What do you think when you hear “Chile”? What is the first thing which comes to mind?
Maybe Easter Island?? Which is so far away and pretty expensive to get to btw…
Maybe the Andes? …YES.
It is the first thing which popped into my head when we were planning our trip.
So, today let´s talk about a miracle I saw with my own eyes which left me speechless, which made me scream, which gave me an amazing feeling of power and freedom.
Let´s talk about The National Park Torres del Paine.
To be honest I was not expecting much when we were on the way to border between Argentina and Chile, I don’t know why, I guess I was so impressed by other things that I thought: what could be even better than Buenos Aires or Iguazu waterfalls???
Torres del Paine is one of the most important national parks in Chile, and every year visitors from all over the world come to see, which are considered to be, some of the most stunning granite formations on the planet. In November 2013 it was voted the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
Accommodation inside the National Park is really expansive (200-300 euros per night), so we decided to stay in a small village called Cerro Castillo, which has no more than 200 habitants and it’s the capital of the Torres del Paine commune. It´s located just one hour from the Park so it´s comfortable and way more affordable. We stayed at The Hospedaje Familiar Mate Amargo, it´s a nice place to spend a night or two. The owner – Claudio is an amazing person, who told us about his family´s life in such a small village close to the mountains while we were having dinner in his proper kitchen where he makes bread every morning and cooks for visitors. It was so different to our modern life and the things we usually have to do on a daily basis. But it inspires and makes one think about things that truly matter.
Going back to the National Park… 🙂 You can actually see it in two different ways:
- by car – this is what we did, because we only had one day;
- by foot, like a real adventurer! There are a lot of hiking routes of different levels of difficulty and camp sites. I would love to have 3-4 days and be able to walk there, to see a sunrise and a sunset on the Lake Pehoé, to take a cruise to Grey Glacier and do some ice hiking … 🙂
When you are getting closer to Torres del Paine and start seeing the mountains you are already shocked by its beauty, imagine inside the Park…
We drove in and were amazed by the color of the water of the Rio Paine, which was so blue that we could not believe it, the snowy mountains behind, everything covered by flowers: yellow, red, rose… and guanacos (Lama guanicoe) walking around…there are not enough words in the whole world to explain it.
And now try to imagine: you stop at the Laguna Amarga (a beautiful lagoon, whose name means bitter) when no one is there, observing the natural beauty and you see pink flamingos coming to take a bath in the lake … I felt as if I were inside a National Geographic film! The Patagonian landscape was just so immense and its horizons extend to infinity! This lookout is probably one of the best of the granite giants Torres del Paine.
- Don´t forget to change money at the border, there is a cafe where you can do it easily.
- If you stay at Cerro Castillo, it´s important to get something for dinner, because there is almost nothing open after 7 pm.
- If you rent a car, check your documentation before crossing the border. They check it really carefully.
- Be prepared for some labor strikes at the border … It´s Latin America…and we waited 3 hours just to get back to Argentina 🙂
Hope when you go to Chile you will include this astonishing place as a must see!