Category Archives: Patagonia

Highlights of my 2015

I started 2015 with an amazing idea to travel from Antarctica to Alaska visiting most of the countries while zigzaging my way from south to north. It took me most of the year (with some breaks) to get to Bolivia and Brazil and then I decided I want to see something totally different and I flew to South Africa for New Years Eve. It wasn’t a race to get to Alaska, it was a dream, maybe a bit of a challenge, but as money were less and less I abandoned my idea and went to meet other cultures also.

Nonetheless , my 2015 was amazing and here are the highlights of it, in chronological order and described in moments:

1.Antarctica

I woke up one morning with the screeching sound of something touching  Expedition, our ship. It wasn’t morning yet but it wasn’t totally dark either, a new day was coming. I looked on the porthole window both scared and curious and what I saw is one of the most beautiful views I ever laid my eyes on. The icebergs and pieces of icebergs around us, totally different than the day before, the light before sunrise, the shapes and sounds were making everything surreal, and for me that’s how Antarctica is : surreal. He woke up, watched the magic outside, placed a kiss on my forehead and went back to sleep. It felt warm and magic. It felt like being in another world.

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2.Torres del Paine

The third day of the W trekking is mainly uphill at the beginning. And you go up and up and sometimes you look behind and you are amazed. That’s how beautiful it is. And it makes you forget the park it’s like a boulevard with way too many tourists. It was me , and music, and the guys I ignored a bit those days because of the music and the talk I had with myself, completely absorbed by the beautiful nature.

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3.Bahia Inutil

After seeing so many penguins in Antarctica and already passing Punta Arenas I decided to go back and get the chance to see the King penguins. And that day was a bit of an adventure, but a good and memorable one. We crossed the Magellan Strait but one the way back we got a bit stuck, as the waves were too big to cross it back. The view was beautiful, it was so cold and windy, and I was happy I finally saw those penguins and although people were panicking around I felt free and capable of every single thing I decide to do. I was speaking Spanish also, my broken funny Spanish people compliment all the time (except when a linguist told me I speak a medieval Spanish :)) ).

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4.Perito Moreno

Such a famous glacier and such a rainy day. I was in waterproof but 80% wet, that’s how heavy it rained. But if you just stop trying to find the perfect spot, between all the people and all the selfies, just focusing on the immensity of the glacier, on all the sounds of cracking ice and ice falling in the lake, you realize the rain plays also a part in the magic and feeling wet of rain will always remind you of something special. And I smiled . A truly genuine smile. Because the world is amazing.

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5.Fitz Roy

Still my favorite mountain, although later the Amphitheatre in South Africa amazed me a lot. I still have on my retina the image of the mountain, the lake and how we stayed there for two hours and still didn’t want to go back. How we said we will wait just a bit more for the clouds to pass. And they passed few times but it was too beautiful to leave it behind. How cold was the water and how alive I felt.

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6.Candelario Mansilla

This was definitely a challenge and an adventure, 24 km with 24 kg. Took a bus from El Chalten, a boat, got exit visa from Argentina and walked and walked (first 6km painfully uphill), met a guy from USA on the boat, we crossed many little rivers, me full of mud and with wet shoes, he clean like a spring flower because was always behind, all day us and the maps.me app to be sure we are on the track. But when we got closer we felt the trekking and the mud and dust and tiredness are completely worth it because the landscape it’s completely beautiful. Later that evening I ate one of the best dinner ever (as I trekked all day with only 2 boiled eggs and a carrot in my stomach).

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7.Easter Island

Rapa Nui. For me it’s always Rapa Nui and people don’t know what I’m speaking about. Watching sunset during my first day there with beautiful happy people around. On a very tiny beach. Dog trying to eat my camera as I was doing a time lapse. I empathised with those young guys and I felt there are no worries in the world worthy of my attention. Rapa Nui is one of the most magical places I ever saw.

