June 25, 2024

Last day in Patagonia

Important note about my frequent travel: these are my experiences and observations I share eagerly and enthusiastically. I receive no compensation in cash/kind/discounts, etc. in any way from any business/locations I’ve visited. None of the businesses paid for my travel expenses or offered any free services.

good bye, Torres Del Paine National Park

This was our last day in Patagonia and I was very sad to leave Hosteria Pehoe. This is one of the most remote and beautiful places I’ve visited and I wish I had a few more days. I woke up early to enjoy the view a little more and watch my last sunrise in Patagonia.  Daniel picked us up around 10 am. We were taking a different road to exit the park. There are sheep farms on the either side of the road. 

finally got to see the towers

We told Daniel that we’ve seen the whole park except the elusive towers. Bad weather has always blocked the view of the towers. Luckily, there was one spot on the drive back where we could see the towers. Daniel pulled over near Lake Sarmiento and we finally saw them. The drive was very picturesque.

running away from danger

We saw hundreds of guanacos running away from something. Daniel said there might be a puma near by but we didn’t see it. Guanacos alert each other of danger with a high pitched sound and the male runs behind the herd to defend them. They can run as fast as 35 miles per hour. 

grey fox and a rhea

We also saw a South American grey fox and rhea. Rhea is an ostrich like flightless bird. I was surprised the rhea wasn’t running away from the fox. In fact, the fox ran away once it saw us. We saw more wildlife on this one drive to Laguna Sofia than we did all the other days. But we didn’t get to see a puma. 

the view along the hike

During our drive to Laguna Sofia Daniel told us about gauchos, Chilean and Argentinian cowboys. Apparently the gauchos cross border from Argentina with illegal cigarettes and bring them into Chile. Cigarettes are a lot cheaper in Argentina so gauchos cross the border through these rugged Patagonia mountains with large amount of cigarettes. It was a fun conversation and the drive was beautiful.

fresh puma tracks

Once we got to Laguna Sofia we saw lots of condors flying around. We also noticed a big brown rabbit that ran away as soon as it saw us. Our guide today was Ricci, the founder of Chile Tour Patagonia. We started hiking up a small mountain but it was very warm. The snow was melting and turning into slush making the hike more slippery and challenging. 

the hike down was so slippery

We almost made it to the top but the warm temperature made the hike more slippery than I expected. So, I decided to turn around. This was the first part of a 3 week long vacation and I didn’t want to get hurt. Hike down was even more challenging and I almost slipped more times than I can count. Once we were all the way down, we saw fresh puma tracks but again, no puma. 

Instead we saw a huge condor napping. After a few minutes we continued driving towards Puerto Natales. We stopped near a fjord to see birds. There were so many different kinds of birds including flamingos, cormorants, two types of swans, Dominican seagulls, caracara, and a few others I didn’t recognize. 

so many birds

I wanted to try guanaco pizza but all three pizza places in Puerto Natales were closed. We ended up eating savory crepes instead before going back to Chile Tour Patagonia guest house. Dinner at the guest house was delicious, grass fed steak. All the food we’ve had so far has been disappointing (a trend that’ll continue all through Chile) so it was nice to have a good steak for dinner. 

so many birds

After dinner we packed up all our suitcases and went to bed a little early. Our flight to La Serena, Elqui Valley was at 10:20 am from Punta Arenas but the airport is 3 hours away. Ricci made us breakfast sandwiches to go and gave us coffee in thermos. Rodrigo drove us to the airport while we watched the night sky in between naps. Our time in Patagonia has come to an end. I definitely want to visit again but in their summer.

Puerto Natales

Ricci, the founder of Chile Tour Patagonia, is a very interesting guy who has lived a very interesting life. We had fun conversations about art, politics, TV shows, history, and so much more. If you are trying to decide which tour company to pick, Chile Tour Patagonia is your answer. They are amazing and I can’t recommend them enough. Ricci will go above and beyond to make sure you enjoy your vacation.

Chile Tours Patagonia took care of everything, all the little details. The champagne glasses Ricci sent for the picnic, the cake added to every meal, making sure the rooms were comfortable, the private car with a driver and a guide was all planned perfectly. Given the amazing service, the cost was actually cheaper than a lot of the other tour companies I’d contacted.

Most tour companies rates were much higher because it includes “a la carte” options. The thing is, I wasn’t interested at all in some of the options available. I didn’t feel like paying extra just so I can have it as an option. I’ve tried horse back riding in South Dakota and I know I don’t want to do it again. I also wasn’t interested in renting a bicycle.

a faint rainbow

Since I knew I wasn’t interested in some of these options, I didn’t want to pay extra just to have them “on the menu”. Chile Tour Patagonia worked with me to come up with options that I liked and wanted. I couldn’t be happier with Chile Tour Patagonia. If you are wondering whether Chile Tour Patagonia is worth it, the answer is unequivocally yes! When I go back to Patagonia, I’m definitely contacting them again.

For pictures of my most recent trip, follow me on Instagram.

the elusive towers in the distance

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