB restaurant on the ship.

From Porvenir it went “offroad” good 2 h over Tierra del Fuego through the “Region de Magallanes” to the “Parque Pinguino Rey” . There is the only king penguin colony in South America. So far “north!” one does not meet them otherwise. The penguins are very well protected. They were standing together in a group on a dune behind a small river. The guide called it a penguin pool. But nobody felt like bathing right now. It was very stormy, so the wooden fence also served as a windbreak. Since the penguins are nevertheless somewhat further away, several binoculars are built up, by which one can observe them very well.


The gray Thick Puffs are the offspring, some only a few days to weeks old! Very cute and sociable. The penguins have resettled in this place only a few years ago. However, about 500 years old penguin bones were excavated, so the “place” was probably used as a colony once before.

After 1.5 h “penguin watching” we were well blown through and drove our car further across the island. The vegetation here consists almost exclusively of grassland. Very few people live in this part of the country. At the ferry dock to Punta Delgada a somewhat smaller ferry commutes. We were lucky and it just arrived. A cheeky fox was hanging around the pier looking for goodies. We also saw many guanacos, nandus (large ratites), and wild geese along the way. In the evening Reiner dropped me off at the new lodging and brought the car back. At 21:00 we had frozen vegetables au gratin.


25 – 27.3. W-Trek Torres del Paine, Camping

On Monday, the 25.3. we went immediately at 9:00 o’clock to the travel agency Vertice Patagonia to book overnight stays in the glacier area. Online was nothing to do. Although it is almost off-season, the hostels and campsides are partially booked. We were lucky and for 2 nights a built tent in the “Paine Grande” get. At 12:00 still drove a bus, so it went holterdipolter again in the national park. At 14:20 we had to re-register at the park entrance, but since the tickets from Saturday were still valid, it went quickly. The weather was optimal and there were nicely a few photogenic guanacos (small llamas) running around before the ride continued into the western part of the W trek.

The bus took us to Pudeto, where we took the catamaran ferry to Refugio Paine Grande. 1.5 h turquoise blue water on Lago Pehoe and a beautiful view of the mountains. Upon arrival at 5:00 pm we were able to settle into our assigned tent.

In the communal kitchen, everyone unpacked their gas stoves. We had the only electric immersion heater. Most of them had noodles, we did too.

( Park entrance fee 3-days in a row (unlimited in the park): 21,000 CLP pP, bus round trip: 15,000 CLP pP, catamaran round trip: 30,000 CLP pP, camping: 6,000 per day pP, tent: 20,000 per day).

During the day we had sunshine and 17 degrees, at night it was 5 degrees. We combined the sleeping bags with the silk sleeping bags and kept the jackets on. Was nice and cozy!


Tuesday 3/26 – Alarm rang at 6:30am and we had porridge and coffee at 7:00am. 7:45 am at sunrise we left for our hike to Mirador Grey. We were amazed to see two young foxes frolicking right outside our tent.

Today’s stage took us 3.5 h to get to the viewpoint on the glacier, which is really huge. We went right up to the water and were able to lick the ice.

We continued walking for about 2 h towards Guarderia Glaciar Grey and came across two high suspension bridges to another viewpoint from which you can look down on the glacier ice. On the way back we saw parrots and a hawk up close. 19:30 back at camp we were pretty exhausted after 31 km of walking. With our electric stove we made some bean soup. We had a tetra pack of wine to go with it!

On Thursday, 27.03. we had to get up early again. We packed our backpack and deposited it at the Refugio for 4,000 CLP. Today we went to the Mirador Frances ( the inner prong of the “W”) . 20 Km over the currently closed Camp Italiano through the Maggelan forest. At the Mirador we had a great view of the Paine Grande, Castillo, Cota and Catedral. Shortly after we reached the Mirador it started to rain slightly. We still had a good view and on the way back a big rainbow. Back to Puerto Natales we went with the ferry at 17:00, from Pudeto at 18:30 by bus, so that we were at 21:30 again in our accommodation, where we had left by the way a large backpack with things not needed. The hot shower was wonderful!!!


Puerto Natales

Today was a day to relax. We slept in and after breakfast we tackled a few organizational things. But since it was Sunday today, we couldn’t accomplish much. During our walk through the city we saw a great rainbow.

For dinner we cooked pumpkin stew with onions, ginger and gorgonzola cheese.


Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine

The bus of JBPatagonia (12000 CLP pP) drove us at 7:00 o’clock in two hours to the entrance portal “Laguna Amarga” of the national park “Torres del Paine”. Here you pay the park entrance fee of 21000 CLP pP for a ticket valid for 3 days. Then we continued with the shuttle bus (3000 CLP pP) to the trekking entrance at the hotel “Las Torres”. At 10:20 am we started our 19 km hiking tour to the Mirador las Torres. The first 7 Km were no problem slightly ascending and beautiful hiking trails. Then it became steeper over boulders so also strenuous and slower. So we reached the viewpoint only at 14:50. And we saw – not much!!!

So we waited for half an hour and it was worth it! Little by little the clouds moved on and we had a view of at least 50 percent of the “Torres del Paine”.( With reflection in the water almost 100 percent).

The way back was easier again because downhill but we had time on our hands. Our bus from Laguna Amarga had departure at 19:45. So we hardly allowed ourselves any breaks. One stop to fill up our water bottle with glacier water, very refreshing! And one stop to admire horses, (a herd of about 50 horses) which were back on the pasture in front of the hotel after their tour. At 19:00 we sat safely in the shuttle bus and reached our connection comfortably. For dinner today we had a quick noodle soup!


Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales

We took the bus at 11:00 from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales. We arrived at the bus station at 14:00. We walked to our hotel and spent the afternoon asking around about Torres del Paine National Park and shopping.


Punta Arenas – Magdalena, Penguins – Marta , Sea lions

At 6:00 am we walked to the agency to start the tour to the Magellanic penguins on Magdalena. At sunrise at 7:30 am our bus arrived at the boat dock. With about 50 people we went leisurely in 70 min on the “Carlos III” to the offshore island. On the way the crew members called us to the roof of the boat because whales were sighted. And indeed we saw whales surfacing a few times on the left and right. Docked on the island, we are allowed to stay for one hour, walking once to the lighthouse and back on a marked path. This is plenty of time.

Along the way, we encountered numerous young penguins that will have shed their “baby feathers” in the next few weeks to then follow their parents into the sea. Next September (in Chile spring) the penguins will come back to breed here. The penguins find the tourists at least as interesting as we find the cute animals. It’s very noisy and busy on the barren island, which looks a bit like a Swiss cheese, so riddled with holes.

After our visit, we were very happy that it seems to be ok for the penguins to have “visitors” too. Afterwards, thanks to the good weather, we could still visit Marta Island with its huge sea lion and cormorant colony. There we did not go ashore, but watched the animals from the roof of the boat. On the way back, around lunchtime, we dropped off at the edge of town to roam the stores in the duty-free area. In an outdoor store we found a long sought after immersion heater. Now that there have been several accommodations without a kettle and I sent our old one with us to Germany! In the evening we prepared spaghetti with tomato sauce and iceberg lettuce with lemon to us.