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8. 5592m altitude

I ended up spending almost two weeks in Atacama, each and every day with a beautiful story. But the one I like the most is the one when after struggling to breathe and very slowly climb Lascar Volcano I’m not tired anymore, I’m just happy to be there, the highest I ever got with my own feet,the first active volcano I climb, ignoring the sulphur smell and smiling huge smiles.

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9.Salar de Uyuni

It’s cold, so crazy cold but I want to jump in this immensity of white. So I change my ski trousers and my goose feather jacket with summer colorful clothes and I jump, for this place is surreal too.

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10.Real Beni

Real Beni is the name of a natives community in the amazonian jungle north of Bolivia and although I really love the kids from that community and I fancy the idea of seeing them again, the special moment I have in mind is the one when our host, Cupertina sang to us. She’s the grandmother of all the children I met. At night, near the river, listening the wind and watching the clear skies, with a million mosquito bites, with a million thoughts, I hear she starts to sing and she gets all my attention. She sings a song about love, and choices, about nature and life. I feel nostalgic.

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11. Flying over Rio

More exactly flying over the ocean next to Rio de Janeiro. And turning, and increasing or decreasing speed as my instructor showed me. Freebird. Too short but life it’s made up of moments.

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12.Iguazu Falls

As the legend says:

“Once upon a time, a Guarani warrior named Caroba, who was in love with a pretty Indian maiden named Naipi, took her into his canoe and fled the village, paddling for all he was worth down the Iguazu River.

But Caroba was not the only one who was enamoured of the fair Naipi. She had also attracted the romantic attention of a forest god. When the forest god saw Caroba paddling downriver with Naipi, he was angry.

To try to stop Caroba, the angry forest god made the land under the river disappear. Naipi fell out of the canoe and dropped over the edge. She landed at the bottom, and turned into a rock. Caroba turned into a tree that overlooks this rock. Where the river bottom disappeared or fell away is the site of Iguazu Falls.”

Everybody it’s going back for the train but I linger there hypnotised. It’s not a cliche, it’s one of the most powerful sites I ever saw.

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The brazilian side of Iguazu Falls

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The argentinian side of the falls – Garganta del Diablo

 

 

 

Carretera Austral – the most scenic landscapes in Chile

Chasing sunshine and getting rain

I started this beautiful road from the very beginning (or end) , in the south , after I crossed Lago O’Higgins with a boat from Candelaria Mansilla. After 7 km with a bus I got to Villa O’Higgins, a place I read much about and one of the reasons I trekked 23 km with all my stuff. I knew about many beautiful trekkings in the area and dreamed a lot about this place. I imagined myself taking a nap in the grass with the sun warming my body. But in the 4 – 5 days I spent there it rained almost all the time. Nevertheless the place is really beautiful. And I did a short trekking there because rain is not really melting. There’s no ATMs there but I was lucky and managed to make a deal with the girl from the boat I took from Candelaria Mansilla, she had a POS and took some money from credit card and gave me cash. So I had some money for a while.The hostel I stayed in Villa O’Higgins , El Mosco, is really nice and the people who run it are really helpful and know many trekkings.There’s only 2 buses per week and they go to Cochrane. But before going there I wanted to go to Caleta Tortel.

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Midway to Cochrane is an intersection and from there are 22 km to Caleta Tortel.

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Unesco Patrimonium village and some bad luck

The driver of the bus stopped once and showed us salmons swimming up the river. That was a first for me. After sailing the Pacific the salmons were swimming up the river to get to  a mountain lake where they will lay eggs and die, there, in their birth place.

