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  • Writer's pictureUrsula

Chile - Argentina part 3 13.12-05.01.24

Updated: Feb 1

Our first destination in Chile is Puerto Varas, where we take a trip to the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park and visit the Petrohue waterfalls with the mighty, snow-capped Osorno volcano in the background.

On the way back, we make a short detour to the foot of the Osorno volcano with a beautiful panoramic view. However, we don't take a chair ride over the snow and lava rock.

We have 900 km to go on the famous Carretera Austral to Aldana. The full distance to the far south would be 1,200 km.

In Puerto Montt, we stroll through the Angelmo market right by the sea, where fishermen land and sell their fresh catch at the market.

A sea lion lies lazily in the marketplace waiting for fish waste.

We continue to Hornopieren with a short passage on the ferry.

The next morning, we set off early for the ferry to Leptepu. The crossing takes about 3 hours and offers an impressive view of the Andes and the Patagonian fjords in unfortunately somewhat cloudy weather.

After a short drive through dense jungle, there is another short ferry crossing to Caleta Gonzalo. The journey continues in solitude through dense rainforest to Chaiten.

Hikes into the Pumalin Park are actually planned here, but it rains incessantly, giving us an unplanned rest day.

The weather improves and we continue along damp, evergreen forests to Puyuhuapi. On the way, we take a hike in Corcovado National Park to the viewpoint of the hanging glacier Ventisquero.

We enjoy the next stage to Coyhaique in fantastic weather. We leave the rainforest and drive through an impressive mountain landscape with lakes, waterfalls, white mountain peaks and pretty rivers, all beautifully decorated with huge fields of lupines.

The onward journey to Aldana is just as spectacular as the previous one. You could stop every 5 minutes to take a stunning landscape shot.

However, the highlight awaits us in Puerto Rio Tranquilo. We take a boat on Lago General Carrera to the marble caves where we marvel at the impressive, almost surreal shapes.

From Aldana, the beautiful drive takes us on a dusty road along Lago General Carrera to Perito Moreno in Argentina. The next day we continue on a 7-hour drive through a less interesting landscape to El Chaltén. Only the many guanacos offer a nice change.

El Chaltén awaits us with the omnipresent, dreamlike Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre massif.

The town is the hiking destination par excellence. There are many well-signposted hiking trails, some of them with steep, arduous ascents and descents. We decide to drive to the Lago del Desierto, where we stop along the way to enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Once we reach the lake, we take an easy but rewarding hike to the viewpoint of the Huemul glacier and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.

The next day we plan a longer tour to the impressive viewpoints Mirador Piedras Blancas and Mirador Glacier Piedras Blancas.

Now we have earned a nutritious meal at the rustic Asadores El Chalten. Everything is prepared over a wood fire and tastes delicious.

Finally, we visit the Chorillo del Salto waterfall.

We bid farewell to this magnificent mountain world in glorious weather from the Los Condores viewpoint.

A short drive takes us to El Calafate where we move into a pretty little house for a week. Just 5 minutes away is Laguna Nimez, where we hike through the steppe-like wetlands and observe the many birds.

A fantastic excursion to Estancia Cristina awaits us. We sail past icebergs on Lago Argentina and take a look at the Upsala Glacier, which is quite a distance away.

Once we arrive at the estancia, we are taken to the moraine on narrow roads in 4x4 off-road vehicles. There we take a short walk to the windy viewpoint of the Upsala Glacier and the lake in front of it. The panoramic view is breathtaking.

In El Calafate, of course, you have to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. We don't take a boat trip to the glacier, but take plenty of time to marvel at the overwhelming ice massif on the 5 km walk.

Now we are heading to Chile for the last time, to Torres del Paine National Park. We have booked a private 'looking for the Puma' tour. It's not guaranteed, of course, but you have a good chance of spotting a puma. We are picked up at 6 am and driven through the entire park to the area where most of these animals are found. On the way we make a few photo stops to capture the impressive mountain formations in the morning light.

We spend a lot of time in the puma area and spot two pumas, but unfortunately both are quite far away. At least they are easily recognizable through the binoculars. Here is a 'puma search picture' as proof.

We also find enough time to enjoy the unique flora and fauna before we are brought back to the hotel at 8 o'clock in the evening, dead tired.

A short visit to Grey Lake with its stranded icebergs in rainy weather is of course a must.

Now it's off to Argentina, past the gauchos and unattended gas stations...

The next blog will report on the eastern part of Argentina and Uruguay.

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