We arrived last night to Puerto Natales and made an early start for the drive to one of the wonders of the world, Torres del Paine. On the southern edge of the high peaks of the Andes, the scenery really stands out.
As we left in the morning it was still dark, but after about one hour of driving we found ourselves on the Patagonian steppe. The flat grasslands are almost endless in this part of the world and not too far back the rheas and guanacos roamed the area. Today they have been replaced by sheep and cattle grazing the grass.
A short stop was made near the boarder crossing to Argentina, at Cerro Castillo. As always, the attractive gift shop was given much attention. Now we turned north and headed towards the mountains. Here we sighted our first guanacos and Darwin’s rheas. Soon we arrived at the entrance to Torres del Paine (Blue towers) National Park. Inside the park we stopped to enjoy the majestic waterfalls and scenery. Not to forget the flamingos at Swan Lake. For lunch we used the lodge Cabanas del Paine and now at last it started to clear up.
Stuffed with good food and Chilean wine, we started to make our way back through the park, but with several more stops to catch the beauty of the higher peaks as the clouds slowly slipped away. We were also rewarded by some very close encounters with gray fox and fighting guanacos. Several Andean condors together with black-chested buzzard-eagles were also now using the winds.
Before we arrived back at Puerto Natales, we made a short stop at Milodon Cave. The Milodon was a huge ground-living sloth found in this part of the world. It became extinct during historical times and in 1893, intact pieces of its skin were found in this specific cave. The cave itself is very impressive. As we arrived to the pier with the ship, black-necked swans and bright Chile widgeons greeted our return.