Going to Caleta Tortel I met a chilean couple, they were going there too. So here we are, all wet, raining heavilly, hitch hiking with all our stuff for 2 hours because there aren’t many cars and the few that were passing were full. We found shelter under a bus stop foyer where one day others in our situation wrote “dedo o baricada” and we laughed thinking we will sit in the middle of the road to make cars stop if needed. When one car stopped and driver said they have only one seat available in the car the couple decided I should better go first. Got quite fast to Caleta Tortel and went to informations to ask about a tour either to glacier or to Isla del Muertos and to ask about a recommendation for hostel. It didn’t went very well. She couldn’t recommend anything but showed me a book with options. And about the tours she said is shoulder season and there aren’t many tourists, so I have  to find a group and then call to the boats, because she has only private phone and cannot call. Alone it would have been too expensive. I went to find a hostel in the rain and stopped to a guesthouse I remembered from the book. It was very basic but I was supposed to stay there only one night so it was fine. Did’t had much money left, only one night of food and accommodation , and no ATM until Cochrane. I went for a walk, the place is very nice, there are no streets, just wooden bridges and wooden ladders. It’s quiet and peaceful, and it’s UNESCO Patrimonium for it’s uniqueness and the foyers made from wood. The experience with the guesthouse was quite weird, I was the only tourist there, it was cold and I had rain in every pore after a week of rainy weather. The woman there was quite weird, but maybe my spanish wasn’t that good. Next day I checked out and read in the sun for 2 hours. It was such a nice, warm and happy sun.

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At the time of going with the bus they said they have to wait for few more people, and that proved to be a bad moment for me, although I found it later. When I arrived in Cochrane I noticed I’ve been robbed. But by the time I noticed and said about it everybody left. The bus was small and didn’t had designated space for luggage, therefore everything was on the backseats and everybody was with the back at their luggage. When we waited for some people I went outside to smoke and some other people joined me. It was only a local woman with her kids there. That’s the only thing that comes to my mind as what had happened. They took the cover from backpack, unzipped the vertical zip, took whatever was closer, zipped and put cover back. I went to the police in Cochrane but they said is useless. So I just had to forget about it.

Trekking 26 km to convince myself to let go

I was so unhappy with myself because of being robbed, and only thought about it. But there’s the beautiful Tamango National Reserve very close to Cochrane. I trekked 26 km all alone and by the end of day I convinced myself to let go. It could have been worse and I will be more careful the next time. And I cannot change anything. I saw there the most clear water ever.

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A chilean guy from the hostel gave me the cable I needed to charge the bateries from my camera. He was my hero. It would have been so difficult to find that cable and for sure not sooner than Santiago.

There’s another nice trekking close to Cochrane but again couldn’t go because you need a car to drive you for 50 km and pick you up after 2 days. Alone was too expensive. And there wasn’t any place to rent camping gear, but someone offered to borrow, so that could have been solved.

Peaceful in Puerto Tranquillo – the best sky of the month

Decided to move north, to Puerto Tranquillo. The drive to there is maybe the best one I had, the landscapes are so beautiful, all mountains, lakes, forests. The Lonely Planet guide says Route 40 is a must in Patagonia, I say Carretera Austral is a must. Route 40 in going through steppe but Carretera Austral is in the most beautiful part of Patagonia.

After quite bad accommodations and many cold showers I went to the nicest hotel in Puerto Tranquillo, not very expensive and anyway only for one night. The trip to the marble caves was so very nice but I think is better to go there with a kayak, you can spend more and better time this way. After the marble caves I wanted to go to a place supposed to be very nice and you can do a nice trekking. I tried to hitchhike for a while but I gave up and went to have lunch. I spend my evening reading near the river. The weather was fantastic.

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At night I saw one of the most beautiful and clear skies and felt a bit sad because I had a tripod with me which I couldn’t use because when they stole from my backpack they took also the mount of the tripod and that’s not a very easy thing to find in Patagonia.

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I waited next day for the bus to go to Cerro Castillo from 11 to 12 and when it got there it was full from Cochrane. So I had to hitchhike for hours, gave up, went to buy something to eat and the lady from the shop called someone and sent me to a hostel where a guest was going with his private car to Coyhaique. Went there and the guy was nice enough to offer me a ride, bit skeptical at the beginning but convinced after he heard I’ve been robbed. Although I wanted to stop in Cerro Castillo for trekking I had to change my plans again and go to Coyhaique because the village seemed deserted, no information office, no place to rent equipment, no tourists. In Coyhaique I went to the national reserve close to town, nice but not impressive. At the bar all the bartenders had t-shirts saying in spanish something like ‘it’s a waste of time to rush in Patagonia’ : “quien se apura en la patagonia pierde el tiempo”. It sounded so true, I had a good laugh and decided to reorganize and take it slow.

