Ed’s Trip to Patagonia – Sep 2013
I was invited to south of Chile by the Patagonian Tourism Authorities of Chile and Argentina, where I had the chance to visit again the beautiful towns of Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales and the ever awe-inspiring Torres del Paine National Park.
I flew with Qantas Airways and LAN Airlines via Auckland and Santiago to Punta Arenas. It was such a great feeling to visit again the quaint town of Punta Arenas; One of the southernmost towns of Chile.
Established in 1848, originally as a tiny penal colony which grew in size and importance due to the maritime trade traffic before the Panama Canal was built. Later on, the gold rush and sheep farming boom at the end of the 1800’s gave a lot of riches to the families controlling the sheep farms. The elegant French style buildings and houses around the main square are testimony o f the wealth these families had. One of these fine houses is nowadays the Hotel Jose Nogueira.
A couple of days later, we boarded the Stella Australis Cruise for the most unforgettable journey through the most remote and pristine fjords of the Southern Chilean Patagonia. I had a beautiful cabin (AAA ) with floor to ceiling panoramic windows. With a capacity of 210 passengers, 3 decks , beautiful atmosphere and fine dining.
Cruising through those remote fjords and the view of the five glaciers coming down from the Sarmiento Mountains will stay imprinted in my memory for the rest of my life. The sense of remoteness inside those channels with dense forests, snowcapped mountains, no human settlements anywhere and the pure air was just what I needed to recover from the stress of my hectic life in the city.
We disembarked in the beautiful town of Puerto Natales and continued by bus to the Rio Serrano area, one of the most scenic parts of Torres del Paine National Park, where we had a delicious BBQ lunch. I, then continued to Cascada Eco-Camp where I stayed in one of the Suite Domes. A luxury Eco-Camp inspired by the dwellings of the extinct Kaweskar nomadic seafarers who devised domed huts to withstand the winds which can reach 160 Kms per hour.
I was lucky to have very sunny days with clear skies, crisp fresh air with some leftover snow from the winter. My view of the towers was just awesome. The decoration and facilities of the domes with its green technology, the guided treks and waking up in the middle of the Patagonian wilderness was another one of the many highlights this remote part of the world has.
Patagonia is without doubt one of the most unique places I have ever visited in my life…This place keeps drawing me to go back there and for me it is perhaps that stark and marked combination of raw, pristine natural beauty and the kindness of its people who welcome you with a simple but personable hospitality that makes you want to go back there again, and again…
Ed Garcia – Mar 2016