Posted by: Jeff | February 6, 2009

Torres del Paine / Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas

After Ushuaia, I headed north we went to Punta Arenas.  While there’s not much to do in Punta Arenas, I had a great time.  We met 3 people who had motorcycled from Canada all the way to there.  The picture above is of the asado we had the second night we spent at the hostel.  A couple from Valparaíso came to our hostel and offered to throw an asado for everyone.  Being in Chile is much different than Argentina.  Everyone here is looking to help you and will go out of their way to make sure that you are satisfied with what they told you.

The diversity of the people I’ve met down here is pretty awesome too.  I’ve met a Welch guy, a guy from Sao Paolo, countless people from Israel, South Africans, tons from Europe, and surprisingly I’m still the only American I’ve met so far.

The second day in Punta Arenas Sarah and I went to see the penguin colony in Seno Otway.  Supposedly, the penguins migrate to this area every year starting in October to mate, then raise their young, only to leave in mid-March.  We got some great pictures of the penguins expressing, well, their penguiness in the wild, which is apparently “completely unadulterated” from their behavior without humans watching.  Irrespective, it was pretty cool to see them in the wild.

Besides the penguin colony near Punta Arenas, the only other attraction is the “Zona Franca,” which is an area there devoted to duty free shopping.  We went over there to take a look, and while it piqued our interest, we found mostly liquor and cigarette shops, sprinkled with some outdoors companies and wal-mart knockoffs.

Torres del Paine

After Punta Arenas, we headed north to Puerto Natales and ultimately to Torres del Paine National Park.  After we got there, we decided to camp a night before heading back to Puerto Natales.  You can look at photos and postcards of Torres del Paine all day, but until you are actually there and have it be all you see, I really can’t tell you why you need to see it.  It’s like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Nonetheless, some pics are above in the gallery.

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