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My first kayak experience

My last destination on Carretera Austral was Puyuhuapi. Although is famous for the thermal baths I just let them for the last moment and then found that I don’t have time for it, and also I’m not the biggest fan of thermal baths. You can get there with a bike, I know people who did it and it was nice. Instead, I went to the National Park, trekked a bit and saw a very nice hanging glacier. Another day I rented a kayak and that was an adventure. All started nice, weather was fine, we saw dolphins, but on the way back the weather got bad, sky was grey, wind was fast and lake had big waves. Although I panicked a bit and kept saying “it’s not safe” at one moment started to rain and waves got down and we finally got back to the town and had a good laugh about the adventure during the dinner.

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Dissapointing boat trip

I went back to Coyhaique for 2 or 3 nights because I had reservation on a boat from Puerto Chacabuco to Puerto Montt. The whole time I just relaxed on the hammock and read.

The trip on the boat is better on the other way around, from Puerto Montt to Puerto Chacabuco, there are fiords to be seen but on my trip we passed them during the night. People were very happy with the food but didn’t liked it. Also, I had the cheapest ticket on the boat and my bed was literally on the hall. So I would recommend a better bed/cabin. I heard many good things about this trip but my experience was a bit disappointing. If it wasn’t shoulder season and if it was less rain I would have kept going north on Carretera austral. And that’s the same reason for skipping Chiloe. But one day I’ll go back, in better weather and maybe with a rented car.

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El Chalten – capital national del trekking

After I saw Perito Moreno Glacier the logical itinerary while traveling north was to stop in El Chalten for more trekkings. The plan was to spend 5 days there and to cross border again from Argentina to Chile at Los Antigos/ Chile Chico. The hostel I booked , La Comarca, is probably the cheapest hostel in Patagonia but it’s nice and decent. And the guy was ok when I said I will leave on day earlier. The wifi is incredibly slow in the whole town because is remote and the internet is through satellite. As soon as you come in town there’s a big sign welcoming you in the national capital of trekking. And so it is, around El Chalten there are many options of day or multi day trekkings.

First thing I did was to book the ice trekking on Viedma glacier for the next day. It rained all evening but I kept faith I will have good weather on the glacier. We got to a mini port with a bus and to the glacier with a boat. Getting closer to the glacier we had big waves splashing the boat and a group of chinese turists making funny noises like they where in a roller coaster. Big fun though.

At the glacier we received the crampons and we started to slowly walk together. That was a thing I didn’t thought beforehand. We were maybe 15 tourists and we had to have the same rhythm, me, the other young people, the 60 years old lady, the guys doing a selfies and so on. Luckily they were ok with me walking around and taking photos while the rest were slowly advancing. All in all it was my first ice trekking and I think it was very nice for a first. At the end we drank Baileys with ice from glacier. The weather was sunny and nice and the glacier is very beautiful. Still I think is better to do ice trekking on Viedma, less tourists than on Perito Moreno.

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Again I had a very sunny day trekking to Laguna de los Tres which is in front of Fitz Roy Mountain. I trekked and spent amazing time with very nice people. We stayed almost two hours at the lake taking tens of photos, having lunch and just relaxing. Fitz Roy is the most beautiful mountain I saw by now and we were so lucky with the weather. When we finally decided to return to El Chalten we looked a bit back and stayed half hour more. It was so hard to leave.

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DSCF0890I knew from Lonely Planet guide about a trekking from El Chalten, Argentina to Villa O’Higgings, Chile but I thought is too complicated to carry all my stuff for more than 20 km. But while trekking to and back from Fitz Roy I decided to go and get some info and try it. Getting informations about it I felt like I definitely want to do it and because I didn’t want to come back for my stuff later I planned to take everything with me. Unfortunately I had to leave one day earlier because one of the boats is only once per week, therefore I had only one day for trekking close to Chalten, and that day rained all day and I stayed in the hostel. But for sure one day I will go back there.

