In my last post, I stopped at the Laguna San Rafael National Park. From this point, we are moving closer to the end of this continent and things are going to be better and better. Let’s us start at the Bernando O’Higgins National Park.
Bernando O’Higgins National Park
- Lautaro volcano
- Glacier Pío XI (Brüggen Glacier)
- Eyre fjord
- Lake Greve
It’s a place that you can’t miss. Bernando O’Higgins National Park is the largest protected area in Chile, a major sweet water reserve of the world, a part of both Aysén y Magallanes and Antártica Chilena region. It’s also part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Unlike other places we discussed in the previous post, rivers here are narrow fjords between mountains. The background of these fjords are decorated with high tips like the Lautaro volcano. It’s the highest point in this park, with 3,607 metres above the water.
There are also more blue area of glaciers. In this national park alone, there are more than 10 major glaciers, including glacier Pío XI, which is located at Eyre fjord by lake Greve. It’s the largest glacier in the Southern Hemisphere, outside of the Antarctica, with an area of 1,265 square kilometres. I would recommend a boat trip to see this glacier or if you are navigating with ferry, they will surely take you very close to this huge ice block for loads of pictures. The blue in pictures is going to be intense!
Torres del Paine National Park
- Cordillera del Paine
- Paine Towers
- Grey Glacier
- French Valley (Valle de Francés)
- Valle Bader
- Valle Ascencio
- Silence Valley (Valle de Silencio)
- Ice fields
- The Tyndall
- Lake Pehoé
- Lake Nordenskjöld
- Lake Sarmiento
- Lake Del Toro
- Paine river
- Mirador Condor
- Salto Grande
- Trekking routes
- W Trek
- Paine Circuit
Our next stop is Torres del Paine National Park. It’s more known compare to other national parks we’ve mentioned. It’s has been talked about a lot more, but it does make sense because there are so many things to see as you can see from the long list I’ve made above.
Prepare yourself both physically and mentally if you plan to visit this park. It’s cold and windy but you will be mind blown with the beauty. Note down that it shuts in Winter due to the extreme weather. Apart from that, get yourself there and pay about 5,ooo Chilean Pesos if you are Chilean or 18,000 Pesos if you are not, depending on the season.
The park takes up part of Chile’s Southernmost and largest region. It is decorated with mountains like Cordillera del Paine that lies between Magellanic subpolar forest and Patagonian steppes. I should say, it’s really hard to choose the side, Magellanic or the steppes. Along the range, there are Paine Towers, which is the signature of this park. It could possibly be considered as the signature of the Chilean Patagonia.
The other gem of the park is the Grey Glacier. It’s an enormous block of ice. Despite the name, the blue of this glacier is as good as James Dean’s eyes. It’s that sexy!
By foot, you can reach all valleys with breathtaking views. At French Valley, you will be standing in the middle of the wall of magnificent mountains, just like the Paine. At Valle Bader, you will have high mountains in front of you, with blue body of water in between. At Valle Ascencio, you will be walking side by side a small lake that cuts right between two mountains. But if you want to take a look at Paine Towers from opposite angle then you’ll want to visit the Silence Valley. It’s a the rockier part of the park.
One of the reason that makes me wanna go there are them ice fields. I just want to experience them once in my life or more. Hand in hand, you and some mates, it would be a great experience to explore the Dickson. Also, do not miss the Tyndall.
In warmer days, lakes are nice place to see the reflection of the Cordillera. The blue one you see in many postcards is the Pehoé Lake. The other one is the Nordenskjöld lake, which also has a beach with dark, almost black gravels. There are many more, such as lake Sarmiento and lake del Toro. The main one is River Paine, which passes many parts of the park.
If you want great pictures, you’ll probably wanna go to them viewpoints. Tho best one is the Mirador Condor. It’s simply beautiful, with mountains around the outside, blue water filling in the space in between them and small green land in the middle of them all. It’s the best! The other viewpoint is Salto Grande. It’s a huge waterfall that will blown you whole existent away.
The best way to get around the park is probably by trekking. There are two main routes in which along the path, you’ll be accompanied with other fellow trekkers. The easier one is the W Trek and the more extreme one is the Paine Circuit. Paine Circuit is world’s top trekking route in which it will take around 9 days to complete the circuit and see everything. Please, pack everything you need as light as possible.
Apart from these scenarios, there are also animals that you have to keep an eye on, such as Guanacos or llamas, foxes and pumas. The the park, there are also may places that you can camp and lodge during the night and stay warm.
If you are keen on staying in one of the most extreme hotel in one of the most exotic park, you might want to check out Explora Patagonia. It’s beyond luxury, it’s also peace and majestic. If you are interested, there is also another Explora Hotel in Chile, which is at the Atacama Desert. You can check for more information from my post as well.
Once you are finished with the Torres del Paine, I hope you already taking it all in and are ready to move onto our next stop soon. It’s Puerto Natales. In my next post, we will disembark from our ferry and keep travelling down.