For the cool trekking the logistic is like this: you take a bus from El Chalten to Lago del Desierto, cross the lake with a boat (or trek around the lake but you must have a tent), get the stamp in the passport of getting out of Argentina, trekking for 22 km, first 3-6 km are worst and quite steep and the rest is kind of earth road, and then you get to Candelaria Mansilla , get stamp and welcome from chilean immigration, walk one more km and stop to a farm where you can either pay for a basic room or camp, get boat next day to the beginning of Carretera Austral and bus from there to Villa O’Higgings. At the farm lives a guy and his mother and they also prepare 3 meals a day. If you don’t want to buy from them you should carry food from El Chalten because there’s no shop in Candelaria Mansilla. All this is not cheap, it cost me around 200$ for bus and boats, and the room and meals are just bit cheaper than hostel and restaurant food in El Chalten. Very important is also to have sufficient money because the first ATM is in Cochrane and that’s quite far. And they want chilean money, not argentinian or dollars.

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woodpeckerThe trekking was very rewarding, we saw beautiful landscapes, ate calafate berries when I felt like crying because backpack was too heavy, made many cigarettes breaks, ate everything I had with me, photographed woodpeckers, filled my shoes with mud, had lots of fun with an american anthropologist who has a contagious laugh, got my iPod in the mud, cleaned it with a stick and it’s still working, made lots of photos and felt very happy arriving at destination where we had delicious dinner and hot shower.

But next day wasn’t any boat due to bad weather so we just relaxed and hoped it’s not more than a day delay. And I met there so many people doing this cool but challenging trekking with bicycles, sleeping in tents, traveling solo or in couples, lots of stories and lots of beautiful people of all ages.

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Because I had no money left I convinced the lady selling tickets on the boat to take money from my credit card and give me money from the people who paid ticket with cash. Her POS was the only one in a very big radius.

Enjoying Perito Moreno in heavy rain

If you plan a trip to see the glacier you have to travel to El Calafate, Argentina, the closest town to Perito Moreno Glacier (80 km away). I took the bus from Puerto Natales to cross the border back to Argentina (aprox 5 hours) and I was advised to book it in advance since the bus looks pretty busy on this route. Arrived in El Calafate at midday and checked-in to the hostel, Nakel Yenu, very nice hostel but you must have your own lock and towel and also they don’t have hair dryer to borrow (later I found that all this 3 items are not very popular in hostels in Patagonia or even South America, very practical to buy a lock and just give up the idea of hair dryer, and about the towel I just got used with my travel towel although it feels like using a newspaper to dry after shower).

El Calafate looks like a very small european resort with a lot of mountaineering equipment shops, souvenir shops and bazaars, and a bunch of restaurants. I went to restaurant Los Amigos, is a restaurant specialised in seafood and fish, bit far from the city center but very nice, with good food and a nice service. The man there didn’t ask me about vampires (popular belief about Romania due to a fictional book) or gypsies (popular misconception about Romania due to general ignorance and name confusion) , he said instead that he knows about Nadia Comaneci, the first female gymnast in the world who got a perfect 10 at the Olympics .

And because I had plenty of time left till the sunset, I went to Laguna Nimez, a wonderful place where you can see many species of birds and especially the flamingos. You buy a ticket with 70 argentinian pesos and you can come back anytime during a week. I took a tone of photos of flamingos and then came back to the hostel to prepare to wake up early and see the famous glacier. Not many people know or visit this place and I think it’s just because Perito Moreno it’s way more popular, but I saw a poster on the street about it and asked infos at hostel reception.

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The trip to the glacier costs 350 pesos for the bus, 215 entrance fee in the Las Glacieres National Park and if you want the tour with the boat you add 200 for one hour of being pushed by tourists trying to make the perfect selfie with the most famous glacier in the world, which I did and don’t recommend. You can also trek for one hour and a half on the glacier but I will do it on Viedma Glacier, since I heard it provides a better experience just by avoiding the bunch of tourists at Perito Moreno.

The night before it rained heavily and when I woke up it was still raining, and it kept raining until we came back in El Calafate. The guide, Juan, is very nice and helpful and spoke a lot about the climate (the winds coming from the west and discharging all the rain and snow before passing the mountains, therefore there is steppe at the base of the mountains on the east part, covering one third of Argentina, with small grass adapted for the winds and bushes with thorns to keep the moisture from the air), the flora (the grass and bush I spoke about and three types of faggus), fauna (so many sheep which were brought from Europe, a long period of time farmers were sending back to Europe sheep meat but the sheep are not adapted to steppe and because they don’t have the teeth to cut the grass they take it out from the soil, they also have nails and damage the terrain when running, therefore the steppe was on the way to turn in a desert so the government gave a law for the farmers that for each sheep they need 4 hectares of land in order to minimise the impact and provide sufficient food for the sheep; this made sheep farms collapse and close business, though some of the ranches started tourism businesses instead; there also are guanaco, nandu, hares, and so many others) and the glaciers ( high in the mountains is snowing and that snow turns in time in ice on top of the glaciers, the glacier being pushed down; at the base are Brazo Sur and Brazo Rico meeting and flowing in the front of the glacier on their way to meet Canal de los Tempanos, they put pressure on the ice at the base of the glacier so there is a point where the glacier breaks and on the very few occasions it passes that point the water is forming beautiful bridges of ice) .

On the way to the national park we stopped for a coffee at an old farm adapted for selling coffee and tea for tourists where we met a guanaco.

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At Perito Moreno are small trails with balconies where you can have a better view of the glacier. A better weather would have been wonderful but still the view is breathtaking in any weather. My photos are not as good as I want but by the time I will get old and have Alzheimer I have beautiful memories of the ice and the sounds it does when breaking.

I think this glacier it’s overrated, it’s incredibly beautiful and it’s magic to see and hear the ice breaking and falling, but the amount of tourist is overwhelming, and it’s too much, not really enjoying the glacier while people push you from all sides. And the trip with the boat it’s a must not do. But again, it’s just my experience. I really loved it but it was over populated.

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Coming back to El Calafate we saw lots of rainbows and when we arrived in the city it was all sunny and warm.

Just before leaving El Calafate for El Chalten I visited a museum about the southern Patagonia over tens of thousands of years with a dedicated part for the killings of indigenous people by the colonists few centuries ago. Just to make you understand some of the realities of the colonialism. Not many people visit the museum, maybe is not very popular and for sure is quite far from downtown but I saw on the street intriguing posters with a question ” did you ever asked yourself what really happened? “. Intriguing enough to go and check it. And it was worth it!

The cutest penguins I ever saw

But before telling that story let me tell you that I already saw thousands of penguins in Antarctica (from three species: Chinstrap, Adelie and Gentoo) before going to see more at Bahia Inutil, close to Punta Arenas. But I haven’t seen the King Penguins. While in Antarctica I sent postcards for family (because yes, there’s a british post at Port Lockroy) and the one for my mom had these penguins. “Dear mom, these are the penguins I haven’t seen in Antarctica…” But I saw them after all, later. As I said before, the plans in Antarctica are very much dependant on the weather, king penguins were there but we just didn’t got to see them.

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After Antarctica we went to Puerto Natales to do the W trekking in Torres del Paine and after the trekking my travel companions of the last three weeks went norther and I went back to Punta Arenas decided to see the king penguins at last.

Getting to the hostel I found out that everything was booked for next day for the Pinguino Rey excursion. I decided to go next day to Isla Magdalena for half day trip to see Magellanic penguins and the other day to Penguino Rey park.

I went to get informations at the post about sending a box with personal stuff in USA and then to a nice museum located in the center of the city which was actually the house of a rich colonist and his family donated it to be a museum. After that I took a “collectivo” which is a great idea for transport, is like a cab driving on specific routes (has different numbers to indicate the route) and has fixed price (400-500 pesos day/night). Of course it stops until gets full, but still is great, much cheaper than the taxi and much better and faster than the bus. The collectivo left me at the port where I embarked for the trip to Isla Magdalena (30000pesos). In two hours we got to the island where the magellanic penguins live and we disembarked. These penguins don’t smell as bad as the ones in Antarctica and they actually sleep and nest in holes made in the ground. They are also even more noisier but as cute as the ones I’ve seen before. There’s a trail marked with ropes which leads you uphill to the lighthouse where is a small museum.

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Came back to the hostel and prepared for the next day because I knew is a long day and will start early, what I didn’t knew is that will be actually even longer and will start bit weird.

There I am in the very early morning waiting to be picked while freezing and smoking outside. Half hour after the picking hour I had to ring the bell at the hostel, wake everybody up, and ask to call the guys with the excursion. They finally picked me and when I came back at night I found out that there was another company coming also to pick me, I guess the guy from the hostel did some sort of confusion when reserving my excursion. Our guide wasn’t actually a guide, she was a girl from the office sent for a field trip and didn’t spoke much english, therefore I practiced my spanish with her. It turned out that she didn’t knew much about the trip either so our driver was the guide that day (the trip with the car and ferry is 48000 pesos).

We stopped at a place where there’s abandoned farms and also a ship wreck and we did some photos. At Punta Delgada we crossed the Magellan Strait with a ferry, saw dolphins and continued the drive to Bahia Inutil (yes, Useless Bay :)) ).

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Arriving at Pinguino Rey Park we paid entrance fee (12000 pesos) and we got a bit of info about the rules in the park and none about the pinguins. Luckily there was a girl coming with us and she answered our questions. The penguins had eggs and chicks and so we had to watch them from 20 meters far hidden behind a fence in order not the stress them. Which in my opinion is good. But if you want to make the perfect selfie with the beautiful penguins don’t go there.

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On the way back the driver stopped for me to take a photo of a guanaco (a cameloid like the llamas) because I was complaining I saw so many but I haven’t got a photo of them.

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Now, the real adventure begins on the way back, waiting to pass the Magellan Strait again. We got there, stopped the car and went to buy food and drinks, and in 5 minutes we were informed that we won’t cross until the weather will get better, being very windy. And that’s how our next 3-4 hours passed, full of rumors about how we will spent the night there because the winds are getting stronger and stronger. Fortunately I met a group of guys from Moldova, my country neighbour which was a part of Romania before, and spoke my sweet mother tongue with them. They had a rented car and traveled throughout Patagonia.

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And so the time passed pretty quick and we were on the road again and arrived finally and late at the hostel. Next day I went to post and sent some things to USA (around 60$ for almost 4 kilos), and that was two months ago and the box didn’t reach the destination yet. But I still have a hope. And the experience of being robbed. And the wisdom of letting go.

And just before going to the bus for my next destination I went to a museum of the Magellan ship replica and also other ships replicas located on the Magellan Strait (3000 pesos entrance).

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On the way back to Puerto Natales, I went back there for the connection with El Calafate, I did a not very good photo with the nandu (an ostrich like bird), my only photo with them although I saw so many from the buses I took.  (actually a capture from a video)

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Now, a bit of advice. Don’t hurry! Take your time to make good bookings for good tours. I actually really loved the tours to see the penguins, they are really really beautiful. And I didn’t mind spending an entire day in the car just to see them for two hours. But some people might feel it’s not worthy. For me it was. Also, just try to learn spanish in South America, helps a lot and sometimes is the only way. Lots of patience is needed and once you just relax everything is wonderful. 🙂

For me Antarctica was about surreal icebergs and a mix of wonderful unearthly feelings and landscapes, but the place for pinguins was actually there, at Bahia Inutil, where the King penguins colony is located.